The results are in! Here’s December’s travel writing competition winner!
The judges have had their say and the votes have been counted! The winner of December’s My World First travel writing competition has been decided. Find out who bagged themselves a Kindle and read the winning entry now.
My World First is our monthly travel writing competition where entrants tell us about their first time travel experiences. And while the competition might still be in its infancy, we’re receiving some fantastic entries. Mandy Huggins celebrated New Year by running naked through the snow in Sweden, James Cook tried to remedy a broken heart by walking to Florence, Abigail Latham took her trekking talents to the extreme in New Zealand’s Franz Josef, Cheryl Pendry stood mere feet from rutting bison in Yellowstone National Park, Fiona Trowbridge glamped it up in Pembrokeshire, Stuart Hacking got chased by hashish dealers in Morocco and Peter Lewis was dazzled by vintage aircraft on a nostalgic visit to a Texan airshow. A truly mixed bag!
But there could only be one winner. And that was Helen Moat from Matlock in Derbyshire. Here’s her winning entry. Enjoy. And don’t forget to enter January’s My World First competition for your own chance to win a Kindle. Find out more here.
My World First – On the Road to Samnaun
My heart’s in free-fall. This shouldn’t happen in Switzerland, land of road engineering par-excellence, with state-of-the-art tunnels and wide, smooth roads that slice effortlessly through rock faces. Not here though.
The road to Samnaun is a scratch on the mountainside; its edge crumbling into the abyss hundreds of feet below - mere inches from our car wheels. One wrong move…
“I can’t do this,” I say to my husband, gripping the steering wheel.
“Well, we’ve got two choices,” he says unhelpfully. “Continue on, or turn back.” Doing a twenty-point turn on a knife edge isn’t an option. So going on it is.
We weave through ink-black forest, hoping we won’t meet any on-coming traffic on this ridiculously narrow road - or worse still, the local bus. Then through drizzle, I see the mouth of a cave swallowing the road ahead. I edge the car into a tunnel. It fits snuggly between roughly-hewn walls of blasted rock. The tunnel curves a long snake through damp darkness.
“What if we meet another car?” My voice sounds pathetically shrill.
“You’ll have to reverse back out.”
I glance sideways at the man who has promised to love and protect me. Is he speaking to the woman incapable of reversing two metres on a perfectly straight road without hitting the bank?
We are in the Lower Engadine, in a valley so remote that its inhabitants continue to speak an ancient Latin language long forgotten by the rest of the world. Here, isolated villages, teetering on the edge of v-shaped valleys, are surrounded by harsh, ragged mountains. It’s an unsettling beauty. Samnaun sits high up at the end of a side valley in a narrow corridor flanked by sheer Austrian mountains on three sides.
Emerging from the last tunnel, the dashboard flashes up REFUEL!!!
“Better pray we find a petrol station,” husband says with a touch of the absurd – after all, there’s a wall of mountain on one side of us and a void on the other.
But as I inch round a corner, road barely discernable in the rain and fog, a petrol station appears like an aberration on a rocky promontory.
Now we can reach the forgotten ancient Romansh village I have imagined… but no, instead we find Heathrow’s duty-free lounge has taken off and crash-landed on the mountainside here. A jumble of shops strewn across the valley is spilling watches, perfumes, leather bags and designer clothes. Samnaun is a duty-free haven.
We make a hasty departure, flying down the valley on the Austrian side with its state-of-the-art tunnels and wide, smooth road.
We'll publish the runner up in the next few days. Tell us YOUR travel tale for the chance to win a Kindle. January’s travel writing competition is open NOW. Find out more.
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