12 memorable trips taken by our team

Now isn’t the time for going places. However, as we spend the coming weeks mostly indoors, we can still dream about travel, plan future adventures and revisit ones we’ve taken before. This is exactly what we’ve asked our team to do – to dream and reflect. Here are 12 memorable trips taken by the DK Eyewitness team, featuring eclipses, safaris, cycling treks, pilgrimages, bunnies, toboggans and ancient ruins.

Have a memorable trip you’d like to tell us about? Find out how to share it with us here.

Touring Southern Japan

In March 2012, my friend and I spent about ten days in southern Japan. We started on the tropical island of Okinawa. The beaches were closed for the seasons, but there was still plenty to do: exploring the world’s second largest aquarium, walking in Japanese gardens, visiting historic sights, and eating Okinawa’s specialty dish.

We then hopped on a plane to Hiroshima, where we went to the Peace Memorial Museum, ate fugu (the blowfish that can be poisonous if prepared incorrectly!) and enjoyed the cherry blossoms at Hiroshima Castle. We also used Hiroshima as a base to visit the nearby Bunny Island (exactly what it says on the tin!), and Itsukushima, an island of shrines and temples, stunning views, and the scent of sweet maple-flavoured foods.

- Robin Moul, Project Editor

Cycling on a railroad to Mostar

Last September, me and three friends went on a cycling adventure to take on the Ćiro railroad bike route which spans 150km from Dubrovnik in Croatia to Mostar in Bosnia over just two days. The route follows an old Austro-Hungarian railroad long-since ripped up, and takes you through a multitude of tiny hamlets, bending roads and verdant countryside - the likes of which I would usually associate with Italy or Slovenia.

There’s also an optional bit of the course (which obviously we did) which takes you down a railroad path cut through the mountains, leading you through ten caves, rubble-strewn terrain and slightly terrifying narrow bridges. Not only was this the first cycling trip I’d ever been on - it was actually my first time riding a bike in a few years - but I can’t wait to do another one!

- James Atkinson, Online Brand Manager

Delhi to Kerala by train and bus

I never took a gap year, so when I finished university going travelling was a priority for me. India had been at the top of my list for as long as I can remember, and luckily my best friend from University had been dying to get there too! We began in Delhi and made our way south to Kerala by train and bus over six incredible weeks.

There aren’t enough words to describe the amount of incredible things we experienced – sunrise at a cloudy Taj Mahal, sunset over the rice fields and ruins of Hampi, lunch with local families on the backwaters of Alleppey, exploring the hectic streets of Delhi, sunrise safari in Ranthambore, cooking classes in Udaipur, live music and dance everywhere we went, beautiful architecture in Jaipur, morning yoga on the beach in Goa, the art biennale in Kochi and experiencing Bollywood cinema in Mumbai. Of course, not forgetting eating curry all day, everyday!

- Jordan Lambley, Designer

Descending the Great Wall of China in a silver toboggan

The journey to the Mutianyu section of the Great Wall of China from our hostel in Beijing took four hours, on four separate buses, for what was an hour-and-a-half drive. At the bottom of Mutianyu – one of the quieter locations for tourists – we took a rickety old chair lift up the steep mountain to reach the Wall. I’m not really afraid of heights, but I am afraid of rickety chair lifts when my girlfriend purposefully shakes them. I didn’t scream. That must have been someone else.

We reached the top of the Great Wall and walked up to the highest point on the Mutianyu section. The sun was shining across the mountains, with barely a cloud in sight. And it hit us, the long and vast history, the sense of wonder and human achievement. We spent the day, walking along the wall, stopping for the occasional beer from a local vendor.

After five hours, we had to meet our tour guide at the bottom, which might have seemed disappointing, but to get down from the Wall, we decided to take the toboggan. It was an eerie and odd experience, chasing my girlfriend down an ancient wonder of the world, at twenty miles an hour, in a silver toboggan, crashing into the back of her toboggan, as vengeance for the chair lift.  

- Ioan Jones, Project Editor

Taking on the Pembrokeshire Coast Path, bit by bit

I started walking the Pembrokeshire Coast Path back in May 2017 and have been returning once or twice a year ever since to tackle more of its 186 miles. I've travelled to the other side of the world but for me nothing quite beats a weekend of walking along the cliffs and beaches of Wales.

The path meanders alongside beaches and through pretty fishing villages, circles impossibly beautiful coves that tempt you in for a seaside swim, and climbs up and down craggy cliffs. And one of the best bits? Returning to a campsite every night for a much-needed sleep under canvas. Roll on the next leg! 

- Hollie Teague, Managing Editor

Hiking across the Spanish Pyrenees

In February of this year, I spent an idyllic week hiking and chasing waterfalls in the Spanish Pyrenees. We were based in the Aragonese mountain village of Gistaín, which has a tiny population of just 200 (plus a rival number of local cats). Each day began cocooned in coats and scarves on the terrace, taking in the snow capped mountains with a hearty breakfast, before we grabbed our backpacks, laced up our walking boots, and embarked on a hike.

