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Central Asia 2016

Central Asia is not on the radar for most tourists. There is a lot of bureaucracy involved in getting visas and for sure this puts many people off. But once you get through the paperwork and arrive in the region, you will be rewarded by something that is increasingly rare: world-class attractions unspoiled by mass tourism. If safety is your concern, you will be happy to hear that this is one of the safest parts of the world. Kyrgyzstan is all about scenery and mountains, with Pik Pobedy reaching 7,439 metres. Uzbekistan is famous for it's architecture in cities along an ancient trade route - the Silk Road. Samarkand, Buchara and Chiwa are all worth a long visit. Turkmenistan is the most expensive and difficult to organise but probably the most rewarding. With around 10,000 visas issued a year, even the most spectacular places will be free from the crowds. Ultra-modern capital Ashgabad is unforgettable, as well as huge burning crater called "Door to Hell". If you come to Turkmenistan, "Door to Hell" is not to be missed!

Philippines 2015

Duration: 5 weeks

Philippines consist of more than 7,000 islands. Deciding to go there was easy, but choosing exact places to visit was not. We arrived in Manila and went to the north first. After that came Coron, Palawan, Bohol, Apo Island and Cebu. Then we continued to Legazpi and Donsol (whale sharks). We found Philippines more expensive, but also easier to travel than we expected. What surprised us was how much time it takes to get from one place to another. Most people speak at least basic English and are very helpful. We never felt unsafe during the whole trip (even when traveling on top of a jeepney). Overcharging was not as common as in other countries of the region. Overall we had a fantastic trip. Some of the highlights were: rice terraces (Batad), hanging coffins (Sagada), islands and white-sand beaches (Coron, Palawan), tarsiers and Chocolate Hills (Bohol), scuba diving (Apo Island and Moalboal), snorkelling with sea turtles (Apo Island) and snorkelling with whale sharks (Oslob and Donsol).
our route - map of Philippines

Dolomites 2014

Duration: 1 week

A short trip to one of the most beautiful mountain ranges in the world - The Dolomites. Years ago I used to think that European mountains are no match for The Andes or The Himalayas. The are just not high enough. Later I came to appreciate the Scotish Highlands, the Norwegian fjords and The Alps. They are all unique and just as beautiful as The Himalayas. And now, after seeing The Dolomites, I can honestly say that I was overwhelmed by their beauty. Thanks to "via ferratas", protected paths and tunnels created mostly during the First World War, it's possible to climb those amazing mountains in relative safety.

Sri Lanka + India + Bangladesh 2013 - 14

Duration: 2 months

We started in Sri Lanka and to be honest, it was a little disappointing, because we had high expectations. Don't get me wrong, Sri Lanka is beautiful and safe (although we had money stolen) but expensive comparing to South India, which has similar beaches, wildlife and tea plantations. India, on the other hand, was more interesting than we thought. Hindu temples were amazing, especially the one in Chidambaram. Kolkata turned out to be the most interesting amongst the big cities of India. We took part in the Ganga Sagar Mela pilgrimage. Every year, hundreds of thousands of Hindus gather to take a holy dip in the Ganges and we joined in. The biggest surprise of this trip was Bangladesh, which has little to offer in terms of tourist attractions and is rarely visited by foreigners. But it has the nicest people who are always ready to help and that makes up for it. Dhaka's colorful rickshaws and chaos of the streets are not easily forgotten. To sum up, it's a lousy place to live, but a great one to visit.
our route - map of India

China 2013

Duration: 1 month

To be honest, we didn't expect much from this trip. China is a country changing very fast and we decided it's time to see it before it's too late. As it turned out, it already was too late. But on the other hand, we enjoyed it very much. China is very modern and easy to travel, despite the fact that hardly anyone speaks English. It's safe, people are friendly, scenery is spectacular in some places (Yanshuo and Dazhai). Some of the things we didn't like: Tibet closed for independent travelers, extortionate entrance fees to monuments and national parks, tourist attractions very crowded. The last one was our fault, really, because we came in high season. Piece of advice - do not underestimate the amount of Chinese tourists visiting the same place as you!
our route - map of China

Norway 2012

Duration: 17 days

Ever since I saw photos from Lofoten archipelago, I wanted to go and see it for myself. Lying within the Arctic Circle, the islands are well known for their natural beauty. Rugged landscape with white-sand beaches and colorful houses draw tourists from all over Europe. However, it's very easy to find little-known places just by exploring the side roads. Weather is mild considering Lofoten location because of the Gulf Stream, but I wouldn't go without my rain jacket. My wife and I drove through Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, Finland and Sweden before entering Norway near Narvik. It all started from there.
our route - map of Scandinavia

Nepal + India 2011

Duration: 2 months

Dreams come true. When I was a teenager in communist Poland, where most people couldn't even think about traveling abroad, I spent long hours studying my World Atlas. One point on the map drew my attention. It said "Chomolungma 8848m" and I knew I had to go there. You may laugh at this plan, but I wanted to walk all the way to Nepal and live in the mountains away from people. I thought I would spend the summer at high elevations and go down for winter. Obviously I wouldn't be writing this if went. But 20 years later I stood face to face with Mt. Everest and I felt my dreams finally came true.
our route - map of India

