Australia. T8 – Fastest man on Earth?

Family Footprints by Gina Varagnolo. (www.dnaag.com.au)

Although difficult to prove, the study behind 20,000 year old T8 is pretty fascinating. The claims of his superior speed and endurance are made by Australian Anthropologist Peter McAllister in his book, Manthropology. McAllister believes that based on a set of footprints preserved in a fossilised clay bed, many prehistoric Australian Aboriginals could have outrun world 100 and 200 metres record holder Usain Bolt in modern conditions.

By studying the footprints of one of the men, nicknamed T8, it appears that he was able to reach speeds of approx. 37 kph on a soft, muddy lake edge while chasing his prey. Amazing, considering he may not have even been moving at his top speed! Bolt, by comparison, reached a top speed of 42 kph during his then world 100 metres record of 9.69 seconds at the Beijing Olympics.

Since there are no images of T8, I will leave you with some stunning and inspiring pictures of the Indigenous people of Australia, their land and culture. Enjoy!

Bush tucker (www.realaustraliatravel.com)

Dreamtime Sisters (www.aboriginalartdirectory.com)

Boy fishing (www.goaustralia.com)

Beautiful art from Rougette Galley (www.rougettegallery.com)

 

Aboriginal dance (www.theage.com.au)

Rock art (www.australiangeographic.com.au)

 

 

Aruba and Netherlands Antilles. More than just golden sands…

Bushiribana Gold Mill

When I think of Aruba, I don’t think of gold mining and yet it was once the island’s foremost industry.

In the 1500s travellers explored vast areas of the Caribbean looking to find their fortune.  One of the islands they discovered was called Ora Ruba (red gold) or Aruba as we know it today.

Bushiribana Gold Mill

Bushiribana Gold Mill

Bushiribana Gold Mill

The Bushiribana Gold Mill was established in 1824 to extract gold from the ore that was being mined in the nearby hills. On the north coast, situated on the stunning golden sands, tourists can still visit the remnants and ruins of the mill. The gold rush petered out in 1916 after producing approx. 3 million pounds of gold.

Bushiribana Gold Mill

The best way to see the ruins and the gorgeous beaches is to join a horse riding tour. For more info, see The Gold Mine Ranch Tours website http://www.thegoldmineranch.com/

Armenia. Selim Caravansreai

Selim Caravanserai

The Selim Caravanserai was built on the Selim pass (2410m) in 1332 and was part of the elaborate network of trade routes on the Silk Road. Its purpose was to provide a resting place for travellers and their animals as they crossed the Selim Mountains with their wares.

Inside the Selim Caravanserai

Selim Caravanserai from the back

The best preserved of all medieval caravanserais in Armenia, it consist of a vaulted entrance and a large hall divided into three sections with low archways. Animals slept in one section with stone food troughs and a pool for water. Weary travellers slept in a separate room.

Openings in the ceiling allow natural sunlight into the chamber in dramatic bright shafts. These openings also let air in and smoke out.

Inside the Selim Caravanserai

I image after a long and arduous journey into the mountains with your animals, supplies and goods, the Selim Caravanserai would have provided a welcome relief. I wonder though, how restful it would have been as it appears quite small, cold and uncomfortable – not to mention, noisy and unpleasant smelling with all those animals inside! Nestled into the side of the mountain, I also wonder how many travellers missed it all together!

Have you been to Armenia and travelled into the Selim Mountains?

Are you from Armenia and visited the Caravanserai?

I would love to hear from you! Leave a message with your experiences!

Selim Caravanserai in the snow.

Argentina. Bohemia at San Telmo

Musicians at the San Telmo Markets

San Telmo is the oldest barrio in Buenos Aires. It’s a well-preserved neighbourhood of the Argentine metropolis and is characterized by beautiful colonial buildings and a vibrant market scene.

San Telmo Markets

 

San Telmo Markets -Chess game Incans vs. Spaniards

 

San Telmo Markets

Tango in San Telmo

 

Music in San Telmo

Vibrant music, impromptu tango dancers, artists, food and wine lovers, antique shops and stunning architecture… Sounds pretty perfect to me!

San Telmo Markets

For more fantastic photos and information on the markets  http://buenosaires.for91days.com/2011/03/17/san-telmos-sunday-antiques-market/

Are you from this area of Buenos Aires?

Have you visited the markets?

Share your experience with us below!

Antigua and Barbuda. Swim with the Stingrays

You can swim with Stingrays in Antigua!

