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Svalbard – Arctic wild country

At 78 degrees N – a mere 12 degrees from the North Pole – Longyearbyen is as far north as I’ve ever been. Svalbard is more commonly referred to as Spitsbergen in English. Spitsbergen is in fact the name of the largest island in the group, but Svalbard is the name of the entire archipelago. Svalbard is rugged, absurdly beautiful and has more polar bears than humans. This is Arctic wild country.

Street art in Bratislava

Where can you find a man poking his head up through a hole in the street, a paparazzi photographer peeking around a corner, a Napoleonic soldier on a bench in the old town, and a beloved local 20th century personality? In Bratislava, that’s where.

Things to do in Kiev

What first springs to mind when you hear the name Kiev? Capital of the Ukraine? You’re right, of course. Some might think of Chernobyl 1986, one of the worst nuclear disasters in history. If you’re into pop culture, Kiev was venue of the Eurovision Song Contest in 2005. Politics? Perhaps the Orange Revolution of 2004 comes to mind?

Flirting with Fate in the Faroes

Oyggjarvegur, the old mountain road from Torshavn, the tiny capital of the Faroes, towards the northern islands, is spectacular. But then, nothing less is to be expected in the world’s best island-destination. In places, there are no barriers between us and a 1000-foot drop into the chilling waters of the North Atlantic fjord. We edge slowly towards the deliciously dizzying chasm.

Things to do in Skopje

Skopje isn’t what leaps to mind when you think of European cities, is it? It’s probably among the lesser known capitals, perhaps best known for being the birthplace of Mother Theresa. So what can you see and do in Macedonia’s little capital? Here are my notes, from a lazy April Saturday night and a long Sunday morning. Skopje’s Stone Bridge is a major landmark. On one side of the bridge is the modern Macedonia Square, on the other is the old bazaar and Ottoman Skopje.

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