The Silent Darien, the Gap in the World’s Longest Road.

_76923932_pek-in-darienStretching from Alaska to the pencil tip of Argentina, the 48,000km-long Pan-American Highway holds the record for the world’s longest motorable road. But there is a gap – an expanse of wild tropical forest – that has defeated travellers for centuries.
Explorers have always been drawn to the Darien Gap, but the results have mostly been disastrous. The Spanish made their first settlement in the mainland Americas right here in 1510, only to have it torched by indigenous tribes 14 years later – and in many ways the area remains as wild today as it was during the days of the conquest.
“If history had followed its usual course, the Darien should be today one of the most populated regions in the Americas, but it isn’t,” says Rick Morales, a Panamian and owner of Jungle Treks, one of a few adventure tour companies operating in the region.
“That’s remarkable if you consider that we live in the 21st Century, in a country that embraces technology and is notorious for connecting oceans, cultures, and world commerce.”
The gap stretches from the north to the south coast of Panama – from the Atlantic to the Pacific. It’s between 100km and 160km (60-100 miles) long, and there is no way round, except by sea.
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Read more via BBC News – Silent Darien: The gap in the world’s longest road.

The Ancient Incan Rings of Moray, Peru.

imageContributor: leiris
Grouped together in Peru’s lush Cuzco region, the ringed Incan ruins known as Moray have long been a mystery, but it is looking more and more likely that the nested stone rings may have been part of a large-scale agricultural experiment.
Unlike a number of the elaborate metropolises and statuary left behind by the Incan people, the rings at Moray are relatively simple but may have actually been an ingenious series of test beds.
Descending in grass-covered, terraced rings, these rings of rings vary in size, with the largest ending in a depth of 30 meters (98 feet) deep and 220 meters (722 feet) wide.
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Studies have shown that many of the terraces contain soil that must have been imported from other parts of the region.
The temperature at the top of the pits varies from that at the bottom by as much as 15ºC, creating a series of micro-climates that — not coincidentally — match many of the varied conditions across the Incan empire, leading to the conclusion that the rings were used as a test bed to see what crops could grow where.
Edited by: SkareMedia (Author), Rachel (Admin), oriana (Admin), EricGrundhauser (Admin)
via Moray | Atlas Obscura.

Kangaroo Island Creatures.

australian_seal_lionWhen British explorers happened upon Kangaroo Island—south of what today is the city of Adelaide—the animals took them by surprise.
Unlike the wild ‘roos of the mainland, who knew to keep their distance, these creatures were utterly tame and approachable (so much so that the arriving crew reportedly slaughtered 31 for a giant kangaroo stew).
The reason the animals were unaccustomed to humans (and tragically unfamiliar with their bad habits) was because no humans lived there. Aboriginals had once inhabited the island, but they’d abandoned it at least 2000 years prior, for reasons unknown.
pelicans_0After a couple of centuries of life alongside human settlers, the animals here are understandably a little more wary—but the humans, for their part, have gotten a lot more respectful. Which means that today, this one of the most incredible places to get up close and personal with some very interesting creatures out in the wild.
The best way to meet them is to tour with a local company like Exceptional Kangaroo Island.
Experienced guides are familiar with the animals and their habitats—so they can probably find you a tricky-to-spot echidna and point out where a koala is likely to be hiding in the crook of a tree—but they also ensure that you won’t bother the animals in the process.
(And in lieu of kangaroo stew, they serve fantastic lunches that highlight the local produce.)
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via Animals to Visit on Kangaroo Island | Mental Floss.

Abandoned Cossacks Barracks, Russia.

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A photo of an old cossacks barracks. These buildings were quite magnificent at time they were built.
After the Russian Revolution the building was used first by the Soviet army and then the Russian army up until 2003.
Now it’s going to be demolished and residential houses are planned to be built in its place.
Source: An Old Abandoned Cossacks Barracks | English Russia

Sean’s Bar Ireland’s Oldest Pub. circa 900.

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Sean’s Bar, Ireland’s Oldest Pub
I visited more than 50 pubs around Ireland over the eight weeks my wife and I toured the country in the summers of 1997 and 1998.
I don’t recall being in any pub that had a selection of more than five beers: Guinness, Smithwick’s, Carlsberg, Kilkenny, Budweiser or Coors, and Murphy’s or Beamish.
The first three beers were available at all pubs and often those were the only three beers served.
In a tiny pub on Arranmore Island, County Donegal in 1997, when I commented about the small selection of beers, an old Irish man said to me,
“Too much choice is not necessarily a good thing”.
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Sean’s Pub is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records as the oldest pub in Ireland with ownership records dating back to 900 AD.
Source: A day in Athlone, Ireland

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

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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