When Maxine Gallagher travelled on Intrepid’s Trans-Mongolian Express trip she expected to be moved by historic sites and the iconic journey, but it was also the ageing women of Russia who left an indelible impression…
“They line the streets, they fill the shops, they push past people in queues to grab 15 ruble bottles of vodka, they sell their motley selections of mushrooms on an old blanket, they walk slowly but purposefully, they stand still against walls, they stare in wonder at garish posters, they hold hands outstretched with dignity. They are Russia’s ever-present babushkas.
The following statistics could come as a shock:
Half the world’s girls are illiterate,
Over 60 million girls don’t attend primary school,
Over 70% of people living on less than $1 a day are female.
It’s pretty alarming, wouldn’t you agree? So, as a global company, Intrepid Travel has decided it is time to step up. We’re joining the fight for gender equality with the launch of SAMA, a 3-year global program, aiming to improve the lives of communities and help bridge the gender gap through early education.
Whether boiled, steamed or shallowed fried, you can expect to eat jiaozi year-round in China, but come New Year you’ll see that these delicious dumplings are a big part of the celebrations. It’s believed that eating jiaozi can bring wealth and prosperity, but sadly for Lucy Hordern, overindulging in one of her favourite Chinese foods didn’t seem to bring her good luck…
“Yes, I indulged in a local festival in China. The annual jiaozi eating competition. It was great fun, but I lost miserably.
From sausages to sea snails, in Italy you name the food and it probably has its own festival! Good food and good fun are all part of the country’s la dolce vita lifestyle and Casey Wallen enjoyed getting a fresh taste of the local celebrations…
“I love arriving somewhere and being lucky enough to find a local festival happening. On a trip to Sorrento it was the annual fish festival. It’s when all the restaurants who are vying for supremacy in the field of preparing fresh fish dishes, make their kitchens mobile, relocate to the beach and cook up a feast for the locals.
The island of Floreana was once home to the Floreana mockingbird, one of four endemic species of mockingbirds only found in the Galapagos Archipelago. The introduction of cattle, goats, cats and rats by humans since the 1800′s caused dramatic changes in the ecosystem of Floreana, including heavy grazing on the island’s vegetation and predation on nests and adult birds, such as the Floreana mockingbird.
Fortunately, two islets off the coast of Floreana remained free of introduced species of mammals and currently represent the last strongholds for the Floreana mockingbird: Champion and Gardner. In 2007, an ambitious plan to restore this species in its former territory was launched and consists of three phases:
There are many festivals around the world that celebrate seasonal fruit and others that focus on beer, but in the scenic kingdom of Swaziland the two come together in a special celebration – the Marula Festival.
The Marula Festival is one of Swaziland’s most exciting traditional ceremonies. The harvest festivities coincide with marula season, which begins in mid-February and runs through to May. The fruit is distilled into a beer, known as Buganu or Marula beer, and the entire nation joins in on this celebration.
Sharing a meal with a family who live on the shores of Lake Titicaca in Peru remains one of Julio Padilla’s fondest memories. This is a place where people’s passions and priorities are clear and the opportunity to break bread together and take part in their daily lives is a privilege…
“Arriving on the island community we were welcomed with a delicious homemade lunch and enjoyed the chance to get to know our hostess, Viviana. This lovely 54-year-old woman, who invited us to call her Vivi, exudes a gentle charm and it touched our hearts to hear her moving story.
Nothing beats a home-cooked meal, but especially when that feast is accompanied by music, dance and new friendships in a Nubian family home. Intrepid’s Sameh Tawfik knows what’s on the menu, so he can’t wait to get his group to dinner for this special night in Egypt…
“Plodding along on our camels, it seems like an eternity to reach the small Nubian village, nestled between the sand dunes. As we walk through the streets towards the house we have been invited to for dinner, I try not to hurry but my stomach is urging me forward. We are welcomed inside and my group is invited to see where our hosts are cooking our meal. I try not to be impatient as I wait for the food to be served.
Right now in Russia it’s cold. Very cold! A temperature range of -9 to -15 degrees Celsius in St Petersburg is challenging for anyone, let alone the 30,000 homeless people. This is an official estimation, but local experts believe it is more likely that 60-70,000 people in the city are without a safe place to sleep. The Intrepid Foundation is pleased to help bring some warmth to needy Russians through the local charity Nochlezhka. Grigory Sverdlin, their Executive Director sends us an update…
“Thanks very much to all the Intrepid travellers and Intrepid Travel for their support to our Night Bus project. We know this support saves lives. We also know that every winter dozens of people die from cold exposure, and hundreds more are disabled as a result of amputation, so there is so much more we could do.