This is the final part of my series highlighting the music that has accompanied me on my travels and that evokes extra special memories each time that I listen to it since.
In the last 20 years I have been to many magical places, starting with Lebanon in May 2000 and culminating with Azerbaijan in October 2019.
Other favourite destinations during the period have been South America (Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, Brazil), Central Asia (Turkmenistan & Uzbekistan), Asia (India, China, Hong Kong, Cambodia, Thailand, Laos), Africa (Egypt, Morocco, South Africa, Mauritius), Northern Europe (Scandinavia, Iceland, The Baltics) and Eastern Europe (The Balkans, Ukraine, Moldova, Armenia, Georgia, Belarus).
Beethoven’s 5th Symphony
This was my music of choice when I trekked to Machu Picchu in Peru in 2001.
After three days of not inconsiderable effort and sleeping in a small tent, we arrived at the legendary Inca site at 6 in the morning.
Dead Woman’s Pass, Inca Trail, Peru
The wonderful masterpiece is around 33-minutes long, so timing was important to get the atmosphere just right.
The ruins were covered in low cloud and our small group just sat on a rocky & grassy bank looking at the mist before us and wondering when the majestic site would reveal itself.
There was not another soul around that early with the first tourist train not due to arrive for around three hours and the guests of the adjacent hotel just waking up and contemplating breakfast.
Slowly and surely the sun started to rise and the wispy cover started to burn away. This was my signal to switch my Walkman to play.
Bom bom bom bom. Bom bom bom bom.
The familiar opening bars filled my ears as the tops of the buildings poked out from the ethereal blanket.
By the time Ludwig’s final bars played out, the wonderful structures stood before us in all their glory.
Huayna Picchu, Machu Picchu, Peru
We then had around an hour of wandering around the building shells before the hordes started to arrive.
Machu Picchu, Peru
Truly wonderful memories. I am sure LVB would have approved.
The Joshua Tree by U2
I am not a big U2 fan but this album made it onto my playlist for my 2005 trip to Jordan.
It contains stand out tracks such as ‘I still haven’t found what I’m looking for’, ‘Where the streets have no name’ and ‘With or without you’.
I visited the Wadi Rum Desert on the trip, where camped in a spacious Bedouin tent and ate food cooked on an open fire. The ambience was really special and the sunset amazing.
Inside The Tent Sun Setting Over Wadi Rum
This was followed by the ink black skies and a myriad of glittering stars. We were in the middle of nowhere with zero light pollution getting in the way of a perfect night sky.
I awoke at 5 and something compelled me to get dressed and go outside. In the semi-darkness I clambered up a huge sand dune and plonked myself down for the sunrise. I was the only one up and I was rewarded with a gorgeous sunrise, with the rocks and sands changing colour as the sun’s rays bathed them partially and then fully.
Sun Rising Over Wadi Rum
I listened to the U2 album as I gazed at the huge space around me and this has become music that instantly transports me back to that time and place.
I’ll show you a place,
High on the desert plain,
Where the streets have no name
Dream beneath a desert sky,
The rivers run but soon run dry,
We need new dreams tonight,
Very apt for my then location I thought.
Dark Side Of The Moon by Pink Floyd
In 2018 I visited Central Asia with Hamish. Towards the end of the trip we found ourselves at the wonderful Silk Road city of Khiva.
Itchan Kala, Khiva, Uzbekistan
After a tiring day visiting the marvelous sites and clambering around the city walls constructed out of mud, we went back to our hotel for some rest before dinner.
Me On Top Of The Walls
I switched on my Bluetooth speaker and played Dark Side as we lay on our beds. The music filled the room and mixed with thoughts of a fabulous trip we both became hypnotized, at one with the music.
Just as the great album was reaching its climax through ‘Eclipse’, the spell was broken with a knock at the door.
They only wanted to know what time we wanted breakfast in the morning! Oh well, the time we had was mesmerizing and a great memory to hark back to.
Minaret of Islam-Khodja, Khiva
So there you have it. A few magic memories enhanced by music.
Do you have any special ones yourself?