hatta island

Discovering Zen on Hatta Island (Banda Islands, Maluku)

We had our first run-in with bad luck on Hatta island. But before I get ahead of myself, let me tell you a little about Hatta island–the jewel of Banda Islands.

 

We’ve loved the looks on people’s faces when we tell them that we were going to the Banda Islands for our honeymoon.

 

Huh, where?

 

Eyebrows furrow and blank looks all around. One was even suspicious that I was actually pulling his leg.

 

No one has heard of the Banda Islands before. I don’t blame them. I didn’t too–until I ran a deep search about Indonesia’s lesser-known islands, especially the small ones that deliver huge rewards.

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Why did I go to Albania? (Tirana in photos)

“Why do you want to go to Albania for?”

An Italian friend sneered after I told him of my backpacking plans across the Balkan Peninsula, where the plan was to start from Albania and finish in Turkey (in 2009). Travelling time: however long it takes.

“You want to see Albanians? Just go to Italy…so many of them. Dangerous people. Thieves, some of them.”

The plan came to fruition when Tim, an English friend, proposed of a slow journey across the isolated fringes of Eastern Europe, when he knew that I was about to finish one of my ship contracts. I didn’t know anything about the country till then but I jumped on the invitation right away. The less I know, the better. Far-flung countries with strange names compel me most. How am I supposed to know how dangerous the place is if I haven’t experienced it myself? Besides, British Airways had a special deal going for less than £100 one-way from London to the capital city of Albania, Tirana. It sounded just like the perfect place to explore and to kick off the trip.

“If you don’t hear from me on Facebook, then call 911,” I told my skeptical Italian friend.

The verdict? Check out the pictures of Tirana here.

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