Indian e-Visa: a flawed system?

Filling out forms is never fun. That’s just a fact. I’m a triple-checker: even on simple forms I take about ten minutes on each question and even then I always worry that I’ve made a catastrophic mistake so I have to check the form multiple times just in case… Does anyone else get this paranoid … Continue reading Indian e-Visa: a flawed system?

On being a tourist in Edinburgh

Having spent my university years just 50 miles up the coast in St Andrews I’ve been fortunate enough to visit Edinburgh many times. Rarely, though, did I go as a tourist; shopping, visiting friends, celebrating Hogmanay or catching a Fringe show or two took precedence and I somehow managed to neglect Scotland’s first city’s many … Continue reading On being a tourist in Edinburgh

Exploring Zipaquirá Salt Cathedral

Stained-glass windows, ornate wooden effigies, intricately painted ceilings and gilded cornices: these are the images that spring to mind when the word ‘cathedral’ is uttered. What lies fifty kilometres north of Colombia’s capital, Bogotá, is an altogether different manifestation of the word… Reaching down 200 metres below the earth’s surface is an enormous, subterranean structure … Continue reading Exploring Zipaquirá Salt Cathedral

The best floating market in Bangkok

It was our last day in Thailand and I hadn’t visited a floating market. Determined not to miss out on such an iconic outing I had spent our penultimate day in the country scrolling through Trip Advisor, reading blog posts and flicking through our Rough Guide in search of the best floating market in Bangkok. … Continue reading The best floating market in Bangkok

Medellín: a city reborn

I don’t have many pictures of Medellín. As I click through my Colombia photo album I’m surprised and disappointed at how few photos there are of this city – this city which, at the time, made such an impression on me. Thinking back I remember that during my stay in Medellín it rained almost non-stop; perhaps … Continue reading Medellín: a city reborn

Cycling in Viñales Valley, Cuba

We stepped out the front door of our casa particular into the dazzling morning sunshine. Our host, the lovely (if slightly mothering) Basita had arranged for a couple of bikes to be left for us to use for the day. Eager to get going we jumped on and began cycling towards town, past the row … Continue reading Cycling in Viñales Valley, Cuba

Exploring East London: Columbia Road Flower Market

I woke up to a beautifully bright blue sky, jumped out of bed, put some fresh coffee on and got ready for the day ahead. It was one of those impeccably crisp mornings found only in spring or autumn. I’ve always loved the transitional seasons: it’s when you really stop and notice the world changing … Continue reading Exploring East London: Columbia Road Flower Market

Going to market: the sights, sounds, and smells of an Andean marketplace

I don't usually post creative writing pieces on this blog but I thought I'd put one up and see how I feel about mixing different types of travel-related content. The following piece is a fictional passage that evokes the experience of passing through a South American market: The smell repulsed her. The acrid odour of freshly butchered … Continue reading Going to market: the sights, sounds, and smells of an Andean marketplace

Photo Essay: “From dawn till dusk, a fisherman’s tale” in Puerto López, Ecuador

Puerto López is a small fishing village on Ecuador's Pacific coast that generally serves as a launching pad for trips into the Machalilla National Park. And while this is a very good reason to visit Puerto López and we were able to visit places like Agua Blanca and the Isla de la Plata very easily, it's also … Continue reading Photo Essay: “From dawn till dusk, a fisherman’s tale” in Puerto López, Ecuador

Going home is never easy, I know, but I have to go…

As the saying goes, all good things must come to an end. I knew all along that I would have to leave South America for the colder climes of my homeland sooner or later but it’s all too easy to put that thought to the back of your mind when you’re exploring Machu Picchu or … Continue reading Going home is never easy, I know, but I have to go…

Isla de la Plata: The (Not So) Poor Man’s Galápagos

One of the first things people tend to ask you when you say you’re going to Ecuador is if you’re planning a trip to the Galápagos Islands. Unfortunately, my budget wouldn’t stretch to a jaunt over to the land of Darwin’s finches, but I had heard about an alternative for getting my wildlife fix, and … Continue reading Isla de la Plata: The (Not So) Poor Man’s Galápagos

