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Category: Travel General

What’s in a name?

What’s in a name?

It had been a long 16 hours in a packed train from Bucharest, Romania, and I was very relieved to finally pull into Budapest East railway station, Hungary, around 10pm. From there it was a short walk to my accommodation, and after a snack and a shower, I was ready for bed. Next morning my well-travelled friend Polly, an expert in all things European, messaged me to see if I had arrived ok. ‘Are you staying in Buda or Pest?’…

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Driving the Transfagarasan Road

Driving the Transfagarasan Road

Whilst researching places to visit in Romania, I came across photos of a spectacular winding road, snaking its way high up to a pass over the mighty Carpathian Mountains. It looked amazing and a blast to drive, so I put the Transfagarasan Road on the must-do list. After a couple of days in Romania’s capital Bucharest, I picked up a hire car to explore the Transfagarasan. I planned to start the drive from the northern side of the Carpathian Mountain…

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Leaving Moldova

Leaving Moldova

My short stay is over, and it’s time for me to be leaving Moldova. I’ve enjoyed my time in Chisinau; it’s been nice to just relax and adjust back to life outside Ukraine. Moldova likes to make us Aussies feel welcome From here I’m jumping on a bus to Romania. I’ll let you know what I find when I get there. Nah, really Until then, I’ll leave you with this old Moldovan proverb: ‘If the sun doesn’t come in through…

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An introduction to Moldova

An introduction to Moldova

Leaving Ukraine didn’t quite go according to plan. After having inadvertently overstayed my visa by a day during my last stint, and having been reprimanded for it when leaving the country, I had been very careful not to repeat the mistake. I was therefore quite surprised to be hauled off the bus to explain why I had breached my visa by eight days. It took 4.5 hours of miscommunication, confusion and fuck-ups to sort out the problem, which I still…

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‘Would you like gloves with that?’

‘Would you like gloves with that?’

One of the most enjoyable things about traveling to a new country is sampling the local cuisine. In addition to the ingredients themselves, the manner in which a dish is served, and eaten, is all part of a location’s unique food culture. A few weeks ago, we were out for dinner in one of the bar-and-restaurant joints in the main street of our southern Ukrainian town. With the start of curfew now pushed back to midnight, the city has reclaimed…

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For a hard earned thirst

For a hard earned thirst

It was a typical northern Australian afternoon. The sun was beating down, it was bloody hot, and the town’s dogs had sought out the shade of the trees that lined the main road. Each car that pulled up outside the general store brought a swirl of white, powder dry dust that hung in the air. Blokes in singlets and shorts filed in and out of the shop, where air conditioners buzzed in a vain attempt to keep the temperature inside…

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Making Borsch

Making Borsch

I arrived back in southern Ukraine on a warm evening, pulling up outside the address I had been given on the outskirts of the city. I was relieved to get out and stretch after the eight hour drive, and breathe in the warm air which was sweet with the smell of summer gardens. The house where the NGO was now based was in a quiet, dusty cul-de-sac, and over the fence I could see a large block with several fruit…

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Leaving France

Leaving France

From chilly Normandy to the sun and sand of Corsica, I’ve had a great time exploring France. But after a relaxing break it’s time to return to Ukraine. With the Ukrainian counter-offensive underway, and the unconscionable destruction of the Nova Khakhovka Dam by Russia, there is plenty of humanitarian work to be done. Ajaccio on Corsica’s west coast is a top place for a bit of off-the-beach cat sailing I’ll let you know how I get on, but ’til then,…

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French Stereotypes

French Stereotypes

Having been in France for a couple of months, I think it’s fair to say I’m now an expert in French culture. Considering this, I feel it’s my duty to address a couple of stereotypes of French people, both of which were popular when I was growing up. I have discovered that one of these is indeed true, whilst the other is demonstrably false. When I was a kid, the stereotypical French bloke was depicted as wearing a black beret…

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A Look Around the Louvre

A Look Around the Louvre

Keen to avoid the ticket queues outside Paris’ Louvre Museum, Vicki and I thought we’d be smart about it and pre-book online. The Louvre website informed us, however, that due to a technical issue online booking was unavailable, so we resigned ourselves to just turn up the next day and take our place in line. Jumping off the train at the Palais Royal – Musée du Louvre metro station, we joined the throng surging towards the exit. I’d heard many…

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