Diary of a Holiday to Sousse, Tunisia

It’s always good when we get feedback about one of our holidays but when someone sends us a full diary about their holiday it’s extra special. So, when we received this diary from a regular customer we were delighted so we have pubished it in full on our blog so that if anybody is planning a holiday to Sousse in Tunisia they can benefit from the information. Hope you enjoy it !

Wed. 31.03.10

Left home at 9:30 a.m for Wakefield Coach Station for coach to East Midlands airport.  This was our first time from East Midlands.  We arrived on time, checked in and had a good meal in the restaurant, had a quick look around the duty free and was presented with a complimentary glass of Baileys to try to see us on our way.  The flight took off early and after a couple of G&T’s on the plane we arrived on time in Monastir. 

This was our 5th time to Tunisia but we were a bit nervous about the transfer as we had never booked an independent transfer before, but Michelle from Global Holidays had been her usual efficient self and everything went smoothly.  We had a whole coach for 4 of us, plenty of room to spread out for the journey to Sousse.  We had a quick and efficient check in at Riadh Palms hotel, a lovely room overlooking the pool and sea.  Nothing to complain about so far.  Went for dinner and had a nice meal of cous cous and lamb, had a quick beer after dinner then back to the room to unpack and catch up with some sleep. 

Thurs. 01.04.10

A welcome meeting had been arranged for us at 9:30 a.m. which was a surprise as we didn’t expect this as we had not gone with a tour operator.  Sarah who was an English girl living in Tunisia was the hotel (Medhotels) rep.  We have done most of the touristy things in Tunisia on our previous 4 visits but did make enquiries about the Red Lizzard train and we booked ourselves onto the Alzahra Sound and Light trip. 

After breakfast we also booked a spa treatment package for the next day with the on site newly opened spa.  We sunbathed all day until 4 pm and then had afternoon pancakes but decided we really didn’t need these after all the food we ate at lunchtime so decided we wouldn’t have pancake break again!  We then went in search of the England Bar attached to the hotel so we wouldn’t miss the important (to us anyway) upcoming football matches. 

At 6:30 pm we went to see Sarah to pay for the excursions but she had disappointing news about the Red Lizard – it still wasn’t running due to flood damage last year.  Never mind, a good reason for returning again – as well as the good weather which we had to admit was better than we expected.  After evening dinner we played cards in the lounge with the help of a few drinks.  As we were still a bit tired we didn’t venture into the disco.

Fri. 02.04.10

Our spa day so we had a reasonably light breakfast in view of all the massages that were coming up, so we headed for the spa at 9:30 a.m.  This was a fantastic decadent morning which I can thoroughly recommend.  We had a body scrub and body seaweed wrap in the hammam, hydro massage, waterfall massage, etc which all lasted 2½ hours.  We then went off and booked ourselves into the a la carte restaurant for later in the week followed by a beer before lunch.  After lunch we had someone trying to talk us into more spa treatments but we had already decided we would have another go before we went home at the end of our holiday.  We sunbathed until at 3:00 p.m. when a cold wind got up.  We had pre-dinner G&T’s (but not as we know it!) and after dinner we played cards again with coffee and brandy – also not as we know it!

Sat. 03.04.10

After breakfast we sunbathed until 11:30 then we changed and headed off to find a decent football bar.  We found the Rose & Crown in the Taj Marhaba Centre as recommended to us which was only a few minutes walk away, this was a nice centre and the bar was really friendly and good atmosphere.  5,600DT per pint – all spoilt because we lost.  We hurried back for lunch which is served until 3:00 p.m. – just made it but they didn’t seem to mind at all and insisted we take as much time as we wanted along with 3 glasses of red wine each and then insisted we finished off the rose, paralytic we then left and went to our room and slept it off then got ready for dinner with usual G&T, dinner, coffee & brandy, etc.

Sun. 04.04.10

Early start on beach for hopefully a full day sunbathing.  We took sandwiches made at breakfast time as we were getting a bit over faced with two big meals a day.  The cold wind got up again and we gave in at 3:30 pm and walked into Sousse.  When we got back we had hot chocolate with brandy and read before getting ready for dinner.  Usual after dinner entertainment.

Mon. 05.04.10

Very windy today but nice warm sun so walked into Sousse to look around the medina to see what we couldn’t live without.  We bought some saffron but didn’t buy anything else – saw lots that we could have!  Went to see the hotel where we stayed 35 years ago.  The centre of Souse has vastly changed from my memories and the hotel looks something of a 1 star now with no pool.  We returned to the hotel mid-day by which time the wind had dropped so we sat in the sunshine and had a couple of beers before lunch at 2:30 pm. 

