Budapest Competition Shortlist

The response to our ‘To Boldly Go’ competition was fantastic. After being named ‘the Captain Kirk of travel publishers’ by Wanderlust Magazine, we decided to launch a competition inviting you to send photos showing your experiences of travelling boldly, together with a short description of the background to each one. The prize was very special: a holiday for two to Budapest.

Of course, travelling boldly represents different things to different people. For some, it might mean exploring faraway places or trekking up lonely mountains. For others, it might be flying on a plane for the first time or having the courage to turn off the main tourist drag of a European city and seek out a hidden corner. The important thing for us was that the submissions represented examples of travel that was bold in its curiosity and willingness to engage with a destination.

We received over 100 entries and so selecting finalists was extremely difficult. The competition was about not only the photo but also the accompanying description, and so we ruled out some excellent – and often imaginative – photos on the basis that their descriptions weren’t so strong. After much debate, we selected a shortlist of eight finalists (whose entries you can see below). Each finalist will receive a copy of our Budapest guide. 

We will be choosing and announcing the final winner of the holiday to Budapest on Friday 9th May, so be sure to check out the website again next week. And good luck to the finalists!

 1. Happy Exhausted Girlfriend on Top of Triglav, Slovenia by Alexander Lackner

In 2012 I travelled to Slovenia with a group of friends from the Austrian Alpine Club. This was my first ever trip to Slovenia, even though it's one of our neighbouring countries. We filled our days sightseeing in Ljubljana, hiking in Triglav National Park and kayaking on the beautiful Soca River. They say that every Slovenian should climb to the summit of the country's highest peak (Triglav, 2864m) at least once in his lifetime and we decided that, to claim Slovenia truly as our own, we needed to get our asses up there as well. 

We took a three-day hike in the park along the picturesque '7 Lake Trail', and stood on the summit of Triglav on the afternoon of Day 2, which was the most strenuous day and involved 13 hours of hiking. My girlfriend, who had never really been on any summit before, struggled with blisters and cursed me countless times, but eventually she persevered, and while the first of us were already taking beautiful summit shots (which would be worthy of submitting as well) I love this snapshot the most: she reaches the top and hugs one of our fellow hikers. She wouldn't admit it later, but the picture clearly shows she's sublimely happy at this moment... and also pretty stylish and picturesque with her matching nail polish and bandana.

2. Las Parrandas de Remedios, Cuba by Jason Pemberton

Every Christmas eve in the small town of Remedios in Cuba the two sides of town compete to see who can mount the most impressive celebratory display. Sound systems, fairground rides, samba parades, light installations, countless fireworks, massive floats with costumed riders, all mixed with a good amount of local beer, rum, and Cuban hospitality make for an unforgettable experience. A definite degree of boldness is required to experience the firework displays as hundreds of spent home made rockets rain from the sky, with the occasional unexploded one deciding to explode after all, and a half hour barrage of mortar like bombs that leaves your ears ringing. 

3. Running naked into the Arctic Ocean, Spitsbergen by Keith Ruffles

Attached is a photo of me running naked into the Arctic Ocean in Spitsbergen, at 78°15′N - the water temperature was a balmy 2 degrees! By doing this I earned an Arctic Naked-Bathing Certificate, which is proudly framed and mounted on my wall at home. 

4. Pico Cao Grande Monolith, São Tomé by Marco Muscara

The top of this monolith is shrouded in cloud for most of the year - I spent three days and three nights in the same stationary point to be able to photograph it having travelled half a day through the wilderness to get there. 

5. New friends for a low down Budapest statue by Margaret Morrison

These are my two children in Budapest this spring. My daughter is only four and she had never flown before. We went to visit a castle and they loved playing on all the statues. They have not been to any Disney parks and they don't need to, because real castles are so much more fun! 

6. Mt. Pilatus by Mike Grundy

Travelling boldly depends on who you are, but for me a 64-year old retiree with a very real fear of heights, this was a huge challenge. How rewarding though to push yourself to do something you'd never thought you would do to be rewarded with such a spectacular view. 

7. Descending Sand dune, Wahiba Sands, Oman by Rob Tye

This photo depicts a 4x4 Land Cruiser descending a sand dune after we finished a sunset safari across the Wahiba Sands, Oman. We then stayed with Bedouins in their camp for the night.

8. Grey Reef Shark with divers, Fiji by Susan Eames


We made the dive because of the high probability of shark sightings. Divers are not on a shark's menu, so when this grey reef shark came to check us out we knew it wasn't looking for lunch. But a shark is a shark and the thrill of having one of these beautiful animals show curiosity in us felt very bold indeed!