Mareeba, Atherton Tablelands.

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Image Credit: Australian Geographic by Phoebe Baldwin.
Take a hike, grab a bike and get airborne in this tropical oasis nestled in the fertile plateau of the Atherton Tableland.
Go on a trip to Far North Queensland and explore the area around the largest town on the Atherton Tablelands.
Mareeba experiences more than 300 sunny days a year and prides itself on being the ballooning capital of the world.
Abundant wildlife and magnificent scenery await you at this destination with something for everyone.
Rich in Aboriginal heritage you will find plenty to do with bushwalks and bike tracks galore.
Adventure during the day and enjoy the unique accommodation and fantastic local foods at night.
Source: Mareeba, Queensland – Australian Geographic

Scale the Great Arch, Getu, China.

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Photograph by Carsten Peter, National Geographic
“We all were absolutely shocked that this wall existed in nature!” recalls climber Matt Segal, seen here about 300 feet above the ground on the Nihao Wokepa route on the Great Arch in Getu, China.
Segal, along with friends Emily Harrington and Cedar Wright, joined a National Geographic assignment with photographer Carsten Peter to investigate the region’s diverse karst rock formations for “Exploring China’s Caves” in the July edition of the magazine.
“The climbing was very steep and physical—in fact, I think this is the most overhanging wall either Cedar or I has ever climbed.”
The protruding rock on the left side of the photo showcases one of the various rock formations they encountered—stalactites. “The majority of this climb was ‘wrestling’ with those stalactites!” says Segal. “Swinging from one to the next and wrapping your whole body around them is one of the most unique styles of climbing I’ve ever done.”
See more via Extreme Photo of the Week – National Geographic.

Ta Prohm Temple, Cambodia.

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Ta Prohm Temple, Cambodia (via Wikimedia)
Cambodia is the closest you can get, today, to your own real life Indiana Jones movie. There, the temples of Angkor seem built into the fabric of the forest itself, bats flap their leathery wings in the vaults, and incense drifts down the empty colonnades.
The god-kings of Angkor were at the height of their powers from the 9th century until the 15th century.
In that time, they built the largest preindustrial city in the world in Cambodia: larger than Rome, larger than Alexandria, larger by far than London or Paris at the time.
Wealth was poured into ever more spectacular temples, replete with intricate carvings and statues.
In the fifteenth century, for reasons which still puzzle scholars today, the gigantic complex was left almost entirely abandoned – lost to the jungle.
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Ta Prohm Temple, Cambodia (via Wikimedia)
Early Western visitors, glimpsing the astonishing structures looming up amidst the trees, were left almost speechless.
For António da Madalena, Angkor was “of such extraordinary construction that it is not possible to describe it with a pen, particularly since it is like no other building in the world.”
Since the 19h century, a slow process of restoration has been taking place. While tourists flock to Angkor today, much of the site remains to be discovered, and the trees loom on all sides, ready to swallow the city up again.
via Essential Guide: Lost Cities | Atlas Obscura.

Jal Mahal, (Water Palace), Man Sagar Lake.

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Image: Wikimedia.
Jal Mahal (meaning “Water Palace”) is a palace located in the middle of the Man Sagar Lake in Jaipur city, the capital of the state of Rajasthan, India.
The palace and the lake around it were renovated and enlarged in the 18th century by Maharaja Jai Singh II of Amber.
“The Jal Mahal palace has got an eye-popping makeover.
Traditional boat-makers from Vrindavan have crafted the Rajput style wooden boats.
A gentle splashing of oars on the clear lake waters takes you to Jal Mahal.
You move past decorated hallways and chambers on the first floor to climb all the way up to the fragrant Chameli Bagh.
Across the lake, you can view the Aravalli hills, dotted with temples and ancient forts, and on the other side, bustling Jaipur.
The most remarkable change is in the lake itself.
The drains were diverted, two million tonnes of toxic silt were dredged from the bottom, increasing its depth by over a metre, a water treatment system was developed, local vegetation and fish reintroduced, the surrounding wetlands regenerated and five nesting islands created to attract migratory birds.
via Jal Mahal – Wikipedia

Joyland: An abandoned amusement park in Kansas.

