All posts by Globetrotters Club

Guatemala. Where is it?

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Ah. Definitely don’t travel there, I heard everywhere. It is too dangerous. Drugs, mugging, highway robberies and kidnapping. You are crazy. I roll my eyes. Maybe I am. However, is the current situation in Europe really so peaceful that it is better to stay here and not to explore other places? Apart from horror media news, do not forget to add to your list that this Central American country (borders on Mexico, Belize, Honduras, El Salvador) lies in a seismically active region so earthquakes, volcano eruptions, floods and hurricanes are not rare either.

Guatemala was currently not in the viewfinder of my travel lens because I do region hopping and I considered Central America covered for some time after my recent visit to Costa Rica. It is a destination that found me. And got under my skin right when I first stepped on the Guatemalan land after crossing the Belize-Guatemala border on a boat. Same with my heart. Love at first sight. I remember it as if it was this morning. I am standing in a harbour, trying to hide from the scorching rays of the Guatemalan sun, our captain passing my backpacks to me and I immediately feel an incredible energy. Genius loci has spoken.

You can find here towns with fast food restaurants and conveniences of the modern world as well. However, I visited places where the time has stopped. Places where traditions and everyday life bring you back to pre-Columbian times. Places where laundry is done as in times of our grannies. Places where women in traditional clothes carry goods on their heads. Places where men in wellington boots, cowboy hats and machetes under their belts walk quietly through the villages or leave for work on coffee and corn fields on decks of pick-up trucks. Places that let you day dream.

It would never come to my mind that this country, somewhere in Central America, could be so liveable. Quite frankly, I could imagine settling down here. In a country of active volcanoes set between the Pacific and Caribbean coasts where you can meet Maya people (right, they have not disappeared anywhere). Country that is rightfully enlisted on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Country of archaeological treasures of Maya sites of world importance hidden in lush jungles and beauties of colonial era with cobblestone streets and buildings from the times of Spanish rule. Country of quiet fisherman’s villages on the bank of mirror lakes, with descendants of African slaves or located high in the range of Cordillera mountains. Country of colourful markets, delicious tastes and places which are still not on pages of guide books and will hopefully not be seen on tourist maps for a lot longer. Country that suffered in a civil war, which ended in late 90s, for 36 years. Country where Chapín(a)s (how Guatemalans call themselves) will, despite their difficult experience, infect you with friendliness, politeness, willingness to help and unhurried way of life. For me, Guatemala is a pearl in terms of variety, closeness to indigenous people and authenticity. It is so unique. Forget the pointless European stress, chasing a higher fence and greener grass. Let me take you to Guatemala

Read more stories and see more pictures by Leninka Modrooká at:

Running Scared? A marathon in Afghanistan By Keith MacIntosh

Running Scared? A marathon in Afghanistan By Keith MacIntosh
Running Scared? A marathon in Afghanistan By Keith MacIntosh

It’s early morning to the west of Bamiyan in the highlands of central Afghanistan. There is fresh snow on the mountains, and a crowd is huddled together in the cold air. A couple of pickups are mounted with heavy machine guns, and uniformed men hover, clutching their rifles. We are waiting.

A whistle is blown, the pickups set off, and the crowd scatters. We all run.

Sometime around 2003, I received an invitation to visit Afghanistan – I’m still not sure how it reached me, but supposedly it was from the Minister of Tourism. I didn’t go, and over the subsequent years, I assumed it would never happen. Too far, too difficult, too dangerous. Always somewhere else to travel instead. But in late 2015, a few clicks on the internet led me to talk of a ‘Marathon of Afghanistan’ – the first ever attempt to stage such a thing in such a place…

This story is featured in the Winter 2017 issue of Globe (free to all members).

>> Continue reading in the Winter 2017 issue of Globe.

Hand and Shears Travel Talks.

Taken by Beatrice Murch (blmurch)Hand and Shears Travel Talks.

Wednesday 3rd May.

Anthony Britton: Vietnam. Travelling by road and rail in 2007 and 2009.

Anthony’s journeys took him from the cities of Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh to the mountainous Cao Bang area along the Chinese border and the dramatic limestone karst scenery of Ha Long Bay.

