Notre Dame Fire Interview

Notre Dame Fire Interview

I did an interview with Paul Lasley of On Travel, on the American Forces Radio Network this afternoon to talk about the Cathedral of Notre Dame fire and a wider discussion of cathedrals and cultural preservation.

Wapusk National Park, Manitoba

Wapusk National Park, Manitoba

Wapusk National Park Overview

Wapusk National Park is a Canadian National Park located outside of Churchill, Manitoba.

It is a sub-arctic park which is located along the shore of Hudson Bay and it is home to one of the largest polar bear denning areas in the world.

The word “wapusk” comes from the Cree word for polar bear.

The park is located in the Hudson Plains ecozone and it comprises most of the Cape Churchill, which juts out into Hudson Bay. The reason why this area is so important to polar bears is that this is the first place in the area where sea ice freezes. The counterclockwise direction of the currents in Hudson Bay means that colder water from the north will collide into Cape Churchill and freshwater from the Churchill River causes the freezing point of the sea water to rise. Hence, this is usually the first place where polar bears can go out to feed on the sea ice every winter.

There are no roads into the national park and there are no roads connecting the town of Churchill to the rest of Canada.

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Gateway Arch National Park, Missouri

Gateway Arch National Park, Missouri


Gateway Arch National Park, formerly the Jefferson National Expansion Memorial, is a United States National Park in St. Louis, Missouri. The primary attraction is the Gateway Arch which commemorates the westward expansion of the United States. St. Louis used to be known as the “Gateway to the West”, which is why it was selected as the location for this monument.

In addition to the arch, the park also includes the Old Courthouse building nearby.

The park was given national park status in 2018 at the end of a long renovation of the visitor center and the arch. It is by far the smallest site with a national park designation in the US.

Despite the controversy surrounding giving the site national park status, it is still an incredible structure and one of the most impressive monuments in the world.

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April 2019 Desktop Wallpaper

This month’s image was taken in Montreal, Quebec Tablets | Smartphones | iPhoneX Standard (Fits most laptops) | High Res (large monitors and retina displays)

This Week in Travel – Episode 248

This Week in Travel – Episode 248

This week Jen Leo, Chris Christensen, and I are joined by this week’s guest Stephanie Chastain, an Ireland Travel Coach and blogger from Infinite Ireland.

We talk about travel to Ireland in this belated St Patrick’s Day celebration and planning a trip to Ireland:

  • driving in Ireland
  • overrated places – Blarney Stone
  • underrated places
  • farm stays
  • castle stays
  • pub culture
  • the Cliffs of Moher, Giants Causeway, Skellig Michael, Dingle peninsula, the Burren, the Rock of Cashel…

Subscribe on Apple Podcasts

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Review: Traveling With G Adventures

Review: Traveling With G Adventures

Since 2010 I have been on 14 different trips with G Adventures. The fact that I’ve been on so many trips should give you an indication of what I think of the company. Not only have I been on 14 different trips with G, but I’ve traveled with them to all seven continents and to 40 countries and territories around the world. I’ve had dinner with the founder, attended their annual corporate meeting, and have served as an ambassador for the company.

I guess I know the company about as well as anyone who isn’t an employee can.

This article isn’t a review in the same way that a movie review is. This isn’t intended to criticize, praise, or compare so much as it is intended to give you an overall idea of what you can expect when you are on a G Adventures trip. Each tour is a difference experience, so it is impossible to provide a review which covers every possible trip. Also, even though I’ve been on 14 different tours with G, they run hundreds of tours around the world, so your mileage may vary.

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Heritage of Mercury: Almadén and Idrija

Heritage of Mercury: Almadén and Idrija UNESCO World Heritage Site

From the Heritage of Mercury: Almadén and Idrija World Heritage inscription:

The property includes the mining sites of Almadén (Spain), where mercury (quicksilver) has been extracted since antiquity, and Idrija (Slovenia), where mercury was first found in AD1490. The Spanish property includes buildings relating to its mining history, including Retamar Castle, religious buildings and traditional dwellings. The site in Idrija notably features mercury stores and infrastructure, as well as miners’ living quarters, and a miners’ theatre. The sites bear testimony to the intercontinental trade in mercury which generated important exchanges between Europe and America over the centuries. Together they represent the two largest mercury mines in the world, operational until recent times.