Joyland: An abandoned amusement park in Kansas.
Joyland was once the largest theme park in central Kansas but today it remains abandoned and vandalised.
It opened in 1949 and it remained in continuous operation for 55 years, until 2004 when it shut down due to economical troubles and safety concerns.
The park had more than 24 amusement rides, a 1949 roller coaster, a miniature train (built between 1905 and 1910), and a Mammoth Military Band Organ (or Wurlitzer Style 160, built around 1905).
In 2006, maintenance works took place aiming to reopen the park again but this never happened.
Today, an organization is trying to raise funds in order to restore Joyland.
Source: Joyland: An abandoned amusement park in Kansas – Strange Abandoned Places

Morning Cloud over Huangshan Falls.

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Image Credit: Photograph by thierry bornier.
I captured this image in the early morning in the Yellow Mountains, China. Behind this image there is a story.
I was climbing at 3 am to reach the waterfall, when as I arrived I could see in the dark the cloudy image surrounding the Huangshan Falls.
My hope was at sunrise this beautiful effect of nature would still stand in front of me .
Luckily at 6.30 am the image I wanted was still there.
This time I took the shot before it disappeared completely a few minutes later.
Source: Huangshan Falls Photo by thierry bornier — National Geographic Your Shot

Magical Ronda.

r1Looking Like something out of the mind of J.R.R. Tolkien, the city of Ronda, Spain is perched high atop the two cliff faces of the El Tajo canyon as though a fissure opened and swallowed the interior of the city.
The city of Ronda was first established in the time of Julius Caesar and has managed to survive through shifting geological conditions to this very day.
The Guadalevín River which runs down the very center of the city grounds has spent millennia slowly eroding the land and creating the deep canyon that now separates divides the historic urban center.
The walls of the canyon are sheer drops to the river over 100 meters below and the white, Spanish stone buildings are built to the very edge of the chasm.
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Connecting the city are three bridges that span the expanse, the Roman Bridge, the Arab Bridge, and the New Bridge.
Each bridge is named to describe the regime that built it, save for the “New” bridge which was actually finished in 1793.
The bridges themselves are impressive feats of stonework with massive columns reaching down into the canyon and ornate roofs, giving the city the multicultural feel that its many ruling peoples brought with them.
In addition to the geological wonders the city brings,
Edited by: EricGrundhauser (Admin)
Read  further via Ronda, Spain | Atlas Obscura

Is Polveglia Haunted?

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A quarantine station, a dumping ground for plague victims, more recently a mental hospital — the tiny island of Poveglia in the Venice Lagoon has served many unpleasant purposes over the years, but today it stands empty, a crumbling collection of abandoned buildings and weeds run riot just two miles from the glittering palaces of the Grand Canal.
Legends and rumors about Poveglia are nearly as pervasive as the weeds, and they read like a horror story: that so many people were burned and buried there during the black plague that the soil is 50% human ash; that local fishermen give the island a wide berth for fear of netting the wave-polished bones of ancestors; that the psychiatrist who ran the mental hospital was a butcher and torturer who went mad from guilt and threw himself from the island’s belltower, only to survive the fall and be strangled by a “ghostly mist” that emerged from the ground.
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Weary of an island in their beloved lagoon being characterized as a “festering blemish … the waves reluctantly lapping its darkened shores” (from a book called TRUE Hauntings from Around the World, emphasis not mine) or “nothing more than a cesspool of pure dread” (according to the hyperbolic host of a show called Ghost Adventures), Venetians have done what they can to tamp down overheated rumors about Poveglia.
They deny being frightened of the place and tend not to mention the plague pits or mental hospital when discussing the island’s history; a recent article in Venice magazine claimed that the institutional ruins which dominate Poveglia were nothing more than a rest home for the elderly.
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But as long as the island remains tantalizingly off-limits to tourists and crammed with rotting buildings that are just a gondola ride from some of Europe’s priciest real estate, rumors will keep flying and people will keep telling scary stories about it.
READ ON via Strange Geographies: The Happy, Haunted Island of Poveglia — mentalfloss.com.

