International Travel

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The mountain no one can climb

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">For a country where mountain tourism has thrived, there is one mountain in Nepal where climbing is forbidden.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Machhapuchhre - meaning “fishtail” - stands at 6,993m in the Annapurna range in central Nepal that is home to three of the world’s 10 highest mountains.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though it doesn’t stand as tall as other mountains, it stands out as a lone peak and appears much taller than it actually is.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Machhapuchhare also has a double summit, which is joined by a sharp ridge, and towers over the Phewa Lake.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The closest curious tourists can get to the peak is the summit of Mardi Himal, a smaller mountain beneath Machhapuchhare.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The reason behind it’s prohibited climbing status: Lieutenant Colonel James Owen Merion Roberts.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Jimmy Roberts, as he was popularly known, was a British Army officer and the first military attach</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">é to Nepal. He made significant contributions to Nepal’s economy and local livelihoods after helping open up the country’s remote mountains for commercial mountaineering and trekking.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Roberts has since been remembered as the “father of trekking” in Nepal.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">His fascination with Machhapuchhare began after he read a dispatch from another army officer, and he would eventually become the first and only person to attempt to reach the summit.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But, his expedition party, reduced to just two people by the end, abandoned the ascent just 45m below the summit due to bad weather.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Following the failed climb, Roberts requested the Nepal government restrict the peak and ensure Machhapuchhare would never be climbed.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">They obliged.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Roberts’ fascination with the mountain and his kinship with Gurungs, who hold Machhapuchhare sacred, and with the people of Chomrong, the last Gurung village before the mountain, may have been the motivation behind his odd request.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though the reason remains a mystery and Roberts’ association with the peak’s prohibited status has been largely forgotten, the prevailing view now is that the mountain is sacred and therefore forbidden to climb.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Machhapuchhare’s summit is not meant to be stepped upon; it is only to be adored by the eyes,” said Tirtha Shrestha, a poet and long-time resident of nearby Pokhara.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Any discourse, not just on Pokhara, but about the beauty of the entire Himalayas, would be incomplete without mentioning Machhapuchhare. Its beauty has greatly moved poets, authors and artists. In many folk songs, the mountain has been showered with praises. Machhapuchhare, for us, is the epitome of beauty,” he said.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: MountainKick / Instagram</span></em></p>

International Travel

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Amazing find in tapas bar stuns archaeologists

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With the coronavirus halting businesses around the world, the owners of the </span><a href="http://www.cerveceriagiralda.com/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Cervercería Giralda</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> tapas bar in Seville, Spain decided to use the time for much-needed renovations.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But, as the renovations of the 89-year-old eatery started, workers made an astonishing find.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Beneath the plaster that covered the ceiling they found a skylight in the form of an eight-pointed star belonging to a 12th century Islamic hammam.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“As soon as we saw one of the skylights, we knew what it was; it just couldn’t have been anything but a bath,” said archaeologist </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Álvaro Jiméz. “We just had to follow the pattern of the skylights.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The former bathhouse was also found with elaborate red ochre paintings of geometric motifs on the walls, representing the night sky, which dates back to when the city was ruled by the Almohad caliphate, a Berber Empire that once controlled much of North Africa and the Iberian Peninsula.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Decoratively speaking, these baths have the largest amount of preserved decoration of any of the known baths on the Iberian peninsula,” the archaeologist said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Absolutely everything here is decorated, and, luckily, it’s survived. The background is white lime mortar engraved with geometric lines, circles and squares. On top of that you have red ochre paintings of eight-pointed stars and eight-petalled multifoil rosettes. Those two designs alternate and entwine and adapt to the different geometric shapes of the skylight holes.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Historians believe this bathhouse, as well as several others found around the city’s central mosque known as the Royal Alcázar palace, was used by devotees to cleanse themselves before going to the mosque to pray. They also believe the bathhouses were likely used as meeting places for people to socialise, talk business, or relax.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The tapas bar has since reopened and the bathhouse can still be seen.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Images: </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Cervercería Giralda / Instagram</span></em></p>

International Travel

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Prince Charles is "immensely sensitive" and ignoring Prince Harry

<p>Princess Diana's former voice coach, Stewart Pearce, has claimed the reason Prince Charles has had a hard time with Prince Harry's parenting criticisms is that Prince Charles is "immensely sensitive".</p> <p>Pearce revealed to US Weekly that the future king of England is a "very very shy man".</p> <p>“Prince Charles is a very, very shy man, a very sensitive and delicate man, but we see his public personality, but in private, he’s immensely sensitive,” he said.</p> <p>“When we’re sensitive, if we’re dealing with very strong, combustible emotion on the outside of us,” people tend to go into fight or flight.</p> <p>For example, when Princess Diana accused him of having an affair with Camilla Parker Bowles, “what he did was to shrink back and as a result of that became aloof,” Pearce explained. “Well, that doesn’t heal the challenge that’s taking place.”</p> <p>Pearce said that when reports broke about Prince Harry and Meghan being "troubled" by the 'lapse of contact", Pearce wasn't surprised as "that's what Charles does".</p> <p>“He can’t deal with it because of his sensitivity, so he hides. And what Harry’s trying to do is to heal that. Not out of umbrage, not out of anger or revenge or criticism or accusation…I felt that he was just somebody saying, ‘This is the way that it is, and this is why we want to make change.’”</p> <p>The comments that Pearce is referring to were made by Prince Harry on his Apple TV+ series with Oprah The Me You Can't See.</p> <p>“My father used to say to me when I was younger, he used to say to [Prince] William and I, ‘Well, it was like that for me, so it’s gonna be like that for you.’" he said.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/B2bL_xMgwoL/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="13"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/B2bL_xMgwoL/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Clarence House (@clarencehouse)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>"That doesn’t make sense. Just because you suffered, it doesn’t mean that your kids have to suffer. In fact, quite the opposite. If you suffered, do everything you can to make sure that whatever experiences, negative experiences that you had, you can make it right for your kids.”</p> <p>The conversation was said to leave Prince Charles "quite devastated" according to an insider who told <a href="https://www.vanityfair.com/style/2021/05/all-charles-has-wanted-is-for-harry-to-be-happy-can-this-father-son-relationship-ever-heal"><em>Vanity Fair.</em></a></p> <p>“He is such a gentle man and a dedicated father first and foremost. Knowing him, he’ll be feeling wretched and will take no joy or happiness in what’s going on within the family. But he will also want to seek a reconciliation. He is not vindictive at all, and he wants to make peace with Harry.”</p>

