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Category: Europe (page 1 of 5)

Dramatic footage from Iceland

Via Hyte Photography in Berlin

Arthur C. Brooks walked across Spain. Here’s what he found.

Arthur C. Brooks, writing in the Washington Post »

But the pilgrims still come, in larger and larger numbers. If not explicitly the divine, what are they seeking? There are definite worldly benefits to pilgrimage. Almost everyone loses weight, for example (although not like I did — starting my Camino on the heels of a bout of stomach flu and thus in a radically fasted state, I lost 10 pounds in a week). Some treat it like a physical-endurance challenge, such as the shredded and tanned couple we met in Santiago de Compostela who had completed the entire 500-mile walk, starting in France, in just 24 days.

Some seek relief from emotional torment, and there is evidence they can find it: A study published in the journal Psychological Medicine reported that those who went on a pilgrimage to Lourdes, France, (another major Catholic pilgrimage destination) experienced a significant decrease in anxiety and depression, sustained for at least 10 months after the pilgrims had returned.

Oskar Speck, the man who paddled a kayak from Germany to Australia starting in 1932, and Sandy Robson, the woman who recreated the adventure some 80 years later

Justin Housman, writing in The Adventure Journal »

In a span of seven years, he paddled a series of 15-foot kayaks more than 30,000 miles from the Danube River in Europe to the tropical shores of far northern Australia. Even better, when he first set out, he was “merely” planning to paddle to Cyprus for work, with no intention of traveling by kayak to the other side of the world. But the paddling proved irresistible and Speck did not stop once he reached Cyprus.

[…]

Speck was 25 years old when he set out on his incredible journey. He was an unemployed electrician living in Hamburg. Work was scarce and prospects were dim after the 1929 stock market crash ripped through Germany, so Speck decided to seek work in the copper mines of Cyprus. With no other means to get there, and as a proud member of a kayaking club since his youth, Speck decided to paddle his way to, hopefully, a job.

In May, 1932, Speck shoved off from banks of the Danube in a collapsible and very much not seaworthy 15-foot kayak, and began paddling south. He arrived in the Balkans several weeks later and, lulled to boredom by the languid waters of the Danube, Speck made for the Vardar River, where soon fierce rapids dashed his boat nearly to splinters. While awaiting repairs, winter set in and the Vardar froze over, locking Speck in place for months.

Read the whole article in The Adventure Journal »

In November 2016, Western Australian woman Sandy Robson (aged 48), recreated Speck’s adventure, completed in some 5 years, having visited 20 countries and paddled some 23,000 kilometres.

LGBT travel index puts Sweden, Canada, and Norway at the top

The LGBTQ+ Danger Index lists the 25 safest countries for LGBTQ+ travellers »

1. 🇸🇪 Sweden
2. 🇨🇦 Canada
3. 🇳🇴 Norway
4. 🇵🇹 Portugal
5. 🇧🇪 Belgium
6. 🇬🇧 United Kingdom
7. 🇫🇮 Finland
8. 🇫🇷 France
9. 🇮🇸 Iceland
10. 🇪🇸 Spain
11. 🇲🇹 Malta
12. 🇳🇿 New Zealand
13. 🇳🇱 Netherlands
14. 🇩🇰 Denmark
15. 🇿🇦 South Africa
16. 🇮🇪 Ireland
17. 🇦🇺 Australia
18. 🇺🇾 Uruguay
19. 🇨🇴 Colombia
20. 🇦🇹 Austria
21. 🇩🇪 Germany
22. 🇸🇮 Slovenia
23. 🇱🇺 Luxembourg
24. 🇺🇸 United States
25. 🇬🇺 Guam

 

Antonia Wilson, writing in the Guardian »

Sweden has been named the most LGBT-friendly country in the world for travellers according to new research into gay rights in 150 countries.

The LGBTQ+ Danger Index was created by ranking the 150 most-visited countries using eight factors, including legalised same-sex marriage, worker protection and whether, based on Gallup poll findings, it is a good place to live.

Canada ranked second-safest, followed by Norway, Portugal and Belgium. The UK is sixth safest on the list, but the US does not make the top 20. The researchers, American couple Asher and Lyric Fergusson, who blog about staying safe while travelling, said one reason the US is only at number 24 is because gay rights vary from state to state.

Read the whole article in The Guardian »

Japan and Singapore top 2019 list of world’s most powerful passports

Euan McKirdy and Maureen O’Hare at CNN write »

Japan and Singapore have held onto their position as the world’s most travel-friendly passports.

That’s the view of the Henley Passport Index, which periodically measures the access each country’s travel document affords.

Singapore and Japan’s passports have topped the rankings thanks to both documents offering access to 190 countries each.

South Korea rubs shoulders with Finland and Germany in second place, with citizens of all three countries able to access 188 jurisdictions around the world without a prior visa.

Finland has benefited from recent changes to Pakistan‘s formerly highly restrictive visa policy. Pakistan now offers an ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) to citizens of 50 countries, including Finland, Japan, Spain, Malta, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates — but not, notably, the United States or the UK.

