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It was discombobulating, after the prim modernity of the train, to plunge into Harar Jugol , about acres of tight-knit alleyways, encircled by foot walls, which is widely considered to be the fourth holiest site in Islam. In the adjacent main room, the owner and her friends drank thick coffee on ornate carpets.

It was an oasis that belied the kaleidoscopic bustle outside. But far more enticing were the streets themselves.

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At times, it felt like a town designed to intoxicate the senses. In every street, walls had been enlivened by pink and blue paint to celebrate Eid. By late afternoon, old indigents with hennaed beards filled many of the alleyways, prostrate in nests of discarded twigs. Through our young translator, Emaj, one of them complained that the price of khat was increasing. The crop had become so lucrative, its users so hooked, that the wholesalers were now increasing their prices. Drug-dealer economics At nightfall, two men headed out of the city carrying a basket of meat-scraps, then crouched in a clearing and called out into a patch of scrubland.

We looked on as eight spotted hyenas emerged from the shadows to feed from their hands. Over the years, this nightly ritual has become a draw for tourists, who gather to shoot photos under the beam of car headlights.

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But Emaj told us it also has a more supernatural purpose: to keep the dogs close, because of the ghosts. Before re-boarding the train for Djibouti City, we made a stop in central Dire Dawa. In the main square was the old Chemin de Fer, the railway station of the original French meter-gauge railway. Now we had found its magnificent reliquary.

Strewn over an acre of rust and rolling stock were jumbles of train components long since corroded, and decommissioned timber carriages moldering on the sidings. A giant tooling-shed, musty with dust and oil, brimmed with year-old lathes. Behind it we discovered a pair of square-bodied locomotives. The dormant engine exhaled a long depressurizing huff and rocked on its axles.

Take journey to a legendary city untouched by time

The conductor motioned that perhaps it was time to go. Back on the new train, sitting in the hermetic carriage, it was hard not to feel nostalgic about all that old iron. Ethiopia was a place of such tangible antiquity that development invariably exacted some jarring collateral damage.

But by now our entire carriage had been taken over by Djiboutians bent on one final khat blowout before reaching home, and the resulting atmosphere left me feeling like the only sober person at a party awash with cheap cocaine. Only with sunset did the frenzied conversation subside into mere garrulousness. The sheer distances they take our imaginations, and the miles they inspire us to hike, drive and fly—those are the things that matter when it comes to these books. And sometimes, reading a travel book can book can be as transformative as the journey itself. Ready for a reading list that will change the way you travel?

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Here are the 15 must-read travel books, according to experienced globetrotters. Prepare for a serious case of wanderlust. Some of us live to travel, and travel to eat. Reading the short stories will give you a glimpse of the culture and induce a serious case of food lust. With so much travel literature telling us where to go, we can lose sight of the purpose behind traveling at all.

It opened his eyes to a world that was forgiving and kind, to a world of people less fortunate than him, but who were happier than he could ever be, and it taught him the importance of stepping outside your comfort zone as a means to growth. But where do you go when you feel that every place on earth has already been visited by millions before you? Which will you choose? When many of us think of Argentina our minds drift to thoughts of the buzzing capital, Buenos Aires. Housing the astonishing Recoleta Cemetery, the brightly coloured district of La Boca, the space-age Puente de la Mujer footbridge and an abundance of top-notch eateries.

Despite being a drier month, these waterfalls are still impressive. Lower water levels lead rock faces to peek through the flow, making them appear even more spectacular. Be sure to spend two days at this world wonder, including one on the contrasting Brazilian side.

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From Chinese to Indonesian, Thai to Indian, Malaysia is a real melting pot of different cultural influences. And its multi-ethnic makeup is part of what makes it such a fascinating place to visit.

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For instance, you could be soaking up Hindu history at the Sri Mahamariamman Temple, before marvelling at the modern architecture of the national mosque and then dining on dumplings in China Town. Throughout August the weather in Malaysia is mixed, with tropical downpours not uncommon. But the east coast is gifted with long sunny days that offer flawless diving and snorkelling conditions.

Hari Merdeka, Malaysian Independence Day, is celebrated on the 31 st and gives you the chance to party with the locals. Towns and cities are decorated with flags and a big parade is held in front of the king in Kuala Lumpur. Ah, the Emerald Isle, a place of astounding natural beauty, ice-cold pints of stout, intriguing history, charming locals and toe-tapping traditional music.

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Known for its unreliable weather, the peak of Irish summer is the ideal time to visit this oft wet and windy destination. Get ready to while away the hours on walks along miles of deserted sandy coastline and fill your lungs with that fresh country air. Be sure to make the trip around Slea Head too for amazing views back over the peninsula, keeping an eye out for the ancient beehive huts. A drive over the Connor Pass also provides epic vistas that are able to rival those found in New Zealand.

Crocodiles, elephants and leopards — oh my! August marks the middle of the dry season here, bringing with it warm days, clear skies and cooler nights. Making it a brilliant time for viewing game before the daytime temperatures become too hot to bear. Getting back to nature tops the itinerary when it comes to spending summer in Norway, and its ever-changing landscape is a serious sight to behold. Remote islands, deep fjords, rugged coastline, soaring mountains, glinting glaciers, the Northern Lights — the list really does go on.

These sea-flooded valleys are blue-hued and fringed by steep cliffs, making them one of the most picturesque destinations on the planet. You can also dabble in a spot of wild walking if you fancy, or take in the scenery on a hike along one of the many marked trails.

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Be warned though, choosing to accept the Kokoda challenge is not a decision to be taken lightly.