Expat Clubs Groups and Associations

Expat Groups are a way for those living abroad to meet and make new friends with like minded people who are living in a country other than their own. Whether you are traveling the world for leisure or working for large or small global corporation, when you first arrive at a new country you can be ‘lost at sea’ and not having any friends can be both daunting and lonely. The challenge is to find and join expat groups, clubs and association to help you adjust to a new way of life, in what may be an exciting move, yet alien and strange at first. Expats, Travel, Food and Hospitality go hand in hand and many expats living abroad crave for their home grown foods and beverages whilst being away from home. Fortunately due to the world of online shopping and web surfing expats can order food and beverage, gift packages, fine wine, premium beers and ales and all kinds of alcoholic beverages and have them shipped directly to their door without having to leave their living room.

Additionally they can search for and find catering companies for their corporate function of social event. Whilst playing tennis and going to movies and enjoying many of the wonders of a new country may be fun, expats often still feel the loneliness, especially when they come to make friends only to find their friends have moved on to work in another county. And so the wheels of the merry go rounds continues to turn and the need for companionship and familiarity can be so powerful that it can often leave you sad depressed and totally alone. This is where familiar food and beverages from home can help to ease that void and Expats from around the world can now find many of the foods from their country of origin here at the worlds first and only dedicated directory for fine food and premium beverages.

Expats can buy directly from global specialty food stores and they can even find local and international logistics companies for all their logistics and transport needs. Be it the need to ship a case of wine from one Australia to China or a whole container load of personal effects. Be sure to visit our logistics platform to search our detailed list of the world’s most reputable and experienced freight forwarders, airlines, shipping lines, customs agents and global removals companies for all your transport needs.

9 Tips for Selecting the Best Hotel at a Tourist Place

In a tourist place, there are hundreds of hotels available for travelers. To select a hotel in the city for your travel, it is important for you to identify what you actually need from it. The needs may vary from individual to Individual and from family to family.

The below-given tips will make your search for best hotels and resorts easy and productive. It will save you time and also reduce frustration.

1. The first work you will do is to filter and sort hotels on the basis of facilities they provide and the budget you can afford. First of all, put in the name of the city and the date on which you need to book a hotel.

2. After filtering date and locations wise, now you can sort resorts amenity wise. There are hotels which offer free WiFi services, parking and swimming facilities to guests. I for myself will always select a hotel offering these amenities.

3. If you are traveling along with your family then you can look for a family hotel in the city and travel with a Girlfriend or wife, then you can look for a “romantic” type of hotel.

4. A good hotel is one that is located close to the airport and has decent road and rail links. Although these resorts mention these details in their description, it is not possible for a traveler to read the description of each hotel.

5. There are some hotels booking sites that show hotels on a single map. You can use their map to find a hotel that meets your travel requirements.

6. Some people intentionally look for a hotel that offers its guests free breakfast while as others don’t consider free breakfast as that much important. Similarly, some homestay have free WI-Fi service for guests. If you really need internet then only makes it a deciding factor.

7. These days every hotel has its own website where they make announcements and update their guests about any new development. People post their reviews directly on their website. Read those reviews and what people think about the hotel.

8. Price is the deciding factor when it comes to making a hotel booking for an average person. An average income person may not be able to afford a costly hotel. Booking engines sort hotels price wise. Some resorts offer discounts to their guests. So check out that which hotel in the city is offering discounts on bookings.

9. The environment of a hotel should be soothing and pleasant to have a peaceful stay during your travel. A good and healthy environment will ensure your well-being. There are a number of green and best hotels and resorts, visit their websites and select an Eco-friendly hotel for your travel.


When it comes to select a hotel, always focus on what matters to you most and don’t pay heed to other matters. That will only waste your time. Filtering out the hotels that meet your requirements is an ideal way to identify best hotels.

Why Should You Always Try and Stay in a Five Star Hotel?

Let’s be honest, not everyone can afford five star, which is why so many people book into three and four star hotels. But before you start shopping around and book the first affordable hotel you find, there are a few things you should really know about.

