Monthly Archives: August 2010

UNESCO World Heritage Site #117: Independence Hall

Posted by on August 14, 2010

UNESCO World Heritage Site #117: Independence Hall

UNESCO World Heritage Site #117: Independence Hall

From the World Heritage inscription:

The Declaration of Independence was adopted in 1776 in this fine 18th century building in Philadelphia, to be followed in 1787 by the framing of the Constitution of the United States of America. Although conceived in a national framework and hence of fundamental importance to American history, the universal principles of freedom and democracy set forth in these documents were to have a profound impact on lawmakers and political thinkers around the world. They became the models for similar charters of other nations, and may justly be considered to have heralded the modern era of government.

Independence Hall is one of the few cultural World Heritage sites in North America which is not related to native americans. Visiting the site is very easy as it is in the city center of Philadelphia. Within walking distance you can also see a number of other historical attractions including the Liberty Bell, Ben Franklin’s home and the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier from the Revolutionary War.

View my complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites

8 things you might not have known about Newfoundland

Posted by on August 14, 2010

Flag of Newfoundland and LabradorAfter a surprisingly pleasant 5 hour ferry ride form North Sydney, Nova Scotia I have arrived on the shores of Newfoundland. It is an interesting place with an interesting history. Here are some things about Newfoundland you might not know:

1) Newfoundland used to be an independent country. In 1907 Newfoundland was given dominion status by the UK along with New Zealand, Australia and Canada. It remained on an equal status until 1949 when it joined the Canadian confederation.

2) Almost everyone pronounces Newfoundland wrong. On the ferry over we were told by a native Newfie how to pronounce the word. You can know the correct pronunciation by knowing the following simple rhyme: understand Newfoundland. The “land” part is pronounced like “land” not “lund”.
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Unwelcome to Canada

Posted by on August 10, 2010

I crossed the border today from Calais, Maine to St. Stephen, New Brunswick. The border crossing was the second worst border crossing I’ve experienced in my life, second only to when I walked from Jordan to Israel.

I am not kidding.

I was asked almost as many questions as the Israelis asked me, they searched my car and every bag I had with me from top to bottom, and the worst thing was, it wasn’t just me. Most of the non-Maine residents were stopped and had to go through the same procedures.

Given my experience, my previous bad experience crossing into Canada by car, and the stories of other people, I am very reluctant of ever traveling to Canada by car again.

I’m still pissed off even though it happened several hours ago. I thought the US was bad, but I looked over the bridge at the American customs station and didn’t see anything close to what the Canadians were doing. I’m not even sure what the hell they were looking for. They didn’t have drug sniffing dogs, under car mirrors, or bothered to use an X-ray machine. (more…)

UNESCO World Heritage Site #116: Monticello and the University of Virginia in Charlottesville

Posted by on August 1, 2010

UNESCO World Heritage Site #116: Monticello and the University of Virginia in Charlottesville

UNESCO World Heritage Site #116: Monticello and the University of Virginia in Charlottesville

From the World Heritage inscription:

Thomas Jefferson (1743–1826), author of the American Declaration of Independence and third president of the United States, was also a talented architect of neoclassical buildings. He designed Monticello (1769–1809), his plantation home, and his ideal ‘academical village’ (1817–26), which is still the heart of the University of Virginia. Jefferson’s use of an architectural vocabulary based upon classical antiquity symbolizes both the aspirations of the new American republic as the inheritor of European tradition and the cultural experimentation that could be expected as the country matured.

While not the oddest of World Heritage Sites I’ve visited, I’m surprised that it was included for architectural reasons, not historical ones. I’m sure there are many other American buildings from the same time period which are more architecturally significant, but weren’t designed by a former president. It sort of shows you the thinking of the UNESCO committees which pick world heritage sites.

View my complete list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites

Thoughts On My Father

Posted by on August 1, 2010

As you may know, my father passed away on July 22, 2010.

I’ve experienced so much in the last week it is difficult to put into words. This post is not about travel. I don’t normally like to stray away from travel related topics, but in addition to being a travel blog, this is MY blog and so I want to use this to talk about a bunch of things which are on my mind. Quite frankly, to not talk about this would sort of be an elephant in the room.


I want to thank everyone for all the support everyone has given me the last few days and months. It has really been overwhelming. All the tweets, Facebook messages and emails has been very touching. I couldn’t believe everyone at TBEX who took the time to ask about my dad. Sometimes, you don’t know if anyone is listening to what you say, and it is nice to know that someone is. If I didn’t reply or acknowledge your condolences, please know that I’ve read everything and I do appreciate it. (more…)