Radda in Chianti, Italy

Sunset over Radda in Chianti, Tuscany, Italy.

This beautiful photography of the Tuscan countryside was sent in by Annette from travellingmunk.

Annette is a former travel tour guide who now wants to travel the world one journey at a time. Either alone or with her much beloved Mr. Grumpy (quote Annette 🙂 ) She hopes to be able to live out of blogging and traveling in the near future.

Her blog is travellingmunk, where she writes about her travels around the world. Lately that has been Italy, and she also writes often about her home country, Norway.

Annette takes part in the Featured Images Event for the second time. Here is her other submission.


Wow, what can I say really!
Thanks for all the support that everybody has been giving this event, i’m super excited to be organising it and can’t wait for it to start.
Now, I just need to organise it all…
Here’s what’s going to happen, i’m going to give out my email address and anyone who wants to participate should drop me an email ASAP, allowing me to gauge what areas are left that are not written about, therefore not covered. Ideally, here’s what areas I would like to see:

-North America
-South America
-Either Antarctica or the Arctic.

As you can see these are quite broad, so please email me regarding where you would like to write about, wether or not you have been there is up to you. Try and keep it unusual, somewhere you think sums up that particular culture, or country, or continent. Please note that you do not have to email me your article straight away! This only just to notify me of where you will be writing about!

The event will start (hopefully) on Monday 20th July so get your emails in!!!

Also, we need as much publicity as possible. This involves reblogging, notifying any suitable connections you have, and generally getting the word out!

Thank you all again for your support, this should be a great event!

heres my email address: ejdawes@talktalk.net

I look forward to hearing from you!




Have you ever wanted to take part in a unique project unlike any other? Ever wanted to become noticed and part of a growing community? Now’s your chance!

Starting next Friday is the launch of a one-time event: Around The world in One Week.

What Does it Involve?

For this to take part, we need at least seven bloggers who will write about one unique place around the world, however the more the better. Ideally 14 bloggers, 21 would crazy! You can do the maths, if seven bloggers are needed for a week-long event how many pieces a day would 14 or 21 bloggers be? This place can be where you live, where you love or where you hope to go, but it has to be different! All organisation will be done at a later time (i.e this Friday).
Hopefully, the effect achieved will be coverage of around the planet in only seven days! How cool would that be!

What’s in it For You?

You get the chance to be published on a coveted site, constantly growing and evolving. You will also be mentioned at the end in a thank you as well as the chance to write a little bit about yourself on the website to be viewed.
We are a rapidly growing community regularly viewed by coveted writers, and when will a better opportunity be presented so simply to you?

What Are We Looking For?

The piece can be as long as you want and as creative as well. Ideally it would be longer than half a page, however quality over quantity is never a bad thing. A picture to sum up your piece would also be appreciated, but please…no copyrighted images.

How Do You Get Involved?

If interested, please notify us in the comment section below, as well as where you would like to write about, although nothing has to be set in stone! It will only serve as a general indicator.

This Sounds Great, I’ll Comment Right Now!

Thank You!!!


The Almighty Inca Trail – Peru

Day UNO.
Rise and shine it’s 430am!
Leaving Cusco to embark on the world renowned, brain draining, muscle flailing, emotion  invoking Inca trail.
Four days of intense physical and mental trials and tribulations ensues.

On the road

12 tourists, 3 guides and one driver, like ecstatic school children heading to an uber-exciting excursion.
We were bused for an hour and a half to a small village to purchase last minute snacks, drinks and coca leaves (the most important commodity).

We stocked up on agua sin gas, muesli bars, chocolates, juices, paracetamol, toilet paper, peanuts and corn kernels, then piled back onto the bus and drove for an hour and a half to reach the beginning of the Inca trail.

We stamped our passports, were rigorously I.D’d, participated in a pep talk and were dubbed the ‘Extreme Condors’, then lifted our walking sticks in the air as a good luck salute and before we knew it, we were on our way.

Inca Trail

Inca Trail

The altitude was already somewhat of a battle for some as others persevered and pressed on. We walked for what seemed like hours but were well rewarded when we finally reached our lunch site.

We were all foreseeably flabbergasted. The porters had set up two huge tents. One acted as a lunch room and the other a kitchen. On arrival not only did we receive applause but also ‘chicha morada’ a traditional Peruvian drink made from purple corn. The taste was somewhat reminiscent of blackcurrant or Ribena.
As we relaxed and attempted to recover, the porters organized a bucket of warm water so we were able to wash before lunch.

Then…Lunch was served.

Inca Trail


Inka Trail

Another three or so hours before we reached camp for the night and as the adrenalin subsided and exhaustion kicked in, we were all feeling very lethargic and ready to hit snooze by 8pm.