The first thing is that every country has their own hotel rating system, which means a five star in London is not necessarily the same as a five star hotel in Australia or the United States. Every country has it’s own rating system, which could result in some confusion. In the United Kingdom stars are awarded on facilities, service and customer service, In France they focus on the quality of the rooms and in Italy they focus on cleanliness. Which means knowing the star rating system in the UK can help you look for hotels in other countries offering the same facilities, services and customer service, even if they are not awarded with five stars.

In the United Kingdom, facilities and services are taken very seriously and any hotel which is lucky enough to be awarded a five star status, must provide guests with exploratory facilities and services. They must also have experienced, qualified and excellent staff who focus on providing guests with the highest level of customer service, working to exceptionally high quality standards at all times.

The hotel should provide the finest level of cleanliness, it should be well-maintained and offer the delivery of any services to the highest of standards. In most instances a five star hotel will provide you with some benefits such as a fitness center and on-site wellness center, which should provide you with a range of quality treatments provided by qualities therapists. In addition to this, the hotel should also provide you with a twenty our hour reception desk for added convenience.

It is always advisable when visiting a new city or country, to choose a five star hotel with a concierge service. The concierge has a wealth of local knowledge and experience. They can make recommendations and suggestions on what to see and do, they will book a taxi for you or assist you with public transport. They can also make theater bookings on your behalf or make dinner reservations at a top hotel, saving you time and energy and reducing what you need to do when on holiday.

Further, they should provide a butler service. If you have hired a suite and have guests coming to visit you for an evening meal, then a butler could be the ideal way to spend the evening, enabling them to handle the dinner, serve the meal and clear the plates, while keeping glasses filled.

Most five star hotels will have a choice of public areas. They should have a full on-site restaurant that serves evening meals and maybe even breakfasts, they should also have a lounge bar or relaxed area where you can sit and chill out, maybe with a coffee or dinner cocktail, light snacks should be served here during the day. In addition to this, they should also provide you with twenty four hour room service to quality as five star.

Weekend Getaways From Delhi Within 300 Km

A melting point of vibrant cultures, Delhi is an incredible city in itself and offers respite to its inhabitants in the form of abounding outings within the city. But unlike most of the cities, the folks in Delhi have a plethora of options when it comes to weekend getaways.

Also, since most of us are wary of spending our hard-earned money and deserving weekends on nonessential tourist-flooded destinations and long travel hours, weekend getaways from Delhi becomes all the more important.

Be it hill stations, adventure sites, religious shrines or commonplace tourist destinations, there are numerous getaways from Delhi at a stone’s throw.

Mentioned below is the ultimate list of weekend getaways near Delhi that would turn your monotonous weekend into a mini vacation and get in you in just the right mood to face the upcoming week.

1. Sariska, Rajasthan: Sariska rose to popularity due to Sariska Tiger Reserve. A successfully relocated home to Royal Bengal Tigers, the reserve is located in the Alwar district and is considered to be one of the best getaways from Delhi for its thriving wildlife.

Distance from Delhi: 215 km

Best time to visit: Throughout the year except May, June, July and August

Famous for: Rich flora and fauna including tigers, wild boar, antelopes and leopards

2. Kasauli, Himachal Pradesh: This quaint hamlet in Himachal Pradesh is one of the most charismatic hill stations in India. Narrow roads moving past undulated vistas take one back to the 19th century. The placid hill station is blessed with exotic surroundings and is a preferred weekend destination from Delhi.

Distance from Delhi: 285 km

Best time to visit: March to November

Famous for: Hill station, alluring landscapes, altars

3. Rishikesh, Uttarakhand: One of the holiest Indian cities, Rishikesh is not just the spiritual capital of India but its adventure capital too. Even the globally known band The Beatles couldn’t keep itself from visiting the sacred destination back in 1968.

Distance from Delhi: 230 km

Best time to visit: Throughout the year, peak summers can be a bit harsh though

Famous for: Adventure sports, yoga, spirituality

4. Mandawa, Rajasthan: Mandawa was founded in 18th century by rich merchant families and is known for its splendid mansions and havelis. It’s an aesthetically pleasing hamlet and attracts numerous tourists from nearby cities and is locally known as Rajasthan’s open art gallery.