International Travel

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Panicked sea lions almost sink fishing boat

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A fishing crew in southern Chile had a surprising catch, after dozens of sea lions tried to board their boat en masse to escape a pack of hunting killer whales.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Fisherman Antonio Zapata said he had never experienced anything like it in his four decades at sea, despite the fact that encountering hunting orcas was a relatively common experience.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though the crew were sympathetic to the plight of the sea lions, they feared the boat would be damaged or sink even lower into the water under the combined weight of the animals and a full haul of sardines.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“They were trying to climb on board and we had to spread ourselves around the vessel to try to get them off with sticks because the ones that were getting on were making us sink,” he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It was a dangerous situation because we couldn’t get the sea lions to go away or make the killer whales leave either.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Footage captured on a mobile phone showed the water around the boat filled with thrashing sea lions.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though the 10-man crew could be heard joking in the video, Mr Zapata said they were also genuinely worried they could end up in the water too.</span></p> <p><iframe width="600" height="338" src="https://rudo.video/vod/bLSQN9/skin/simple/o/MjAyMS8wNi9sb2Jvcy1tYXJpbm9zLTc1MHg0MDAuanBlZw==" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen="" allow="autoplay; fullscreen"></iframe></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“There were so many sea lions around the hull that we couldn’t move much - every time we did they got caught up in the propellers and I was worried they could break them altogether,” he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The crew attempted to approach a nearby island so the sea lions could take refuge there instead, but the whales blocked them from nearing the shore.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Once the whales finally drifted away, the sea lions were able to swim for cover as the boat neared the Talcahuano port.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Some of the sea lions came with us into port. We couldn’t get rid of them,” Mr Zapata said.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image: ABC news</span></em></p>

International Travel

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Plans to revitalise Italy’s Alcatraz revealed

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Italy’s former Alcatraz, now crumbling and abandoned, is being revitalised with an ambitious restyle project.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The tiny volcanic island of Santo Stefano lies between Rome and Naples, and was once the home of criminals, bandits, anarchists and political dissidents from Ancient Rome all the way through to the Fascist regime during World War II.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But the jail has been closed since 1965 and the island has been long abandoned.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Now, the Italian state is spending 70 million euros ($110 million AUD) to revive Santo Stefano and transform it into an open-air museum and tourism hotspot just like the infamous Alcatraz. Maintenance works are underway in key areas, and a call for proposals on how to renovate the jail will be launched.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Silva Costa, the government commissioner in charge of the restyle, told CNN the aim is to recover all of the original colony - from the barracks to the original cisterns - by taking “an environmentally friendly approach that takes into account the uniqueness of the island’s natural habitat.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sitting inside a protected marine park, Santo Stefano has no dock and can only be accessed by an ancient Roman harbour on the nearby island of Ventotene. Its current visitors include fishermen, sunbathers, scuba divers and snorkelers lured by giant groupers and barracudas, while the seabed is full of archaeological wonders and a shipwreck dating back to World War II.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Visitors can also tour the horseshoe-shaped prison built by the Bourbon rulers during the 18th century. Along the 40-minute hike up the path, three signs greet visitors: “This is a place of suffering.”, “This is a place of expiation.”, “This is a place of redemption.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The restyle will see Santo Stefano hosting a multimedia open-air museum detailing the history of the prison and its inmates.</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/ByxlC1giHjG/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="13"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/ByxlC1giHjG/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Samantha Pistone (@_samantha_pi)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The former home of the jail director and changing rooms of the inmates’ football field will be turned into low-cost hostels with about 30 rooms.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A restaurant cafe is expected to take the place of the bakery where prisoners made bread everyday, with a panoramic terrace garden that will be replanted with flowers and plants that once grew there.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The inmates’ orchards will also be revived.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“We want the island to draw visitors all year-round, not just during the crowded summer months,” Costa said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Tourism must be sustainable, but Santo Stefano will be more than that. It will be a hub for world academics uniting on key issues such as green policies, human rights, freedom of speech, European citizenship and Mediterranean dialogue.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The renovation is expected to be finished by 2025.</span></p>

International Travel

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Australia and Singapore agree on plans for travel bubble

