All posts by The Ant

Welcome to the February 2008 eNewsletter !!

I realise that in my first edition I spoke of starting with six publishes a year… I have had good encouragement from a band of regular contributors and positive feedback from readers– this has led me to believe I can up the pace a little. However I’m not going to get all complacent because I need to immediately apologise to Chris Hampden for losing his article “Spotlight on… Hampden’s travel blog”, from the January edition. Somehow it went missing from the draft and failed to make it into the final publish !! Anyway read away and leave Chris your thoughts on his blog…

A sadder task is to note the death of Sir Edmund Hillary, who died on 11 January 2008. Many of you will have read a range of obituaries, some like the UK Guardian newspaper’s,,2239122,00.html which painted a broader picture of his life or some like the BBC’s version,, which focused his Everest achievement. I didn’t know the man but like many I’m fascinated & envious of the being first to top of the world, and I was quite touched as the Royal Geographical Society observed a minute’s silence at the following Monday night lecture. Do any of you have any stories or anecdotes about EH that you’d like to share… on what you send me, I’ll try to include the most original ?

And what are your travel plans for 2008… Which destinations are firing you imaginations, causing you to spend hours surfing the internet or reading guide books & maps ? And why are you choosing these destinations – what is the attraction ? Let me know your thoughts & plans… if you need some additional help, we can provide via the eNewsletter. One such person who is after travel advice is Eleanor – see Write in (1)… in small groups by Eleanor H Borkowski for her requests.

Another person on the move is Tony Annis – long time and very active member of the Globetrotters Club ! Tony is organising a trip to Brazil this July and is potentially looking for a few more adventurous people to join his very individual & very local tour. As to what his trip is about, well in his own words:-

“Basic idea London to Rio de Janeiro, a couple of days in Rio before setting off to Brasilia to change planes to arrive Rio Branco in the State of Acre. The next day pick up air taxi to Marachel Thaumaturgo. Across the river is The Ashaninka College of the Forest. A few days there (Festival on the 24th July). Moving on down to the village by canoe – around the village and further up river for the more adventurous to a water fall (a couple of days camping under the stars in the forest). Back in Rio de Janeiro by 6th August and free time or I take you to sample some of Rio’s fantastic night life ( Not expensive).”

I understand that the three plus weeks of a unique insight into Brazil is likely to cost in the region of £2000 and will include international flights from the UK and most accommodation. Talk to Tony at for more exact details and the chance to join in something quite different.

Hot of the press – Walking the Amazon : the world’s largest and longest river !!

Ed Stafford & Luke Collyer’s aim to be the first men to walk the length of the Amazon unsupported and unguided. I think that these guys are tops this month for adventurous travels in 2008,so far ! Enjoy their experiences of their journey at and who knows maybe when they return we might be able to welcome them to a London Branch meeting to share more of their time & what they found. Hopefully in the next eNewsletter I’ll be able to print more details of the launch party and the guy’s progress…

Enjoy your eNewsletter and keep feeding back on what your read…

The Ant

Write in (3)

This year I received quite an unusual Christmas card from Myrna & Gene, who I’d met whilst sailing aboard the Soren Larssen in the Pacific Ocean – they related some of their latest adventures and I thought I share some of them with you, as there’s plenty of travel related detail in what they had to say. The Ant!!

As we were in South Africa at Christmas, our greetings to all of you are a little late! We were gone from mid-Oct. until the end of Jan. sailing as crew from Madagascar to Mozambique through part of the Bazarito Archipelago and on to Maputo, the capital of Mozambique before heading to Richards Bay & Durban in South Africa. The sailing vessel we were on was a 40′ sloop named “Juno” captained by Tom Hildebrandt, who had been on the boat since he bought it in Australia in 2004. School teacher Frances from San Francisco joined us in Madagascar and participated as crew until we reached Maputo. We helped with all manner of jobs whilst on board – from sailing the boat, scrubbing decks as well as the sides of the boat, stood watch, baked bread, cook meals, washed clothes in buckets on deck and helped with repairs as directed by the skipper.

On a small boat quarters are cramped, water is at a premium and mainly used for drinking & cooking, refrigeration is very limited and provisions are shopped for & brought to the dinghy and taken to the boat at anchor. On boats there is always something breaking down…just in the time that we were aboard “Juno” the boom broke off the mast, the windlass for bringing up the anchor chain quit working, the water intake plugged and the engine overheated & part of it melted! As a result we stayed tied up to the wharf in Richards Bay for a month while most of the major repairs were made. During this time Gene and I took off for two weeks to explore inland. Lyn from Malule Safaris took us to some wonderful nature reserves and escorted us personally through Hluhluwe Imfolozi Park, Dumazulu Cultural Village, the greater St. Lucia Wetland Estuary & Reserve and Kruger National Park. We saw white rhinoceros’s, elephants, giraffes, zebras, wildebeests, cape buffalo, hippos, crocodiles, nyala, duikers, water buck, warthogs, baboons, monkeys, hyenas, elands, steinboks, lions, leopards, and a great variety of birds. We also went up to the pinnacle at Blyde River Canyon to see the spectacular view from what is called God’s window. The day after our tour was completed Lyn took us to the farm where she grew up to meet her mom and dad and they invited us for Christmas dinner. What a treat!!!

