The Travel Gauntlet: Nicola vs. Caroline

It’s the travel battle of the fortnight: one of our loyal Blog readers takes on a member of our fabulous staff, as they both face five tough travel questions that will test their experience, opinions and aspirations. Who’ll come out victorious? There’s only one way to find out…

Do you want to step into the Gauntlet? Then drop us an email, and we’ll get back to you with five travel questions to answer.

Now, let’s meet this week’s brave contestants.

Running The Gauntlet this week, it’s…

Travel lover Nicola Dunkinson from Hampshire! Here’s Nicola cycling along the beach in South Goa.

Nicola gets active on her travels in India

Up against Nicola is our very own Caroline from STA Travel in Manchester Deansgate! Here’s Caroline chilling on the sand dunes of Huacachina in Peru – “a definite highlight of my trip”, says Caroline.

Nicola may have a bike, but Caroline has a big sand dune

Step into The Gauntlet

Nicola, Caroline – walk this way, and get ready to answer the five most challenging travel questions you’ll (probably) ever have to face…

  Caroline Hoyle, Travel Expert at STA Travel Manchester Deansgate Avid traveller Nicola Dunkinson
Where in the world have you found the tastiest food? It has got to be India. I’m not big on spicy foods, but the variety of dishes in India aren’t all about being HOT, there are just so rich in flavour that the taste buds really do wake up! Hmmm, you’ve got me thinking about my favorite Dhal dish I discovered over there – truly amazing.

It’s got to be the meal I had on visit to a Churrascaria in Rio de Janerio. The waiters in the restaurant come around with an amazing variety of different cuts of meat on huge skewers which they slice at your table. They will keep coming back with more until you turn the green card on your table over to the red side! Along with this there’s an all you can eat salad bar with more than enough tasty nibbles to fill your boots!
What’s your weirdest travel experience? When I was in Kuala Lumpur I stumbled across a local who told me about a festival that was going on the next day at the Batu caves. He invited me along with all his family to the Hindu Taipusan festival, which is my most amazing experience to date. I was greeted by hundreds of locals all chanting carrying elaborate head pieces with gifts of coconuts and fruit. Some of the men had hooks pierced through there skin with fruit on the ends and seemed to be in some sort of trance. Definitely not what I was expecting when I arrived into the cosmopolitan KL, and a great memory I will keep forever. While visiting Mumbai, a friend and I had taken a 20 minute rickshaw ride to a local street market. That morning, my friend had asked the concierge at our hotel if they knew of a shoe mender in the area to fix a pair of her favourite sandals. They took the shoes from her to take to a local repairer that morning. While we were exploring the market stalls, a scooter appeared behind us – it was the porter from our hotel with my friends’ shoes all repaired! I was amazed that he had found us such a distance from the hotel, although I guess we were not hard to spot being the only Western women in sight! He stayed and chatted with us for a while and gave us tips on good places to eat.
Urban hunter, or rural explorer? Rural explorer – I love to get off the beaten track and discover little villages and hidden away places. I’m a rural explorer – I love going off the beaten track and discovering new places.
4. Guidebook, app’d up, or travelling blind? Guidebook, the Lonely Planet is definitely my bible when I’m away. My journey starts by purchasing the book and getting out my highlighter to mark off all the things I want to see and do while I’m there. I like to get my bearings with a guidebook first, then travel blind and create my own adventures.
Before I’d gone travelling, I wish someone had told me… Don’t pack so much stuff! Over the years I’ve managed to get packing down to a fine art. To not pack so much! Less is definitely more when living out of a rucksack!

Wow guys, thanks for taking part! You had quite similar answers – we reckon you’d make good travel buddies for each other! The STA Travel Blog – bringing travellers together since 2011.

Want to take on the Travel Gauntlet? Step up to the challenge – email us and you could be the next star of the STA Travel Blog.