Baggage Autopsy: A review of the stuff I carry

I’m back in the US sitting in a makeshift office on a folding table in my parent’s basement amongst my boxed up former possessions. It makes a good opportunity to review the what, why and how’s of all the crap I carry with me. It normally isn’t something worth talking about, but the last few weeks has called it into question.

Everyone says you should pack light. I get that. All things being equal, I agree with the advice. However, for me all things are not equal. I travel for months (if not years) at a time and have to carry all my possessions with me. I’m not on vacation with a house full of stuff waiting for me at home. Everything I need I have to carry with me. Continue reading “Baggage Autopsy: A review of the stuff I carry”

My Transatlantic Hospital Odyssey

I’m writing this from the waiting room of the hospital my father is in. My trip back to Wisconsin is finally over.

Getting here involved closed airports, four canceled flights, a delayed flight which almost caused me to miss my connection, a missing bag and a ridiculously priced car rental. Lets just say US Air and Hertz are not my favorite companies.

My dad is doing better. His infection is down, but there are still a bunch of issues they have to look at. This will be a very long process.
Continue reading “My Transatlantic Hospital Odyssey”

Palmeral of Elche

UNESCO World Heritage Site #112 The Palmeral of Elche
Palmeral of Elche: My 112th UNESCO World Heritage Site

From the World Heritage inscription for the Palmeral of Elche:

The Palmeral of Elche, a landscape of groves of date palms, was formally laid out, with elaborate irrigation systems, at the time the Muslim city of Elche was erected, towards the end of the tenth century A.C., when much of the Iberian peninsula was Arab. The Palmeral is an oasis, a system for agrarian production in arid areas. It is also a unique example of Arab agricultural practices on the European continent. Cultivation of date palms in Elche is known at least since the Iberian times, dating around the fifth century B.C.

This is one of the most unique World Heritage Sites I have ever visited. The old city is basically built within a palm forest. Everywhere you go are palm trees and palm gardens. The palm forest was originally created by the Arabs when they settled in Elche to remind them of home.


Palmeral of Elche

The Palmeral of Elche is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Spain, which consists of a date palm orchard in the city of Elche in Spain. It was designated as a UNESCO site in 2000 because it is a unique agricultural landscape that defined the city’s identity. This massive palm date plantation is located in the urban area of Elche. Aside from the sheer size of the orchard, this is the only palm grove of its kind in Europe and also the largest outside of the Arab countries.

About the Palmeral of Elche

Palmeral of Elche

The Palmeral of Elche is composed of 97 different orchards wherein over 70,000 date palms have been planted. Most of these orchards are located along the eastern bank of Vinalopo. This number of date palm orchards is exclusive of other large plantations within the city proper of Elche. If these were taken into account, then that would bring the total number to 200,000 palms!

According to historians, the first date palms were planted in Elche in the 5th Century BC. It was the Romans who introduced an elaborate water management system in agricultural application in the city. Under the Moorish empire, Elche was transferred 7 kilometers away to its location today. They helped establish an irrigation system by utilizing water from Vinalopo. The current landscape of the date palm orchard is the same as it was from the 7th to the 10th century.

The palm date trees are planted in single and double rows. The current agricultural system in place is the same one as the ancient irrigation canals. This was one of the most significant factors to the Palmeral of Elche being named a UNESCO site.

Interesting Facts

Palmeral of Elche

Below is a list of interesting facts about Palmeral of Elche in Spain:

  • There are approximately 200,000 date palm trees in this agricultural landscape. On top of these, there are 50,000 more in the nursery.
  • This is the largest plantation of dates in Europe.
  • The entire plantation follows a grid pattern of system for the trees.
  • There is a 2.5 kilometer walking route within the Palmeral of Elche, which tourists can explore to enjoy the view of the magnificent plantation.
  • There is a Palm Grove Museum on-site that provides fascinating historical facts about the plantation itself.

Dangers and Threats

Palmeral of Elche

In the 1920s to the 1930s, the danger and threat to the Palmeral of Elche was recognized. It was during this time when the first legislative action was done to ensure that the palm date orchard was protected and preserved. In fact, the Valencian regional government took action to ensure that the traditional use and layout of the palm grove was maintained and preserved.

Hence, the establishment of Palmeral of Elche as a UNESCO site is one step further to ensuring that this area is protected from threats.

View the complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Spain.

View the list of all of the UNESCO World Heritage sites I have visited on my travels.

Last updated: Aug 1, 2017 @ 8:59 pm

Still Stuck in Spain

Bunch of things are happening to me:

1) I’m in Barcelona where my US Airways flight to the US has been canceled four times now. Every other airline seems to be crossing the Atlantic just fine and I know people who have beaten me back to the US, even though my flight was scheduled sooner. Wednesday I was told the flight would be delayed 8 hours, so I sat around the airport all day before I was told that the flight was canceled. It is getting pretty damn ridiculous. I was given the option of a flight to Munich on Thursday which would then go to Philadelphia, but then I’d have to spend the night in Philly and would arrive around the same time I would if I get on the Friday flight out of Barcelona. If all goes well I’ll be in the air in 24 hours. If all doesn’t go well, you will find an expletive riddled rant about US Airways on this site tomorrow that you should hide from children. Continue reading “Still Stuck in Spain”

Travel and Family Emergencies

Due to another eruption of the volcano in Spain, airports in Spain have been closed the last several days, especially the airports in Northern Spain where I am. I’ve been just continuing with my previously scheduled agenda of visiting the Basque Country while I’ve been waiting for the cloud to clear.

I’m writing this at the Bilbao Airport where the ash cloud has moved enough to allow flights this afternoon to the south of Spain. If all goes well, I’ll be in Barcelona tonight and on a flight to Chicago tomorrow morning. I have no idea how I’m getting from Chicago to Appleton. Buying a ticket (for a 50 minute flight) is $600 and renting a car for a one-way trip (3 hours) is over $200. My guess is I’ll just end up biting the bullet and renting a car. Continue reading “Travel and Family Emergencies”

Canceling My Trips to Spain and Israel

I was notified a few days ago that my father was taken to the hospital after suffering sever pneumonia and possible heart attack. He is currently unconscious on life support. I’m going to cut my travels short to return to the US to be with my family.

I’ll be arriving in Barcelona on Monday and instead of going to Israel, I hope to be getting a flight back to the United States as soon as possible.

One of the downsides of long term travel is being away if something happens to your family members. It is something that everyone I know who has traveled extensively has thought about.

I’ll try to make the best of the change in plans by editing my Spain photos and plowing through the list of articles I have to write.

Assuming it is possible, I hope to return to Spain, perhaps for La Tomatina in August. I also hope to still attend TBEX in New York City in June.

Send your thoughts and prayers out to my dad.