We spent 6 days and nights at Imhambri Lodge in Meerensee which was a delightful place to stay. From here we were able to walk to the Methodist Church close by for a Christmas carol sing-a-long and a potluck Christmas morning service. They truly made us feel welcome. Back to the boat by the end of December and after two weeks we reached Durban, where we again were able to tie up to the wharf. Here we made friends with a number of the other yachties and were able to take real showers at their club. We also took a couple of day tours – one to The Giants Castle in the Drakensburg mountains to see the San bushman rock art paintings from thousands of years ago and the other to explore historic Pietermaritzburg & Howick Falls. The big thrill was to be zip lined on a canopy tour over the Karkloof falls and forest – what a ride harnessed and zipping along on the cable to eight different platforms.

Picture (Myrna & Gene Ginder): Nervously getting ready!!

Picture (Myrna & Gene Ginder): Gene in action!

Picture (Myrna & Gene Ginder): Nervously getting ready!!

Picture (Myrna & Gene Ginder): Gene in action!

We decided to get off the boat on 16th January and caught the backpackers Baz Bus to Capetown, where we had a marvellous eight days in Cape Town and then two days in Simons Town on the beach. Our spots visited list included the top of Table Mountain in the Cable Cars, a winery tour and walk through the Kristenbosch Botanical Gardens. There are frequent power outages in Cape Town and one night the tourists in the cable cars had to be rescued by the Search & Rescue team by crawling out the hatch on the top of the car and then being lowered down in harnesses & ropes to safety far below! Eating conjured up a number of good restaurants – my favourite being “Mama Africa” where I had crocodile kabobs and Gene had springbok steak! Our last two days were spent near the beach at Top Sails lodge in Simons Town where The Boulders National Park, spending a delightful day on the beach with the penguins, protected by the large boulders so the wind which always blows wasn’t quite as strong.

Love and have a very happy New Year! Myrna and Gene

Write in (1)&Mm Danielle Mitterrand, the Ashaninka and Annis in Acre Again by Tony Annis

State of Acre in BrazilIn advance of Tony’s trip to the interior of Brazil later this year, I have dug up the account of his previous adventure, with Mm Mitterand and the . Globetrotters Club members recall Tony presenting an abridged version, but for those who wish to know more…

The Ant

The small plane lifted of the tarmac, climbed into the sky, banked away from Rio Branco by the border of Brazil and Peru; and at last we were up, up and away on the last part of our journey to visit the Ashaninka near the small town of Marechal Thaumaturgo.

Picture by Tony Annis: a green Pescador house I saw our future and the future was green, not just the sea of green we were flying low over with the occasional break in that verdant mass below, revealing a river with its golden banks meandering through the luxuriant forest. It has been sometime since I had been with a group of VIPs but now instead of doing a sword dance with a Saudi Prince I was in a small twin engined plane flying over the rich green rainforest of the State of Acre in Brazil accompanying Mm Danielle Mitterrand, the widow of a past French President, The Ministra do Meio Ambiente from Brasilia, the Governor of Acre and the usual body guard, TV cameraman etc. which follow VIPs. Last, but not least of all was Joao Fortes the leader of our small group and passionate helper of the Indians for more than twenty years, Cristina Mendonça (expert on carbon credits), Maria Alice, whose expertise was to help the Indians make the right craft goods that would sell in the outside world.

Why was I there? I had been invited by Joao Fortes to write and take pictures of the Ashaninka as I and Adam Baines had twelve years ago about the Yawanawa people. This time instead of going up the river Juria, I was going to take the right fork up the river Amônia towards the border of Peru. Before that though I was to accompany the French delegation and record Mm Mitterrand’s meeting and signing of an agreement between France and the Ashaninka and the State of Acre.

