September 22, 2019

Travel

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17 things to do in Sri Lanka

Travel
Over the last decade, Sri Lanka has seen a deserving rise in tourism, becoming the place to go for holidaymakers and travel bloggers alike. The revered Tear Drop island of the Indian Ocean is a beautifully spirited nation; its flag is the only one of its kind in the world to recognise three religious’ beliefs: Hinduism, Buddhism and Islam. With an abundance of natural wonders, overflowing UNESCO World Heritage sites, enchanting wildlife, exquisite cuisine, world-class hotels and a rich cultural legacy, there is no wonder why it remains at the top of our destination bucket list, and that’s why we have rounded up our 17 favourite things to do in the bountiful island of Sri Lanka.Explore the Cultural Triangle (Anuradhapura, Ritigala and Mihintale)
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The 5 museums in Greece that must be visited

Travel
While planning a trip to Greece, it is impossible not to stubble upon a number of museums and archaeological sites that will catch your eye and will soon be a part of your itinerary. No matter if you’re about to hop from one Cycladic island to another, or if you’re going on a road trip to explore the mainland along with the Peloponnese, you will want to make some time for these museums.Step into the rich past of Greece and uncover its culture and learn about its customs along with your guide who will help you solve all the mysteries around the myths in a fun and interactive way.The Acropolis Museum, AthensThe New Acropolis Museum accentuates in the most prominent way possible the exclusive world of Ancient Greece. Take your time to appreciate the incalculable artifacts that were discovered on the sacred rock of the Acropolis. The objects of great value that were found are dating back from the Mycenaean period (1600 – 1100 BC) up to the early Christian times. The remarkable building is home to an impressive gallery of statues with glass walls allowing the visitors to cherish the exhibits in natural light.
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The Cloud Bar in Anderby Creek, England

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Lincolnshire’s popular North Sea coast is not always blessed with sunshine from horizon to horizon, despite evidence to the contrary dominating local tourist literature. The sand may be golden, but the broad skies in this low-lying region are frequently a whole-hemisphere masterpiece in glorious grayscale. Perched on a sand dune with a 360-degree panorama of the turbid North Sea and modest Lincolnshire Wold hills, this unexpectedly educational gem is ideal for taking time out to appreciate and identify the fluffy protagonists of Britain's often dramatic skies.The Cloud Bar was installed in 2009, and designated an "official cloud spotting area" by the Cloud Appreciation Society, a United Kingdom-based organization averse to the perceived monotony and dreariness of the clear blue skies that blight many global resorts.
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Sydney Is for the Birds. The Bigger and Bolder, the Better.

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SYDNEY — The bushy pair of laughing kookaburras that used to show up outside my daughter’s bedroom window disappeared a few months ago.The birds simply vanished — after rudely waking us every morning with their maniacal “koo-koo-kah-KAH-KAH” call, after my kids named them Ferrari and Lamborghini, after we learned that kookaburras mate for life.And here’s the odd thing: I missed them.This is not normal, at least not for me, but Sydney has a rare superpower: It turns urbanites into bird people, and birds into urbanites. Few other cities of its size (five million and counting) can even come close to matching Sydney’s still-growing population of bold, adaptable and brightly colored squawkers.
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For Sale: America’s Largest Private Grove of Giant Sequoias

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Giant sequoias are no strangers to history. The trees can last thousands of years, and at least one tree was already half a century old at the time of the Trojan War. But that’s if they’re uninterrupted by environmental devastation and human activity, two hazards that often go hand in hand. The environmental threats of drought and fire vex most of the Sierra Nevada’s forests, including groves of giant sequoias.Now, a California conservation group is beseeching the public to step up and fund the purchase of a huge grove of the towering trees. “It’s an awe-inspiring place,” says Jessica Inwood, Parks Program Manager for the Save the Redwoods League. “It’s the last, largest giant sequoia property left in private ownership.” One sequoia on the property, the Stagg Tree, is believed to be the fifth-largest tree in the world.
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Brighton Bazaar in Brooklyn, New York

Travel
Walk inside the Brighton Bazaar and you'll immediately be transported from Brooklyn to the markets of Eastern Europe. You'll be confronted with the bright palette of neon-green tarragon soda and purple borscht, the aroma of freshly baked Lithuanian rye bread, and the sound of staff and customers conversing in Russian. The store serves Brighton Beach, a neighborhood with a thriving community of immigrants from post-Soviet states. As such, the bazaar's aisles are packed with traditional and hard-to-find treats from the likes of Russia, Georgia, Ukraine, and even Uzbekistan. Several shelves offer an impressively wide selection of kvass, a fizzy, lightly alcoholic drink. Hot and cold bars feature mains and sides such as herring under a fur coat—a hearty layered combo of potatoes, herring, beets, and mayo—and the tangy Soviet-Korean carrot salad morkovcha.
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Barber Marina in Elberta, Alabama

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George W. Barber apparently likes sculpture, whether kitschy or fine. His marina, on some 800 acres on the peninsula between Wolf Bay and Ingram Bayou, is full of much more than boats.The entrance road to the marina yields its surprises slowly. First, there's what looks like a classical Roman goddess surrounded by Corinthian columns next to a large pond, visible through a cut in the pine forest. Then there’s a fiberglass replica of Stonehenge nestled in a small clearing in the pines. Then four dinosaurs in the pines. The reveals continue. Barber Parkway ends, and you turn right onto Neptune Boulevard, which leads to a traffic circle surrounding a beautiful, authentic Italian Renaissance fountain surmounted with a statue of Neptune.
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Morbitorium in Pontywaun, Wales

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In a quiet mining village in the South Wales valleys, you'll find a most surprising collection of oddities. From the outside, you'd never suspect that this 19th-century canalside cottage was anything other than a normal family home.Look closer, however, and you'll soon spot an eight-foot skeleton with glowing red eyes tucked away in the corner of the vegetable garden and a hookah-smoking fox peering out from the front window. Once inside, it gets even weirder.The Morbitorium has an amazing collection of curiosities from all over the world and occupies the entire ground floor of the house. Taxidermiy animals peer down at you from the shelves while antique medical devices—including some Victorian sex toys—will make you appreciate the advances made to modern healthcare. 
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World's first vagina museum to open in London

Travel
(CNN) — The first museum in the world dedicated solely to the vagina will open in London in November, after a crowdfunding campaign raised almost £50,000 (about $62,000). The Vagina Museum will educate visitors about vulvas and vaginas while challenging the prevailing stigma surrounding them, development and marketing manager Zoe Williams told CNN. Founder Florence Schechter developed the concept for the Vagina Museum after discovering a museum dedicated to penises in Iceland, the Icelandic Phallological Museum, but no counterpart for vaginas. Schechter and her team subsequently launched a campaign on Crowdfunder, initially aiming to raise £300,000. "As this is the world's first bricks-and-mortar museum dedicated to vaginas, vulvas and the gynaecological anatomy, we didn't quite know what to expect in terms of interest, and were delighted with the £50,000 we raised," Williams said.
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The most extreme adventures on Earth

Travel
(CNN) — It's easy to travel the world and feel oddly at home, particularly if you're in one of the planet's 24,000 Starbucks. But it's still possible to break loose from the rut and go to destinations that are beyond the ordinary. (Indeed, some of these are arguably insane.) Spanning multiple continents and oceans, these adventures will make you feel alive -- albeit in some cases terrified you might not be among the living much longer. Running of the bulls: SpainEvery July, Pamplona offers an exciting chance to get gored. While deaths at this event in Spain are relatively rare, the risk of getting injured is very real, with 35 people hurt in 2019.How:Bull Run PamplonaLess extreme alternative: Share the street with thousands of sheep during Madrid's annual Transhumance Festival.
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Centuries Later, America's First Female Botanist Lives On in a Community Garden

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In 1728, the young Jane Colden moved with her family to a plot of land in the Hudson Valley that, according to her father, was populated less by people and more by “wolves, bears, and other wild animals.” Much of colonial New York was forested back then, and the overgrown landscape would become Colden’s office as she worked as a prolific amateur botanist, drawing and describing 400 species of plants that grew in her (relatively sprawling) backyard.Though she spent her entire life isolated in this rural area, her work was recognized internationally, particularly by naturalists in the United Kingdom such as John Ellis, Peter Collinson, and the aptly named Alexander Garden. Today, Jane Colden is commonly acknowledged as the first female botanist in what would become the United States, noted for her forward-thinking adoption of the relatively new Linnaean taxonomy.
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Cristo Redentore (Christ the Redeemer) in Santa Caterina, Italy

