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Blogging from the Wild

Recce-ing the new Off-beat Burma trip

As is so often the way with out of the way places, that have been left much to their own devices until some jarring and foreign element is foisted onto them, totally at odds with what existed before, and that which will probably exist long after;  an utterly bizarre cocktail of belief systems are at…

Along the 'Epic' Pamir Highway

The Pamir Highway can only be described as Epic (and it definitely warrants the capital). The scale of it is barely fathomable,  it's as if you are travelling through an imagined landscape; a wall-to-wall panorama of some of the earth's highest peaks; lakes, valleys and villages so remote they may a…

Sri Lanka - Onward and Upward to Adam's Peak!

The summit of Adam's Peak has the faintest imprint of a footprint of the Buddha  (or was it Adam?) -either way, and it didn't appear to be an issue of much contention - housed in a sacred of sacred temple, high above the clouds. The mountain is a major pilgrimage site for buddhists, Christians and M…

Sri Lanka - Exploring Colonial Kandy

I'm writing my blog under a Bodi Tree, in the botanical gardens in Kandy, which are completely beautiful... a bit of well needed peace and quiet after a few solid days of Buddha spotting, elephant riding, Lion Rock climbing, and ancient ruin cycling. And torrential rain. We drove through a solid mas…

Introducing Christmas to Bhutan

  • 28th December 2011

Dropping down to a lower, more temperate altitude, off with the down jackets, we left the bus behind and descended on foot into the Phobjikha valley, through villages fringed with prayer flags at first, and then into the pine needle carpeted forest, steeply down to the valley floor, crossing and re-…

Arriving in Bhutan - another world

  • 23rd December 2011

Last Monday the streets of Kolkata were chock full of vendors, selling of all things, artificial Christmas trees and flashing LED Santa hats, all under 2km of the most over the top Christmas lights I've ever seen. The atmosphere was festive, if not surreally so, in the brilliant way that India has o…

Kat's Final Encounter with the Militia of the Congo

It would seem I was a bit too hasty in sending in my last blog entry... Half an hour later, we heard the noise of a powerful engine. Most traffic on the river is paddle-powered so it was something of a novelty, and anything above 50hp, which there was no doubt this was, is such a rarity we'd maybe e…

Kat in the Congo - Snaking Through the Islands!

The scenery for our last three days on the river has been dramatically different than the earlier stretches. We have been running the length of the border between DRC and the Republic of Congo, which follows the main shipping channel of the river, snaking through the islands, for two days now. Two n…

Kat in the Congo - Crossing the Equator

Yesterday we arrived at the largest town on our river journey since leaving Kisangani nearly two weeks ago… Mbandaka. Once a serious trading station, this town that sits astride the equator is now as fallen into ruin as every other town we’ve seen. The riverside on our approach was littered with hul…

Kat in the Congo - Telekinetic Crew and No Bananas....

Torrential rain all day, no sign of it abating, possibly ever. This may well be the end of the world we are witnessing, although Congo seems to lend itself quite happily to apocalyptic images, so maybe it’s just a passing storm. It’s getting kind of hard to tell. Everything is wet through and fee…

Kat - Laying on the Entertainment in the Congo

Last night, the only place we could find to camp amongst the densely forested islands of this stretch of the Congo was Mikania, a fishing settlement and transport hub for maize and passengers. However, it had taken on an air of abject desperation as hundreds of people had found themselves stranded o…

Congo: Life on Blood River

I’m very conscious that my past few entries have been very much focused on the hardships of travelling here, but that has so far been the overwhelming thing and has left little in reserve for processing the experience. We have been in Congo for 10 days now and I still have no clue as to how this cou…

Kat in the Congo - After the Cook's Arrest...

The day of our planned departure from Kisangani, our intention was to join the boat after lunch with the aim of finding somewhere to camp 25km or so downstream. (Notice the conspicuous absence of the word “plan”… this concept has by now been relegated to the realms of nice ideas.) However, the incre…

19 hours (at 30kms an hour) to Kisangani!

We arrived in Kisangani in the middle of the night after 19 hours on the road. This has been one of the longest and toughest road journeys I can remember undertaking anywhere. 470km from Epulu to Kisangani at an average speed of barely 30km per hour.For most of the previous evening, storms raged and…

Let the Congo Journey Begin!

If you know anything about the Democratic Republic of Congo, chances are that you will not be harbouring positive images of the country, at any point in it's past, present or future. Mr Kurtz' infamous "The horror.... the horror..." is undoubtably the most appropriate sentiment of King Leopolds reig…

Kat in Georgia - Caught in a Dramatic Storm

  • 8th August 2011

Having waxed lyrical about the romance of being under canvas during a storm, we found ourselves under a night-long siege from the most furious weather I can remember experiencing. For hour after hour through out the night the storm rolled around the bowl of the valley, gathering momentum and power t…

Kat in Georgia - Trek Coming to An End

  • 8th August 2011

We're nearly at the end of our trek through the Caucasus Mountains, cooling (freezing) our weary feet off in the glacial stream that runs alongside our second wild camp - as incredible a setting as the first- with a well earned cup of tea. The pack horses (and their foals who have accompanied them) …

Kat enjoying 40 degree Tbilisi heat

  • 1st August 2011

Being in ANY city during a 40-odd degree heat wave doesn't feature highly on my list of favourite places to be, so it must say a huge amount for Tbilisi's charms that my first 48hrs here have been such a joy. (Admittedly, being shown the way to the best ice cream parlour in town may have helped just…

Kat in Mozambique - New Years Eve on Mogundula Island

  • 5th January 2011

We were up with the sun and on the boat before breakfast today, heading out to the reef to the south of the island, for what I'm sure will be one of the best snorkelling trips of the my life. The conditions were perfect. We swam back to the sandbank on the incoming tide and spent the rest of the mo…

Kat in Mozambique

  • 4th January 2011

Pemba is the most easterly landfall in it's timezone, and as such it's been light since 4.30, so making use of the perfect early hours, we leave the majestic bay behind us and head four hours north, into the wilds of Capo Delgardo province. The road takes us through Quirimbas National Park, and the …

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