Tag: Historical Travel

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Halloween Around the World: The 6 Spookiest Cemeteries with Strange Histories

October 20, 2014 at 1:04 PM | by | Comments (0)

For every enchanting mountaintop resort, riveting extreme sports adventure or breathtaking spa in the middle of nowhere that we write about, there are many places and experiences in this world that we would absolutely NOT use our vacation time (or work time) to explore.

For instance, we don't recommend wingsuit diving into an active volcano on the ice cap of Eyjafjallajökull in Iceland. Just not a good idea.

We have, however, come to realize that, sometimes people are morbid and weird and sometimes those people like to travel. Following up on our creepiest haunted prisons and asylums tour, we now have a handful of cemeteries that you have to be incredibly unstable brave to visit.

Psst...you might want to keep the lights on for this.

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There's a New Reason to Revisit Alcatraz This Winter

October 14, 2014 at 4:22 PM | by | Comments (0)

If you've been to San Francisco before, you've probably taken a trip out to Alcatraz, one of the world's most infamous golden cages. If the beautiful city views and deep history aren't enough to bring you back for a second visit, the fact that the prison has been taken over by an art exhibit may entice.

At the end of September, a Chinese artist - who is coincidentally under house arrest at the moment - launched a seven-installation exhibit called "@Large: Ai Weiwei at Alcatraz." The installations are found throughout Alcatraz and carry a theme of "protest songs." The most attention-getting exhibit has arguably been one called Trace, which features 176 portraits made of Lego bricks, each presenting "an individual who has been imprisoned or exiled because of his or her beliefs, actions, or affiliations."

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The Little Things: How Condor Airlines Remembers Retro Style

October 7, 2014 at 1:50 PM | by | Comments (0)

In the midst of the bustle of travel, it's all too easy to overlook the details. We're talking about special touches others have stressed over just so you can enjoy a unique experience, whether you know it or not. Every so often we'll highlight The Little Things like this, so now you will know.

All too often these days, airline passengers moan that the the glamor has gone from travel. While it's true that legroom is decreasing and a full, complimentary steak dinner is no longer the norm onboard, the Frankfurt-based leisure airline Condor refuses to let every smidgeon of retro style and comfort be lost to the ages. In fact, Condor slips historical hints of the jet age into each of their flights today.

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This Former Leper Colony on Molokai is the Prettiest Prison We've Ever Seen

October 1, 2014 at 11:50 AM | by | Comments (0)

What I’m about to tell you might be hard to believe: The photo you see above is of a prison. Not a view from a prison, but a prison in itself. I’m sure you’re confused. Let me explain.

In 1865, King Kamehameha V and the Hawaii Board of Health created the “Act to Prevent the Spread of Leprosy” in an attempt to do just that: Control the highly-contagious disease that seemed poised to become nothing short of a major epidemic on the islands. The plan was simple: Take everyone who was infected and quarantine them off from the rest of society. A remote location called the Kalaupapa Peninsula (KA-LOU-PAPA), shown in the photos of this post, was chosen as the location. Sporting the highest sea cliffs in the world and rough seas off shore, it was the obvious choice at the northern end of the lightly-populated island of Molokai.

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Inside the Greatest Aviation Museum You've Never Heard Of: Brazil's Museu TAM

September 5, 2014 at 10:22 AM | by | Comments (0)

Every aviation museum worth its salt these days can boast of classic warplanes, military fighter jets here and there, and perhaps a pre-jet-age Lockheed Constellation, but few go the extra mile to secure and preserve the rarest, most historic, and, in some cases, most expensive airplanes nearly lost to history as does the Museu TAM.

The museum is the baby of TAM Airlines and is now the largest museum in the world maintained by an airline. Unfortunately it isn't the easiest daytrip destination; the Museu sits in a spacious pair of hangars just outside the town of São Carlos, an hour's drive from the city of Ribeirão Preto (location of the nearest commercial airport), which is itself an hour's flight (or 3-hour drive) from São Paulo. You'd never expect to find one of the world's most important aviation museums way out here, in this part of rural Brazil better known for sugarcane plantations, but here it is.

The museum opened to the public in 2006 with only around 32 aircraft, but they've been quite busy since and the collection now numbers 89 vintage and rare flying machines (49 of which are incredibly still in flying condition).

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Celebrate Its 100th Birthday and Sail the the Panama Canal

August 18, 2014 at 11:35 AM | by | Comments (0)

Photo of a vessel making a trail run through the Panama Canal in 1913

The Panama Canal celebrated its 100th birthday on Friday, the occasion serving as an opportunity to reflect on just how much this feat of engineering changed the world, and how much it continues to contribute to our shipping capabilities today.

For those who want a quick and dirty history lesson into its development – a process that was riddled with obstacles and problems – you can read up on it here, including the series of events that led to the United States gaining control of the Canal project in 1902 and then finally handing it over to Panama in 1999. There's also a great read that lists some fascinating facts about the project, such as the little-known tidbit that 25,000 workers died during its construction.

