Humberstone: the ghost town lost in the Atacama Desert

If you are thinking of a trip to South America and you have not yet included this destination, perhaps you are forgetting something.

Humberstone is definitely a place of charm and history to visit if you are a lover of mystery and silence. It was born in 1872 with the aim of producing saltpetre at a time when the demand for nitrates was growing.
In a short time it becomes a small town / factory where workers settle, new buildings are created and, over time, cinemas, swimming pools and a church are built.

Abandoned houses of a deserted street in Humberstone, Atacama Desert, Chile

With the Great Depression of 1929, however, many things changed. All the wealth created with saltpeter collapses in a short time so that Humberstone and the factories in the area go bankrupt. Since 1960 the workers drop out Humberstone gradually and here becomes the ghost town we can see today.

Despite this, Humberstone became a national monument in 1970 and a UNESCO heritage site in 2005.
UNESCO highlights the great cultural riches of this place starting from the great work of the workers and their life itself (language and culture in the first place).
In the lost city you can also admire a theater where Mexican films and various operettas were presented. The factory town square is still open to tourists and the curious, as is a café.
But the charm of letting yourself go to the silence of a city so rich in history and past life immersed in the desert is unparalleled.

The absurd photographic journey through the ghost towns of Abkhazia

Overlooking the Black Sea, Abkhazia now has about 240,000 inhabitants distributed in semi-abandoned cities around the country. Here, between 1992 and 1993 a war for independence was fought which effectively destroyed a region rich in natural and mining beauties.

About 35,000 people lost their lives in the war and many more were forced to leave. Left the vacuum, Abkhazia only obtained the recognition of an independent state by Russia and some countries belonging to the United Nations in 2008.

Jantuha, Abkhazia, abandoned mining ghost town. Empty houses destroyed, the remains of cars, remnants of the Georgian-Abkhaz war

What in the past was a place inhabited by miners who, over time, had built a family and a house, has now become a ghostly landscape. Some families strongly attached to their cities and memories of yesteryear still reside in the semi-empty buildings.

Ruined school in the ghost mining town of Akarmara, aftermath of the war in Abkhazia, aerial view from the drone.

Passing through Polyana (cover photo), up to Jantuha and Akarmara (photo above), the landscape does not seem to change: huge buildings, abandoned cars and a few people around. The capital Sukhumi (photo below), which bears the marks of some battles, certainly has the appearance of a more lived-in and modern city than the rest of the country.

SUKHUM, ABKHAZIA – : – Council of Ministers building, Sukhum, Abkhazia. The palace was destroyed during the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict of 1992-1993

Sometimes some tourists come here. For some inhabitants who, behind the wounds of the war, still see the beauties of nature and the territory, it could be a good point to start over.

13 motivational quotes about solo travel, which will push you to travel immediately

Sometimes, you know, we need some to remind us of how beautiful it is to travel, to leave, to plan, to abandon ourselves to the unexpected. If good memories don’t bring it all to mind, then let it be some healthy literature or some quotes to do it. Here are some famous solo travel quotes that will probably make you want to leave and, if you haven’t already, make you want to start traveling alone.

  1. “I am never happier than when I am alone in a foreign city; it is as if I had become invisible.” Storm Jameson
  2. “Some journeys can be only travelled alone!” Ken Poirot
Photo by Andy Vu on

3. “If you make friends with yourself you will never be alone.” Maxwell Maltz
4. “There are some places in life where you can only go alone. Embrace the beauty of your solo journey.” Mandy Hale
5. “I wondered why it was that places are so much lovelier when one is alone.” – Daphne Du Maurier
6. “Anything we fully do is an alone journey.” — Natalie Goldberg
7. “Not I, nor anyone else, can travel that road for you. You must travel it for yourself.” Walt Whitman
8. “When the traveler goes alone he gets acquainted with himself.”  Diane Von Furstenberg
9. “Loneliness adds beauty to life. It puts a special burn on sunsets and makes night air smell better.”  Henry Rollins

Ten. “Traveling solo does not always mean you’re alone. Most often, you meet marvelous people along the way and make connections that last a lifetime.” Jacqueline Boone.
11. “The inner journey of travel is intensified by solitude.” Paul Theroux
12. “Traveling alone was like laundry for my thoughts.” Mark Foster
13 “Good people go to heaven, bad people go everywhere “ Unknown

Photo by Tumisu from Pixabay

I hope this short post has been of help to convince you to leave alone (but also not), as soon as possible. Feel free to add your favorite quotes in the comments.