Fast-paced tourism: 2 sites, 2 countries, 1 day

I would definitely classify myself as a slow traveller; partly because I like to really get to know a place before leaving it, and partly because I’m lazy and need as much time between lugging my backpack around as possible. But things have had to change over the last couple of days. Ever since I … Continue reading Fast-paced tourism: 2 sites, 2 countries, 1 day

Feeling lost in Quito, Ecuador’s confusing capital

Arriving in a new city can be very overwhelming, especially ones on a South American scale. The sprawling mass of high-rises, the unfamiliar street names, and the maze of public transportation can all make navigating a new city a daunting prospect. In spite of all of this, I like to think that I’m pretty adept … Continue reading Feeling lost in Quito, Ecuador’s confusing capital

A little hike in Huaraz

After hearing some disappointing news and wanting to get away from the groans and grinds of the city I went along with my new friend, Jan, on his trip to the mountains north of Lima. The town of Huaraz was a lot bigger than I expected and, although the weather wasn’t great when we arrived, … Continue reading A little hike in Huaraz

Discovering Machu Picchu: The Holy Grail of the Gringo Trail

“Well, that was nice”, said Brittany as the train pulled out of the station. I laughed at how simple, yet true, the summary sounded. We had just visited Machu Picchu, one of the modern wonders of the world, and it really was ‘nice’. So many adjectives are used to describe Machu Picchu: mystical, awe-inspiring, incredible. … Continue reading Discovering Machu Picchu: The Holy Grail of the Gringo Trail

Weekly Photo Challenge: Street Life

  We've been staying in the beach town of Huanchaco for the past week. It's about 20 minutes away from the town of Trujillo and only yesterday did we manage to pay a visit to the old colonial town. That should give you an indication of how lazily our days have been spent recently. A … Continue reading Weekly Photo Challenge: Street Life

Treasure Trove of Textiles in Cusco, Peru

We were drawn in by the giant fluffy dog lazing at the entrance, and lingered because of the friendly cat circling the counter. A man sat behind a desk reading a book with his spectacles perched on the end of his nose; he glanced up at us and we exchanged a smile as we doted … Continue reading Treasure Trove of Textiles in Cusco, Peru

Lake Titicaca: soothing the scars of a lost sea

The 23rd March marks the Day of the Sea in Bolivia. As a landlocked country it might seem a bit strange to celebrate a sea that doesn't exist, but there is actually a long history behind Bolivia and the sea, and so, in honour of Bolivia's Día del Mar, I thought I'd post an old article I … Continue reading Lake Titicaca: soothing the scars of a lost sea

Why the Bolivian Amazon deserves some love

It’s been about five months since I went to the Bolivian Amazon and I just never got around to writing about it, even though it was one of the best things I’ve ever done. I think this is because I wasn’t sure if I could write about it in a way that would do it … Continue reading Why the Bolivian Amazon deserves some love

Trials, tribulations, and tragedy at the Carnaval de Oruro

The first weekend of March marked Carnaval this year and, in Bolivia, the biggest celebration takes place in the city of Oruro. While I would usually tell people to avoid Oruro as it is not a particularly attractive city and there isn’t really a lot to see, it is definitely the place to be for … Continue reading Trials, tribulations, and tragedy at the Carnaval de Oruro

Expectations vs Reality in Machaca, Bolivia

Having just arrived in Cochabamba, Bolivia where I will be volunteering for the next three months with Proyecto Horizonte, and after spending only three days at work, the opportunity of a camping trip to the mountains arose.  It meant that I would miss two days of work within my first week which left me feeling … Continue reading Expectations vs Reality in Machaca, Bolivia

Challenges for the lone(-ly) traveller

Loneliness. That dreaded word. No one wants to admit to being lonely, especially when they’re travelling and supposed to be having the time of their lives. But it happens; you get lonely. Even after only 9 days of solo travel. On my first morning in Buenos Aires I cried discreetly into my cereal as I … Continue reading Challenges for the lone(-ly) traveller

A hitchhiking holiday in the Hebrides

Fáilte gu Alba (Welcome to Scotland) I recently made a resolution to visit more of the UK. Having met so many people whilst travelling in South America who expounded the marvels of their beloved Colombian countryside or regaled me with tales of their Peruvian provenance, I began to think that I needed to do more … Continue reading A hitchhiking holiday in the Hebrides