Described as the ‘puppy dogs’ of the sea you can safely touch, feed and play with the stingrays while learning all about them from your guide.

Afterwards, you can snorkel with the stingrays along the stunning nearby coral reef. Swimming with the stingray tours leave from the beautiful Seaton’s Village, Antigua.

Swim with the Stingrays

Swimming with the Stingrays

Seatons, Antigua

 

For more info http://www.stingraycityantigua.com/

Are you from Antigua and Barbuda?

Have you been swimming with the Stingrays in Antigua?

 

Arctic. Breaking the ice.

Icebreaker

The Artic doesn’t appear in the Caravanserai 230 destination guide (The Travel Book from Lonely Planet) but I really wanted to include a short post on these majestic giants of the North.

Aside from the size and power of the modern icebreakers, perhaps the most surprising thing (for me anyway!) is the speed! Check out the link below of the 50 Let Pobedy in action. This is the largest ice breaker in the world and is driven by nuclear power.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Q6OHHGrVM3g

 

Icebreaker

Icebreaker

Powerful and awe inspiring, these giant ships have a specially fortified hull to break through thick sea ice as they carve pathways through the Artic and to the North Pole.

Icebreaker

They work by pushing directly into ice pockets or, in the case of thinker ice; the bow is steered onto the ice to crack it with the ships immense weight.

Icebreaker

 

Antarctica. An Icy Ghost

 

Young Ice Fish

These amazing looking fish are found in the icy waters of Antarctica. One of their many unusual features is the absence of haemoglobin in their blood and this gives them a ghostly white/clear appearance.

Ice Fish

Ice Fish

They have evolved to survive without haemoglobin by absorbing oxygen directly through their skin. In the sub zero temperatures of the Antarctic, the (extremely!) cold water has a much higher dissolved oxygen content than warm water. They feed on krill, small fish and crabs.

Here’s some more info…http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/brainwaves/2012/08/03/how-the-antarctic-icefish-lost-its-red-blood-cells-but-survived-anyway/

Have you been to Antarctica?

Would you like to go?

Let me know what you think of these incredible creatures!

 

 

 

Anguilla. A heavenly holiday…

Viceroy Anguilla

I can’t add much to these gorgeous photos of the Viceroy Anguilla and the stunning Meads Bay – white sand, calm waters..….dreamy. The virtual caravanserai has never been more relaxing!

Viceroy Anguilla

Viceroy Anguilla

Viceroy Anguilla

Viceroy Anguilla

Are you from Anguilla?

Have you stayed at the Viceroy or are you dreaming of it?

I’d love to hear your thoughts. Let me know below!

Angola. Welwitschia Mirabilis – Tree Tumbo

Welwitschia Mirabilis

Beauty is certainly in the eye of the beholder here…. The Welwitschia Mirabilis or Tree Tumbo is a ragged-leaved tree unique to the Angolan desert.

Botanical drawing of the Welwitschia Mirabilis

The Welwitschia Mirabilis consists of two leaves, a stem and roots. Its two leaves are permanent; original from seedling stage. The leaves are leathery, broad, strap like and lie on the ground eventually becoming torn to ribbons and tattered with age. Incredibly, some Welwitschia Mirabilis are thought to be over 1000 years old!
The plant grows in arid areas where there is regular fog. Most plants can be found in a wide band approx. 100-150km from the coast.

Sprawling Welwitschia Mirabilis in Angola

Welwitschia Mirabilis

Antelope and rhino will chew the leaves for their juice during times of drought, and spit out the tough fibres.

Welwitschia Mirabilis

A band of Welwitschia Mirabilis

 

You can learn more about these unusual plants here http://www.plantzafrica.com/plantwxyz/welwitschia.htm

Andorra. The Caldea – Andorra le Vella

Caldea

Andorra’s capital city, Andorra la Vella is the highest capital in Europe at 1,023 metres (3,356 ft). The city of approx. 23,000 people is picturesque in every way imaginable, with cobblestone streets, old traditional buildings, mountain streams and striking mountain vistas all around.

Caldea

One of the most striking pieces of modern architecture in Andorra la Vella is the Caldea; a large health spa that offers saunas, jacuzzis, outside lagoons, an Aztecian pool and bubble beds designed for relaxations and wellness.

Outdoor pool – Caldea

 

Caldea

 

Caldea

 

Outdoor spa – Caldea

Sounds and looks amazing!