For many people, Russia is synonymous with Russian dolls (matryoshki), fur hats (shuba), samovars and Soviet memorabilia. So it’s not surprising that these are the most sought after souvenirs on visits to Mother Russia. And luckily Intrepid’s Tania George knows just the place to shop in Moscow…
“Located close to metro stop Partizanskaya and the Izmailovo Hotel complex, the Izmailovo markets seem to go on forever. Open daily from 10am till 6pm, you can buy literally everything here. Locals shop for clothes, shoes, household utensils, tools, fabric, illegally copied CD’s and DVD’s, etc. If you get hungry, you can enjoy cheap local snacks and drinks at one of the many food stalls.
All this is great, but for the souvenir shoppers among us, there is an even more interesting part… Vernisazh.
If you get your kicks from road trips, then Route 66 has to be the granddaddy of highway adventures! Intrepid’s Greg Mazzola is based in our Boulder office and there’s nothing he loves more than trippin’ across the country and enjoying a real-life taste of America…
“Cruising the historic Route 66 into Seligman, a small town on the north high plateau of Arizona, a classic American drive-in restaurant comes into view. Decorated with ice cream cones a meter tall, a sign that promises, “Dead Chicken,” and a 1936 Chevy convertible parked in front decked out with flags, rainbow pinwheels and a Christmas tree – it’s no mirage, this is for real.
Welcome to The Snow Cap, where you can get your fill of classic Americana served with a generous helping of Delgadillo humour.
In the heart of central Turkey lies the beautiful troglodyte village of Goreme. Many people still live in carved rock houses that date back hundreds of years, but with natural erosion and the region’s rapid development Goreme is at risk.
The Old Goreme Restoration Fund was created in 2007 to protect the wonders of Cappadocia and this year The Intrepid Foundation proudly contributed AUD20,000 towards projects that will help preserve the architectural and cultural heritage of the village and surrounds.
As you can imagine The Intrepid Foundation’s donation was very welcome and on behalf of Old Goreme Restoration Fund (OGRF) we heard from Pat Yale about the exciting work that has been undertaken by this passionate organisation.
Would you like to try life as a nomad out in the wild landscapes of Mongolia? Intrepid travellers get to overnight in a traditional ger, and on a recent trip Tina Gerets’ group enjoyed Mongolian real life experiences that made them feel right at home…
“On the way back to Mongolia’s capital of Ulaanbaatar from our stay at the ger camp in Terelj National Park, we stopped at the summer camp of Lotus Children’s Centre.
During the warm months the kids stay in a ger camp, not unlike our previous night’s accommodation. About forty kids were staying there at the time, ranging from two to sixteen years old. The kids were excited to see us and we were invited to their little singing and dancing show. The girls dressed in adorable costumes and visibly enjoyed their dance routines. Two boys talked about their trip to Japan as part of cultural exchange. After the show, everyone was so excited that music kept playing and a spontaneous open-air dancing session broke out! Several hours were enjoyed playing and talking with those wonderful kids.
Originally the Canal du Midi was a shortcut between the Atlantic Ocean and the Mediterranean Sea, plus a way to steer clear of hostile pirates on the high seas. Now, over three hundred years after its construction, you can still cruise this World Heritage-listed canal and like Intrepid Express reader Barbara Llayton, enjoy watching France glide by…
“One of my most memorable travel experiences was on board a canal boat in the
South of France. We hopped onto our transport (a.k.a. our accommodation and
our kitchen) and were shown the ropes about how to manoeuvre, start, stop
and navigate the canal boat through the narrow waterways on the Canal du
Midi. It was easy – just point in the right direction, avoid all other boats and watch the world glide by.
There’s no greater satisfaction than conquering the Inca Trail, especially by the power of your happily exhausted legs. Reaching remarkable Machu Picchu is only part of the incredible journey, and as Express reader Sean Kennaway discovered there’s more than one way up in Peru…
“In October I travelled around Peru with Intrepid and as part of the trip our group was to complete the Inca Trail, the last section of the track that ends directly at Machu Picchu. The Inca Trail is limited to 500 trekkers per day and I had booked the trip too late to get a permit, so I was offered the alternative Lares Trek.
After doing some research it seemed that the two treks were quite different, with the terrain and scenery varying considerably. The Lares goes through local villages so there’s the chance to interact with indigenous Quechuan people, living almost as they have done for the last few hundred years. The trek is rated by some as more difficult than the Inca Trail, so it was with a little trepidation that I decided to do Lares, and hoped I wasn’t overestimating my training, or lack thereof.
Real life experiences shouldn’t be rushed. Especially in Egypt, where you can take time out and experience life as an old-world explorer. Sailing down the Nile to the traditional tunes of the Nubian crew, Intrepid’s Sameh Tawfik loves watching Egyptian life glide by…
“JJ is waiting for us, smiling and laughing as always. He greets us like old friends and welcomes us on board our home for the next couple of days. I help the Nubian crew store our packs under the deck and give my group final instructions about travelling by felucca. We cast off, and with the wind in our sails we immediately feel part of another world, where villages and farms along the banks have gone unchanged for centuries.
Live out your Saharan fantasies as your trusty camel takes you up and over sand dunes to a desert camp. Morocco made this desert dream come true for Jen Bird, one-time Intrepid leader, when she joined our Berber friends for a night of tall tales, traditional songs and a fireside feast…
“Deserts have long fascinated me. Their sheer endlessness and harsh, barren nature is at odds with the extraordinary life they harbour. They are the epitome of a dangerous, yet mesmerising beauty. So in Morocco, when I found the perfect opportunity to see the sands of the magnificent Sahara Desert, I was understandably thrilled!
India has a habit of sneaking up on you and letting you share in extraordinary real life experiences, as Jacqui and Clive Baldry discovered firsthand…
“When we booked our Intrepid trip we knew it would be good, but we never expected such a wonderful journey as that we took Slowly Down the Ganges in February this year!
The boat trip, the camping on the banks, the wonderful food and the delightful cooks and boat boys made it a memorable voyage. Watching the rare river dolphin and birds as we drifted along, and then our arrival at Varanasi was like something out of a film. But that was not the whole story.
Last week in Express our win-a-trip competition asked readers to tell us their recipe for adventure or favourite food and travel tales. There were so many great tastebud-teasing entries but eventually our judges narrowed it down to just one – Aimee Murphy has won a place on Roam China, departing Beijing on 26 November 2008!…
“The humidity hits us as we grab our backpacks and try to work out how , after our red-eye flight, we are to get to our hotel. It’s Ho Chi Minh so it means a rusted car, driving on the wrong side of the road, ignoring red lights, what seat belts?, pedal to the metal and did I mention ‘Son’ our driver was also talented enough to talk at his mobile and smoke a cigarette while breaking every road rule we knew.