After lunch we got changed and went to the beach for an hour.  Back to the hotel for an hour’s nap to recover from our long morning walking around.  Went down to the lounge about 6 pm for coffee and read for a while before getting ready for our evening in the a la carte restaurant.  It was nice to have waiter service for a change.  “Entertainment” in the hotel lounge tonight.  Singer/organ/synthesiser player but at least people got to have a dance if they wanted and it did make things a bit livelier, we even had a night off from card playing.

Tue. 06.04.10

Disaster day – the camera broke so spent half the morning trying to make it work but gave up in the end and bought a disposable from the shop outside the hotel.  As most of the morning had gone by then and it was an overcast day we had a couple of beers in the hotel gardens and read for a while before lunch, better than being back at work after Easter anyway.  We had an early lunch as we were going on an excursion to Friguia Animal Park (a Dolphinarium also opening soon).  This was about an hour away and the day finished with a 5 course deal and Zulu entertainment in the early evening. 

It was a great place for taking children and we were lucky as there were several baby animals around at the time – lions and meercats.  The seal show was brilliant and very entertaining but the camel ride or not was useless.  We were told to head off to the camel ride straight away when we got there, before the coach parties, i.e. Thomas Cook, Thomsons, etc arrived so we wouldn’t have to queue but they wouldn’t let us go on them until the coach parties had been and gone by which time lots of time had been wasted.  We didn’t bother but it was very disappointing for children as it then meant they didn’t have time to go around all the park.  More time was needed really to go around, we were two adults and didn’t manage to see everything in the time allowed and we walk faster than children.  The meal and entertainment were enjoyable. 

We were back at the hotel at 8:30 pm so rushed straight over to the Rose & Crown to watch the Arsenal/Barcelona match and then headed back to the hotel.  We collected 2 double brandies for our room then had an earlier night while we did a quick manicure and pedicure whilst enjoying our brandies.

Wed. 07/04/10

We were now into our second week.  It was overcast and windy again today so we went for a walk along the beach in the direction of Port El Kantoui.  The sun made a few appearances so in the end we had a nice walk and decided we would do it again on another overcast day.  We also made the decision to walk to PEK.  We were back to the hotel by 11:30 a.m. for a couple of beers and read before lunch.  Great – the sun came out and the wind dropped so we decided to have a late lunch and make the most of it.  After lunch we sunbathed again and read and had coffee and brandy and got ready for an early dinner and had a quick nap. 

After dinner over to the Rose & Crown to watch yet another disastrous match.  Back to hotel.  We decided to try the Ceratine and discovered it was actually what they had been serving us for brandy all week!  At least we enjoyed it.  Back to our room with double brandies (or was it Ceratine?!) and read before sleeping.

Thur. 08/04/10

We walked along the beach to PEK.  It was a dull start to the day but the sun got out as we reached PEK.  We nearly got washed away by the sea as we rounded the last bend but managed to dry off by the time we got to the port area.  We headed to L’Olivero for pizza and a bottle of wine and sat in the lovely sunshine there for 2 hours.  We then went back to the fountain area and discovered we had just missed the afternoon show of dancing waters so sat there in the sunshine for most of the afternoon.  We had a quick look around the shops then got a tuk tuk back to the hotel for a well deserved beer at 4:30 p.m.  the tuk tuk cost 2DT each as opposed to the taxi which was 5 and the train 15 each.  We found a couple of sunbeds in a sunny spot and read for a while enjoying our beers. 

After dinner we sat in the lounge and watched the more energetic having a dance to the sing/music player.  We discovered the hotel “show time” was actually held in the disco from 9:15 pm – there was no indication anywhere that this happened!  It took us a week to find this out only because we say everyone coming out at 11: pm.  I thought this was a bit late for children really.  At 11:30 pm we went to give the disco the once over but although it was open it didn’t start until 12:00 midnight.  We couldn’t be bothered hanging around waiting so decided we would give it a go another night and collected our usual brandies from the bar and went back to our room for a read before sleeping.

Fri. 09/04/10

Another disastrous day.  It started off well enough, nice sunny day.  We made sandwiches for the beach so we could make the most of it.  We had booked a late afternoon/evening trip to Alzahara, a sound and light show with meal included so we had to leave the beach at 3:30 pm.  Unfortunate as this was the best day yet.  We headed to reception at 4:45 pm for the coach to pick us up at 4:50 pm but were still waiting ½ hour later so rang Sarah the rep to find out what was going on.  She didn’t know why we hadn’t been picked up but suggested we get our own taxi – as if! 

