“A bird does not sing because it has an answer, it sings because it has a song.” -Maya Angelou
Eastern bluebirds are the most widespread of the three types of bluebird. They’re found in in grasslands, forest clearings and meadows across a huge area from southern Canada to Central America.
All bluebirds are cavity nesters, making their homes in the hollows of trees, often in holes vacated by bigger birds like woodpeckers. Nest boxes have also played a big part in helping the eastern bluebird population rebound after a steep decline in the early 20th century, due to reduced habitat and the introduction of non-native species, which compete with them for nesting holes.
Other types of bluebirds are the mountain bluebirdand the western bluebird.
The eastern bluebird (Sialia sialis) is a small North American migratory thrush found in open woodlands, farmlands and orchards.
The bright-blue breeding plumage of the male, easily observed on a wire or open perch, makes this species a favorite of birders. The male’s call includes sometimes soft warbles of jeew or chir-wi, or the melodious song chiti WEEW wewidoo.
I do hope that you fell in love with the minute bluebirds that make the meadows, the far away forests and the familiar orchards more beautiful, colorful and enjoyable. Their song is enchanting. Next time you see one, stop and listen to its chirping.
“We travel, some of us forever, to seek other places, other lives, other souls.”
There is a place in the south of PERU, where a mountain attracts, not so much for its grandeur, but for its spectacular look. We are talking about Vinicunca, or rainbow mountain, which has become one of the greatest tourist attractions in the land of the Incas.
Located in the Cordillera de Vilcanota – southeast of the city of Cusco, Vinicunca offers a wonderful show, from the same path that leads to it. It is a journey of approximately five hours by car and on foot that, even though demands a high physical preparation, culminates in a postcard image that is forever engraved in the memory of the traveler.
The popularity of Vinicunca expanded only five years ago thanks in large part to trekking and mountaineering lovers who were amazed by this unique phenomenon. The majesty of its colors and the peculiarity of its landscape began to be posted on social networks. The trek on the way to this Rainbow Mountain is as beautiful as the mountain itself.
On Instagram, for example, thousands of Internet users reacted to the publication and shared it on their own social networks, creating a multiplier effect. The American site Business Insider included Vinicunca as part of a list of the 100 essential places to visit in the world.
The color of Vinicunca is because a geological formation accumulated over time by the mixture of marine, lake and river elements. This gathering of minerals dragged by the waters of the mountain range, the winds and the humidity, has caused the oxidation of the place and has made that the mountain acquire that magical diversity of tones.
Geologists and experts in the field affirm that this phenomenon has been discovered thanks to the melting of the glaciers that formerly covered the mountain and that constantly received snow until the early nineties.
The altitude of the mountain is around 5200 meters or over 17,000 feet, so time for acclimatizing to the high altitude may be necessary during the trek up to the summit. Travelers to Peru and locals generally agree that the best time of the year to visit the colorful site is in August, since it is dry season and provides a beautiful view, maximizing the vivid colors of the mountains. Nevertheless, the famous colors always look beautiful.
On earth there is no heaven, but there are pieces of it.— Jules Renard
While I have a great appreciation for manmade wonders, nothing comes close to the beauty of the natural world.
We all yearn to spend time in nature, and thankfully there’s no shortage of incredible sights to enjoy; from mighty mountains and roaring waterfalls to thick forests and beautiful beaches, we’re spoiled for choice. In this article, we will explore one natural phenomenon in particular—rock formations.
Whether for their shape, components, location or beautiful surroundings, tourists have long been drawn to these spectacular-looking rocks. Many of them are huge, and viewing them is breathtaking. Here, I endeavour to showcase 10 of the most incredible rock formations in the world.
1 Church Rock – Utah
Church Rock is a solitary column of sandstone in southern Utah along the eastern side of U.S Route 191, near the entrance to the Needles District of Canyonlands National Park. This 200 foot roadside oddity near Monticello is called Church Rock.
2 Aphrodite’s Rock (Cyprus)
This is one of the most famous spots in Pafos, a coastal city in Cyprus. It is also known as Petra tou Romiou, which means ‘Rock of the Greek.’ Its popularity is linked with Greek mythology and the belief that Aphrodite—the goddess of love, beauty, procreation and pleasure—was born here. There is a belief that swimming around Aphrodite’s rock brings one eternal beauty.
3 Old Harry Rocks (England)
Old Harry Rocks can be seen up close on foot by walking from either Studland or Swanage across Ballard Down, a gorgeous chalk grassland . This UNESCO World Heritage site at the end of the Jurassic Coast is simply spectacular.