Distance from Delhi: 260 km

Best time to visit: October to March

Famous for: Heritage, palaces, forts, camel rides and shopping

Solo Travel – 10 Ways to Save on Single Supplements

In your school days, you may have found, as I did, that economics really is the “dismal science”. However, I did learn one key fact. Supply and demand drive prices. For solo travel, the surcharge or “single supplement” does vary partly in keeping with this tried and true rule. The good news? If you prowl through the Internet, you can find ways to save on solo travel when demand is down. The bad news? Reduced or no single supplement offerings are limited in number and go fast.

Here are 10 ways to save.

1. Don’t ask for one room. Ask for a “room for one’. In Europe, lodging is often sold with solo pricing. Be sure to see if it is a solo price for a standard room or a small single room. Look at the size offered for single occupants. Then consider the amount of time you will spend in your room. I often take 10-12 hour day trips abroad with almost no time spent in my hotel room except to catch some sleep before heading out again.

2. Get there first. Book even one year ahead since few slots are reduced for solos. This is really important if you go in-season. Holiday resorts and hot spots in summer may have return visitors book the next year when they check out.

3. Head to the airport when everyone else is heading home. Off-season travel is the best way to get immediate 50% off reductions. In the south of France, rates go down as fast as Sept 9. Ski resorts, like the fabled Sun Valley Lodge, have specials just before Christmas. In winter and spring, European discounts can be half-price as well.

4. Get excited about rainy weather or extreme heat and cold. You will have to think how far you want to take this. I had a thrilling short term work trip one Jan. in Siberia. I also went on tour in India during the monsoons. In some cases, the negative pronouncements may not impact your trip. A good example? The risk of hurricanes each fall is less likely to touch the ABC islands (Aruba, Bonaire and Curacao) making for better pricing. In Africa, for example, safari rates are lower during the rainy or “green” season if you can get away, and don’t mind the possibility of short, heavy rains.

5. Look for new travel providers. Hotels that are just opening or reopening after renovations have specials to gain or regain market share. The Hotel Castille in Paris, for example, had short-term deep discounts when it reopened just steps from fashionable boutiques. Thereafter, the rates increased in keeping with other high-end small hotels

6. Be a contrarian. Don’t pay a premium for what’s currently trending. Prowl the Internet for undervalued regions. If it is all the rage, prices will soar. In the 1980’s, I somehow found a Montenegro resort right off the Albanian border. Since then, Sveti Stefan, where I stayed, has been updated as reflected in its 5 star pricing. The moral of the story is get there before the crowds discover a destination.

7. If you can’t pronounce it or spell it, you’ll love the prices! Substitute the road less traveled. If you have a dream to see the Parthenon you must go to Greece. (That is unless you live in North America and would like to see a perfect replica in Nashville, Tenn.!) Regional air carriers are a good way to find out great largely undiscovered places at low prices. One example: I dreamed of Tahiti in my early post-graduate days. When rates were high there, Air New Zealand suggested alternatives: Rarotonga and Aitutaki. I took them up on it and had the trip of a life time dining out on the stories for years.

8. Scour the Internet for national and regional programs offered by tourist boards. Check ahead as they may only be available abroad. One of the best deals I found in the 1990’s was with then “Lan Chile”. From the US, I purchased three stand-by tickets for a total of $200 to go anywhere in the country. At that price, I made my way to Antarctica Chile, at the end of the world!

9. Use flexible dates to grab week-day deals. Hotels and airline rates often go up and down together. Why is that? That takes us back to supply and demand. When planes and hotels have low load factors, prices are softer.

10. Share to save. Look for tours that have no single supplements by agreeing to share. The benefit to this approach? It is a way to save if your travel dates are not flexible, and no to low single supplement deals are not available.

In any case, before you give up on fitting solo travel into your budget, look at these options.

Norman Reedus and Ian Somerhalder ride for Endymion in New Orleans

In tonight’s Endymion Parade in New Orleans, Ian Somerhalder of TV’s “Vampire Diaries” and “Lost” road as Co-Grand Marshal with Norman Reedus of “The Walking Dead” and “The Boondock Saints.” Each had their own float, of course, and had separate toasts with Mayor, Mitch Landrieu.

