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Many years ago on a family road trip across the USA, I had set out in search of Otto, the world’s largest otter, located in Fergus Falls, Minnesota. This detour almost resulted in the end of our marriage. Fast-forward 12 years, armed with Google and smartphones we successfully located Otto!
Set at 12,000 feet above sea level Cusco, is the ancient capital of the Incas. There is plenty to see in the city itself, from the Cathedral, the cobbled streets and Incan ruins. It is also a great base to explore the Andes, Macchu Pichu and the Sacred Valley.
One of my quirky interests, as I have travelled around the United States, is to try and see as many “roadside” attractions as I can. Many of these are next to highways, but occasionally we have had to head off the beaten track. During a road trip that passed through Minnesota along I-94, we were lucky to come across one such attraction in the city of Rothsay, the Prairie Chicken capital of Minnesota
A three-day visit to South Island, starting in adrenalin capital of Queenstown before moving to the more sedate surrounds of Te Anau which we used as a base to visit glow worm caves and the Southern Alps. The highlight of our trip was a boat ride along the incredible fjord of Milford Sound.
If you should visit the small town of Darwin, Minnesota (pop. 350) you will find, located inside a specially constructed gazebo, a local oddity that has become a well-known roadside attraction – a nine-ton ball of twine that was rolled by one man, Francis A Johnson. This is the largest ball of twine in the World rolled by an individual. Weird yes – but fascinating!
Some may call us foolish for visiting Death Valley National Park in the summer months, but we really wanted to experience the extreme conditions that are on offer there. It was, of course, hot but you cannot but be impressed by the beauty of the desert at different times of the day.
Located in New Salem, North Dakota, Salem Sue stands a mighty 38 feet (12 m) high and 50 feet (15 m) long and can be viewed from several miles around. (Roadside Attraction / USA / United States)
A morning trip on the Ganges to see the devotees bathing – the fog made this difficult. The weather cleared and we spent the afternoon exploring the ghats.
Today we decided to head off to Canyonlands National Park. After doing some research prior to going we decided the best way to see everything was going off-road in a car. (National Park / United States)
We visited Bryce Canyon, Utah in May and it was still a bit chilly but the crowds were small so we had a wonderful and peaceful time exploring the Park’s delicately carved rock formations, including its famous hoodoos and arches.
There are a growing number of options for vegans in Bend, Oregon. We recently decided to celebrate the breaking of the COVID-19 lockdown in Oregon and head to a new restaurant, Deeply Rooted, that had opened its doors amidst the craziness on the pandemic. It was a great opportunity for us to support a local business.
For most people visiting Sri Lanka the country’s capital, Colombo is not high on their list of places to visit. That said it is worth a day to hit the few tourist attractions that the city has to offer and simply wander the streets of some of its more historic districts.
Mystic Seaport, a museum of the sea, in Connecticut is a fantastic day out and for those who have not been before we would recommend it highly. You can climb aboard tall ships and visit reconstructions of 19th-century houses and shops.
Our second day in Varanasi started with a more in-depth exploration of Hindu culture, including a visit to the New Vishwanath Temple at Banaras Hindu University and several other temples in the Varanasi area. In the afternoon we visited the weaver district where most of Varanasi’s famous silk is manufactured. This a poor and primarily muslim district and work conditions are horrible. Later in the day we ventured into one of the city’s main bazaars.
When planning our trip to India I was determined to visit Varanasi, the holiest of cities for Hindus on the banks of the sacred Ganges River. I had seen countless TV programmes and read many stories about Varanasi but I wanted to see it for myself.
We had the chance to spend a day exploring the beach towns and attractions north of Galle along Sri Lanka’s south-west coast. This included taking a river safari, a sea turtle hatchery, a tsunami memorial and a gemstone mine.
“The River of Doubt” by Candice Millard sets out to tell the story of Roosevelt and his partners in their journey on the previously unexplored river, the Rio da Dúvida, or River of Doubt in the dense Amazon rainforest of Brazil. If you like stories of adventure and exploration then this is a great read.
The City of Córdoba is the capital of the province of Córdoba and has a colourful history. It also has the highest temperatures in Spain and Europe, with average high temperatures around 37 °C (99 °F) in July and August. When we were there it was indeed hot, not quite to those levels, but still toasty.
We have had the opportunity to go on several whale tours over the years and have loved every minute. Sadly, the tour we took from Mirissa in Sri Lanka was put if frankly horrible due to the unpleasant way that the flotilla of tour boats stalked and hounded the poor whales.
The documentary, Pedal the World, available on Netflix is the amazing story of a young German, Felix Starck who undertakes the huge personal challenge of cycling around the World for a year. In that time he covers over 11,000 miles and 22 countries and along the way discovers the soul of humanity and himself.
“Food Evolution” the movie looks at the controversial subject of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO) from the perspective of the food science community. My personal bias, through the media I gravitate to, has made me anti-GMO so I watched this movie with an open mind to get a different perspective.