Further south from Old Harry Rocks along the South West Coast Path is the charming coastal town of Swanage, and beyond that Durlston Country Park and Dancing Ledge.
Old Harry Rocks is a spectacular cliff formation and one of the best places to visit on the Jurassic Coast. This is the very eastern end of the Jurassic Coast and the white chalk rocks gleam brightly in the sun.
Thousands of years ago, Old Harry Rocks and the Needles on the Isle of Wight were linked by a line of chalk hills that eroded away. What’s left is a series of impressive rock stacks and cliffs. Old Harry Rocks can be reached from South Beach Car Park at Studland Bay and its a 1 mile walk along the fields and grasslands to reach the clifftop, with great views over Studland Bay along the route (a 4 mile stretch of golden sand).
4 Uluru Ayers Rock (Australia)
Visit one of the greatest natural wonders of the world, Uluru. Not only is it a spectacular natural formation, Uluru is a deeply spiritual place. You can feel a powerful presence the moment you set eyes on it.
At 348 metres high, Uluru is one of the world’s largest monoliths, towering over the surrounding landscape and some 550 million years old.
Made of sandstone, Uluru is often referred to as the heart of the ‘Red Centre’ and is one of Australia’s most recognisable landmarks. Breathe in, see the colours change before your eyes, hear the stories of time and be amazed as Uluru captures your heart.
For the local Aboriginal people, the Anangu, World Heritage-listed Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park holds a special cultural significance where earth and memories exist as one.
Feel the connection to the land as this iconic rock formation hides ancient wisdom and diverse plant and animal life. Discover an awe-inspiring landscape where creation stories are whispered on the winds.
5 The Arbol de Piedra (Bolivia)
The Arbol de Piedra is another stunning example of geological erosion; over millennia, strong winds have rendered this volcanic rock formation thin at its base. Situated in the Desierto Siloli in Bolivia about 4,600 metres above sea level, the uniqueness of this isolated rock lies in its resemblance with a stunted tree.
Beside the salt flats of Salar de Uyuni, the world’s largest salt flat, you’ll find the stunning landscape of the Siloli Desert, a starkly contrasting scene to that of the vast white salt flats. Here, at the Eduardo Avaroa Andean Fauna National Reserve entrance you will find crazy rock formations that come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. The stand out among these different volcanic rock figures is the Arbol de Piedra, meaning ‘Stone Tree’.
Named after its unique appearance which resembles a surrealist vision of a tree, the Arbol de Piedra is 5 meters tall and has been formed by the work of wind erosion over millions of years. The base of the tree predominantly consists of quartz which is sensitive to erosion from strong winds in the area. The winds here carry sandstone and salt which increases the erosional effect on the rock. The upper part of the Arbol de Piedra is made up of iron that has a stronger defense to the winds which is what gives the Arbol de Piedra its large mushroom shape.
Enjoy these breath-taking formations made of stone and maybe, some day you will get to see at least one of them!
” A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its own dimensions”
Niagara Falls is a stunning stretch of clashing and colliding land and water, lying on the border of the US and Canada. Shared by the state of New York and the Province of Ontario, this gorgeous natural wonder is arguably one of the most well-known tourist destinations in North America. Niagara Falls is made up of 3 large waterfalls that generate hydroelectric power, and also give us an unbeatable background for any traveler’s photo album. With over 28 million tourists every year making their way to these powerful waterfalls, we know it can’t just be a clean source of energy and a good view. The Falls are much more than that, with numerous activities offered from zip lining to cave explorations. Any journey to these roaring droves of water encapsulates a massive area beyond the Niagara Gorge and through the neighboring lakes and cities. Let’s take a look at some of the sights you’ll see on this journey, starting with the three formidable but stunning waterfalls.
I myself visited this gorgeous national park with its magnificent waterfalls, it happened a long time ago, as far as I remember, back in 2012. I was simply amazed by it, I had never before seen such a beautiful, impressive place.
Indeed, in the middle of the water, on board of „The Maid of the Mist” you feel like engulfed in the midst of the mist, incapable of seeing anything. Soon it dissipates and one can admire the magnificent scenery.
Horseshoe Falls, the largest of the three, lies on the US-Canada border, mostly in Ontario. The smaller two falls as well as Goat Island and Luna Island, which separate the falls, are situated in New York. Cruise boats are operated on either side of the Niagara Gorge. The best-known tourist attraction of the Falls, the Maid of the Mist cruise is operated from the American side, while its counterpart Hornblower Cruises is available in Ontario. These cruises take you right under the falls, and many also offer tours through the islands and their attractions.
