Believe Safari

“Safari” is a loan word borrowed from Swahili that means “journey coupled with the sense of adventure.” I didn’t know this until recently, yet the word has been in my consciousness most of my life. I must have learned it when I was very young and vaguely understood it to mean hunting big game animals in Africa with guns. Thankfully, except for illegal poaching, the guns have been replaced by binoculars and cameras. Continue reading Believe Safari

Four Days in Another Town, Part 1

In our traveling lives, Western European destinations have always loomed large. We’ve returned time and again to the big countries – The United Kingdom, France, Germany, and Italy. When we’ve thought of the smaller places, it’s often been with the idea that one day we’d go there. Well, that day came this spring for the Netherlands, Belgium, and Luxembourg, collectively known as Benelux.

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From Istanbul to Timbuktu

February 2008

Yes, Timbuktu is a real place. If you’re as hazy about the geography as I was, look at a map of West Africa and find the Republic of Mali. It’s the landlocked country just below Algeria and bordered by the countries of Mauritania, Senegal, Guinea, Côte D’Ivoire, Burkina Faso and Niger. Once you’ve found it, follow the Niger River from the capital city of Bamako down past Ségou and Mopti to Timbuktu.

You will have just traced a journey of nearly 1,000 kilometers, which I accomplished in a week, but which took the first Europeans, who searched for Timbuktu in the 18th and early 19th centuries, months of sickness and misery. It wasn’t until 1828 that René Caillié, son of a poor Parisian baker, reached Timbuktu and returned to tell his tale.

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