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Unknown to many, the statue of Christ the Redeemer of Maratea is the tallest sculpture in Italy. With a height of over 70 feet (21 meters), it's one of the tallest statues of Jesus in the world.Before the statue, a memorial iron cross had stood atop the mountain since 1907. But it was often hit by lightning and subsequently damaged, so it was replaced in 1941 by a concrete cross.The idea to create this statue came to Italian entrepreneur Count Stefano Rivetti di Val Cervo after a trip to Brazil. The project was realized by Florentine sculptor Bruno Innocenti and was built in the early 1960s near the Basilica di San Biagio.
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Ancient mosaic found near Sea of Galilee depicts Jesus miracle

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London (CNN) — A colorful mosaic recently found in an ancient church in Israel appears to depict a miracle Jesus is said to have performed nearby -- the feeding of the 5,000 -- archaeologists say. The discovery was made in the "Burnt Church" in Hippos, an archaeological site on a mountain a mile east of the Sea of Galilee. The church was built around 1,500 years ago and destroyed by fire in the early 7th century AD. Partially exposed a decade ago, the church has now been fully excavated by a team from the University of Haifa. The tiles uncovered in the apse show two fish and five loaves, matching the New Testament story of Jesus feeding the 5,000. Michael Eisenberg, a co-leader of the excavation, told CNN: "As far as I know, this is the best view from a Byzantine church from one of the cities or settlements or villages around the Sea of Galilee.
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Alien enthusiasts descend on Area 51 for an event that started as a joke

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(CNN) — They're coming to Area 51. Not the aliens, but the alien enthusiasts.Almost 2 million people clicked the "going" button on a Facebook page set up by a California man seeking to storm Area 51, the super-secret military base in Nevada, to "see them aliens." The date for this "raid" is Friday.The page's creator disavowed the whole thing and Facebook took down the page, but events are still planned, and that's led officials in Nevada to worry that thousands of people really will try to get onto the base, potentially creating a crisis situation in the middle of the desert. The creator underestimated the allureMatty Roberts was just joking. He didn't believe anyone would take him seriously when, on June 27, he created a Facebook page for an event entitled "Storm Area 51, They Can't Stop All of Us."
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Find some 'Downton Abbey' spirit in Rhode Island

Travel
"Downton Abbey" characters are likely to drop in at Newport, Rhode Island, summer "cottages." Some of these Gilded Age megamansions are still open for tours today.
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Why Bear Fat Makes for Better Baking

Travel
Hank Shaw bakes his buttermilk biscuits with bear fat. “The most breathless prose has always been reserved for bear fat in pastries,” writes the American chef, hunter, and outdoorsman. Melting much the same as pork, bear lard is used to make pie crusts, tortillas, popcorn, and more—and has been for some time.While the technique is rare today, bear fat was a common ingredient for centuries, though one with a unique hangup. As with all omnivores, bears’ fat takes on the general flavor of their diet. In early fall, when nuts, berries, and acorns dot North America’s forests, Shaw writes, bear fat is “sublime … virtually indistinguishable from the finest pork lard you can buy or make.” The fat of blueberry-eating bears in Montana, for example, assumes sweet, fruity hints and a slight purple tinge. But if a bear most recently ate fish or suburban garbage, the lard takes on a briney odor that ranges from low-tide to truly vile.
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How Mumbai's Masalawaalis Make a Single Spice From 30 Ingredients

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First came the burning eyes. Then the uncontrollable sneezing.I was seven years old and watching three sari-clad ladies, each holding a tall, wooden pestle, adroitly throw their sticks into the center of a deep wooden vat. It was filled with dried chilies, which explained the pungent aroma in the air. Thump-thump-thump. The ladies’ synchronized pounding created a hypnotic beat.What I witnessed that summer day in Bombay (now Mumbai), India, was the annual tradition of hand-making bottle masala—a fragrant, reddish-brown spice blend named for the darkly colored bottles it’s stored in. Crafted from 20 to more than 30 ingredients, the one-of-a-kind mix is synonymous with the East Indian community—descendants of people indigenous to the North Konkan region on India’s west coast who converted to Christianity. This minority was officially recognized as “East Indians” by the government in 1887.
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Sugar Land Heritage Foundation and Museum in Sugar Land, Texas

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The lights cut off in this original refinery plant in 2002. The distinctive building with the neon-signs is the former char house. Though that particular building isn't open to the public, if you step inside the visitor/heritage center, you'll see a wall displaying photographs illustrating the history of the mill, town, and people. You'll also find cabinets filled with Imperial Sugar souvenirs, equipment, posters, pictures, toys, and of course, various sugar products. The museum host tons of rotating exhibits and events, and it also houses a striking blue neon Sugar Land sign from the former factory. 
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Holtermann's Bakery in Staten Island, New York

Travel
If you don't live in Staten Island, or have a car, it's tough to get to Holtermann's Bakery. Most trekkers begin with a trip on the ferry, followed by a one-hour bus ride. But such is the price of traveling back in time. Holtermann's, in operation since 1878, is committed to preserving the art of several retro baked goods. Much about the bakery, from its warehouse-like stacking of its white-and-blue crumb cake boxes to its Pullman bread (so named because its perfect rectangular shape led to easy stacking and storage on Pullman train cars in late 1800s), feels like it hails from a simpler time. But Holtermann’s most beautiful throwback treat is the Charlotte Russe, a jam-filled mini sponge cake topped with a swirl of whipped cream and a single cherry. The single-serving sweet comes wrapped in a polka-dotted, scalloped container.
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6 Items to Sleep Well (or at Least Better) While Traveling

Travel
Time-zone changes, jet lag, strange noises, beds that are simply different from what you’re used to — even people who usually have no trouble getting a good night’s sleep can become insomniacs when away from home. Here, the sleep team and the travel editors of Wirecutter share the gear they use to cope with restless nights on the road, vetted through hours of testing and years of personal experience.True, it won’t be much use at your destination. But start off your trip right by getting at least a little sleep on the plane.At home, you’d be able to use blackout curtains. On the road, covering your eyes is often your only option for blocking out light.Though noise-canceling headphones are better for planes, this headphone-headband hybrid is the most comfortable way on land to listen to whatever sounds soothe you.
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Francis Bacon's Preserved Art Studio in Dublin, Ireland

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Francis Bacon was born in Dublin in 1909 and went on to gain great prominence as a leading personality of figurative paintings in the 1900s. His style was often considered to be confrontational and unrestrained. Bacon is best known for his work depicting religious iconography and portraits of friends that were deemed emotionally charged.Like his paintings, his personal life was often erratic, fueled by alcohol and violence. Bacon died of a heart attack in 1992 at the age of 82. The studio where he worked was as chaotic as you'd expect, and it's been preserved for visitors to come and see.After his death, the Hugh Lane Gallery in Dublin, Ireland, was able to obtain the entire contents of his artists' studio at 7 Reece Mews, South Kensington, London, in 1998. The entire space was broken down into its parts. Over 7,000 articles were collected and cataloged, including everything from paintbrushes to art supplies, and even the dust! The ceiling, the walls, and the narrow staircase that led up to the studio were even taken. The massive collection was then reassembled in great detail and precision using architectural maps and photographs.
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Here's how Harry and Meghan will fly to Africa

Travel
(CNN) — Prince Harry and Meghan Markle have committed to flying commercial for their upcoming visit to southern Africa, having faced criticism for their use of private jets for their summer vacations.For the royals, though, flying commercial means something rather different than it does for us. They don't typically just enjoy the perks offered to first class customers. There's is a world of exclusive lounges, handpicked cabin crews, private airport entrances and chauffeured cars right up to the steps of the aircraft. So what can the royal couple expect as they embark on their first royal tour of Africa?One former member of British Airways cabin crew told CNN that the day they flew Prince Harry several years ago was unlike any other.
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Bachman-Wilson House in Bentonville, Arkansas

Travel
The Bachman-Wilson house is a perfect example of Frank Lloyd Wright's Usonian architecture and is free for all to see. Surprisingly small, the house's hallways are just wide enough for one adult to squeeze through. Wright constructed his houses around the concept of low-cost living that centered directly around the needs of the residents. The Bachman-Wilson House has tons of interesting details that have to be seen in person to be appreciated. Several of which are unique solutions that address the challenges of living in such as small space. Wright was truly ahead of his time. 
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SF Marks the Spot for Buried Treasure

Travel
In 1982, children’s book author Byron Preiss published The Secret, about a mythical treasure and its guardians—magical creatures hidden from human view. The enchanted beings—including Mugwumps, Devil Dogs, and Tinkerbelles—were a figment of Preiss’s imagination.But the treasure was not. Before the book’s release, the writer concealed 12 ceramic keys in hand-painted casques, then buried them in public parks around the U.S. Each key could be returned to Preiss in exchange for precious jewels, collectively worth around $10,000.But Preiss’s treasure hunt had a problem: The treasure was too well hidden. Seekers found it nearly impossible to unravel the rhyming riddles and elaborate paintings that mapped the location of the casques. In 37 years only two have been found. No one knows exactly where the remaining casques are buried—or if they still remain, nearly four decades later, in their original hiding places.
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Laver Ruins in Älvsbyn V, Sweden