<p>Scott Morrison has reached a deal with Singapore to work on the conditions for a travel bubble that would initially allow students to return.</p> <p>The Prime Minister visited Singapore on Thursday to speak to his counterpart Lee Hsien Loong.</p> <p>It was the first stop on his way to Cornwall for the G7 leaders' summit, as well as trade and security talks in London and Paris.</p> <p>Over the past week, Singapore has recorded an average of four local COVID-19 cases a day, with its vaccine rollout well underway, restrictions easing and rapid test kits about to go on sale to the public in pharmacies.</p> <p>Morrison said Singapore had done a "tremendous" job in tackling the virus and it was time to put systems in place to enable the two countries to open up in a similar way to the Australia-New Zealand bubble "when we are both in a position to do so".</p> <p>"There is nothing impeding us - as we discussed today - from getting on with the job of putting systems in place that will enable such a bubble to emerge between Singapore and Australia," he said.</p> <p>Students from Singapore would get priority when the bubble is established.</p> <p>At an int media conference, Mr Lee said the world was now transitioning into the "next phase of the fight", in relation to the pandemic.</p> <p>The "safe and calibrated" air travel bubble would start with mutual recognition of vaccine certificates, he said.</p> <p>"When ready then we can start small with an air travel bubble to build confidence on both sides," he said.</p> <p>The two leaders signed a memorandum of understanding on health care and health technology and agreed to begin talks on a "finch bridge" which would make it easier to cooperate on financial technology.</p> <p>After the G7 summit, Morrison will meet with British PM Boris Johnson in London and hold talks in Paris with French President Emmanuel Macron.</p> <p>"There has never been a more important time for Australia to be at the table with the world's largest liberal democracies and advanced economies," Mr Morrison said in a statement.</p> <p>"The global pandemic and the recession it has caused means like-minded countries and businesses need to work together to lead the global recovery to restore lives and livelihoods.</p> <p>"There is a lot at stake for Australia, the region and the world."</p>

International Travel

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Musical roads around the world

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Scattered around the world are “musical roads”, as disparate as Iran, California, Denmark, and Japan. </span></p> <p><strong>How can roads be musical?</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">These tuneful roads use the vibrations made by each wheel of the car as it bumps along the uneven road, with select grooves carved into the road surface to make a cohesive series of notes.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">By changing the distance between each strip, the pitch can be controlled. The closer the strips are, the higher the pitch of the vibrations, and the further apart they are, the lower the pitch is.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This can also be achieved using raised bumps in the road.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But this method is much more jarring to the vehicle occupants, and only the very first musical road in Gylling, Denmark, was created this way.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ensuring the road stays in tune can be quite difficult though. Engineers must etch each groove so that it is sampled at a specific speed, just like how a record has to follow rpm limits.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Drivers need to hit the grooves head-on and should keep their windows closed to get the best effect, as most of the sound is transmitted through the car’s chassis rather than the air.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While there are none currently in Australia (or New Zealand), there are dozens around the world with their own tune of choice. Here are top five musical roads from all over the globe.</span></p> <p><strong>The Musical Road - Lancaster, California, USA</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Originally installed as part of an advertising campaign for the Honda Civic, and was the first musical road in the United States. Due to noise complaints from locals living alongside the road, the city moved the road to a more secluded area, where it continues to play the finale of “William Tell Overture”.</span></p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/EK1ocEbJA7c" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><strong>Melody Road - Mount Fuji, Japan</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">There are about 30 musical roads across Japan that play tunes taken from Japanese culture.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The roads are highlighted by colourful musical notes painted on the road.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Melody Road heading up to Mount Fuji plays “Fuji no Yama”, a traditional song about the famous mountain.</span></p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/y_xvfZUqAtg" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><strong>Road 67 - Hungary</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Hungary’s first musical road, Road 67, opened in 2019 and serves as the main road between Kaposvar and the M7 motorway. The road plays a song written by Hungarian band Republic they named after Road 67.</span></p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/XukLEaMbm9k" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><strong>Route 66 Musical Highway - Tijeras, New Mexico, USA</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Built as part of a social experiment for one of National Geographic’s TV series, the Route 66 Musical Highway was a test to see if drivers would follow the unpopular speed limit if a reward was offered. The reward of getting to hear a small snippet of “America the Beautiful” has proven to be a popular way of ensuring drivers follow the 45 mph (72 km/h) speed limit, though it has become slightly out of tune.</span></p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/Uucy_blcSrg" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><strong>Melody Road - Anyang, Gyeonggi, South Korea</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Just to the south of Seoul, a section of highway in Anyang plays the nursery rhyme “Mary Had a Little Lamb”. The musical elements were added to keep motorists alert, as 68 percent of traffic accidents in South Korea are caused by inattentive, sleeping or speeding drivers, while also entertaining commuters.</span></p> <p><iframe width="560" height="315" src="https://www.youtube.com/embed/BFlkWV45oYE" title="YouTube video player" frameborder="0" allow="accelerometer; autoplay; clipboard-write; encrypted-media; gyroscope; picture-in-picture" allowfullscreen=""></iframe></p> <p><strong>Whimsey hides the true motivation</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While musical roads might come across as a pure novelty, the requirement to “play” the tune at a specific speed can also serve as a stealth enforcement of speed limits.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In New Mexico, for instance, the melodic road is part of a strategy to reduce accidents on a stretch of Route 66 that has often been the source of accidents in the past. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In South Korea, the musical roads are intended to help motorists stay alert in areas where fatigue has caused a number of accidents.</span></p>

International Travel

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The monks walking Japan’s mountains

