Sent by Jagat Deo
Based in Drumoak
Hello my name is Fiona Betteridge and I am based in Aberdeenshire. Thanks for your interest in Travel Counsellors and my web site. I believe booking your holiday should be an enjoyable and exciting experience. I pride myself on offering my customers a level of personal service and attention to detail which you could not find in the high street.
I have lived, worked and travelled abroad for the last 25 years, in such areas as the Middle East, Far East and Scandinavia, and holidaying all over the world especially enjoying Australia, America and Europe.
We now have a unique system in place which no other travel agency/tour operator has access to which enables us to book flights, accommodation and transfers separately which more than often beats standard tour operator packages.
Don't forget about those long weekends in the UK as well, I can book you a trip to the races, a murder mystery weekend, golf breaks and what about lunch on the Orient Express?
Whether it be a flight, city break or a tailor made holiday you are looking for I will be delighted to help you.
I absolutely live and breathe travel and I love to write about my experiences! Please take a look through my posts - you might find your own holiday inspiration.
01 June 2014
Bermuda is a beautiful location, with a distinctly British feel about it. Close enough to visit as a twin centre with say New York. There are many lovely hotels, pink sand beaches and excellent golf courses. There are a range of attractions to visit such as, Dolphin Quest, boat excursions, Gibbs Hill Lighthouse, the dipping ceremony in St Georges and the crystal and fantasy caves. We stayed at Elbow Beach and Cambridge Beaches which are both beautiful hotels. Elbow beach Hotel is on 50 acres of gardens with a beach front location, only seven minutes from the delightful capital city of Hamilton. It has 98 cottage-inspired rooms and suites with ocean or garden views - I had an ocean view with a patio which was lovely to sit on in the evening. There is a spa, private beach and dive shop. Plus for anyone wanting golf there are 4 courses close by. Cambridge Beaches again was set on the beach, with a spa and lots of water sports. This resort is adults only, minimum age is 16. They have rooms, suits and cottages with private plunge pools. Close by you can discover the world’s smallest drawbridge, it has a little section that lifts up and lets a yacht mast come through, so boats can go up the river. The Botanical Gardens are outstanding, with so many beautiful flowers and trees to see. For Golf lovers it is a paradise with top competitions held there. We went to many superb restaurants and enjoyed the famous fish chowder, I would recommend Waterlot Inn Restaurant and Mad Hatters. An interesting event is the old Dunking Ceremony at the square at St George's. A woman is hauled forcible to 'The Dunking Stool', used to dunk women accused of being nags and gossips, in the 1600s and 1700s is again used in historical re-enactments with costumed actors in the town. The offender is strapped in a dunking stool and dunked in the ocean a number of times depending on their crime. The town crier or magistrate is proclaiming the woman's crimes to an audience of onlookers. I would highly recommend Bermuda as a superb beach holiday.
11 May 2014
I went to Iceland to celebrate our daughters 30th birthday and what a great experience it was. Iceland never ceases to amaze - the mouth-watering scenery is an adventure in itself, with volcanic craters, lava flows, hot springs and geysers, glaciers and stunning waterfalls offering a new view around every corner. It is these natural wonders that provide the perfect backdrop to a range of unforgettable experiences from hiking and snowmobiling to bathing in hot pools and gazing at the northern lights. I was lucky with the weather to have 3 days of sunshine but also to have snow. The people were all very nice and the sea food was amazing. Had the lobster soup for lunch most days, although I wasn't so taken with the puffin burgers! We had one hour floating massages in the Blue Lagoon, which were the most relaxing experience ever; the water is really hot and it even snowed while we were in there but we were never cold. We saw the northern lights for an hour, with beautiful flashes and waves of green. The flights from Scotland were extremely quick, 2 hours going out and 1 hour 45 minutes coming back. It takes three hours from London. I would definitely recommend Iceland, you could book a long weekend or even longer to give you more time to explore.