Travel
When Laver was constructed in the 1930s, it was the most modern town in Sweden. Twenty apartment buildings were built, complete with district heating, electric stoves, refrigerators, toilets with running water, and a common HVAC system. There was a school, a grocery store, a swimming hall, and a cultural center with a cinema.The town, however, was short-lived. The nearby copper mine closed, thanks to a low concentration of copper in the ore and falling prices on the world market. After the mine closed, the locals moved away. Laver was torn down in 1947, only 10 years after it was constructed.Surprisingly, the area is still of interest to the mining companies. New technologies, combined with rising metal prices on the world market, have led mining companies to once again begin prospecting in the area.
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Where to live your best 'Downton Abbey' life

Travel
(CNN) — The sun is shining, the lawns of "Downton Abbey" are emerald green, and the Crawley family has come out to greet the Lady Hexham, the former Lady Edith Crawley, driving up in her shiny new car with husband and daughter in tow."No maid, no valet, no nanny, even!" exclaims Lord Grantham, played by Hugh Bonneville."It's 1927," answers his son-in-law, Lord Hexham. "We're modern folk."It's a new day at "Downton" and the King and Queen are coming for a visit."Downton Abbey" the movie topped the United Kingdom's box office last weekend, netting more than $7.5 million in the UK in its first week of release. Advanced ticket sales show it may also drive in fans when it opens Friday, September 20, in the United States.
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Gerald Lankester Harding's Burial Place in Jarash, Jordan

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Within one of the world's most spectacular ancient sites lies a small, humble tomb. Unlike most tombs in such sites, it does not contain a long-dead monarch, emperor, or any other character from the distant past. Instead, it houses a 20th-century man whose passion for ancient history and its protection earned him a spot overlooking the site of his former work.Gerald Lankester Harding, or G.L. Harding, was born on December 8, 1901, in Tientsin, China. After a brief time in Singapore, he ventured to the United Kingdom in 1913 and eventually fell into the world of archaeology, joining his first expedition to Palestine in 1926.
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Chi-Chi the Giant Panda in London, England

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In the early 1950s, a farmer caught a panda cub in the county of Baoxing, a part of the province of Sichuan, China. News of the cub's capture reached the ears of local communist officials, and soon the rare creature was making the long journey to Peking (now known as Beijing) to be exhibited in the national zoo.The cub was christened Chi-Chi by her keepers, which translates as "Naughty Little Girl" in Mandarin. Chi-Chi was a crowd favorite. But in 1957, Maoist China's then-ally, the Soviet Union, made a request for a panda to be exhibited in the Moscow Zoo, and Chi-Chi was sent away.The Moscow Zoo hoped Chi-Chi would help them establish a captive breeding program. But Chi-Chi and An-An, the zoo’s male panda, refused to mate. Chi-Chi was subsequently returned to China, and was then purchased by a German zoo and sent to what was then East Germany.
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Panic ensues when plane unexpectedly plunges

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Passengers were thrown into a frenzy when their plane unexpectedly took a terrifying mid-air plunge.
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Water quality: You may want to skip the coffee on these two airlines

Travel
(CNN) — You've probably never given much thought to the quality of the water on an airplane.Maybe it's time you should.A recent study ranks the water served on major and regional US airlines. Drink up if you're on an Alaska Airlines or Allegiant Air flight. Those two airlines tied for first place in the rankings in the study, from the Hunter College New York City Food Policy Center at the City University of New York and the website DietDetective.com.But you might need to exercise some caution if you're on a JetBlue or Spirit flight. They tied for last among major airlines in the study, which came out at the end of August.CNN reached out to Spirit and JetBlue for comment on their low rankings and is waiting to hear back.
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El-Kurru’s Carved Graffiti Reveal Another Side of Ancient Nubia

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Anwar Mahajoub grew up in the village of El-Kurru, Sudan, along the Nile between its Third and Fourth Cataracts. Besides at its delta, which offers a flourish of emerald where the river meets the Mediterranean Sea, the Nile is almost entirely bordered by just a thin band of foliage, beyond which are the sepia sands of the Sahara. For centuries, the desert has obscured and protected the tombs of kings, riverside temples, even entire ancient cities. Mahajoub grew up next to one of these sites, so it was never obscured to him. Recent excavations there have made the tombs and world of ancient Nubia—specifically the Kingdom of Kush that ruled over it for hundreds of years—feel even closer.
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The Views From the Top: How They Measure Up

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While there are plenty of private observatories at rooftop bars across the boroughs, Manhattan offers three public decks with distinct views and experiences: Top of the Rock, One World Observatory and, of course, the Empire State Building’s observation deck.The Edge, a wedge-shaped deck cantilevered from a Hudson Yards skyscraper, will soon join them. (One Vanderbilt, a commercial supertall topping out at 1,401 feet, and still under construction along Vanderbilt Avenue across from Grand Central Station, also plans a deck.) Here’s how the views compare.Midtown ManhattanFor one of the best views of the Empire State Building, head to Top of the Rock, which opened in 1933 at 30 Rockefeller Plaza, a masterpiece that rose — as the Empire State did — to demonstrate the triumph of capitalism over the depredations of the Depression. It was designed by an architectural consortium of extraordinary talent led by Raymond Hood.
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The New Vonnegut Museum Could Only Have Ever Been in Indianapolis

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Kurt Vonnegut’s typewriter, Pall Malls, and Purple Heart are boxed and ready to move. Julia Whitehead, founder and CEO of the Kurt Vonnegut Museum and Library, and her team have been keeping these and other artifacts safe while working from cafes, home offices, and a small pop-up shop at the Circle Center Mall. The museum honoring the author’s legacy has spent this year living in limbo, awaiting funding for relocation to a permanent building in Indianapolis, Indiana.Whitehead conceived the idea for a Vonnegut museum in November of 2008, a year and a half after the author’s death. The physical museum opened in a donated storefront in 2011, displaying items donated by friends or on loan from the Vonnegut family, but has been homeless since January 2019. Charging through a fundraising campaign this spring, the determined grassroots organization recently announced it has secured $1.5 million in donations and will move forward with the purchase of a new building for the museum on Indiana Avenue.
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The fashion models' guide to Milan

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Milan (CNN) — Want to give your Milan stay a glamorous twist, beyond the usual tourist agenda? The fashion capital of Italy is one huge open-air catwalk, swarming with models -- and these locals are your best guides to the coolest spots in town. We asked a few for their curated tour of Milan, so they shared where they gather to shop, drink, eat, relax and look pretty. ShoppingMilan has a number of shopping districts. It all depends how much you're prepared to squander. Brazilian model Amanda Santos, represented by Wonderwall Agency, loves the the Fashion Quadrangle but notes that in the district, "prices are sky high."The Quadrangle is bound by four intersecting streets -- Via Monte Napoleone, Via della Spiga, Via Manzoni, Corso Venezia -- and boasts all the luxe designer brands. Santos' regular drop-bys are Brunello Cucinelli's cashmere store and the Armani and La Perla lingerie boutiques.
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'Highway' in Stockholm, Sweden

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The mural "Highway" stretches across a wall in Rågsved, in southern Stockholm. It was painted in August 1989 by the graffiti crew Still Heavens Only Force and is heralded as one of the world's oldest preserved graffiti murals. Almost 30 years after its debut, in August 2019, local residents were shocked to see that someone was covering the mural with dark blue paint. Someone had mistaken the iconic and loved mural for vandalism and decided to paint the wall. Concerned locals told the painter to stop and started fetching water to wash away the new blue paint, attempting to save as much of the mural as they could. 
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The Merriam-Webster of Medieval Irish Just Got a Major Update

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For the past five years, Sharon Arbuthnot has been on the hunt for new words. She isn’t searching in the places one might expect linguistic invention, such as far corners of the internet or the text messages of teenagers. Arbuthnot, a scholar of early and medieval Irish at Queen’s University Belfast, is more interested in forgotten words, ones invented over a thousand years ago that have become lost to modern scholars and dictionaries. So she spends her days poring over delicately inked manuscripts written in medieval Irish, scanning for an arrangement of letters that seems somehow new—a difficult thing for a language that’s well over a thousand years old. “It’s quite a lonely job,” she says with a laugh. “But I guess it’s what I do.”
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Renewing an Affair With the Empire State Building