Moving across the border, we can approach the Falls through Queen Victoria Park, which offers paths through observation rooms that give you a dreamlike view of the two larger falls. For the avid hiker and history buff, the Niagara River Recreational Trail is a must-try 35-mile adventure, peppered historical treasures, and towns like Fort George and Fort Erie. Of course, the cream of the crop is the Skylon towers, the highest vantage point any traveler can get of the falls.
Niagara Falls is currently being reopened in phases to maintain safety protocols during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’re planning to make the trip, make sure to reach out to Niagara Falls USA and Niagara Falls Canada to determine the precautions and procedures in place for visiting so you can enjoy your travels with absolute safety! If you liked this article, why not share it?
It is so good (at least that’s how I feel) when I find out new and interesting things about the world I live in. It is so rewarding whether it is achieved by reading or travelling. It’s always new knowledge. Useful, helpful, beautiful.
A fifty-mile waterway, connecting canals, rivers, and lakes with locks, was built through the narrowest part of Panama.
The cost was astronomical, but the end result was the realization of a dream. For, at last, the Atlantic and Pacific oceans were linked by a waterway. It was opened in 1914.
Now, ships could use the canal to shorten travel from New York to San Francisco and from Europe to the ports of Asia.
We all should know that despite an earlier failure by the French, in 1904 the U.S. began work on the Panama Canal, one of the modern world’s most ambitious engineering schemes.
Is it true that the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans don’t mix?
While we’ve given our planet’s oceans separate names, in reality there’s no border between them, and currents continually flow between them and mix their waters. The Atlantic and Pacific oceans ‘meet’ at the southernmost tip of South America. In this region, a strong current carries water from west to east, sweeping water from the Pacific into the Atlantic. The Straights of Juan del Fuego, at the tip of South America, (South of Argentina and Chile) is where the Atlantic Ocean and Pacific Ocean meet without mixing.
Salinity—the amount of dissolved salt in the water—is critical to so many aspects of the ocean, from circulation to climate to the global water cycle. … As oceanographers have known for many years—but now can “see”—the Atlantic Ocean is saltier than the Pacific and Indian Oceans.
The videos you may have seen online showing two different coloured bodies of water drifting alongside each other are actually showing light-coloured, sediment-rich freshwater from melted glaciers meeting dark, salty ocean water in the Gulf of Alaska (and over time, currents and eddies cause these to mix, too).
Watch the first video that shows it to you. Why do these waters not mix? Because there is a huge difference in salinity between the clear water that comes from melting glaciers, which is cool and low in salt, while the water from the second ocean has a high salt concentration. Therefore, the two oceans have different densities, which makes them almost impossible to mix.
Also, a picture from the Gulf of Alaska that has been making the rounds on the Internet for the last few years – shows a strange natural phenomenon that occurs when heavy, sediment-laden water from glacial valleys and rivers pours into the open ocean. For reasons of security I could not post it. There in the gulf, the two types of water run into each other. Isn’t it awsome?
“Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.”
The Pennsylvania Amish of Lancaster County are America’s oldest Amish settlement, where thousands still live a centuries-old „Plain” lifestyle. Arriving in Amish Country allows you to step back in time to enjoy a slower, more peaceful pace – one where the horse & buggy remains a primary form of transportation, and where windmills dot the landscape, providing power harnessed from nature. There is no such thing as television, radio, cinema theatres, or other entertainment means.
Always a vital part of Lancaster County culture, the PA Amish are involved in agriculture as well as an array of businesses and cottage industries. They opened stores where they sell their excellent produce and food. These stores are to be found not only in Pennsylvania, there are two of them not far from where we live, in New Jersey.
Amish women typically wear solid-color dresses with long sleeves and a full skirt, covered with a cape on the bodice. Some less conservative groups allow the women to wear short sleeved dresses but never sleeveless. Clothing is fastened with straight pins or snaps, stockings are black cotton and shoes are also black.
To be Amish means more than just slow-paced and hardworking. In the course of time I visited several Amish farms and had the opportunity to talk to some of them. They lead a very interesting life that reminds us of very old times. Those we talked to speak of a more relaxed way of living, but a strong work ethic. The visitors can go into the Amish homes and see for themselves their life style.
The Amish people wonder what the impact of fewer farmers and more “Amish businessmen” will be, especially if people become “too well off?” They think “prosperity” is the biggest threat to the Amish way of life, although some of the Amish would put cellphones (“the world in your pocket”) at the top of the list.
