Travel Writing Competition 2014 Entries 3

A Big Muddy Hole

I stopped on a corner of the narrow incline to take breath. A woman trudged down the slope towards me and clutched a wooden post.

More Details

A Gelada with your sunset

Upon reaching our campsite at Geech, 3600m above sea level and part of the Simien Mountains in Ethiopia, I collapsed into a chair and decided that I was not moving for the rest of the evening

More Details

A Hidden Feast

There was a gaping void in the door of the unreserved train carriage we had managed to force our way into and no space was available aside from the floor.

More Details

A photograph never taken

It is a photograph I never took. A man of my age gazing warily down one of the many dusty seen better days streets in the half light before dawn.

More Details

A sight for sore eyes

We were herded on the bus by shouts and angry stairs, shoe off, shoe off. Then a blue plastic bag was shoved in my hand for my shoes to be put in to.

More Details

A Sikh Wedding in Mewar

And when you travel, you open new doors into the magnanimity of the world. You get to see things from a different vantage point.

More Details

A Sweet Spot in Old San Juan

Wandering in a city in which weve never been, this was the first time my husband and I were on vacation without our two kids; enthusiastic to be empty-nesters, eager to reconnect.

More Details

A Testing Time

How many times have you struggled down a steep slope that you thought you should have had no trouble with, had difficulty keeping up with friends or simply felt too tired to keep skiing

More Details

A Touch of Tuscany

I realise that I have been at Podere Trove for almost 3 weeks now and I havent written anything about it.

More Details

A Walk in the Hills

I am going for a walk in the Berkeley hills. I met the group of walkers on Euclid Avenue at the entrance to the Rose Garden, a theater of rose bushes laid out in terraces on the hillside.

More Details

African encounter

Our tracker, Shadrack, leads the way through the African bush. My family and I have spent days adventuring with him in an open air land cruiser. On safari, encountering all the big five.

More Details

All to catch a glimpse of an Arctic sunset

The last time I excitedly went into a rant about the race, 78 degrees North and how incredible its going to be, whilst on crutches, a mountain guide replied you can forget about it.

More Details

Always Choose The Jump Seat

A full moon was shining down turning the entire landscape monochromatic. Bushes on either side took on ghostly animal shapes, and sounds seemed eerily loud.

More Details

Attention All Passengers

My first thought, forehead pressed against the window of the plane, was that we hadnt left only the United States, but Earth entirely.

More Details

Bears and how to beat them

Stephen its inside My God, its inside, INSIDE

More Details

Big Water

It was on a cloudy day in early October last year that i had the opportunity to encounter one of the best travel moment of my life.

More Details

Blessings

I was born and raised in Britain, have spent my entire life here. My parents originate from Pakistan. My breathtaking travel moment took place in a crop field in the village of Jhelum, Pakistan.

More Details

Breathless in the Bush

I couldnt breathe. I was bent over at the waist, clutching my belly as if squeezing it harder would make it hurt less.

More Details

Catacomb Episode

Standing in front of a dark, wet, sewer-hole, flames of my desires flash before my eyes. This was it. One of the secret tunnels that lead to Paris underworld.

More Details

Chasing the Northern Lights

It is an item that is almost cliched on a travellers bucket list. To see the Northern Lights.

More Details

Close Encounters of the Breath-taking Kind

The sun had not yet risen as we assembled our dive kit and loaded the boat ready for our early morning dive. Silence hung in the pre dawn air, and as we set off, the noise of our engines carried deafeningly over the glassy water.

More Details

Cumbre o Muerte

Somewhere in the pitch-black above me our guide Mario is shouting in Spanish while below my friend Julien is trying to give me advice in French and I begin to panic in English.

More Details

Cutting a path through Patagonia

To wander alone in Patagonia, across plains of thorny scrub and through small villages of sheep farmers and grumpy gauchos, is to follow in the footsteps of the fervid writers before me.

More Details

Delirium

We drive the days away watching sharp, bare, blinding-white architecture and walls of endless glass surrender to weathered wood, moss roofs, and gingerbread.

More Details

Do talk to strangers

We raise our children not to talk to strangers, wear seatbelts and take their mobile phones wherever they go.

More Details

Down The Garden Path

My youthful entourage, which in no time at all had swelled to imminently unmanageable proportions, pulled me, grubby little hands in mine, off the dusty track that cut through the sprawling Casamance village and down a narrow, palm fringed footpath.

More Details

Gone to Iceland

Most Brits like to go to sunnier surroundings for their holidays, so it was no surprise when I received the are you crazy.

