Can you name the oldest, still lived in city, in the world?

Tuesday, 24 February, 2015

It may seem strange to some that identifying the world’s oldest, inhabited, or still lived in city, is far from a straightforward process. However, no sooner might one city be handed the gong, when new evidence is dug up showing that another town is more deserving of the honour.

It may be impossible to say with any certainty what is the world’s oldest city – for a very old argument, it is remarkably fluid, with new discoveries all the time – but for now it seems only right to give it to Aleppo, the oldest city currently being fought for and sacked, as all these cities have from the beginning.

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Google pronounce, helping travellers say place names correctly

Friday, 13 February, 2015

Streatham is a suburb located in South London. Supermodel Naomi Campbell was born there. We used to go and see movies at the Odeon along the high street. Not with Campbell however. But if this is by chance the first time you’ve heard of Streatham, how would you pronounce its name? It’s not quite as straightforward as it looks.

What then of all the other places across the globe that stand to be misspoken? Enter then a Google initiative, that promises to make things a little easier for travellers, by offering them the opportunity to learn the correct pronunciation of a town, or place, name ahead of time:

The patent details how Google could determine the most common pronunciation of a place name from audio clips submitted by locals, then offer that pronunciation when someone searches for the place on Google Maps. This function could be handy, as Google says in the patent, “when traveling in a foreign country.”

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Could a full time professional adventurer ever be unemployable?

Tuesday, 3 February, 2015

Alastair Humphreys has a… job that many of us might envy, he is an adventurer, a professional adventurer, to be precise. Indeed, he is one of the few fortunate people who was able to turn his hobby of travel and exploring, into full-time, paying, work.

Needless to say he has quite a bit to offer anyone who is considering monetising their passion, but he makes no bones of the fact that doing so is far from easy.

Next, because I know that “adventurer” sounds like quite a fun job, and certainly a whole lot easier than nearly every proper job out there (except the two mentioned in the previous paragraph), here’s a few thoughts I penned to try to pour a little cold water [realism] on your dreams. And now, if you’re still reading, here’s a few more thoughts to help you clarify whether or not this is the job for you (because, if you decide to make your hobby a job, then it will become a job…).

Humphreys now feels he is unemployable – something I find hard to believe, he’d have a stack of transferable skills behind him – but I can see where he’s coming from. Something to think about, possibly, if you are thinking likewise.

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The uncertain future of çay, or Turkish tea

Friday, 30 January, 2015

Sure the coffee in Turkey is great but the tea, or çay, is better. That, by the way, is one of the few times you’ll ever hear me say tea is better than coffee. In fact, you do not go to Turkey and not drink çay. It’ll be offered to you at every stop, and corner you turn.

And it doesn’t take long to start craving a cuppa, once you’ve sampled it. We’d frequently make çay stops when travelling from point A to point B, simply to drink more of it.

Sadly though Turkish tea growers are struggling against both increasingly erratic weather patterns, and industrialisation, which is slowly, but surely, encroaching upon traditional plantation lands, factors that pose a threat to the production of this staple beverage:

Unlike Sri Lanka or India, where harvests continue year-round, Turkish tea must be harvested three times a year in order to make it a viable crop despite cold winter months that curtail the growing season. This means trimming, fertilizing and harvesting run on a tight schedule, and when weather interrupts, profits quickly collapse. And weather does interrupt – increasingly so. Heavy frost last spring delayed harvesting by several weeks and cost producers and manufacturers more than 15 percent of their annual income, according to an engineer at Çaykur, the Turkish state tea production company. With production falling, growers of Turkish tea are getting nervous.

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How can I tell ye, do not disturb? Let us count the ways

Thursday, 29 January, 2015

There’s this one hotel I sometimes stay at in Sydney that does not supply do not disturb signs… a rather odd establishment, no? Well, maybe.

Thankfully I usually only stay there while in town for work purposes, so it’s not like I’m going to be awoken from a twelve hour slumber or anything, and besides housekeeping only calls every other day, so it’s not like there’ll be too many disruptions in the first place.

If I do ever decide to make a holiday out of a stay there though, maybe I ought to print off one or two of these such signs from this extensive collection assembled by Lisa Hix. They’re not all signs as such either, take a look, and you’ll see what I mean.

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52 places to travel to in 52 weeks

Monday, 19 January, 2015

Might this be a bucket list item? Visit fifty-two places across the globe, over the course of a year, while spending as close to week as is possible in each? Here are the fifty-two places. Now to find a round-the-world air ticket that makes it possible to visit all these places on the one trip…

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Iceland, as another planet

Friday, 19 December, 2014

Now here’s a way to look at a holiday to Iceland… view it as if it were another planet, in another solar system, as San Francisco based designer and filmmaker Alex Cornell, did recently.

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Where you can walk on water but it’s no miracle

Thursday, 18 December, 2014

There’s a lake in Slovakia’s High Tatra Mountains, where the water sometimes freezes so slowly, that the resulting ice appears to be crystal clear. So if you are nearby, and are edging your way across the lake’s surface, you are in effect walking on what looks like water, rather than ice.

An explanation of how the crystal clear ice forms can be found here.

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An account of a summer holiday in North Korea

Tuesday, 16 December, 2014

As a holiday destination, North Korea is not entirely out of the question, but it is a place that few end up giving much thought to, at least in the West that is. If you’re prepared however to complete the appropriate paperwork, and adhere to designated itineraries, you may find travel to North Korea enjoyable.

This walk was one of a handful of moments that felt very unscripted. Our guides were noticeably more tense, and were careful to keep the group together. Walking along bustling sidewalks for 45-minutes was fascinating, and we received much more attention than we had previously. Kids waved and screamed hello at us, and compared to any other place I saw in North Korea, the adults were curious, warm, and welcoming. Wonsan seemed gritty and raucous compared to the orderly capital, with a smattering of street hawkers selling a modest selection of food and clothing along the sidewalk. We were a long way from Pyongyang.

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Flight Facilities’s “Heart Attack”… music to fly to?

Monday, 17 November, 2014

And on the subject of air travel, some grooves to set the mood, Heart Attack by Sydney based electronic act Flight Facilities.

No heart attacks involved though, hopefully. Safe travel if you’re on the move yourself.

Via NinaI have no strategy, just energyLas Vagas.

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