Page 4 of gillg Travel Blog Posts

Asia » Tajikistan » Dushanbe August 22nd 2018

Day 2 Dushanbe Fast Facts Population 679 400 Elevation 800m Settlement- 5th century BC Dushanbe evolved in 1929 with establishment of a railway, aka Stalinabad- capital of new Soviet Tajik republic 1950's back to Dushanbe (which means Monday), Tajik immigrants from Uzbekistan, German POW's and Russian exiles 1990's civil war with the fall of the Soviet Union 2002 peace prevails, city transforms Wake up after not enough sleep with a cold, unfortunate timing but I can deal with it... My room in the daylight- big, white, spacious, old Persian rugs, big puffy curtains (hmm). white linen, navy privacy curtain into small ante room and bathroom, all very spotless, very, very spotless. I love it (with the exception of the puffy curtains), art on the walls-local eurasian, r... read more
Tried And Tested Broom
Architecture of Dushanbe

Asia » Tajikistan » Dushanbe August 21st 2018

Day 1 Warning- this blog post will give you no insights whatsoever into travelling in Tajikistan, it's just my personal start full of inane detail. Read on at your peril.... Up at 03:00, out the door 03:30. Win 1- Big, heavy unwieldy pack is checked all the way through to Dushanbe, no need to reclaim in Dubai. Win 2- Qantas Club let me in at 04:30 (despite my Emirates boarding pass). Win 3- Window seat with 2 empty seats next to me. Then I lose. Having gloated about not getting the virus that ran through our household last week, at the 5 hour mark of the flight my throat is tickling. Slightly worried. By the time we get to Dubai I have a full on killer headache. I had pre-booked a room at the Holiday Inn ... read more
Empty Row
Blurry Airport Departure Shot

Asia » Tajikistan » Dushanbe August 20th 2018

This trip came about when a friend (Terry, met in Iran in 2014) sent me photos of his trip incorporating the "Stans", specifically Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan. It only took about 5 minutes to once again shelve Mongolia and completely switch destinations. I knew nothing at all, in any shape or form, about Tajikistan or Kyrgyzstan, I'm not so sure that I'd even heard of them before. Immediately I took to scouring blog sites (like this- Shane the Travelling Camel, Dancing Dave and Dave and Merry Jo in particular), independent blogs (The Adventures of Lill Nicki), info boards, forums, TA, IndyGuide, Caravanistan and Lonely Planet (etc, etc, etc.....) to construct an itinerary. It was a tough one as there were absolutely endless places to see, mountains to climb and things to do in these 2 incredible countries. ... read more

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland September 18th 2017

Alas, the last part of the Scotland trip! Have had the 2 day Glasgow interlude, the awesome WHW walk, the Edinburgh family reunion and fantastic explore of the city, the wedding -my sister, Lesley and now husband, Si had a great night complete with kilts, clans and cake. Now it is time for... The Isle of Mull with the parents! Pick up hire car (with additional hidden charges, of course... grrr), drive Edinburgh to Oban with parents via my WHW villages and some random forest roads as per the GPS instructions (only missed 2 turnoffs, hence the random forest roads I think), miss the ferry to Mull, drive (OMG!!!) onto next ferry 2 hours later, very smooth 45 min trip across to Craignure on the Isle of Mull. Very impressive, these ferry's, with lots of seating ... read more
Ferry to Mull
Driving Onto Ferry

Europe » United Kingdom » Scotland » The Highlands September 3rd 2017

The West Highland Way (AKA- The West Highland Apple Pie Way) To set the scene- this hike is one part of my 3 and a bit week trip to Scotland. I was very keen to do as much of it as I could backpacking and sleeping in my tent so I packed my usual hiking set up (minus my gas canister). I bought a new Osprey Transport pack cover and shoved as much as I could into the backpack plus one soft holdall bag for the multifaceted trip (wedding/city sights/hike/Isle of Mull). My baggage allowance with Qantas was generous but everything still came in well under 20kg. In terms of the planning I bought the West Highland Way guidebook by Charlie Loran, read lots, and talked to a few people who had done it. I decided ... read more
Tunnel 1
Floral View
Down into the Abyss