More Details

Gothic Glory

The October sky was leaden with an imminent deluge. That morning, we had been emptied out of our comfy coach to explore Paris at our leisure.

More Details

Have you ever

Have you ever just stood still and took everything in. I mean every little detail and studied each second of that moment

More Details

Hidden Gem

Dont go back, they warned, it wont be the same.

More Details

I am Sailing

My head was full of stories of sailing ships and the heroic exploits of their crews as I was offered the chance to take the helm of the Gold Coast.

More Details

Imet Gogo

Did you hear the jackal last night. I was only half listening to our cook, Negas cheerful commentary on the previous night as I emerged, tired and sleepless from my freezing tent

More Details

In Borneo, the river replaces the highway

The view through the little window was absolutely mesmerizing. Rainforest as far as the eye can see. The canopy filled hills appeared to be green waves of jungle flowing across the entire landscape.

More Details

Inca Cola

I had an wow, oh my god moment right there and then, but I didnt utter the words. Not only because at that time I could barely speak any Spanish.

More Details

Karsts and cormorants in Rural China

Its late afternoon, and were walking. Its not a clear day by any means. In fact, the rain has just stopped, and water is steaming up from the surrounding greenery, compounding the intense humidity.

More Details

Kazbegi A Heavenly Place

My Austrian friend Katie, was in Tbilisi over the weekend and wanted to see some nature, so I proposed that we went together to the Greater Caucasus

More Details

Koh Rong Cambodia

We scramble and slip down steep boulders covered with moss and rainforest mildew. The mixture of sweat and sunscreen stings my eyes.

More Details

Kornati Adventure

The warm onshore breeze carried the tops of Adriatic waves up the brilliant white cliff to the crumbling castle perched atop.

More Details

Kyoto A love story

I remember once walking up my grandmothers taupe coloured concrete staircase and there she was, sitting on her half broken wooden rocking chair with her aged hands clasped over her face.

More Details

Lake District

We set off for the Lake District in April. England, this year, had just recorded its wettest winter on record and hadnt yet decided about spring.

More Details

Magical Maldives

Dark blue eyes encircled by white and green rings in the midst of a bright turquoise water looked alluringly up at us as we gazed down from our tiny jet.

More Details

Mission to Bandipur Nepal

In June 2010 my colleagues and I set out on a once in a lifetime mission to Bandipur, Nepal

More Details

Mount Ijen and Sulfur Miners

Ever heard about the worst job on earth? Well, neither do we before we set our feet and camped on Mount Ijen, one of the most famous volcano in East Java.

More Details

Mountain of Fire

Between the outskirts of Yogyakarta and Magelang lay my last stop on the bemo. Im dropped where cattle grazing fields and fruit tree plantations collide with the rising valley ground between the peaks Merapi and Merbabu.

More Details

My breathtaking travel moment

Illuminated stalls, draped in layers of textured cloths, woven into an array of eye-catching colours. Echoes of vendors calling after the flock of an international mix of tourists passing through the narrow, cobbled alleyways.

More Details

My school games travelling moment

In 2012 I was selected for the sainsburys school games which was taking part in the olympic venue in London. I was selected to play in the table tennis.

More Details

Naive trekker

I am in Chiang Mai, Thailand, heading towards my first mountain trek. I am with fellow tourist Ani and guides Mr G and Chai.

More Details

Natures Masterpiece

Beauty personified in the robe of shimmering white snow, thick dark hair embellished with twinkling stars, enthralled the town with splendid charm.

More Details

Natures Romantic Lovemaking

After hours of deliberation it was decided we were not taking a shower the next morning.

More Details

New Zealand White Water rafting

It was a nice sunny day for a trek down a river. Best place for that is New Zealand, Rotorua, where you prepare yourself for the thrill of a lifetime.

More Details

On the Edge of Yasur Volcano

Thunderous rumble reverberated across the otherwise quiet ash plain. What was that I wondered apprehensively.

More Details

One ear open

Im snuggled in my tent in the mayors backyard, in a dusty village lost in the Malagasy brousse.

More Details

Out in the Somme

In 2011 I embarked on an amazing and profoundly moving journey through the WW1 Somme Battlefields in France

More Details

Out of this World into the Wild

With a sense of guilty relief, Clem and I left the broken city of Christchurch, New Zealand. We drove away from the confusion of temporary road signs and the nightmarish sight of half demolished buildings still standing on the gaping wounds of a traumatic event.

