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Photo of the Day – Crazy Horse Memorial, South Dakota

Posted by on Dec 11, 2014 | 0 comments

Photo of the Day – Crazy Horse Memorial, South Dakota

It was 1939 when Lakota (Sioux) Chief Henry Standing Bear sought out the talents of sculptor Korczak Ziolkowski to create a monument of Crazy Horse in the sacred Black Hills of South Dakota. The sculptor had first visited the area during work on nearby Mount Rushmore and in 1947 he accepted the challenge to create the world’s largest sculpture depicting a Native American icon. Blasting on the Crazy Horse Memorial began at a 1948 dedication ceremony and continues to this day with no end in sight. The first blast removed just 10 tons of rock from the mountain face. Following Korczak’s death in 1982, his wife Ruth and seven of their ten children took over the monumental project with the hopes of seeing his dream fulfilled. Today, you can see Standing Bear’s vision slowly becoming a reality. Crazy Horse’s face was finally unveiled with great fanfare in 1998 and in 2014, the crew is hoping to finish work on the hand and 219-ft high horse’s head. Korczak’s 1/300th scale model adorns the visitor center at the base of the mountain and a viewing platform offers visitors the chance to watch the painstaking work continue while gaining an appreciation for the project’s eventual spectacular result.   

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Photo of the Day – Mount Rushmore, South Dakota

Posted by on Dec 5, 2014 | 0 comments

Photo of the Day – Mount Rushmore, South Dakota

Carved between 1927 and 1941 by sculptor Gutzon Borglum and a crew of more than 400 workers, Mount Rushmore is a larger than life memorial to the history of America. The massive project in South Dakota’s Black Hills was first envisioned in the early 1920’s by State Historian Doane Robinson. In 1924, state officials sought out Borglum, who had recently completed work on a Confederate memorial at Georgia’s Stone Mountain. The sculptor decided that the most fitting subject for the project would be four presidents representing the first 150 years of American history. Borglum pronounced the original proposed site too fragile and after exploration with local guides settled on Rushmore Mountain near Keystone. A multitude of challenges (from financial to safety) plagued the project but within a decade the faces of Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln began to emerge from the mountain. After Borglum’s death in 1941, his son Lincoln attempted to bring the project to completion. But the escalation of WWII and a lack of funds kept him from completing the figures down to their waists as originally intended. Despite the fact that it was ultimately never finished, Mount Rushmore plays host to more than 3 million visitors from around the world each year.

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Photo of the Day – The Blue Grotto Malta

Posted by on Nov 24, 2014 | 0 comments

Photo of the Day – The Blue Grotto Malta

Located along the island’s southern coast, a stunning natural cave formation surrounding bright cobalt waters makes the Blue Grotto Malta’s top visitor attraction. Named by a British soldier who thought it favored Capri’s famed Grotta Azzurra, Malta’s Blue Grotto has found a fame of its own and was even featured in the 2004 Brad Pitt movie “Troy.” The site attracts more than 100,000 tourists per year who take in the views from the shoreline, by tour boat or even underwater with a dive. Divers are able to fully appreciate the phosphorescent colors of the submerged flora when the sunlight reflects off the chain of caves created by centuries of persistent waves. This spectacular natural grotto is a sight to behold and like the Azure Window on neighboring Gozo Island, it’s a must-see on any visit to Malta. During my winter visit to Malta on Round the World #7, it was too cold for a dive but but I thoroughly enjoyed the sweeping views from the coastline.

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Photo of the Day – Banje Beach Dubrovnik, Croatia

Posted by on Nov 17, 2014 | 0 comments

Photo of the Day – Banje Beach Dubrovnik, Croatia

Famously described by George Benard Shaw as the “Pearl of the Adriatic,” the charming Old Town of Dubrovnik was added to the list of UNESCO World Heritage sites in 1979. Just outside the historic City Walls, you might even have picturesque Banje Beach all to yourself if you visit during the mild winter months (like I did on RTW #2). In the scorching months of summertime, however, you’ll be lucky to find a spot on the sand as Banje Beach is the place to see and be seen for the European jetset. But whether you spend your days lounging seaside or walking the City Walls, Dubrovnik is a city that never fails to inspire. And for my money, the blissfully uncrowded winter months are the best time to visit.

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Photo of the Day – Petra Monastery, Jordan

Posted by on Nov 14, 2014 | 0 comments

Photo of the Day – Petra Monastery, Jordan

Inhabited since prehistoric times, this ancient Nabataean city has been described as “a rose-red city half as old as time” and the Petra Monastery is one of its most impressive sights. Situated between the Red Sea and the Dead Sea, the vast city was quite literally carved into the sheer, dusky-pink rock face by its industrious Arab inhabitants more than 2,000 years ago. After entering through the Siq – a narrow gorge almost a mile long with dazzling colors and rock formations – you catch your first glimpse of the magnificent Treasury. Wind your way through the rest of the city in the morning hours before attempting the afternoon hour-long hike up 800 steps to the Monastery. The beautifully-carved, massive building is definitely worth the climb. A day trip to Petra from nearby Amman was one of the highlights of my 5th annual trip around the world.

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Photo of the Day – Vina del Mar Chile

Posted by on Nov 12, 2014 | 0 comments

Photo of the Day – Vina del Mar Chile

Founded in 1874 as a weekend retreat for the wealthy elite from Santiago, most Chileans refer to the city simply as “Viña.” The golden beaches, manicured lawns and elegant resorts of Vina del Mar, Chile are a stark contrast to the nearby colorful but ramshackle town of Valparaiso. Both cities are easily reachable from Santiago via a 90-minute drive through Chile’s beautiful Casablanca wine region. But what’s the rush? Take your time on the drive and stop to taste some of Chile’s most famous exports like I did on RTW #6. When you eventually arrive at the sun-kissed beaches of Vina del Mar, don’t spend all of your time on the sand – a visit to the vertical town of Valparaiso next door is a must.

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Photo of the Day – Multnomah Falls, Oregon

Posted by on Nov 10, 2014 | 0 comments

Photo of the Day – Multnomah Falls, Oregon

Just a few miles east of Portland, the Columbia River Gorge divides the US state of Washington and Oregon in an 80 miles stretch of towering cliffs and dramatic vistas. The area’s 77 waterfalls on the Oregon side make it the largest concentration of high falls in North America. Perhaps the most spectacular waterfall along the Columbia River Gorge – and the most-visited attraction in Oregon – Multnomah Falls plunges 620’ from the top of Larch Mountain in two sheer sections. Dividing the falls in the middle, the Benson Bridge was completed in 1914 and named for Simon Benson, a philanthropist who donated 300 acres around the falls for a park. In 1925, the Multnomah Falls Lodge was built in the “Cascadian” architecture style in response to the growing tourism along the Historic Highway. While it’s not possible to stay overnight at the lodge today, it still contains a gift shop and a restaurant with jaw-dropping views of the falls.

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