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How do you take the measure of a New York City more physically transformed than at any time since the 1920s? The new glass “downtowns” that have exploded in the last decade and a half in Long Island City and over in Jersey City. Hudson Yards’ crystalline shafts to the far west. Residential towers marching in lock step along the Queens and Brooklyn edges of the East River. The skinny supertalls slicing into the view of Central Park.There has never been a better time to give Gotham a fresh look, and so I headed to the exalted altitude of New York’s first supertall: the Empire State Building, which has just spent $165 million and four years meticulously revamping the experience of getting to — and appreciating — the views from its two vertiginous observatories on the 86th and 102nd floors. Simultaneously, its designers have tried to banish the things visitors hate about the observation-deck trek: the lines, the crowds, the congestion.
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My Brother's Bar in Denver, Colorado

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Beat icon Neal Cassady may still have an outstanding tab at the bar on Platte and 15th Street in Denver. A copy of a letter he penned to an unknown associate in 1944, while serving time in the Colorado State Reformatory for stealing cars, is framed by the bathrooms. It reads, “I frequented the place occasionally & consequently still have a small bill run up, I believe I owe them about 3 or 4 dollars. If you happen to be in that vicinity please drop in & pay it, will you?” Although it has changed names (from Paul's Place to My Brother's Bar), visitors can belly up to the same bar where Cassady, Jack Kerouac, and Allen Ginsberg were once regulars.
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An Chodyè La in Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe

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On an unassuming Pointe-à-Pitre street sits a quaint, bright-turquoise building that offsets Guadeloupe's dark history of colonialism. An Chodyè La's daily rotation of hearty, flavorful soups speaks not only to the French-Caribbean island's diverse population, but to the resilience of its people.In an interview with Saveur, Jean-Claude Magnat, the chef behind An Chodyè La, said that the culinary makeup of his soups is rooted in the island's history of slavery. As enslaved families survived on their masters’ leftovers, they married the vestiges of lavish meals in a pot with water and set everything to boil. Over time, these cooks infused a variety of their own heritage flavors and techniques into such soups.
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23 of the best places to see in South Africa

Travel
(CNN) — The wonders of South Africa are nothing less than glorious -- making it an ideal place to travel.First there are the stunning natural areas:-- Kruger National Park: If you dream of spotting Africa's "Big Five" -- lion, leopard, rhinoceros, elephant and Cape buffalo -- this is the place to go. But it's also an excellent place for birding, too.-- Blyde River Canyon Nature Reserve: Less famous than Kruger, this reserve in the northeastern part of South Africa is nevertheless a stunning spot. It has a 33-kilometer gorge, abundant wildlife and dramatic landscapes.-- Hermanus, Western Cape: It's not just land animals that make South Africa so compelling. This beautiful location is where to go for whale watching.
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The New Hangout in Columbus? Distilleries

Travel
Columbus, Ohio, is no longer the meat-and-potato city of decades ago. Yes, there are the big restaurant chains. Wendy’s, White Castle and Sbarro, to name a few, have national headquarters here. But the state capital is now one of the country’s fastest-growing cities, and it has dynamic art projects, good restaurants and a revitalized riverfront. Recently, it also has been getting buzz for its spirits, with a fresh crop of homegrown micro distilleries elevating the city’s drink scene.While craft breweries in Columbus have flourished by the dozens, following a national trend, a surge in small distilleries of whiskey and other spirits has only happened in the last few years because of legislative changes that relaxed craft-distilling restrictions in the state.
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J.N. Adam Memorial Hospital in Perrysburg, New York

Travel
Located behind fencing on private property in Perrysburg, New York, are the remains of the J.N. Adam Memorial Hospital. They still stand, despite having laid empty for years, yet another historic hospital site that's too expensive to remove or rehabilitate.The hospital was opened in 1912 by a former mayor of Buffalo, New York, James Noble Adam, who also owned the J.N. Adam & Co. department store. Its primary purpose was to treat victims of tuberculosis. This hospital was known for what was called the "Sun cure," or "heliotherapy." This involved relying on the rays from the Sun to help cure the patients of their disease. 
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Ancient tin found in Israel has unexpected Cornish links

Travel
Tin ingots recovered from a shipwreck in Israel have been discovered to have an unlikely origin -- Cornwall, in southwest England.
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Acequia Madre in Santiago de Querétaro, Mexico

Travel
In many houses in the historic state of Querétaro, Mexico, it's rumored that there are old escape tunnels hidden behind the walls. These legends finally gained credence in 2016, when the remains of the Acequia Madre, the area's early water system, was discovered under a parking lot.When carrying out excavations at the Centro de las Artes de Querétaro (CEART), the remains of a 16th-century drinking water system were discovered under an old laundry room. Known as the Acequia Madre, it was originally an open-air channel that supplied water to the local residents, but to avoid water pollution, it was covered in the 17th century, forming a complex network of tunnels. 
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Sanctuary Adventist Church in Hi Vista, California

Travel
In the Antelope Valley, on the side of a lonely two-lane road that could easily pass for a post-apocalyptic landscape, there is what appears to be an abandoned, Spanish-style chapel. But while this evocative chapel is, in fact, a church today, it was the building's numerous Hollywood appearances that made it that way. According to the current caretaker, the structure was built in 1934 in the unincorporated community of Hi Vista, in northeastern Los Angeles County. The Hi Vista Community Hall, as the location was originally known, did not initially look like a place of worship, but over time it took on a more devout look to fit the needs of various productions, a lot of which were similarly themed. And today, in spite of—or more likely because of—its portrayals on-screen, the chapel is currently the home of the Sanctuary Adventist Church.
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The Louisa Hotel in Seattle, Washington

Travel
In the 1920s and ‘30s, the Louisa Hotel was a deco flapper hotspot for a fun-loving crowd complete with a speakeasy called the Club Royale. It was popularly known as the "Bucket of Blood" due to the fact that beer was served in enormous cups. To gain entry, visitors would knock and present a membership card through a slit in the door. A secret muraled hallway led from the street down to the illicit basement club.Fascinating people passed through. Jimi Hendrix’s mom, Lucille Jeter, lied about her age and got a job there as a server. She even sang on occasion. It was certainly a happening place—when the club was raided in ‘31, the music was so loud that patrons didn’t even notice until the pianist was cuffed and dragged off stage.
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Cartuja de Miraflores in Burgos, Spain

Travel
This site’s monastic origins date to 1442, when King John II of Castile donated a hunting lodge to the Carthusian Order. When the original building was destroyed by fire in 1452, it was rebuilt in its current late Gothic form to produce one of the most magnificent monastic buildings in Spain.While there is little unusual in the exterior, the building’s interior is spectacular. Even entering the space is a treat, as while approaching the main church door across the quadrangle, you can hear the plainsong emitting from somewhere along the structure’s right side.The church’s interior has two main features: the royal tombs in carved alabaster and the magnificent gilded altarpiece. But these stellar sites are only a fraction of the attraction. Wherever you turn, you’ll find examples of fine carvings and numerous gold and bejewelled artifacts. There’s also a collection of religious paintings that would be hard to beat outside the Vatican.
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Africa’s top 5 places to spot rhino

Travel
The 21st September is World Rhino Day and to celebrate, I thought that sharing my knowledge of Africa’s best places to spot these magnificent, yet endangered creatures was a must. Not only did I want to highlight my favourite places to simply see them, but I wanted to showcase some of Africa’s finest conservation programmes, aimed specifically at rhino protection, which you can support by visiting. If seeing rhino roaming freely in their natural habitat is a must-do on your bucket list, then look no further than the inspiration below.1. Desert Rhino Camp, NamibiaLocated within a remote corner of the million-acre Palmwag Reserve in northern Damaraland, Desert Rhino Camp is an extraordinary property from which you can spot an abundance of desert-adapted wildlife. These unique species not only include black rhino, but elephant, mountain zebra, giraffe, oryx and springbok. Supported by the Save the Rhino Trust, the area has been a haven for black rhino since hunting was banned in the 80’s and 90’s. In fact, the reserve now boasts the largest concentration of rhino outside of a national park. The best part? From Desert Rhino Camp, you can join the expert SRT team to track rhino on game drives and on foot, learning more about the efforts to protect this endangered species.
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Charlotte Müller Statue in Göttingen, Germany

Travel
When leaving Gottingen Station, you will come across a well-hidden statue of a kneeling woman that is often overlooked by passersby. It's an effigy of Charlotte Müller, who local tradition claims was the oldest street vendor in the world. Müller's life was one of hardship, as the Hilwartshausen-born woman began her career as a house servant at age 15, working for a Göttingen professor's family. She worked there for seven years until she could afford her own house, and then moved back to her hometown and married. Thirty-one years later her husband died, leaving her alone with her two children and forcing her to find a new job. She sold fruit and sweets to travelers as a roadside vendor near the Gottingen station. Müller worked at this stand from 1889 until she died in 1935 at age 94. 
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101 Dining Table at Falaknuma Palace in Hyderabad, India