The village greeted the very pleasant widow representing France and it seems in no time at all we were all exchanging views and the Indians were explaining how they had made their people live a sustainable way of life in the rain forest and now wanted to show the rest of the State of Acre how this could be done. This charming lady was told how they had no cattle on their land but planted thousands of trees each year and bees that did not sting but produced a honey, so good, that the gods would come down from the heavens to taste it. They had many different fruits, many types of potatoes, also a great knowledge of over two thousand medicines that the forest provided. They also wanted to publicise the fact that people were invading from Peru, with ‘Pistoleiros’, with large machines, that ripped out the trees and then pulled them back to Peru and then said they had been grown under licence there. Also the chemicals that these invaders were using have started to change the taste of the fish in the Rio Amônia. The Ashaninka have started to petition other nations as well as their own government to do something about this problem. The Brazilians have now put in satellite phones in the border villages, so that State forces can be called up to help in case of invasion by these foreign companies.

After Mm Mitterrand had collected some honey, planted a tree, taken a short trip up river, with body guards, TV Cameraman and the rest of the entourage – She was whisked off to Rio Branco to sign documents with all the group, leaving Cristina of carbon credits and myself back at the Ashaninka College.

Benki was a charming remarkable man and from the age of thirteen he had taught himself all about the forest, its over two thousand medicines and how to make the tribe self sufficient and was now the recognisable face of the tribe on TV or in the political circles of Brasilia. His paintings are shown in Rio de Janeiro, his music sells on CD and women fall at his feet – Intelligent, charismatic, good looking and I’m glad to say he is a good friend of mine – I will say, that I would surely like some of his magic to rub off on me! Benki playfully said to me “Tony my friend, you are lucky you were not born in my village – Nobody wears glasses because no one in the tribe is short sighted. No woman would marry me because I would not be able to hunt fish and look after a family”. Survival of the fittest and I certainly wasn’t the fittest either in the rain forests or in cities with their high forests of concrete reaching for the sky. The Ashaninka are very fit, healthy and the only person who wore glasses was one lady in her seventies. The Uruku, the paint on their faces, gives them a very good skin complexion and also acts as a mosquito repellent. Aveda, the makeup company, use it in their lipsticks etc. And buy it from the ‘Yawanawa Tribe’.

Cristina and I spent an interesting night at Benki’s house on the other side of river in Marechal T, built to show the locals that a house can make its small section self sustainable and it certainly was – He reared chickens, grew fruit and vegetables and needed very little to be bought in to his home. He played his guitar, sang and listened to Cristina explaining the ins and outs of Carbon Credits as she was leaving next day to go back to her consultancy in Rio de Janeiro. Sunday, Benki and I hit the beach where the rest of the School and the residents of the small town pretended they lived on the coast and behaved as if they lived by the Atlantic instead of thousands of miles inland – We downed a few cold ones and planned the next part of the trip, basically turning right up the River Amônia and going up river for a few hours until we reached the Ashaninka village.

Picture by Tony Annis: Benki and friends at his home with the Ashaninkas Picture by Tony Annis : Benki and friends at his home with the Ashaninkas

We reached the village and of course, right in the middle of it was a football pitch – The Ashaninkas are Indians but also Brazilian and all Brazilians love football. We had broken our journey to take some pictures of his family and watch a local tournament and unfortunately watch the tribe lose even though Benki came off the bench to play centre half and shore up the defence. Benki told me, “I am growing ‘The greenest little stadium in the world’ I have cleared the ground and started planting palms to cover the thousand spectators and then I will try to weave in flowers the names of famous European teams, such as Chelsea and Juventus and probably a French one as they are helping us now”.

Benki showed me round the village, the tree plantations, the pond where the turtles were reared, and the ladies making their craft beads, as well as one of them making their homemade beer for a village party. We were going further up river to a waterfall and camping for two or three days but as luck would have it we broke our propeller and one of Benki’s friends had to fix it by carving a propeller out of wood and all without the help of anything other than a knife and a stone used as a hammer. This coming July I hope to return and complete the journey to the waterfall with a few good friends of mine.

We headed down river back to the College of the Forest, via Cruzeiro du Sul (For Benki to pick up his e-mails). Finally, Rio de Janeiro for Benki and other Brazilian personalities to plant trees live on TV and for Benki do a brilliant live two minute piece to camera and as one of the Politicians said, “If I co uld only speak as well as that and to time, I would be Gover nor in the State of Rio by now, instead of being a local Deputy”. All this on my last day and before long the big plane lifted of the tarmac, climbed into the sky, banked away from Rio de Janeiro by the border of Brazil and once again I was up, up and away.

First Published:  Jun 25, 2008

Write in (2) – Chinese Highways 2007 by Hal Swindall

Chinese HighwaysDespite its reputation for road accidents and poor preparation for this year’s Olympics, China does offer this century’s traveller one ray of hope: long-distance bus rides, at least in the coastal provinces, are much more safe and comfortable than they used to be. In many respects, China is the supreme example of plus ca change, plus c’est la meme chose, but it has improved its transportation infrastructure a great deal.

