5 Resolutions Every Avid Traveler Should Make for Earth Day

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

5 Resolutions Every Avid Traveler Should Make for Earth Day

We know there are questions around travel amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Read our note here.

April 22, 2020, marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day! Since the annual event was first celebrated in 1970, people around the globe have participated by hosting environmental cleanup projects, planting trees, or speaking to lawmakers about how to protect the planet. But what about travel? “The Independent” reports that tourism is responsible for one-tenth of the planet’s carbon emissions. What can travelers do to decrease their carbon footprint and make their global excursions more eco-friendly? Here are five resolutions you can make for your next trip in honor of Earth Day.

Bring Your Own Water Bottle

Bring Your Own Water Bottle

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Staying hydrated when you travel is a must. It can help you battle jet lag and ward off illnesses while on the road. How you stay hydrated can have a big impact on the planet though. “The Guardian” reported in 2017 that people buy one million plastic bottles every minute. While the materials that make those bottles are mostly recyclable, fewer than half of the bottles get recycled and approximately 7% of them get used to make new bottles.

So what can you do to stay hydrated? Switch to a reusable water bottle. While you might have limited packing space, you can buy plastic, metal, or glass reusable water bottles with a carabiner clip on them. This will allow you to easily attach the bottle to your backpack, purse, or suitcase so that you have it wherever you go. You’ll find a lot of places to fill it up too. More public places are offering free water bottle refills to encourage the use of refillable containers.

Eat Local When You Can

Eat Local When You Can

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Trying new foods is part of the adventure to a new destination. What, how, and where you choose to eat, however, could have a negative impact on the planet. A study published by the University of Sheffield found that sweets, alcohol, and restaurant food were actually worse for the environment than meat consumption. Eating out contributes to an average of 0.8 tons of carbon in the environment each year, while meat consumption contributes an average of 0.3 tons.

While you’ll probably have to eat out when traveling, you can commit to making smarter choices about how you do it. First, ditch the fast-food chains. They typically have to ship in their food items from farther away, which increases the carbon footprint. Plus, most chains wrap their food in single-use items, which are bad for the environment. Choose to dine at restaurants that have a recycling policy and source their products locally as much as possible. Not only will you be making better choices for the environment, but you’ll also be eating more locally authentic meals. If you stay at an Airbnb or somewhere else with kitchen access, make some of your meals there too. You’ll cut down on waste and your travel costs.

Treat Your Hotel Like Home

Treat Your Hotel Like Home

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According to the United Nations (UN), the hotel industry is responsible for 1% of global carbon emissions. Things like energy consumption, water consumption, and single-use plastics are all major factors in how hotels are harming the planet. The UN is encouraging hotels around the world to adhere to guidelines that will help reduce their carbon emissions and waste.

How can travelers help? By treating their hotel like they would their own home. That means doing simple tasks like hanging up and reusing towels after a shower. While it used to be customary to get clean towels every day, hotels can cut out water and energy waste when guests choose to keep their towels for a few days. You should also turn off lights and air conditioning when you aren’t using them to keep the energy usage down in your room. These are small things you’d do in your own home, so continue to do them at your hotel. Also, don’t use the hotel’s shampoo and conditioner. Those single-use bottles get tossed into the trash — even if you only use a little bit of product.

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Use Public Transportation

Use Public Transportation

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When it comes to the environment, public transportation is a good thing. When you hop on a bus or a train, you minimize your carbon footprint — unlike when you use a personal car or a taxi. The “BBC” reports that using public transportation is the key to a cleaner environment. It gets people out of their cars and helps control climate change. The rapid growth of car usage is one of the main contributing factors to climate change.

Instead of renting a car on your next trip, head for the bus station. You’ll end up seeing a more authentic side of your vacation destination when you are traveling the way the locals do. Plus, it’s a lot more cost-effective for your travel budget. In most places, you can hop on a bus for a few dollars and travel without worrying about directions, gas prices, or where to park when you get there. Google Maps is a great source for helping you decipher bus routes.

