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The International Writers Magazine: HACKTREKS ARCHIVE 6 2011-2012
EUROPA
ASIA
AMERICAS
Veni, Vidi, Vinci
Zara Nelson

Tuscany always has a surprise up its sleeve, and Vinci is one of the most pleasant surprises you could hope to have.
Balaton Breeze
John M Edwards

When I arrived at Lake Balaton with my girlfriend, we were in a quandary about where to stay
In Modern Venice

Kim McKechney

Our gondolier sported a thick handlebar moustache worthy of the Village People.  A thin cigarette dangled dangerously from his mouth, hanging so loosely it seemed to brazenly flout the laws of physics
Made in Madeira
John M Edwards

Madeira is not only an island and a drink, but also  a state of mind, John M. Edwards discovers on a serendipitous bar crawl through what he initially deemed mere fortified “cooking” wines
Guilt Free Glutony
Walking & Wine in Montepulciano
Aaron Millar

Southern Tuscany is undoubtedly one of the most gastronomically satisfying places on earth.
Secrets of the Vatican
Michelle Lynch

I’m driving around in Rome, which is a nightmare under the best of circumstances, but when you’re trying to make a circle to get back to the right street and most of the city is limited to local traffic, you feel like pulling out your hair
Sissi lives on in Vienna’s Heart
Melissa Bird-Collado

Austria must be one of the smaller XXI century European countries. But Vienna, its capital, is covered by a royal hallo that will always remind visitors that less than 200 years ago it was an Empire of nine kingdoms.
The Glacier Express
Donna B. Cueto

My brief escapade in the country known for its Alps and plateau was a mere side trip from my one month vacation in Germany last August
Danish Daydreams
Fredric Hamber

When I think of the Danish I think of mathematicians—and mermaids: twin strains of rationality and romanticism
Bulgaria: Wine, Women, Song and snacks
Lyn Fuchs

I found little there except succulent food, tasty wine, soulful music, and attractive women
Broken Car in Kreti
Melina Lake 

I can’t help but be pleased when Jorgos’ attempt to drive my rented Fiat onto his tow truck platform fails miserably

Tribal Encounters in Ethiopia’s Omo Valley
Linda Barghoorn

Ethiopia’s Omo Valley lies just 300 miles southwest of the frantic, pulsing capital of Addis Ababa, but it might just as well be on another planet.
Obidos
Alan Dale

The massive medieval walls suddenly overshadowed the flat farmland, chillingly suggesting their having moved when I wasn’t looking. That was nothing compared to Obidos’s next assault on my senses.

Streets of Valletta
Dene Bebbington

Valletta is a cosy, walkable capital city. Located on the Sciberras peninsula, it's just a mile from the city gates to Fort St Elmo overlooking two natural harbours its sandwiched between.
Buona Pasqua!
Leah Depue

Before taking the tiny, jam-packed bus from Sorrento to Positano, passengers should consider writing a will before boarding. My four day adventure around the Sorrento area included some of Italy’s most beautiful cities.
Share strawberries in Berlin
Marianne de Nazareth

Discover Berlin in Springtime
Abrasively American
Margaret Banker

My senior spring break found me not in some Caribbean Island, or roaming the seas on a cruise-liner, but friend-hopping through the UK, visiting pals pursuing levels of education much beyond my ambition.
Turkey Day
John M Edwards

I was going to write about haggling with friendly, aggressive Turkish merchants over carpets and kilims, amidst endless rounds of little glasses of thé du menthe–until I realized everyone else had already exhausted this topic.
ROULETTE ROUE
John M. Edwards
meets a local playboy and friendly angel in Monaco, addicted to the casino gaming tables
Stork Storm over Santiago De Compostela
John M. Edwards
travels the 500-mile Christian pilgrimage route of “El Camino de Santiago de Compostela” (St. James Way)—only to end up surviving an angry divebombing storm of storks!
Hidden Venice: That Sinking Feeling
Tom James

