Flying Carpet

House of Transfiguration

travelers-tales

By Dianne Cheseldine

Travel and Transformation Gold Winner in the Sixteenth Annual Solas Awards

Finding an oasis in the ancient medina of Fez.

Only a small plaque indicated the entrance to my riad, Dar Attajalli, meaning House of Transfiguration. The door opened and with one steep step I entered a new world. The young employee, Idris, greeted me with Salaam Alaikum in a soothing voice. He was tall and slender and moved with ease as he crossed the tiled floor of the courtyard. He was casually dressed in blue jeans and a light-colored cotton shirt, sneakers and a baseball cap, his dress contrasting with the old courtyard surrounding me. He lifted my heavy suitcase as if it were weightless and showed me to my room, the only one located on the ground floor. It was more beautiful than I had imagined, dimly lit with a huge bed clothed in an emerald-green spread and amber pillows displaying Berber designs. The floor was covered in carpets and several leather poufs in varying shades of blue, brown and red. The window of my room opened onto the courtyard from where I could contemplate the patterns of the wooden panels aligning the walls. I could hear the soothing sound of the fountain twenty-four hours a day.
House of Transfiguration2022-05-12T12:32:09-07:00

Journeys with an Amazonian Shaman

travelers-talesBy Johnny Motley

Men's Travel Gold Winner in the Sixteenth Annual Solas Awards

Further proof that lives can change in an instant.

On the sixth day aboard an Amazonian cargo ship, I spied the faint outline of São Gabriel da Cachoeira from the aft deck. Located deep in the Upper Amazon, São Gabriel held the title of “Most Indigenous City in Brazil,” although “city” was a misnomer: São Gabriel was little more than a village that had sprung up around a Brazilian military base, an outpost intended to secure the nebulous borders between Brazil, Colombia, and Venezuela.
Journeys with an Amazonian Shaman2022-04-26T16:28:21-07:00

Boots Bilong Mi

travelers-talesBy Patrick Ritter

Grand Prize Gold Winner in the Sixteenth Annual Solas Awards

On a dugout canoe trip through the interior of New Guinea, how far would you go for a pair of shoes?

I heard a splash behind me and I froze midstroke. Sounded close. I twisted around to see a large tree crashing into the water. The Sepik River winds across the swamplands of Papua New Guinea like a massive snake, its diet trees and eroded silt. The tree shuddered in the current. From the branches startled kingfishers escaped into flight, screeching. I glanced to Randy, my buddy from California, at the front of the dugout canoe. His face was sunburned and questioning. “No,” I said, “not a puk-puk.” In New Guinea the Pidgin English word for crocodile is puk-puk.
Boots Bilong Mi2022-03-29T18:22:01-07:00

Honor and the Sea

travelers-talesBy Janna Brancolini

Grand Prize Silver Winner in the Sixteenth Annual Solas Awards

How a female pioneer of underwater archaeology teamed up with a Sicilian winemaker to save a priceless ancient shipwreck.

  Buried beneath the floor of the Mediterranean, in waters so turbulent the epic poet Homer had imagined the thrashings of sea monsters, the ship waited. She had once defended an ancient settlement near modern-day Marsala, Sicily—until she was sunk in a dramatic battle during the third century B.C.E. For two millennia, people passed by her, unaware. As time wore on, the sea and its banks shifted, until water just deep enough to submerge a person stood between the vessel and its reclaimed glory. Yet her hiding place wasn’t the ship’s only secret: Her timbers held a clue to history.
Honor and the Sea2022-03-29T18:24:51-07:00

The Shakeout Trip

travelers-talesBy Robert Dale Fama

Grand Prize Bronze Winner in the Sixteenth Annual Solas Awards

A premature midlife crisis, a sack of money, and a backpack combine to reveal that a beginner traveler learns quick in the Sahara.

We had already broken down five times when Amadou snapped the ignition key off in his dilapidated Land Rover. He reached up and rubbed his necklace, a black leather amulet that contained gris-gris, written prayers to protect and bring luck to the wearer. Beltrán lowered his head and made the sign of a cross. In Mali and surrounded by sand on the last leg to Timbuktu, a turn of a key changed everything. Suddenly, I thought we would never arrive, and with that, that I’d fail to accomplish the first phase of my round-the-world trip.
The Shakeout Trip2022-03-29T18:26:02-07:00