Kolmanskop, the incredible photos of the ghost town submerged by the sand of the Namib desert

This weekend I got the craving for ghost towns and, after yesterday’s article, I decided to reply with this one, which however only speaks of a particular place. I had found a lot of information around. So many that I couldn’t limit them to just one continent. After all, when you travel or organize a trip, ideas come up all the time.

Between history and legends

It seems that the name of this village goes back to a certain John Coleman, a hauler who during a sandstorm got stuck with his cart in front of what would later become the same day settlement. The translation of Kolmanskop from Afrikaans (Germanic language present in southern Africa) means Cape of Coleman, which would link the event to the name of the ghost town.

Back in 1908, when the railway between Luderitz and Ketmanshoop was built, Kolmanshop was just a small train station. It was around this time that a railway worker found a shiny stone in this area and brought it to his foreman. The latter, a certain August Stauch, was a spare-time mineralogist and had ordered his workers to bring him any particular stone they had found in the area. Established with his future business partner Sohnke Nissen (a mining engineer) that this first stone was a diamond, he secured the property by starting diamond mining for years to come.

The ancient railway that passes through the Ghost town of Kolmankop

Although the two new business partners hadn’t shouted the new discovery too much, the news soon spread and Kolmaskop became a favorite destination for adventurers and diamond seekers from all over the world. As early as 1911, electricity was supplied to Kolmaskop and a school, a casino, a theater and a bowling alley had been built. A hospital was also built which had the first X-ray machine in all of southern Africa which probably served to verify that the workers did not swallow the diamonds!

An overview of the abandoned village

With the beginning of the First World War, in 1914 production in these areas was almost completely eliminated and with it the German era ended. Then in 1928, new sites were discovered south of Luderitz while here the mines were gradually running out. From 1938 they began to take away all the machinery and slowly Kolmanskop was abandoned, leaving room for the advance of the desert.

A photographer captures the inside of a building submerged in sand

The last inhabitant left kolmaskop in the late 1950s

10+ 3 abandoned European villages that only a truly brave solo traveler should visit

It may happen that, between one trip and another, we feel like trying our luck and organizing something a little more exciting than usual. You know, traveling alone can mean a few more unexpected events but, if for one reason or another we decide to get away from everything and everyone, here are some cities or villages around Europe that only the bravest should visit traveling alone.

These are some villages that for various reasons (geological events, wars or more), have been evacuated and never returned to their original state. The inhabitants have been relocated en masse to new nearby settlements and now only onlookers, photographers and wildlife roam here.

1.Oradour sur Glane: This French village not far from Limoges is remembered for a massacre that took place on June 10, 1944, during the Second World War. Here 642 people lost their lives and, since then, only a museum of memory has been established here. Everything else is in a state of neglect. If you decide to come here, remember what happened and that it still remains a place of memory.

Wrecked car in Oradour Sur Glane (Photo by Guitou60 from Adobe stock Photo)

2.Doel, in Belgium, has a very special history: up to the 1970s it had a thousand inhabitants but with the new project to expand the port of Antwerp it was decided to start demolishing houses here. However, there are still a few hundred “dissidents” who do not want to know about selling their house and, today, Doel has become the village of street art and murals.
So there remain closed windows and doors and walls full of incredible drawings. Maybe a visit here could be worth a few hours of your trip if you are passionate about street art

Doel: facade of an abandoned house (Photo by Ronny from Adobe stock Photos)

3. Pripyat also has a very special history. It was evacuated after the Chernobyl disaster, the well-known accident at the nuclear power plant on April 26, 1986 that initially caused 65 deaths. Pripyat, evacuated after the disaster, can now be visited thanks to some Kiev tour operators who organize excursions here. On the way back, if you just can’t resist the idea of visiting this desolate place, there are still many radiation checks. It even seems that a few hundred inhabitants managed to escape control and now reside permanently here.