Tom James find tourism replaced by dirty evil pigeons in the Piazza San Marco.
Dublin and The Avoca Weavers
Marianne de Nazareth

Three leaved Shamrocks, Leprechauns, faries and elves. I had grown up with
warm hearted Irish missionaries, who ran our catholic schools in India..  
A Bike Tour of Amsterdam
Tania Jachens

Despite my tour guide’s warning, I looked away from the bike in front of me for just a moment.  I had turned my head to admire the idyllic lane along which we peddled, recognizing the scene from a postcard I had purchased earlier
The Next Big Backpacker Destinations
Tom Coote

Backpackers have traditionally been at the vanguard of tourism. The more adventurous budget travellers will often go to the sort of places that remain untouched by posh resorts and package deals.
Discover Northampton

Joanna Snow

I found so much interest on my journey round the hidden corners of this beautiful county
What Lies Beneath
Brett Longstaff in Paris

Not knowing really what to expect, I read the inscription upon the stone portal on entry; “Arrete, c’est  ici  l’empire de la mort.”
City-Pick Amsterdam: the city, the guidebook
Chris Mills

We took a trip last month to Amsterdam. It was to be a brief taster of all that the city has to offer if one only had a bit more time to spend there.
Besancon: Victor Hugo
Saleem Ayoub Quna

The surprising pleasantness of Hugo's birthplace was a delight
Basque Case : Separation Anxiety in the Pyrenees
John M. Edwards
A merry little trip to the Basque Country, an autonomous utopia containing a bit of both France and Spain is like trying to find the original site of the Garden of Eden, which Basques claim might be hidden in their unrecognized “country”: Euskadi!

The Summer of '78 - As the Door Opened to China - My Visit to Hong Kong & How I Was Not Able to Visit Mainland China
Maria Ausherman
Crashing Perth’s Freebie New Years Eve Party in Australia
John M Edwards
A New Years Eve Party in Perth, one of the best places to celebrate the turning of the calendar page on the planet!
Borrowed geography can cause trouble
Saleem Ayoub Quna

As I was packing for my vacation in Sharm Al-Sheikh, one item on my must-do list was clearly underlined; See the straits of Tiran at the mouth of the Gulf of Aqaba

Beirut in the Baltics
The Wild Wild East Europe
John M Edwards

After the collapse of communism in the USSR, inflation in the freshly minted Baltic republics of Latvia, Lithuania, and Estonia rolled up the ruble into the cheapest toilet paper around, so I decided to go East and stock up.
Mysore Maharajas
Marianne de Nazareth

It was a spur of the moment decision to take a break in Ooty, in the newly refurbished summer palace of the Maharaja of Mysore – his highness Srikanta Datta Narasimha Raja Wadiyar Bahadur the 26th Maharaja of Mysore in South-India.
Turkmenbashi’s Land of Fairy Tales
Tom Coote

I got lost on my way to the land of fairy tales. I had confidently followed the road to the Promised Land, only to find that it led to ruins.
Tearing Up the Silk Road by Tom Coote
Publisher: Garnet Publishing
Sam North review
Tom Coote set himself a target of going the whole distance of the ancient Silk Road by public transport in just nine weeks... one needs determination and fortitude and a very stong stomach - and that's just for the many scary toilets experienced on the way.

Visiting Uncle Ho
David Calleja

Hanoi at 7am is buzzing. The narrow streets near Hoan Kiem Lake are alive with the sound of civilian life revving at full throttle

View from the Clouds
Blair Biersbach

The ever jubilant, Mickey Mouse, a neon green leaf and a misspelled quote from “The Sound of Music” stared up at me from my dirty, worn out journal.
Kolad Escape
Jitendra Bhojwani

If you are fed up of rushing, maddening city life, if too much of polluted air has started blocking your lungs and you want to head for some peaceful abode then think no further! Just Go to Kolad!

