A story of when I travelled to the much storied “Navel of the World” and spent most of the time gazing at my own. (Aside: The Navel of the World is disputed as a possible mistranslation, but it was used on promotional literature in the local branch of Santander, and if you can’t trust a bank’s promotional literature…)
I was lucky enough to visit in a tea plantation in Ethiopia, down near the Sudanese border, just before Easter in 2011. It was a four-hour drive from Gambella and sits at 1,800m above sea level. At the time it was one of only three tea plantations in the country but I don’t know if that’s still the case. Continue reading Tea plantation, Ethiopia
I’m not going to lie, I went to Apoka a long time ago, probably around ten years, so my memory is a little sketchy. However, it has always remained one of the places I have said I would love to return to.
The big skies, the feeling of isolation (I was looking enough to reach it by plane but it’s apparently a pretty backbreaking journey by road [links to a NTV YouTube clip about the journey) and of the earth stretching away from you unendingly into the distance in every direction. Compared to other national parks in Uganda, Sophy Roberts used a simple but wonderful phrase to describe Kidepo, she called it a “truer wilderness.”
We visited Sumatra in 2013. It was a brief stay, with just four nights, purely to see the orangutans in the Gunung Leuser National Park. Our tour included the transfers from/to Medan airport and included nights in Bukit Lawang and Tangkahan as well as two nights camping in the jungle. It was a bespoke tour because of our timings through Expedition Jungle with a similar itinerary to this one. Continue reading Sumatra, Indonesia: Orangutans, elephants and jungle trekking
One of the benefits of living in the Middle East was that a country like Lebanon, so small and yet diverse, was just a low-cost flight away. So one weekend I decided to visit Lebanon. I’d been to Beirut before and wanted to explore the mountains so I travelled north to Tripoli by bus to Bcharre and then into the beautiful Qadisha Valley. Qadisha, means holy in Aramaic, and is hugely important to Lebanon’s Christians. Continue reading Qadisha Valley, Lebanon: Hiking in the mountains
I travelled with a friend of mine for a long weekend in Mumbai to watch cricket. I’d always wanted to watch the sport in India and England’s 2012 tour gave us the opportunity. The Wankhede’s a magnificent venue and it gave us the chance to see the representatives of the world’s most populous cricketing nation on their home patch in front of their hero-worshipping crowd. Continue reading Mumbai, India: it’s not just cricket
I took a Yangtze River cruise in 2007 from Chongqing to Yichang. It was a time when the government was flooding areas along the riverbank because of the Three Gorges Dam project. There were numerous markers along the 195km stretch that showed where the new water level would be and many villages and farms would have to have been relocated.
Throughout almost the whole journey the ship was wrapped in a blanket of mist, fog, fug as small riverside villages gave way to ugly industrial cities where tower blocks rose unevenly and untidily from the earth like teeth from an old sailor’s gum. Continue reading Along the Yangtze River through the Three Gorges
It was a long time ago that I went up the middle to Australia (2003). I met my friends in Adelaide and in a red camper van four of us travelled up through South Australia to Uluru and back to Melbourne via Alice Springs and Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory. Continue reading Up the middle to Uluru, Australia
I don’t think Petra needs much of an introduction; Wonder of the World seems about right to me. The Treasury is the most iconic building at the site in Jordan but what truly surprised me was the scale of the site. Continue reading Petra