Up to the autumn of 2006 I completed a very interesting and enjoyable 35 years in full-time employment within the travel industry, in a variety of front-line and managerial roles. I decided then to establish a better work-life balance and joined Great Rail Journeys, which enables me to continue pursuing my love of travel whilst also having the rewarding experience of helping others enjoy their holiday experience as we undertake the travel adventures together.
There are so many contenders in Switzerland but a relatively short journey, the Gornergratbahn, is my favourite rail journey to date, especially in winter.
Shortly after the train pulls out of the station the Swiss village of Zermatt starts to disappears below and then, almost unexpectedly, the train rounds the bend and the mighty Matterhorn towers above as the truly awesome scenery unfolds.
Now the real spectacle begins - more vast mountains soon appear all around and the winter-sports enthusiasts are everywhere enjoying their outdoor pursuits. The 30-minute ascent flashes by and before you know it the train is at the Gornergrat summit station at over 10,000 feet, allowing you to get off, enjoy the fresh air, see the Alpine choughs soaring around and marvel at the three glaciers converging below you as you walk the final few metres to the summit.
You can venture into the restaurant for a drink or snack whilst making some big decisions - which train shall I go down on, and should I stop-off at an intermediate station en route. Decisions, decisions!
The Glacier Express in Winter. Apart from marvelling at how trains seem to operate in the most adverse terrain and weather conditions, this tour is full-on - with something a bit different to enjoy each day.
South Africa - a country blessed with diverse, spectacular scenery, wonderful flora and fauna, fantastic game parks for safari opportunities and a varied and dramatic coastline. All topped off with probably the best-located city in the world: Cape Town.
Enjoy the fact that 'it's not like home', even when it's not quite so good! We travel to get an experience of how things and people are elsewhere, so we shouldn't be too surprised to find differences.
Only bring the essentials - your arms will thank you even if you have a wheelie case!