From close encounters with wildlife on freezing Arctic ice floes or the heat and dust of Africa to some of the most unusual traditions and places we ever heard of, there has been a wonderful variety of interesting and quirky travel posts this month.
In her post An Arctic Encounter with a Polar Bear, Ruth Clifford describes her magical and surprisingly intimate encounter with a polar bear. “Slipping back into the water, it swims closer and closer, until it clambers out onto a large ice floe directly below the ship. I lean over the side and there it is. We stare at each other, this magnificent creature and I. Its black nose sniffs suspiciously and its long tongue flicks out to taste our scent on the frozen air. Every strand of its sea-slicked fur shines luminescent in the sunlight.” Be sure to visit Ruth’s post to see more of her lovely photographs. Follow Ruth on Twitter @ruthc88
If you were to tell your friends and family that you were going to visit the Indian/Pakistan border they’d probably tell you not to go. That was precisely why blogging duo Captain and Clark didn’t tell anyone before they went to do just that. As it turns out, the closing ceremony at the border is a fascinating, if somewhat bemusing, event to witness.
“It seemed like we were gearing up for an NFL football game, not an intense showdown between the two countries … Once we were seated, a line of flamboyantly dressed border guards appeared. Looking as stoic as ever, one approached the microphone … He took one deep, long breath … He screamed into the microphone for what seemed like ages … They were having a glorified scream off. If that wasn’t bizarre enough, the immense showcase of bravado that followed was almost unbelievable.” To find out just how bizarre the closing ceremony got, check out their video of an extreme showdown at the Pakistan Border. Follow Chris and Tawny on Twitter @CaptainandClark
Theodora, from London, has been travelling with her young son for the last three years or so. She recently wrote an interesting and honest post about how she found herself having a tricky conversion with her guide, on the trek back from Everest base camp. “We are on the last-but-one night of our trek … so, if I’m going to ask Nir any personal questions, I’m going to ask them now. ‘How old were you when you got married? ‘ Nir giggles. ‘Fifteen’ he says. ‘Oh,’ I say. ‘And your wife?’ ‘Oh,’ he says. ‘She was little! Eleven or twelve.’
Child marriage is an emotive subject and a very difficult conversational topic for two people from such opposing cultural backgrounds. You can find out how Theodora and Zac, who is just 12 years old himself, handled the situation by reading Theodora’s open and thought-provoking post, On Thin Ice. Follow Theodora on Twitter @EscapeArtistes.
It’s great to see that Zac is also blogging in his own right as the Kidventurer.
During a long, dusty and extremely bumpy motorbike ride, adventurer Brendan wonders whether his final destination will be worth the strain on his body and his bike, as recounted in his evocative post about Mole National Park. “Unlike the roads through rural Burkina Faso which were filled with holes and sections of sand, this dirt road is hard packed but lined with unrelenting waves of bumps. It’s the type of road that makes you long for potholes and mud. The vibration of the path has worn on my mood, my body and even on Anne Murray who has caught a serious cold, and is now surging along sporadically as if she is gasping for air or fuel.”
Brendan continues: “The gates of Mole National Park stand tall with paintings of elephants, warthogs and baboons … I immediately realize that this is somewhere special.” Find out why the ride was more than worthwhile in his post Poolside Elephants at Mole National Park. Follow Brendan on Twitter @brendanvanson
If you are a fan of the unusual or the macabre check out Hayley’s post, which is illustrated by some surreal photographs, about The Bone Church near Prague. “The church is extensively decorated with bones … it’s almost a morbid Christmas grotto; with chains of bones drooped across the walls like tinsel. The key feature is the impressive chandelier in the centre of the church, creatively made with every bone in the human body.” Well worth visiting if you are in the area. Follow Hayley on Twitter @xXFlutterbyXx
I’ll be looking out for more interesting or unusual travel blog posts throughout February. If you spot any captivating stories or stunning photographs from independent travel bloggers please do let me know by leaving a comment below or you can send me a tweet @travelwithkat
* Editor’s note: Kathryn is far too modest to mention her own blog, but check out her gallery of photos on the theme of Serendipity. Which is your favourite?
* Polar bear photo by Ruth Clifford via Bald Hiker