Sunday, May 14, 2017

13 Most Isolated Communities



4. Grise Fiord
If you were ever looking on the globe or google earth at the islands in Northern Canada and wondered if people actually live there, the answer is yes and Grise Fiord is probably one the most shocking examples. Located within the Nunavut Territory of Canada, it’s certainly one of the coldest inhabited places on earth, with a yearly average temperature of -16.5 degrees C and the northernmost settlement in Canada. Not too surprisingly, the population here seems to be steadily declining and only houses 150 permanent residents. No connecting roads means the only way to connect to the outside world is by airplane. Due to the difficulty of getting products to this isolated community, prices are much higher for everyday items and it’s like this for much of the Nunavut Territory. In this photo we see a gallon of milk here priced at an outrageous 10 canadian dollars in the capital city of the Inuit Territory, Iqaluit

3. La Rinconada, Peru
The highest permanent settlement in the world would be La Rinconada, located near the border of Bolivia in the Andes Mountains. Situated 16,700, or 5100 feet above sea level it’s easy to see why it’s one of the most isolated communities in the world. In this photo, you see a giant glacier known as, Bella Durmiente or Sleeping beauty looking down upon the city. With over 50,000 inhabitants, it’s not necessarily a small city community. If you’re thinking about visiting this place though, think again. There are no hotels and no hospitals! The community also lacks police and government presence as well. Built as an unregulated gold mining town, it’s home to some of the most brutal living conditions imaginable. Many visitors would suffer from altitude sickness, but with the lure of striking it rich with gold, people have found a way to adapt to the environment. Although this might look somewhat like a picturesque city, the lake in the background you see is heavily polluted with mercury and cyanide. Pollution is a serious issue here and will most likely be the city’s downfall in the future.

2. Longyearbyen- Long- yay-er-bine
Just by looking at Svalbard on a map you can probably guess that it’s isolated. The largest settlement and administrative capital of Svalbard, Norway has a population of 2,100 residents. It’s the northernmost settlement with over 1000 residents in the world and was nearly destroyed by the German Navy during World War II. It’s located 1,269 miles or 2042 kilometers north from the Norwegian Capital of Oslo, making it a tad difficult to govern. Here in Longyearbyen, snowmobiles are actually the prefered method of transportation. A few ships will transport coal from this archipelago and with a few flights from Oslo and Russia each day, Longyearbyen keeps contact with the outside world. The city is so north, that sometimes during certain months, the sun will never rise and even sunlight during midnight!

1.Tristan da Cunha
This island gets the nickname as the most remote inhabited island in the world because it sort of is. Tristan is the tip of a volcano thrusted upwards from the ocean floor and by looking at the signs, you’ll definitely feel a long ways away from home. The elevation peaks at 2000 meters or about 6500 feet. The closest land mass is Saint Helena only about 1500 miles or 2400 km away. It seems to be situated directly between the southern tips of Africa and South America and is only accessible by navigating the brutal seas . You might imagine that life on the world’s most remote island is a little bit rough, but people here enjoy a good standard of living here. Crime seems virtually nonexistent on the biggest settlement called Edinbourgh of the Seven Seas. Many family owns potato patches to grow there own food. Despite the good quality of living an active volcano constantly threatens to destroy the city and almost did in the 1960’s. It’s not just people living here, the local rockhopper penguins are extremely popular among those who are somehow able visit this isolated community.






12 Most Amazing Secluded Homes



10- Red Cottage – This beautiful isolated house sits on an island aptly named Just Room Enough Island. Part of the Thousand Islands chain of islands in Canada, Just Room Enough was bought in 1950s by the Sizeland family who wanted a unique place to build a holiday home. They built their house with the walls just reaching to the edge of the island and gave the island its special name. The plan backfired on the family who were looking to find a quiet retreat, and instead had to deal with tourists and sightseers stopping by to take a look at their unusual home.

9- Hermitage of San Colombano – Located in Italy between Vivenza and Rovereto, the Hermitage of San Colombano sits high on a mountainside looking down upon the city below. 120 meters up the cliff, it was clearly built to give its inhabitants a reprise from the hustle and bustle of the world below. It was built almost 700 years ago in 1319 and is named after the Irish saint Colombano. To gain entry to the structure you need to pass through the Leno gorge and then climb up 102 steep steps up the gorge. Every Christmas there is a candlelight walk up to the hermitage to signify the pilgrims climbing up the steps to pay respect to the saint.

8- Casa Malaparte - Casa Malaparte also known as Villa Malaparte, is located on Punta Massullo on the eastern side of Capri, Italy. Construction started in 1937 by well-known architect Adalberto Libera. The house is a red masonry box shape with stairs leading up to a fabulous roof patio. The house can only be reached by crossing the island on foot and takes about an hour and a half to walk there from the summit.