The Port Arthur Convict Coal Mine.

The_Coal_Mines_is_one_chapter_in_the_epic_story_of_convicts_and_transportation_in_TasmaniaWhen an outcrop of coal was discovered at Plunkett Point by surveyors in 1833, immediate plans were made by the government to exploit the area.
A local supply of coal for the colony was not the only benefit envisaged by Lt. Governor Arthur:
“I think it is not possible that better employ will be found for some of the most refractory convicts than employing them in working coal mines.”
Joseph Lacey, a convict with practical mining knowledge, was sent with a small party of convict labourers to commence the work.
The first shipment of coal left the mine on 5 June 1834 aboard the Kangaroo.
The Plunkett Point mine was the first operational mine in Tasmania. Prior to its establishment most of the colony’s coal requirements had been imported from New South Wales, at great expense.
The coal was used in households and government offices for heating. Poor quality was a cause of constant complaint:
The settlement in 1839
When Lempriere (the Commissariat Officer at Port Arthur) reported on the settlement c. 1839 there were 150 prisoners and a detachment of 29 officers stationed at the mines.
Large stone barracks which housed up to 170 prisoners, as well as the chapel, bakehouse and store had been erected.
fileThe Quarters provided for the Officers assigned to guard the convicts.
Today, they form imposing sandstone ruins. On the hillside above were comfortable quarters for the commanding officer, surgeon and other officials. Remains of some of these can also still be seen.
Carts ran along rail and tram roads to the jetties for loading.
The coal mines settlement was a punishment station for Port Arthur where repeated offenders of ‘the worst class’ were sent.
Besides the men who worked underground extracting the coal, other prisoners were employed in building works, timber getting and general station duties.
Four solitary cells were constructed deep in the underground workings to punish those who committed further crimes at the mines.
Read on via Port Arthur – Coal Mines History.

Goussainville-Vieux Pays.

Goussainville-Vieux-Pays-Paris-Ghost-TownAll images by TiBo.
Just 12 miles north of central Paris lies one of the world’s most fascinating and tragic ghost towns. Wandering into the picturesque farming village of Goussainville-Vieux Pays is like stepping back in time.
Virtually abandoned for over 40 years, the end effectively came for the pretty Parisian suburb when the cutting-edge world of supersonic air travel came crashing down upon it.
For years life in Goussainville-Vieux Pays had remained peaceful. But in the mid-1960s the rural community was thrust into the proposed flightpath of Paris Charles de Gaulle airport. Then, in 1973, a year before the new airport opened, the tranquility of Goussainville-Vieux Pays was shattered forever.
On June 3 that year, a Russian-built Tupolev Tu-144 supersonic airliner crashed during the Paris Airshow held at neaby Le Bourget. After an unsuccessful landing approach, the stricken jet entered a steep dive and disintegrated in mid-air.
All six crew members were killed as the remains of their aircraft crashed down onto Goussainville-Vieux Pays, destroying 15 houses and a school. A further eight people on the ground perished in the crash.
Shaken residents, some perhaps envisioning the tragedy as a harbinger of things to come, rapidly deserted the village. Others hung on, but within a year of Charles de Gaulle opening most had followed, haunted by the 1973 tragedy and no longer able the bear the constant roar of jet engines from France’s largest and busiest international airport.
Though a handful of hardy residents still occupy their original homes and businesses, the majority stand shuttered and dilapidated, as if their owners had simply disappeared.
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Read the full article via Goussainville-Vieux Pays: Haunting Parisian Ghost Town Devastated by the 1973 Airshow Crash – Urban Ghosts.