“the universe took its time on you
Travel books, like others, change perspective as we grow older.
Be warned, writes Bouvier, you may "think you are making a trip, but soon it is making you, or unmaking you".
Swimming is the first thing we ever do.
Before we breathe, before we cry, before we crawl, we swim in the waters of the womb. Then the walls close in and we tumble-turn into position, ready to dive into the open air.
- Fiona Capp in Sane Days
There’s something faintly surreal look hi about encountering this spring-fed pool, nestled in a quiet valley clearing within Kosciuszko National Park. This 20-metre concrete rectangle, with an attached kiddie's paddling pool, picnic area and well-manicured lawns, looks like your average community lido, save for two crucial details. Firstly, it’s in the middle of dense bushland at least 75km from the nearest town, and secondly, it draws its waters from a reservoir over a kilometre beneath the ground. Warmed to a balmy 27 degrees, this gently mineralised hot spring pool can either be accessed from a nearby carpark, about 700 metres stroll away, or you can make it your reward for completing the three-kilometre River Walk hike. Be sure to factor a visit to the nearby caves – a 12km system with spectacular rock formations.
Is the fate of many unique, virtually abandoned villages in the unknown corner of Abruzzo sealed? Not if Swedish-Italian millionaire Daniele Kihlgren can help it. In 1999, a solitary motorbike trip proved to be a revelation for this modern-day idealist. By chance, he stumbled upon the almost-deserted hilltop village of Santo Stefano di Sessanio in the Gran Sasso and Monti della Laga National Park in the Apennines. He was struck speechless, not only by the outstanding beauty of the setting, but also because almost everything was untouched. Read more »