More Details

Over to the West

I awoke this morning at sparrows fart, when the sparrows were probably only dreaming about their dawn song.

More Details

Paradisiacal Ometepe at Breakneck Speed

Negros hooves clattered rhythmically across the sand. As we traversed the curving beach, the emerald greens and deep blues of an earthly paradise sped past my eyes at a furious speed.

More Details

Praying for Safe Travels at Om Banna Bullet Shrine

About an hours drive out of Jodhpur, near the village of Chotila, stands a shrine.

More Details

Prides and Prejudices: why I almost chickened out of Africa

It took smashing a chicken carcass with a butchers knife for me to question whether volunteering at a lion park was a good idea.

More Details

Reef sharks and stingrays

So Ive read the book, listened to the lectures, watched the demonstrations, carried out the practical and sat the exam. I have proved to the ever smiling instructor that I can indeed, swim.

More Details

Running afoul of a feisty fowl

The minibus came to a cranium shuddering halt. A chicken had somehow squirmed its way out of the wicker basket that was holding it captive on top of the vehicle and leapt onto the road.

More Details

Sand Sea Symphony

Namib Desert, its 6 o clock, right before sunrise. Im on my soulful, solo journey to Dead Vlei.

More Details

Sea Lion Island

Just beyond the steep drop I stumble on three rockhopper penguins pushing themselves into a narrow crevice. Theyre doing their best to keep out my way.

More Details

Sea Postie for a Day

What was the name of the bay we were just in, the one with the mussel farm. I look up and ask Penny, the Pelorus Express Mail Boats second in command.

More Details

Shark for dinner

Theres no way Im eating rotten food. But its an Icelandic delicacy.

More Details

Sleeping Rough in Osaka

We had nowhere to stay until the following night. The air was warm and the park was quiet, so we put our rucksacks down with a joyous release of pressure.

More Details

Stranded in the Cevennes

In August 2014, the Bolter family (mum Samantha, dad Antony and kids Sam, Sophie and Nathan) left the UK on the Eurotunnel for our annual holiday in France

More Details

Sushi at Tsukiji

The air was cold and the hour early as we sped toward the market. Buoyed on by our love for seafood, wed gotten up only a few hours after wed gone to bed.

More Details

Swing Off The Edge Of The World

We woke early in a small, family-run hostel. Alex and I had met one week earlier in Quito on an intensive Spanish language course

More Details

Sydney Harbour bridge

Sydney Harbour bridge is an iconic image of the city and everyone can bring it to mind without really thinking about it.

More Details

The Farmers of the Pyrenees

My head, wedged between the seat and the window, pops out of its awkward position as we come to a stop at the bus station.

More Details

The Gods Of Mexico

A proud Mexican family stood around the font at a baptism service. Twelve feet away a shaman sacrificed a chicken.

More Details

The Lost Himalayas

A wrinkled face on the road side tea stall in Rudraprayag looked in anticipation as I walked towards it.

More Details

The Magnificent

I was tired. A long day spent travelling the pink city of Jaipur and its beautiful palaces in the scorching sun had bought fatigue over me and my friends.

More Details

The Pint

He walks into the pub, elbows out, face grim. There isnt room to breathe, let alone sit or stand.

More Details

The Sounds of Silence

Can the sounds of travel take your breath away. I am sitting on the terrace of my house in Stupava, 20 ks north of Bratislava, Slovakia.

More Details

The Yapei Queen Adventures

The trip was designed to be a reinvigorating journey from Accra, on the coast, all the way up to the North

More Details

Through a Frenchmans Eyes

Wandering a little too casually through an ancient Athenian site, my sightseeing companion began to clamber over the Ancient Greek walls.

More Details

Tiger tale

The Jeep takes off over a hump in the dirt path, launching our heads at the roof. In the back, the four of us sink low on the two side facing benches, pressing our shoulders into the walls and jamming our feet under the person opposite.

More Details

Unveiling Hidden Paradise of Cebu

Ones destination is never a place but a new way of seeing things

More Details

Waking up in Juba

It was 4th March 1983. For four days we had travelled up the White Nile from Khartoum, watching dawn rise over the Sudd

More Details

Where Dragons Dare and Rainbows are Born

When considering the most breathtaking travel moment Ive ever had, Im reminded of the movie Blade Runner, and Roy Battys tears in rain monologue.

More Details

Wild Toilets

A camping expedition in Tanzania was our bid to seek the ultimate antithesis of the humdrum London lifestyle.

More Details