01 June 2014
New York is a great location, full of things to see and do, plus great restaurants of all prices. We stayed for 4 nights coming from Washington on the Amtrak which was very easy and comfortable straight into Penn station and then a quick taxi ride to The Benjamin hotel on 125 E 50th street, close to many restaurants and shops, we walked safely around at night. This location is midtown Manhattan, the Benjamin is a luxury boutique-styled hotel and well worth a stay. Taxis and the hop on bus were all easy to use so getting around was no problem. I visited the Empire State building with fantastic views from the observatory deck, did the harbour cruise around the Statue of Liberty, visited the 9/11 Memorial, which is very moving and of course some shopping. I found that clothes and shoes were good value compared with the UK. I also did a full day tour around central park, going to the Guggenheim Museum and Harlem. In central park you just walk around or take the horse and carriages. Some of the restaurants we sampled were Shake Shack at Madison Square Park, the best burger in New York which often has a very long queue, but is worth it, you can tell it was going to be good because it was local people queuing not just tourists. If you like jazz we went to the Arlington Club, good food and music. Another great place was Lavo at 39 E 58th street, famous for its Fried Oreos, very yummy. All in all a fun location.
07 May 2012
We stayed at the Grand Canyon Ranch while on holiday in Las Vegas and it was a great comparison to the Strip. We took the helicopter from Vegas airport, with great views over the Strip seeing all the hotels. Then it was onwards towards Lake Mead and the Hoover Dam. The pilot pointed out all the things of interest and we were able to get some great photographs. We flew below the rim of the canyon and had great views of the Colorado river. We landed at the ranch where we were met by a horse drawn wagon and you could feel the gentle pace of the ranch compared to Vegas, with it’s beautiful scenery and breathtaking views. We had a great lunch of buffalo burgers and checked into our cabins. The cabins had everything you needed for an enjoyable stay. It was very hot during the day but cooler at night, so the air conditioning was good in the day time but you could switch it off at night time. You could also stay in a Tipi if you preferred. We did a sunset ride, where you could go by horse or wagon and enjoy a glass of champagne watching the sun set whilst the Buffalo herd. It was a great experience. Night time brought us an excellent steak dinner followed by songs around the camp fire expertly sang by Casey Adams. There is no light pollution so it’s great for star gazing. After a hearty breakfast and a few more photographs we had the most amazing warm scones and then it was back into the helicopter to fly back to Vegas. It was the highlight of our trip. Two days later we drove to the Canyon (2 hours 30 minutes) and went on the Sky Walk, the glass bridge over the Canyon. I loved looking down through the glass to 4000 feet below. We visited Hoover Dam and some of the native American shops where we bought some lovely souvenirs. I would highly recommend the ranch if you are staying in Vegas.
08 May 2012
Las Vegas is a fun city, and you don't have to gamble to enjoy it, I just had a great holiday there. The weather was very good for April 2012, nice and hot but with no humidity. We stayed in two hotels as we went half way in the week to The Grand Canyon Ranch. Our first hotel was the Bellagio, which has a great fountain display outside with music and lights four times an hour. It has lovely large rooms and a nice pool area. Our second hotel was The Wynn, which has great views from the high floors. We stayed in the Tower Suites, which have a private reception and swimming pool and provide a nice place to get away from the crowds. It was very easy to access the Fashion Show Mall from The Wynn, simply by walking across a bridge over the road. There are some amazing restaurants in Vegas, we went to Joe's Seafood one night and had the best seafood. For a special occasion we went to Joel Robuchon Restaurant "L Atelier de Joel Robuchon" it was outstanding. Shopping is also great in Vegas with good quality clothes and shoes. We saw two shows, 'O' Cirque de Soleil, where acrobats, synchronised swimmers, divers and characters perform in, on, and above water. This is based at the Bellagio hotel. The second show was the Holly Madison 'Peep show' which was very funny and a little risque. There are many shows to choose from and something to suit everyone. All in all Vegas is a great place for sunshine, entertainment and nightlife.