Egypt 2010

Duration: 2 weeks

A short, independent trip to one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Unlike most people going on package tours, Ela and I had the freedom to go where we wanted. We spent 1 day diving in the Red Sea and then went to Cairo for a couple of days. Seeing the Giza Pyramids was obligatory. After that came Siwa, the best oasis in Egypt. Another highlight was a trip to the Black and White Desert, including sleeping under the stars. Last few days we spent in the upper Nile valley, visiting Asuan and Luxor. The latter is the largest open-air museum in the world. Despite all the hassle and high entrance fees, Luxor was worth spending 2 days. After all, some of the most amazing ancient monuments are found in the area.   
our route - map of Egypt

South-East Asia 2009-10

Duration: 9 weeks       Cost: $1400 + $1000 (flights) per person

Most people go on honeymoon somewhere warm and comfortable. After getting married with Ela we both agreed that we just want to travel. No luxury needed, thank you. We started in Thailand, where we spent over a week enjoying spectacular scenery of the Andaman coast. From there we went to Cambodia to admire unbelievable beauty of Angkor. Next came Vietnam, with Ha Long Bay and many, many great places along its 3,444km coastline. After crossing into Laos, we escaped civilization by trekking in the mountains and visiting hill tribe people in their villages. The last country we visited was the most amazing - Myanmar. Isolated and run by a brutal military regime, it was a true journey back in time. Not only to see the old way of life, but to meet the nicest people on Earth.
our route - map of South-East Asia

France 2009

This time it wasn't travelling but a well-paid job that made me go to France. One day I had a phonecall, the next I booked a flight, and the following I was on my way to the airport in Warsaw. After I finished the job in Paris I went to Chamonix. Douglas, with whom I climbed Mont Blanc last year, waited there for me. During the next 2 weeks we only climbed one mountain - Pointe Isabella 3761m. After that the weather broke down and it snowed o lot, so I had to go skiing instead of climbing. A cheaper way to have some winter fun was to climb a frozen waterfall in Argentierre Valley.
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The Balkans 2008

Duration: 40 days       Cost: 2400 PLN per person

My girlfriend and I spent over 5 weeks traveling by car from Poland to Albania, visiting 6 countries during our 8,200km odyssey. Some of the highlights include: underground glacier and colorful monasteries in Romania, awesome mountain scenery in Montenegro and beautiful Ionian Sea coast in Albania. Yailata Archaeological Reserve on the Black Sea coast in Bulgaria made a big impression. Mileștii Mici in Moldova is also a man-made attraction, but on a different scale. It is the biggest wine collection in the world, stored in the biggest underground town. I know what you are thinking. Moldova? Never heard of it! So go on, check it out!
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our route - map of Europe

USA 2008

3 weeks.  6 thousand miles.  11 states and 9 national parks in virtually all climate zones of this enormous country.  Our journey by car took us from Chicago all the way to the Californian coast and back.  On the way we saw some extraordinary scenery, including natural arches, slot canyon, giant trees and geysers.  We hiked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon and went to one of the most amazing places in America, called The Wave. Only 20 people per day can visit The Wave, so check out the photos to see what's all the fuss about!
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our route - map of USA

France 2008

A visit to the French Alps in winter?  I couldn't miss this opportunity!  Finally I climbed Mont Blanc, the highest mountain in the Alps.  Going up was quite straightforward by mountaineering standards.  The weather and conditions were great, no other climbers getting in the way, and we arrived at the top without any problems.  But that's only half the job done, we still had to get down.  We chose to descend the Bossons Glacier, which resulted in some very serious problems.  Crevasse fall and rescue, loss of equipment, 18 hour ordeal without food or drink... But I'm here to tell the story!
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Patagonia 2007

After losing my flight to Europe, I decided to stay in South America for 2 more months and visit Patagonia.  I wanted to see a few places I missed during my first trip to the continent, such as Peninsula Valdez and the South Patagonian Ice Field in Argentina.  Also, I wanted to take the Navimag ferry along the Patagonian Channels in Chile.  Overall, it was a fantastic experience and an unforgettable journey through almost all of the Latin World, from Mexico all the way down to Patagonia.  It took exactly 14 months and ended in the capital of Chile in November.
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our route - map of Patagonia

From Mexico to Argentina 2006-07

Duration: 1 year       Cost: £3750 + £950 (flights)

Another trip to the Spanish speaking world. It started in Mexico City, and during the next 12 months took me to 15 countries in Central and South America. It was the longest and most varied so far. High altitude trekking and climbing in the Andes, diving in Galapagos, Mayan pyramids, Inca ruins, active volcanoes, exotic beaches and islands, the highest waterfall in the world, geysers, deserts, jungle, "El Dorado", whales, glaciers. Click "photos" to see all those amazing places!
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my route - map of Central America
my route - map of South America

USA 2006

Traveling in the United States is extremely easy by car. I had a chance to see some of the magnificent wilderness of this country and I was very impressed. National Parks provide the best opportunities for nature lovers, from sweeping deserts of the Southwest to the forbidding mountains of the north. Driving from Chicago to Arizona left me dwarfed by the sheer scale of the continent. The highlight was the Antelope Canyon near Page, where beams of sunlight enter at midday, illuminating dark interior.
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South America 2004-05

Duration: 1 year       Cost: £4500 + £1100 (flights and insurance)

This was my first major trip. It lasted exactly 1 year and really changed me forever, marking the beginning of a new life. It started in Lima, Peru and took me to several countries in South America, including Bolivia, Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Uruguay and Brazil. Most of my time there I spent in the mountains, trekking and sometimes climbing. I visited many less-known places and took my time to get to know the people, not just other backpackers. It was supposed to be the journey of a liftime for me, but instead it marked the begining of a new life.
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