While in the country last August, I had the pleasant surprise of making a day trip by bus from Jinan, capital of Shandong Province, to the city of Zibo, where a former student of mine resides. Since I had lived in Jinan as an English professor ten years earlier, I approached the long-distance bus terminal with trepidation, remembering all those near-death experiences of days gone by.

Instead of the gimcrack building with people fighting for tickets dispensed by a crabby old woman, a vehicle without seatbelts that needed replacement parts all over it and a sadistically reckless driver, I found myself in a carbon copy of a western airport lounge, with everything computerized. Having purchased my ticket as easily as I would in a western country, I bought a junk food breakfast at a KFC outlet within the terminal, there being no decent sandwiches available (this was still the orient, after all).

Shining, new buses were drawn up in orderly rows around the parking lot, with none of the dangerous reversing and swerving that I recalled from my professorial days. Nor were passengers obliged to risk their physiques by walking behind reversing buses or boarding them at a run as they sped toward the exit; rather, everyone sat on cushioned chairs indoors until boarding time. Inside, the buses were air conditioned and had safety belts, features of which I had despaired back in the 1990s.

The highway between Jinan and Zibo was another morale booster. Six lanes wide, it had newly planted trees in neat ranks lining it, beyond which well-organized farmland and some new factories were visible. The most notable aspect of this journey, however, was the driving: gone were the terrifying, white-knuckle accelerations into the oncoming traffic lane in an effort to pass some unsafely laden truck in front, with hell-for-leather swerving back into the proper lanes just before shattering, head-on collisions, all of which were routine then, and went on for kilometre after kilometre, hour after nerve-wracking hour. Nowadays, it’s just like “going Greyhound” in the USA.

All along the route, I could observe signs of heavy economic development, since I wasn’t constantly worried about being hurled through the bus’s windshield, then through that of another bus going in the opposite direction. In fact, traffic going in opposite directions was separated by a centre divider, and there were no Indie 500-like attempts to pass vehicles in front during the whole trip! The drivers to Zibo and back seemed as sane and sober as was I.

Arriving at Zibo’s terminal, I found it to be a miniature version of Jinan’s, with everything clean and tidy, except the lavatory, a room which, everywhere in China, seems oblivious to the benefits of sanitation. The overall effect, though, was nothing like what I remembered, even from my 2001 trip there. Thus, I was able to link up with my ex-student, himself now a professor, and spend the afternoon catching up before returning to Jinan in the evening. Later, I took a trip from Jinan to Shanghai on a sleeper bus that, while not too comfortable, was nonetheless safer and faster than a particularly nasty and prolonged sleeper bus trip I took from Canton to Guilin in 1995.

As the Middle Kingdom slouches toward hosting the games later this year, it’s nice to know they have gotten one thing right.

First Published: Jun 25, 2008

Write in (3)& Its just like riding a bike by Benjamin Hamilton

bicclesThe initial attraction to visiting Christchurch was its colonial buildings and beautiful gardens. With only one day to enjoy the city I wasn’t sure how to fit it all in. I headed to Cathedral Square and came across a distinctive blue retro style bike outside the Information Centre. Ahh, a bike tour, those were the days…. but at my age? I haven’t ridden a bike for 25 years, I couldn’t could I? I phoned the booking line and explained my predicament. The friendly man on the other end of the line chuckled, he’d heard it all before. He assured me I would be fine and stated that Christchurch city was very flat and the guide takes a very leisurely paced tour. So I signed myself up! On meeting the guide and six other people in Cathedral Square we were fitted with our bikes and helmets. The bikes were great, big comfortable seats, a basket at the front for my bag and best of all, a bell that I could ring!

We pedalled down Worcester Boulevard along a lovely cobbled street to the Arts Centre. In front of us stood several beautiful gothic style buildings that originally housed the University of Canterbury. It is now home to craft studios, cafes, art galleries and live theatre. There was also an open air market with stalls selling all sorts of arts and crafts. Next stop was the historic Antigua Boatsheds where we pedalled alongside the English style punt into the Botanic Gardens and then Hagley Park, the green heart of Christchurch. We biked on the cycle ways enjoying the open space and fresh air.

After heading out of the Park we arrived at the lovely homestead of Riccarton House and the historic Dean’s Cottage. We were told a tale or two here and saw a reconstruction of what life was like for the hardy pioneers. Our guide locked up the bikes and took us for a short walk through a precious piece of virgin New Zealand bush with rare Kahikatea trees. We even caught a glimpse of a native Fantail. Once back on our trusty bikes we headed to Mona Vale, a beautiful estate with sculptured gardens, a lovely homestead, as well as two gate houses. We stopped here for tea and scones on the veranda of the old homestead.