Read more of this article at CNN »

The best passports in 2019 are:

1. Japan, Singapore (190 destinations)
2. Finland, Germany, South Korea (188)
3. Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg (187)
4. France, Spain, Sweden (186)
5. Austria, Netherlands, Portugal (185)
6. Belgium, Canada, Greece, Ireland, Norway, United Kingdom, United States, Switzerland (184)
7. Malta, Czech Republic (183)
8. New Zealand (182)
9. Australia, Lithuania, Slovakia (181)
10. Hungary, Iceland, Latvia, Slovenia (180)
More at the Henley Passport Index

Notes

» Canada has been ranked 6th four years in a row. They were ranked 2nd in 2014, then dropped to 4th in 2015, and have been holding steady in 6th since 2016.

» The USA been on a steady decline since 2014 when they were ranked 1st. They dropped to 2nd in 2015, 4th in 2016, 5th in 2017 and 2018, and to 6th this year.

» The UK has been on a steady decline in the rankings, dropping from 1st in 2015, to 3rd in 2016, to 4th in 2017, to 5th in 2018, to 6th this year.

World’s Most Powerful Passports as of Q3 2019

The Henley Passport Index has released its third quarter ranking of the world’s most powerful passports in 2019.

The index is compiled from data provided by the International Air Transport Association (IATA) and measures global mobility based on visa-free access to destinations. It also uses data from the index’s 14-year history, “to show how travel mobility has changed over the past decade, looking at which passports have gained in strength and which have fallen behind.”

Japan and Singapore hold the world’s strongest passports, with Visa-free access to 189 destinations. South Korea dropped to second place, joining Germany and Finland with Visa-free access to 187 destinations.

The United Arab Emirates entered the top 20 index for the first time in the list’s 14-year-history, moving up an astonishing 41 spots. Other countries that climbed standings include Taiwan, which climbed 24 places over the past ten years and ranks 30th.

The USA and the UK each dropped to the lowest position they’ve held since 2010, sharing the sixth spot with Canada, Greece, Norway, Belgium and Ireland.

Pakistan now offers an ETA (Electronic Travel Authority) to citizens of 50 countries, including Finland, Japan, Malta, Spain, Switzerland and the United Arab Emirates — but not, notably, the USA or the UK.

Afghanistan is once again at the other end of the rankings, with its citizens needing a prior visa for all but 25 destinations worldwide.

Most Powerful Passports of Q3 2019:
1. Japan, Singapore (189 Destinations)
2. South Korea, Germany, Finland (187)
3. Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg (186)
4. France, Sweden, Spain (185)
5. Austria, Netherlands, Portugal, Switzerland (184)
6. Canada, Norway, Belgium, Greece, Ireland, UK, US (183)
7. Malta (182)
8. Czechia (181)
9. Australia, Iceland, New Zealand, Lithuania (180)
10. Latvia, Slovakia, Slovenia (179)

The Least Powerful Passports of Q3 2019:

101. Bangladesh, Eritrea, Iran, Lebanon, North Korea (39 Destinations)
102. Nepal (38)
103. Libya, Palestinian, Sudan (37)
104. Yemen (33)
105. Somalia (31)
106. Pakistan (30)
107. Syria (29)
108. Iraq (27)
109. Afghanistan (25)

Source: Henley Passport Index

Riding the Aurora Borealis

Norway is a stunningly place. This video, that features pro surfer Damien Castera and pro snowboarder Mathieu Crépel highlights stunning landscapes and an inspiring message.

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Road Trip Through the Burren Region of Western Ireland

The short 55-mile road trip takes you through Ennistymon, Lahinch, Doolin, Lisdoonvarna, Kilfenora, Carran, Bell Harbour, Flaggy Shore, Ballyvaughan, Plan on at least three days to explore the sights and smell the wildflowers.

Serena Renner, writing for National Geographic Traveler:

The 205-square-mile UNESCO Global Geopark is one of the only places in the world where arctic, alpine, and Mediterranean plants grow side by side. The name “Burren” derives from the Irish Gaelic for “stony place,” and the dramatic rocky setting has captivated creatives from Tolkien to Spielberg.

It’ll take hold of you too, especially if you follow this route in the spring, when wildflowers paint the hillsides in hues of pink, yellow, and blue. The narrow roads are more fit for cows than cars, so drive slowly and practice the traditional one-finger salute—index finger, that is—with oncoming locals.

The 55-mile route takes three days if driving at a leisurely pace—and stopping to smell the wildflowers.

Read More…

Follow Tristan Ridley on his Quest to Ride His Bike Around The World

Adventurer Tristan Ridley is on a quest to ride his bike around the world. But unlike many other riders with that same goal, Tristan isn’t in a race against time. In fact, his circumnavigation will take as much as five years, over 100,000 kms, and travel through more than 100 countries.

Videos:

Ep. 2 – Bicycle touring and bikepacking through Norway in May 2018

Ep. 3 – The Jordan Trail, from Amman to Aqaba

Ep. 4 – Surviving Ethiopia

 

Capture the North – Exploring Northern Norway

 

From the small lonely islands of Lofoten to the dancing northern lights in Senja, David Jervidal travelled with his father, Tommy Jervidal, for 10 days in the northern part of Norway – to capture some of it’s untamed wilderness.

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