Malta

We are blessed with one life to live on this incredible planet, that he created, … Malta took my breath away !!!

L-Ghar tal-Mixta
Overlooking the bay of Ramla l-Hamra, on the ridge opposite the popular Calypso Cave, stands Ramla Bay Cave.
This cave, also known as L-Ghar tal-Mixta, can be reached by traveling northwards the plateau on which sits the ancient village of Nadur.

last light on Vellettea

Man at No 21 in Marsaxlokk Bay the Perfect fishing village

Grand Harbour
The Grand Harbour, also known as the Port of Valletta, is a natural harbour on the island of Malta.

Malta is an archipelago in the central Mediterranean between

I almost did that ! – Central America

I almost did that !

“Can you speak and understand Spanish?”. “It’s not worth the risk; just go see it on Google”. “Are you crazy?! Those border crossings are dangerous!”. Such were the questions I encountered from friends. Most intriguingly, the phrase: “I almost did that” kept coming up in conversation. Just then at that moment I could sense the lingering regret behind that world, I knew that I had to give into my pilgrim soul; for as a little boy, I always dreamed of these far-off places and yearned to unearth and understand the lost civilizations.

Oh, how does one explain what one does and why one does it! I guess it is a blessing and a curse of the calling. With that thought, I embarked on an epic adventure of a lifetime to the land of the Mayas, a highly-developed civilisation that flourished and vanished without a trace in the Central Americas.

From crystal clear seas of the Caribbean to the deep underground caves of Central Mexico, my adventures saw me dive into blue waters of secret centos in the Yucatán Peninsula and scale the new worlds’ most impressive pyramids. I hiked through the thick, dense jungles of Guatemala, before ending my excursion by looking down on the lost city of Tikal. I experienced the smoking volcanos of Costa Rica. While I travelled I was disappointed to learn that Columbus was nothing more than a gold hungry Spaniard who destroyed as he discovered.

I’ve journeyed on chicken buses, private vans, back of pickup trucks, cycles, boats, and ferries. I walked for miles across each of the borders crossing into Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador, Nicaragua, and Costa Rica. In my quest to understand the culture and its people along the way, I ended up meeting and making new friends, some for life and others merely for the moment. I have witnessed some of the most dramatic landscapes in the world and marvelled at the sights of golden sunsets and star-filled night skies.

over 9000 km later, on a rainy and wet December morning, I arrived in Panama City, safe but thoroughly exhausted. One rucksack, three guide books, stacks of well-worn maps and a mind filled with memories and no urge to say “I almost did that!!”

Random Thoughts
5th December 2016
Panama

Travel Photography – Salzburg, Austria

“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli

“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli

“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli

“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli

“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli

“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli

“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli

“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli

“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli

“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli

“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli

“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli

“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli

“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli

“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli

“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli

“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli

“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli

“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli

“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli

“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli

“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli

“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli

“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli

“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli

“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli

“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli

“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli

“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli

“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli

“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli

“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli

“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli

“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli

“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli

“Like all great travelers, I have seen more than I remember, and remember more than I have seen.” – Benjamin Disraeli

What an Adventure Romania to Bulgaria by Train -15hrs

Romania to Bulgaria by Train

Finally the train from Russia arrives in Bucharest Nord after 2 a hour delay. Apparently it had broken down somewhere in Russia. I was eagerly waiting to begin the 9hour journey across some of the beautiful Romanian countryside I was excited all was going well !!!

I boarded the train and realised that almost all the seats were empty. Spoiled for choice, I found a nice empty seat, by the window. It was just me and one man at the end of the carriage. Immediately after I boarded the train there was an announcement and another followed by a long beep…. I couldn’t understand anything !! After a while, the car began to move with only two Romanian 2nd class compartment cars sandwiched between a couple of old soviet build sleeper waggons and a massive old engine completed this train. As we left Bucharest Nord it began its long journey that would reach Istanbul in two days.

Soon things changed!! The snow storm got worse !!! The train dragged its way across the beautiful Romanian countryside rocking side to side covered with a thick white blanket of snow as far as your eyes could see and then, a couple of hours later ….finally the inevitable happened…..the train came to a grinding halt. We were stranded in the middle of nowhere.

With harsh reality downing on me that I will not now make it to Sofia on time and would miss my ride to the Rila Monetary made me anxious and aggitated.
Nothing I could do was going to get me closer to my destination …… slowly hours passed as the snow storm got worse…… as night fell this journey had turned into a nightmare!! We were going nowhere!! Then the engine stopped giving way to the silence of the night. No heating, no water and no restaurant car and in the middle of a snow storm!! Just added misery to my journey ….nobody spoke English… I mean there were only 3 people in my carriage !!!!

Can’t read …..can’t write and no clue of what’s going on!! ….. Suddenly I felt like I was 5 years old again. In the words of Bill Bryson “ my sheer existence for the next 9 hrs was going to be based on a series of calculative guesses and luck “….. since I don’t believe in the latter… I thank the lord … This adventure has taught me that in life everything is not about reaching the destination on time … but the journey and the people that you meet along the way that matters

Late at night, the storm got worse and the snow pelted against the windows covering my only view of the outside world. It was quite eerie… the whole compartment was silent only to an occasional whisper from the adjoining cabin. I decided to walk through the carriages some were locked as people slept inside they seemed to accept this situation. Maybe there destinations were further than mine, maybe Istanbul ,maybe it was somehow normal …..hours passed. I met a few people…..some could speak English, others tried !! some looked at me curiously

Sharing “pogacha”(Traditional Bulgarian Bread) and a pile of mekitsi with jam a Bulgarian traveller in the last sleeper carriage taught me more about sincerity and kindness than I’ve experienced in a life time of rushing around on a day to day basis back home.

All these strangers all going somewhere united with a common bond that we were not getting any closer to our destinations… listening to them and getting a glimpse of their lives and hearing their perspectives of the their culture and their world has opened my eyes and challenged my deepest beliefs. It’s made me to trust my instincts and take that untraveled path to uncharted lands.. I also learnt that … everyone has a story that I’ve never heard before….. and everyone knows something that I don’t…… that … is worth knowing ….

Random Thoughts
4.00am cold and hungry on board an old soviet train
12th Jan 2014

The Monastery of Saint Ivan of Rila, better known as the Rila Monastery is the largest and most famous Eastern Orthodox monastery in Bulgaria. Wikipedia

The Monastery of Saint Ivan of Rila, better known as the Rila Monastery is the largest and most famous Eastern Orthodox monastery in Bulgaria. Wikipedia

Train to Bulagia

Hiking up the Rila Mountain Bulgaria, with Julia and Emma

Hiking up the Rila Mountain Bulgaria, with Julia and Emma

Snow storm in old city

Snow storm in old city