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Photos: Some of the World's Largest Mayan Ruins, at Tikal

August 12, 2014 at 12:34 PM | by | Comments (0)

Temple 5 at Tikal

Located in the north of Guatemala, Tikal is one of the world's largest Mayan archaeological sites. The University of Pennsylvania and the Guatemalan government have teamed up to unearth it partially, but much remains underground, including the backsides of many of the structures you see in the photos.

In that, visitors get a sense of just how much remains unknown about this mysterious culture. In total, the "residential area" of Tikal sprawls out over an area of 20 miles, and as you might imagine, only a small percentage has been cleared and mapped. The best excavated portion of the site is called the Great Plaza, which includes the stunning Northern Acropolis, shown in the first photo below.

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Have You Ever Seen a Mayan Cemetery?

August 11, 2014 at 12:33 PM | by | Comments (0)

If visiting a cemetery has never appeared on your travel to-do list, we're with you. Yet when traveling through Guatemala, you might find them hard to ignore thanks to the bright, bold colors that make them stand out on the green hillsides.

This weekend, we had the opportunity to explore one in Chichicastenango (Chi-Chi-Cas-Tin-A-Go). Tourists are most familiar with the town for its huge native market on Thursday and Sundays, but "Chichi" provides visitors much more than opportunities to buy cheap trinkets. In addition to town officials appointed by the Guatemalan government, Chichi's local indigenous people - the Mayans - have elected its own leaders to preserve its culture and religious beliefs. Centered around the Church of Santo Tomás, ancient pre-Christian rituals and ceremonies still take place today.

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Throwback Thursday: The Very First Air Show Happened in 1909

August 1, 2014 at 1:39 AM | by | Comments (0)

Sure, we love all the speed and comfort of modern travel, but it didn't get that way overnight. Every Thursday, we're going to take a look back at travel the way it used to be, whether that's decades or centuries ago. This is Throwback Thursday, travel edition.

This week's aviation headlines have thankfully been dominated by happier events, focusing on the aerobatics and airplane technology on display at EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh, Wisconsin. As over 500,000 people flock to OSH for the flying displays (and nighttime airshow fireworks), it's fun to reflect on the start of this thing we know as an Air Show.

Roll the calendar back to the autumn of 1909, when what was a small aviation display within the Paris Motor Show finally bust out into its own event, the Paris Air Show (Salon de locomotion adrienne). Held within Paris' Grand Palais (which now most notably hosts Chanel fashion shows), the spectacle attracted approximately 100,000 visitors over the span of three weeks, and put forth the crazy idea that airplane travel wasn't just for daredevils and tinkerers.

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Berlin to Honor Fall of Wall with 8,000 Balloons, But is It Appropriate?

Where: Berlin, Germany
July 15, 2014 at 9:15 AM | by | Comments (0)

When it comes to historical travel, Germany attracts people from more nations than perhaps any other in the world. Not only did its actions during World War II affect the lives of those in a variety of countries, but the Holocaust is also arguably the most talked-about, war-related tragedy ever, piquing the curiosity of even those who had no connection to the actual events.

Yet, despite this opportunity to turn this world interest in its past into mass tourism and profits, visitors to Germany will see that it has been very good about not exploiting or glorifying its historical sites. In this travel writer’s opinion, there’s a simplicity to the presentation, a very admirable aspect of respect to the approach of preservation. The last thing the country wants is to appear as if it is proud of what took place in the years leading up to World War II.

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The Vietnam War B-52 Bomber Wreck at the Center of a Small Pond

Where: Hanoi, Vietnam
July 9, 2014 at 11:00 AM | by | Comments (0)

Besides some of the cheapest beer in the world, visitors to Hanoi will find the city to be rich in history, specifically as it relates to America and the Vietnam War. There is much to see and to learn almost forty years since the end of the war, and trips to the National Museum of History and the Military History Museum are a good place to start.

But if you want to get a taste of what day-to-day life was like for locals during the 70s, a trip to Huu Tiep Lake should be on the itinerary. In 1972, as America bombed the city, a B-52 Stratofortress bomber was shot down and crashed into a small lake. It still rests there today, just poking above the surface.

It's more of a pond than a lake, and what surprised us most was its location in a colorful, intimate little neighborhood in west Hanoi. Half of it is sticking out above the water, revealing the top of the tires and a look at some of the damaged undercarriage. It's just been left there, untouched.

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How to Get Tickets to the 2014 Summer Opening of Buckingham Palace

June 30, 2014 at 7:55 PM | by | Comments (0)

A little riddle for you: What costs $35 per person, doesn't allow you to take photographs, and is gold all over? Ding ding ding—the State Rooms at London's Buckingham Palace, which opens very soon for their annual round of public tours. To be specific, the Queen's address will accept visitors from July 26 - September 28, 2014.

As we've experienced in past years, travelers to London will be clamoring to get in, not only to tread on the Queen's lush carpets and gawk at heirlooms, but to view this year's exhibition on "The Royal Childhood" and what it's like to grow up living in a palace.

Tickets for walk-ups will be rare to nonexistent, so going online for guaranteed tix is the best route. Here's how to do it:

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