Nancy Mills looked forward to admiring the art deco architecture of Casablanca, exploring medieval Fes and watching the sun set over the Sahara, but it was what she didn’t expect that turned out to be to her liking in Morocco …
“I looked forward to riding a camel on my Intrepid trip to Morocco. I never imagined I would be eating camel, much less enjoying it!
Wandering the Meknes souq’s labrynth had certainly made us hungry. The wonderful aroma of frying meat and onions promised relief. But this was not to be a ‘Big Mac’ moment.
First we had to buy our meat and so we followed our guide’s directions to the butcher shop – buried deep in the interior of the souq. The giant camel’s head overlooking the stall confirmed that this was not to be an ordinary carnivorous experience.
“I recently did this The Reunification Express tour through Vietnam with my partner and a group of 6 others. We had a great local guide who became our good friend also. I would definitely do Intrepid anytime over Contiki as the groups are smaller, friendlier and intimate you get to know everyone really well and form a nice group of friends along the way.
It is a must do tour if you are considering Vietnam. You get to see so much and visit some amazing places along the way, plus an overnight train sleeper carriage and overnight boat cruising along picturesque Halong Bay. Shopping and get clothes made ladies in Hoi An. If you are looking for a tour with variety and pizazz definitely do this one. I will remember this tour for the rest of my life because it was such a wonderful way to see Vietnam. The guide’s information is invaluable yet so personal.” Ron Scott, Intrepid traveller.
“After living in Australia for almost eight years and never venturing outside of Perth, I decided I wanted to explore more of this beautiful continent and booked a trip to Sydney in my last university holidays. By chance, I happened to grab my second-hand copy of Looking for Alibrandi, by Melinda Marchetta as reading material for the flight.
What luck to be reading a book set in Sydney while travelling around Sydney! Looking for Alibrandi depicts the struggle for identity of a teenage Italian-Australian living in Sydney. The novel has a unique perspective for the traveller as it is written with the familiarity of the native Australian, as well as with the cultural observations of the outsider.
The champagne corks are popping again because Intrepid Travel has received the top award for being Australia’s fastest-growing and most innovative company at the 2008 SmartCompany Awards.
Geoff Manchester, Intrepid Director and co-founder said, “This is a great honour and one that Darrell, my fellow co-founder and I will cherish, because it recognises the 20 years of hard work our employees and industry partners have put in to helping build Intrepid.”
Camel rides through the desert in India, elephant rides in Thailand, pony carts in Luxor and donkey rides to the Valley of the Kings. These a just a few of the many animal riding opportunities offered as part of the experience in tourism destinations. But is it cruel for the animals? Or is it actually a good thing because your payment is helping fund the handlers and enable them to better care for the animals?
We asked animal welfare organisations for their views on animal riding…
“Travelling with my parents, they’ve always impressed upon me respect for other cultures and how learning some words in their language can be fun and show respect.
So – at age 11 – I learnt ‘calimera’ meant good morning in Greek, for when we were travelling through some of the islands there.
So one morning, I walked along a beach at the front of our hotel, picking up shells and nodding my head at passers-by and calling them ‘squid’ (calamari) instead. *nod* Squid! *nod* Squid!
To this day I love learning bits and pieces of the language when we travel – I love seeing people’s faces light up in delight that you have taken the time and care.” Kirsten Jackes, Intrepid Express reader.
When Express reader Louise Macfarlane and her boyfriend decided on a picnic in France, little did they know it would end up more like a funniest home videos sketch than a romantic afternoon…
“One of the most memorable afternoons I have experienced whilst travelling, was in southern France. We were travelling on Intrepid’s Classic Europe trip and having a free afternoon, my boyfriend and I borrowed rickety bikes from the hotel and filled the baskets with delicious French fare for a picnic lunch in the surrounding grape-laden countryside.
We found the perfect location to lay our sarongs (always the most useful things in our backpacks!). We wanted to set up an idyllic picnic photo to record this special day, so we unwrapped our spread of fresh fruits, cheese, crusty breads, sweet wine and even a bunch of red radish for effect!
The Intrepid Foundation’s volunteer administrator, Anna Wade, recently travelled to Cambodia with her husband, two twelve-year-olds and her adventurous septuagenarian parents and one of the highlights for them all was visiting The Angkor Centre for Conservation of Biodiversity (ACCB)…
“ACCB was established in 2003 to help conserve the local wildlife and to educate people on the need to protect their indigenous animals. Located 30 km (18 miles) north of Siem Reap, ACCB endeavours to rehabilitate some animals to return to the wild and care for those who couldn’t survive without their help.
The Travel Lab’s Jacquie Burnside hadn’t been back to Bali for 13 years, but she finally put that right last week! It took Bali Bootcamp to get her there, but now she can’t believe she left it so long…
“The minute I stepped off the plane I had a smile a mile wide recalling all the fun times spent on previous trips, the warm and inviting Balinese hospitality and the shy but playful local characters. I was greeted by that very Balinese smell of kretek, clove cigarettes, and air thick with the fragrance of recent rain and there was Made, the cheerful driver sent by the guesthouse to transfer me from the airport.
Ah Bali, beautiful Bali! Where culture, religion and daily life are as one. Where the rice paddies are impossibly green, where the people are so friendly and welcoming you feel immediately at home and where I could happily hang my hat and never leave! The pace of life slows, the head clears and that smile…well, it stays a mile wide for the duration of my stay.