Venue: The King’s Head, 13 Westmoreland Street, Marylebone, W1G 8PJ. Time: 7.30pm. Sugested Donation: £3. Nearest tubes: Baker Street, Regent’s Park, Warren Street, Oxford Circus, Bond Street. All about a 10 minute walk. Hot food: Not available. Please eat before you come.

Crossing the isthmus – from conquistadors to canal By David Redford

Crossing the isthmus - from conquistadors to canal By David Redford

I’m not absolutely certain why we decided to add on a side trip to Panama when we visited Costa Rica, but in many ways it was the highlight, despite the money shots of the sloths and toucans.

The essential ingredients were a vibrant modern city with a historic Spanish quarter and a modern airport and airline making it the best hub for the region, just as much wildlife as its westerly neighbour, and, of course, the Canal. Although we didn’t sample them, there are also beaches and islands to die for.

Continue reading this story in the Winter 2017 issue of Globe (free to all members).

>> Continue reading in the Winter 2017 issue of Globe.

Uganda Lodge Community Projects

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If you are looking to make a difference while on holiday this summer, Uganda Lodge are looking for volunteers to help with various projects, from working with children at the school to aiding in the new medical facility. Such opportunities can be a great way to make friends, get fit, and become immersed in a new culture while seeing a new part of the world and benefiting local communities.

Opportunities last from a few days – great for combining with gorilla trekking, say – to longer term projects, and profits from staying at the lodge are ploughed back into the community projects. For more information visit ugandalodge.com

10 Reasons to visit New Orleans in 2017

Mardi Gras, America - Carol M. Highsmith
Mardi Gras, America – Carol M. Highsmith’s America, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division.

From Mardi Gras and exploring the historic French Quarter to cocktail themed tours there is something for everyone in New Orleans, a place where centuries old architecture is the backdrop for all ventures. Here are 10 reasons why visitors should visit in 2017.

1) It is easier than ever to get there…

From 26th March, 2017 British Airways will launch a four times a week service from London Heathrow to New Orleans. The route will be operated by a three-class Boeing 787-8, with return fares starting from £599. This service marks the first direct flights from London to New Orleans since the early 1980s.

2) The city is a culinary adventure

In a city with more than 1,400 restaurants to choose from, New Orleans offers a variety of cuisines. From foodie festivals, street food, cooking schools and restaurants galore, there are endless options available that are sure to take taste buds on a culinary adventure. Local chefs and restaurants are constantly evolving, utilising local and seasonal ingredients that reflect the uniquely diverse culture of New Orleans.

Some of the best cuisine is showcased during the annual COOLinary New Orleans Restaurant Month each August, with restaurants offering special discounts.

3) New Orleans is one big stage 

It is said that in New Orleans, music echoes from every corner. The city is the birthplace of jazz and a mecca for gospel, R&B and ultimately, the rock and pop many love today. Musical magic is alive on the streets and in the clubs of New Orleans. Witness an impromptu live performance on Royal Street, experience unbelievable live musical performances from intimate venues on Frenchmen Street to places like the Smoothie King Center.

4) Mardi Gras

For a few weeks in the early part of each year, dozens of brightly festooned, themed Mardi Gras floats carrying krewe royalty, celebrities, and masked members lead marching bands and riders on horseback, flambeaux carriers and others through the streets of New Orleans. They bestow beads, doubloons, and other prized trinkets to millions of revellers witnessing “the greatest show on Earth.”

Carnival season officially begins January 6 every year and continues through Fat Tuesday, which falls on the day before Ash Wednesday. This year’s parades will take place between January 6th and 28th February, 2017. Click here for the 2017 schedule.

5) A lot more reasons to party!

Celebration is at the core of the New Orleans’ experience, and to get a true taste of the city, every visitor should join in one of these unforgettable festivals. Whether it is musicfood or the arts one loves (or all of the above), they’ll want to join in as New Orleans lets its hair down and declares, “laissez les bons temps rouler!” (let the good times roll). Visit this page for a calendar of events. Many of these are free – French Quarter Fest, Satchmo SummerFest, Po-Boy Preservation Festival, Wednesdays at the Square and, and of course, Mardi Gras.

