The Giant Stairway, Jamison Valley.


Australia’s Giant Stairway is a series of stairways and steps hewn right into the rock that leads to from the base of the Jamison Valley up to the famous Three Sisters formation.
Despite the clear demand for an easier pass up to the Three Sisters, the Giant Stairway was almost not to be.
When the walkway was initially conceived, the cost of etching all those steps into the hillside was dismissed but just a few years later, a new Chief Ranger was hired who had a bit more vision.
Realising the potential revenue a grand new path would bring to the park boss put forth the idea again, just two years later after the first proposal and it was approved.
Today, the Giant Stairway is complete and leads up 800 stairs rising over 1,000 feet in elevation, to one of Australia’s most picturesque vistas, and draws huge amounts of visitors each year.
via The Giant Stairway | Atlas Obscura.

The Living Bridges of Mawsynram.

In the wettest place on Earth, the village of Mawsynram in Meghalaya, India are some of the most fascinating bridges you’ll ever see.
These “living bridges” are formed by locals who have trained the roots of rubber trees to grow into natural bridges.
They are sturdy enough to far outlast man-made wooden structure bridges.
Because of the relentless rain in Meghalaya’s jungles, wooden structures would rot away.
These root bridges are self-strengthening, becoming more sturdy over time as the root systems grow.
Photographer Amos Chapple captured these shots of people crossing these bridges that have developed over the years.
Notice the school children nonchalantly walking on a bridge over a river as well as a local guide taking a trip over a developing tree root bridge.
To manipulate the rubber trees into bridges and ladders, they must create tight knots that can withstand Meghalaya’s rain-soaked environment.
As Chapple explains about the process, “The skeleton of the bridge is bamboo, with tendrils from the surrounding rubber trees are being fixed onto the structure strand by strand.
By the time the bamboo has rotted away, within 6-8 years, locals say the roots of the tree will be able to bear a person’s weight.”
via India’s Fascinating Tree Root Bridges Grow Stronger Every Year – My Modern Met.

The ‘Island of the Dolls’.


The eyes of decapitated dolls blink lazily from their perches in the trees on Mexico’s Isla de las Munecas – ‘Island of the Dolls.’
There’s something undeniably terrifying about seeing what look like naked infants – sometimes remarkably realistic – clinging to the branches or dangling from their necks.
Legend has it that after a little girl drowned in Teshuilo Lake, and island resident Don Julian Santana began collecting dolls and installing them in the trees.
Eventually, their numbers grew into the hundreds.
Don Julian Santana often sourced the dolls from the trash or traded produce for them, taking them in any condition, no matter how dirty or worn.
While many people viewed the doll-infested island as something out of a nightmare, to him it was a shrine.
Tragically, in 2001, Santana was discovered drowned in the same area of the lake where he believed the little girl had perished.
via Forbidden Islands: 7 Abandoned & Isolated World Wonders | Urbanist.

Reindeer Watching in Scotland & Norway.

Reindeer in Scotland’s Cairngorms National Park. Image Credit: Photograph by PHoyle / iStock)
Located in Cairngorms National Park in the northernmost reaches of Scotland, the Cairngorms Mountains are home to Britain’s only free-ranging herd of reindeer.
One of the best ways to experience the herd in person is with a visit to the Cairngorms Reindeer Centre, located in the mountainside town of Aviemore.
The center dates back to 1952 when Swedish couple Mikel Utsel and his wife Dr. Ethel Lindgren brought two male and five female reindeer by boat from Sweden to the Cairngorms.
Today the herd numbers 150 and visitors can make daily, two-hour pilgrimages into the wooded foothills with a team of herders to help feed and interact with the reindeer.
The center is open to the public from mid-February through early January, and daily trips vary depending on the time of year.
Reindeer in Tromso, Norway.
Image Credit: photograph by Dmitry_Chulov / iStock)
The history between the Sami people, an indigenous group inhabiting Arctic Europe, an area that encompasses Norway, Sweden, Finland and the Russian Kola Peninsula, goes back several centuries.
Many Sami work as reindeer herders, passing down their knowledge from one generation to the next, and now some communities invite travelers to visit and learn about this tradition.
After being picked up in Tromsø, a small port city in northern Norway, guests are driven to the Tromsø Arctic Reindeer Experience where they can participate in the Sami way of life.
Visits can include reindeer feeding, reindeer sledding, experiencing a traditional Sami meal inside a gamme (a traditional Sami hut) and listening to stories about the Sami culture’s connection to reindeer, told by community elders.
Source: The Best Places to See Reindeer Around the World | Travel | Smithsonian

The Isle of Eilean Donan.

mHannah Frishberg
Having been featured in photos, ads, and films, the island fortesss known as Eilean Donan has spent centuries solidifying its position as the most iconic image of Scotland for natives and foreigners alike.
Built on an island a mile away from the Village of Dornie, the land was first occupied in 634 AD, home to the monastic cell of Bishop Donan.
During the 13th century Alexander II built the first incarnation of Eilean Donan to defend the surrounding mountains of Kintail and the Isle of Skye against the Viking hordes.
This original castle is said to have an immense curtained wall connecting seven towers and spanning the entire island.
Come 1719, a lesser-known Jacobite uprising partially destroyed the structure, and for the following 200 years it lay in near ruins. Finally in 1911, Colonel John MacRae-Gilstrap arrived.
He bought the island and restored the castle, reopening it in 1932.
via Eilean Donan | Atlas Obscura.

The Brill Windmill, Buckinghamshire.

The 17th-century Brill windmill in Buckinghamshire, England (Photographic source Wikimedia Commons).
The Brill windmill, was last owned and used by the Pointer and Nixie family who also baked bread in their house in the village.
With timbers dating from 1685, Brill Windmill provides one of the earliest and best preserved examples of a post mill (the earliest type of European windmill) in the UK.
Management and ownership of the Grade II listed mill was passed to Buckinghamshire County Council in 1947 who, through a number of major interventions, have ensured that the mill still stands today.
In 1967 the Council installed a structural steel framework that helps to support the mill’s ancient timber frame but means that the mill is static and can no longer turn to face the wind.
via Wikipedia