Life is in the detail

With its marble platforms, sparkling chandeliers and bronze statues of topless Soviet farmers, the Moscow Underground is pretty incredible, although best avoided during rush hour unless you want to share it with six million grumpy commuters.

Flora - Original Traveller

Image of Flora Thompson-Ashby

Flora Thompson-Ashby

Original Travel Expert

I have extensive travel experience throughout Europe.

My travels

Travel Things I Want To Do Before I Die

  • Australia - I've dreamt of cuddling a koala since I was five, so it's about time I fulfilled this promise to myself
  • Russia- Living in Moscow made me want to explore the deepest and darkest corners of the Motherland, I can't wait to go back
  • Japan- I want to get lost in the countryside and see the cherry blossom

Best Moments

Have always involved movement:

  • Whizzing down the frozen Volga in a hover craft
  • Driving a tuk tuk around Jaipur at rush hour with a screaming friend and the owner sitting in the back
  • Floating through the fjords in Norway
  • Heli-skiing in Switzerland... the fact that everyone else got out on some remote mountain peak and I was returned to my natural habitat of the nursery slopes is, frankly, unimportant
  • Crossing the finish line of the Baikal Ice Marathon in Siberia (mink.whistle.rookie in What3Words lingo)

Toughest Travel Moment

  • Sticking my head out of the window on a sweltering bus ride to Jaisalmer and feeling what I thought was a refreshing splash of water on my face; in fact a man on the upper deck clearly had a violent case of Delhi belly and was vomiting all over me. Pouring an entire bottle of alcoholic gel over my head could neither assuage the smell nor my horror!

Weirdest Travel Moment

  • Having my very soggy, very smelly trainers stolen in California - clearly someone needed them more than I did!

Explore my blog posts

The Dolomites

Discovering the Dolomites

I don't like skiing. This is partly because I ski with all the elegance and grace of a drunk giraffe but largely because I think that climbing up a mountain is vastly superior to slipping down it. I have yet to find a feeling that matches the sense of achievement and (once I've got my breath…

Church of Spilled Blood Ceiling

Why St Petersburg Should be your Next City Break

'Why would you want to go to Russia?', has pretty much been the stock response from people for the last decade or so when I've told them I'm heading there, and that's usually followed by a slight shudder and questions about prison camps, Putin and whether the food is terrible. However,…

Iceland & the Elements

Two days into my trip around Iceland I had a very panicked text from my Mother…. I'd left my enormous thermal duvet jacket at my parents' house and she was having visions of me freezing to death on some barren iceberg. Given that it took two full days for her maternal instincts to kick in,…

Portugal: Abandon Your Misconceptions

The first time I went to Portugal I was 16 and on my first holiday with friends; giddy at the prospect of having no adults around, we spent the week lying by the pool, getting horrifically sunburnt and drinking strawberry vodka lemonades (we thought we were the height of sophistication).…

view of akershus fortress in oslo in norway

Norway: Obsessed and Proud

It's no secret in the office that I love Norway, but I used to think that I avoided tipping over into obsessive territory pretty well (the fjord ferry calendar above my desk might make it seem otherwise but that was a present and it's actually pretty helpful, thank you very much). However…

Santorini

Greek Island Hopping: Santorini

The continuation of Flora's Greek Odyssey sees her exploring sublime Santorini, perhaps the most famous of Greece's islands, famous for its giant sea-filled caldera created by an ancient volcanic eruption.

The Giraffe and the Pelly and Me

Flora has recently returned from a spot of island hopping in Greece; tirelessly researching all the very best hotels, beaches, views and restaurants... poor her! This is the first in a three-part series in which Flora explores the beautiful Mykonos.

Holidays to Cyprus: Something for Everyone

Cyprus is a dreamy European summer holiday spot, with top standard luxury hotels catering for both families and couples with equal panache. Europe expert Natalie visits a selection of Original Travel favourites...

Christmas Tree in Stockholm

The Best Christmas Markets in Europe

The days are getting shorter, the telly's getting better and we've already had our first batch of mince pies in the office, which can only mean one thing: you can officially start getting excited about Christmas now.

Borscht Soup

Grandma's Borscht Recipe

Try this Borscht recipe, a Ukrainian / Russian / Polish soup picked up in Europe by Original Travel's Flora!

Prawn Saganaki

Prawn Saganaki Recipe

This recipe for prawn saganaki was picked up in Greece by Original Travel's Flora, after trying it at the Taverna Spirandreas, a Traditional Greek dining by the sea, with a great view of the historical forest of Bisti. The restaurant offers a pleasant atmosphere, and great quality food and…

aerial view of northern lights

Up in Lights: Where to See the Northern Lights in Europe

As their name suggests, the Northern Lights are best spotted in the North, and in many cases, the farther north, the better. Whilst Canada and other longer-haul destinations do regularly provide sightings of this most extraordinary of natural wonders, many of the best locations to catch a…

Houses in porto

Fantastic hotels in Porto, Portugal

When I booked my flight to Porto in April, I wasn't convinced I would either see the sun or find much of interest - and thankfully I was very very wrong thanks to the fantastic hotels in Porto!

Spanish Retreat: SHA Wellness Clinic

SHA wellness clinic is the perfect place to relax, be pampered and unwind...

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Everything worked out just great.

Thanks for your e-mail, and THANK YOU for the lovely Welcome Home package, that really is so nice of you! We had a fabulous time, and everything worked out just great. All great fun, and just a really wonderful trip!

Dena

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