Wednesday, September 17, 2008

And the Winner is…

The Indigo team are always keen to expand their travel knowledge and holiday experiences. So a travel blog competition seemed the perfect way to encourage everyone to try somewhere or something new. With a little help from Worldchoice and a Mark Warner travel writing assignment as the incentive, the carrot was dangled.

The final nominations were Jamie for ‘Jamie and Friends Do Dublin; Jason and his ‘Around the World in 80 Days’; Katherine co-starring in ‘Polly loves Paella’ and Annick for ‘World of the Vikings. Extracts from the winning entries, judged for their copy, photos and originality can be seen below. So without further ado I’ll tear open the gold envelope to reveal that the winner is…Katherine for her Spanish sojourn.

Polly loves Paella

As the original home of Paella, we were quite excited about what weird and wonderful ingredients we would enjoy in Valencia. When we sampled a traditional local one, it tasted pretty good, even if we weren’t quite sure which food group most of it had originated from!

Valencia is a city full of great architecture with amazing buildings and facades nestled in amongst the twisty maze of the town centre. Even with a trusty map in hand, we still wandered in countless circles, but this wasn’t so bad with sights like the ‘Ciudad de las Artes y las Ciencias’ and a few glasses of sangria to get us through the day.

We visited an aquarium where I found a new contender for our Voyages of Discovery ads this winter. Move over penguins, here is a Beluga – this amazing creature was fascinated by its audience and pressed up right against the glass to get a better look at us.

Valencia also offers a 3km stretch of beachfront for the less cultured. This is where we found what few Brits there were, mainly in the form of stag-parties. I’m ashamed to admit this guy was in fact from Essex but what can I say? In my defence, at least I spared you the full frontal shot! All in all, Valencia was a great weekend destination. Thanks Worldchoice!

Jamie and Friends Do Dublin

Top of the morning to ya! Yep, you guessed it, we went to Dublin, or Dubh Linn, as it was originally spelt, meaning 'Black lake', because of its natural treacle lake, being the biggest in Northern Europe. This was my first trip to Dublin, and knowing nothing about Bono's place of birth; we decided to take a hop on hop off Dublin city tour.

We found, Dublin is one of the friendliest cities in the world. Dubliners are more likely to buy a stranger a drink than anywhere else in the world! Mine's a Guinness!

World of the Vikings

‘Because he was a classicist!’ are the first words I heard as I joined the intellectual glitterati in the cocktail bar onboard Minerva as we left Dover behind bound for Bergen. Smile and nod, I told myself. And drink… a lot. I made sure to schedule as many activities as possible to keep myself busy and away from the bar.

The gym was, as expected, empty, and after my morning work out, I made sure to go and reserve my spot for the 11:30 lecture on the ‘World of the Vikings’. There wasn’t much time to reflect on the fact that lectures were a good excuse for a mid-morning nap, because it was already 12:10 and time for a delicious buffet-style lunch on the veranda. And so it continued and before I knew it, it was time for the gala dinner.

Around the World in 80 Days

To go around the world in 80 days? OK, I am the first to admit that I am no Phileas Fogg, so how did I achieve the impossible? From London, France, Italy, Holland and USA the whole world was at my feet, seeing places and sights that I had only dreamt about. I even managed to squeeze in the Shuttle launch at Cape Canaveral. Unbelievable!

OK confession time. My transatlantic trip started in London and ended in Windsor, at Legoland. But now I really am inspired to travel and see the REAL world.