Day DOS.
A 5am wake-up call.
The porters gently shook our warm tent as we slowly remembered what we had gotten ourselves into.
They served us coca tea in our sleeping bags to assist with the altitude giving us the much needed morning kick.

We packed our duffle bags ready for the porters to whisk away and set up at our next site. We crawled out of our temporary homes and made a beeline for the breakfast tent.

Fresh mixed fruits, toast jam and butter, pancakes with chocolate, porridge and tea and coffee awaited us in all its delectable glory.
We ate, not unlike a pack of starving wolves in an attempt to sufficiently fuel up for what is dubbed the ‘hardest day on the trail.’

The porters were then introduced to us one by one, we learnt their age, number of kids and number of wives. Twenty in all, ranging from ages 19 to well in their 60′s and each carrying approximately 30kgs.


Our day then began.
It was 6:30am and with muchos gusto we embarked on what would be, not only physically but an incredibly mentally challenging climb.

The porters were off and running and as we turned the corner to continue the journey, we were immediately met with an enormous hill. Using our walking sticks and well conditioned legs we began to power on as a pack.

As the day progressed so did the space between each member of the group, each finding their own rhythm and pace.
Five hours of intense physical exertion, litres of sweat and tears,  predominantly uphill terrain, porters hot on our heels and countless muesli bars for fuel later we reached dead woman’s pass.
An epic 4200m in the air, extreme cold, our head in the clouds and enormous cheers from fellow Trekkers we had finally reached the summit.

The sheer elation, personal achievement and adrenalin was a feeling of something entirely unexplainable. We were all cold, sweaty and tired but ecstatic to have finally reached our goal for the day.


From here on in it was one hour of pure knee-crunking downhill rocky terrain. I decided to run the majority of it whilst others took it slower taking in the scenery.
Beating my personal best at being a mad dawg was of utmost importance at this point.

Without Fred Durst and Christina Aguilera in my ears  there is no way I would have made it!

We finally reached camp at approximately 130pm. Wet wipe baths ensued and we all exchanged stories and laughs that occurred on the hike.
Lunch was promptly served, fried onion rings, veggie soup, baked eggplant, egg omelettes, stuffed capsicum and veggie quinoa.
After we all had a long lunchtime siesta it was time for popcorn and card  games as the blue sky grew to night.

Dinner was later served, some of the extreme condors had to miss out as they were suffering severe bouts of gastro.

Inka Trail

A Sleep In was allowed. The porters shook our tents at 530am offering us all a hot cup of coca tea to get us up and raring for the day ahead.
We had 18kms and ten hours of hiking ahead of us.

A few more awoke with signs of gastro as we all discussed our bowel movements at the breakfast table over tea, toast, omlette, porridge and frittered bananas.

We began our trek as soon as our tummies were well full.

Forty minutes of pure uphill fiascos which lead to an incredible Inca building, we then had a history class and found out the building was built in the 1400′s and only discovered in 1911. It was strategically constructed to ensure all areas of access to the site were visible in case of the threat of intruders or enemies.



We persevered on for another one hour uphill battle.

Then, for the next three hours, it was all knee-jarring, thigh jerking, 6000 stone steps of downhill strutting.

I heard along the Inca grapevine that lunch was being served at the third Inca pass.


The lunch spot was incredible. We were witnessing Veronica Peak, surrounded by snow capped mountains and low-level cloud.
After everyone began arriving we all sat down for a meal, followed by a very welcome half hour siesta.

We still had approximately two hours worth of hiking to our night site, where a cold cerveza (beer) and jugo de naranja (orange juice) was promised.

After a two hour trek and countless repeat plays of Pitbull’s  ‘Hotel room service’ (reserve all judgement thanks) I had finally reached the next stop.
There were loads of other gringos (tourists) scattered about the site. There was a bar setup, a real banjos (toilet) with a seat and a hot ducha (shower). We all relished in the booze and celebrated an almost victory with beers, wine and a farewell banquet for our porters (cooked by the porters)
We all got rowdy (vino and altitude is not a good combo) but hit the hay promptly as we were told our tents would be shaken at 330am!

Drunk and disorderly hikers all frog-marched straight to their sleeping bags as soon as this hour of rising was set upon them.

Party in Peru

Waking at ridiculous O’Clock, our eye was on the prize and Machu Picchu (meaning old mountain) was only two hours away.
We began walking at approx 5am and arrived at the world famous site before all the other loco snaparazzi tourists did.

We enjoyed the history, architecture and picturesque location on an incredibly clear sun-filled magnificent day. Today the sun gods were really treating us. There were adorable fluffy llamas roaming about freely, thousands more steps, incredible architectural techniques and all perfectly located in a self-sufficient Eco-system .


