Craig Smith

Craig9563

Craig Smith

I'm an Australian guy with a passion for traveling. I am especially interested in nature. My aim is to see the "main" animal species in the wild and the "major world sights" and by the time I retire. (Not when I retire - life is too short !) My blogs are a mix of information and a bit of comedy - the latter largely provided by my partner and long term traveling companion. The blogs are also a record for me myself, so I can read them with a smile when I am old and grey. Enjoy.



Europe » Greece » Attica » Athens July 13th 2018

July 13, 2018. Episode 5: Greece is the word. When people think of the Greek islands, they often think of its crown jewel, Santorini. There has been a lot of lyrical waxing about the unique beauty of the place, and it’s justified. Santorini island is a crescent-shaped, partially submerged extinct volcanic caldera. It is a steep slice of land with a jumble of white-washed houses and hotels with pools strewn along its top, interspersed here and there with those classic blue-domed Greek orthodox churches. We flew in, and from the air it looks like a colossal slice of chocolate cake, tilted on its side and dripping with bright white icing. Certainly one of the most amazing places we have ever seen. Of course, Santorini is no secret. We were sharing its twisting cobblestone paths and breathtaking ... read more
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Europe » Greece » Ionian Islands July 4th 2018

July 4, 2018. Episode 4: It’s all Greek to me. Carol, Alicia, Ross and I finally made it to Athens, two and a half days after being stuck on the Croatian coast near Dubrovnik airport. We enjoyed ourselves though, as we experienced a slice of local Croatian life that we would not have otherwise seen. This included a lovely local restaurant by the water, where we had delicious octopus salad and squid ink black risotto, served by a cheeky and endearing elderly waiter. Our allocated time for Athens had been eaten up by the flight debacle, but we wanted to make the most of it. Getting through customs, etc. was surprisingly quick, then we caught a cab into town. Remember that maniac taxi driver that Ross and I had in Zagreb? Well, he was a mere ... read more
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Europe » Croatia » Dalmatia » Dubrovnik June 27th 2018

Wednesday, June 27 , 2018. Episode 3: We didn’t want to leave Dubrovnik- and actually couldn’t! After we split Split, so to speak, Ross and I caught the high speed catamaran down to the magnificent walled city of Dubrovnik. We were due to meet up with our friends, Carol and Alicia Brock, who were flying in from London. We met them at Buza bar, which sits precariously outside the city walls, facing the glistening ocean below. However, the bar was packed. It was standing room only for sardines, so we moved on. Our first stop was Fort Lawrence, a fantastic bastion from which we got super views across the entire city – see first image opposite. There was an outdoor bar by the water at the bottom, so we spent the late afternoon there. After a ... read more
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Europe » Croatia » Dalmatia » Split June 22nd 2018

June 22, 2018. Episode 2: Craving Croatia A zest for life isn’t confined to France. This past week we have been in Croatia, where we have met more friendly people that enjoy the good life. Shaped like the open jaws of a dragon (in lateral view!), Croatia is located in the south Eastern corner of Europe. It has a complex history and something of a split personality. The “upper jaw” includes the capital, Zagreb. The landscape features mountains, meadows and forests. The people have a serious work ethic and they eat hearty Hapsburg-inspired food. The “lower jaw” is dominated by the wonderful Dalmatian coastline - a more liberal, laid back area. Lapped by the Adriatic sea, it is a sun-drenched holiday destination, dotted with islands and with large throngs of tourists. It features handsome ancient old ... read more
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Europe » France » Île-de-France June 15th 2018

Friday June 15, 2018 Episode 1: Finding Friends in France. Hello to all our friends and colleagues. We are in Paris, at the beginning of a five-week sojourn that starts with a conference and will end on the beaches of the Greek Islands. Going to Europe from Aussie is all well and good, but the long haul flight makes me want to regurgitate the airline food. Both Ross and I really hate long haul flights. However, we both felt that it wasn’t too bad this time round. The first 14 -hour leg took us overnight from Australia to Abu Dhabi on Etihad. For once, we didn’t drink any alcohol on board, but instead took two temazepam and promptly slept a good several hours. During the second leg from Abu Dhabi to Paris, I made good use ... read more
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Africa » Namibia September 27th 2017