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In the ancient forests of Dewa Sanzan in Yamagata Prefecture, Japanese mountain worshippers, called Yamabushi, have been walking the mountainous paths for 1400 years.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though it is an enjoyable place to hike, the monks are walking in pursuit of spiritual rebirth.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Yamagato lies in the northernmost region of Japan’s Honshu island, and is an isolated, mountainous region prone to heavy snowfall.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Mount Haguro, Mount Gassan, and Mount Yudono of Dewa Sanzan - literally “the Three Mountains of Dewa Province” - have been deemed sacred since 593 A.D., when Prince Hachiko fled to Mount Haguro following the assassination of his father, Emperor Sushun. The prince was told the mountain would be where he would encounter Kannon, the Goddess of Mercy, so he built shrines on each peak to keep the mountain gods there and ensure the region would experience peace and prosperity.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The mountains were established as a centre for Shugendo, a Japanese form of worship dating back to when the mountains were considered deities. Eventually Shugendo would incorporate elements of Shinto, Buddhism, and Taoism and form the religion of the Yamabushi.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Historically, the Yamabushi lived on the higher mountains of Japan. They would years on end in the mountains,” explained Timm Bunting, a Yamabushido Project Leader and Yamabushi Master Assistant.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“For example, the Yamabushi who self-mummified to become </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Sokushinbutsu</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> (Living Buddha) had to spend at least 1,000 days in the mountains,” he said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">This self-mummification process required the Yamabushi to fast for an extended period, and was outlawed more than 100 years ago.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Today, the 6000 Yamabushi still in Japan believe Shugendo’s training in the harsh environment of the mountains can bring enlightenment.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">To become a certified Yamabushi, a week-long Akinome Autumn Peak Ritual must be completed. Though its exact nature is secret, the ritual is known to include meditation under a waterfall, nightwalking, and visiting places where the gods live on the mountains and praying. This immersion in the mountains is thought to help the Yamabushi become one with the mountain’s spirit and allow them re-emerge enlightened.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“In walking we are born again. We rejuvenate our life,” said Master Yoshino, a 13th-generation Yamabushi priest and head of the Haguro Yamabushi.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A growing number of people around Japan and the world have rediscovered Dewa Sanzan’s healing energy, and thousands have taken part in Yamabushi training offered in both Japanese and English.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">During the one-day, two-day, or four-day course, participants can only say one word, “uketamou” (I accept), in response to instructions. Phones, watches, brushing teeth, shaving, reading, and writing are also prohibited to help participants partake in self-discovery and mindfulness.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Maiko Ito, a Yamabushido Project Leader, said: “We want people to face themselves, to look at the feet they are standing on, and to feel a connection with nature, society, and the world.”</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Images: The Dewa Sanzan / Instagram</span></em></p>

International Travel

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This is the most remote place on Earth

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">One of the most remote places on Earth is covered in glaciers, mountains, and fjords. South Georgia sits 1,400 km away from its nearest neighbour, the Falkland Islands, and can only be accessed by sea.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The island is permanently covered in ice and spans less than 4,000 square kilometres.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though only 15 to 30 people live on the island at any given time, South Georgia was once a vital part of the brutal whatling industry and was the whaling capital of the South Atlantic.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The island was first claimed for Great Britain by James Cook in 1775 and was noted for its abundant populations of seals.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">By the 1900s, South Georgia’s seals had been hunted to the brink of extinction and whaling became the new money-making industry: whaling.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">South Georgia’s first whaling station, Grytviken, in the island’s King Edward Cove has become the island’s main settlement, with a population mostly consisting of scientists and government officials.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Now, all that remains of the station are rusting towers, warehouses, power plants, and hulking blubber and bone cookers. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The shore is lined with ships and boats in varying stages of collapse and the ground is covered in shards of whale bone.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">One of the old whaling ships still remains, with its harpoon gun that helped it bring in as many as 14 whales in a single trip.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Initially, the whalers were primarily concerned with harvesting the blubber from their catches, but later regulatory changes forced them to use the whole animal.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The meat and bone-meal was sold as animal feed and fertiliser, but the real prize was whale oil.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The best oils went into food products like margarine and ice cream,” said Finlay Raffle, a curator at the site’s </span><a href="https://sgmuseum.gs/?title=South_Georgia_Museum"><span style="font-weight: 400;">museum</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. “The second grade went into soap and cosmetics, and the worst was used in industrial processes.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Demand for the substance skyrocketed during World War One and Two, as it was a source of glycerol used in the manufacture of explosives and lubricants for rifles.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">At the peak of its production, 450 men would work 12-hour shifts, seven days a week at Grytviken, where temperatures can drop below -10C.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Despite its history of bloodshed and its impact on whale populations, South Georgia has become an unlikely model of conservation.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The South Georgia and South Sandwich Islands Marine Protected Area, one of the world’s biggest marine reserves, now protects more than one million square kilometres of the surrounding waters.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Seal populations have since recovered significantly: the island is home to 98 percent of the world’s Antarctic fur seals and about 50 percent of its elephant seals.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The island also hosts 30 million breeding pairs of seabirds and four species of penguin.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Images: South Georgia Island / Instagram</span></em></p>

International Travel

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See the island where puffins outnumber people

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With puffins outnumbering people 15 to one, the tiny Lundy island has endured a history of crazed pirates, renegade knights and shoddy MPs.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Now, the island lying just north of Devon is a protected nature reserve, bird-watchers’ paradise, and home to just 26 people. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The beauty of Lundy is that it hasn't changed for many, many years; it’s like stepping back to the 1950s,” said Derek Green, the island’s general manager. “There are very few vehicles, no pollution, no noise, lots of woodlife. It’s a place that is untouched by the modern world.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The island has been occupied for centuries by people from all walks of life, and was named for its legacy as a base of operations by Viking raiders from the 8th century A.D.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The name Lundy means ‘puffin island’ in Old Norse,” Green said. “Lundy’s history is long and colourful.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“There’s evidence of Bronze Age occupation in the remains of hut circles in the north, there’s a 13th century castle and there’s a long history of shipwrecks. There are three lighthouses; that’s unique for such a small island.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The island is home to a collection of historical stone buildings to the south known simply as the village, including staff and visitor accommodation, a pub, a shop, and a 19th century Anglican church.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">While the rest of the 5km-long and kilometre-wide island is covered in grassy meadows, the old castle, a former naval signal station, and the ruins of a Victorian quarry can be found scattered around the island.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The island’s topography and habitats are really quite special,” said Dean Woodfin Jones, Lundy’s warden.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Thousands of seabirds come here in the summer to breed: puffins, guillemots, Manx shearwaters, storm petrels. There’s also a really important Atlantic seal colony.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Rare species of flora can also be found on the island, including the endemic Lundy cabbage that grows nowhere else in the world.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though the island’s future looked perilous with the drop in tourism during the pandemic, a mixture of donations and government grants has secured the island’s future and ensured its inhabitants can continue their conservation work.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Photo credits: lundylandmark / Instagram</span></em></p>

