External blog posts

A round up of some of my latest work

It’s been a busy time recently, working on lots of different projects. I try to keep an up to date list on my website http://www.juliahammond.co.uk but I thought it might be a good idea to post some links here too.


I’ve written a number of articles for this excellent website and it’s really good to have an outlet for some narrative driven pieces rather than factual blogs. If you haven’t had a look, then I’d recommend you have a browse. To get you started, here’s a piece on Cusco:


Camping and Caravanning Club of Great Britain

Closer to home, the Camping and Caravanning Club commissioned a series of blog posts covering a variety of British cities.  It took a while for them to go live but they’re now all up.  You’ll find the likes of Norwich, York, Manchester and Oxford but here’s one on London:


Sunday Times Travel Magazine

Following a string of rejected pitches, I finally managed to get an idea accepted by the Sunday Times Travel Magazine after snagging the £342 business class error fare to New York last year.  I’ve pitched a second idea which may or may not be a follow up piece, but we’ll just have to wait and see.  In the meantime, here’s the piece that made the cut in the March 2017 edition:



The excellent Go4Travel continues to be a satisfied client and I’m delighted that they accept my work on a regular basis.  Alongside my regular articles on New Zealand, I write on places I’m currently visiting, so most recently, I’ve had blogs published on Puerto Rico following a most enjoyable trip there last month.  A round up of most of the articles can be accessed via this link:


Coming soon

Towards the end of last year, I submitted a piece to the Essex Belongs To Us initiative and learned in December that my short article on what it’s been like to move to Salcott had been accepted for their anthology.  It’s due to be published in March and launched at the Essex Book Festival which sadly I won’t be able to attend as I’ll be off travelling.  There should be news here in the near future if you’d like a copy:



The Devil reads Pravda?

Putin’s “Don’t mess with me” attitude and his questionable actions and policies have given Russia back its bad name.  But don’t let that put you off visiting: Russia’s an absorbing and diverse country which deserves your attention.  The reality of a holiday in Russia is is as far removed from the country’s political reputation as it gets: http://travelexperts.justgorussia.co.uk/2015/10/13/whats-it-really-like-to-holiday-in-russia-nowadays/


Steve Sack, Star Tribune

When I took a rail holiday following the Trans-Mongolian route, I had no idea what to expect, but my most enduring memory from that fortnight is of the warmth of the Russian people. From the army officer who shared his food and photos of his wife to the little old lady who made sure I got the right bus back to Irkutsk from Lake Baikal, I experienced a welcome that, if I’m honest, I didn’t expect.  You can read more about it here: http://travelexperts.justgorussia.co.uk/2015/11/03/russia-by-rail/


Family time by Lake Baikal

Really, the only gruffness came from the guards at Lenin’s Mausoleum who shooed me on when I paused just a little too long to look at that waxy body.  The provodnitsas on my trains ran a tight ship, for sure, but they needed to make sure everything ran smoothly – who wants to witness an altercation from a sleeping compartment when you didn’t plan to get off the train for three days?


High kicks of which a dancer would be proud

For me, Russia was a country of immense beauty; from Suzdal’s magical churches to the tumbledown wooden shacks of rural Siberia, the country presented photo opportunity after photo opportunity.


Suzdal is packed full of historic churches

Moscow was fascinating, and aside from rather wet walk through flooded streets on arrival, a city I enjoyed immensely. The language and alphabet are different, but didn’t prove an insurmountable problem, and there are plenty of companies out there to assist with booking train tickets and securing visas.


If all else fails, look for somewhere with a picture menu


Or an English menu!

My advice is to go. You’re hardly likely to bump into Putin in a country that size.  Why not read some more of my blogs for Just Go Russia and see what you’d be missing.  Here are just a few:

A diverse country http://travelexperts.justgorussia.co.uk/2015/10/12/dobry-den-welcome/

Northern Lights http://travelexperts.justgorussia.co.uk/2015/12/10/see-the-northern-lights-in-russia-this-year/

Historic treasures http://travelexperts.justgorussia.co.uk/2015/10/30/the-kremlins-hidden-treasures/

Enjoy your trip!

