Tag: community tourism

Just back: Midsummer in West Sweden


It featured large quantities of herring, garlands and people dancing like frogs.

The sun barely set, the Aquavit flowed and I ended up with flowers in my hair at the foot of a lakeside maypole. Although the festivities were, thankfully, a morris dancing-free zone.

Yes, I’m just back from celebrating a traditional West Sweden midsummer.

This is the one time of year in Sweden when everyone – from builders to bankers – downs tools and embraces the hedonistic carpe diem of the longest day.

You can read my story in the Weekend FT this coming Saturday.

Meanwhile, check out a Flickr gallery from the trip.

Watch a couple of Vimeo videos from the trip, the frog dance and midsummer jamming.

Or scroll back down the links posted in situ over the weekend on my Twitter page.

Have you been to West Sweden? Or do you have a great midsummer experience to share?

Post your views below.

Story of the day: Hiking remote trails in Turkey


I had an email this week from Wanderlust magazine.

They’re updating the profiles of contributors on their website and collecting their stories together in one place.

After adding my own profile, I uncovered a link to an old story. It was the first of a trio of adventure-travel narratives for the magazine that took me from Turkey to Portugal via Croatia.

This was also the toughest: a serious, long-distance hike through a remote region with little infrastructure.

Thankfully we had the jovial Dennis (pictured above) to accompany us. He smiled throughout the trip – despite not having a change of underpants in the 40-degree heat.

Here’s an extract:

He led me through the spring-flowering village, all tulips and wild tortoises, to a traditional timber house.

Animal quarters downstairs, living room on stilts above, with rugged floors, wood-burning stove, and his 86-year-old mother hiding from the mid-afternoon sun under a patterned headscarf.

“Any stranger can still come to a village like this, knock on a door and have a place to stay and eat,” said Murtha Mustafa Acar as we sipped tea more saccharine than a Turkish love song.

“Ten years from now, when the trail is established, I hope villages like ours will be alive again.”

After we finished the hike, we headed to the airport at Antalya to find ourselves stuck in volcanic ash-cloud chaos.

But that’s a story for another time.

Read the full story, The St Paul Trail.

And check out my profile at Wanderlust.

Any comments on hiking in Turkey?

Please post them below.

Story of the day: Eco-escape in the Bolivian Amazon


We’re going right back through the archives today. It feels like a different person, or a different lifetime. It some ways it is – but it’s still me.

This story, taken from the BBC News Latin America service, is a reminder of the time I spent travelling and working in South America.

Here’s an extract:

Madidi National Park was pinned firmly on the tourist map when a team of researchers from the New York-based Wildlife Conservation Society, led by British-born conservationist Robert Wallace, discovered a new species of titi monkey in the park.

The team subsequently auctioned the right to name the monkey via the website Charity Folks. A Canadian casino bought the name and the monkey was subsequently christened callicebus avrei palatti (Golden Palace).

“We wanted to raise the profile of Madidi and Bolivia’s protected areas as a whole,” explains Robert Wallace from his La Paz office.

Read the full story, Ecotourism on the rise in Bolivia.

Have you been to the Chalalan ecolodge? Or visited the Bolivia Amazon since my trip?

Please post your thoughts and updates below.