International Travel

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Shocking discovery: Headless skeletons found on a farm

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Archaeologists have found an “exceptionally high” number of decapitated bodies at three Roman cemeteries in Cambridgeshire, England, which experts believe were the result of judicial executions.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The Cambridge Archaeological Unit (CAU) were excavating Knobb’s Farm in Somersham when they found 52 burials, 13 of which were prone burials where the bodies were face down.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Many of the decapitated bodies had their heads placed at their feet and some were kneeling when they died, according to the research paper published in the Britannia journal earlier this month.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though the Roman Empire hasn't ruled Britain since 410 AD, some towns still have medieval walls partially built from Roman fortifications.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Many of the remains found on the farm were in poor condition, with some no more than shadows in the sand. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With no evidence of defensive injuries and a general “lack of trauma” before death - aside from the decapitation - experts see it as evidence that the deaths were organised.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to the researchers, the number of bodies found was “exceptionally high” in comparison to other Roman cemeteries in Britain.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">They added that 33 percent of the bodies were beheaded, a much higher proportion than the 2.5-6.1 percent found in other cases.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though the reason why some of the burials were prone is unclear, the researchers argue “the practice cannot have been a mistake” as 13 people were buried in that manner. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.53846153846155px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7841616/719f8d4c9f4e185e2009713b88559075350652fe.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/c74a81b528c54592b9dd59e014277c7d" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“These settlements were extensive rural settlements that provided grain and meat to the Roman army,” said Isabel Lisboa, archaeological consultant on the project.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Lisboa also said the most likely reason for the large number of decapitated bodies could be as a form of execution for crimes, though ritual practice is another potential explanation.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In the latter part of Rome’s occupation of Britain, the number of crimes punishable by death increased from 14 to 60.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Roman laws seem to have been applied particularly harshly at Knobb’s Farm because it was associated with supplying the Roman army, so there were many decapitations,” said Lisboa.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“Crimes normally would have been let go, but there were probably tensions with the Roman army.”</span></p> <p><strong>Mysterious identities</strong></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“DNA shows there were nine different types of groups that had come from various places,” said Lisboa.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">According to the research, most of the skeletons are believed to be from adults over the age of 25, with some also showing signs of anaemia and tooth decay.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Archaeologists found pots and miniature pottery goods dating from the third and fourth century A.D., as well as a comb that may have been in a woman’s hair when she was beheaded.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image credit: Dave Webb / Cambridge Archaeological Unit</span></em></p>

International Travel

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Uninhabited island looks for new occupant

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A remote and uninhabited Scottish island is looking for a live-in caretaker.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">With no full-time residents, Isle Martin, near Ullapool, needs someone to keep the island in good condition for visitors in the summer months.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The island’s community trust is inviting individuals and couples to register their interest.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Isle Martin offers visitors several hours of things to do, with two beaches, a micro museum (in a hut) and a hill that serves as a top spot for birdwatching.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The island also hosts Scotland’s first seaweed festival from September 6-12, with volunteers sometimes running a pop-up café during the festivities.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"></span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><img style="width: 500px; height:434.9385245901639px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7841538/_118713418_isle1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/d1a8bf6d77a342d4b643c4c4d5f10919" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The chosen caretaker will be the first full-time resident living on the island in 30 years, as the trust looks to generate more interest in the island.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">When it comes to the actual duties the caretaker will need to do, it amounts to about three hours a day.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It is a bit of housekeeping. They need to keep the three houses on the island prepared for guests, clean the public toilets, welcome visitors and make sure they are sticking to COVID safety measures,” Trust director Becky Thompson told the BBC.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In return, the volunteer caretaker will be provided accommodation, earn </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">£150 ($AUD 275) per week, and get to enjoy all the perks the island has to offer.</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"></span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Isle Martin is located at the mouth of Loch Broom and about 1.5km away from the mainland.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The island is just 400 acres in size and sits below the cliffs of Beinn Mhor Coigach and opposite the Viking fort of Dunn Canna.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Now recognised as a bird sanctuary, it has been home to a monastery, a herring curing station and a flour mill in the past.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><img style="width: 390.7125700560448px; height:500px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7841537/_118713426_isle5.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/60cd17b68c404df383a11db1a720a1c4" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The position would suit someone who enjoys the outdoors and does not need creature comforts, with no running hot water and only a small electrical charger on the island.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The trust is also looking for a candidate bringing specific skills they want to share to benefit the community while living on the island.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Becky Thomson said: “If someone enjoyed the land, they could revive our vegetable garden if they wanted.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">She also explained why people are likely to fall in love with the place.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The sense of escape and peace and quiet,” she said. “It is so near the mainland but as soon as you land on the island it’s lovely and peaceful. There are no cars, no roads. Just quiet. That’s what people like - the feeling of restfulness.”</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image credit: Isle Martin Trust</span></em></p>

International Travel

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Qantas announces "mega-prizes" to Aussies getting the COVID-19 vaccine