Pripyat: Abandoned bumper cars-Photo by Robert Armstrong from Pixabay

4.If it is already hard to think of going to the Svalbard Islands (either alone or with others), trying to get to Pyramiden could prove to be fascinating but somewhat prohibitive.
Founded as a mining town in 1910, Pyramiden bears this name due to the shape of the mountain behind it. In 1998 it was abandoned by the last Russian miners after being used by several mining companies for years. Since 2011 it seems to have been inhabited again for tourist purposes. If you do not like the idea of coming here to meet bears, birds, wild animals and some humans, however, know that on the Svalbard Islands you can visit 3 other ghost towns:
-Advent City
-Grumantbyen ( photo below)
… unless a polar bear eats you first

Grumant settlement at Svalbard, Spitzbergen

5. Belchite, in Spain, was also destroyed by a war. We are in the period of the Spanish Civil War and on 22 August 1937 a siege begins which will only end at the beginning of September. Belchite will be completely destroyed and only a monument of the heroes will remain here. Some films will also be shot after Belchite. But what you see in the photo below is what remains of the historic center of the city.

a view of the remains of the old town of Belchite, Spain, destroyed during the Spanish Civil War and abandoned from then, highlighting the San Martin de Tours church

6.Craco is a small town in the province of Matera in Italy and in the 1950s it began to depopulate due to a landslide that endangered the stability of its houses. At the beginning of the 80s Craco became a ghost town even if today it is a real tourist destination and even a film set on some occasions. Surely a destination within the reach of even the most fearful.

Craco: a donkey grazes the grass at the foot of the abandoned town

7. Dvigrad is a medieval Croatian city also called Due Castelli. Its history has been full of battles and continuous sieges which it has often resisted thanks to its fortifications but, only in 1715, after a strong malaria epidemic, even the last inhabitants were forced to leave

Aerial view of the abandoned village of Dvigrad

8.Not much information about Jantuha, a city in Abkhazia, one of the autonomous republics in which Georgia (formerly the Soviet Union) is divided, but it is certain that looking at the image probably even the most fearless of solitary travelers would find it difficult to enter such a desolate and abandoned place.
Doesn’t it remind you of a scene from the film “Eurotrip”?

Abandoned mining ghost-town Jantuha, Abkhazia. Destroyed empty houses, the remains of the cars, remnant of The Georgian-Abkhazian war

9.This is a real gem and, even if we don’t recommend sleeping at night, it’s sure to be worth a visit. Kayakoy is a completely abandoned Greek-style village that overlooks the Aegean Sea but stands, or rather once stood on the Turkish coasts. The inhabitants now live in the valley and tourism is certainly not lacking here thanks to these splendid ruins surrounded by greenery. For all types of travelers.

Kayakoy, Fethiye, Turkey

Ten. Irbene and Skrunda-1 in Latvia are two Russian military bases with giant radars that are also abandoned. If you want to take a beach holiday, here we are not very far from the fresh seas of Northern Europe and, judging by the photos, already inside the abandoned site, you can see some sand dunes. There are also some hotels in the area. Think about it!

Foto: Edijs Pālens,

Seven good reasons to travel alone…and two reasons not to

It has happened to many that we have to travel alone but some of us almost always happen because, as you know, it brings various advantages, especially at certain times of the year. I know many people who have found themselves starting alone because they were “ripped off” at the last minute by the group they were traveling with and others who were left by their boyfriend or girlfriend a few days before a trip planned for months.

Personally, I discovered this way of traveling more or less when most of my friends started getting married and starting a family. The large traveling groups slowly disintegrated and in the small groups that remained there was no longer the harmony of the past. Also I realized that I certainly could not plan to travel with the families of my friends who had grown up all my life (which has happened but in “uncle” mode and entirely acceptable).

But in these years of pure messing around, casual encounters, planned trips the evening before leaving and total carefree, I have found that even the solo trip has a large number of advantages that when you are in too many people you cannot have. Obviously there is also some negative side, but if life were perfect, we won’t spend so much time trying to improve ourselves.