6) Free things to do

New Orleans offers a plethora of free activities to choose from. Walk among the centuries-old oaks of City Park, picnic in the picturesque Audubon Park or enjoy views of the Mississippi River at Woldenberg Park. Stroll along Bourbon Street, Frenchmen Street and Fulton, where jazz pours out onto the street, or duck into a club for the full experience. Many clubs don’t even charge a cover. Explore New Orleans neighbourhoods and their connection to jazz with six self-guided Jazz History Walking Tours. Click here for a list of free things to do in New Orleans.

7) New Orleans will host NBA All-Star 2017

New Orleans has been selected to host NBA All-Star 2017. The 66th NBA All-Star Game will be played on Sunday 19th February, at Smoothie King Center – home of the New Orleans Pelicans. This will mark the third time New Orleans has been the site of the league’s annual midseason celebration, having previously hosted the event in 2008 and 2014.

8) Visit the River Road’s plantation homes

The River Road is an easy jaunt from New Orleans. This is where visitors will find several majestic plantations including Oak AlleySan FranciscoLauraDestrehanHoumas House and more. These homes will sweep visitors back in time with period furnishings, folk art and craft demonstrations, lush gardens, landscapes and more.

9) Cocktails and brews

In New Orleans, a great drink is just as important as a great meal. New Orleans’ signature drinks are almost as famous as the nightlife bars and hot spots that make them, check out this list for a list of New Orleans cocktails and where to enjoy a Sazerac, Hurricane or French 75.  There are cocktail walking tours which tell you the history of the city whilst you taste some of these classics and you can even bring your drink from one bar to the next in a “cup to go”.

Beer enthusiasts should not miss the 8th annual NOLA on Tap Beer Fest. The one-day event, taking place in New Orleans City Park in September is the largest event of its kind in the region and allows beer aficionados to sample more than 400 local, regional and nationally homebrewed and microbrewery beers.

10) Museums

From food, culture to music, New Orleans has a museum for every scholar at every age.  Learn about the cuisine of South East Louisiana at the Southern Food & Beverage Museum, celebrate fine arts at New Orleans Museum of Art, ride a hummer during the WWII Museum Victory Theatre’s 4D cinematic experience and discover where Mardi Gras is made at Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World, the largest float-building warehouse in the world.

For a comprehensive list of museums please visit this page.

 

11) Lagniappe (A little something extra)

New Orleans is the perfect gateway to the rest of Louisiana and the Deep South, where visitors can enjoy beautiful state parks, a plethora of historic sites, take airboats tours in the bayous, and get a closer taste of the Cajun culture, and so much more.

Visit this page for a 3 days itinerary of New Orleans.

For more information, please visit www.neworleanscvb.com, @NewOrleansCVB on Twitter, ‘like’ on  Visit New Orleans Facebook and follow us on Instagram (VisitNewOrleans). Or visit www.louisianatravel.com, @louisianatravel on Twitter.

First Steps By Francesca Jaggs

First Steps By Francesca Jaggs

Aged about 10 years old, I was lying on a sofa that had been moved into the middle of my parents’ living room so a major spring clean could take place. I was exempt from working as I was recovering from measles. The radio was on and the subject being discussed was kibbutzim in Israel. I announced that is where I was going to go when I grew up. I was perplexed that everyone thought that funny and ridiculous. 12 years later, a four year contract I was in came to an end. I was in my early 20’s and this was the mid 1970’s. None of my friends were interested in travelling but I had not forgotten my 10 year old vision.

Continue reading this story in the Winter 2017 issue of Globe (free to all members).

>> Continue reading in the Winter 2017 issue of Globe.

Best Things to do in Morocco

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Morocco has so many hidden gems and it has been a popular location for the filming of many movies because of its vast and interesting terrain. It is located in Northern Africa bordering the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean and it is also known as the Kingdom of Morocco. With a subtropical climate and extreme heat in Summer it might be a good idea to travel during Spring to avoid the heat waves.

There are so many hidden gems in the country and a variety of things to do including mountains, deserts and beaches which is why we have made a detailed 7,000-word insider’s guide to the 100 best things to do in Morocco, a country of many hidden gems. From the Erg Chebbi dunes to the snake charmers in Marrakech, Morocco has something to offer everyone.