The more curious tourists meet local Amish families for a sit-down home-cooked meal, where they can find out lots of details about what means to be Amish nowadays. For some of us, staying at an Amish Bed and Breakfast or guesthouse is a simple way to step away from many of the technological distractions that seem to dominate our lives. It certainly is a worth living experience. For instance, to avoid idolatry, the Amish do not have mirrors, nor do they allow photographs or pictures of images in their homes. In the Amish community, divorce is forbidden and not sanctioned in the Amish church. The decision to marry a person outside of the Amish church is one that comes with a decision to be made by the person in the community, but before they are baptized by the church.
A few more things: in the Lancaster county, PA, the visitors cen enjoy, if they so desire, bus tours through the County’s backroads and so they learn about Amish traditions while riding in comfort. Have fun while learning something new with the area’s only authentic Amish lessons, taught in their one-room schoolhouse. During the summer, an actual Amish schoolteacher will share her wisdom along with a real Amish lesson. As winter arrives and Christmas nears, see how the Amish decorate for Christmas in the one room schoolhouse and enjoy the Amish Holiday Tradition Tour. Take a guided tour of an authentic 1840’s Amish farmhouse and learn about today’s Amish lifestyle.
You could visit other Amish communities in the states of Ohio or Indiana.
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
National parks offer an unparalleled experience for watching wildlife and appreciating the interconnected network of life in and around parks.
“A normal lake is knowable. A Great Lake can hold all the mysteries of an ocean, and then some.” — Dan Egan
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, on the largest and deepest Great Lake, includes cliffs, beaches, waterfalls, and forest for outdoor adventure.
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore encompasses over 40 miles of Lake Superior shoreline. Situated on the largest, deepest, coldest and most pristine of the Great Lakes, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore derives its name from the many sandstone cliffs that dot the shoreline. In addition to the sandstone cliffs, the park includes beaches, sand dunes, waterfalls, lakes and forest.
Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
As old as continental ice sheets and as young as the 1970 Establishment Act that set aside the lakeshore for preservation and public use, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore offers countless opportunities for discovery. The naturally elevated dunes along Lake Michigan offer visitors spectacular views, all-season hiking trails, pristine rivers for paddling, and a wonderful array of wildlife to explore.
The most prominent features are the dunes above Lake Michigan, perched atop the already towering headlands. The dune overlooks at the Sleeping Bear, Empire, and Pyramid Point bluffs are about 400 feet above Lake Michigan, and with 65 miles of Lake Michigan shoreline and numerous inland lakes and streams, the park is wonderfully water oriented.
Isle Royale National Park
Surrounded by Lake Superior, Isle Royale National Park encompasses 850 square miles of natural wilderness, spacious lands, and aquatic life.
A cool climate, crystal-clear waters, and the wild North Woods forest characterize Isle Royale National Park. The park encompasses a total area of 850 square miles including submerged lands which extend over four miles out into Lake Superior, and 99% of the land mass is federally designated wilderness. The archipelago is composed of numerous parallel ridges, the result of ancient lava flows which were tilted and glaciated.
Isle Royale has 165 miles of scenic hiking trails and 36 campgrounds for backpackers, paddlers, and recreational boaters. There is excellent fishing, historic lighthouses, and shipwrecks, ancient copper mining sites, and plenty of spots to observe wildlife. Isle Royale is accessible only by boat or float plane.
While enjoying a Venturing Crew backpacking trip two of the boys decided to sit quietly on the rocks at Sisskiwit Bay on Isle Royale. Even the roudiest of boys can find a little quiet for introspection while on the Island. It is good to see them deprived of their handheld devices for more than a day.
My advice: take some time, relax and plan a 2 week vacation to spend in the picturesque spots I described above. You won’t regret it! And try to remember:
“Travel is the only thing you buy that makes you richer.”
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page.”
I love to travel to different places in this world of ours, full of magnificent buildings and natural beauties, I’ve always have loved to do this.
During my trips I came to see all types of bridges : som very old, others, very long and some of them impressed me by something in particular, something specific to that particular bridge. I will try to say a few words expressing my impressions of each bridge that I really love.
Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel
TheChesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel connects Virginia’s Eastern Shorewith the Virginia mainland at Virginia Beachnear Norfolk. It is a modern engineering wonder, a tourist attraction and a travel convenience. The Chesapeake Bay Bridge-Tunnel is a four-lane 20-mile-long vehicular toll crossing that provides direct access from Southeastern Virginia to the Delmarva Peninsula (Delaware plus the Maryland and Virginia Eastern Shore). It is really a unique experience to travel across the Bridge-Tunnel. There is also a scenic overlook and fishing pier which are great places to stop and take in the magnificent views of the Chesapeake Bay.