How to find a restaurant in Vietnam
John M. Edwards

In imperial Hué, Vietnam, “ethnic eats” expert John M. Edwards alights upon a café not located in the Lonely Planet guide
Koh Commotion: Mister Friendly
John M Edwards

Off the coast of Thailand, John M. Edwards deems it a beautiful day for a ferry sinking, so grab an orange life saver and say your prayers
Jaipur: The Royal City
Jiten Bhoi

The very name of Jaipur is synonymous to Royal City with a host of Palaces, Forts, Temples, Museums and everything that is related to the Royal Past. Though the modernity is spreading very rapidly, there certainly are places where the charm and elegance of Royal Days is still very much visible
Petra
Piotr Wesolowski

I shall return here tomorrow, I promise to myself.  I shall take one last glimpse of the awe inspiring Al-Khazneh. 
Meeting Elvis in Vietnam
David Calleja

When an elephant’s name is inspired by the legendary Elvis Presley, you can’t help falling in love with the beast
The Honeymoon Hunter of Dalat
Phillip Donnelly

Dalat is thought of fondly by most Vietnamese, in no small part because this is where they usually spend their honeymoons
First 24 Hours in China
Fiona Marion
Between the four of us, we carried a year's worth of goods through the narrow, lively streets of old Hong Kong.
Jodhpur; City Of Surprises
David Russell

In search of a good meal
The Cook Islands, Raratonga, Tahiti & Aitutaki.
David Russell

The Island’s prime function served as a canoe stop on the way to New Zealand
In the heart of the Hindu universe
Mark Hutchinson

Uma Shankar was the only person in the whole train station who was not sweating aggressively
Riyadh Sketches
Marwan Asmar

There is a feeling of dilettantism expressed in its urbanism sprawl, society and structure.
The Most luxurious train in the world
Elizabeth Schotten Merklinger

From Cape Town to Pretoria in style
Pleasing Our Palates in Palau
Jane Cassie

Japanese bentos, spicy Asian, all-American; Palau’s multi-ethnic cuisine is pleasing to any foodie’s palate and is a direct offshoot of this tiny nation’s culture and past.
Caodai Calling
John M Edwards

I had come all the way to Vietnam to investigate a weird supernatural religion called Caodaism, an attempt to fuse the ideal faith, “a universal religion,” from a potboiled spiritual pho centered on Spritism
Rainwater Ceremony Song
David Calleja
Today is a very important day in the history of Tropangs Dok village, for the concept of rain and its decision to grace its presence over the village will be honoured with a song
How to breathe life into the Dead Sea
Saleem Quna

Who owns the Dead Sea? Who controls what pours in it or what is subtracted from it? Who is entitled to decide its present and future? Why do we care about it?

The Arab Spring: Inspiration for Writers & Artists - Dee Mason
For as long as we've had conflict, we've had people to document it

________________________
A Sanka in St Petersburg
John M Edwards

An eye-opening experience in Cold War Russia - Interested in finding the St. Petersburg salon where the protagonist of Doestoevsky’s Notes from the Underground is snubbed and ridiculed by his friends, I set off for that fair city sometime in the springtime, I believe.
Metro Mania
Brittany Pietrunti

« Attention a la marche, en descendant du train »
French phrase for “Please mind the gap”.
The animated voice blares through the speakers of the metro yet still manages to retain the sweet seductiveness inherent in the French language. 
Castro Urdiales, Cantabria
Gretta Schifano

The Guggenheim is one reason to visit the Spanish Cantabrian coast, but snorkelling in the Atlantic was a surprise. As I floated face down in the water two metres from the beach I watched a huge shoal of silvery fish speeding along in the current below me
Durham
Eleanor Ross

Durham’s crooked grey streets, stone castle and slow paced river attract coachloads of tourists every year. Lonely Planet’s ‘Thousand Things to do Before You Die’ book cites Durham as a top destination for visitors to Britain.
Morocco Sahara Odyssey
Charlotte Temple

Morocco is a country filled with history, fabulous food, incredible scenery, warm and friendly people and a little bit of mystery tossed in for good measure. This was my 13th Overseas Adventure Travel trip, and it ranked as one of the best.
Spreewald. Germany
Norman Wolfer