Commit to Traveling Slowly

Commit to Traveling Slowly

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The element of travel that contributes the most to carbon emissions is traveling itself. “The New York Times” reports that the airline industry’s contribution to global emissions is growing faster than anyone expected — jumping 32% from 2013 to 2018. Concern over how much damage flights are doing to the planet have led to flight shaming, according to “Forbes.” Some activists are swearing off airline travel in favor of other methods. For the average traveler, however, flights are the only option for getting from point A to point B.

To cut down on how much your flying habits are contributing to pollution, then simply slow down. Instead of hopping from destination to destination during your next two-week vacation, opt to spend the entire time in one place. If you still want to move around, look for overground transportation options like trains and buses. Slowing down your travel allows you to immerse yourself in the culture instead of rushing to complete a busy itinerary. You might find you actually end up getting more out of a slower schedule.

7 Underwater Landmarks You Can Visit

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

7 Underwater Landmarks You Can Visit

There are landmarks all around the world that excite, delight, and pique your curiosity. It doesn’t matter if the landmarks are human-made, naturally occurring, or even on dry land—they are sure to be impressive, and when they’re underwater, you’ll be wrapped in a quiet enveloping silence that is sure to leave you in awe.

Chuuk Lagoon – Micronesia

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A shipwreck that will excite even the most casual wreck enthusiast, Chuuk (also called Truk Lagoon) was a stronghold of Japan during WWII. It was bombed in 1944 and now boasts a ghost fleet of 60 ships and almost 300 airplanes. Inside the ships, a guided snorkeling tour can highlight some of the forgotten gas masks, ammunition, and guns, all settled on the sea floor. This underwater site is also home to reef sharks and a colorful array of ships.

Green Lake – Styria, Austria

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Up until mid-June, you would not know that Greek Lake is actually one of the most sought-after underwater sites for snorkeling tours. In June, snow from the Hochschwab Mountains melts, and this Austrian park transforms into an underwater gem for a few weeks. The lake, which is generally just a meter deep, becomes 12 meters deep. Trees, benches, and picnic tables all become submerged for a short time every year. This meltwater lake doubles in size every year when the snow from the Karst Mountains also melts. A snorkeling tour will make you feel like you are in a forgotten world since the entire park is submerged.

Yonaguni Monument – Okinawa, Japan

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No one can quite decide the origin of this underwater site, but one thing is for sure – it is exciting and captivating. When first discovered, Japanese divers thought it might be a temple. Standing almost 90 feet tall in the East China Sea, snorkeling explorers discovered solid rock slabs shaped like a pyramid. Years after its discovery, no one is quite sure what the underwater site actually is, but it is delightful all the same.

Jacob’s Well – Wimberly, Texas

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Even though it’s known as one of the most dangerous places in the world to dive, Jacob’s Well is a popular summer attraction. Inside the well, there are four chambers. The first is a straight-down, 30-foot dive; the second is deeper at 80 feet; and the final two chambers are generally reserved for only experienced divers.

Underwater Post Office – Vanuatu

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The world’s first underwater post office is nine feet underwater and almost two hundred feet from shore. When you are ready to mail an underwater letter, schools of shimmering fish and other exotic marine life are your post office companions. Though the post office sustained some damage in 2014, it is still operational. Just look for the yellow mailbox and you can mail a waterproof postcard to just about anywhere in the world.

Neptune Memorial Reef – Key Biscayne, Florida

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With plans to become the world’s largest human-made reef, this underwater site takes being buried at sea to a completely new level. It has been modeled after the famed underwater city Atlantis and has stone lions guarding the entrance. Since its inception, there have been almost 1,000 placements of cremated remains mixed with concrete and placed into the reef. At full capacity, this reef will be able to hold 125,000 sets of remains. This snorkeling tour is not for the faint of heart, but it is sure to be memorable.

