Honduras: Roatan – The Modernisation of an Island

When you get the opportunity to visit a place again and again over a period of years you get to establish some friends, favourite haunts and your perfect day. Sometimes more interestingly though you see how it changes. Continue reading

The Bonus of a Common Language

So, you’re off on a trip somewhere, everything is booked and there are a couple of months to go. You’re wondering, should I learn the language? Doesn’t everyone speak English these days? Do I really need to? Continue reading

Italy: The Sistine Chapel and the Vatican

Egyptian Sacophagos

There is a large variety of artwork.

Standing in line for the Vatican isn’t on my list of fun things to do on a weekend in Rome. It is however one of the ‘must see’ things I’d like to accomplish in Rome whilst I’m here. The tall, dark foreboding walls around which we are queueing look more like a local prison than the centre of Western Christianity but I assume that they are a hangover from a previous time. The queue shuffles slowly forward. Continue reading

Safety for Women Travellers

Every now and then you hear stories in the news or from friends of women getting themselves into sticky situations whilst abroad. This always seems to be because women, out there, travelling solo, or in small groups have thrown caution to the winds and forgotten all their normal habits which keep them safe at home and have assumed that no one would want anything but good for them. It’s as if we slide back into childhood, leave the responsibility for ourselves behind and expect the local ‘grown-ups’ to look out for us – why should they? We’re complete strangers. Continue reading

Guatemala: Hidden Treasure

Guatemala is a country steeped in history, culture and mythology. Its landscapes are beautiful and varied – from mountainous areas, punctuated by volcanoes to the green, luscious jungle lowlands. It is a country which is still saddened by its recent past – a 30 year civil war and genocide in the second half of the twentieth century; but the people also find reasons to be truly joyful, kind and welcoming to the many tourists which go there. Continue reading

Jordan: Petra – Rose City in the Desert

It was dark but there were little tea lights in paper bags marking the way. We had no idea where we were going so we just followed the lights. We walked and walked. The track changed from gravel to paving and we became aware of high sides of rock around us as we walked, hearing the echo but not entirely sure how long we had to walk or where the trail of lights would take us. Petra, by night. After about half an hour of steady walking we came upon an open area, lit only by hundreds of candles, the glow faintly lighting up what we later learn was the Treasury. Our first glimpse of the most iconic view of Petra. We were ushered through to sit on mats and given hot, sweet tea to drink. In amongst the candles a Bedouin was playing traditional music. It was nothing short of magical. Continue reading

Jordan: Floating away

I didn’t really know what to expect. Would we just be driven to a beach and deposited at the water’s edge? I was visiting the Dead Sea for the first time.

Legend has it that the Dead Sea is a result of the biblical curse from the time of Sodom and Gomorrah. The sea used to be fresh water but was turned salty and undrinkable, in fact hostile to all life, by the anger of God. Continue reading

The Unexpected: Know and Prepare Before you go

As the we’re in the middle of vacation season and those of use who haven’t already booked a trip are considering last minute deals there is one question that rears it’s head; that of travel insurance – is it worth buying or not?

There are few cons and many pros to taking out adequate insurance. The only downside to insurance that I can identify is that you have to pay for something that you may or may not use. I can completely understand why some people may decide that this is an expense that they would rather not afford. Cash strapped students who are taking a gap year or going on one last hurrah before the hard work really starts, those travelling on a budget – it’s very tempting to see the insurance as one additional expense that you hope to get away without. But this is exactly the problem. You are hoping to get away with it. What if you don’t? Continue reading