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The Colors of Antarctica

When you think of Antarctica, you probably think of lots of white and blue. And then some more white. I did. So I was surprised to find that it’s a lot more colorful than that. I didn’t expect to find so many other colors, some subtle, some striking....
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Zihuatanejo, a Gem on Mexico’s Pacific Coast

Zihuatanejo is one of those places you just wish you could get stranded in for a very long time. As I’ve said before, there’s much to love about the place. It’s a small fishing village on Mexico’s Pacific coast, and it’s just bursting with local flavor. Just up...
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Australian Parliament House, Canberra

Canberra is often known as Australia’s “bush capital” and has long had a poor reputation as a place to visit. The general perception is that it’s a place to be endured if you work for the federal government but not a place many people seek out. While it’s...
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Hoan Kiem Lake, Home of Hanoi's Giant Turtle

There’s a lot to be said for having a body of water in the middle of a city. Hanoi has a lot of lakes, but Hoan Kiem Lake is in its cultural and historic heart. It may not be big–it’s much smaller than West Lake–but the Old Quarter...
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Hanoi's Oldest Pagoda

At about 1400 years old, Tran Quoc Pagoda is Hanoi’s oldest temple. It sits on the tiny Golden Fish Island on West Lake (Ho Tay), joined to the lake banks by a causeway. It’s a picturesque spot, but the temple wasn’t always here. Originally, in the 6th century,...
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Dhammayangyi Temple

Dating back to the 12th century, Dhammayangyi Temple is the largest temple in Bagan. But that doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s the most impressive. It was never fully finished, and it hasn’t received the same restoration attention as many of the other large temples (which might be...
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The Belfry of Bruges

From the top, you can see most of Bruges. And from most of Bruges, you can see the Belfry. It has stood there, towering over the city, while the economy of Bruges boomed on Flemish textiles and trading, while the economy went bust when ships could no longer...
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Ananda Temple

Ananda Temple is one of Myanmar’s most revered sites. Built in the 11th-12th centuries, it has remained an active worship site since, nearly a millennia. With its striking gold hti, or umbrella, it stands out brightly against the landscape and red bricks. It is laid out as a...
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Ho Chi Minh City's Reunification Palace

The palace isn’t used much anymore. It’s an historical relic of an era that ended only 40 years ago. And it was only in use for less than 8 years, between October 1967 and 21 April 1975. In the sprawling grounds are vivid reminders of how it all...
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Kronborg Castle's Royal Apartments

The Royal Apartments at the 16th-century Kronborg Castle are where King Frederick II and his very young queen, Sophie, lived and worked. (Sophie was 14 years old when they married.) As you walk through them when you visit Kronborg Castle today you’re seeing rooms that have been reconstructed...
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Panama City's Casco Viejo

Casco Viejo is up-and-coming part of Panama City. Which might sound like an odd thing to say about some of the oldest parts of the oldest city on the Pacific coast of the Americas. Quite a few of the buildings date back to the late-1600s. But for a...
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A New Home for Phra Bang

From its fearsome gold naga King Cobras guarding the main stairs, its incredibly lavish gold and red interior, and multi-tiered roof, the Haw Pha Bang at Luang Prabang’s Royal Palace looks ancient and definitely royal. It was indeed royal. It’s purpose-built to be the official home of the...
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Royal Museums of Fine Arts of Belgium

To appreciate the contrast all these changes made one must have known Brussels in the days before the war. It was not only the gayest but the happiest of cities. In the population there was a fine joviality, that joyousness that came down from the days when...
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Climbing Kilimanjaro: Tips, Gear Recommendations & What to Expect

Here are some of the lessons I learned for next time I climb Kilimanjaro, along with some tips and gear recommendations. I’m by no means a hardcore mountain climber, although I’ve spent a good bit of time backpacking, camping, and traveling on all seven continents. But there are...
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Gallows Point Resort

Gallows Point Resort is a great place on a small headland on the south-western side of Cruz Bay on the beautiful St. John in the US Virgin Islands (not to be confused with St. John’s, which is in Antigua and Barbuda). It’s one of the few places around...
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Yuri Gagarin Monument in Moscow

Yuri Gagarin is a Russian national hero. At a time when the space race was a bellwether of national prestige in the Cold War, then 27-year-old Gagarin became the first person in space on 12 April 1961, beating American astronaut Alan Shepherd beyond the stratosphere by almost a...
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An Oasis in Texas

“How many Austinites does it take to change a light bulb? Four: One to change the bulb, and three to talk about how cool the old one was, before the yuppies came along and changed it.” [Joe Yonan, “Austin, Tex., Keeping It Weird,” Washington Post, 14 January 2011.]...
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Rustem Pasha Mosque

The Rustem Pasha Mosque (in Turkish: Rüstem Paşa Camii) dates to 1560. It was designed by Ottoman architect Mimar Sinan and was the first time he employed an octagonal layout. It’s not the grandest mosque and deliberately makes no attempt to try to upstage the much larger Süleymaniye...
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Ho Chi Minh's Mausoleum

Even Uncle Ho needs a holiday. Mind you, and as much as I like the place, I can think of more picturesque places than Moscow as that city heads into winter. Each year, in October and November, Ho Chi Minh, not exactly under his own steam, ventures to...
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Htilominlo Temple

Htilominlo Temple is a large, two-story temple in the northern part of the Bagan plain. It dates to the 12th to 13th centuries and is best known for its ornate stucco decoration, especially the patterns on the ceilings of the interior arches. The temple gets its name from...
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