A speedy tour of the world, through 26 snapshots. Travel round the world from A to Z and -hopefully- be inspired to plan some adventures of your own. There’s only a couple of letters that are a little on the tenuous side!
The days of crackpot dictators are gone: Albania might just well be Europe’s next-big-thing. A country with pockets of real beauty and an old-school, pre-tourism-cynicism smiling hospitality.
They also have a town called ‘Mullet’ which amused me as my own hair was heading dangerously mullet-wards at the time…
The silent, shining pristine beauty of the Salar de Uyuni stands tall as one of the world highlights of all my travels. If you go in the wet season though it will be, well, wet! Plan well, amigo.
Shakespeare wrote that “present fears are less than horrible imaginings”. That described my Colombian experience perfectly. Prior to arriving I was petrified. From the moment I crossed the border until I left I was enchanted.
As I have not been to Denmark or Djibouti I’ve had to turn to one of Europe’s finest rivers: the lovely Danube. With a cycle path along its bank and regular cafes, cake shops and castles, the Danube makes for a superb bike ride from Germany all the way to Bulgaria (where nodding your head means ‘no’ and shaking it from side-to-side means ‘yes’).
Mountains, ancient churches, jubilant music and spicy food are just some of the rewards for those bold enough to take on traveling through one of the hardest countries in Africa.
Nothing good needs to written about France: the locals are already sufficiently aware and proud of their country’s charms… The only difficult thing is trying to take an unusual photo of the Eiffel Tower.
It’s probably best if I focus on the rich food (don’t forget the khachapuri), the truly ancient monasteries, the skiing, the beaches, and the claim that Georgia invented wine. All this certainly outweighs the days of turmoil in the north and their most famous son: Jospeh Stalin, the biggest killer of all time who is commemorated with a statue in his aptly name home town – Gori.
I hesitated to follow Stalin with Hiroshima: I want this entry to be an enjoyable one! However I did find Hiroshima to be an upbeat experience (as well as very moving) for it is a busy modern city that shows our capacity for regeneration and starting anew.
A toss-up here between the marvels of India and Iceland. I’ve plumped for Iceland in the end, mostly because we all know already about India’s travel charms. Iceland is the wildest, most beautiful European country I’ve ever been to. Well worth a stop-over if you’re flying the London-New York route sometime. Plus I wanted to show off this picture of my beloved packraft…
Take any negative preconceptions you might have about the Middle East and carry them with you to Jordan. A beautiful, safe, historically fascinating nation with proud and welcoming people.
A good maxim for adventure is to head to any country you cannot spell, or any country you cannot place on a map. Kyrgyzstan probably fits both categories for many people. And it’s a gem of a country; possibly the most beautiful of all the ‘Stans.
In amongst its troubled politics you can find in Lebanon the oldest city on Earth (Byblos) and the biggest Roman ruins (Baalbek). You can also ski in the morning and swim in the Mediterranean in the afternoon. What more could you ask for?
I got well off the beaten track in Mozambique (though even that is hardly crowded) and headed into the dry, poor hinterland. Witnessing this village’s communal basket-fishing display was a fine reward for ignoring the guidebooks and just heading off on my own.
Coming next week: N-Z…
This post originally appeared on the Huffington Post.