11 May 2014
We sailed on Azamara Journey for a 12 day Mediterranean cruise. Azamara ships are not too big (you never feel lost) and they’re not too small (you won’t run out of new things to do and new people to meet). With a capacity of 686 guests, Azamara’s mid-sized ships really are just right. We loved the club-like atmosphere and the way the staff and crew get to know you. The smaller ships also offer the big advantage of being able to sail to places larger cruise lines can’t. We stayed overnight at some of the ports, which was lovely as we could go out for dinner or drinks. We stopped at several locations, such as; Nice, Barcelona, Capri & Sorrento. The shore excursions where excellent. We visited Pompeii, Gaudi architecture, flower markets and vine yards. The food and wine on board were excellent as where the staff, I would highly recommend a cruise with Azamara.
26 May 2011
Russian May 2011 I have always wanted to visit Russia so decided 2011 was going to be the year. Moscow is one of the few cities in the world that justifies the adjective ‘magnificent’. At first Moscow can dwarf you. Moscow’s past wealth is reflected in its architecture, arts, museums and even its underground railway which is an artistic monument and tourist attraction in its own right we visited about 7 underground stations just amazing. From Red Square to the Kremlin, the Bolshoi Theatre to St Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow is easily treated as a living museum. As were there on May 09th we saw the victory day parade with 100’s on tanks and soldiers which was some spectacular. Eating out was an adventure, some restaurants having no menus in English, we had a few surprises! Vodka was cheaper than having water. Leaving Moscow on the Red Arrow sleeper train we travelled to St Petersburg, the train was very comfortable and from a bygone era. Unlike Moscow’s red bricks and onion domes, St Petersburg is a network of canals and baroque architecture. The summer palace at Peterhof built by Peter the Great is so beautiful with gardens and fountains just like Versailles. Flying time from London to Moscow is only about 3 1/2 to 4 hours, at all times we felt completely safe, it was just myself and my daughter. You have to get a visa before going which is about £100pp It is a location well worth a visit if you love history.
05 November 2011
You can not beat floating around the Caribbean on a Silversea All Inclusive Cruise. From the moment we boarded the ship- The service was incredible. Every member of staff always greeted us and had a big smile on their faces. We had a veranda suite which included a balcony. We loved having the balcony and used it all the time. The room is lovely, with plenty of closet space and more drawers than you can fill up. Personalized stationary with your name on it. Fresh flowers in your cabin. The bathrooms were fantastic! - double sinks, shower and bath with Bulgaria amenities- soap, shampoo, conditioner etc When we disembarked at the ports they had cold bottled water to take ashore and on the way back waiting for the tenders to return to the ship –at the ports they had cold punch, water and chilled towels! What makes Silversea cruises so special are the fellow passengers you meet. We met wonderful, fascinating people from all over the world. Everyone was so friendly and wanted to socialize. We have made some lasting friendships that we will keep in touch with. The advantage of the smaller ship is that it is easier to make friends since you run into the same people all the time and the staff members get to know you personally. We stopped at a selection of Caribbean islands, a highlight was the butterfly farm on St Maarten. I loved the Turtle sanctuary at Bequia. If you want wonderful service, great food, and a smaller ship than there is only one Cruise Line- SILVERSEA!
