Mike MacEacheran | Words
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Sal, Cape Verde, Thomas Cook Travel

Captain Zelison weighs anchor, rocking the 20-ton catamaran up and down, to and fro. His three-man crew attack the billowing main and windward sails, as though they’re fighting off a kraken, and he props himself behind the wheel, part Captain Cook, part toothy pirate.

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Gorilla tracking, Uganda, Scotland on Sunday

Sunday Ndayakunze was only a boy when he first heard about the creatures that lived in the nearby jungle. When his grandfather went exploring from his village, he would catch glimpses of elusive jet-black shadows peering out of the dense rainforest canopy, their red-eyes shining beyond the sprawling vines and buffers of rugged vegetation.

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Food foraging in Wales, Lonely Planet

Ever eaten nettles or chickweed? Thomas Buchi has. He started eating the plants in the forests behind his parents’ house in his early teens and what most people call weeds, he calls food.

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On location with Game of Thrones, Croatia, BBC Travel

Is there any stopping George R R Martin’s Game of Thrones? Not only has the New Jersey-born author sold more than 20 million copies of his epic fantasy series, A Song of Ice and Fire, but his books have been turned into the most talked about TV show on the planet.

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Prison dining, England, Etihad Airways

Just 200 yards off the bustling Brixton Hill street is a restaurant with a difference. A real difference. It serves breakfast and lunch like plenty of the trendy outlets in the nearby Brixton Village, awarded the best market in the whole UK for its hipster appeal. But this 120-cover restaurant, some would argue, is in one of the least desirable places to dine in the country.

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Ryan Giggs interview, Jet2.com

It’s one of the most prestigious addresses in football: Sir Matt Busby Way. Most fans know this as the home of Manchester United and Old Trafford, but they may not recognise the gleaming building that’s sprung up like a defensive wall across the street.

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Shark cage diving in Cape Town, Singapore Airlines

What do you see when you look deep into the inky-black darkness of the beady-eye of a great white? Up close and nose-to-nose, with only a few thin bars of steel separating me from the jaws of a predator that would have no hesitation in finishing me off before I could scream out – “I’m gonna need a bigger cage!” – I see two things.

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100 Years of Tarzan, Cameroon, B Spirit (Brussels Airlines)

“Ka, ka, ka, ka*.” There is a monkey on my back. Not in the idiomatic sense, but literally, as I grapple with a baby chimpanzee called Lolo, its four fingers and thumb firmly clenched to my wrist. The strength takes me by surprise. “Does she bite?” I ask Killi Matute, the handler and keeper who has carefully led me into the enclosure. She may not pose any serious threat, he replies, but the three-year-old has mischief on her mind. Before I leave the sanctuary I find that my shoelaces have been untied and there is a squashed banana on the back of my trousers.

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Orhan Pamuk at home in Istanbul, The National

Despite having turned 60, Orhan Pamuk is showing no signs of slowing down. It is a beautiful autumn afternoon on the Princes’ Island of Büyükada, a short ferry ride from central Istanbul, and the Nobel laureate has been at his desk since mid-morning working with pen and paper on his new novel, A Strangeness in Mind.

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The polar bear problem, Canada, The Scotsman

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From my vantage point in the twin prop plane above Hudson Bay, I see an epidemic of polar bear fever as big as the Arctic Circle itself. Dozens of cream-coloured bears are returning to their winter home on the bay, grasping for kelp on the seashore with paws the size of baseball mitts.

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JRR Tolkien’s Switzerland, BBC Travel

No one in Zurich will believe you are going to Middle Earth. Most visitors arrive at Kloten Airport ready for shopping on Bahnhofstrasse and sightseeing in the Niederdorf old town, or use it as a jumping-off point to explore the resorts of St Moritz, Klosters or Davos. But head southwest – past the misty mountains and jagged peaks that tower over Luzern and the lake town of Interlaken – and up the deeply cloven valley that twists and winds from Lake Thun into the heart of the Bernese Oberland and with a little imagination you could find yourself staring into the verdant Elvish valley of Rivendell or in the midst of a Hobbit walking party.

