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Photo of the Day – Pamukkale, Turkey

Posted by on Oct 22, 2014 | 0 comments

Photo of the Day – Pamukkale, Turkey

Its name translates as “cotton castle” in Turkish and you’ll quickly understand why when you get your first look at the billowing travertine terraces of Pamukkale. Though they have the appearance of salt, the scalloped terraces of Pamukkale are actually made of travertine, a sedimentary rock deposited by the thermal waters of 17 hot water springs. The temperature of the water ranges from 95 to 212 degrees Fahrenheit. Up until the mid 20th century, hotels were located at the top of the terraces and some siphoned water from the pools. A road was also used for vehicle traffic to the top. The hotels, the road and just too many people in the pools, caused a big environmental problem. In 1997, UNESCO came in and took down the hotels and converted the road to a walking path. Today, a channel system keeps some pools dry for several days while water flows to others. This changes frequently and since the system was put in place the site has been slowly recovering. The entire site also includes the ruins of the ancient Greco-Roman and Byzantine city of Hierapolis and it’s a must-see when visiting southern Turkey.

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Photo of the Day – Manitou Cliff Dwellings, Colorado

Posted by on Oct 20, 2014 | 0 comments

Photo of the Day – Manitou Cliff Dwellings, Colorado

The Colorado Springs area offers a wide variety of incredible natural and historical attractions for visitors. When I visited recently, I headed straight for several of the region’s top sights including Garden of the Gods park and the Pikes Peak Cog Railway. But a quick stop at the Manitou Cliff Dwellings proved to be one of the area’s most unique sights. A rare historical treasure from the American Indian culture that roamed the Four Corners area of the Southwest from 1200 B.C. o A.D. 1300, these authentic Anasazi cliff dwellings were carved into a protective red sandstone overhang. I’d seen expansive cave dwellings on my recent summer trip to Cappadocia, Turkey and was surprised to find a smaller version of these intricate caves my own country. Constructed more than 700 years ago, the Manitou Cliff Dwellings are one of the United States’ most unusual archaeological wonders and a must-see when in the Colorado Springs area.

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Photo of the Day – Berkeley California, USA

Posted by on Oct 17, 2014 | 0 comments

Photo of the Day – Berkeley California, USA

The ESPN college football tour rolls on this week and for the first time this season I find myself on the west coast in the college town of Berkeley California. Named for Bishop George Berkeley, this hillside town overlooking the San Francisco Bay is home to the oldest campus in the University of California system – the University of California, Berkeley. Founded as a college town in 1873 when the University of California relocated from Oakland, it wasn’t until the 1960’s that Berkeley gained worldwide notoriety as a hotbed of free speech and flower power that defined the decade. Today’s Berkeley is still known for its counter-culture ideals but it’s also renowned as a cultural and culinary destination, thanks to the local, sustainable and organic food movement that has its roots here. It’s an eclectic and historic college town and well worth a trip across the bay from nearby San Francisco.  

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Photo of the Day – Bodrum Castle, Turkey

Posted by on Oct 16, 2014 | 0 comments

Photo of the Day – Bodrum Castle, Turkey

Once called Halicarnassus of Caria, the city of Bodrum was famous for housing the Mausoleum of Mausolus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. Today, it’s Bodrum Castle that welcomes maritime visitors to this Turkish resort town. In fact, the castle was the first thing that caught my eye from the ferry when arriving from the Greek island of Kos last summer. Built by the Knights Hospitaller in the 15th century, Bodrum Castle overlooks the harbor and the marina and its grounds also include the Museum of Underwater Archaeology. Over its colorful history, Bodrum Castle has been used as a military base and even a prison but today it’s most commonly known as the location for several of Bodrum’s popular cultural festivals throughout the year.

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Photo of the Day – West Bay Beach Roatan, Honduras

Posted by on Oct 14, 2014 | 0 comments

Photo of the Day – West Bay Beach Roatan, Honduras

Located just 30 miles off the coast of Honduras, the island of Roatan sits atop the world’s second-largest coral reef making it an ideal destination for divers. Often called the most perfect stretch of sand in Honduras, West Bay Beach Roatan rivals many of the Caribbean’s most phenomenal beaches. It’s also a great spot to try your hand at diving for the first time, like I did on my 30-day trip around Central America. Not only is Roatan one of the least expensive places in the world to become a certified diver, the reef is just a short swim from shore allowing rookie divers like myself to reach it comfortably while also providing easy access for snorkelers. West Bay Beach is lined with a relaxed blend of casual beach bars and high-end resorts but it’s the reef system and the crystal clear turquoise waters that will leave most visitors wanting more.  

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Photo of the Day – U Bein Bridge, Amarapura Myanmar

Posted by on Oct 13, 2014 | 0 comments

Photo of the Day – U Bein Bridge, Amarapura Myanmar

Situated just 7 miles south of Mandalay, the former royal city of Amarapura makes the perfect day trip. Translated as “City of Immortality,” King Bodawpaya  founded Amarapura to be his new capital in 1783 (it was later relocated piece-by-piece to Mandalay in 1860). Today, little remains of the old city and Amarapura is now best known for silk and cotton weaving and the U Bein Bridge, more commonly known as the “Teak Bridge.” Stretching for nearly a mile across Taungthaman Lake, the 200-year-old bridge is the longest teak bridge in the world and a popular place to watch the sun set each night. Unfortunately, on my visit to Amarapura, it was the middle of monsoon season so I missed out on the sunset views but a walk across this incredible teak bridge was definitely one of the highlights of my trip to Myanmar.

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Photo of the Day – Pikes Peak Cog Railway, Colorado

Posted by on Oct 10, 2014 | 0 comments

Photo of the Day – Pikes Peak Cog Railway, Colorado

For more than 100 years, the Pikes Peak Cog Railway has been transporting visitors from the gold rush town of Manitou Springs to the mountain’s 14,115 foot summit. The hour-long train ride takes passengers through four life zones from the lush high plains of Manitou Springs to the alpine tundra at the summit. The entire cog railway experience takes about 3 hours (including an hour to enjoy the views from the top) and don’t forget to bring a jacket – even on the warmest summer days, temperatures at the summit can be near freezing. Views from all seats in the train are spectacular but for the best photos and most unobstructed views, book a seat on the “three seat” side of the train. Katherine Lee Bates loved the panoramic views so much during her trip to the summit in the late 1800’s that it inspired her to write the poem that would later become the song, “America the Beautiful.” 

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