The world is full of well-known and amazing buildings which attract hordes of visitors, but, for a small community it’s the decaying, abandoned, and unknown which lure their fascination; This is the world of Urbex, or urban exploration. It’s a world that I, along with Dan and Macca will be delving into over a weekend in Belgium.
If you’re after some organised fun then perhaps there is no better way to fuel your need to adventure than to book yourself onto the iconic Caminito Del Rey walkway in Southern Spain. Once dubbed, ‘ The World’s Most Dangerous Walkway’ following five deaths in the late 90’s, The Kings Pathway has been restored and now welcomes over 86,000 visitors a year.
Occasionally in life I’ve been told to go to Hell. I’m sure they all meant I should visit a small town of Hel which lies at the end of a 35km peninsular in the Baltic Sea. Taking their suggestion to heart, I’ve booked a cheap flight for Friday 13th with the intention of walking the entire length of the peninsula, to Hel; but will I make it back?
For the past 40 years the spa town of Tskaltubo has been slipping into anonymity. The chances are that if you have caught wind of this town, you’re either an urban explorer or a mature Soviet patron, two different ends of the spectrums that aren’t often said in the same sentence.
While the three peak challenge makes for popular discussion amongst British hikers, often forgotten is that in fact there is a fourth peak. At 850 meters Slieve Donard marks the highest point of Northern Ireland, and although Ben Nevis, Snowdon and Scarfell Pike get all the attention, we head over Irish Sea to acquaint ourselves with this often overlooked mountain.
New Orleans or NOLA as it’s also known, needs little introduction. Recently celebrating 300 years since its founding by the French in 1718, but this is only one party amongst many. The city’s vibrant atmosphere is well documented so whilst I may have missed Mardi Gras, does that mean I’ve missed the party?
It’s a late evening and the TV is on in the background, mostly serving as background noise; at least up until ‘Abandoned Engineering’ peaks my interest. The show starts with a typical narrator enthusiastically introducing The 52 Tunnel Road. I’ve never heard of if but with a name like that, and after watching a couple of minutes of dramatic footage, I’m hooked. It’s not long before I’m online trying to work out how I can explore this for myself.
Up until very recently it was unbeknown to me that Northern Spain is home to a spectacular mountain range, The Picos de Europa, or the Peaks of Europe. What have I been missing? The range is largely made up of limestone stretching for about 20km with the highest peak being Torre Cerredo (2650m) all within a national park of the same name.
Forming a natural border between the countries of Poland and Slovakia is the magnificent Tatra mountain range and Poland’s highest peak, Mt Rysy at 2,503 meters. The peak is right on the boundary of these two nations with hiking trails leading to its summit from either country.
The Curonian Spit is a 98km long thin stretch of land separating the Baltic Sea and Curonian Lagoon. It’s a UNESCO World Heritage site which covers the Russia exclave of the Kaliningrad Oblast to the south and Lithuania to the north. The narrowness of this massive geological phenomenon hasn’t gone un-noticed by ‘Team Doinit’ so after trying and failing to find any documented accounts of someone walking the Curonian Spit we assembled an eight person team to see if we could do it.
For almost half a century Myanmar remained largely closed of to the outside world thanks to a despotic military regime. But since 2011 things have started to change. The country that goes by two names is now opening up, finally giving visitors a chance to explore this magical land, filled with mystical architecture, breathtaking scenery and embrace relaxed atmosphere. This is my attempt to sum up our 11 day adventure…
If you find yourself walking along the coastline of the Thames Estuary you may on a clear day, far on the horizon, just about see some unusual structures. These are the Maunsell Forts; abandoned military defences which once protected London from enemy aircraft, and later became home to a community of radio pirates. That’s all I need to hear to get me out on a boat to take a look for myself.
I have always been fascinated by the world’s smaller, lesser known islands and the communities that inhabit these specks of land amidst vast oceans. The geo-political history of these outposts of human endurance makes for an intriguing read but for me there’s more to it.