Good! let’s go in order

  1. The first good thing that comes to mind when I think about traveling alone is the idea of being able to plan everything in absolute freedom. The very low season is now my high season and this allows me to save money, travel more and not have to insist too much for vacation when no one else is on vacation.
  2. Second thing: when traveling alone, you are hardly ever alone. This means that you can choose your travel companions, without having to offend someone if, in a moment of your trip, you do not want to socialize or do not feel the need. I have traveled thousands of kilometers and, especially on international buses and night trains, I have met dozens of people. Slow travel is the best way to meet new people. Sometimes we talk for a few hours, others stop to eat, still others stop in the same city. In hostels, on the other hand, I shared days and nights with strangers and changed my travel plans because I was fine with my new travel companions. Had I been with some group of travelers it would not have been possible for me, I think.
  3. When you are traveling alone and have left without a plan or even a reservation, it is certainly easier to find a place to sleep alone. If you exclude the high season, where it can happen to find everything full, the math teaches us that a free bed in a hostel is easier to find than three or five. In any case, I have wonderful memories of a trip to cold and rainy Scotland where, in an emergency, I stayed one night in a container near the port of Aberdeen and another outside Glasgow station during the hours in which it remained. closed. But, even in those few hours of cold and uncertainty, I happened to meet the craziest people I have ever met in my entire life!
  4. When you travel alone you can decide which mess to get yourself into
Photo by Inzmam Khan on

5. One thing I noticed in “group travel”, but also when I was very young, is the big difference people have in terms of habits. Wake up in the morning, for example: there are those who at 7 are already running to the beach or have breakfast and others who do not want to get out of bed before 11. Yes, you are right, I have forgotten the ones that at 5 in the morning (or at night) are already around. It is not known if they are already awake or if they have never gone to sleep (but it doesn’t matter). Now, either we divide into small groups with similar times, or the solitary life is the ideal solution to plan the days in perfect harmony with yourself and never having to wait or be expected by anyone.

6. When traveling solo you can choose how best to poison yourself during the day: fast food, restaurants, street food or supermarkets are all at your discretion. There are no healthy girlfriends or friends who can advise you or protect you from bad choices

7.Traveling alone teaches you to get by without the help of others and without the help of mom and dad … When you are alone and in a distant country you have to learn to get by, at least for the little things, without the support of nobody.
Then it happened that I had to call my parents or the bank because I was having problems, but otherwise there is no one who will come to help you if you get lost in the middle of nowhere in the middle of the night.
… perhaps …

I would be a liar if I said that solo travel is always perfect. The first big disadvantage is that in couples or in larger groups you spend less (if the person who is with you is willing to divide the expenses equally!). Traveling alone involves sustainable costs if you travel by public transport and sleep in a hostel, campsite or, as it sometimes happened, on night trains or buses and, sometimes even on some sofa at someone’s home. But as you grow up (or get older) your needs change and you start going to hotels, renting cars and all these things. When you carry a camera and equipment that is worth a lot of money you have to spend a little more money and being two comes with an advantage (except for all the stops you make every time you see a beautiful subject to photograph)

The second “downside” of solo travel is probably the so-called “dead time”. Personally I have learned to fill them with many activities that I have created over the years but, I remember seeing so many people and myself getting bored for hours at the end of the day or waiting to go out at night because you don’t have someone to share your time with.

How to survive and enjoy in Seville and Andalusia on your own for 6 months

I arrived in Seville in a cool February a few years ago, after winning an Erasmus scholarship. I had already visited this splendid city as a tourist and the idea of living there for a few months thrilled me madly!
But one of the doubts that bothered me most (assuming that something could bother me in the face of all this beauty) was the idea of being able to do it with the single monthly figure that the European community offered me.
After finding a room that already covered 50% of my monthly expenses, I realized that with the other half I would have to bear everything else and that, I wrongly assumed, it would not be that difficult considering I was alone in an unfamiliar city, that I would have to work and that I still lived in a relatively cheap area

My first error of assessment
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on

But nothing went as I imagined…
I was teaching Italian in a language school in Dos Hermanas, the most populated town in the district of Seville and its surroundings.
Aside from all that I’m not going to tell, I remember that on the first day, several people at school and away, asked me if I had someone to go out with.

“No, I just arrived and I only know you and my roommates” was my reply.

Thus it was the beginning of endless visits to taperie in Seville and Dos Hermanas, local parties, endless nights and weekends spent out.