September 27, 2017 Episode 5: Etosha – and homeward bound. Hello to all our family and friends. Not long now before we return home to the Great Southern Land. In the last blog, I talked about Walvis Bay flamingos and the German-infused town of Swakopmund, on the Namibian Coast. We then drove back inland, stopping briefly at the beautiful Rocky outcrop of Spitzkoppe, which rises like a massive pyramid above the grassy plains. This is the southern part of an arid and incredibly scenic region called DamaraLand. (When I explained this to Ross, he misheard it as TomorrowLand, and wondered if we were somehow going to Disneyland.) We stayed at a lodge later that day in the Erongo Mountains. This area was beautiful. The land was strewn with massive granite boulders across a sea of straw ... read more
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Africa » Namibia September 17th 2017

September 17, 2017 Episode 4: The incredible Namib desert, flamingos, geckos…..and Germany! I was giving a lecture at Uni, but when I looked up, all the students were giraffes wearing glasses, craning their necks to see over each other. WTF? Then I woke up, and realised I was simply dreaming. No, I was not back at work, but still here in Africa. We are currently on the road in a hire car in Namibia, having an excellent time. The country of Namibia is large (about the size of NSW). Unusually for Africa, it is very sparsely populated. Only about 2 million people in the whole country. It is a vast land of striking arid scenery, including the oldest desert on Earth, the Namib, from which the country gets its name. It is a safe and easy ... read more
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Africa » Namibia » Windhoek September 11th 2017

Monday, September 11, 2017 Episode 3: The Okavango Delta and the case of the smuggled Frangelico. I have often thought that the admiration we as humans have for beautiful landscapes is an evolutionary adaptation. Our brains are probably wired to appreciate pristine environments to ensure that we preserve them for our own benefit - we need them because they supply us with food and shelter. The Okavango Delta is surely one such place. We completed our Botswana leg of the trip with an exploration of the Delta. A UNESCO World Heritage site, the Okavango was a firm bucket list item for me. A massive inland Delta, it is produced each year by seasonal flooding of the Okavango River during the wet season. Unlike most river deltas, the water does not reach the sea. It spreads out ... read more
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Africa » Botswana » North-East September 7th 2017

September 8, 2017. Episode 2: Seven days in the heart of the African bush. Greetings from beautiful Botswana, where we spent the past several days on a mobile tented safari, moving around the Northern National Parks and reserves. Home to both the Kalahari Desert and Okavango Delta, Botwsana is one of the top travel destinations in Africa. Much of the country is arid or semi-arid. Yet beneath its parched soil lies a glittering prize, as Botswana is the leading diamond-producing country in the world (in terms of value) and the second largest in terms of volume (after Russia). Such a lucrative resource has driven Botswana’s prosperity, and hence it is a stable, safe and tranquil place with a generally good standard of living, at least in cities. The over-arching national principle here is equality. The proud ... read more
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Africa » Zimbabwe » Victoria Falls August 29th 2017

August 29, 2017 Episode 1: Victoria Falls; The smoke that thunders. Dear family, friends and colleagues, I am thrilled to report that we are back here in Africa, easily my favourite travel destination in the world. Like a chilled glass of Frangelico, Africa is intoxicating and addictive. It never ceases to amaze me with its wonderful people, landscapes and - most of all - its incredible wildlife. This time, I was particularly interested in going to Botswana, home of the legendary Okavango Delta – to spy all sorts of animals - but wild dogs in particular. And then a self-drive in the neighbouring country of Namibia, home of the vast red sand dunes of the Namib desert and incredible Etosha National Park. Most people traveling from Australia to Africa enter via Johannesburg in South Africa. We ... read more
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