When journeying anywhere in the world, I've always loved discovering local life and authentic places - as destinations receive more visitors this can be harder to find, especially in the cities. But, Konya has managed to remain relatively untouched and retain much of its original charm, culture and traditions, as well as being the home of the Whirling Dervishes.
Layla, Italy & Turkey Specialist
I achieved an honours degree in classics and a postgraduate masters in rhetoric, igniting my interest in ancient history and winning myself an internship at the University of London.
My classics degree provided me with the opportunity to work as a shore excursion leader on board a cruise ship that focused on culture and antiquity. This gave me the chance to explore much of the world, leading passengers across three continents and more than 40 countries. After 14 months on board, I relocated to Australia for one year on a working visa. Wanting to settle down on home soil, but keen to use my travel industry and classics experience, I joined Audley.
I began my Audley career as a Hidden Beaches Specialist and having spent extensive time in Turkey, Greece and Italy, I then became one of the founding members of our Europe department and now enjoy sharing my travel knowledge and passion with others and inspiring them to travel.
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The magical cave hotel of Sextantio, situated in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Matera, offers a rather special stay. Facing Murgia Park, its views are certainly impressive, and with just 18 rooms it offers a personal and friendly service and atmosphere. Despite having all modern amenities, it retains its original features and is ideally located just a few minutes' walk away from both old and new Matera.
I'll never forget when…
After spending a few days in Rome appreciating its history, architecture and artwork, it was wonderful to visit the Rome Gladiator School and its hands-on museum to learn more about gladiator life in a very interactive (and physical) way. I had great fun dressing up, trying on helmets and brandishing weapons before I was allowed to start 'training' in the arena. My training culminated with three contests where, I'm pleased to say, I was declared victorious.