7- Villa Mecklin —Located in the Finnish Archipelago, Villa Mecklin is as picturesque and secluded as you can get. Built in a small depression in the natural rock, the villa was built using all basic materials. On one side looking past the structure you see the water and looking past it from the other side you see the land, surrounded by trees, exposed rocks and plenty of vegetation. The highlight of the house is the terrace, which is large and faces out toward the water for the view of a lifetime.

6- Stockholm, Sweden – Several miles away from Stockholm, Sweden there’s an incredible house that sits on the highest point of a small island stretching out just 137 square meters. The house is isolated and beautiful and includes a living room, guest room, a kitchen and glass doors leading out to a large deck, plus a sauna.

5- Katskhi Pillar – 130 feet above the hills of central Georgia sits Katskhi Pillar. Georgia adopted Christianity as the state religion in the 4th century and the Katskhi Pillar became the site of a small church built in the 7th century. It’s sole resident for the past 20 years has been a Georgian monk. A fun fact about the pillar – women aren’t permitted to climb to the top.

4- Artist Studio Fogo Island, Canada – Fogo Islanders are simple, independent people who live to fish and enjoy the serenity of the beautiful landscape around them. Located on the island are six artist studios built by the Shorefast Foundation. The idea behind the studios design is to create a geometric structure that would contrast the natural setting around them. The studios stand on pillars near the sea and each are isolated and can actually be moved to any part of the island.

3- Thatched hut, Panama – Looking more like a scene out of Gilligan’s Island, this small island with a thatch roofed hut is the epitome of peace and quiet. The pole style thatched roof hut is common in Panama and can house an entire family. Building materials are tree trunks for the main pillars, bamboo poles as support and different types of leaves for the roof. A well-made hut can usually stand for as long as 30 years.

2- The House on the Sea– Living in this house is definitely like stepping into the land of Robinson Crusoe. Just off the coast of Cornwall, England, The House on the Sea is situated right on the beach and can only be reached by climbing across a 90 foot high suspension bridge. Surrounded by water and isolated from the town, the tiny island is far from basic. The interiors are a luxurious mix of sleek neutrals and modern design, with panoramic sea views offered at every turn.

1- Holy Trinity Monastery – Located in central Greece, the Holy Trinity Monastery is the oldest among the six functioning monasteries located there – having been built in 1476. It sits atop a 1300 foot rock and years ago access could only be gained by climbing a rope ladder with just a net below. Today the entrance is reached by climbing 140 steps cut into the rock. It once held historical treasures, such as precious manuscripts, however, they were stolen during World War II.






Saturday, May 13, 2017

Let's Go - Macao


Macao is located approximately 60 km southwest of Hong Kong and is four times smaller than the Manhattan area of New York City. But don't let it's size fool you, it is host to over 20 ancient monuments known as "The Historic Centre of Macao," inscribed on the World Heritage List in 2005! Last November, the Beautiful Destinations team had the pleasure of visiting Macao with our friends Macao Tourism. We spent our days exploring the Ruins of St Paul's, Coloane old Village, Mount Fortress, Taipa Old Village and took in all the excitement of the famous Macao Grand Prix! Here is a little of what to expect within this culturally diverse destination!


Thursday, May 11, 2017

Let's Go - Venice

Let's Go' on a journey through the city of love as we profile one of Europes most interesting destinations.

One of the most romantic and beautiful cities in the world, Venice is famous for it's intricate transport system of interconnected canals. Being a city built on water, there are over 417 bridges throughout Venice that help you weave through the 177 different canals.


Around the World on Sun Power | Origins: The Journey of Humankind


Can a Plane Fly Around the World on Solar Power Alone?
With a wingspan greater than a 747, but weighing less than most cars, the Solar Impulse 2 will attempt to circumnavigate the planet.
So it seems more than a little crazy to hear that that flight and the other trial runs later this year are leading up to what’s seen as the ultimate test: a planned trip around the world beginning next March.


You could make it around the world in fewer than 80 days in this plane, if you flew non-stop. The latest estimate is that it can be done in 25 solid days and nights—or roughly 500 hours—of flying. But the trip is going to be broken into five or six stages over several months, primarily for the benefit of the two pilots who will take turns at the controls.

Since there’s room for only one person in the plane, this means some very long stretches of time in the cockpit—as long as five whole days when the plane crosses the Pacific Ocean. To accommodate the pilot’s basic needs, the seat both converts into a recliner and serves as a toilet. The pilot will essentially live in a space not much bigger than the inside of a mini-Cooper, though the seat does expand enough for him to do physical exercises. The cockpit is not pressurized, nor does it have heat, but it is lined with high-density thermal insulation. And just in case, there’s a parachute and life raft packed into the back of the seat.

The two men who will fly the Solar Impulse 2, Bertrand Piccard and AndrĂ© Borschberg, know full well what they’re getting themselves into. They've been developing the technology for 12 years, and had a taste of it last year when they flew the plane’s smaller predecessor, Solar Impulse 1, in a series of hops across the U.S.