While Mr. Reedus stayed at the top for his toast, Mr. Somerhalder was down among the musicians that were serenading him on his ride. After exchanging toasts with Mayor Landrieu, the celebrities went on their merry way.

They were followed by members of the court and then the King and Queen of the Endymion Krewe. While the toasts with the mayor were exciting for those present, the crowd was more exciting once the millions of beads were flying into the stands.

In addition to the beads there were many other goodies including frisbies, stuffed animals, balls of various sizes and types, dubloons, glowing rings, necklaces, and other jewelry.

Peru Travel: Qeswachaka Festival and Alternative Inca Trails in Peru

Many people travel to Peru to hike the famous Inca Trail. There’s an undeniable allure to the idea of treading the same path once used by the ancient Incas as they traveled to the great citadel of Machu Picchu. However, the Inca Trail is not the only impressive remnant of the Inca Empire. In addition to the well-known Inca Trail path to Machu Picchu, the Incas built a vast and elaborate system of roads hundreds of kilometers long that traversed the entire Inca Empire.

The Inca construction, however, didn’t stop at roads. In addition to building paths, the Incas were master bridge builders, and these bridges were an integral part of the road system. Q’eswachaka, commonly known as the Inca Rope Bridge, is the last of these bridges still in use, and is located just outside of Cusco in the Quehue District. Though originally destroyed in an attempt to halt Pizarro’s attack on Cusco during the Spanish invasion, it was reconstructed and continues to remain in use to this day. The bridge spans the raging Apurimac River as it cuts through the breathtaking Apurimac Valley.

Q’eswachaka is made of fibers woven together to create a strong rope, and small slats of wood are used to reinforce the footpath. Part of the reason the bridge has lasted almost 600 years, however, is that every year, the people of four local Quechua communities come together to replace the old bridge with a new one. The Q’eswachaka Festival, four days of work and celebration, marks this occasion. This ancient tradition has been carried out annually since the days of the Incas, and continues to be an important connection to tradition and culture in the high Andes.

Every year, the four communities enthusiastically come together for the process of rebuilding the bridge- an important and ceremonial tradition. Certain members of the community hold the role of engineer, while others serve as weavers. One male holds the important position of “Chakaruwak”, meaning he is a specialist in braiding and construction. In order for the sacred art to be carried on from generation to generation and to keep the spirit of the bridge alive, fathers teach their sons the process, just as their fathers did before them.

Before the festival begins, community members collect the building material, primarily consisting of grass and natural fibers. These fibers will be woven into the cables used in the bridge’s construction. Before the festival and bridge building can begin, however, the spiritual leader of the community must ask the apus, or the mountain spirits, for permission to begin the process, and make offerings of coca leaves and corn to Pachamama, Mother Earth. After this offering, the weaving of the cables begins. In the afternoon, the men divide into two groups, one each side of the bridge, and begin braiding the cables towards each other.

On the second day, the engineers begin by untying the old ropes, which are attached to stone nails, and attach the new ropes to the nails. This is a time consuming and intricate process, but finally the base and handrails of the new bridge are in place.

On the third day of the festival, construction finishes on the handrails and footpath, and when the construction has finished, the bridge is officially opened to the tune of music accompanied by traditional dances.

The festival reaches its climax on the fourth day, which is a day of celebration. The communities once again come together to celebrate the completion of the bridge through song, indigenous dances, and eating traditional foods. This final day serves as a culmination of all the hard work, and a celebration of the lasting traditions that have allowed these communities to keep their vibrant culture alive.

This year, the Q’eswachaka Festival falls during the second week of June, with the principal day of the festival on the second Sunday of the month. The bridge reconstruction and subsequent festival will take place once again, as it does every year, as the local communities gather to honor both Pachamama and their ancestors, and celebrate their community and heritage.

Everything You Ever Wanted To Know About Boutique Hotels

The lodging industry is one of the oldest businesses to exist in this world. It has been around ever since people started traveling from one place to the other for trade and other purposes. What began as the need of the hour (rest and shelter during long journeys) soon turned into an industry that offered comfort, convenience, even luxury, to their boarders. For example, The Greeks built thermal baths that allowed their guests to rest and recuperate. Romans constructed palatial mansions for travelers, while Caravanserais along the famous Silk Road from Turkey to China offered shelter not just for men but also their beasts.