Link: https://www.jenreviews.com/best-things-to-do-in-morocco

Upcoming meetings

May Calendar

London

Upcoming talks in London are:

Saturday, May 6th, 2017

  • Kendra Ansley – Burma.
  • André Brugiroux – The Earth is but one country.

Saturday, June 3th, 2017

  • Paul Hughes – Rare Escapes – Adventures nearby. Duncan Gough – Travelling in Spain & how to write about your travels.

See London Meeting Programme  for futher details.

Chester

Upcoming talks in Chester are:

  • Saturday May 20th 2017
    • Barbara Brooks: A Gap Year Round the World.
    • Heather Lannin: Travel to Sierra Leone – the Working Heart of Africa.
  • Saturday July 15th 2017
    • David Redford: “Glimpses of the Nile -and echoes of the great explorers”
    • Pat Jones: “Mongolia including the Naadam Festival”

See chesterglobetrotters.co.uk  for futher details.

Toronto

The next meeting is on May 26th 2017 at Old York Tower, 85 The Esplanade ( corner of the Esplanade & Church St.) – two blocks east of the Union station.

See https://globetrotters.co.uk/local-meetings/toronto-ca.html for details

Avoiding that Worst-Case Scenario on your Travels

How-To-Stay-Safe-While-Traveling-Infographic

Nothing spoils a vacation or foreign trip quicker than that sinking feeling or realization that something is wrong and you have left yourself exposed to a personal dilemma while you are a long way from home.

It might be easier to travel the globe than ever before but amidst all the excitement of planning for a new adventure on foreign soil, you also need to pay attention to how to stay safe while travelling.

This guide looks at how to prepare for your travel and how to reduce the odds of facing a worst-case scenario that could not only threaten to ruin your vacation but leave your personal safety at risk.

Here’s the link – https://upgradedpoints.com/stay-safe-while-traveling/

eNewsletter – Autumn 2016

Dear Globies, friends and fellow travellers,

Welcome to the Autumn eNewsletter with tips, news and discounts as always. I hope many of you have been enjoying the  digital edition of Globe magazine, we’ve had many new members join us since the switch over so I’ll take that as a good sign!

This edition is some news and archive articles from from our past issues, if you would like to help edit the eNewsletter or even just submit stories please get in touch.

Happy travels.

Globetrotters Calendar 2017

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Globetrotters members should soon be recieving their free copy of the 2017 Calendar.

Many thanks to all members who responded to the call for calendar submissions this year, the standard of photography was again very impressive with a great variety of destinations and subjects covered, making the selection process all the more difficult.

Thirteen pictures by members have been selected with the calendar running December 2016 to December 2017

All members will receive a free copy of the calendar, if you would like a copy then please join here.

If you would like to buy extra copies at £4 + P+P please click here

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Join us at the Adventure Travel Show 2017

The Adventure Travel Show is returning to London’s Olympia on 21st & 22nd January 2017 and is the UK’s only event dedicated to off the beaten track travel experiences, featuring over 100 FREE Inspirational Talks.

The show is the UK’s only event that is dedicated to off the beaten track experiences, featuring once in a lifetime adventures, wildlife encounters, eco travel, remote discoveries and more.

The Adventure Travel Show 2017

Volunteer to give travel advice.

We will be again having our travel advisor stand at the Show, if you would like to help on the stand and give advice on places you have been etc please signup below.

Volunteers will receive free admission passes to both show days, hopefully you will explore the Show and attend some talks – but spend much of the day advising as part of our team, with at least 4-5 globies available to share advising visitors.

Our volunteer travel advisors can :-

  • Give general advice for anxious travellers making their first major trip.
  • Share in-depth knowledge of countries they have visited in the past.
  • Share current experience gleaned during recent travels.

To volunteer click here.

Buy show tickets at a reduced rate.

If you would just like to attend the show, we also have a discount offer for show tickets.

Get advance tickets to The Adventure Travel Show 2017 at Olympia London for only £6 – saving £4 off the door price! Just quote GLOBETROTTERS when booking online at www.adventureshow.com or when calling 0871 230 7159 (calls cost 13p per minute plus network extras).

*Advance tickets go off sale at 1pm on Friday 20th January 2017.

