I was born and bred in a place called Potsdam, a small but beautiful town located close to Berlin. Potsdam was in East Germany at the time, so perhaps the fact that international travel was extremely limited when I was a child just made me want to travel even more once I was able to do so. I remember being fascinated by and browsing through tour operators’ travel catalogues for hours as a teenager. At some point, I started planning more and more of our family trips and later ended up studying tourism at university. Since then, I have been in the travel industry for over 20 years, split up between living in Berlin, a few years on cruise ships, living in Miami and now based in the beautiful country of Greece. Travel has remained my biggest passion. I have made it to around 70 countries so far and hope to be able to add many more in the future…
Q&A with Nora our European Specialist
What is your favourite travel memory?
Undoubtedly the travel memories I have from my teenage years…the excitement that came with my first trips without parents, with school friends on organised youth trips to the South of France and Spain – by coach! It was two days of travel each way for a week of fun – total torture from today’s perspective, but unforgettable fun.
Your most annoying travelling habit?
I always plan to start packing ahead of time for a relaxed departure, but I never manage to do so. I usually end up trying unsuccessfully to close my bag, at the very last minute.
What 5 things do you always travel with?
My passport, credit card, some cash, sunglasses and my kindle, nothing unusual there I suppose.
What is on your bucket list?
Hmmm…I have never quite made it to Hawaii and would love to go. Meanwhile, I am just thinking about trips I want to take with my son as he is growing up quickly ‘glamping’ in a tree-house, going on a Safari, letting him meet Mickey and friends at Disney World…experiences like that.
You are stranded on a desert island with 2 famous people, who are they?
Well, I need someone fun who also knows how to cook, so the TV chef Gordon Ramsey could be that lucky person.
The second person would be someone to keep me entertained with her music so I would select Diana Ross. If they were still alive though, my two companions would be Anthony Bourdain and Freddie Mercury!
My favourite destination - Greece
Even though I have spent over a decade here and have become a ‘local’, Greece remains my favourite destination and I simply never lose my passion for this wonderful country! Although it is a relatively small country, it truly offers something for everyone. It is a must-see destination for history buffs and a great place to explore for lovers of wine and Mediterranean culinary traditions. You can reach the sea from anywhere in the country within a couple of hours and work on your tan on some of the most stunning beaches, and next to the most crystal clear waters you’ll find in all of the Med. Mountain lovers and hikers, on the other hand, will enjoy Greece’s mountain ranges of 2.5 km or more in height. And what most people do not know is that within just a couple of hours from Athens, you can ski during the winter months! You must come to visit us soon.
Favourite Island – Naxos, Greece
My favourite island is Naxos. It is the largest of the Cycladic islands, but much more “down to earth” than its popular neighbouring islands of Santorini, Mykonos and even Paros. Surfers and families are far more likely to be found in Naxos than those who are after the glitzy nightlife scene. Naxos is a great place for people who want a relaxing time and are happy to hit some of the finest beaches that Greece has to offer. There are also impressive mountains and traditional villages, and Naxos is home to many Greek culinary specialities – one that really stands out is Naxian cheese – delicious!
Favourite City - Barcelona, Spain
I have a few in my little black book, but one that I love to return to is Barcelona. I enjoy cities that are on the water and Barcelona combines this feature with a unique city vibe. The waterfront is great for romantic strolls and many kinds of sports such as cycling, jogging, or skating, or simply soaking up the sun. Away from the water, Barcelona is loaded with great options for shopping and dining and people watching, and famous artists have left their marks all around the city. The tapas that I tasted in Barcelona, just melted in my mouth – pure bliss!
Favourite Experience – Whale Watching
I have had the fortune to go on whale watching trips in various parts of the globe – from Iceland, the Dominican Republic to California and would grab any other chance to do it again without fail. The suspense of watching out for the animals to appear and reappear – and the moments you spot them and then get to observe these majestic creatures all in their natural environment, make for an unparalleled feeling of immense pleasure. My only regret on my last trip was that my camera was not fully charged up……the photo opportunities are endless!
Favourite Family Destination - Crete
Crete is Greece’s largest island and offers something for every taste and budget and stimulating activities that the whole family can enjoy. I found that we could relax while the kids had fun as we always stayed in resort properties with kid’s entertainment and water parks. As we are an active family, there are spectacular gorges to hike and we enjoyed the boat trips as well as experiencing some great archaeological sites, such as the Palace of Knossos. We also all had great fun learning about the culinary traditions, such as cheese-making, olive oil production, and much more.
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