I visited this vast area during the latter years of the former USSR when all the newly formed republics were still under the direct sway of Moscow. My overriding impression was that the people we met were genuinely fearful of the aggressive stance of the west. Read more . .
These photos are predominantly of life in desert landscapes, by their nature. Egypt presents difficulty for the novice tour leader in the sheer amount of history that one needs to grasp, although its geography is largely limited to the Nile valley, the Western desert is fascinating, too. Read more . .
I spent three months (actually a few days over – I overstayed my visa ! Yikes !), in the largest and emptiest state. I loved the expanses, the resourceful pioneer attitude, (yeah, aircon included) and the power and danger in the landscape. Ranging from endless forest to tundra, glaciers, isolated communities, abandoned dreams, survivalists and idealists, the state is wonderful to visit. Read more . .
Another country with an unenviable reputation which I found scarcely credible, as I found only welcomes; the local people we met took a real pleasure in encountering westerners who had come to visit their land. It is a very poor landscape and state, but incredibly strategic to world powers at the gateway to the Red Sea and Suez Canal.
This was my first foray into leading tours, for this short-lived company, driving a 15 seat minibus through France and Spain to spend two weeks travelling in Morocco, of which I knew nothing. Our journeys took us from the Spanish enclave of Ceuta, through the hashish growing areas of Ketama and the Rif, the imperial city of Fez with its stunning medina, then over the Atlas ramparts to explore the northern fringes of the Sahara, following river valleys draining from the mountains into the sands. Read more . .
One of Africa’s largest countries, Ethiopia retains the regrettable image of poverty and famine planted in our minds in the 80’s and beyond. Climate, terrain and structural problems still affect Ethiopia more than many other countries. Read more . .
My time in Syria was brief, as part of a single combined trip with Jordan. The UK had no diplomatic relations with the country at the time and it was regarded as a pariah state. Quite the opposite of what we found, a country full of antiquity and tradition, of hospitality and decency toward strangers.