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24 interesting facts about Russia

Russia has been described as many things: a mother, a winner, a force and a fighter. It is, as Churchill put it famously, a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma.

Russia is outsize both literally and metaphorically. Aside from its physical bulk, it has loomed as a spectre over the west for decades.

On Peter’s recent trip to this land of secrets, he gathered a wealth of interesting facts about Russia – some well known, others less so. As is tradition, we’ve gathered the best of them below. Continue reading

Interesting facts about Montenegro: Tara Canyon

19 interesting facts about Montenegro

At Atlas & Boots, we try to spend at least two weeks in any given country. Sadly, my recent horse riding trip in Montenegro was limited to just seven days. Given that I spent most of my time in the saddle, I had little interaction with the locals. Any chance I had was usually spent refusing second (and third) helpings of rakija, a colourless brandy of 40% alcohol!

I was keen to learn more about the country and thus set out to gather some interesting facts about Montenegro. Here’s the best of what I found. Continue reading

21 interesting facts about Mauritius

We share the most interesting facts about Mauritius, gathered on our month-long journey across the stunning country.

After trips to the Maldives, Fiji and French Polynesia, we wondered if Mauritius would live up to the established standard. The vision peddled in brochures is of course of great blue lagoons and powdery white beaches, but unlike the aforementioned places, Mauritius comprises one main island instead of a great swathe scattered across the ocean. Would true seclusion be hard to find? Continue reading

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22 interesting facts about Myanmar

We reflect on the interesting facts about Myanmar we learnt during our cycling tour through the country.

As a tourist destination, Myanmar may be young, but it is rich in history and culture. After decades under oppressive military rule, the country is finally opening up. Tourist numbers are beginning to swell, exiles are returning from the wild and a wave of uncensored media is increasingly available to a newly optimistic population. Continue reading

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20 interesting facts about Sri Lanka

We learnt a host of interesting facts about Sri Lanka through our month-long trip through the country. Here, we share our favourites. 

Sri Lanka is a rich and fascinating country that seems to have everything a traveller could possibly desire. The country is one of the best safari destinations outside of Africa with an abundance of wildlife squeezed into its 26 national parks. There are verdant rainforests, misty hills amid fertile tea plantations and miles upon miles of dazzling beaches. You’ve got a perfect holiday destination squeezed into an island a quarter of the size of the UK! Continue reading

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23 interesting facts about Norway

From polar exploits to illustrious penguins, we take a look at the most interesting facts about Norway.

Norway may well be the best country in the world – it’s certainly one of our favourites. It seems to have everything going for it. Not only is it a beautiful country full of stunning wildlife, nature and the northern lights, it’s also home to one of the world’s most progressive and open societies.

Throw in an enthralling history full of vikings, conquest and exploration, and I’m sold. I would move there in a heartbeat if only it weren’t so expensive (and that Kia may have something to say about the cold).

So, in a nutshell, we love the country – which is why we keep going back again and again. With that in mind, we take a look at some of the most interesting facts about Norway that we’ve learnt on the road. Continue reading

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19 interesting facts about Cambodia

We first visited Cambodia in 2011 and it instantly became one of our favourite countries. Kia returned this year and fell in love all over again. This time, she took a Mekong River cruise and watched the country drift past from a different perspective. She also revisited the iconic sites of Angkor Wat and S21 prison, two destinations that highlight two deeply contrasting pasts: one of glory and opulence, the other of degradation and cruelty. Continue reading

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18 interesting facts about Jordan

Jordan is one of my favourite destinations in the world. It seems to have everything. 

In places, it’s like an open-air museum with ancient ruins and mythical cities dotting the horizon. There are natural phenomena and arresting vistas that make for a photographer’s dream. The lands are steeped in a history as old as the verses of the bible and have played an important part in the biggest religions in the world. Throw in delicious cuisine and welcoming locals, and you have a wonderful destination full of adventure and intrigue. Continue reading

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22 interesting facts about Brazil

Our short city break in Rio de Janeiro was tagged on at the end of our big trip so we didn’t get as long as we wanted in either the city or Brazil itself. We’re committed to returning one day to explore the country’s massive interior and take a boat trip down the Amazon River. For now, we’ll have to be content with the few days we had in the captivating city of Rio with its stunning mountains, rainforests and seemingly endless beaches.

During our stay, we learnt a number of interesting facts about Brazil, proving it’s not all about Carnival and football in the South-American powerhouse. We share our favourite facts below. Continue reading

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19 interesting facts about Uruguay

We didn’t spend long enough in Uruguay – not nearly long enough. Squeezed for time at the end of our trip, we had just enough to charge through the country stopping off at the charming city of Colonia del Sacramento and the country’s diverse capital, Montevideo.

