Cañon de Colca

An Independent Traveller’s Anecdotal Guide to Trekking Colca Canyon, in 11 Aphorisms

1. Appreciate silence.  Near the end of our six-hour bus ride from Arequipa to Cabanaconde, three awful, young French people boarded the bus, standing near our seats. The loudest wore a backwards cap and blue tinted shades, and I could see the flowing tattoo of an angel wearing armour on his arm beneath his too-tight white T-shirt. He could not stop talking, joking, tapping his hiking stick on the … Continue reading An Independent Traveller’s Anecdotal Guide to Trekking Colca Canyon, in 11 Aphorisms

Notes From the End of the World

“I BETTER TAKE MY PHONE,” the redheaded farm boy said. “In case we get stuck out there, to call someone to pull us out.” He had done this before. He searchingly patted the pants he’d hung up in the downstairs shed that smells faintly of sheep and dung and eventually found his small cell phone, the kind with a fuzzy green screen, then tossed it … Continue reading Notes From the End of the World

What Happens to a Tiny Luxembourgish Commune in the Winter

THERE ARE SOMEHOW SIX HOTELS in Berdorf, Luxembourg, a commune with a population of not quite 900. Most of them were closed. I stepped into an open one, the Famille Defive, for a coffee. Everyone knows everyone: this was immediately clear as I made eye contact with the waitress, a hefty woman with spiky red hair and angular eyebrows, with whom I shared a two-second … Continue reading What Happens to a Tiny Luxembourgish Commune in the Winter

Postcard From Jeju Island, Korea

YOU CAN ALWAYS TELL where you are in Jeju from where the mountain is. And you always know where it is, and you always know which mountain. Though Korea’s largest island is home to many peaks, only one might be called “the” mountain — Hallasan, the tallest in South Korea. It is the centerpiece of Jeju Island, visible from almost anywhere, looming in the distance, … Continue reading Postcard From Jeju Island, Korea

Notes From a Mountain: Sleeping Beside the Loudest Snorer in South Korea

THERE’S LITTLE TO BE SAID about hiking in Korea that I haven’t before tried to write about; instead of struggling unprepared with my girlfriend in the bitter midwinter snow, this time we were four sweaty dudes in midsummer humidity suffering from sore feet and comically rosy sunburns. Our particular route up Jiri-san, South Korea’s second-tallest mountain, wasn’t actually very strenuous — but damned if it doesn’t … Continue reading Notes From a Mountain: Sleeping Beside the Loudest Snorer in South Korea