The lake at the end of the world

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Barely one hour from Slovenia’s capital, Ljubljana, Lake Bohinj is in the middle of nowhere – out of season and time – and it’s wonderful.

“We have a saying here in Slovenia,” said Grega Silc, a Hike & Bike Slovenia tour guide, as we cycled around the riotous green of the ridge. “In Bohinj, we’re a day or two behind the rest of the world.”

Silc grinned; a day or two is manageable. The lag used to be worse. For centuries, the sheep- and goat-herding villages around the glacial Lake Bohinj were cut off from the rest of Slovenia by poor roads and vertiginous terrain, clustered in the shadow of the Julian Alps. Transport to Ukanc – a hamlet on the far side of the lake whose name loosely translates to “the end of the world” – could take weeks.

Wooden houses make Bohinj feel timeless (Credit: Credit: zkbld/Thinkstock)

Wooden houses make Bohi...

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An exiled nation turned private Eden

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While its former population fights to return home, the Chagos islands are experiencing a remarkable rebounding of wildlife on a reef that’s considered the most pristine in the world.

By the time the moray eel slithered toward me, my walk around Ile Takamaka was already wilder than expected. The eel had been chasing a fast-moving crab out of the water and up the beach when it spotted my toe. I quickly scrambled onto a tree trunk to escape and tried to hide my tender toe from view. Happily the eel settled for the crab, and I went back to contemplating my way forward: through the ocean over jagged coral, or back inland through dense jungle.

A friend and I had set out on a morning stroll to bird watch and check out a boat wreck at the far end of Ile Takamaka in the Indian Ocean’s Salom...

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The church of 40,000 corpses

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Travellers with a taste for the macabre will have a field day at this gruesome chapel, which is ornately decorated with skeleton chandeliers, hipbone chalices and skull bunting.

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The demise of a ‘mini-Amazon’?

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The controversial Nicaragua canal, dubbed the largest engineering project in history, is forcing a small, sleepy community into the spotlight.

A sleepy, isolated island community in Nicaragua, nestled at the foot of one of Central America’s most active volcanoes, faces an uncertain future. But the danger doesn’t come from the perpetual risk of geological disaster. The threat is manmade.

A view of the volcano Conception (Credit: Credit: Sarah Shearman)

A view of the volcano Conception. (Credit: Sarah Shearman)

Over the past decade, tourism to Isla Ometepe has grown as word of its Eden-like natural beauty has spread...

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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 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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Five days in Russia’s Ring of Fire

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After being all but off limits, Russia’s strictly protected Kronotsky Zapovednik opens to travellers, revealing 650kg bears and the world’s second-largest gathering of geysers.

We had left the brown bears below us in the Valley of the Geysers, where they ambled among purple orchids, emerald grasses and the second-largest gathering of geysers on Earth.

Now, our small group of trekkers ascended through meadows gilded with golden rhododendron. We drank from snowfield streams. Spectacular volcanoes loomed ahead, part of the great arc of volcanic and seismic activity known as the Pacific Ring of Fire. We were trekking the highlands of Russia’sKronotsky Zapovednik, diadem of the world’s largest system of strictly protected nature reserves.

And I was one of the first foreigners permitte...

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A trip back in time to old Dubai

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Supercars may be Dubai’s current transport of choice – but a spice-scented dhow trip will take you worlds away from the modern Emirate’s shiny skyscrapers

It was early evening in Dubai and the sky was streaked rose and peach as the sun dipped towards the horizon. At the edge of the salt-water creek that splits the city in two, the water glowed with reflected light, and the scent of cinnamon, cloves and frankincense drifted across from the spice souk.

I was in Bur Dubai, the emirate’s original trading hub and its commercial heart until little more than 100 years ago. Today, it may not have the flash of new Dubai further inland, but it remains a busy site of Middle Eastern trade, packed with vibrant souks and bustling jetties.

Bur Dubai, the emirate’s original trading hub (Credit: Credit: Joseph Mortimer)

Bur Dubai, the emirate’s original trading hub (Credit...

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Alice’s Australian wonderland

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About 25km west of Uluru is another sacred site that rises even higher – but fewer people know about.

When you’re somewhere as remote as Australia’s outback, “over there” can mean a three-day drive to the state border. But when you’re standing in front of the region’s now famous spiritual icon, Uluru, “over there” could easily refer to the silhouette of remarkable proportions just 25km to the west.

Bigger, wider and taller than Uluru, Kata Tjuta is a spectacular collection of 36 enormous rocks. It’s also, arguably, one of Australia’s best-kept secrets, barely talked about among most Australians, let alone the world. Even today, pre-planned itineraries to Uluru rarely take in this magnificent sight.

The 36 granite and basalt conglomerate domes of Kata Tjuta (Credit: Credit: Torseten Blackwood/AFP/Getty Images)

The 36 granite and basalt conglomerate domes of Kata Tjuta (Credi...

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A story of rebirth in Nepal

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When I think about the chance encounters I’ve had in my travels, dominoes come to mind. Every effect has its cause, sometimes stretching back for weeks, years, or (in this case) eons. It’s as if time itself conspires, wilfully, to set up the cascade that tumbles us into the present moment, as if no encounter truly happens by chance.

The domino metaphor is uniquely appropriate in this story. It’s set in Nepal, my second home since 1979, and to where I’d return as a visitor or resident almost every year for the next three decades. But on 25 April 2015, at 11:56 am, two plates of the Earth’s crust shifted slightly...

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