We never cease to be amazed at just how the Berlin/Brandenburg area excels in providing these historically significant and contemporary points of interest, within easy one day outings.
Classical Elegance
Nick Constance
8 days, 4 ships, 3 concerts and 7 locations –a magical musical tour through the French countryside
A week in the Sticks
Darren Skelton

A log-cabin in the peak district on a farm in the middle of nowhere sounded like a winner. I didn't even have to “sell” the idea to my wife, who is petrified of the open out-doors.
Unwind & relax in WindFlower, Bandipur
Marianne de Nazareth

If you love birds, the jungle, fresh air and good food, pack a pair of binoculars, some shorts and tees and head out to Wind Flower Tusker Trails resort in Bandipur, in the South of India.

Meeting a Modern Day Che
Ruby Weldon
One tends to meet highly educated Cubans in the most unlikely places.  We were staying at a 'casa particular,' a Cuban bed and breakfast, in a small town known mostly for it's relaxed, convivial atmosphere. 
A Drive to Brisbane
John Finch
We left on a typical cool, dismal Melbourne August day. The city and inner suburbs were closed in by drizzly low-lying grey Stratus clouds.

São Miguel's Volcanic Lakes
Dene Bebbington
A picture in a brochure was all it took. I had to go and see the Sete Cidades caldera.

Fraser Island Outrage
Tom Coote
Life on the bus and other stories
Critter’s Control:
My Latest Misadventure
Sean O’Neill

I could not escape; the slimy, hard-shelled, bug-like creature clamped onto my right thigh and would not let go.

Tea Time in Africa
Casey Hamilton in Mauritania

It had been a long day. It must have been nearing midnight and we sat in the back of a pickup truck with a group of Taiwanese commercial fishermen. The town was quiet and ominous.
News from Nowhere: Going Gonzo on the Gold Coast of Ghana
John M Edwards
John M. Edwards Battles Golf-Ball-Sized Bugs and Meets Seasoned Adventurers Skilled in the Art of Bad Trips
Flying over Bora Bora
Uri A. Jurist

On May 14, I vanquished my fear of heights. 
Staying Warm, Without Staying Dry in Denver
Bobby Bingle

I didn’t know where I should go or what I should do. I had just checked into an inexpensive hotel a block south of the 16th street mall in Denver
Ups and Downs in Venezuela
Stephanie Fleming

I struggle through a crowd of people so thick I can’t see what I’m stepping on, as I drag my suitcases behind me. 
Outaouais Quebec
Habeeb Salloum

If one is visiting Ottawa, Canada’s capital, across the Ottawa River is the Outaouais Region of Quebec. Spend a day amid its green rolling park hills
Mexican adventure in a glass
Michelle Maciejewska

Suddenly thrown forward violently, but restrained by my seat belt from being propelled into the seat in front, my first thought was incongruously “For Christ’s sake, I don’t believe it.  Now I’m in a bus crash in Mexico!”
The Sex Lives of Glowworms
(Waitomo, New Zealand)
John M. Edwards had no intention of conquering claustrophobia by going caving—until he remembered Pat Boone eating a giant mushroom in a Jules Verne film
Where the Clear Creek Narrows

Michael Chacko Daniels

I try to get a glimpse of Pheneger Creek coursing among the giant trees of California’s central coast on Highway One
Travels in Cuba - a cloak and dagger affair
Ruby Weldon

We wanted to see some Cuban countryside, so we decided to take a bus from Havana to Santa Clara, a trip of around 6 hours – give or take.  We'd been strongly advised to buy our tickets in advance. 
Exiles from Cuba...
Ruby Weldon

We were standing on a dusty street corner in Celestun, a dozy and somewhat derelict village on the northern Gulf of Mexico side of the Yucatan Peninsula.  The side few tourists frequent, its beaches not as white, its waters not as azure, and its tourist amenities not as developed as the southern Caribbean side. 
Tumbleweed Journey
Mia Efantis