In the 21st century, hotels have evolved into a flourishing business that has become an inseparable part of the travel industry. The styles range from flamboyant properties to bare-bone youth hostels, and all-inclusive honeymoon resorts to quaint country inns.

However, as competition grew and hotels started offering standard services across the chain, there was need for something innovative in the market. People, tired of impersonal services, started moving towards smaller hotels that offered personalized attention and unique experiences.

And thus was born the darling of the hospitality industry – boutique hotels. Today, they are the most sought after stay option for leisure travelers and the ultimate name in exclusivity. More and more people are choosing to stay in boutique hotels, because they’re almost always guaranteed to have a good time and get great value for their money

Given the popularity they enjoy, it’s worthwhile taking a peek into the fascinating history of boutique hotels and trace their evolution over time.

History of Boutique Hotels

The earliest boutique hotels appeared in the early 1980s, the first two of them being The Blakes Hotel in South Kensington, London, and the Bedford in Union Square, San Francisco. The term ’boutique hotel’, though, appeared much later in 1984, coined by Steve Rubell. He compared his own establishment, Morgans Hotel, to a small boutique, obviously wishing to highlight its exclusivity and set it apart from other hotels that were cropping up everywhere, much like the monolithic department stores.

This is not to say that boutique hotels are a modern invention. There are plenty of documented instances of similar lodging experiences dating back to the 13th century when staging posts were set up for travelers in Mongolia and China.

Here are a few more examples of one-of-a-kind boutique hotels that were popular back in the days:

  • In 1705, César Ritz opened a boutique hotel at Place Vendôme, which earned him high praise from King Edward VII who called him “king of hoteliers and hotelier to kings”.
  • In 1822, Venitian artist Giuseppe Rubino transformed an old palace into a gorgeous hotel and called it “il Rubino”.
  • In 1880, the Sagamore Hotel on Lake George (in the state of New York) became the first to provide electricity in each of its guest rooms, creating no small stir among visitors in those times.
  • In 1900, Edouard Niiermans, known as the ‘architect of palaces’ transformed Emperor Napoléon III’s summer residence – Villa “Eugenie – into a beautiful and niche hotel.
  • In 1919, Barcelona inaugurated a stylish hotel that was equipped with hot and cold water in its bathrooms.

As you can see, there have been numerous occasions throughout the history of the lodging industry when hoteliers applied creativity and offered top-notch services to stay ahead of the competition and offer something extraordinary to their visitors.

Boutique Hotel of the 21st Century – Characteristics that Set It Apart

Today, the term ’boutique hotel’ is used to describe small establishments with around 150 rooms. They are privately owned, or part of a small group of hotels, and are best known for iconic, memorable and, at times, eccentric design themes. The concept of boutique hotels became a trend after hotelier Ian Schrager and French designer Philippe Starck used unique designs to build their hotels. And now, it has become a flourishing industry of its own, complete with unique traits and qualities.

Here’s looking at some of the more important ones.

Size Does Matter

Boutique hotels are generally considered small, but they’re not in the same category as Bed and Breakfast hotels or homestays that have less than 10 rooms. Boutique hotels can have up to 150 rooms, which does make it appear smaller when you compare it to most chain hotels.

However, it is this intimate scale that helps create a home-like ambiance with peace and privacy aplenty. These cozy properties often have a communal “living space” where the guests can sit and interact with each other.

Personality Speaks Volumes

Since boutique hotels are independently owned and not affiliated to any big chain, they are a brand in themselves. They have a distinctive vibe to them that sets them apart from the others. It is their unique personality and absence of cookie cutter solutions that guests find refreshing, thereby drawing more and more people towards boutique hotels.

Design by Desire

Boutique hotels are known for their intriguing interiors, which are very often created by leading designers and architects. Generally speaking, these niche hotels tend to maintain an upmarket look, combining historic elegance with chic details. The decor conveys a progressively forward style and the overall design could range from contemporary and quaint, to homely and artistic. Each guest room is decorated individually, complete with exclusive amenities and upscale linen.