Travel
Once home to the Nizam, or monarch, of Hyderabad, Falaknuma Palace is understandably opulent. In addition to a rare books library, sprawling gardens, and beautifully restored objets d'art, the 19th-century mansion features a giant dining room that houses what may be the world’s largest permanent dining table (there are longer examples that have been constructed for lone, record-breaking occasions).Stretching 108 feet, the table seats 101 guests, who rest on chairs that have been carved from rosewood and lined with green leather. It was built by the Nizams for entertaining their royal guests, who'd dine beneath ornate chandeliers using gold and silver cutlery. Ardent food lovers, the Nizams had kitchens churning out delectable dishes such as the rice-based Hyderabadi biryani, a slow-cooked meat-and-lentil stew known as haleem, and a bread called kulcha.
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Train vs. Plane: And the Winner Is ... Well, It Depends

Travel
From Chicago, there are a number of ways to travel the 300 miles to St. Louis. American, Southwest and United Airlines fly direct in about an hour and 15 minutes, with fares recently running $165 to $350 round trip. Normally, I drive the rear-numbing route through the corn fields, which takes about five hours and leaves me exhausted. But on my last trip, I took Amtrak, a five-hour-and-20-minute trip at $62 round trip that deposited me downtown near my hotel.Compared to flying, I saved at least $100 and some degree of stress; the train requires no security screening, allowing me to show up just minutes before departure. There were no mandatory seatbelts or admonitions to stay seated, and when the free Wi-Fi didn’t work, which sometimes happens with the paid Wi-Fi in the air, I had access to the internet through my cellphone data plan. I was free to stretch and roam, though that mostly meant padding to the bar car for tea refills.
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A beginner’s guide to Provence

Travel
With such a lot to see and do in Provence, it can sometimes become overwhelming trying to plan a holiday in Provence… especially if you have never visited before!To help you enjoy the perfect Provence vacation I’ve listed some top attractions and well as lots of useful information about the region. If you’ve got any unanswered questions after have a read, leave them in the comments below and I’ll do my best to answer!Region overviewProvence is a hugely popular area of France. Located in the south of the country, it covers a large area from the Mediterranean Sea up to the French Alps. To its western border is the Rhône River and to the east is Italy! The region is broken down into smaller sections or ‘Departments’ as the French call them (the equivalent of Counties in the UK).
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L'Atelier des Lumières (Workshop of Light) in Paris, France

Travel
Since April 2018, visitors to Paris' Atelier des Lumières (Workshop of Light) have been able to enjoy the works of great artists ranging from Klimt to Van Gogh. But rather than just presenting the artists' works, visitors are essentially transported inside the classic pieces of art as the entire cavernous space is transformed by light and sound.  This digital art center, the first of its kind in Paris, is situated in what was once a 19th-century smelting plant, the Chemin-Vert foundry. The location provides wide-open spaces for visitors to wander through, while projections on the walls and ceilings create the feeling of being transported into mesmerizing works of art. Each experience, using cutting-edge multimedia techniques, is a feast for the eyes. 
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Shepard's Barber Shop in Conroe, Texas

Travel
Looking like a storefront straight off of a studio lot, Shepard's Barber Shop in Conroe, Texas, is a local icon. The classic barbershop, which has changed hands only a handful of times since its establishment in 1922, doesn't just provide the look of a vintage barbershop, but it still operates as one too. Shepard's was first opened in the early 20th century, not long after the building it still sits in was built. Serving the residents of Conroe and the surrounding towns, Shepards has long been a fixture in the local community. The shop even got a visit from Elvis Presley in 1955, who had his ears lowered for the going price of one dollar.
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6 activities that celebrate New Zealand’s love affair with wine

Travel
When contemplating New Zealand, with its multitude of amazing activities, natural wonders, and stunning scenery, wine may not be the first thing that leaps to mind.However, New Zealand has long fostered a complex relationship with wine, dating back centuries. The earliest vines were planted here back in the 1800s and kicked off the country’s ongoing fascination with the art of winemaking. As the fledgling viticulture industry grew it began to gather international recognition, fully bursting onto the world stage with the renowned Sauvignon Blanc vintages of the 1980s.New Zealand wines continue to win international acclaim and awards, bringing home three trophies from the International Wine Challenge in 2018.
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Wooden Animal Sculptures in Edinburgh, Scotland

Travel
The Scottish capital is famous for many things: its UNESCO World Heritage Site of the city's Old and New Towns, the Edinburgh Castle, and its mid-city extinct volcano. However, one of Edinburgh's new defining features seems to be its ability to influence sculptors. Artists have donated their works to public spaces and institutions around the city without much fanfare or information on their work.The sculptures found in London Road Gardens feature badgers, owls, and a squirrel all intricately crafted from wood. The badger and owls are also found in Seven Acre Park and Regent Road Park. These magnificent animal sculptures are located in areas mostly cleared of grass and other vegetation. It's unknown if the sculptures were erected with permission from local authorities, or the artist or artists simply found the ideal area for their sculptors to be seen and enjoyed by everyone.  
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Rescuers used a human chain to save a group of dolphins stranded in a Florida canal

Travel
(CNN) — A group of four dolphins that was stranded for days in a canal in St. Petersburg, Florida was rescued Tuesday after volunteers formed a human chain to help free them.The dolphins, including two calves, were trapped in a canal near the Fossil Park neighborhood since Sunday. Experts believe that the height and sound of a bridge nearby acted as a barrier to the dolphins."We're able to keep that chain together," said Andy Garrett, a biologist with the Florida Fish Wildlife Conservation Commission. "The dolphins were interested, they actually came over right away, and kind of investigated."Dolphins use echolocation to navigate in the water. Emitting high-frequency sounds, dolphins interpret the echoes of sound waves that bounce off of objects to find their way around.
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36 Hours in Albuquerque

Travel
Any conversation about travel to New Mexico seems to start with Santa Fe, the tourist-magnet about 60 miles up the road from Albuquerque, the state’s largest city. But Duke City (so called for its namesake, the Duke of Alburquerque, the early 18th-century Viceroy of New Spain) has been emerging from its neighbor’s shadow ever since the popular drama “Breaking Bad” began in 2008. Home to sizable Native American and Latino communities, both with major cultural attractions (including the National Hispanic Cultural Center, which holds more than 700 cultural events a year),Albuquerque expects more time on camera since Netflix bought local ABQ Studios last fall and announced a plan to bring $1 billion in production to the state over the next 10 years. Entrepreneurs are starting up midcentury-modern tours, dealing clever T-shirts and kombucha at the Rail Yards Market, opening craft breweries and redefining retail. See the city at its most colorful during the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, Oct. 5 to 13, when hundreds of hot air balloons launch in early morning mass ascensions.
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Baptist Alley in Washington, D.C.

Travel
You won't see it on any official tour of Ford's Theatre, the infamous site of President Abraham Lincoln's assassination on April 14, 1865. But this key element of John Wilkes Booth's wild escape from the theater that night is easily accessible if you know where to look.When Booth discovered Lincoln would be attending a performance of Our American Cousin at Ford's Theatre on that Good Friday evening, he knew it would be his last chance to act. Since failing at an earlier scheme to kidnap Lincoln and use him as a Confederate bargaining chip, the South had all but been defeated and the Civil War was coming to a rapid end. The Confederate capital of Richmond, Virginia, had fallen on April 3, and Southern General Robert E. Lee had surrendered to Union forces at Appomattox just five days before. For Booth, it was now or never.
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Giant's Causeway and Bushmills Railway in Bushmills, Northern Ireland

Travel
Most travelers brave long bus rides and crowded car parks to see the magnificent Giant’s Causeway. Many are unaware that a more scenic option exists: The Giant's Causeway and Bushmills Railway.Departing from the historic town of Bushmills, this train takes visitors on a two-mile journey along the windswept Northern Irish coast before dropping them off just down the hill from the National Trust Visitor’s Center at the Giant’s Causeway World Heritage Site. Through bucolic hinterlands, past sandy beaches, even intersecting a golf course, the charming trip is arguably the ideal way to arrive at Northern Ireland’s sole UNESCO site.
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Top 5 most haunted cities in Europe to visit by private jet

Travel
Halloween is a haunting tradition celebrated by people all over the world. Every year on the 31st October revellers participate in lots of fun activities and events. These include guising (also known as trick or treating), watching horror movies and carving pumpkins. The tradition is believed to have originated in Ireland, where the Celtics celebrated Samhain. Samhain was a Gaelic festival held after harvest. It honoured the souls of the dead. This was believed to ward off bad luck.To celebrate a more authentic Hallows’ Eve, we’re taking you on a private jet tour of the top 5 most haunted cities in Europe. Are you brave enough?EdinburghA city known for its history and culture; Edinburgh is a favourite with tourists all over the world. However, Edinburgh also attracts a very large number of paranormal enthusiasts each year. This is due to some of the most infamous hauntings in the United Kingdom and beyond. There are countless haunted sites to see on your visit. These  include, West Bow, Brodies Close, Mary King’s Close, Edinburgh Castle and Niddry Street Vaults. The cities cobbled streets and winding closes make it the perfect backdrop for a Spooktacular Halloween evening.
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Christ Church Shrewsbury in Shrewsbury, New Jersey