<p>Qantas announced plans to give away a suite of "mega-prizes" to Australians who get the COVID-19 vaccine.</p> <p>The national carrier hopes the incentive scheme will boost vaccination rates and help get state and international borders reopened permanently.</p> <p>“We’re looking at having 10 mega-prizes, at least one for each state or territory, where a family of four can have unlimited free travel for a year on the Qantas and Jetstar networks,” CEO Alan Joyce revealed on<span> </span><em>Sunrise</em>.</p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">"We're very keen to do our bit to help with the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine"<a href="https://twitter.com/Qantas?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">@Qantas</a> CEO Alan Joyce has unveiled an unlimited travel 'mega-prize' to encourage Australians to get the jab. <a href="https://t.co/82x2lAnw0r">pic.twitter.com/82x2lAnw0r</a></p> — Sunrise (@sunriseon7) <a href="https://twitter.com/sunriseon7/status/1399124107447324674?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 30, 2021</a></blockquote> <p>“In addition to that, the Accor Group have come on board and they’re offering one million Accor Points, which gives free accommodation at 400 hotels and resorts across the country.</p> <p>“We’re very keen to do our bit to help with the rollout of the COVID-19 vaccine and we’re putting together the technology to be able to do this,” Joyce said.</p> <p>It's understood that vaccinated Australians will be able to claim their rewards and enter the mega-prize draw through the Qantas app.</p> <p>Joyce is desperate for Australians to get the vaccine as it could allow the international border to reopen.</p> <p>“We have a vested interest in this, we want to do everything we can to ensure the borders domestically open and stay open and that we get international up and running,” he explained.</p>

International Travel

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The world’s loneliest house

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A single white building has been sitting empty for almost 100 years on the side of a hill in Ellidaey, a tiny, remote island south of Iceland.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The island has been unoccupied since the 1930s, when the handful of families living there moved to the mainland to pursue a better life.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Despite the growth of unusual theories accounting for its continued abandonment, such as acting as a rich billionaire’s retreat in the event of a zombie apocalypse or that singer Bjork owned the house, its actual history is less exciting.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Since the island is home to flocks of puffins, the house is a lodge that was built by the Ellidaey Hunting Association.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><img style="width: 500px; height: 281.25px;" src="https://oversixtydev.blob.core.windows.net/media/7841484/island-1.jpg" alt="" data-udi="umb://media/685abc4d87504afe999f2df03c60642c" /></span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though the house has no electricity, running water, or indoor plumbing, the building includes a sauna and stunning views.</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/_crgGFpfb-/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="13"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/_crgGFpfb-/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Gogwalk (@gogwalk)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The island is also listed as a nature reserve and protected area, as storm petrels and other sea birds use it as a major nesting area.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Despite its protected status, tourists can still take a day trip to catch a glimpse of the isolated island.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Images: Escape.com.au</span></em></p>

International Travel

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The last surviving village is a portal to the past

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Nestled across three acres of land in north-eastern Singapore lies Kampong Lorong Buangkok, Singapore’s last surviving village where fragments of the 60s are still kicking on.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Unlike Singapore’s towering skyscrapers and urban sprawl, the squat bungalows of the village remain as a snapshot of how the city used to look.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">kampong</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> - meaning “village” in Milay - is made up of about 25 wooden, single-storey dwellings with tin roofs scattered around a </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">suaru</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> (small mosque).</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Native flora that has since disappeared from the city - such as the </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">ketapang</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">, a native coastal tree - grow freely around the kampong.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though Singapore is now known for its soaring skyline and iconic landmarks like the Marina Bay Sands towers or colourful Gardens by the Bay, up until the 1970s kampongs were found everywhere, with researchers from the National University of Singapore estimating there were as many as 220 found on the island.</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CF7WSk1p5to/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="13"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CF7WSk1p5to/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by William Ong/Singapore (@ongwill)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Now, a few still exist on surrounding islands, but Lorong Buangkok is the last on the mainland.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As Singapore underwent industrialisation, hundreds of traditional villages were bulldozed to make way for high-rise flats and skyscrapers.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Lorong Buangkok escaped the fate of many other kampongs partly as the area surrounding it was less desirable for development than elsewhere in Singapore.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The other reason is Sng Mui Hong, who has lived nearly her whole life in the village and has a resolute commitment to preserve the sole surviving kampong.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Since the end of Singapore’s lockdown, local guide Kyanta Yap has noticed growing interest in Luong Buangkok.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“It’s not that surprising since no-one can travel, and this is a unique local tourist spot,” he said. “There are also many who visit on their own; the general public, bikers, joggers and even groups organised on Meetup.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though the Singapore government has attempted to redevelop the area in the past, an uproar of objections have seen the government grow to appreciate the rural relics and culture the village represents.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“When the time comes for us to finalise our plans for the entire area, the government should work closely with relevant stakeholders to ensure developments are carried out in a holistic and coherent way,” Desmond Lee, the Minister for National Development, has said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“This must involve deep engagement with the kampong families living there at that time, to understand and consider their needs and interests.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Nassim, one of the kampong’s residents, said: “It’s good the government now sees the importance of our kampong.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“You need to leave something behind that reminds our young of how this country came about. We came from these humble huts.”</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image credit: Grps / Wikipedia</span></em></p>

