I’ve been distracted lately. The blog posts have not exactly been coming thick and fast. And that is because for the last month I have been diving in the Philippines.
It’s been quite a while since I left the balmy shores of Lake Bled, with its backdrop of castles, dramatic peaks and rolling green hills. In fact, the last month has been pretty much the polar opposite.
My final stop in the Balkans was Slovenia, the economic powerhouse of the former Yugoslavia and a charming country resembling Austria and Switzerland. In fact, I couldn’t really see how it fit with countries like Bosnia & Herzegovina or Macedonia – it was like chalk and cheese.
After being blown away by Dubrovnik I had high expectations when it came to Split and the Croatian islands. Though I did enjoy my time on Brač, the same could not really be said about Split and overall I left Croatia after almost a week feeling a bit flat.
“…and then I ran down our street and heard a few loud bangs. It was a sniper and he was shooting at me. I was so scared, and then he hit me.” Visiting Bosnia & Herzegovina has been one of the highlights of my entire European trip, but not in the ways in which I was expecting.
I’m sitting in Sarajevo, reflecting on a very hectic week, in which I visited 7 countries in 7 days. And yet it has been the most interesting, beautiful and puzzling part of my travels so far. If you have never been to this part of the world, then I suggest you book your flights now!
I have a confession to make: I love Singapore. Well, two confessions, actually…I also love tilt-shift lenses (and I apologise profusely for totally overusing tilt-shift images in this post, but I rented one for a day and figured I should make good use of it).
In my mind Da Lat is an anomaly. Situated 1,500m above sea level, and frequently facing prolonged periods of rain and overcast skies, the city is a good 10 degrees cooler than the rest of the country. This temperate climate, and the fact that the French colonialists treated it as a country retreat to get out of the stifling heat of Saigon, makes the place feel oddly European.
“Ok, now just remember to keep your feet pointed towards the ceiling, otherwise you could break your leg. Climb up to that one if you are feeling brave.” That is what is our guide shouted to me, standing waist-deep in a gigantic pool of mud half a mile inside one of the vast array of Karst mountains in Northern Vietnam.
My next stop after Hoi An was the imperial city of Hue – former capital city of the Nguyen empire. An impressive city with lots of atmosphere, you can tell that Hue has a rich history from the moment you set foot in it. Unfortunately, however, it also feels a bit like a shadow of its former self – perhaps due to the near total destruction of the city by American bombs during the Vietnam War.