We made it quite clear how annoyed we were as we had come off the beach early and now had to hang around waiting for dinner at 8:00 pm.  She said she would give us our money back tomorrow when she came to the hotel at 2:00 pm, so another day we are expected to hang around the hotel.  Don’t know what she thinks we need all that money for now when we are AI.  Went back to the room to dump our bags and collect our books and headed to the bar to drink and read until it was time to get changed for dinner.  Usual evening.

Sat. 10/04/10

Cloudy today so headed for Medina in Sousse to do some present shopping.  We had a shower whilst in there.  We bought lots of lovely pottery (and still haven’t decided where we are going to put it all!) and then when we got back to the hotel just before lunch the sun had come out.  We sat on the loungers and had a drink before dinner but after dinner the shade had caught up with the sun loungers so we headed for the beach.  The left hand side of the pool seemed to get the shade by the late afternoon.  After dinner we thought about going to watch the Real Madrid/Barcelona game but got a bit late so played cards as per usual.

Sun. 11/04/10

After breakfast we arranged for lava stone massage for Tuesday then headed for beach whereupon we had an argument with the sunbed man who was extremely rude and aggressive, he expected people to tip him for moving a sunbed for them.  We were quite capable of doing this for ourselves and tried to make it clear to him but he was very insistent.  It annoyed me that sunbeds were always arranged around the pool every day but not on the beach purely, it seemed, so that he could pick one up and put it down for you and you were expected to tip him. 

We do not mind tipping people on holiday and always do but we do this at the end of our holiday and not every time someone decides to move a muscle for us.  To me the whole point of going on an AI holiday is so that you don’t have to worry about having money on you every day.  I will be ready for him next year.  He was the only person who spoilt our holiday.  We had sandwiches on the beach for lunch then headed off to the Rose & Crown to watch the ManU/Blackburn game – another disaster – drew 0:0, we said our goodbyes to the staff and headed back to the beach.  After dinner we sat out in the garden as it was a lovely night.

Mon. 12/04/10

After breakfast headed off to the Medina to do last bits of shopping, we had showers again but it brightened up so we headed for the beach just before lunchtime but it clouded up again and started raining again so headed in for lunch.  It was sunny again after lunch so sunbathed all afternoon.  After dinner we had music again in the lounge, we had more drinks then at midnight headed off to bed with what we thought was brandy but when we tasted it it turned out to be whisky – not too bad though for a local drink!

Tues. 13/04/10

Today we had our lava stone massage straight after breakfast for us both – 9:00/10:00 a.m.  I did my packing whilst Liz went for her 9:00 a.m appointment.  At 10:00 a.m. I went to the spa, first 15 mins hammam then on for one hours stone massage.  Best massage I have ever had and thoroughly recommend.  Meanwhile Liz had been packing and so we met up at 11:00 a.m. and after confirming our transfer back to the airport we headed for the beach where we had our first beer of the day and read before eating our sandwiches with a glass of wine on the beach.  We sunbathed until 5:00pm then headed off for coffee in the hotel before getting ready for evening meal.  Dinner at 9:00 pm then finished evening off in hotel lounge.

Wed. 14/04/10

Up at 7:00 a.m. for early departure from hotel at 8:30 a.m after breakfast.  Everything went to plan and we were soon settled on the plane with a decent G&T headed for home.My final thoughts being we will take our own bottle of gin next time!

Iceland – Land of Fire and Ice

Iceland has hit the headlines this week as one of its volcano’s has been erupting and caused volcanic ash to drift of the UK and many parts of Europe. Iceland has been in the headlines quite a bit recently – eruptions in the financial world have given the country a bad reputation due to its banking crisis.

The volcanic ash that is spewing out of the volcano in Iceland has been causing chaos with flights in the UK and northern Europe being cancelled. However, this volcanic eruption is nowhere near as bad as one that happened in the same volcanic area in Iceland back in 1873. The Laki eruption was the second largest volcanic eruption in the last 1,000 years and it caused 10,000 deaths in

Iceland out of a total population of only 50,000 people.

As the sulphur cloud drifted over northern Europe including the UK it caused an estimated 20,000 more deaths in Britain alone. The volcanic eruption at Laki lasted over 8 months and as well as the volcanic ash the volcano spewed out over 600 square kilometres of boiling lava into the countryside causing widespread destruction of the area.

Iceland as a Tourist Destination

Although many people have been flocking to Iceland to see the volcano many tourists do visit Iceland to see its dramatic scenery and volcanic landscape. It may surprise you that despite its name Iceland does not get too cold, even in winter. In fact, the winter temperature in Iceland is warmer than that of New York.The capital city of Iceland is Reykjavik and it is the world’s most northern capital city. Reykjavik means “smokey bay” because it is named after misty geo-thermal steam that rises from the ground and this steam now heats the homes and swimming pools of Reykjavik.

