Kenya Teaching and Building trips focus on helping communities that lack government funding, but how do you get to these villages? Intrepid’s Samantha Finn takes us on a unique ride in Kenya that leads to a remarkable real life experience…
“Let me take you on a typical Kenyan journey in a matatu, an erratic ride on a Nissan minibus out of Nairobi. Something like a rollercoaster safari amongst the smells, chaos and exciting random nature of Kenyan public transport.
We begin our journey with a friendly, yet persistent, face through the window of the bus, proffering a bewildering mix of strawberry biscuits, hot sausages and lurid plastic jewellery. Having purchased some of these questionably essential travel items, you tune your senses to the upbeat melody of Kikuyu radio or marvel at the tightly-braided heads moving eagerly as mamas chat to their closely-sat neighbour. This is all enveloped in the unfamiliar and exotic aromas of hair oil mixed with dust, that is surprisingly more enticing than unpleasant!
Intrepid’s Laura Carroll knows that sometimes the most unexpected moments are the most memorable, especially in Morocco…
“On a trip through the High Atlas Mountains, heavy rainfall and flooding prevented my group from making our planned mountain trek. After a bit of boredom, we came to an ingenious solution. Apple crumble!
We’d all been missing food from home, and here we were in one of the premier apple-growing regions of Morocco. With this idea in mind we set off to buy flour, sugar, spices and apples with which to occupy our evening.
It’s not easy to find some free time with renowned photographer Steve Davey. In between photographic assignments, writing his new book, Footprint Travel Photography, and launching a new range of photographic tours in conjunction with Intrepid UK, we found a rare moment to catch up with the man behind the lens…
You’ve travelled throughout the world with your camera – where’s your favourite place to photograph?
Undoubtedly it has to be India. I love the pace and the chaos and the love of life. I love the colours and the faces and the exuberance of the religion. I love the people, the history and of course, the food!
Day Seven – Hoi An
Our first day in Hoi An! The bus trip from Hue was around four hours including a couple of stops along the way. We stopped in between Hue and Da Nang at the Hai Van Pass, where our bargaining skills were really put to the test. It’s likely your bus will stop here and you will not be approached, as much as mobbed, by vendors selling necklaces, bracelets, ‘real pearls’ and drinks. But the views were worth stopping for – and most of us ended up with jewellery we didn’t really need too.
For any of you who have been wondering where the rich cover for our 2009 Asia brochure comes from, it was taken by Intrepid traveller Jennifer Broomhall in Varanasi, India.
The woman in the photo was a guest at a wedding and she was going to fill her urn with water from the Holy Ganges. Jennifer says she loves the “brightness” and the way the sun catches the jewels on the sari. “The contrast of her work-worn hands holding such an ornate urn adds to the beauty of this special moment.”
When a young man from Ghana announced his goal to ski in the Olympics, you could imagine the responses. But he’s done it! Kwame Nkrumah-Acheampong has just qualified and will be Ghana’s one-man ski team in Vancouver next year. A great good news story to come out of Ghana, and here’s another from Intrepid’s Erin Farmer..
“It’s 6 am and I’m sitting on the veranda watching the mist roll through the mango orchard and listening to the echoes of the school choir practising their hymns. As I sip my coffee and coax my eyes to open fully, I think of the day ahead.
What is it about a volunteering adventure that makes the experience so special? John Holland has travelled the world and spent six weeks backpacking around South America after joining Peru Teaching & Building, so it was easy for him to pinpoint why this trip was a personal highlight…
“Forget the work, it’s the people that make an Intrepid Volunteering project brilliant. First are the local villagers: friendly, hospitable and they love any excuse for a party. Second is our own group of volunteers, a knock-about group of Poms, Aussies and Irish who shared everything for a period of up to six weeks with no major whines, issues or arguments.
Together with eight others I signed up through Intrepid, who works with local partners to organise community projects around the world. Sometimes they build schools and teach. Other projects, such as the one I am doing, involve providing a safe water supply for the village of Peccacacho, high up in Peru’s Andes mountains – an hour walk from the small town of Chinchero and an hour drive from Cuzco, the former Inca capital and well-known jumping off point for Machu Picchu.
Walking Italy’s fabled Cinque Terre trails isn’t something you should simply tick off your list. Let yourself be swept up in the romance of the region and immersed in the colourful culture, is the advice of Intrepid’s local leader extraordinaire, Federico Campoli…
“Cinque Terre means literally ‘five lands’ and is a place known as one of the most beautiful and evocative in the world. A mix of many delightful natural and cultural ingredients make the Cinque Terre, a little corner of Italy in the Liguria region, absolutely unique, even in the eyes of the most routinist traveller.
Some people visit the ‘five lands’ because it is a renowned UNESCO World Heritage site, others simply for the beauty of the sparkling cobalt sea and charming pastel-coloured villages along the coast. Some travellers come to enjoy the exquisite, traditional and healthy food of the area, while others want to experience a little part of everyday life with the Ligurian fishermen. But whatever your reasons for being here, the best way to appreciate the true essence of this place is to walk through it.
World-class gymnasts, Dracula and Ceaucescu – that’s the most many of us know about Romania. But when Intrepid’s Tina Gerets decided to study in this East European country it opened up a beautiful world of adventures and walking in Transylvania was her favourite way to spend the weekend…
“I put in my application and was accepted at the University of Bucharest. While Bucharest has a lot of cultural attractions, like the many movie theatres and cheap opera and ballet performances, it is a big city like many others. So on the weekends we explored the Romanian countryside. One of my favourite places was the stunning medieval town of Brasov. A trail leads from the centre to the top of one of the mountains that surround the town. The view from the summit is simply breathtaking. On your way up you meet local families and friends going for a pleasant stroll and a picnic.
Where in the world made your soul sing? We posed this question to Intrepid Express readers and Breanna Rivett knew instantly that for her, that place was Syria…
“There is something wonderful about visiting a country you know very little to nothing about. You have no expectations, and therefore can only be amazed and fascinated by what is uncovered. I discovered this about Syria, which I visited in December-January 2008.