‘The ice had a heartbeat’

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A British cyclist, who has been biking the length of six continents for the past five years, tackles a daring – and freezing – route in northern Mongolia.

The most disturbing part of walking over Lake Khövsgöl in northern Mongolia wasn’t the sound of cracking ice. It was the thuds.

The thuds meant that water was on the move, bubbling up through fresh rifts in the metre-thick ice that lay under my boots, three pairs of socks and numb feet.

My hope was to cross the frozen lake by bicycle and camp out on its surface – although the soundtrack was highlighting some icy holes in my plan. This was the latest in a series of two-wheeled adventures, having spent the last five years cycling across six of the Earth’s continents.

Walking on frozen Lake Khövsgöl (Credit: Credit: Stephen Fabes)

Walking on frozen Lake Khövsgöl (Credit: Stephen Fabes)

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These cars are seriously adorable

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Driving past towering icons like Big Ben and the Matterhorn, these tiny cars are taking on some proportionally epic adventures.

Travel photographers often strive to capture wide-sweeping landscapes or aerial city shots that showcase a destination at its most grand. But Swiss artist Kim Leuenberger is turning that idea on its head: photographing icons like Big Ben and the Matterhorn at a micro level and using tiny toy cars to change viewers’ perspectives.

Leuenberger’s first tiny-car-photo was shot for an autism awareness project in Switzerland four years ago – and the feedback was overwhelmingly positive. Commenters said the little blue minivan brought them joy, so Leuenberger decided to turn photographing tiny cars into a bigger, personal project.

Behind the scenes of the tiny car adventure in the Isle of Skye (Credit: Credit: Alexandra Lhermitte Schwass)

Behind the scenes of the tiny c...

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Peru’s other lost city

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Larger than Machu Picchu and far less known, Choquequirao still makes you feel as though you’re practically the first to arrive.

The trek to the lost Incan city of Choquequirao is one of the most difficult in Peru. From the town of Cachora, located 161km west of Cusco, it’s an 18km walk to Capuliyoc Mountain, then down to Playa Rosalinas, where travellers camp for the night. Waking early, trekkers then have to cross the Apurímac River and traverse 8km of gruelling uphill switchbacks to reach the campsite close to the ruins. Then, the next morning, it’s another 2km hike up to the ruins themselves, 3,100m above sea level. To get back? Well, it’s the same way you came.

“I’ve had people in their 60s and 70s do it,” said Juan Barrios, a guide from the Adventure Life trekking company...

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Where people were sent to disappear

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With venomous snakes and shark-infested waters, this desert island had no hope of escape.

Panama’s Isla Coiba bears all the hallmarks of a perfect desert island: gin-clear water, powdery white sand, a fringe of palm trees against a backdrop of dense, unexplored rainforest. When I arrived on the island, the peaceful beach was scattered with a handful of travellers bobbing in the bath-warm water or taking lazy afternoon naps on the salt-encrusted hammocks.

It was hard to imagine that this island paradise harboured such a dark past – or has such an uncertain future.

A dive boat arrives at the ranger station on Isla de Coiba (Credit: Credit: Sarah Shearman)

A dive boat arrives at the ranger station on Isla de Coiba (Credit: Sarah Shearman)

For almost a century, Isla Coiba – which along with 38 other protected islands forms Coiba National Marine Park – was home to a notorious...

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An island paradise you haven’t seen

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A trip to this long-lost Eden – known for its tropical forests, azure seas, creative cuisine and quirky city – will show you a whole new side of Cuba.

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The freest beach in the US

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Over the years, Oregonians have fought hard to preserve the natural beauty and monuments of their coast. Today, the 363-mile shoreline remains as wild as ever.

Gabriel Cruz swept down the dune, hit the jump and somersaulted. The moment stretched – Matrix-style – as the two-time sandboarding world champion rotated, feet over samurai topknot. He then spanked his board on the slope and glided to a stop.

Shredding the dunes at the world's first sandboarding park (Credit: Credit: Amanda Castleman)

Shredding the dunes at the world’s first sandboarding park (Credit: Amanda Castleman)

Sand Master, the world’s first sandboarding park, is one of several places along Oregon’s shoreline that suits the free-wheeling, nature-loving vibe of what locals call the “People’s Coast”...

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Death of a Parisian tradition?

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The bouquinistes have been a staple of Parisian culture for centuries, known as a go-to-source for out-of-print or rare reading material – but their livelihood is being threatened.

An office with a view (Credit: Credit: Nick Kozak)

An office with a view

One of Paris’ most iconic sights are the famous bouquinistes: the booksellers who sell their wares day in and day out along the river Seine. With the trade dating back to the 1400s, the bouquinistes have been known for centuries as a go-to source for out-of-print or rare reading material, with both locals and travellers flocking here to find titles such as La Vagabonde, by the racy and controversial author Colette, or the first edition of the French comic book L’espiègle Lili, which dates from the early 1900s and was never reissued.

Growing from around 20 sellers at the turn of t...

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The world’s safest cities

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In these five cities, residents can rest easy walking home late at night and leaving their laptop unguarded. But they also know that safe doesn’t have to be boring.

Leaving your wallet or laptop unguarded in a cafe may not be recommended for most, but residents in the world’s safest cities could likely do it without a second thought.

For many, feeling safe can be key to feeling at home. So to understand what it might be like to live in a super safe place, we sought out residents living in some of the most stable and secure cities in the world, as ranked by The Economist Intelligence Unit (EIU). The list considered factors such as personal safety, infrastructure stability, health stability and digital security technology...

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Rare access to an Australian wonder

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A live-aboard boat affords travellers a much closer look at the country’s psychedelically beautiful Great Barrier Reef – without any of the day-tripper crowds.

Standing on the sun deck of the Spirit of Freedom, a live-aboard tour boat on the Great Barrier Reef, I noticed something was missing: land. The shoreline had disappeared overnight and now there was just sky and sea – nothing else – for 220km in every direction.

Also missing were the crowds, a nearly unavoidable part of the more popular day trips that launch from Cairns, the gateway city to Australia’s most popular natural attraction. Every day, tour boats bring hundreds of holidaymakers to the mega-pontoons stationed on the reef, offering a Disney-fied experience of the world’s largest living structure.

I chose instead ...

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The downside to retiring in paradise

EN0DGH family enjoying romantic sunset on the beach

You’re tired of winter. But before you move somewhere warm to retire, consider this.

Kathy McCoy and her husband, Bob Stover, retired to Arizona from their home in California six years ago.

It’s not an uncommon move for US retirees, to relocate somewhere calmer and warmer in retirement. But, since they’ve moved, McCoy and Stover discovered a few things they didn’t anticipate. First, their city in Arizona is a “snowbird” destination, meaning that many people spend winters there but live elsewhere during other seasons.

The couple wasn’t prepared for the area’s summer weather.

“About half of our community is only here three to four months a year,” McCoy, 71, said...

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