Almaden: World Heritage City
Almadén: World Heritage City


There are two sites in two different countries which are part of this world heritage site. Almadén, which is in Spain, and Idrija, which is in Slovenia.

I visited the property in Spain and this post will deal with visiting the mine in Almadén.

NOTE: There is no risk of mercury of poisoning in visiting this mine. Mercury in its liquid elemental form is very dangerous. However, you will not see any silverly liquid in the mine. The Mercury is in the form of Cinnabar, which is a red mineral created when mercury bonds with sulfur to create Mercury Sulfide (HgS). The only place you will see liquid mercury is in the visitor center, behind glass.

If you look at a map of the World Heritage Sites in Spain, Almadén sort of sits by itself, at least a 2-hour drive away from any other world heritage site. You could visit on a road trip from Madrid to Seville, but otherwise, you will probably have to make a special trip to visit. I drove out of my way to visit when going from Trujillo to Madrid.

Many people shy away from industrial heritage sites, but they are my favorite types. Learning how the items which made our modern world are an important part of our heritage, and visiting places like Almadén are an important part of that history.

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March 2019 Desktop Wallpaper

March 2019 Desktop Wallpaper

This Month’s Image was taken in Mada’in Saleh, Saudi Arabia Tablets | iPhone 6/7/8 | iPhone 6/7/8 Plus | iPhone X Most Desktops (will adjust for size) | Large High-Resolution Format (Retina and 4k Monitors)

Archaeological Ensemble of Mérida

Archaeological Ensemble of Mérida UNESCO World Heritage Site, Spain

From the Archaeological Ensemble of Mérida World Heritage inscription:

The Archaeological Ensemble of Mérida, located in Extremadura, Spain, has its origins in the year 25 BC when Augustus completed the conquest of the North of Hispania and founded the Colony of Augusta Emerita. The city was created as an idealized model of Rome and was the capital of Lusitania, the western-most province of the Roman Empire. Following Diocletian’s reform, it functioned as the capital of the Diocese of Hispania. It was also temporarily the royal seat of two Germanic peoples – the Suebi and the Visigoths – and under the Arabic dominion, Mérida was one of the three border capitals of Al-Andalus, together with Toledo and Zaragoza, ensuring control of the western part of the Iberian peninsula.

The modern city of Mérida has been built on top of Emerita; yet, archaeological remains are well preserved and still evidence the Roman city. The 22 component parts of the property comprise an area of 31 ha. These include buildings for entertainment (theatre and amphitheater), the public architecture of the Forum and other spaces of power (provincial forum), engineering works (bridges, the dike, cutwater and clean and wastewater systems), and religious buildings, such as the Temple of Diana or the Temple of Marte. The property also includes excellent examples of private architecture, such as the Casa del Anfiteatro, La Casa Basílica, or Casa del Mitreo, which represent daily life. Most of the elements are located within the walled area of the Roman colony, but some are found outside its walls, such as the dams, aqueducts or thermal baths of Alange, in a natural environment and a landscape that has remained comparable to one of Roman times.


Mérida is a city in the Extremadura region of Spain with a population of 60,000. The city was originally founded as a Roman colony and it is best known of its Roman ruins.

The Roman ruins in the city are probably the best in the entire Iberian peninsula and among the best in the world. In addition to the signature Roman theater (see above), there is also a well-preserved aqueduct, one of the longest Roman bridges in the world, an amphitheater, arches, and a circus. The museum of Roman artifacts is one of the best museums of its kind that I have ever seen in the world.

Mérida should easily be on any list of top places in the world to visit to see Roman ruins and artifacts.

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