Some time has now passed since my last footsteps in Africa yet the one man travel plan lives on as I try to write up my experiences and hone my travel writing talents with the aim of publishing and funding more odessies of curiosity.

As well as the writing side I am organsing exhibitions of photgraphs and paintings from my trip, partly for their asthetic beauty and partly so I can share and hopefully inform people about some lesser known parts of the world.

And then there is always the next trip... the journey never ends.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The most beautiful town in the Sahel

The dirty and frenetic docks at the riverside port of Mopti

I stayed for a few days in the mission chatholique a wonderful old sprawling place of many arched buildings in Segou. During the days I wandered the streets past mud buildings and stately colonial structures. Meeting friendly locals who were ever curious and open and then in the evening hanging out with French travellers and brushing up on my French. But as ever the open road was calling an so I left for Djenne, reputedly the most beautiful town in the Sahel and possessing the largest mud building in the world it didn't disappoint.

Goats are everywhere in Africa

This was taken from the rooftop of my hostel in Djenne where I would gaze out over the rooftops every evening and reflect on how lucky I am to be in such a place

In Djenne I rediscovered the artist in me. The town is isolated and its narrow medieval streets don't accommodate cars giving it an old world calm which fosters creativity.

For a few days I enjoyed the company of friendly locals who would always invite you to drink tea with them, I drew and painted and relished the slow pace of life. But as ever I was on a mission, I had to see the legendary Timbuktu the holy grail of traveling. Just the expression to have "been to Timbuktu and back" is embedded in our Psyche as a symbol of adventure, a place that is beyond the back of beyond.

To get on my way to Timbuktu I had to get to the river port of Mopti from which it takes three days by boat to get to Timbuktu. The Niger being one of the largest rivers in Africa with hippos living in its waters and ancient nomadic communities on its banks the journey was going to be an adventure in itself. In fact the journey to a distant exotic place like Timbuktu is the whole point of going, for the ride, to see what its like to get to the back of beyond.

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