Vaersenbaai Car Piles – Curacao

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No snorkeling vacation would be complete without a visit to the candy-colored island of Curacao. Along the island’s southern coast, there are plenty of easy dives and snorkeling options. What sets this island apart from all others are the innumerable classic cars sunk off the coast. Classics from the 40s and 50s were junked and sunk with large heavy-duty cranes in an attempt to create a barrier reef. Though the reef did not flourish, the cars remained, making this an excellent photo opp for an underwater site tour.

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4 U.S. Cities With the Most Extreme Weather

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

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4 U.S. Cities With the Most Extreme Weather

Many U.S. cities experience extreme temperatures, sometimes changing as much as 50 or even 65 degrees in a day. The honor for the hottest place ever recorded in the U.S. goes to Death Valley, California, with a whopping temperature of 134° F recorded in 1913. You’ll find the coldest place in the U.S. in the tiny northern Alaska town of Prospect Creek — temps fell to -80° F in 1971. The following four cities can claim some of the largest temperature variations within a year.

Waterloo, Iowa

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The Midwest experiences some of the greatest temperature variations between winter and summer. In Waterloo, Iowa, you’ll see temperature differences averaging about 57.5 degrees. Winter temps average 10° F to 27° F and summer highs reach the mid-80s. Waterloo residences enjoy a recently revitalized downtown area along the Cedar River that includes a riverwalk trail, plaza, splash pad, amphitheater, DekHockey rink, shopping, dining, cultural entertainment and nightlife. You can tour the John Deere factory here, which builds large and small tractors, farm equipment, lawnmowers and more. Guided tours will take you through each step of the manufacturing process, from the first steel cut to the final product.

Sioux Falls, South Dakota

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Head to Sioux Falls, which sees annual temperature differences averaging 59 degrees. Winter temps range from 7° F to 26° F, with summers reaching comfortable highs in the low 80s. Named for the falls along the Big Sioux River that flow through the city, Sioux Falls is home to the U.S. Geological Survey’s EROS (Earth Resources Observation and Science) Data Center. In contrast to modern satellite-image processing, you’ll find ancient Native American ceremonial burial grounds dating back 1,600 years in the South Dakota town. If you happen to visit in late summer, you can attend one of the U.S.’s largest outdoor music festivals, the LifeLight Festival.

St. Cloud, Minnesota

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Minnesotans must become accustomed to extreme low temps in the winter, seeing some of the coldest temperatures of any place in the U.S. outside of Alaska. Fifteen of the top eighteen cities with the greatest temperature differences are found in Minnesota. Annual temperature variations average 61 degrees in St. Cloud, a small city in central Minnesota located at the junction of the Sauk and Mississippi rivers. St. Cloud residents experience average winter lows between 2° F and 18° F. By summer, temps increase to a comfortable 82° F. If you happen to visit during the warmer summer months, be sure to visit the beautiful Munsinger and Clemens Gardens, which overlook the Mississippi River.

Fargo, North Dakota

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Long before the 1996 blockbuster film Fargo hit cinemas, North Dakota’s largest city was famous for topping the list for the broadest annual temperature differences of any U.S. city — 63.8 degrees. Fargo residents must bundle up in January, with lows averaging around 0° F and highs only about 18° F. However, come July, residents are able to head out in shorts and t-shirts with highs in the low 80s. If you’re a fan of the movie, you can have your picture taken with the actual wood chipper used in the infamous murder scene at the Fargo Moorhead Visitor Center.

7 The Most-Visited Cities of the Decade

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIP TRIVIA)

 

7 The Most-Visited Cities of the Decade

We live in a great era for travel, equipped with phones that can guide us through far away countries and abundant, affordable airfare. As our world changes, the planet’s big cities get even more exciting and accessible, becoming better vacation destinations every year. Here are the seven most visited cities of the last decade.

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7. New York City, United States

Aerial view of New York City metropolis showing skyscrapers and density, New York, USA
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The Big Apple is the most-visited city in America and in the entire Western Hemisphere. A haven for culture, art, fashion, and food, New York City is a destination for travelers from around the world and from within the United States.

