Chang Mai

My late start on Kilimanjaro

Since my first glimpse of Mount Kilimanjaro, at the Kenyan border near Amboseli, I could not get this question out of my mind: “How the hell am I going to climb up there?” Back home when I was preparing my trip to Tanzania, I would not have dreamed to ascend Africa’s highest peak, almost twenty thousand feet above sea level. But…

Orang Asli: a visit to the jungle people

Upon entering the Taman Negara reservation, I was assigned a local guide – a small, thin and very polite young man named Danny. He was a great admirer of the traditions and way of life of the indigenous people. He sometimes went hunting with them in the jungle, with nothing but a spear and a bow, and slept in the trees at…

Bali: the things I didn’t expect

I arrived in Bali after a long flight that took me across the Equator, to the Pacific Ring of Fire. As a first destination, I had chosen Sanur, a town on the east coast of the island. I had read that the atmosphere was more relaxed there, compared to the resorts on the west coast, well-known for their party vibe.…

The filthiest place in the world

I was in the Sabah province, in the far north of Borneo, heading from the Kinabatangan river valley to my next destination, the Danum Reservation. After unforgettable encounters with elephants and orangutans, the time had come for a completely different experience: a descent into the bowels of the earth, into the famous Gomantong Cave. In the darkness of that cave,…

The house in Havana

Someone was waiting for me at the airport, to drive me to my guesthouse in Havana. As it was late in the evening, the first thing that struck me was the almost complete darkness of the streets. Old images of the life behind the Iron Curtain in Eastern Europe came to my mind instantly, and have continued to return on…

Stories with lions

The arrival of the dry season meant that it was time for the animals of the savannah to migrate north: from the Serengeti plains, across the Tanzanian border, to the cooler and greener Maasai Mara Plateau in Kenya. When the rains would start again, they would go back the same way. The wildebeest migration is one of the most spectacular…

The Mustang from Pokhara

My adventure in the Himalayas was meant to start in Pokhara, a small Nepalese town on the shores of a vast clear lake at the foot of the Annapurna massif. The surface of the lake, framed by purple water lilies, was reflecting all the surrounding mountains – which were dominated by the 22,793 feet high Machapuchare, a razor-sharp peak always covered…

A lonely beginning on the Camino

My first vacation alone had happened a year before, but not because I had planned for it. I had gone to Greece with some friends, but it turned out that our plans were diverging. I considered going back home, but I changed my mind last minute and decided to continue the journey by myself. The rather positive experience that followed…