Travel
The edifice of Christ Church Shrewsbury was erected in 1769, a time when political tensions were rising into what would become the Revolutionary War. The property was acquired in 1706 for five shillings. The church was designed by noted Colonial architect Robert Smith. It still has its original charter and builder’s agreement. One of its most important artifacts is its “Vinegar Bible.” The book, published in 1716, was named after a typo in the Parable of the Vineyard and one of only six still in existence.Church lore says George Washington worshiped here while a general during the Revolutionary War, and soldiers used the sanctuary as a barracks. The stained glass windows are some of the oldest in the country, and the bell was cast in France in 1788.
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A Decade Later, the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Has Left an Abyssal Wasteland

Travel
Clifton Nunnally felt sick before he even saw the seafloor. It was 2017 and he had come down with a virus on a month-long research cruise; he was recuperating in his room to avoid infecting his colleagues at the Louisiana University Marine Consortium (LUMCON). From 6,000 feet below, a remotely operated vehicle (ROV) was transmitting a live feed of the site of the Deepwater Horizon accident—the first images of it taken since 2010. Releasing some four million barrels of oil over 87 days, it was the largest accidental marine oil spill ever recorded, a seething, black apocalypse across hundreds of square miles in the Gulf of Mexico.
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For Sale: Bonnie and Clyde’s Sawed-Off Shotgun

Travel
On April 13, 1933, five sheriffs assembled outside 3347 ½ Oakridge Drive in Joplin, Missouri to confront what they thought were bootleggers operating out of the garage apartment. Instead, they encountered the notorious outlaws Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, who had converted the garage into a temporary hideout for the Barrow Gang. In the shootout that followed, Bonnie, Clyde, and their associates killed a detective and a constable.They managed to escape, but left behind almost everything they owned at the time: Bonnie’s poems, a bevy of weapons, and several rolls of undeveloped film that held staged photos of the two, nattily dressed and pointing various weapons at each other. In the coming weeks, national tabloids ran wild with these photos, which formally established the myth of Bonnie and Clyde as star-crossed lovers on the run. The couple would be killed a year later.
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Exploring London's abandoned underground stations

Travel
(CNN) — As the oldest subterranean railway network in the world, the London Underground has been through a lot of changes since it opened back in 1863.Several stations have come and gone in the 150 years or so since then -- some never actually opened in the first place.Although many of the UK capital's nonoperational stations, entrances and passageways are still standing, the majority have been closed to the public for decades.But a new book from the London Transport Museum uncovers the secret world of London's disused stations and underground structures."Hidden London: Discovering the Forgotten Underground" features dozens of images of the abandoned areas of the rapid public transit system known as the tube, as well as the stories behind them.
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Washington Monument has finally reopened

Travel
After years of construction and repairs, the Washington Monument in the nation's capital is reopening to the public.
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Booking.com warned over 'only one room left' claims

Travel
(CNN) — Booking.com has defended itself against accusations that it's continuing to use pressure selling tactics, despite a crackdown by UK regulators. In February, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) announced that six hotel booking sites -- Expedia, Booking.com, ebookers, Hotels.com, Agoda and Trivago -- had been the subject of enforcement action due to "serious concerns" around "misleading" selling tactics.Pressure selling, misleading discount claims, and pushing hotels which pay commission further up the rankings could confuse guests and be in breach of consumer protection law, the CMA said.As a result, all six sites agreed to take action to be clearer about discounts, the number of other guests considering the property, and the number of rooms left. The final price of a room must be included in the headline price.
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A Powerful Lure: Owning a Guesthouse in Morocco

Travel
ESSAOUIRA, Morocco — This Moroccan town offers a tempting formula to visitors: Buy a low-priced guesthouse in the old quarter, settle into an exotic paradise of souks and spice markets and then watch the tourists and money roll in like the hazy waves of the nearby Atlantic.The real estate offices in Essaouira’s walled old quarter are filled with photographs and upbeat descriptions that tempt expatriates to invest in 18th-century riads, traditional Moroccan townhouses with floors of rooms facing an interior garden or courtyard. “Pleasant riad decorated by an artist. Seven spacious bedrooms and seven bathrooms. Panoramic views from a rooftop terrace. 330,000 euros,” or about $365,000.“The dream is exactly the same as falling in love with a person,” said Jean-Gabriel Nucci, 63, the French co-owner of Riad Watier, a century-old primary-school-turned guesthouse in Essaouira’s old quarter. “But when you fall in love, you are blind to the risks. This city is easy to love. It’s very photogenic, but people don’t think about what it will be like to live on a daily basis in this city. It’s not just a postcard.”
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Conger Bread at Griffin's Bakery

Travel
Every morning, a massive loaf of sourdough stretches across the entire length of the counter at Griffin's Bakery in Galway. It's particularly satisfying when owner Jimmy Griffin gets to slice into it. Why? It's made in the shape of the giant conger eel that almost killed him. It all began on a beautiful summer day in 2013 when Griffin was scuba diving off the Connemara coast. “All of a sudden I felt I got hit by a freight train," he told the Connacht Tribune. "I got hit by this thing, it had me by the face and I was being tossed around like a rag doll." It was a conger eel, a carnivorous fish with strong teeth that can stretch up to six feet long. While Griffin was able to escape, the large eel left its mark: a gash across his cheek, mouth, and chin.
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Museo Bichos Querétaro (Querétaro Bugs Museum) in Santiago de Querétaro, Mexico

Travel
It feels as though every inch of this museum is covered with showcases full of intriguing insects. All the displays are from Jesús Puente’s personal collection.Wander around, and you’ll find extraordinary specimens ranging from the beautiful butterflies of Madagascar to the stick insects of Asia. Less flashy bugs are shown, too. Even common creatures like flies have their own special display.You can glimpse insects that may make your skin crawl, such as giant beetles, cockroaches, and wasps. There’s an area full of spiders, tarantulas, and scorpions, which is made more unnerving by the knowledge that their living relatives are native to the area.
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Victoria and Albert Museum WWII Battle Scars in London, England

Travel
Take one glance at this museum, and you'll surely notice the severe damage across its facade. The dents and chips are remnants of the German military bombing campaigns of World War II. For 11 weeks, London and many other parts of England were besieged by an aerial bombardment commonly known as the Blitz.Despite being under constant bombardment, the museum mostly remained open during the air raids. Sandbags and other methods of protection were used to prevent its artifacts from being destroyed. The museum did close briefly due to an explosion that caused severe damage to the entrances and windows along the western side. These battle scars were not removed and now exist as a tribute to the museum–and country's—resolve during the war. 
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Mount Davidson Cross in San Francisco, California

Travel
Towering above the trees on the highest hill in San Francisco is the massive 103-foot tall Mount Davidson Cross. Four crosses previously stood in the same location, the first being a 40-foot cross erected in 1923.Over the years more crosses were built, but the wooden crosses barely survived a single year. One was even burned down by arsonists. In 1934, the decision was made to make the next cross of concrete, and it has stood atop the hill ever since. The cross even received a special introduction, as it was lit the entire week before Easter. President Franklin D. Roosevelt pressed a special telegraph key in Washington D.C. to light up the cross for the spectators. 
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Giant Oak Park in Peoria, Illinois

Travel
Just seven years after Columbus sailed the ocean blue, the Sentinel on the Bluff took root high above the wide, fertile Illinois River valley. But it wasn't until early explorers visited the region in the mid-to-late 1600s that Europeans knew of the existence of the tree; which was recorded in an early survey in the 1700s.Fast forward to the 1960s, when the Peoria Park District purchased the property and its arboreal resident and established Giant Oak Park. For having lived during the American Revolution, the tree was designated a Bicentennial Tree in 1976 by the International Society of Arboriculture and the National Arborist Association.
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Taquería Los Cocuyos in Mexico City, Mexico

Travel
Blink and you might miss Los Cocuyos, a single-window taquería in Mexico City's Centro Histórico. But you won't need your eyes to find this spot: Just follow your nose as the aroma of marinating meat dances down the street. Half the window at this small, nearly 50-year-old stand is occupied by a giant vat of bubbling sausage, tripe, and tender cuts of beef, slowly cooking to perfection.Any order will suit you fine at Cocuyos—their suadero (brisket) tacos are particularly incredible—but for those wanting to sample something a bit more unique, the stand offers an array of fillings that you won't find at just any old taco joint. Many options provide texturally delightful alternatives to the usual carnitas or chorizo, from tacos de sesos (brains), which have a creamy consistency that melts into the corn tortilla, to diced ojos (eyeballs), which offer a gelatinous punch. Other options include tacos de cabeza (slices of beef cheek or other parts of the face), chewy lengua (tongue), and longaniza (sausage).
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Beijing's new mega-airport ready to open