Up a mountain in Montenegro

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A two and a half hour bus ride from Dubrovnik in Croatia lies the Bay of Kotor set in the rugged landscape of Montenegro – a country whose name means ‘black mountain’. I checked-in to a hostel in the old town for a couple of days to explore the medieval architecture and the surrounding hills…

It’s gonna rain tomorrow morning, they told me. So I went for an evening drink in the bar. The local firewater or ‘grappa’ differs slightly all over the Balkans but the effect is much the same – singing and dancing on tables is the norm. And I might have had more than one…

Finding that I had missed breakfast the next morning, I wandered into the Old Town to hunt down a local bakery and investigate its varieties of borek – the ubiquitous savoury pastries of the region – and try a shot of the local coffee. But as I walked out, the skies cleared from grey to blue and …

Continue reading this story in the Summer 2016 issue of Globe (free to all members).

The Great Game: 30,000 Miles Across Central Asia

The Great Game Movie
The Great Game Movie

Jon Beardmore spoke recently at the November London Meeting, about his journey from London to Russia along the Silk Road, through the “Stans”, China and SE Asia returning via India, Nepal, Pakistan, Iran and Turkey and finally back to Europe.

Would you like to get your own copy of the award winning film?

To reward your support of the fundraising efforts, every donation of £10 and above will get a downloadable copy of the film and a electronic copy of the film poster.

http://www.justgiving.com/TheGreatGameMovie

“100% of profits from this film are going to the charity Afghan Connection to support education and cricket in Afghanistan” – Jon Beardmore

Afghan Connection funds and supports schools, teachers and sports opportunities, especially in rural areas. With our partners we have built 43 schools across Afghanistan, which currently educate over 50,000 children.

Share your thoughts on the film, Jon would love to hear your tweets / FB posts of your thoughts on the film:

See

Free London Museums: The Bank of England

The queue at the Bank of England (2.5Hrs) for Open House 2006
The queue at the Bank of England (2.5Hrs) for Open House 2006 (c) Paul Roberts

The Museum is housed within the Bank of England, at the heart of the City of London. It traces the history of the Bank from its foundation by Royal Charter in 1694, to its role today as the nation’s central bank. Displays include: gold, bank notes and a reconstruction of the 18th century office. In addition, inter-active systems allow visitors to look behind the doors of the central bank or to examine the intricacies of bank note design and production, and a computer-driven simulation gives visitors an idea of what it is like to deal on the US Dollar/Sterling spot market.

The museum is open Monday to Friday, 10.00 – 17.00 and admission is free. See the Bank of England web site for details.

Historical Bank of England Trivia

  • The Bank of England was founded in 1694 by a Scotsman, William Paterson, and the Bank of Scotland in 1695 by an Englishman, John Holland.
  • The monarch’s portrait didnot appear on Bank of England notes until 1960.
  • The highest value bank note issued by the Bank of England was the £1000 denomination. It was last issued in 1943.
  • The fiver (£5) is the longest running denomination of Bank of England note: it was first issued in 1793 and the new polymer/plastic fiver issued in 2016 was the first non paper note issued, (£10 and £20 are to follow,) and the new polymer notes last up to 2.5 times longer than paper.
  • Bank of England notes were not wholly printed until 1853. Until that year they were still signed by one of the Bank’s cashiers.
  • Kenneth Grahame, the author of children’s book, The wind in the Willows, was the Secretary of the Bank of England 1898 – 1908. The book was published in 1908, the year in which he retired from the Bank. It is possible that some of the characters in the book were based on those people he knew and worked with.

This article was first bublished in September 2002 by The Beetle but the details have been updated.

Seeking Seokbulsa by Hal Swindall

Seeking Seokbulsa.JPG

Religious architecture being an interest of mine, I have visited as many Buddhist temples in Korea as I have had time for. Naturally, therefore, when I lived in Busan a few years ago, its largest temple, Beomeosa on a mountain named Geumjeongsan, was on my list of places to see. However, I have particular preferences connected with religious sites: I prefer ones that are remote, and I like to hike to them; you could say I find the mental and physical challenge spiritually edifying. Since my Lonely Planet guidebook mentioned that a smaller temple named Seokbulsa, at the other end of Geumjeongsan from Beomeosa, is hard to find, I decided to go there.

Continue reading this story in the Summer 2016 issue of Globe (free to all members).