If not to sleep a few times, eat and shower every day my room was hardly needed…. At one point my roommates became strangers.

…so what?
Photo by Jeff Stapleton on

“…and now? now how
will you tell us about how to survive in Andalusia on little money?”

Seville is full of pubs, taverns, places to eat and drink. A beer but also a tapa cost very little and, unless you want to gorge yourself (I hope the translation is right), you will not spend too much to spend the evening in company. We talk, drink, walk and listen to music and, above all, over time we discover new places.

I spent whole Sundays to listening to jazz or attending events I would never have attended anywhere else, just because the idea of spending a few hours under the heat with a glass of Tinto de Verano relaxed me in that place.
Or I liked people who frequented a certain place and the idea that it was also cheap put it first for that day.

Sevilla and all the Andalusian cities and towns have many traditional events such as the Feria. For an honest price you eat and drink (very well) for days and days, meeting people and dancing until you are exhausted.
Schools close and people leave work early. If you know a lot of people you have the honor of being invited and, if you are a girl, you are often given a traditional dress to attend the occasion (many have one that no longer fits a member of the family and lend it to those who does not have it).

Getting around cheap
Photo by gya den on

And if you want to go to the beach, know that from the end of March onwards in Andalusia you risk already getting a good burn (and an Italian who grew up at the sea tells you this).
I found passes to Tarifa, cheap buses to Cadiz and, once, even a Seat ibiza full of people who smoked illegal stuff (I think) that took me for free to the port of Algeciras, where I took a ship to Morocco and spent an absurd weekend at super cheap costs (for us Europeans).

In short …
without having to live indoors or even having to desecrate the family vault, you can very well get by for a few months by being careful to attend good company and eat decently.
I don’t know how the world changed after the covid but the Andalusians were wonderful people before and, I don’t think they changed with the pandemic! Then, to paraphrase Clint Eastwood in one of his famous “Gunny” films, the basic rule always applies: “improvise, adapt and reach the goal”

Traveling solo in a convertible around Rhodes

It may happen that, after almost two summers away from your beloved Greece, you feel like returning to an island you’ve already seen. … But this time you decide to see it from a different point of view: – Almost totally alone and with the wind and the scents blowing in your face, while the hot July sun warms you from up there.

So it was Rhodes 2021.
A rental Mini convertible, the warm Greek wind, the emotions of a wonderful car through the solitudes of the wildest corners of this unique island. The less touristy beaches, the more remote typical Greek restaurants, the goats that slow down traffic and, finally, the white villages, which even with a small Mini Cabriolet you cannot enter. The beauty of being able to enter, find an almost deserted parking lot, walk a bit, then come back and find the car so hot that you can’t even touch the steering wheel.

My Mini on the way to Prasonisi Beach

In order not to get too bored with the same photos, here is some of the Greek splendor that everyone should enjoy and, without going too far, I am going to conclude with a few photos this short but intense journey that I hope to repeat soon, always on board of another Mini convertible and always on another Greek island.

A divine fish lunch in a restaurant on Primiri beach

On the road to Primmiri beach

finally the pearl.

A “small” accident (not caused by me of course) knocked out my Mini two days before my return home and, as usual, the Greeks proved helpful and efficient. When it comes to tourism, these people are always at the top and do not miss the opportunity to prove themselves the best for hospitality, kindness and respect for the traveler. After assisting me for most of the night, here’s what they brought me in exchange for the Mini the following morning. Nothing less than an Audi A3. (I preferred the Mini, which certainly lends itself better to solo travel but I certainly can’t complain)

and that’s it … if you see a Mini Convertible on some Greek island with someone driving who often stops to take lots of photos, it could be me. …follow me…

Lipsi: the island of the Dodecanese

In Lipsi there is no airport, no hospital, very few inhabitants and when I’ve been here in 2018, mass tourism had not yet arrived at the end of June.
People come here to be in peace, explore the island and enjoy the blue sea along with the splendid Greek sun.
The silence is broken only by the sound of the sea waves and, when you move a little away from the beach, also by the bells of the goats. They are the characteristic sounds of these parts of Greece. They will make you fall in love … Just as you will fall in love with these splendid little churches with blue roofs that are scattered almost everywhere. Some are open, others closed, but the best part is climbing a hill, walking for a while and finding these buildings perfectly preserved over time …

Photo by Patty Apostolides on Unsplash

Here, in Lipsi, you can get lost in the village streets in search of a restaurant where you can enjoy a delicious Mediterranean meal. While there aren’t crowds of other Greek islands, some evenings you may already find some full restaurants, especially the more popular ones or those with sea views (not necessarily the same ones). But breathing this peace and quiet of the place after a panorama of is always worthwhile.