There is plenty to see and do in Reykjavik and the city is criss-crossed with paths and cycle lanes. The city also has art galleries and museums and a lively night life.The main reason for visiting Iceland though is the scenery and if you like the outdoors you will love Iceland. Glaciers cover one-ninth of Iceland”s land surface. Vatnajokull, at 3,300 square miles, is the largest glacier in Europe.Reykjavik is only a 15-minute cab ride between downtown and wild nature, where you’ll feel you’re the only person on earth. When you’re in nature, you can explore geysers, waterfalls, geothermal hot springs, bird sanctuaries and more!Iceland is the ideal place for taking a break and setting foot on a European outpost with an exciting, lively, ancient and thriving culture all of its own.


Things to do in Goa


The Indian state of Goa has become a firm favourite with UK holidaymakers in recent years, particularly for its stunning beaches, dramatic architecture and carefree spirit.Located on the country’s south west coast, it is synonymous with partying and beach holidays, but also has an array of other sights and experiences for travellers.

Portuguese traders first landed on the shores of Goa in the 1500s and the area existed as a Portuguese colony for centuries, until it was annexed as part of India in 1961.Goa has more than 20 delightful stretches of white sand beach down its 101km long coastline, some of which are crowded year round with holidaymakers, while others present secluded palm-fringed paradises for those seeking a quieter break.

 Every type of traveller and size of wallet is catered for and accommodation along the coast ranges from five star hotels to palm-leaf shacks. Goa is now India’s richest state and has seen a huge influx from neighbouring areas in recent years.

Calangute and Baga in northern Goa are heavily developed resorts and full of the usual tourist amenities, the south offers simpler and more peaceful resorts like Colva and Benaulim, while partygoers head to Anjuna, Vagator, and Chapora. Goa was famous as the hangout for hippy travellers and the psychedelic generation during the 1960s and 1970s and it still attracts similar visitors as well as more conventional tourists, luxury travellers and backpackers, and there are a number of popular yoga resorts in the north of the state.The Portuguese influence is widespread and food in Goa is a delicious blend of meat and fish cooked with Indian spices in a way unique to the region.

Alcohol is freely available in the state and Goa produces large quantities of rice and coconuts, which feature in many of the dishes.The ruins of the former Portuguese capital at Old Goa are a key tourist attraction, with an exotic mix of European and Indian architecture and a number of quaint churches and cathedrals.

The influence of early Portuguese merchants can also be seen at the ruins of Fort Aguada in north Goa and the Bom Jesus Basilica, which houses the mortal remains of St Francis Xavier.Goa has a number of charming market towns, as well as the bustling state capital Panaji. Vasco-de-Gama, the largest town in the state, has some interesting colonial and native architecture, while the town of Anjuna has a popular weekly flea market.

Other towns of interest include Margao, Marmagao, and Mapusa. The state is dotted with ornate and colourful Hindu temples and holds a number of lavish annual Hindu and Christian celebrations. As India’s smallest state, Goa represents a manageable slice of the vast country and has just 1.4 million inhabitants. Inland visitors can walk in the Western Ghats range of mountains, a world biodiversity hotspot, visit numerous estuaries and river valleys, and a number of small islands. Its tropical jungles in the east of the state are home to bright birds, wild boars and the region has a large snake population. The Salim Ali Bird sanctuary is particularly interesting, with its exotic mynas and parrots.

Visitors to Goa generally arrive by air or travel to the state from the Indian capital Mumbai. The Konkan Railway line, built during the 1990s, runs parallel to the coast between Mumbai and Goa. Once in the state, public transport largely consists of buses, unmetered taxis, auto rickshaws and the state’s unique yellow-and-black motorcycle taxis.

Goa’s official language is Konkani, but many Indians speak English and travellers will not struggle to get around the more heavily populated areas. The country has a warm and humid climate for most of the year, with temperatures hottest in May and a cooler spell between December and February. The annual monsoon season starts in early June and runs to late September.

Call Global Holidays on 0845 299 4450 for a Goa holiday

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The Best Place to Spend New Year!