We feel we have unfinished business in South America’s underdog and have thus vowed to return one day. The country is progressive, stable and sophisticated – a breath of fresh of air in South America.

Despite our brief sojourn we discovered a wide range of interesting facts about Uruguay. We share our favourites below.

Continue reading

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17 interesting facts about Paraguay

American essayist P.J. O’Rourke once quipped that Paraguay was “nowhere and famous for nothing.” He then took a business trip there, fell in love with the country and promptly moved there.

While we can’t say we felt the same striking attraction, we certainly appreciated Paraguay’s history and authenticity. The small and struggling country is a steamy subtropical land of remarkable contrasts with a tragic and torrid history filled with violence and loss.

Despite our relatively short stay, we came across a wide range of interesting facts about Paraguay, the best of which we share below. Continue reading

best Torres del Paine hiking trails, Chile

15 interesting facts about Chile

There is a tale that Chileans are fond of telling tourists. When God created the world, they say, he had a little bit of everything left over: deserts, lakes, mountains, glaciers and volcanoes, so he tossed it altogether and created Chile. This slither of land in South America is indeed one of the most diverse in the world. From the arid and alien landscapes of Atacama Desert to the lush greenery of the Lake District, Chile has something for everyone. Continue reading

interesting facts about bolivia

17 interesting facts about Bolivia

Before we went to Bolivia, my entire education on the country came from this scene from the 1969 film Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid. Although our arrival in the country wasn’t quite as displeasing as Robert Redford’s, Bolivia did prove one of the more challenging countries we’ve visited. Cold showers, uninspiring cuisine and high altitude were just some of things we battled. Throw in the odd hostel reminiscent of a Soviet-era gulag and you have a destination that lags well behind its more well-traversed neighbours. Continue reading

15 interesting facts about Peru

Peru’s Machu Picchu tops bucket lists everywhere, most recently appearing at number three on Lonely Planet’s Ultimate Travelist, a compilation of  500 unmissable attractions across the world ranked by the publisher’s global community of travel experts.

There’s no doubt that our Salkantay Trek to Machu Picchu was one of the highlights of our trip around the world, but there’s certainly more to Peru. From gargantuan canyons to archaeological enigmas, this South American gem offers an abundance of culture and adventure. Here are the most interesting facts about Peru we picked up on our trip across its lands. Continue reading

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18 interesting facts about Ecuador

Despite its relatively small size compared with local giants Brazil and Argentina, Ecuador is home to an astounding array of wonders that include picturesque colonial towns, Amazonian rainforest, the spectacular peaks of the Andes and of course the fragile but alluring Galápagos Islands. Whether it’s nature, wildlife, culture, anthropology or language, this diverse country is sure to impress.

Here are the most interesting facts about Ecuador we picked up on our journey through its lands (and seas). Continue reading

24 interesting facts about the world’s least known countries

This is a subjective topic I know. What counts as an interesting fact? What counts as one of the world’s least known countries? There is no scientific answer but when this question was posed on Q&A site Quora, it certainly threw up some noteworthy particulars about some of the more obscure sovereign and not-so-sovereign states of the world. Below I’ve picked out some of the most interesting. Continue reading

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6 interesting Easter Island facts

We examine the island’s history and explain some of the most interesting Easter Island facts. This remote Pacific island is not only beautiful but full of mystery. 

First thing’s first, Easter Island is far. Very, very far. 

Map of Easter Island

In fact, it is one of the most remote communities in the world. Its closest inhabited neighbour is Pitcairn, 2,000km (1,200mi) to the west while the nearest continental land lies in Chile at a distance of 3,700km (2,300mi). In short, it’s not a short hop.

And so the question one must ask is: are the Easter Island statues worth the slog? Are these great hunks of rock worth the expense of a long voyage? Continue reading

5 surprising facts about Samoa

After nearly a month in Samoa – a country we fell in love with – we reveal five incredibly surprising facts about Samoa we learned during our stay.

surprising facts about Samoa

facts about samoa samoans are deeply religious

If you were asked to name the most religious countries in the world, chances are your list would be similar to mine. Saudi Arabia and Pakistan would be up there as would Brazil and Italy. In the spectrum from Saudi to Sweden, I would put Samoa somewhere in the middle, especially in relation to the Abrahamic religions. Turns out, I’d be wrong. Continue reading