The Tower Bridge in London
Tower Bridge is a combined bascule and suspension bridge in London, built between 1886 and 1894. It is the most famous bridge in London, and surprisingly, the bridge only needs 90 seconds to lift. This happens about 500 times a year. The image of it is breathtaking and displays a highly unusual building that makes it a well-known landmark of the Great Britain capital. You must agree with me!
Pont Alexandre III — Paris, France
This famous French bridge is considered by many to be one of the most beautiful in Paris, if not the world. One of its prettiest features are the gilded, iron, and stone statues of nymphs, pegasus, lions, and cherubs. But the best part of this bridge is its significant location, close to Champs-Élysées and near the tomb of Napoleon.
Brooklyn Bridge — New York City, New York
One of the most recognizable and iconic bridges in the U.S., the Brooklyn Bridge is more than just a gateway between two boroughs — it’s also a gorgeous piece of architecture. Built in 1883, it became the world’s first steel-wire suspension bridge. Today, the bridge is a major tourist attraction and a crossing for thousands of pedestrians and vehicles each day.
Ponte Vecchio – An Everlasting Symbol of Florence
Open all of the time, along the pedestrian zone south of Piazza della Repubblica towards Palazzo Pitti.
Built very close to the Roman crossing, the Ponte Vecchio, or OldBridge, was the only bridge across the Arno in Florence until 1218. The current bridge was rebuilt after a flood in 1345. During World War II it was the only bridge across the Arno that the fleeing Germans did not destroy. Instead they blocked access by demolishing the medieval buildings on each side. On November 4, 1966, the bridge miraculously withstood the tremendous weight of water and silt when the Arno once again burst its banks.
Benvenuto Cellini, a 16th century goldsmith, is honoured with a bust on the bridge. By night, the wooden shutters of the shops create a look like suitcases and wooden chests, making it a very suggestive route to take for an evening passeggiata, or stroll. Ponte Vecchio is a very romantic spot in Florence, with its great views over the river and of the bridge itself.
I hope you also like the bridges that I tried to present in my article here. Maybe on one of your future trips you’ll decide to visit at least one of them!
John Greenleaf Whittier had an important role in the 30-year struggle to abolish slavery as a politician, but also as a poet and moral force. In 1833, his friend and patron William Lloyd Garrison wrote to him in a plea to enlist to the gathering struggle, saying “Your talent, zeal, and influence are all needed”.
Oftentimes, it’s not just someone’s physical or practical help that we need, but also their zeal and encouraging words. Poems can be a great source of comfort when you need motivation to pick yourself up and keep on going during a rough patch. We hope this poem by Whittier titled ‘Don’t Quit” could be that one for you.
Lewis is rich in treasures of many other kinds – historic, religious. ..First light at Callanish. This is one of those places where tourists find themselves mesmerized and overwhelmed by unexplained prehistoric formations of huge pillar- like stones displayed in unusual positions.
The stone circle on the Hebridean island of Lewis may be 5,000 years old, but it would not do to keep it waiting. Besides, coming here at daybreak is, from certain perspectives, positively tardy. Emma Rennie, a local photographer, considers 2am the best time to visit. “It’s beyond mindblowing,” she told me, ahead of my journey. “There’s silence, which the world is so short of nowadays, and millions of stars. I feel small and insignificant, and I love it.”
Callanish – or Calanais in Gaelic – comprises 49 standing stones laid out in a shape that, seen from above, suggests a Celtic cross. Despite this resemblance, the site long predates Christianity and, indeed, Stonehenge.
The world famous Calanais standing stones are older than Stonehenge and much more sculptural and beautiful. Erected 5,000 years ago, they were an important place for ritual activity for at least 2,000 years. The main complex contains around 50 stones in a cross formation, with 13 stones and a small chambered cairn in the inner circle.
This is one of the delights of Callanish, and something you can’t get from the photographs – the look of the stones up close, and the tingling pleasure of the way they feel beneath your palm. Swirls, crevices, bright patches of pink granite … each stone offers a drone’s-eye view of some desert landscape. The oystercatchers and swallows, peeping and piping overhead, have the right idea. Don’t get too close: you could get lost in those patterns and never find your way out again.
What, though, was Callanish for? The idea that this was some sort of druidic temple draws the crowds, especially at the summer solstice. The visitor centre and information panels play it safe with a lot of “perhaps” and “possibly”; the purpose of the stones, they say, remains a mystery. When I visit Callanish expert Margaret Curtis at her home nearby, she offers greater certainty: the site, she believes, was built as a solar and lunar observatory.
“The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existence. One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery each day.” (Albert Einstein)