Last year Alix Thepot from France won a spot for her an a friend on one of 3 epic road trips across America after entering, and winning, a global STA Travel competition to join this one and a life time travel experience.
The journey would see her, and her chosen ‘plus one’ Lorena Sorrentino from Italy, as well as winner number 2 Christian and his friend Max from Germany, 2 camera crew from New Zealand and an STA Travel staff member (which, on this occasion, was little old me) visit some of the USA’s most iconic travel spots and experience an authentic and exciting taste of this part of what is undoubtedly a diverse and fascinating country.
The journey took in the beaches of Miami and Florida Key West, cowboy country Dallas, Memphis, the birth place of rock and roll and the unique French influence of legendary New Orleans.
I caught up with Alix and Lorena to reflect on their time on the road in the USA and find out exactly what stood out for them to make their trip unforgettable.
L-R: Alix, Christian, Max and Lorena.
Mardi Gras translates (very literally in our case) as fat Tuesday. A day routed in a time when all thoughts of dietary restraint are cast aside and you’re culturally compelled to dine on anything fat. Traditionally this was to use up eggs, milk and butter before the long cold days of lent ahead where you were expected to restrain from, basically, anything fun.
This year, whether you’ve decided to give up chocolate, cheese, bread or just give up on giving up, check out these top celebrations of Fat Tuesday around the world… and the pancake toppings to take you there.
New York is the best city on the planet. There. I said it. Having spent 2 years living, breathing and eating (mainly eating) my way round New York City, here are my top tips on how to get the most out of your time in the city that never sleeps.
Weather and When to Visit
The key learning to take from the weather around the New York metropolitan area (and in fact the entirety of the North Eastern USA) is no half measures. When it’s cold, it’s really cold, I’m talking, minus-20-the-air-is-hurting-my-face cold. And when it’s hot and humid, New York takes ‘sweaty mess’ to a whole new level, and that’s not to mention the monsoon-like rains that sometimes hit the city.
For me, the perfect time to visit is around Mid-April through June and then again from late August to Mid-October. Think clear skies and balmy English summer days. That’s not to say there is really a bad time to visit – Christmas in the city is magical.
To coincide with the launch of our new Bridge the World Australia brochure, we have spent the last few weeks on an online journey through Australia’s unique wilderness landscapes, wildlife adventures and hidden luxury retreats.
This week we are in New South Wales – a state whose reputation is understandably dominated by the iconic landmarks and stylish urban lifestyle of its world-famous capital Sydney.
At Bridge the World we are by no means immune to Sydney’s dazzling cosmopolitan charms, fully recognising that few cities in the world feature so highly on the average bucket list or are capable of sucking so many well-intentioned and once intrepid travellers into it’s magnetic vortex, never to return (we’ve lost a few good customers this way, they’re currently very happy, tanned and living in flipflops).
Expecting that visiting Sydney is a given, we are temporarily shunning the expected day trips out to the Hunter Valley and Blue Mountains in favour of a few days self drive into the staggering natural splendour, gastronomic and grape-infused wiles of New South Wales. Perfect for a short Sydney stopover or one dreamy long weekend away, this self drive ventures into the soaring mist-cloaked peaks and plunging canyons of the Blue Mountains; vine-clad rolling countryside and rich earthy tones of the Hunter Valley; and sheltered white beaches and calm emerald waters of Port Stephens in just 4 days. Although, given what we already know about this intoxicating part of Australia, we would recommend longer – we of course refer here to intoxicating natural beauty as well as the wine.
Europe’s coolest capital? Well, Berlin is definitely up there. For somewhere so steeped in history and conflict, Germany’s capital is rapidly stealing the show from the rest of Western Europe’s popular hangouts. With a combination of glamorous style and urban cool, Berlin has been reborn, dusting off the rubble of post-war Germany and quickly turning into a young and vibrant city of culture, business, art and music.
Here we’re going to give you a shakedown of what Berlin is all about, to help you feel more like a local and avoid a repeat JFK’s famous words “Ich bin ein Berliner” (no, you’re not a doughnut, although…).