Day One: After arriving in Father Christmas’s airport (Rovaniemi) in April, oddly I instantly felt festive.
With reindeer Christmas decorations and a snow covered landscape; this could only be mistaken for Lapland.
The guide collected me from the airport and then drove me to Ranua Wildlife Park, which was situated around 1 hour away. On route the scenery was stunning with brightly painted Scandinavian wooden houses covered in snow, never-ending forests, frozen lakes and clear blue skies.
Jo and Amy our Product and Sales managers are currently in Finland checking on preparations for our family Christmas holidays.
As they touched down in Rovaniemi it was clear winter had arrived and there was even a couple of inches of snow on the ground making everything look extra special!
Growing up was great. My mum, born and raised in Peru spoke Spanish and my dad spoke Croatian. After graduating from the University of Economy I started working as a guide seven years ago.
Thanks to my parents I am fluent in English, German and Spanish which is great for what I do.
A big love of nature, travel and sports brought me where I am today. Travelling and trekking through the Croatian mountains, Slovenian and Austrian Alps took me all the way to Argentina, Chile, Patagonia and the Nepal trekking routes. But there is no place like home; my love towards Croatia is borderless.
If you were lucky enough to enjoy a family holiday to Jeris or Harriniva in Finnish Lapland over the winter you will be familiar with our Activities Abroad Rep Katrina.Spending the winter season in Lapland, Katrina was on hand to make sure all of our families had a fantastic time.We caught up with Katrina at the end of her first season to find out how it went and here’s what she had to say.
Borneo, just a mention of the name conjured up thoughts of Sunday night in front of ‘Wildlife on One’ watching Sir David Attenborough explore the wonders of the natural world in the rain-forest. This was a destination which I had longed to visit for many years and having finally found the right partners to work with I was on my way!
The place is wonderful, I have travelled in South East Asia before and Borneo is certainly different. There was no hassle, no overpowering cities, no maniacal driving that you encounter in some places, just a friendly and relaxed atmosphere from the moment I stepped off the plane.
Borneo did not disappoint me on any level. The accommodation was fabulous with the best breakfast I have ever encountered anywhere in the world at the Shangri La and the flora and fauna surpassed my expectations.
The scuba diving off Kota Kinabalu is wonderful and the perfect place for novices like me to learn as well as satisfying those with experience. The other activities do not disappoint either, jungle mountain biking was a huge thrill.
I have done so many of our family activity holidays so picking one favourite activity is pretty tough.
Ultimately however, 40km of whitewater rafting in Spain’s Pyrenees has to be the winner. Rafting rivers in summer in Europe can sometimes just have enough water to be called true rafting, but the Noguera Pallaresa always delivers in July and August as it always has the fallback of a quick call to the dam for the release of water.
I have a problem with rafting on the River Soca (pronounced “sotcha), basically, I find it very hard to concentrate on the actual job in hand i.e. paddling.
The reason is that the Soca and indeed, the Soca Valley are as beautiful as anywhere I’ve ever travelled.
I’ve visited this peaceful and idyllic valley with its towering mountain scenery, alpine meadows and fast-flowing emerald green river more than 20 times and it has only once disappointed. Unfortunately, on that occasion it poured with rain all weekend just when we were accompanied by a BBC crew who struggled valiantly to capture the timeless wonder of this striking river valley.
As a father of two, anywhere that makes my children smile from ear to ear and laugh so much is alright by me and that is why year after year we return to Luosto.
This small Finnish village has everything and more that a family could wish for. The Tunturi Hotel has a small swimming pool which is an ideal place for the kids to splash around in. The staff are friendly and accommodating and the restaurants are very child-friendly.
Luosto offers plenty of activities for parents and children.
Our favourite has to be dog sledding and the cries of delight from the kids are unforgettable as we whizz through the snowy forest. And then, to meet and handle all the cute puppies in the Husky Farm afterwards is amazing. Each and every time, my daughter just can’t stop smiling and we invariably have to disappoint her by telling her she can’t bring a puppy home.
When work asked me if I would like to take my family to Gozo for the week and try out all the activities I had no idea that I was about to experience a destination that would remain in my heart forever.
The little island of Gozo (approx. size: 9 x 5 miles) is packed with culture, cuisine and colourful characters. The locals are welcoming, warm-hearted and generous. I had heard that if you ask a ‘Gozitan’ for a glass of water they will give you a bottle - and this was very true.
The island has a good public transport system although you do need to settle into ‘Gozo-time’ as no one here seems to be in a hurry.
We hired a car for the week and found travelling around very easy. They drive on the left hand-side although we were told by our guide that this does not really happen in the hotter summer months as everyone simply drives on whichever side has the shade! All roads pass through Victoria and you are surrounded by the sea – you can’t go far wrong!
The first time I saw the Catalan Pyrenees was 04 January 2002. It was three days after the birth of the European single currency and I was stood on the edge of Lake Maurici in the Aigues Tortes National Park. The call back to the office simply said ‘We have struck oil’ and so was born our Catalan Pyrenees family activity holiday which has been our flagship summer option ever since.
The town of Sort is located just over 3 hours from Barcelona and has not changed in the 13 years since.
The town of approximately 2000 inhabitants lies on the fast flowing Noguera Pllaresa river which is the centerpiece for most of the activities we feature – whitewater rafting, kayaking, hydrospeeding as well as exciting canyoning.
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