Category Archives: Europe

A quick story on Russian to Uzbek border control

I’m always pretty stressed about border control – for no particular reason really. So far (knock on wood) I’ve never had a troublesome experience. Yes, I’ve been questioned at length in Japan (probably because I happened to be the only white person to get of the boat from Korea) and in Istanbul (for no obvious reason), but other than that – nothing has ever gone wrong. And yet – my heart is always beating a bit faster, no matter how hard I try to look like the innocent backpacker I am.

There are few sounds as relieving as the clicking stomp of an immigration stamp on passport paper. Continue reading A quick story on Russian to Uzbek border control

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Marvellous Moscow

Let me start this writing by stating my surprise with the punctuality of Russian everything. I suppose I had a stereotypical idea of Russian strictness, in a rather negative or bureaucratic way. But so far I am happy to say that I’ve only experienced the benefits of it (let’s keep it that way!)

Saint Basil's Cathedral
Saint Basil’s Cathedral

A good example is my journey from Saint Petersburg to Moscow. Continue reading Marvellous Moscow

And so it begins: Saint Petersburg

And so it begins.
Russia.
The biggest country in the world.

While the plane prepared for landing I looked East and realised that vast, cloud clad horizon went on and on, all the way to Japan. It’s hard to grasp the size of this country, especially when you only visit two places. Here I am in the first: Saint Petersburg.

Sturdy immigration officers in outdated uniforms. A strange and incomprehensible language. Helpful people with sullen faces. Continue reading And so it begins: Saint Petersburg

Inverness to Skye: a road of monsters and castles

My dad’s alarm clock sounds like a military trumpet, and it’s rather remarkable how someone can maintain a good mood after being scared out of bed by such horror. However we had a full Scottish breakfast, an early start and plenty of good things waiting, as we drove West to Isle of Skye.

Inverness Castle Road
The sun was still out when we arrived in Inverness.

Our first stop en route was Inverness, where we briefly walked along the river and popped inside the small but cosy cathedral. We also spotted our first kilt clad Scotsman! Indeed, the day would offer a lot of clichés: rain, sheep, castles and monsters. Continue reading Inverness to Skye: a road of monsters and castles

Why the Cairngorms should be your first stop in Scotland

It’s well known that, by popular vote, the West of Scotland is far more popular than the East… and there’s a good reason for it. In terms of road trip splendour and easy-access vistas, nothing quite beats Glen Coe or Isle of Skye and truth be told, the multi-day tracking is probably better there, too.

Compared to Scotland’s most famous tourist draws, Cairngorms National Park in the North East might feel like a bleak, monotone or even boring affair. And yet, it’s none of those things – at all! Continue reading Why the Cairngorms should be your first stop in Scotland

We call it a mountain

The first real hike we did on our Scotland trip was the very unpronounceable Meall a’ Bhuachaille circuit in the Cairgorms National Park.

The trail starts at beautiful Loch Morlich: an impressive lake, surrounded by snow caped mountains and pine forests. The track makes a great starter route because it is easy to follow throughout, not too hard on the legs and yet rewardingly beautiful.

Loch Morlich
Beautiful colours at Loch Morlich

Continue reading We call it a mountain

How far I’ll go

I feel like sharing the events that led up to my decision to ‘travel the world’, because it wasn’t just a messed up job situation. In fact, the idea is much – much older.

It all started here:

Ronda plains
Thunder clouds gather over the Andalusian plains as my classmates climb the ancient Moorish ruins in Ronda.

This is the Ronda valley in Andalusia, Southern Spain.

I was 17 years old when I set foot here, and I came so unprepared for the beauty that Spain would bestow on me! This was my first time hiking the plains and mountains. My first time camping abroad. My first time travelling with a backpack.

I remember the exact second I took this picture. I remember the smell of the yellow flowers and the pressuring presence of those clouds in the heat. This image captures the moment where I discovered I am a traveller. Suddenly, my heart realised there is a world out there: a planet waiting to be explored. Continue reading How far I’ll go