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  • Yerevan: a city swaggering into a new era

    Yerevan: a city swaggering into a new era

    July 27th, 2015Martin Zatko
    insert_drive_file Article3 min read

    The break-up of the Soviet Union gave the world an impressive array of new capitals. Some have since become familiar fodder on travel itineraries – think Tallinn’s Baltic charm, Kiev’s bulbous cathedrals and Riga’s drunken Brits. Others, for better or worse, remain something of a mystery. Step forward Yerevan, capital of Armenia, a city swaggering into…

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  • A crazy 24 hours in Tokyo

    A crazy 24 hours in Tokyo

    May 2nd, 2014Martin Zatko
    insert_drive_file Article6 min read

    “The city that never sleeps” is a hackneyed phrase uttered about metropolises from London to New York, but the Japanese capital of Tokyo is perhaps the finest embodiment of the cliché. To test this out, Martin Zatko and his friends decided to spend a full 24 hours finding great things to do in Tokyo: a…

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  • Watching sumo wrestling in Japan

    Watching sumo wrestling in Japan

    March 6th, 2014Martin Zatko
    insert_drive_file Article5 min read

    People tend to laugh when I tell them that sumo wrestling is my favourite spectator sport. In its Japanese homeland it’s regarded as somewhat old-fashioned, with younger folk preferring to watch mixed martial arts. Abroad, the perception can be even worse; the generic assumption holds that it’s little more than fat blokes in nappies slapping…

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  • Gorillas, gunfire and great coffee in Rwanda

    Gorillas, gunfire and great coffee in Rwanda

    May 20th, 2013Martin Zatko
    insert_drive_file Article4 min read

    “Isn’t it dangerous?”, “Isn’t there a war going on there?”, and “Aren’t there better places to spend your holiday?” are questions you may have to field when telling people you’re off to Rwanda. Even typing the country’s name into Google will instantly bring up the term “genocide”. The horrific events of 1994 cannot, and should…

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  • Six essential Korean directors

    Six essential Korean directors

    April 29th, 2013Martin Zatko
    videocam Video

    Despite the best efforts of Psy, K-pop seems destined to remain a niche market in the western world. The South Korean film industry, on the other hand, has had a strong international reputation for several years now. As with most global cinema, interest in South Korean films has been skewed towards directors rather than actors, and some have…

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  • Ten top places to eat Korean food

    Ten top places to eat Korean food

    April 19th, 2013Martin Zatko
    insert_drive_file Article6 min read

    The wonderful food keeps dragging Martin Zatko back to Korea. Here are some of his favourite eating spots from around the country. 1) Buddhist temple food at Balwoo Gongyang, Seoul It’s impossible to believe that Buddhist monks really eat this well – even at Jogyesa, Seoul’s most important temple, which sits just across the road from this highly attractive restaurant.…

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  • Unravelling the mysteries of the Baekje dynasty in Korea

    Unravelling the mysteries of the Baekje dynasty in Korea

    February 25th, 2013Martin Zatko
    insert_drive_file Article3 min read

    Bar those with a fair knowledge of Korean history, few have ever heard of the kingdom of Baekje. Though long swallowed up by the sands of time, this ancient dynasty was one of East Asia’s cultural high-water marks, and its influence can still be felt today: their rulers introduced Buddhism to both Korea and Japan,…

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  • Off the tourist trail in Northern Anatolia, Turkey

    Off the tourist trail in Northern Anatolia, Turkey

    February 19th, 2013Martin Zatko
    insert_drive_file Article4 min read

    Turkey is, in many respects, the ideal travel destination. It scores highly across the board: layer after layer of history; an amazing variety of landscapes; super-friendly people; terrific food; relatively low prices; reliable public transport… the list could go on. What a pity, then, that the vast majority of travellers to Turkey confine themselves to…

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  • Take a freight train, Cambodia

    Take a freight train, Cambodia

    January 28th, 2013Martin Zatko
    insert_drive_file Article2 min read

    The train was travelling at top speed when the accident occurred. After decades of service the rail line finally snapped, buckling in front of the locomotive and forcing it off the track. Mercifully the top speed in question was a shade under twenty miles per hour, and the passengers were able to disembark safely and…

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  • Ten highlights along China’s Yellow River

    Ten highlights along China’s Yellow River

    August 30th, 2012Martin Zatko
    insert_drive_file Article4 min read

    From its source in the mountains of Qinghai province, the famed Yellow River flows for over 5,400km before emptying itself into the Yellow Sea. As one might expect from the sixth longest river in the world, it passes a number of jaw-dropping sights. Here are ten of my favourite spots along its meandering course. 1.…

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