International Travel

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This coffee shop is 2D

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">In Seoul, South Korea, there is a caf</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">é</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> unlike any other.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Greem Caf</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">é boasts a unique interior that transports visitors into a two-dimensional world inspired by the Korean animated series </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">W</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Inside, every wall, counter, and piece of cutlery and furniture has been made to look like a two-dimensional black and white drawing ripped from a cartoonist’s sketchbook.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">To make the illusion, every object is white with a dark outline.</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CPKCuMYlmWx/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="13"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CPKCuMYlmWx/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Since 2017 / Greem cafe / 2D (@greem_cafe)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The design is more than just a gimmick to draw visitors in, but is all about creating an experience for patrons.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Marketing manager J.S. Lee told </span><a href="https://www.architecturaldigest.com/story/how-this-south-korean-coffee-shop-designed-look-cartoon"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Architectural Digest</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> that visitors “want to make unique memories in a memorable place”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Due to the popularity of the concept, visitors are forbidden to take any photos until they have made a purchase.</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CLNaX92FpdI/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="13"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CLNaX92FpdI/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Since 2017 / Greem cafe / 2D (@greem_cafe)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The café has outgrown its original location too, moving to a larger space down the road and now including a roof terrace patrons can visit - including a stylised 2D clothesline and patio furniture to match the café’s unique aesthetic.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Lee said he expects to open additional locations around Korea, and he hopes to expand on a global scale too.</span></p> <p><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Image credit: Greem Café / Instagram</span></em></p>

International Travel

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Lost Italian village emerges after decades under water

<p>A "lost" village has emerged from an Italian lake after 71 years under water.</p> <p>Curon is a village in north Italy that was purposefully drowned in 1950 to become a reservoir for a hydro-electric plant.</p> <p>The reservoir is known as Lake Resia and usually the only sign of the 163 lost homes beneath it is a 14th-Century church tower that protrudes above the surface.</p> <p>Temporary draining at the lake has revealed the former alpine village, which was flooded despite protests from residents.</p> <p>It was flooded when a dam was built to merge two natural lakes and create the local hydro-electric plant.</p> <p>Lake Resia quickly became a tourist attraction due to the scary abandoned church tower sticking up in the middle.</p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CO9-7DYpRYx/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="13"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CO9-7DYpRYx/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Luisa A. 🇮🇹 (@luisa2506)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p>Around 1000 people were displaced when the village was purposefully flooded in 1950.</p> <p>Around 400 of those created a new village close by while the rest are said to have moved away.</p> <p>The past has been brought to life once again as repairs at the site have revealed quite eerie remains.</p> <p>Tourists and locals have been able to walk over the site and that’s resulted in some cool photography.</p> <p>Some great examples can be seen on Instagram account luisa2506 which shows some spooky buildings and rubble.</p> <p>The Instagram belongs to a local called Luisa Azzolini who has also been tweeting the amazing images.</p>

International Travel

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Popular diving spot loses its top

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Darwin’s Arch, the famed rock structure in the Galapagos Islands, has lost its top, with officials blaming natural erosion.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Ecuador’s Environment Ministry reported the collapse on Facebook on Monday, May 17. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The post said: “This event is a consequence of natural erosion. Darwin’s Arch is made of natural stone that at one time would have been part of Darwin Island, which is not open to visits by land.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“This site is considered one of the best places on the planet to dive and observe schools of sharks and other species.”</span></p> <blockquote class="twitter-tweet"> <p dir="ltr">Informamos que hoy 17 de mayo, se reportó el colapso del Arco de Darwin, el atractivo puente natural ubicado a menos de un kilómetro de la isla principal Darwin, la más norte del archipiélago de <a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/Gal%C3%A1pagos?src=hash&amp;ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">#Galápagos</a>. Este suceso sería consecuencia de la erosión natural. <br /><br />📷Héctor Barrera <a href="https://t.co/lBZJWNbgHg">pic.twitter.com/lBZJWNbgHg</a></p> — Ministerio del Ambiente y Agua de Ecuador (@Ambiente_Ec) <a href="https://twitter.com/Ambiente_Ec/status/1394397390384341004?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw">May 17, 2021</a></blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">At 43 metres high, 70 metres long, and 23 metres wide, the rock structure is a popular spot for scuba divers less than 1km away from Darwin Island and 1000km from mainland Ecuador.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The unique plants and animals on the island are famed in part for inspiring Charles Darwin’s thoughts on evolution, and the rock formation was later named after the scientist.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The arch is also famous for its underwater encounters with sea turtles, whale sharks, manta rays and dolphins.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Jen Jones of the Galapagos Conservation Trust said the charity was “sad to hear the news about Darwin’s Arch collapsing.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The collapse of the arch is a reminder of how fragile our world is. While there is little that we as humans can do to stop geological processes such as erosion, we can endeavour to protect the island’s precious marine life.”</span></p>

International Travel

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Catriona Rowntree looks back on her all-time favourite Getaway locations