Russian thistle is what drove me to the Grand Canyon this time. That big, bushy weed you’ve seen bouncing across the silver screen in old western films. 
Mexican Zip-lining Tour
Lauren Brunck
As we zoom around the bend, kicking up dust from the dirt and gravel path, a tall edifice materializes through the foliage of the jungle. We slam on our breaks and dismount our bikes at the base of the tower
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MORE EUROPA
Packing for St. Petersburg
Sasha

Tomorrow I will be packing up my bags here in Prague and setting out on the next leg of my journey. For over 5 years I have been dreaming of traveling to Russia, and that dream is now within reach of reality. 
Lalibela - Ethiopia
Elizabeth Schotten Merklinger

Nothing prepared me for the majesty of Ethiopia. I have always considered myself an intrepid traveler with quite a few unusual destinations under my belt from unknown Tibet to remote villages of Maharashtra.  But never have I felt such a sense of otherness as here. 
Just Back : An African 'Ozymandius'
John M. Edwards haggles recklessly over a uniquely carved wooden statue of the cowlicked comic-book hero Tintin at The Ivory Coast Arts Coop, perfect for smuggling diamonds or heroin. . . .
A Legacy for Lake Como     
Bill Gilpin

Exploring Villa Balbianello
Nice: A Cultural Divide
John Welsh

When it comes to eating and drinking, the cultures do not seem to merge.

Jerash, A Roman Secret
Marwan Asmar

It's a truly amazing experience to sit and watch military scenes that resemble those you enjoyed watching in the “Gladiator” movie in Jerash Jordan.
Bus Bribe
Bobby Fox

Still feeling the buzz from the Crimean wine we consumed at dinner, my fiancée and I headed to the bus stop in preparation of our 12-hour ride back Dnepropetrovsk.
Egypt: A Revolutionary Welcome
- Romina de Oliveira

It was my first visit to an Arab country so I was a touch apprehensive, especially as I was a female travelling alone.
Death, Debauchery and Desert: Africa’s Wild South-West

Christopher Clark

Until a couple of months ago I knew next to nothing about Namibia. I have since discovered that the same is true for most people outside of Germany (Namibia’s former colonial ruler) and those countries that share its borders.
Singin' on the Love Boat
Charles E J Moulton

The cruise liner was my address for six months. My job was to sing and act in seven shows

Istria in Croatia on wheels
Paul-Christian Markovski

We entered Croatia from the most northwestern border, where Italy, Slovenia and Croatia meet on the coastline by Trieste.

Choosing Wine in France
Paul-Christian Markovski

I had a premonition that to buy wine in Lyon would be a different experience. And I was not let down
Bach country in Leipzig, Germany
Marianne de Nazareth

Spring in Germany is definitely the best time to enjoy a trip to Germany. The trees are bright with fresh new foliage and the scent of flowers is everywhere.
Newsletter from Marrakech – City of Contrasts 
Patricia Lebaud

Summer was even too hot for the birds to lift their wings
Shooting Ubuntu
David Beaumont

Having paid the money for an afternoon and night in the townships with some trepidation,  I wonder whether I’ll be pleasantly surprised or just mortified?
Wakhan Corridor
Lev Wood

For the past three or four years, the first intrepid adventurers have been enjoying the pristine remoteness of the Wakhan and the generous hospitality of the Wakhi and Kirgiz tribesmen
Riding for Life
Danny Bent

Have you ever woken up with your hair and beard teeming with maggots? Have you ever felt the cold barrel of a semi automatic gun against your forehead?
The Serai Kabini
Marianne de Nazareth

If you are a bird watcher and a wildlife enthusiast, look no further! The Serai Kabini is a cut above the rest for a weekend spent watching your feathered and furry friends.
Wild Boys in South East Asia
Ted O’Connor

I’ve just spent the past five weeks in Vietnam, Thailand and Laos. I’ll provide you with the highlights of a twenty year old romping about a beautiful part of the world with four of his best mates.





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