Are you at loss to decide where to spend New Year’s Eve ? Don’t have an invitation to a New Year party ? Well, there are some fantastic places around the world that will welcome you to the party with open arms ….and you won’t have to gatecrash either!How about these destinations for the party animal inside you:-

Sydney Harbour Fireworks

According to the city of Sydney website, Sydney is calling itself the New Years Eve capital of the world. Whilst some might dispute that title there is no getting away from the fact that Sydney lays on an amazing party atmosphere on New Years Eve complete with one the best firework displays anywhere. All this takes place with the back drop of Sydney Harbour Bridge and with an attendance in the region of 1.5 million people!

The Sydney New Years Eve Experience starts with entertainment from the late afternoon. There is a family firework display at 9pm culmination in the main firwork display at midnight. The world-famous fireworks displays can be seen all the way from Gladesville Bridge to the Heads of Sydney Harbour, with fireworks barges located between Point Piper in the east and Cockatoo Island in the west. When deciding where to go, keep in mind that sites closest to the Sydney Harbour Bridge always attract large crowds. If you plan to travel to these sites, arrive early as access is limited and sites will be closed once they are full.

Take a look at this short video displaying the amazing display at Sydney Harbour in 2008


London – New Year celebrations

London has lots going on at New Year and not just on New Years Eve. The fireworks take place around the London Eye area on the River Thames and there are hundreds of other events from ice skating at iconic locations around the capital to The New Years Day Parade.

New Years Eve in Paris

Paris is only a short flight or Eurostar trip from the UK. Paris, of course is the city of romance but the city is also great for clubbers and for food, so Paris has something to offer most visitors.The Champs-Elysees is the place to be if you want to be at the centre of the party in Paris. Starting at about 9 p.m. on New Year’s Eve, people start to flock to the famous street, often bringing along bottles and plastic flutes. From many places on the Champs-Elysees, you can get a good view of the Eiffel Tower, which explodes into a sparkling dance of light at the stroke of midnight.Major fireworks displays can usually be seen from the Champs-Elysees, and there are plenty of spots to go dancing or dining before or after midnight in Paris.

Although the ambiance here is usually friendly, celebrating on the Champs-Elysees calls for you to be especially aware of your personal belongings, as pickpockets are common in large crowds. Also, Paris won’t be the party of choice for you if you’re claustrophobic or crowd-shy as tens of thousands throng the streets around midnight.

New York on New Years Eve

Every year Times Square in New York hosts a New Years Eve party to remember. The famous ball drop atop One Times Square has been a tradition dating back to 1906. Each year, hundreds of thousands of people descend upon Times Square to experience this free event. If you are planning to join the festivities, get there early and be prepared – you’ll be corralled into barricaded areas where you’ll have to stay for the duration. If you leave, you can’t get back to where you were so plan ahead and enjoy!

Call Global Holidays, the travel agent for city breaks, cheap holidays and cheap flights on 0845 299 4450

Where would you go if money was no object ?

The days are getting shorter and winter is just around the corner. My holiday to Fuerteventura feels like a distant memory, even though I only arrived home less than 2 weeks ago! Every day we get nice glossy brochures for us to look at and drool over. There are so many places I want to travel to that I find it difficult to pick my favourite. Travel is good for you. It’s amazing to see how other people live and to see different places on this wonderful diverse planet that we live on. As the saying goes we only live once and it would be fantastic to see as many places as possible before it’s too late!

I started to think where I would really want to travel to, especially if money was no object. I could easily list many destinations but if you could only list 3 places where would these places be. We are all different and we all have different tastes but I thought I would list my dream holiday destination choices here. So here goes –

1. Hong Kong and China followed by a luxury hotel on a beach in the Far East. I think that I would stay at the five star Peninsula Hotel. This is probably one of the best hotels in the world. The hotel has its own fleet of Rolls Royce cars and a heli-pad as well as elegant rooms and impeccable service. Then I would want to visit the cities of Beijing and Shanghai as well as the Great Wall of course. Then after that I would need a rest on a beach, somewhere like The Maldives would be ideal and I would stay at Coco Palm.

2. My second choice of holiday would be to Australia. I would start off in Sydney and I would stay at the Shangi-La hotel in a horizon club suite. These rooms have a Sydney Harbour Bridge view and are magnificent! After Sydney I would travel to the Eaglereach Wilderness Resort. Just two hours drive north of Sydney this is the most unique place you can imagine. After that I would spend a couple of nights in Hunter Valley, which is the area famous for its wines and then I would spend two nights in the Blue Mountains. Then it would be back to Sydney and a flight to Cairns to see The Great Barrier Reef.

3. My third choice would be a cruise up the side of Norway to see the Fjords and the Northern Lights. I went to Norway a few years ago and it is such a fantastic place. The scenery is just incredible and Bergen and Oslo are great cities to visit.

Where would your dream destination be ? Leave a comment and let us know !