This month Quench Travel finds out which destinations are tempting our fellow students to explore different cultures in 2014!
Following a pretty dismal summer of 2013, the winter-exam-January blues spurred on the adventurist within me and I have now planned to go interrailing around Europe this summer. Such a brilliant form of procrastination, I might add. With my best friend now residing up north, and myself down south, we hardly ever see each other, so not only will it be really great to see her, we can also share our memories of travelling together forever more. How sweet.
We start our 25 day trip in the gorgeous Italian city of Venice and then continue to venture mainly around western Europe, including visits to Vienna, hopefully Budapest, Prague, Berlin, Amsterdam, Brussels and concluding our trip in beautiful Paris.
As I’ve never really experienced Europe before, my main aim for this trip, much to my friend’s disgust, is to be the ultimate tourist. With my bumbag and giant map in tow, I will be pushing the Gondola ride in Venice; I will be dragging reluctant heels to every memoriam in Berlin and, of course, I will be trudging up every single one of the painstaking amount of steps to the top of the Eiffel Tower. I am ready to face the continuous rolling eyes and disgusted looks that will, inevitably, be shot my way, but let’s be honest here; I will be strapping on that backpack and be proudly parading my way around each iconic city like the inner tourist I am. However I am not really sure if the she-wee (google it if you are not aware of this plastic invention) that my friends so thoughtfully bought especially for my trip, will be used; but, then again, if I will be adopting the Parisian c’est la vie attitude to life, I guess if a girl gotta go, a girl gotta go.
Words by: Hannah Clarke
South Africa is a large, vibrant and incredibly beautiful country. From the subtropical coastline of the Eastern Cape to the rural expanse of the northernmost province of Limpopo, this majestic landscape displays some of the World’s most outstanding and diverse terrain. With eleven officially recognised languages, it is the cultural hub of the African continent and each of its nine distinct provinces boasts their own unique reasons to visit. During the warmer months of November to April head for the city of Cape Town, which, situated beneath the backdrop of Table Mountain, is one of South Africa’s most visually striking destinations. From here, travel along the forested coastal plains of the Garden Route, where the 200km stretch between Mossel Bay and Storms River Mouth will take you on a sublime journey through rivers, mountains and sandy shorelines. If this doesn’t appeal, why not try the country’s eastern flank, best visited during the cooler months of May through to October. Here you’ll find Johannesburg, the economic hive of Africa; its towering skylines, eclectic streets and friendly citizens make it quite unlike anywhere else in the country. Or perhaps the Kruger National Park, where the wild landscape is populated by an impressive number of species, including: 507 types of bird, 336 trees and 147 mammals. With such a display of diversity, there’s no limit to what South Africa has to offer.
Words by Sophie Moore
Think Romania. Think Bram Stoker’s Dracula, stray dogs and old castles, no? Think again. I Interrailed solo around Eastern Europe last summer and visited this stunning country, which I won’t lie, took me greatly by surprise. Having explored just a small part of a sizable nation I eagerly want to return. Capital city Bucharest is next on my list. The site of a Communist revolution in 1989, the city’s recovery is in full swing. Romanian plum brandy alongside the standard cheap beer of Eastern Europe help to make this a lively city. An assortment of historic sites lie scattered around the city – see the second largest building in the world, visit where the former Communist leader Ceauşescu is buried, admire a selection of art, or if you’re feeling lazy (or enjoyed the cheap alcohol a little too much…) then there are a variety of inexpensive cafés open all hours. Eastern Europe is becoming ever more popular with the backpacker – it is good value and full of wonderful sights. Get there before tourists discover it!
Words by Anne Porter
The pearl of the Indian Ocean, the hidden gem of the Subcontinent, the tear drop shaped island. Filled with intrigue and wonder, I wish to visit Sri Lanka while it is still relatively undiscovered. It has always been a desire of mine to explore Asia and studying Literature of the Indian Subcontinent this term has increased my sense of urgency to visit. My 36 year old cousin, who has travelled to a greater number of countries than the number of years he has lived, commented: ‘I thought I was well travelled until I visited India and Sri Lanka’. I need to experience the same sense of awe that he has felt. However, it is not only the rich history, hospitable people and pristine beaches which attract me to the island. During my gap year, I planned to travel to Sri Lanka and work in a school for orphaned children, many of whom had lost their parents as a result of the tsunami of 2004. Unfortunately, this plan fell through and ever since, I have felt that I must go to Sri Lanka at some point in my life. I have to complete what I purposed to do. Could 2014 be the year during which I fulfil this deep rooted dream?
Words by Emma Forbes