It’s All in the Charm

You know how you walk into a big hotel, but nothing really spectacular or interesting jumps out at you? Boutique hotels will have none of that and the first thing that grabs your attention is their eccentric personality. They are funky, trendy, and offbeat. For instance, the Hotel Monaco in Washington D.C. will bring a goldfish in a bowl to your room, if you don’t have a pet of your own.

Lovely Location

While there aren’t any hard and fast rules about where a boutique hotel should be situated, it’s no coincidence that the best of them have a great location going for them. When designing boutique hotels, most hoteliers choose the hippest and most happening places to set them in. You may even find them in high-end neighborhoods, removed from the hustle and bustle, but still close to the attractions and highlights of the city. Yet another popular choice for boutique hotels would be in areas that are far removed from the city, in the lap of nature and surrounded by lush greenery.

Superb Service

One of the most distinguishing features of boutique hotels is the highly personalized and exclusive services they extend to their guests. The staff is courteous and friendly and is likely to know your name from day one. The hotel provides bespoke luxury amenities, like an extensive pillow menu, custom toiletries, and an array of relaxing spa services. A sumptuous spread of food and drinks menu is also a signature part of a boutique hotel. All these services combined create a top notch and singular experience for the guests.

Delectable Dining Options

Another feature that makes boutique hotels stand apart from other hotels is their significant focus on creating extraordinary restaurants and bars, which are modish and trendy. These hotels make a great reputation for themselves, which is independent of the conventional star ratings. Thanks to their appeal, they’re able to draw crowds not just locally, but also globally.

As you can see, there are a number of reasons why boutique hotels are fast gaining popularity among travelers, who are demanding more than comfort and convenience from their stay options. They want to be surprised, they want to experience something new, something completely different from what the run-of-the-mill hotels offer. In fact, these days, if you’re not staying at a boutique hotel, you’re considered unfashionable.

I don’t mean to imply in any way that hotels are boring or uninspiring. There are excellent hotels all over the world offering out-of-the-world service to their guests. However, boutique hotels break the traditional mold and refuse to be boxed in by regular standards. Offering visitors style, distinction, intimacy, and warmth, they leave guest with an experience they can cherish forever. And isn’t that what hotels set out to do in the first place?

Finding a Hotel Tonight Is Easier Than You Think

Finding a hotel tonight, or any night for that matter, is much easier than you think. In fact, the travel industries are such that the consumer is no longer working on the whim of an outside agent working in semi-secrecy. Consumer protection progress in the industry, as well as streamlined planning tools, have made it so that anyone can jump online & find what they need.

In this case, we’re focusing on the ease with which someone can plan a stay at a hotel as soon as tonight. Perhaps the single greatest reason that planning a quick hotel stay has become so simple is the advent of the World Wide Web – the Internet. The Internet has allowed us to have a wealth of information at our fingertips for a few decades now, and with that knowledge comes some serious power. For example, there was once a time when knowing what hotels were nearby was the only real way you could choose a hotel. You subsequently had to look them up in the phone book (barring you didn’t make a mistake in their name), and you really had to hope that there was something available at the very last-minute. The number of variables was through the roof, and in many ways, consumers were operating at the discretion of the hotels.

This would be enough to convince even a hardened traveler to cry, “Uncle”, but the real struggle to book a room came when you had to travel out-of-town. Imagine being on a road you’re following on a physical map, and inevitably you’d end up somewhere whose geography you didn’t know, and you certainly didn’t know of any hotels, motels, or motorways you could bank on for a last-minute room. Today, however, you can know your way around town by way of your phone’s Internet access.

Perhaps the other most significant reason for being able to book a hotel room with ease comes by way of competition in the industry. There was once a time when you had a limited amount of choices for hotel stays. Regardless of whether you were traveling & moving about due to vacation or work, you were in a position where your lodging money went one of only a couple of places. Nowadays, you’re able to do quick online searches as to the quality (star rating) of you proposed lodging, amenities, as well as proximity to & involvement with your destination. Moreover, there are a number of hotels vying for your business, which means they are willing to work with prospective customers on pricing & flexible booking simply because they want your booking in a major way. With so much choice & with an added boost in saving on your booking, you as the consumer are the big winner.