Lipsi: the white and blue houses of the village crossed by small streets
Photo Adobe stock

If walking a bit doesn’t tire you, you can admire the landscape that leads to the most suggestive beaches (alternatively you can rent bikes, scooters or take a taxi).

Robert Powell, CC BY-SA 3.0, through Wikimedia Commons

Personally my favorite beach in Lipsi is Platis Gialos (not the one in the picture) for these reasons:
– there is a suggestive walk to get there (under the sun so get organized);
-there is a restaurant;
-the water is blue like that of a swimming pool and also at a pleasant temperature;
-until too many people start to arrive, it is divinely;
-here too you will find ducks and goats and, if you are with children, you make them have fun without having to keep them in the water all the time.

Kastellorizo: alone on the island of “Mediterraneo”

I had wanted to come here for years. Like many, I dreamed of visiting this island far from everything and everyone after seeing the legendary “Mediterraneo”, an unforgettable movie directed by Gabriele Salvatores in 1991.
But, for one reason or another, it had always been impossible for me to get here to Kastellorizo.Even just for a “day trip” of a few hours which, I assure you, is not enough to see everything properly.

It is undeniable to suppose that many, imagining their landing in Kastellorizo, dreamed of an approach similar to that of the military in the “Mediterraneo” movie, to the stony beach and their entry into the deserted village.

I don’t know in which part of the island those scenes were shot but it is clear that everything has changed a lot here since then, despite Kastellorizo having retained that flavor and colors of the past. Entering the marina with the ship you will immediately notice the white chapel (cover photo) that was often framed in the film and, above all, the long port of the town, colorful and perfectly preserved.

Vasilissa’s blue house is now a small hotel (B&B or studio) and is clearly visible in this photo below in the village part. As are the columns with the arches alongside which a scene of the film was shot. Only in 1991 they weren’t as colorful and well-kept as they are now.
Almost everything is now used as restaurants, hotels or structures dedicated to tourists because “Mediterraneo” has not only been very successful in cinema, but has brought tourists from all over the world to Kastellorizo.

But if you decide to walk and discover this beautiful island, perhaps you will find other wonderful glimpses of those scenes from 30 years ago and you will surely get excited.

Around Kastellorizo live 5 or 6 sea turtles. If you have a little patience, it will not be difficult for you to see them

It is enough to get lost behind the many restaurants overlooking the sea to admire the secrets and small alleys of Kastellorizo.
If you are lucky you might also see one of the 5-6 sea turtles pass by that now live here permanently and allow themselves to be photographed. This is proof, as well as of their strength, also of the fact that Kastellorizo despite the tourism, has managed to preserve the authenticity of the past and the beauty that even nature approves!

Walking Walking and walking again.

One of the first things I learned when I started to get passionate about photography is that if I wanted to find interesting views, I had to arm myself with patience and walk a lot. A waiter from a restaurant in Kastellorizo where I stopped for lunch and asked where the military base of the film “Mediterraneo” could be, pointed me without much thought to the top of the hill.
Without thinking about the fact that it was more than 40 ° C, I walked under the sun before 4.15 pm and my ship took me away from this beautiful island.

Arriving at the top of the hill, passing among houses, churches and some abandoned buildings, the perspective on the island is clear: on one side the port and the center of life with the restaurants, the small studios, the B & Bs and the Kastellorizo that we met through photos of the internet. and TV.
On the other side, instead, the bay with the blue water, the boats and the vegetation with everything to discover.
But one thing remained in my heart before starting the “climb” to the top of the hill: talking about Kastelorizo and Greece with the waiter of the restaurant, I asked him intrigued:

“But what are you doing here all winter?”
.. and he replied amused:
we wait for summer to come”