Asia » Indonesia » Java » Ijen Plateau October 13th 2016

Day 7+ Still technically Day 7, the alarm is set for 2300 to wake up for the overnight trek to Kawah Ijen. We have a 2 hr drive to get to the trail head. It's a winding, poorly sealed road that leads us up the mountain. This is something I have wanted to do for a long time. Some background- Kawah Ijen is a volcano complex in East Java, situated within it is an active sulphur mine at the base of the crater. It is also the location of the famous blue fire - the largest of only 2 blue flame sites in the world. The electric blue flame is ignited sulphuric acid that vents out of the crater and can reach heights of 5m (temperatures reach up to 600 C). Sulphur clouds are frequent. A ... read more
Sulphur for Sale
Closer To The Base
Sulphur Miner

Asia » Indonesia » Java October 12th 2016

Day 7 Today's 14 hours on the road highlights: 06:00- up and out for early stroll - knee is loosening up, stumble (not literally) upon local local market on footpath- particularly impressed with no less than 15 varieties of bananas. If you went through yesterday's blog entry and all 60-ish photos you will have seen a good bunch of them. The stall holders were predominantly women and all consented to having their photos taken with their produce. I speak fairly dismal Bahasa Indonesia but my basic sentences are OK and seem to be understood. 07:00- breakfast at homestay is as colourful as the room, best one I've had so far. The peanut sauce on the Cap Cay is 10/10. 08:30- convince Dosi I don't need to be escorted wandering the streets of downtown Probolinggo. He drives ... read more
Makan Pagi
Architecture of Probolinggo

Asia » Indonesia » Java » Surabaya October 11th 2016

Day 6 My main reason for the Surabaya stop was to see the Masjid Nasional Al Akbar Surabaya - aka the Grand Mosque (2nd biggest in Indonesia ), and it was on the way to Bromo Tengger NP. Caught a cab there early (the Artotel reception called one for me then I negotiated with him to wait for me for an hour and a half and drive me back to the hotel). The mosque's level of spectacularness didn't disappoint - green and turquoise domes, lots of gold leaf, intricate mosaics, stained glass and huge tracts of white marble floors. Slippery marble floors. Even slippier when newly mopped. I think my post-Merapi stiff legged robot style walk that throws your centre of balance may also have contributed but my L knee took the brunt of my spectacular ... read more
Masjid Nasional Parking and Front Courtyard
Masjid Nasional
Masjid Nasional

Asia » Indonesia » Java » Yogyakarta October 10th 2016

Day 5 So you want to go on a Jamu Tour? Best laid plans went astray so instead of catching a morning train to Surabaya I had to catch a flight. Went for the $40 cheap option, which as a bonus, also happened to be the earliest flight I could take (3pm). My time in Surabaya was going to be short. So, back to the story- what to do in the morning? Shopping on the famous Malioboro St? Nope - experiences, not things is the new mantra (apparently). The nearby "proper" (read... decent flat white) coffee place, aside from selling coffee (which it actually didn't on Days 3 & 4 due to broken coffee machine) also offers "experiences" (read... tours) my short notice/ short time frame meant I could choose from a cooking experience, a walking ... read more
Jamu Tour Begins
Wall Art
Jamu Kitchen

Asia » Indonesia » Java » Yogyakarta October 8th 2016

Day 3, 4 Warning- Lots of photos. Finally got to have one of the Good Karma legendary breakfasts- lots of fruit, delicious fresh omlette. Chatted with a few girls in Yogya for a few days, originally French, they are university in Jakarta for a year, then my day began. Gave in and took a becak with the becak driver across the road. It's actually quite a nice way to get around the city. Went to the Kraton- Sultan's Palace set to wander around for a few hours only to find it utterly deserted. Closed. One of the infrequent days that it is closed actually. Anyway I decided to just wander aimlessly and ended up at the Water Castle- Taman Sari. This is part of the Sultanate's Kraton and was built as a royal garden in the ... read more

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