I love Barbados. I have spent a lot of time there on past holidays and in and out for days at a time when I worked aboard cruise ships. It’s a fun and relaxed island and I couldn’t wait to be back there. We stayed for a week at the colonial Crane Resort looking after two different groups of guests embarking on Caribbean adventures. Unfortunately, it rained non-stop for the first four days - rain like I’ve never seen before! But we did get some sunshine at the end of the week which pleased our guests and allowed us to hit the fun beach club known as The Boatyard, just for old times’ sake. A trip to Barbados just isn’t quite right without a few glasses of the Boatyard’s famous rum punch.
The adventures didn’t stop when 2015 came around. Back in January 2014, I was green with envy when I had just started the job and our two other ambassadors swanned off to Buenos Aires to look after two big groups of Antarctica cruisers. That winter, with its constant rain and bitter winds, was my first based in the UK in over 15 years - I would have given anything to go to Buenos Aires with them. However, they say that good things come to those who wait – a year later I was given the South American trip all to myself. Three weeks in the Argentinean capital - don’t mind if I do!
A whirlwind of city sightseeing, tango watching and steak eating ensued and I soon felt comfortable in my surroundings. I was surprised at how cosmopolitan, friendly and vibrant the city was. Our hotel was in the Puerto Madero area, right next to a lovely canal with rows of restaurants and bars lining each side, perfect for strolling and observing the relaxed Argentinean way of life with a glass of Malbec in hand. Our guests loved the city, it was both an exciting and relaxing start to their Antarctica adventure.
The highlight of this trip for me was my side-venture to Iguazú Falls. I joined a small group of our guests who had booked an extension to visit this landmark before their city stay, and I’m so glad I did. Not only was it a lovely group and we all had fun together, but I was blown away by the spectacle that is Iguazú. I think it was largely due to the fact that over recent years I’d been to a lot of impressive places but I had never witnessed anything as gigantic and awe-inspiring as those expanses of water. I felt dwarfed by nature.
As I happily accompanied my group through the national park, taking photos for them as well as my own selfies of course, the sun seared down onto us. It reached over 100 degrees at times, but a refreshing spray from the falls was never far away. The most exhilarating part of the tour was the speedboat ride which took us under the falls. Only me and five guests took up the offer and it was so worth it. As the boat went at super-speed under the flow of one of the falls and then further down one the main waterways, I closed my eyes and soaked in this moment which I knew I would never forget. I was having the time of my life: on my own, a million miles from home surrounded by the breathtaking natural beauty of South America. It was a moment just for me and my wanderlust. Those feelings: no-one else can feel them for you.
Our hotel was also a unique experience; an eco-resort deep in the rainforest. As it was close to the Brazilian border I felt compelled to celebrate that night with a Caiparinha. I think by now you get my ‘when in Rome’ tradition when it comes to drinks whilst on my travels!
[to be continued…]
Check back next Friday for the next part of Gillian’s Diary Of A Tour Ambassador series
Hailing from sleepy Northumberland, Gillian Lowes realised her passion for travel at a young age and always dreamt of glamourous worldwide adventures. Having worked in a variety of travel roles over the years – including as a Front Office and Operations Manager aboard a cruise ship – Gill became an ROL Tour Ambassador back in 2013. At the last count, Gill has visited over 70 countries!