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Alain Ducasse’s Provence, France, Etihad Airways

“No genius has ever come from the kitchen.” So says Alain Ducasse, France’s greatest living chef. He agrees that Marie Curie or Leonardo da Vinci shared rare gifts with the world, but Gordon Ramsay, Thomas Keller, Ferran Adrià, even himself? Nothing more than a conduit between the farm and the plate.

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Off-the-map UNESCO sights, Singapore Airlines

Angkor Wat? Been there. The Taj Mahal? Done that. The Colosseum in Rome? Bought the T-shirt and the souvenir fridge magnet. At the latest count there are more than 1,000 World Heritage sites*, so it’s harder than ever to know where to begin. Here’s a few lesser-known ones worthy of your attention.

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Bratwurst und bier in Nuremberg, Wizz Air

How many sausages is a lifetime’s worth? If you’re Herr Werner Behringer, the ruddy-faced, portly owner of Bratwurst Häusle in Nuremberg, it’s an incredible 150,000. Or if you want a more precise answer it’s 146,537 and counting. The 75-year-old Franconian eats eight every working day, or ten on a good Saturday, in part to taste the quality of his homemade bratwursts, but also because thanks to his 50-year career in the business he no longer acts on hunger but by compulsion. By the time you read this, that figure may have swollen by a few thousand.

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Rum & Reggae in Jamaica, Thomas Cook Travel

Jamaica doesn’t wait to get you settled. Or give you time to slip into holiday mode. The trim driftwood and clapboard bars and jerk chicken huts that encroach upon every strip of sand don’t help. Neither does the rum shack, blaring Sean Paul records that waits for visitors outside Montego Bay Sangster International Airport. The locals call it Mo Bay, and it couldn’t be more appropriate. They’re so laidback, they can’t even get to the end of their own sentences. “Wagwan,” says the first man we meet, all waxed-Rasta dreads, dazed eyes and toothy smile. What he means to say is “Good afternoon young man, how are you and what’s going on?”

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The Green Hills of Tanzania, BBC Travel

The leopard could see us coming. It was morning – and had been morning for some time – as we edged towards the base of the Yellow Fever tree on whose branches it laid. It started to twitch. The sun was arching over the kopje hills to the east and shadows were starting to disappear from the plain.

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Casablanca and beyond, Morocco, P&O Ferries

Morocco has always been easy to enter but much harder to leave. Olive-green minarets, domed ceilings resplendent in gold and jade tiles, labyrinthine bazaars  and souks where fragrant spices, fabrics, Berber carpets, oil lamps and curly-toed babouche slippers have been traded for centuries – what’s not to love? READ MORE

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Time travel in Turkey, Jet2.com

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The rebirth of the Bosphorus, BBC Travel

Call it the Bosphorus bump: how to stay close enough to the Istanbul waterfront, yet avoid the dozens of promenading tourists, dog walkers and dedicated fishermen lining the sides of the Galata Bridge.

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Iran’s green revolution, Tehran, Esquire

DSCF6577 - Copy“What do you think about Iran?” asks Hossein Afshar. As a first-time visitor to the country, it is a question that catches me off guard. But it is one that will come to define my first trip to the Islamic Republic. “Have you been arrested dozens of times? I have,” he says before I have time to think of an answer.

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Counting calories in Bologna, Holland Herald

Graduation day rules in Bologna. On the red-brick piazzas and squares, Bologna’s students cheer and dance, ensuring that everyone in the city knows of their success, no matter how relative the merits.

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A Fashion for food in Milan, Lonely Planet

Fashion has long taken precedence over food in Milan. Despite the city’s unrivalled wealth, industrial heritage and retail power, its culinary credentials are surprisingly poor compared to the rest of the country.

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Freedom Radio, Iraq, Esquire

The explosions rang out across downtown Baghdad, reverberating like a bass drum beat. It was April 7 2010 and the four scattered bombs, hidden in apartment buildings across northern Shula, exploded in intervals, with the first one detonating at 9.30am local time.

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Riders of the Lost Ark, Egypt, Business Traveller

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Seth, the ancient Egyptian god of chaos, would be in his element. On the backstreets of Hurghada, the traffic has ground to a halt amid a cacophony of cranky car horns, overloaded and lopsided donkey carts and reluctant camels.

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