The final stretch took us along to New Regent Street, a colourful little pedestrian only street (except for cyclists of course!) filled with antique stores and cafes. This is where I had to bid farewell to my new cycle friends and reflect on the saying …it’s just like riding a bike.

First Published: Jun 25, 2008

Write in (1) …Home Exchange – the holiday alternative? by Brian Luckhurst

Home Exchanging or Home Swapping is when you agree to swap homes, and often cars, with someone; you stay in their home and they stay in yours, without any money changing hands. It is such an economical way to holiday and such an exciting way to travel, to experience other cultures and see other countries differently, through local eyes, not as a tourist.  Home and Hospitality Exchange for holidays is not a new idea, indeed it was started in the 1950s by some teachers, however more and more of us, from all walks of life, are now doing it, not least to save money in these financially difficult times.

Not surprisingly, we seniors, baby boomers, silver surfers (whatever name we are given) are becoming great fans of Home Exchanging. We tend to be more flexible on dates with more free time available, we don’t normally have to worry about school holidays as we are often empty nesters, and cost savings are very important to us. I also think we are of an age when we like the idea of seeing things from a different perspective, we no longer like being seen just as tourists and often prefer to live more like a local when on holiday.

My wife was horrified when I first mentioned Home Exchanging, “I can’t have someone staying in my house, anyway who would want to, it needs too much doing to it” or words to that effect. She wasn’t worried about the security or privacy aspect, simply, that our house wasn’t smart enough to let others stay in it.  Many potential exchangers have similar thoughts, with others having more concerns over the security aspect of having strangers staying in their home, which to a degree is understandable, but don’t forget you are staying in theirs. Which is better, leaving your home empty whilst you are away on holiday or having someone staying in it and looking after it as if it were their own?

Home Exchange is built around trust. Trust in those you exchange with to describe their home and location honestly and trust that, when they visit, they don’t damage your home and belongings. Home Exchange is often the beginning of lasting friendships which are built around this trust.  Home Exchanging can take several forms. A traditional Home Exchange is when you exchange homes at the same time. A non-simultaneous exchange, which can offer more flexibility, is when one or both of you have alternative accommodation, often a second home, meaning the dates for the exchange do not have to link and the exchange happens at different times for each party. One exchange takes place in the holiday home whilst the owner remains in the main residence, and then that owner visits the exchange partner’s property at a later and more convenient time.

Hospitality Exchange is the third type and this is when you take turns staying as guests in each other’s homes. This form of exchange appeals to those who are used to entertaining and I think works particularly well for singles, who are often worried about travelling alone in a different city or country and it also helps to avoid the dreaded supplements that single travellers often have to endure. Providing space and the number of bedrooms aren’t an issue, you may also consider Hospitality Exchange if you have someone else staying at home, like a lodger or older offspring, where a traditional exchange may not be appropriate as you can’t provide an empty home.

It is normal and good practice when exchanging to leave a welcome pack with lots of interesting information about the property but, more especially about the area and what can be done and seen locally, where to shop and eat, some exchangers even arrange for the neighbours to pop in to introduce themselves. Often with Hospitality Exchanges this local info is taken to the next stage with the home partner acting as a local tourist guide taking you sightseeing, for a meal out and even perhaps for a round of golf at their club.

Home Exchange – what are the benefits? Saving money is the obvious benefit – with no accommodation costs, the savings can be substantial. Imagine how much more you will have to spend by not paying hotel bills or villa rental! Other major savings can be achieved by swapping cars, sports equipment and even boats, by not having to dine out every night, even by playing as a guest at your host’s sports/golf club.

You have the freedom to do what you want, when you want, armed with the more intimate local knowledge from your exchange partner rather than just a guide book.

Well, is Home Exchanging for you? Why not try it and see? Once you have tried it, I am sure you will want to do it again.

Although our website is still ‘young’, we have members around the world in 35 different countries. However, in order to give our members as wide a choice as possible, we are currently offering free annual subscription. Please visit our website and join us today – it’s FREE.

Brian Luckhurst –

World travel news

Spotted by Matt Doughty on the BBC:-

  • ** Veg oil truck makes world journey **A truck rescued from the scrap heap is about to complete a round-the-world journey – powered by waste vegetable oil.Read more details at
  • Spotted also by Matt Doughty – the latest news about the Winston Churchill Memorial Trust Travelling Fellowships…
  • ·Greetings from Bike the Earth:- Dear GlobetrottersWonderful to get your news as we are in mid Australia on BIKE THE EARTH –   (Please check out at least the first page of our website).We have done 3500 km, connecting communities, inspiring initiatives, on ABC Television, on the radio, and in the media, with some great testimonials for the work we are

    Warm wishes for the Christmas season!