Although the trek was physically and mentally challenging feat of strength, comradery and perseverance, I’m super pumped to say  ‘I survived the Inca trail!’


Good to know before you go: A good level of fitness and pre-trip training is essential for the Inca Trek. You will trek on hilly terrain or mountainous terrain at altitudes of up to 4200 metres, for up to 7 hours per day.

Ensure to pre-book with a tour guide or tour company, I went through Geckos, whom were fantastic as number of hikers are limited every year.

Below is a packing list, however, I was very un-prepared completing my climb in jeans and a T-shirt.
Packing List
  • 1 pair light walking pants
  • 1 pair jeans
  •  underwear
  • 3 t-shirts
  • 3 pairs running socks
  • 1 rain jacket
  • 1 Rain Pants
  •  water bottle
  •  First Aid Kit
  • 1 light thermal top
  • 1 light thermal bottom
  • Beanie
  • light gloves
  • hiking boots

NO SHOWERS which mean Wet Wipes are your best friend!

  • deodorant
  • bandaids
  • safety pins
  • toothbrush
  • toothpaste
  • sunblock
  • chapstick


  • camera
  • memory cards
  • Headlamp
  • Torch and batteries

Other Stuff

  • day pack
  • passport
  • Fill your music player up with tunes!


Traveling throughout Germany – the budget way.

While traveling long distances throughout Germany without a car, most tourists still resort to the Deutsche Bahn (German Railways). But since about one year, there’s been a much better (budget-friendlier) option: traveling by bus.

Until the beginning of 2013, bus tour operators weren’t allowed to offer long-distance tours throughout Germany.  The aim was to protect the German Railways System from any competition.

Since Spring 2013, this law is no longer valid. Bus tour companies can now operate on any long-distance route within Germany. And this is a good thing as it is much cheaper than traveling by train.

As an example: A one-way ticket from Munich to Hamburg costs 75 to 95 euros by train, but only 27 euros by bus.  And on the bus, you also have some additional services like free Wi-Fi (free Wi-Fi is available on trains, too).

There have been a lot of bus tour operators popping up since last year, and there will certainly be a shake-out sometime.
Here is a list with links to the most established and reliable ones so far:

Side remarks: Most bus operators offer reduced fares for special groups (students, disabled people). And: It is mostly more expensive to buy the ticket on the bus, so do the booking online!
Seats are only guaranteed when booked in advance. And make sure to check the baggage requirements, sometimes there are size and weight restrictions. Additional baggage has to be paid.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t find an English version of their website. So you’d need someone to help you operate their site.
Service: free Wifi, guaranteed seats, snacks and beverages (not free), restroom/facilities available, hand baggage and two pieces of baggage free.

Service: free Wifi, free seat reservation, restroom/facilities available, hand baggage and one piece of baggage free, air-conditioned coaches.

Service: guaranteed seat, restroom/facilities available, one piece of baggage free.

Service: guaranteed seat, restroom/facilities available, one piece of hand baggage and one item of ordinary baggage free, free Wifi, snacks and beverages are sold.

Service: hand baggage and two pieces of ordinary baggage free (a baggage insurance fee is obligatory and can be purchased on the bus), soft drinks and coffee (not free), bus driver will make stops at rest areas (I couldn’t find any information about restrooms/facilities on the bus), guaranteed seat.

ADAC Postbus
Service: guaranteed seat, on-board restroom/facilities, air-conditioning, free Wifi, one carry-on baggage and one ordinary baggage free, snacks and beverages (not free).

Service: guaranteed seat, two pieces of baggage free, air-conditioning, on-board restroom/facilities, free Wifi, snacks and beverages (not free).


I hope you’ll have a good time traveling through Germany! If you have any questions, feel free to ask.
And: I’d like to say that I have no affiliation with one of the above-mentioned companies whatsoever.

What David Brooks Doesn’t Get About Us

A post by a successful TravelBlogging couple about how sharing economy phenomena like Airbnb are still misrepresented. An interesting read!

Everywhere Once

Not at all what David thinks. Not at all what David thinks.

I have to say I was a bit amused to read David Brooks’ most recent column from the comfortable couch of our two-bedroom apartment rental overlooking a harbor in Cornwall, England. You see, David is a bit confused about the emerging “peer-to-peer” economy. To his credit, he admits as much.

I’m one of those people who thought Airbnb would never work. I thought people would never rent out space in their homes to near strangers. But I was clearly wrong.”

He then tries to explain why his original prediction failed, only to demonstrate that he still doesn’t really get what’s going on.

On the one hand, he does seem to grasp the way in which new technologies are rendering rigid old structures flexible. On the other, he seems completely oblivious to the value such flexibility provides. It’s a theme that runs throughout the piece.


View original post 1,489 more words