Blog roundup

See the Northern Lights in Russia this year

Sharper Northern Lights picture

Northern Lights over the hills surrounding Tromso

Seeing the Northern Lights was one of the most incredible sights I’ve ever seen. Like many, I opted for Scandinavia, being lucky enough to see them four nights running in Norway a few years ago and then once more in Iceland on the eve of my wedding. What few people realise, however, is that it’s also possible to view them in Russia, so here’s my post for Just Go Russia which has all the details:

Visit Arrowtown’s Chinese Settlement


Arrowtown’s Chinese settlement by Michael Button via Flickr CC-BY-2.0

Migrants have often had it tough, and the Cantonese immigrants trying to scratch a living gold panning in New Zealand were no exception. These men suffered great hardship and intolerance from many of the existing community; you’ll be shocked to find out what a former Prime Minister once said about them. Today, though, the Chinese settlement in Arrowtown is a fascinating place for an excursion and you can even pan for gold yourself afterwards. Find out more here in my post for Go4Travel:

Exploring Bangkok using the Chao Phraya River ferries

Thailand Bangkok skyline

The Bangkok cityscape

I’ve been fortunate to have visited Thailand’s capital several times and I have to be honest, the ferries are what keeps me sane in all that horrendous traffic.  It’s so straightforward to hop on and hop off, and lots of the city’s major tourist attractions are within a short stroll of the piers.  My guide for Flight of the Gibbon contains everything you need to know.  You can read it here:

Blog news

No updates as yet on The Itin’s launch date, though you’ll read it here when they’re ready Stateside.  In the meantime, can I tempt you wine lovers with this, my latest blog on New Zealand?  I have bunches of grapes ripening on my own back garden vines as I write, but they’ve got nothing on this: http://www.go4travelblog.com/explore-wairarapa-new-Zealand/

Lake Wairarapa, near to the wineries of Martinborough  Photo by K1w1m0nk1e CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Lake Wairarapa, near to the wineries of Martinborough Photo by K1w1m0nk1e CC BY-SA 4.0 via Wikimedia Commons

Blog updates

You may be aware that I blog regularly for a number of clients. Each week I post a different topic about New Zealand for Go4Travel and occasionally additional blogs about other destinations, most recently from Chile and Italy. This week’s post took me back to Rotorua, where I was impressed by some dramatic geothermal attractions.

Mud pools and steam, Rotorua

Mud pools and steam, Rotorua

I’ve also been writing for Trainline, having worked regularly for Trainline Europe since I left teaching. I recently blogged about station clocks, something that you might argue you’d only notice if they weren’t there! Have a look next time you take a rail trip and see if the clocks are anything special – you might be pleasantly surprised.

Aarau Station clock close up by Markus Meier CC BY-SA 2.5

Aarau Station clock close up by Markus Meier CC BY-SA 2.5

Trainline Europe keep me busy, and I’ll be heading off to France on assignment for them in August. I write a mixture of train reviews and articles designed to tempt people to try rail travel. This one is one of my favourites.

Sleeping compartment on the City Night Line service

Sleeping compartment on the City Night Line service

Blog post live: the Kapiti coast of New Zealand

I’ve been blogging for Go4Travel about the Kapiti coast this week. You can read my suggestions on what to do in the area here:

Sunset at Porirua Harbour by Karora (Public domain)

Sunset at Porirua Harbour by Karora (Public domain)

Latest blogs for Go4Travel

Regular readers will know that I blog regularly for Go4Travel, usually about New Zealand. Every now and then, I persuade the editors to let me blog about other amazing destinations and they couldn’t resist when I pitched Chile. My overview guides to Easter Island, San Pedro de Atacama and Torres del Paine National Park are essential reading if you’re thinking of heading there yourself. Take a look here:

Sunset at Ahu Vai Uri, Tahai, Easter Island

Sunset at Ahu Vai Uri, Tahai, Easter Island

Blog post live: Stewart Island

My latest blog for Go4Travel focuses on Stewart Island. Off the southern tip of South Island, many people don’t make the journey, but if you like hiking and bird watching, this is worth the effort. Find out more here: http://www.go4travelblog.com/things-to-do-in-stewart-island-nz/

Why you should visit the Turks and Caicos this summer

I’ve been blogging for Creative Travel Ltd about the Turks and Caicos. This Caribbean archipelago receives fewer than 7,000 British visitors a year – its main source of international tourists is of course, North America. It’s time to remedy this: March 29 sees the launch of British Airways’ direct flights from Gatwick to Provo (with a brief touchdown in Antigua, making this direct but not non-stop). Find out what Provo’s like in my blog here:

“Turtle Cove Providenciales Beach” by Tim Stackton Licensed under GFDL

“Turtle Cove Providenciales Beach” by Tim Stackton Licensed under GFDL