Every route introduced a totally different and stunning landscape; around the silent villages of Plan, Serveto and Sin, it was reminiscent of the Austrian Alps, while gorgeous Parque Nacional de Ordesa y Monte had the feel of an American National Park. It was wonderful to be outside all day long, disconnected from technology and the modern world, and breathing in fresh mountain air – sometimes with a reviving bottle of cider. 

- Lucy Richards, Senior Editor

Chasing a total eclipse on the US West Coast

A couple of years back we took the kids on a road trip down the West Coast of the US to coincide with a total eclipse. The wonderful thing about road trips is building the journey to suit your interests and we had decided to theme the holiday on science and sci-fi experiences.

We started in Seattle where we adored the MoPOP Museum and Boeing Factory Tours, a full day of fun in themselves. Heading a few hours south to the small welcoming town of McMinnville west of Portland we got to watch the staggering eclipse in the grounds of the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum. Here we also got to throw ourselves down waterslides emerging from an old Boeing 747 in the museum’s waterpark. 

After the eclipse we had a bit of an exhausting dash through California to LA where we continued the theme with a visit to the Griffith Observatory and finished the fortnight with a Warner Brothers Studio Tour and a trip to Vasquez Rocks to re-create one of a thousand movie scenes. 

The kids adored every minute, we are now looking at heading to the next USA eclipse in 2024.

- James Macdonald, Cartographer

Following the wildebeest migration in Kenya

A pride of lions lounge in the warm glow of the Kenyan sunset until – suddenly – their ears prick up and one of them slinks off into the grass, returning with a mongoose. This was just one of the many spine-tingling wildlife encounters that I witnessed while following the wildebeest migration in Kenya. 

From hulking elephants to tiny birds, this East African country has more than an ark’s worth of animals, even outside the summer migration. The Masai Mara is amazing, but Lake Nakuru’s pink sea of flamingos and Mombasa’s white-sand beaches are also hard to beat.

- Becky Flynn, Project Editor

Working the Venice Biennale

In October 2017 I spent a long weekend helping a friend out at a gallery in Venice, for the city’s famous Art Biennale. It was a great time to visit: the air was still warm, the streets were less busy and wherever you turned there was art. She’d already been there a month so knew all the local haunts; we stood at coffee counters in the morning with our tiny shots of espresso and mingled with the students in busy wine bars in the evening. 

I helped open up the gallery some mornings, chatting to the people who came in (and proving to everyone how bad my Italian was), but I also got to wander off and explore the city by myself. Many of the art pavilions are free to go into and are barely advertised, so I’d be ambling through narrow alleys to St Mark’s Square, turn down the wrong way and end up at Zimbabwe’s art collection. It was an amazing experience and the biennale was such a unique way to explore Venice’s watery wonderland.

- Lucy Sara-Kelly, Editorial Assistant 

Making friends in Petra

I headed to Jordan last September for ten days, starting my trip alone and quickly meeting an incredible, diverse, adventure-seeking group of other solo travellers. We gorged on crispy falafel balls and creamy hummus together in Amman, exchanged tales underneath the smoky desert sky at a Bedouin camp bonfire, wicked the slimy, saline water from our buoyant bodies in the Dead Sea.

But my most coveted memory of the trip was after a day exploring the country’s crown jewel  the ever-mysterious Petra – when we found ourselves at the top of a crumbling building, realizing that the rest of the complex had already cleared out. We watched the sandy horizon ease into dusk, marveling at the spread of ancient ruins before us. It was one of those moments suspended in time, where you look around, incredulous at your luck; overwhelmed by the wealth of culture and history; and grateful to experience it with all of these unexpected new friends, in a place so far from home. 

- Lauren Paley, Marketing Manager 

A first trip to New York City

In early 2015, my second-year university class went to New York City  to see a design conference  though it mainly turned into a curious exploration of the city! For many days we saw the sights and experienced the kinetic New York lifestyle (and amazing food), whether it be a sunset from the Empire State Building, a wander through Central Park, or perusing the many fascinating museums.

It's a brilliant place to go with a camera equipped, as there are such a variety of stories and atmospheres all within the one city. Perhaps the most magical moment, though, was when we went out to Times Square one clear evening as it heartily snowed from above. It was a joy to take our time getting to know such an iconic location in such a fairytale situation, and was a demonstration of the incredible moments travel can give you.

- William Robinson, Project Designer

Childhood holidays in Wales

I didn't go abroad until I was a teenager and when I was a child we used to spend our summers in Wales. I have so many fond memories of these holidays including getting a huge age-inappropriate crush on the climbing instructor (my hopes were dashed as I discovered he was dating one of the female instructors), convincing myself that the man with a beard and a hat sunning himself a few metres down on the beach was Terry Pratchett (I was really into the Discworld novels at the time - cue embarrassing fangirl moment) and my sister saving me from drowning while we learnt to bodyboard, forever cementing our close bond (the water was knee high).

- Bella Talbot, Jacket & Sales Material Coordinator

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