24 October 2010
I was bowled over by Cape Town and surrounding areas. Fantasic beaches, hotels and restaurants. We flew into Cape town with South African airways and went straight to Hermanus for the whale watching. Hermanus is famous for being inhabited by Southern Right Whales every year between June and December. This friendly and quaint town is situated about 120km (one and a half hour drive) from Cape Town. I have to say we where not disappointed, and after a very early start to catch the sunrise we saw lots of whales, and what beautiful creatures they are. Cape town is a lovely, clean, safe and very cosmopolitan. The Victory water front has shops, markets and restaurants with plenty to see and do. We stayed at the Radisson Blu, which is a lovely hotel. Table top mountain is a must and the views from the top are amazing. The day I visited was a bank holiday and my tip is to avoid those days if you can as the queues can be quite long to buy your ticket. The cable car ride to the top of the mountain spins round slowly to allow 360 degree view. It can be quite cool at the top so don;t forget to take a jacket. Nearby beaches at Camps bay are very nice with plenty of trendy shops, bar and restaurants. If you are looking for a perfect day trip from Cape Town then Boulders Beach is just down the road from Simons Town on the False Bay coast, so not only is the water a little warmer and the scenery stunning, it's also a penguin haven! They are so funny waddling about and you can go down to the beach and swim with them. We had lunch in the harbour in Simons Town and had the BEST seafood I have ever had in a long time. We then moved on to the magnificent Franschhoek Wine Valley in the Cape Winelands. Nestled against majestic mountains, Franschhoek is home to award-winning wine estates and restaurants, boutique hotels, luxury guest houses and wonderful retail shops. We stayed at Mont Rochelle, which is both a hotel and a vineyard - luxury accommodation at its best. In the rooms you will find a perfect blend of style and comfort and wake up to breathtaking views from every angle. You can go wine tasting in the grounds and I can assure yuo the wines are superb, Reasons to Visit Cape Town and the Western Cape: 1. Sheer Natural Beauty 2. Great Weather - warm languid summers and mild, moist winters - conditions that perfectly sum up the mediterranean climate of Cape Town and the Western Cape. 3. So Affordable - recognised as one of the most affordable destinations in the world. 4. Cultural Melting Pot - Cape Town and the Western Cape is a cosmopolitan destination 5. First Class Wining and Dining - the destination, with its many restaurants serving traditional or contemporary Cape and international cuisine, is also one of the wine capitals of the world. 6. Diverse Experiences - experience Cape Town and the Western Cape and discover the ultimate combo of nature, wildlife, culture, adventure, heritage. 7. Easy Access - Cape Town International Airport is served by 20 international airlines on a weekly basis, linking the destination to every major global hub. 8. Sunny Blue Flag Beaches - home to 13 internationally recognised Blue Flag beaches. 9. Excellent Infrastructure - whether you're wanting luxury or authentic Africa experiences there are easy roads to get out and about on and endless great places to stay and eat. 10. No Jet Lag - 1 hours time difference BST
05 November 2011
Safari in Kruger National Park - The BIG 5 I had an amazing Safari in Kruger in September, Kruger National Park is one of the largest game reserves in Africa. Apart from big five game drives, you can also enjoy bush walks, night drives, sleep-outs under the stars, bird-watching and off road game dives in private areas. The Kruger National Park offers an abundance of wildlife including approximately 507 bird species 147 animals. One of the highlights of my trip was seeing a cheater catch its pray. We had fantastic off road game drives seeing Impala which are the most abundant antelope, waterbuck, grey duiker, Greater kudu, bushbuck ,buffalo. The waterholes attracted elephants, white rhino, giraffe and warthog and many other wildlife species. We watched Loins basking in the sunshine and hippos soaking in the lake. The park offers a unique and unspoilt region promising a traditional African safari experience. I stayed in 2 properties , Chitwa Chitwa and Shumbalala both being superb, the quality of the accommodation and restaurants were excellent. It was a trip to remember with all its fantastic sights.
Banchory, Aberdeenshire 13/06/2014
Tornaveen, Aberdeenshire 13/10/2010
Strachan, Banchory 11/10/2010
Ilkley, West Yorkshire 11/10/2010
Anguston, Peterculter 11/10/2010
Banchory, Aberdeen 09/10/2010
TARLAND, ABOYNE, ABERDEENSHIRE 08/10/2010
Banchory Aberdeenshire 08/10/2010