    Regards Chris Le Breton

Write in (2)…the travel world of Mac

This time round Mac lists the “Top 25 Places to Live by Seasoned Travelers”.

I’m not entirely sure of Mac’s source or criteria but it is very interesting range of locations…see what you think – maybe you have stories to tell of these locations 🙂 The Ant

  • Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
  • Bangkok, Thailand
  • Bolgatanga, Ghana
  • Boquete, Panama
  • Chiang Mai, Thailand
  • Cusco, Peru
  • Fiji
  • Goa, India
  • Hampi, India
  • Iquito, Peru
  • Kathmandu, Nepal
  • Lago Atitlan, Guatemala
  • Lome, Togo
  • Luang Prabang, Laos
  • Montañitas, Ecuador
  • Medellin, Colombia
  • Mendoza, Argentina
  • Nanyuki, Kenya
  • Pohkara, Nepal
  • Riga, Latvia
  • San Cristobal las Casas, Mexico
  • Sihanoukville, Cambodia
  • Ulam Batar – Mongolia
  • Sosua, Dominican Republic
  • Xela, Guatemala
  • Awasa, Ethiopia
  • Cape, Coast Ghana

Write for the eNewsletter

If you enjoy writing & travelling, why not write for the free Globetrotters eNewsletter ! The Ant would love to hear from you: your travel stories, anecdotes, jokes, questions, hints and tips, or your hometown or somewhere of special interest to you. Over 15,000 people currently subscribe to the Globetrotter eNewsletter.

Email The Ant at with your travel experiences / hints & tips / questions. Your article should be approximately 1000 words, feature up to 3 or 4 jpeg photos and introduce yourself with a couple of sentences and a contact e-mail address.

Write in (3) …Is there a definitive list of worldwide travel clubs ?, as asked by The Ant

Putting together this eNewsletter, I wanted to explore travel clubs around the world, that like Globetrotters promoted independent travel for independent travellers.  And so far I have to admit I’m struggling and need your help.  Can you tell me about any travel clubs you know of and we can learn more about them (magazines, web sites, meetings etc.) ? Thus far I’ve come up with the following organisations who represent something similar to GTs:-

· – Austrian travel club has been a travel community since at least 1996

· https://globetrotter.org – German Globetrotters club, has been holding active meetings since publishing the “Trotter” magazine since 1974

· – venerable Swiss Travel Club

GT Travel Award

In case you have not heard, the club has recently announced two new winners of the GT Travel Award over the summer:-

  • Hilary Clark – “…with her Beyond Tango trip, which she’ll taking in Argentina from April to May next year.  My adventure starts in Buenos Aires to learn more about the history of tango…”
  • Nick Hunt – “…exploration is in the footsteps of Patrick Leigh Fermor…Nick will be setting of in December for a year…across Europe from Holland to Istanbul.”
  • Both Hilary & Nick will return from their travels and recount their adventures to the London branch at some point in the future.  We wish them every success…

    What is the award ?

    Are you inspired by all this talk of travel ?

    Are you ready for you own independent adventure ?

    Or do you know someone who could benefit from a helping hand into the wider world ?

    Each year the club offers up to two £1,000 awards to give out for the best independent travel plan, as judged by the club’s Committee.

    The deadline to receive applications for the next award is 31 October 2011.

    See the legacy page on the club’s web site for more details, where you can review previous winners’ trips and/or apply with your plans for a totally independent, travel trip.

    If your idea catches our eye we’ll take a closer look at what you’re proposing and give you feedback & maybe a helping hand on your journey of a lifetime !!

World travel news

Spotted by Matt Doughty on TravelMole:-

“New York named as ‘endangered destination’. 

You might be wondering what New York, Riga in Latvia, the island of Madagascar and Beijing’s historic hutongs have in common, but they are all on an endangered destinations lists.”  Read more at

Received by The Ant from Avalon Travel Publishing:-

“Avalon Travel has released the eBook editions of Moon Fiji and Moon Tahiti, the leading travel guidebooks to the South Pacific. They are now available in the Kindle store at Amazon, in the Nook store at, on the Kobo at Borders, on iTunes for the Apple iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, and at the Sony Reader store.”  Read more at

From Matt Doughty again via the BBC:-

** Pair in 14-day isle hop challenge **.  Two men from Edinburgh are aiming to visit as many Scottish islands as they can in the space of two weeks.  Read more at


Write in (4)…Portobelloland by Tony Annis

Long term, active traveller & member Tony has come up with a novel idea – a web site giving an insiders’ point of view on his native Portobello home & surroundings in London !  Those who know Tony, realise that it won’t be the bland, safe view of London that is presented officially…it’s aiming to be a fully-fledged experience of what is worth enjoying, whether you’re a local or a visitor 🙂

Tony has used his experience in TV & socialising to come up with a different perspective on how show what London life could be about and what is worth making an effort to seek out.