Most MYSTERIOUS People Ever!



7. The Man in the Iron Mask
As one of the most famous prisoners in history, the man in the iron mask was arrested in France in 1669 and held in a number of different prisons before his in November of 1703. One particularly cruel part of his punishment was that for those 34 years he was forced to cover his face with black velvet cloth, so no-one could ever lay eyes on him. This, of course, served to hide his identity- something that has been subject to speculation ever since. All that has been known was the supposed name of the man, Eustache Dauger.
The story has been the inspiration behind many books, shows, and movies- each of which have suggested different identities. Was he the son of Oliver Cromwell? Or even the son of Charles II? Perhaps he was even the twin brother of King Louis XIV, as the movie starring Leonardo Di Caprio suggested.
In truth, most of these ideas are a result of creative writers looking for a good story. In 2016 a more realistic notion was put forward- that the man in the iron mask was the valet to the treasurer for Cardinal Mazarin. This highly corrupt Cardinal who had ripped of many wealthy citizens from across Europe would have had many secrets, ones that his valet would have been privy to. It is thought that he revealed some information to the wrong people and, as a result, was punished in this extraordinary way to prevent anyone from recognizing him and trying to find out more. If his face was seen by anyone, he was told, then he would be immediately.
6. The Woman of the Seine
The next mysterious person is one that you may have even met yourself without realizing her tragic past.
The story starts back in the late 19th Century when the drowned body of a young woman was retrieved from the river Seine in Paris. As was custom at the time, her body was placed on display at the local morgue with the hope that someone would come forward to identify her. No-one did, and the pathologist who worked there had become so infatuated with her face that he asked a molder to make a cast of her.
Soon after this, masks that had been made from the mold went on sale in workshops across the city, and it became a regular fixture in the studies of artists and writers who imagined the lost story of this mysterious woman. There was a time when every fashionable drawing room in Europe would feature a copy of the mask on the wall because of its somber beauty. Despite this level of fame, it was the fact that she had passed from drowning that would make the “Inconnue’s” face one that would be seen around the world- as a medical aid.
In 1955, a man called Asmund Laerdal rescued his son from drowning by clearing his airways. He was a toymaker, but was approached to make a training device for the new technique of CPR that had been designed to help save lives. Because of his experience with his son he was keen to develop the project and got to work. The result was the first model of what we now know as Resusci Anne, the torso mannequin that people around the world use to practice the technique. Laerdal decided that the device needed a realistic appearance and, remembering the mask that he had grown up seeing on the wall of his grandparents house, used the mold of “Inconnue” to shape the face.






Sunday, May 7, 2017

Seattle Vacation Travel Guide

Welcome to Seattle, a city that straddles the modern world and the natural one.

While it’s known for its overcast weather, when the sun comes out in Seattle, you’re in for the perfect photo op, where blue skies and calm seas surround classic architecture and striking modern buildings. Take in a view of the city from the Observation Deck of Smith Tower, then head down to the waterfront for incredible seafood and harbor cruises.

Visit the world-famous Pike Place Market, home to fresh catches, local produce, and yes, the world’s first Starbucks®. From there, explore the great outdoors at Woodland Park Zoo, full of recreated savannahs and tropical rainforests. If you’re still craving more natural wonders, go to Olympic National Park a few hours away and meander through its scenic, wooded beauty.

Round out your Seattle sightseeing with Ruby Beach and pick your way through the driftwood scattered across the shore. Look out to the ocean, watch the sunset, and know you’re in one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

Visit our Seattle travel guide page for more information or to plan your next vacation!



Cuba Vacation Travel Guide


It’s only 93 miles from Florida, and just 13 from the Bahamas, but like the smoke that coils from its legendary cigars, The Republic of Cuba exists in a time and space all its own.

Few cities can stir the imagination like Cuba’s capital, Havana, a city preserved by forts, a five-mile seawall, and an imposed embargo, which held back the excesses of the 20th century for over 50 years.

Havana’s lure can be hard to resist, but Cuba offers so much more beyond the seductive lights of its capital. In Cuba, a long sandy beach is never far away.

Just 12 miles from Havana’s downtown, the Eastern Beaches unroll toward the town of Matanzas, the birthplace of the rumba, and Cárdenas, where the Cuban Flag flew for the very first time. From here, follow the scent of fresh lime, rum and suntan lotion north to Varadero.

After exploring the northern coastline, turn south towards Cuba’s most revolutionary city, Santa Clara, and Trinidad, once the sugar capital of the world. Don’t miss elegant Cienfuegos, the only Cuban city founded by the French.

Sometimes it’s hard to know whether Cuba is awakening to the world, or if the world is awakening to Cuba. Whatever your politics, it's easy to admire this island nation that has proudly gone its own way.

Cuba may still have one foot firmly in the past, but as the world tumbles towards tomorrow, we can be thankful for the many things it has not let go.


 

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