Travel
Beijing (CNN) — China is poised to open a new mega-airport to the south of Beijing, already home to the world's second-busiest aviation hub, ahead of the 70th anniversary of the People's Republic. Beijing Daxing International Airport (PKX) will see its first commercial flight take off around September 20, according to Chinese state media, with main tenant China Southern planning to deploy an Airbus A380, the world's biggest airliner, for the maiden journey.The greatly anticipated airport ushers in a new era for air travel to and from the Chinese capital, which has been in desperate need of a second global gateway. The existing Beijing Capital International Airport (PEK) is hitting full capacity, making it nearly impossible for airlines to add flights at desirable times.
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A Cave for Living, Built From a Traditional Spanish Toolshed

Travel
WHEN THE 34-YEAR-OLD Spanish architect Mar Vicens turned 16, her father got on his Vespa to begin the task he had undertaken for each of his three children: searching for a bit of property for her in the Serra de Tramuntana mountains on the northwestern coast of Mallorca. Although based half of the year in Valencia — Spain’s third largest city, an hour away by plane — the family also has roots going back generations in Mallorca, the largest of the Balearic Islands. The Tramuntanas, named a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2011, are sui generis, from both a geological and an aesthetic perspective: Fifty-five miles long, with summits of up to 4,700 feet, the onetime coral reefs from the Miocene era have eroded into sharp peaks that are sheared cleanly off in many places, dropping vertiginously to the sea.
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Ice Age Australia Had Giant, Clawed, Swole Marsupials in Its Trees

Travel
Thousands of years ago, the inland region of eastern Australia was a far cry from the sere place it is today. During the Ice Age, this part of the Southern Hemisphere hosted its own array of big charismatic creatures—answers to the woolly mammoths and saber-toothed cats up north—some of which roamed the then-forested regions of Queensland and Victoria. In a country famous today for its curious and sometimes venomous fauna, Australia’s prehistoric menagerie has proven just as weird, if not weirder, according to a new paper in the journal PLOS One.“These were strange beasts unlike anything we see today,” says Julien Louys, a paleontologist at Griffith University, who reviewed the study. “The closest [relatives] would probably be wombats and koalas, but that’s a little like saying that a sheep is comparable to a giraffe.”
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Airbus A340-600 chopped up into coffee tables

Travel
(CNN) — The afterlife of a decommissioned airplane can take many forms nowadays.Some are dismantled and used as parts, others simply end up in aircraft graveyards, while a select few are reinvented as modern restaurants or hotels.However, Lufthansa has gone for a rather different approach with a retired Airbus A340-600.The German airline is giving the aircraft, identified by the registration code D-AIHO -- a fresh start as a brand new product collection. Created as part of a collaboration between Lufthansa, traveler loyalty program Miles & More GmbH and Lufthansa Technik, the Lufthansa Upcycling Collection is made from parts of the plane, which was withdrawn after 10 years of service. Repurposing parts
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Sanctuary of Santa Vittoria in Monteleone Sabino, Italy

Travel
Hidden among the olive groves and hills of Sabina is the Romanesque church of Santa Vittoria. This medieval structure tells a remarkable tale of religious fervor and piety.The church, dating in its present state to the late 12th century, was built over a shrine founded around the cult of Saint Victoria, a Christian martyr from the third century. Victoria, who refused to marry a pagan patrician, was exiled to Sabina, where she performed a miracle.Legend says she chased away a dragon that was threatening the inhabitants of Trebula Mutuesca in return for their conversion. She was then denounced as a Christian to the authorities in Rome and was murdered for refusing to adore an idol of Diana. Local tradition says she was buried in the cave originally occupied by the dragon, which is the present site of the Church of Santa Vittoria.
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A world of wonders: London's best 12 museums

Travel
(CNN) — Ancient wonders. Modern design marvels. Curiosities of nature. The museums of London are comprehensive, beautiful and renowned the world over. And they are only getting better. Over the past few years, many of London's museums have had impressive facelifts or gotten new digs altogether. There's the atrium at the Imperial War Museum, architect Amanda Levete's courtyard and subterranean gallery at the Victoria and Albert Museum, and an extraordinary new home for the Design Museum.We travel to these institutions for their themes, collections, locations -- and occasionally their quirkiness. Remarkably, entry to most of them is free, although you will probably have to pay for temporary exhibitions.
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St. George's Market in Belfast, Northern Ireland

Travel
Likely named after the nearby church, St. George’s market was much smaller during its earlier years. Today, nearly 250 stalls, many of them generational family businesses, serve locals and tourists alike.  Comprised of red brick with sandstone dressing, the market also features Roman pedimented arches. Written across the arches are Latin and Irish mottos that read: "pro tanto quid retribuamus," meaning “for so much what shall we give in return?” While the Irish one reads, "lámh dearg na hÉireann" which translates to “Red Hand of Ireland." Additionally, the main entrance central portico features the Belfast coat of arms.  
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There really is a holiday for everything, and so today we celebrate the cheeseburger

Travel
(CNN) — Happy National Cheeseburger Day! Yes, there really is a day for everything. But a day for everything means there's a deal for everything, and so some of your favorite burger spots are serving up discounts -- and free burgers -- to celebrate. We're not sure when this day was invented or why it falls on this day in particular, but we do know these random facts about cheeseburgers: The cheeseburger was likely invented by a teenagerIf you're going to be devouring a juicy burger today, you may have Lionel Clark Sternberger to thank.Legend has it that Sternberger invented the cheeseburger sometime in the mid-1920's, forever altering the course of human history. Mr Sternberger -- can we call you "Berger" for short? -- was a teenage short-order cook at a restaurant called The Rite Spot in Pasadena, California.
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5 places to visit in central Malawi

Travel
Although it is home to the country’s capital and main airport, Central Malawi is not as popular with visitors as the better-known attractions to the south of the country. But it does have plenty of places to visit and great experiences on offer, all within relatively easy access of the point where most people enter the country, Lilongwe. In this blog we’re rounding up just 5 of the places to visit in Central Malawi.LilongweAlthough many visitors to Malawi may be limited to a single night (if that) in Lilongwe as they head further afield to sample the country’s varied delights, it is a city with plenty of character and sufficient attractions to easily fill a few days.It is made up of two very distinct settlements: the modern Capital City and the traditional Old Town – and a charming Nature Sanctuary lies between the two! Even the Old Town has only a relatively short history- its population at the turn of the 20th century was just a couple of dozen – and the Capital City was a largely artificial creation of the late 20th Century.
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'The Mantis' in Las Vegas, Nevada

Travel
Standing sentinel outside of Las Vegas, Nevada's Downtown Container Park shopping center is a massive, metallic mantis. Like some kind of post-apocalyptic, Mad Max–monster, the mantis sculpture is capable of shooting fire from its antennae and blaring sound from a powerful internal speaker system. But strangely, this tribute to B-movie creatures began as an anniversary gift.  The Mantis was originally built by aerospace engineer Kirk Jellum as a first wedding anniversary gift to his wife Kristen. Debuting at the Burning Man Festival, the Mantis made a second appearance outside of Zion National Park before finding its permanent home in Las Vegas.
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Don't take CBD products into the UAE, UK government warns travelers

Travel
(CNN) — Your body lotion or e-cigarette could get you into serious trouble in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). This was the British government's message to travelers to the Emirates -- a country with a policy of zero tolerance for bringing drugs to the country. While the UAE's strict views on drug trafficking are well known, the UK's Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) this week reminded travelers that even if they don't see the drug, it doesn't mean it's not there.In particular, the FCO warns that "some skincare products and E-cigarette refills may contain ingredients that are illegal in the UAE, such as CBD oil." CBD oil contains cannabidiol, a substance found in the marijuana plant and sometimes used for pain management.
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Top 5 St. Tropez beach clubs

Travel
My blog post last month was about beach clubs in Ibiza and it sparked a healthy debate, here and elsewhere, about Tripadvisor. The take away for me was suck it and see, for yourself. It’s like reading reviews of a film you’d like to see, the reviews universally panning said film and then you walking away after viewing and wondering where the reviewers heads were at; it was a winner for you. Of course every establishment should take a bad review seriously, if they care enough, If they don’t they’ll soon go out of business. Anyway, this month’s blog is about the joys of beach clubs in St Tropez and I dare say some of these have been shot at from the people who contribute to Tripadvisor. A day at a beach club can offer you comfort and great food, in a stunning location. Why not be pampered and looked after? You’ve earned it. Here are five venues in and around St Tropez that could just be the perfect day and in some cases, the night at the beach. Go, and make up your own mind!
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In Italy, Five-Star Shopping