Tony’s web site can be found at – browse away & send him your feedback, questions & comments…he’s waiting to hear from you 🙂

GT Travel Award

Are you inspired by all this talk of travel ?

Are you ready for you own independent adventure?

Or do you know someone who could benefit from a helping hand into the wider world?

What is the award ?

Each year the club offers up to two £1,000 awards to give out for the best independent travel plan, as judged by the club’s Committee.

The deadline to receive applications for the next award is 31 October 2011.

See the legacy page on the club’s web site for more details, where you can review previous winners’ trips and/or apply with your plans for a totally independent, travel trip.

If your idea catches our eye we’ll take a closer look at what you’re proposing and give you feedback & maybe a helping hand on your journey of a lifetime!!

Welcome to eNewsletter August 2011…

Hello all,

From a sunny, summery London J  Amidst Royal weddings, Olympic preparations & numerous big issues in the worlds of politics & finance, Globetrotters and friends are still managing to enjoy travel…  We in this edition of the eNewsletter talk about Croatia, Mac’s World, Mike Shawcross OBE, Portobelloland and what’s been happening in the UK based branches of the Globetrotters Club.  An eclectic mix and you’d be very correct…read on & find out how so !

What else is happening across the wider travel world ?

  • “Outside Lands” music festival in San Francisco, USA features a host of acts in a top location close to the Golden Gate Bridge…see
  • Slow Food Cheese Festival in Bra, Italy for those passionate about eating good quality food – see
  • UK newspaper “The Daily Telegraph” has a range of travel related competitions that readers might want to enter…see for more details.  Good luck J
  • London’s Mayor is again holding the Thames Festival this year, September 2011, and details of this “one of London’s best” can be found at
  • Follow the progress of the “It’s on the meter team” and their round the world journey by London taxi at
  • Follows the progress of Sarah Outen’s “London2London” adventure at

That’s all for now, enjoy the read and keep sending me more of your stories, adventures and articles J

The Ant

July meeting news from the Chester, UK branch by Hanna, Angela & Eve

The first of our two talks was given by Jill Nash, of Luxury Backpackers, entitled THE AMALFI COAST, FROM PIAZZAS TO PIZZAS. Jill is now also a travel writer and married to an Italian and spends part of her year in the UK and the remainder in Italy, the Amalfi coast being her second home.  The talk took us along the coast from Pompeii, through Sorrento, Positano and Ravello to Amalfi and also Capri and Ischia, this area of the Italian coastline now being a Unesco Heritage area. Jill then dwelt on Italian lifestyle – the importance of family life, food, wine and culture, particularly the food and wine! All our appetites were wetted with the mention of melizani parmigiana, gnocchi, gelato, and San Marco (the local wine) and limoncello, the lemon liquor.

“Our reward” – refreshments of tea, coffee and biscuits!

Following our refreshment break, and in stark contrast, our second talk was given by Sarah Hoyle, was her “walk” along THE INCA TRAIL. Sarah, a nurse manager at the Countess of Chester Hospital, did her rigorous trek for charity to give aid to the Kisiizi Hospital in Uganda, with whom she has become associated. She undertook the trek along with her son and his friend, (who she coerced into the challenge) firstly visiting Lima and Cusco, then walking the trail over 4 days.  We saw the beauty of Cusco Cathedral, followed by the Irabamba river up to Aguas Calientas, walked through the Sacred Valley, and climbed up to Machu Pichu. Again we shared Sarah’s camping experiences and wonderful food prepared by the porters, but all from the comfort of our venue in Chester. A fantastic feat on Sarah’s part in raising money for the Kisiizi Hospital

This was an excellent meeting, with two totally contrasting speakers which we all thoroughly enjoyed. Our Chester group is now growing in numbers, and we are seeing a core of regular members who are very enthusiastic.

Our next meeting is on 17th September. – Make a diary note! Topics are –

  • “THE NORTHERN LIGHTS EXPERIENCE” – by Nigel Bradbury, who has worked with the BBC Sky at Night team and also Jodrell Bank Observatory.

Report compiled by Eve MacPherson, now one of the Chester Globetrotters Team

Chester meetings are held at The Grosvenor Museum, 25 – 27 Grosvener Street, Chester, CH1 2DD.

Tickets £3 including refreshments.

For more information contact Angela, Hanna or Eve for further information of this & future events at Chester via email at

Write in (1)…Walking in Croatia by Vic & Angela Blundell

Walking Buddies

LOZISCA AND BOBIVISCA. Our walk starts in Lozišća, which has the most beautiful belfry on the island. We walk to the picturesque fishing harbour Bobovišća luka where you can take a break for sightseeing and swimming (weather permitting)   Every Tuesday. Own transport or share a taxi meet on bridge in Lozisca 9am. Please call ahead to let us know you are coming and we can give directions…Distance 5 kilometres. Approx 2hrs 30mins.