When it comes to finding a hotel room tonight, you should set your mind at ease. A little common sense, some quick wit with online searches, and a comfort in knowing that you as the customer have some serious booking power should be your guides to hotel booking nirvana.

Ayers Rock in The Kata Tjuta National Park – The Long Climb and an Even Longer Descent

I admit that sometimes I act without thinking too much about the consequences. This caused me already several problems in my life.

As you know I spent already a few days in Uluru. One morning, after considering the pros and cons I decided to climb the Rock.

I suggest that you seriously think about it before doing it.

Ayers Rock is massive, majestic. It commands respect. It’s 348 metres high; like a 95 story building. The track to the top is more or less 1.6 km long. It’s perilous and treacherous. If you are in top physical conditions it will take more or less 3 hours to complete the “expedition”. The first part has got a chain. You can hang on to it and this will help you immensely. It is a tiresome climb and you need to be prepared. If you do not feel 100% you should give up and be happy with your decision: people died here.

About 34 people lost their lives, mainly because of heart attacks. A few people got hurt.

Do not forget the heat.

Another hazardous factor is caused by the wind.

I got there early in the morning. I did not want to accomplish my mission in the middle of the day because of the rising temperatures. I had a pair of good trainers, and a bottle of water and a wind-breaker in my little backpack, just in case.There were not too many people around.

I looked at the sky. It was blue, not too windy either. I started climbing. It was not as easy as I thought. I used the chain all the time trying not to look down.

Sometimes I had to stop to catch my breath.

I remembered clearly that I had to avoid grabbing something in case it fell. It could be fatal.

The ascent is hard, steep and, at times, scary. I used also my hands to climb when the help of the chain was not available anymore. Sometimes I stopped to look around. In the distance I could see the Olgas or Kata Tjua, which means literally ‘many heads’ in Aboriginal.

It is a group of large, domed rock formations not too far from The Rock.

I was nearly there. I could see some little pools of waters all around. Obviously it had rained recently. I noticed a few clouds in the sky. The temperature dropped a little bit.

I finally reached the top. The scenery was amazing. Awesome! I walked around, there was a huge distance of red soil all around me. I could see the round shape of planet earth. I had the feeling that I was alone in the world. It was a very intense. The immensity and the loneliness of the environment made my heart sink.

I spent half an hour on the top. It was time to descend. There were very few people around me. The weather suddenly changed. The sky was grey and it became colder.

I thought: “I hope that it is not going to rain because in this case I could be in trouble.”

I started to move downwards. It was not too difficult but sometimes I had to sit and go down like that… on my bum…

I managed to reach the chain, finally. At that stage it started to rain. The rock underneath my feet became slippery. I got scared. I had good trainers but not good enough with such a weather. I looked down. Fear: that was what I experienced. It kept on raining. Now my feet could no longer hold on to the ground. I stopped. I looked down again. There very few people.

I saw a man waiving at me. He started to climb. He must have noticed that I was facing some difficulties. After a while he reached me. Yes, he saw that I was having serious problems. He told me that he belongs to a rescue group in his hometown, he was just on holiday at the moment and he came up to help me. Lucky!

He had very good climbing and tracking boots. He was very strong and very tall. He was behind me. He told me to put my feet in front of his, because he could hold on to the ground without slipping.

We both hold on to the chain. Being robust my weight did not create him problems.

At that time it was seriously raining. What a tragedy to be there by myself I thought…

I do not remember how long it took us to reach the ground underneath us, but finally we got there. I was very happy that it was all over… He told me that I should have considered the ascent seriously before starting the climb, that I should have been more careful.

I learned a lesson I am afraid… and I was very lucky… I was very grateful to him.

There is another reason why people should not go up Ayers Rock and not only because it is dangerous. Uluro is a sacred site and the Aboriginal owners ask to respect their law and not to climb it.

The climbing route is a sacred path of spiritual significance that is only taken by few Aboriginal men on special occasions. At that time I was not aware of it. I should have been more informed and more respectful.