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Stories by Kip Madden

Olympos, Turkey

Mediterranean paradise earned.

Getting to Olympos, Turkey, our final destination, was turning out to be a real doozy. This sleeping spread-eagle business on the cold green floor of the Kharkiv, Ukraine, airport, catching a 3 a.m. flight with ...

Dniprodzerzhynsk

What happens at the banya, stays at the banya – usually.

I’m playing with my hair out of nervousness. I never do this. Isn’t this the behavior of a preteen boy, mustering up the courage to ask a girl out on his first date? Yet there’s ...

The Magic of Salento

Adventure in Colombian coffee country.

There was more than just a luscious countryside of diversified vegetation and smooth, rolling hills, where a clean river ran steady and uninhibited over gardens of round stones. More than just untouched wax palm trees, ...

Vamos a Las Gaviotas, Baby

Quality surf, cheap lodging, tequila y más.

Here’s what you will do: head south to the land of Baja California, where tumbleweeds run like wild desperados under the tangerine glow of a nuclear sun. Hard work is commended, yet siestas are encouraged. ...

Hiking Ukraine's Carpathian Mountains

Far off the beaten path...

The Carpathian Mountains of Ukraine occupy the far western part of the country. They are considered moderate – nothing quite as massive or high as the Rockies, nor as rolling or subtle as the Appalachians. ...

Humorous Humanitarian Dispatches from a Ukrainian Border Town

In the thick of night, you can almost always hear the tree branches rattling in a rhythmic chorus of nighttime symphonies. A tap starts at your window; a breath of air shakes a group of ...

Balaklava, Ukraine's Golden Beach

The coast was stark and abandoned. We'd discovered a natural wonder with no foot traffic – a landscape of vibrant colors and fluid sunsets that belonged in a watercolor. Before my eyes, the Black Sea ...

Who’s Ever Heard of Ukraine?

"Dude, I think I want to go to Ukraine,” I told a friend over a beer-battered fish taco in cloudless San Diego. "What are you looking for in Russia? Women of dreamy, unworldly beauty, cheap ...

La Paz, Bolivia: At the Top of the World

In the fast-moving modern times of the travel business, how does one decide between, say, the Bahamas or Singapore? One brochure boasts luxury in Honolulu and another calls you to Paris. One hotel has a ...

Bush International Airport, Houston, Texas

A United States customs worker in the Bush Houston International Airport points to a white-countered window where a middle-aged woman, appearing to be of Asian descent, sits patiently behind a counter. One of the uniformed ...

Cartagena: The Most Interesting Man in the World

And there he was. The most interesting man in the world. Better yet, he was the encapsulation of the advertised Dos Equis man: someone who bathed with piranhas, dodged bullets, drank gasoline, and combed his ...

Serenity (at Last) in San Gil, Colombia

The seven-hour bus ride through the sticky night to a city called San Gil, Colombia, made the Matterhorn at Disneyland seem like training wheels: roller-coaster-like turns followed by potholes in the road the size of ...