FULL DAY HIKE FROM SHEPARD’S VILLAGE GAŽUL TO VIDOVA GORA AND DOWN TO BOL  Old Sheppard’s village Gažul on Vidova gora. We walk through a forest of black pines arriving at the highest peak on this Adriatic island, “Vidova gora” a beautiful view of Famous Zlatni Rat Beach. Time for sightseeing and photos then we walk down hill back to Bol.      

Every Thursday. Meet 9am at Gazul Village. Please call ahead and let us know you are coming and we will give directions. 8. Kilometres approx 4hrs.

No charge for buddies to show you the way. Be aware we are not professional guide’s just fellow walkers who want to share our passion for this beautiful Island. Please note we do not operate in JULY or AUGUST. Own transport, public bus or taxi. Transport can be arranged sharing the costs for four or more persons..

Minimum 2 persons required max 10. Bring a Picnic lunch and bottle of water.                 

Many other Beautiful and interesting walks on request for private groups.

Write in (3)…A surprise guest @ the door by Simon Banks

“Doing the door” after the meeting has started is annoying in most respects:  we never start at 14:30…more like 14:45, when those who have made it on time are now less patient and all the last minute checks have been made with the oncoming speakers.

Those who are late, are therefore very late and miss the first 20 minutes setting of the presentation.  They are the disorganised (like me), the cyclists who think they can speed faster than time itself, the long distance public transport users with wows of the British public transport system (the “vandals” had stripped the signal cable again between the West Country and Reading yesterday),  the old and the infirm.

Having an elderly Mum I now understand their needs better, are just slow:  they need time to shuffle and not fall down the stairs.  Other late comers just lost their way: new visitors and infrequently attending members. So my patience was stretched when I opened the door to the 7th late attendee: a large elderly, bearded gent with stick and American accent.

“Welcome” I said.”Well thanks.  I am a member but don’t often get over to the UK to attend meetings, so thought I should make the effort”.

“Well thanks for making the effort” I replied and helped him down the stairs and into the room.

After the meeting, I invited him and our remaining speaker to the pub.  As both are infrequently in the UK, pints of Flowers went down well.   Once seated, we got chatting.

“So what brings you back to England then?”  An acceptable opening question you may think.  Would you expect a joke reply?

“To receive an OBE from Her Majesty”  What an answer!

Mike Shawcross in action
Mike Shawcross in action

Quick double take: no glint in the eye and one not of an age to joke.  But what a fabulous response to work in, next time some jerk asks me a similar question?

So, Mr Michael Shawcoss OBE (22 June 2011), Globetrotter Member from Hebdon Bridge W.Yorks, originally went to Turkey to do potholing there, then on to Canada and since 1989 has been living in Guatemala teaching and learning from the 22 indigenous tribal Indian peoples there.  But that’s not all.  In 1964 (pre-hippi trail) he hitch hiked back from India on £9 0/-.  It would have been £10, but he needed to renew his passport for £1.


To quote the UK government, via the 2011 New Year’s Honours’ List, Mike received his OBE “For services to aid projects helping disadvantaged communities in Guatemala”.  Mike returned to Guatemala on July 22 but managed to speak at the July’s Members’ slides meeting in London…

The Ant

Write in (2)…the travel world of Mac


This time round Mac discusses movies that could inspire you or him to go travelling:-

1. Outsourced (India) – see what happens when a US company outsources an entire department to India.

2. The Motorcycle Diaries (in Spanish I think with subtitles)…a dreamy, reflective view of Che Guevara’s formative travels across South America

3. Into the Wild – Its what most backpackers dream of doing and directed by Sean Penn

4. Under the Tuscan Sun – Hollywood’s take on Frances Mayes 1996 novel

5. Slumdog Millionaire What it is like to live in India, from the ground up, in the modern world…

6. Lost In Translation…with Bill Murray clashing cultures in Japan

7. Eurotrip – Makes you want to buy a one way ticket to see Europe from a graduate’s perspective…

8. Shanghai Kiss – After watching it you will want

to see China, again from a cross cultural graduate point of view.

9. City of God – Stories of life from very different perspectives in Rio De Janeiro  Brazil

10. The Beach – set in Thailand, staring Leonardo Di Caprio

Whilst some are certainly down to personal choice, I suspect Mac has thrown enough thoughts into the proverbial hat, so that we can come up with our own ideas.  What do you think – are Mac’s choices rotten tomatoes or Oscar winners ?  Which films would you chose instead ?

The Ant