Travel
MILAN — For decades the stylish hordes were known to arrive for fashion week, drop their bags at the Principe di Savoia, Four Seasons and Grand hotels, and — before attending any shows — rush to shop in the Golden Triangle between Monte Napoleoneand Spiga. Prada! Versace! Gucci! That ended with the rise of global pricing, online shopping and the proliferation of luxury boutiques, ensuring that the brands and goods you wanted could be found pretty much everywhere. “There’s a perception of exclusivity which is inherent in luxury, but it doesn’t really exist any more,” said Flavio Cereda-Parini, managing director of luxury and brand equity research for Jefferies Group, an investment bank and financial services company.
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Making the desert bloom: The UAE's restored wetlands

Travel
(CNN) — The judges of the Aga Khan Award for Architecture selected an eclectic mix of winners this year. These included an amphibious bamboo school in Bangladesh, a wedge-shaped museum in the West Bank, and the Wasit Wetland Centre in Sharjah, UAE.The latter entry, created by Dubai architecture firm X-Architects, is the centerpiece of an ambitious restoration project that has seen a stagnant dump transformed into a flourishing natural ecosystem and popular visitor attraction. "The project sets a powerful precedent that encourages low-impact and environmentally conscious development in a region known for its propensity to go in the opposite direction," the award judges commented. Blending into nature
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The Hanging Stanes in Scotland

Travel
In the middle of a residential street in the Morningside neighborhood of Edinburgh, you'll find a pair of strange stones embedded in the pavement. The nearby plaque on the curb tells the story of the last highwaymen to be publicly hanged in Scotland.On a cold November night in 1814, David Loch was hauling his goods by cart when he was set upon by two Irish immigrants, Henry O’R Neil and Thomas Kelly. He was savagely beaten and had his horse stolen along with about a month's worth of wages. Both men were quickly apprehended due to their notoriety for similar crimes. The trial was expedient and may have been biased due to prejudice against the Irish. Their case was unusual, as the judge ordered that men be chained and led from the Old Tolbooth in the center of Edinburgh and forced to walk several miles to be executed at the very spot where the crime took place.
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A California conservation group wants to buy world's largest remaining private giant sequoia forest for $15 million

Travel
A San Francisco conservation group has kicked off a public fundraising campaign to buy and protect the world's largest remaining privately owned giant sequoia forest. It just needs $15 million.
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Meet the Man at the Controls of the World’s Largest Steam Locomotive

Travel
There’s no doubt about it. Ed Dickens is a rockstar. Dickens is a steam locomotive engineer and mechanic who maintains the Union Pacific Railroad’s historic steam and diesel fleet, which now includes the world’s largest steam locomotive, known to train buffs around the world as “Big Boy.” And everywhere that Dickens goes—and he’s going all over—train fans let him hear it.In spring 2019, Big Boy No. 4014 ran for the first time in 60 years following a multiyear restoration. Since then, it has toured the country—to Utah in May for the 150th anniversary of the First Transcontinental Railroad and across the Midwest over the summer. Now Dickens and his team are preparing for the Big Boy’s biggest journey yet: A two-month tour through 12 states, from the locomotive’s home base in Wyoming to Utah, Nevada, California, Arizona, New Mexico, Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, and Colorado. The public will even be given the rare opportunity to ride behind it in Los Angeles on October 12 and 13.
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A mountain climber survived a terrifying fall into a crevasse while descending Mount Rainier. Then he snapped a pic

Travel
A mountain climber thought he'd finished the hardest part of his journey up Mount Rainier, but as he'd tell you now, he was wrong.
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Mile 0 in Victoria, British Columbia

Travel
Located in picturesque Beacon Hill Park in British Columbia's capital, Mile 0 is one of the symbolic starting points of the Trans-Canada Highway on the Pacific Coast.The highway, conceived in the late 1940s and constructed between 1950 and 1971, was the longest uninterrupted highway in the world at the time of its completion. Spanning a whopping 4,860 miles (7,821 kilometers), it runs across all 10 of Canada's provinces, crossing the likes of the Rocky Mountains and the wide-open prairies of central Canada. There is no officially recognized starting point or "mile zero," St. John's, Newfoundland, also has a "mile zero" of their own, being the Atlantic end of the route. Located nearby is a statue of runner Terry Fox, who attempted to run the length of Trans-Canada Highway to raise money for cancer research, before succumbing to the disease himself at around the midpoint of his trek.
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Lost toy monkey gets VIP treatment from Buckingham Palace staff

Travel
London (CNN) — A toy monkey left at Buckingham Palace has been repatriated to an Australian kindergarten, following a letter from students asking for its return. Savannah Hart, a 5-year-old pupil at Woodside Preschool in south Australia, had taken Harriet -- one of her school's six traveling toy monkeys -- on vacation around Europe when she accidentally left her behind at the Queen's London residence on August 13. After returning home, Savannah teamed up with her classmates to write a letter to the Queen, saying they "would dearly like her (Harriet) to return to Woodside to share her adventures."Within a week, the preschool heard via email that Buckingham Palace staff had found the toy monkey. They said she had been busy eating scones and promised to send her back after photographing her at work around the palace.
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Jardín Héroes de Chapultepec (Garden Heroes of Chapultepec) in Santiago de Querétaro, Mexico

Travel
Although its original name is Jardín Héroes de Chapultepec (Garden Heroes of Chapultepec), this unusual garden is better known as the Jardin de los Platitos (Garden of the Little Dishes). It’s a fitting nickname, as the garden was built with thousands of dishes.The garden was built by Don Daniel Mendoza Guevara, but it was his son Carlos Mendoza who conceived of the project. The two men found thousands of dishes in the garbage, which gave them the idea to clean the discarded goods and use them to transform the space into an oasis of outsider art. Neighbors, upon seeing the project, donated their old dishes to the cause as well.
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House Hunting in … Iceland

Travel
This three-story farmhouse is outside Reykholt, a small village in the Haukadalur geothermal valley of southwest Iceland, about 70 miles east of Reykjavik. Built in 1958 to house two families, the property is perched on 17 upland acres with majestic views of nearby mountains, glaciers, geysers and the winding Tungufljot River, said Asdis Osk Valsdottir, a broker with Husaskjol Real Estate, which has the listing. In 2015, the main house was renovated into a 10-bedroom inn with accommodations for 24 guests.Most of an adjacent 2,479-square-foot stables building, circa 1960, has been converted to a restaurant with a bar, bathrooms, laundry room, storage and shower facilities. It still houses stables for as many as 18 horses.
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Godstow Abbey Ruins in Oxfordshire, England

Travel
Sometime around 1133, a noble lady named Dame Ediva approached King Henry I and said a voice told her to go "where a light from heaven touched the ground" and establish an abbey there. The light touched the ground across the river from the Port Meadow, a large area of common land. The king indeed helped, and the abbey was founded.The location flourished after it became the burial place of Rosamund Clifford, also known as the "Fair Rosamund," a longtime mistress of Henry II during the 1170s. The king would often spend time with her at a nearby hunting lodge he had constructed in Woodstock.It's also been theorized that once Henry disconnected himself from Rosamund, she actually retired to the abbey to live out the rest of her days. The circumstances surrounding her later years is still shrouded in mystery. Rosamund died in 1176—it's believed she was only 30 at the time. When she was buried at the nunnery, it received large endowments from Henry and was able to expand and construct new buildings.
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London's Subterranean Victorian Bathrooms Now House Bars and Cafés

Travel
You wouldn’t see it unless you’re looking for it. Directly in front of the busy junction on the north side of London’s Waterloo Bridge, hiding in plain sight, is a cocktail bar. A trim pagoda of milky glass shelters a staircase leading beneath the pavement to a tiny, red-lit lounge. Cellar Door, which looks like a cross between a New York speakeasy and a Berlin cabaret, used to be a public lavatory. It’s not the only one. Recent years have seen a number of London’s Victorian public restrooms reopen as bars, restaurants, cafés, and even an art gallery.In keeping with the bar’s proximity to the West End, Cellar Door’s décor is both intimate and more than a little outrageous. It’s “a bit cheeky, a bit of fun,” says Paul Kohler, one of the owners. A lascivious pink love seat shaped like a tongue lolls opposite the entrance, and banquettes embroidered to resemble bare bottoms run along the wall where toilet cubicles used to stand. Tall stools with crimson upholstery in the shape of lips cluster around little tables in the area formerly occupied by the urinals. “The one place we have the loos is where the loos weren't, of course,” he chuckles, sipping pink gin.

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