Tag Archives: hike

An autumn stroll between heritage: daytrip to Geghart & Garni

Armenia is undoubtedly famous for its monasteries. There are dozens, of not hundreds, of them dotted around the country, plenty are Unesco listed and the majority is put up in splendid locations. Before I learned about the delicious food, the undeniable flair and the kind people of Armenia, these monasteries were my main reason to visit the country. And so I visited many!

Geghard is an obvious, and perhaps the most popular, day trip fro Yerevan. Damn sure, if you have time for only one, short trip, I recommend this over any other. Continue reading An autumn stroll between heritage: daytrip to Geghart & Garni

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I swear I would have scaled that bloody glacier! (a weekend in Shymbulak)

My last days in Almaty were spent high above the city’s smog and traffic, in the mountains that loom over it’s streets.

On Saturday, I met a friendly Brit at the breakfast in the hostel and we took a bus to Medeo together to see the ice skating ring. Caught in between seasons, Medeo and the surrounding ski resorts were a bit weird to visit: the ice ring had no ice yet, and the lifts up the high glaciers were out of service due to maintenance.

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At the empty ice skating ring in Medeo

While I hadn’t planed on ice skating, I had really looked forward to going up to the high peeks to see the views. In fact, I’m very inexperienced when it comes to mountains. Only once I’d been up above the tree line, that was at 2.200m in the Polish Tatras and I loved it. Going up to Shymbulak was my secret plan to rise above 3.000m, something I’d been wanting to do for a long time. Continue reading I swear I would have scaled that bloody glacier! (a weekend in Shymbulak)

Why Kazakhstan might very well be the “Greatest country in the world”

Kazakhstan you mighty beast. How swiftly have you won over my heart!

Right after arriving in Almaty, I contacted my hostel staff and asked them to help me book a tour to the Kolsai Lakes. I had been looking in to going there independently for a long time, but in the end it seemed too much of a hassle. I suppose it involves taking a marschrutka for the first part and then hitch the rest of the (very unpaved and pretty deserted) way. Since I don’t hitch hike alone and Western travellers are so incredibly thin on the ground in Kazakhstan, I decided not to waste time looking for crazy souls who would like to join my quest and instead paid a shit-load of money for a two day tour. The itinerary looked good though: it took in all the sights I wanted to see and included a home stay in one of the mountain villages. My signing up was a solid decision indeed.

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Continue reading Why Kazakhstan might very well be the “Greatest country in the world”

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.

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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

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.

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Beautiful colours at Loch Morlich

Continue reading We call it a mountain

A blessing of solitude

Oh that glorious walk between Monesterio and Fuente de Cantos… No words or pictures would do it justice. It was without a doubt the most beautiful stretch of walking I encountered on my mini-camino (that is, the part between Sevilla and Cáceres) and it lifted my heart beyond expectation.

The weather was overcast and clouded, however fast winds made for an ever changing scenery and shadows travelled over the endless planes in a matter of minutes. The fields were glowing with colour, mainly the bright yellow of tiny flowers and the deep green of moist grass.

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The fields seemed to take over the colour of the Camino. Some of them were bright as gold.

The road soon let me into a sea of infinity. This is the Spain I love so much: a landscape that seems endless, with nothing surrounding you but waving hills and heavy skies. A landscape in which one could easily drown.

Continue reading A blessing of solitude

Walking for growth

Aah, the Caminos de Santiago: those addictive, live changing, beautiful pilgrim roads through Spain (and Europe) towards the said grave of James the Elder in Santiago de Compostela…. How have I come to love them. How have they come to comfort me always at the right time.

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Me and my shell. It will make it all the way to Compostela one day!

In 2011, I walked the Camino Francès – probably the classic first timer route – in one go from Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port to the ocean in Finestere. Now, in 2017, I didn’t have the time to walk another 1000km, so I set out on a shorter mission: the first 280km of the Via de la Plata, from Sevilla to Cáceres.

I expected the walk to be duller than the Camino Francès. More barren, more lonely, more flat. I hadn’t come for the scenery this time, nor for the great encounters (as I really didn’t know how many other walkers to expect on this much less frequented road). I came because my guts told me I needed to. And yet once again the Camino would very much surprise me. The scenery turned out to be stunning, the people no less than inspiring and the road deeply encouraging.

Continue reading Walking for growth