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">As Australia’s most iconic travel program, </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Getaway</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">, celebrates its 30th season, presenter Catriona Rowntree is looking back on her time on the show.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Her dream to share people’s stories started when she was just 14, when she was inspired by the passion her friend’s dad, Brian White, had for his job.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">She never thought that dream would include becoming a presenter on the program, which she joined in 1996.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“In one sense you feel nothing but gratitude for the life that it’s given you,” she told 9Entertainment. “Also to be able to be the conduit, to share other people’s stories, different religions, different cuisines, different cultures, with people that may never have the opportunity to experience what you have, and equally to inspire others to maybe take your advice.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Rowntree continued, “It’s humbling to know that we’ve been supported for this long, literally through thick and thin, and you can imagine I say that with all my heart from the year that we’ve experienced, so we just feel incredibly grateful.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">To celebrate 30 seasons, </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Getaway </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">will be airing a special 30th anniversary episode at 5.30pm on Saturday, May 22. As part of the episode, </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Getaway</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> will also be reminiscing on some of its celebrity appearances, including Catriona’s interview with former US president Donald Trump before he had even considered joining the presidential race.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Speaking to Trump about his hotel and tourism empire, Catriona has been reluctant to talk about meeting him in more recent years because people didn’t want to hear any positive anecdotes.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“I met him under the best circumstances where I was going to interview him about an award that one of his hotels had won. We shared an interest in travel and tourism, we discovered a shared interest in feng shui, which I had learned about on my travels through Asia, and that he applied to the hotels that he created,” she said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"He was as charming to me as he was to my sound operator, he was generous with his time, and the person that was later depicted was not the person that I met.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"However, I found that a lot of people didn't like me telling that story because I didn't have anything negative to say, and so I stopped telling the story. I sensed that people were only interested if I was going to say something derogatory and that wasn't my experience."</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Another memorable  moment that will be appearing in the special episode is her time with business magnate Richard Branson and his family at their home on Necker Island.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“</span><span style="font-weight: 400;">"We're both Cancerians, I think we're a day different with our birthdays, and we just clicked straight away, and definitely and he was very generous with his time and unbelievably kind," she recalled.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though Catriona’s experiences with people have been mostly positive, her animal encounters while on the show have left her feeling everything from fear to awe.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"Definitely one of the most extraordinary surreal experiences was swimming through jellyfish lake in Palau, where the jellyfish have lost their sting because they have no predators. The jellyfish are through your hair, between your legs, you're smothered in jellyfish and you are totally discombobulated by the experience,” she said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"I'm up for anything because both I and my bosses quickly realised that people found it funny when I showed my fear, so how I react is how most people react, but on TV I think people try to be too cool for school and that doesn't work.”</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But, it’s this vulnerability that made her so endearing to viewers, and what really warms her heart about her time on </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Getaway</span><span style="font-weight: 400;"> has been how the show has become a part of viewers’ lives.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">"And sometimes I'll meet people and they'll say that 'Our family puts a picnic blanket down in front of the tele and you take us around the world' — just tiny little comments like that mean the world to me."</span></p>

International Travel

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This new tourist attraction will make you dizzy

<p><span style="font-weight: 400;">A newly opened tourist attraction makes you feel like you’re floating on air, all while catching panoramic views of mountains and a valley that disappears beneath you.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Vøringsfossen waterfall offers views of the landscape near Eifjord in Hardanger, western Norway.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The project, designed by architect Carl-Viggo Hølmebakk, has been over a decade in the making and is now ready for visitors brave enough to traverse the 99 steps that connect the two sides of the Måbødalen valley.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The bridge is part of a series of developments in the area that aim to make the spot even more attractive to visitors, including new viewpoint platforms and footpaths.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The bridge is, of course, the heart of the project that connects two sides of the river and the waterfall together,” Hølmebakk told CNN Travel.</span></p> <blockquote style="background: #FFF; border: 0; border-radius: 3px; box-shadow: 0 0 1px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.5),0 1px 10px 0 rgba(0,0,0,0.15); margin: 1px; max-width: 540px; min-width: 326px; padding: 0; width: calc(100% - 2px);" class="instagram-media" data-instgrm-captioned="" data-instgrm-permalink="https://www.instagram.com/p/CF4dRB8MJji/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" data-instgrm-version="13"> <div style="padding: 16px;"> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: row; align-items: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 50%; flex-grow: 0; height: 40px; margin-right: 14px; width: 40px;"></div> <div style="display: flex; flex-direction: column; flex-grow: 1; justify-content: center;"> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; margin-bottom: 6px; width: 100px;"></div> <div style="background-color: #f4f4f4; border-radius: 4px; flex-grow: 0; height: 14px; width: 60px;"></div> </div> </div> <div style="padding: 19% 0;"></div> <div style="display: block; height: 50px; margin: 0 auto 12px; width: 50px;"></div> <div style="padding-top: 8px;"> <div style="color: #3897f0; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: 550; line-height: 18px;">View this post on Instagram</div> </div> <p style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; line-height: 17px; margin-bottom: 0; margin-top: 8px; overflow: hidden; padding: 8px 0 7px; text-align: center; text-overflow: ellipsis; white-space: nowrap;"><a style="color: #c9c8cd; font-family: Arial,sans-serif; font-size: 14px; font-style: normal; font-weight: normal; line-height: 17px; text-decoration: none;" rel="noopener" href="https://www.instagram.com/p/CF4dRB8MJji/?utm_source=ig_embed&amp;utm_campaign=loading" target="_blank">A post shared by Carl-Viggo Hølmebakk (@carlviggoholmebakk)</a></p> </div> </blockquote> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The bridge has been designed to fuse the natural and man-made seamlessly - with Hølmebakk and his team closely studying the local landscape and scanning the terrain with digital equipment to ensure they didn’t damage the environment.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Though those with a fear of heights may want to steer clear, the bridge will become another reason to visit one of Norway’s top destinations.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The floating-on-air design is inspired by Norwegian folklore and its Romantic tradition, Hølmebakk said.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">But turning this concept into reality wasn’t a small task, as the team had to combine conventional building methods with helicopters and mountaineers.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Construction began back in 2015, but Vøringsfossen’s mountainous location meant that work could only be done during the short summer season.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">The bridge is suitable for both older people and children, but won’t be wheelchair-friendly until the accessible footpath currently in development is completed.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">By 2022, a cafe will also be on site, giving visitors a perfect spot to catch their breath after walking on the bridge.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Hølmebakk saw the bridge at each stage of construction but said he still marvelled the first time he saw it finished and was able to step onto the walkway.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">He said the scale is pretty incredible and crossing it was “fantastic”.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Even so, Hølmebakk stresses the bridge will always come second to the landscape.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">“The architecture is not the main part, but the beautiful nature, and the waterfall.”</span></p>

International Travel

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