A visit to New York could include a wide variety of activities, from visiting world-famous art galleries such as the MOMA and the Guggenheim to a stroll through Central Park or around Times Square. Nicknamed “the city that never sleeps,” New York offers a different adventure to everyone.

6. Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Aerial view of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia city skyline
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The capital of Malaysia is the first of many Asian cities in the top seven most-visited cities of the decade. Despite being the sixth-most-visited city in the world, Kuala Lumpur is still considered something of a hidden gem for vacationers.

In Kuala Lumpur you can visit architectural wonders such as the Petronas Towers, the tallest twin towers in the world, or take in a panoramic view of the city from the top of the Menara Kuala Lumpur. You can also see wildlife up close at the Bukit Nanas Forest Reserve or the Aquaria KLCC.

5. Singapore

Aerial view of skyscrapers in Singapore
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Considered one of the safest destinations for tourists in Asia, the island city-state of Singapore is the fifth-most-visited city in the world. Singapore is a very wealthy city, and you can see it in the impressive public works projects that are reinventing this center of futurism. Take a stroll through Gardens by the Bay to see some of the most beautiful arrangements of natural fauna, lights, and architecture that can be found anywhere in the world.

4. Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Aerial view of Dubai Palm Jumeirah island with skyscrapers and blue waters
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Another modern city with iconic buildings and one that has seen many public improvements completed over the last 10 years, Dubai is the world’s fourth-most-visited city.

In Dubai you can find some of the wonders of the architectural world, such as the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world. It is also home to some of the best theme parks, with attractions featuring Disney and Marvel characters. Currently under construction is what will be the largest water park in the world when it opens in 2020.

3. London, United Kingdom

Aerial cityscape view of London and the River Thames
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In constant competition for the number-two spot of most visited places for a given time period are London and Paris. And while London received a boost from hosting the Olympics early in the decade, Paris managed to surpass it in the end, making London the third-most-visited city of the decade.

As a center of western civilization, London has tons of things to take in on a visit. You can see some of the most iconic structures in the world, such as the Big Ben clock tower or the Tower Bridge. You can also explore history at the British Museum, which has one of the best collections of ancient artifacts in the world.

2. Paris, France

Aerial view of Paris at sunset with Eiffel Tower in the center
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As one of the most prized vacation destinations on the planet, Paris secures the number two spot on the list of most-visited cities in the last 10 years.

World famous attractions such as the Eiffel Tower and the Louvre, which holds some of the most important art ever created, draws millions of visitors to the French capital every year. In addition to a world-renowned culinary scene and vibrant nightlife, there is something for everyone to enjoy in the City of Lights.

1. Bangkok, Thailand

Bangkok city at sunset, over looking Taksin Bridge
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The most-visited city of the 2010s is Bangkok. The capital of Thailand draws almost 2 million more visitors per year than Paris, receiving a boon from the large number of Chinese travelers who flock to it.

The city has many opulent shrines and ancient temples that you can explore. It also has a vibrant nightlife and is the entry point for the dense Thai jungle, a popular vacation destination.

The 10 most populous islands in the world

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIVIA GENIUS)

 

The most populous islands in the world

In order to identify the most populous islands in the world, we need to define what an island is and what it is not.

Technically, Australia fits the definition of an island: a mass of land surrounded entirely by water. But geographers go a step further to note that a mass of land cannot be both a continent and an island. For our purposes of identifying the most populous islands in the world, continents are out.

According to World Atlas, there are too many islands to count, as they exist in lakes, seas and oceans. Some islands deserve an honorable mention for being so densely populated, like Santa Cruz del Islote, with 500 people living in 115 houses on an island the size of two soccer fields.

The islands on our list have the largest population, regardless of the island’s overall size.

10. Borneo – 21.3 million people

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The third-largest island in the world and the largest in Asia, Borneo is bordered by Java and Sumatra, two other islands on our list, and is renowned for its beaches, diving locations and lush rain forest landscape. Indonesia, Malaysia, and Brunel make up Borneo’s political position.

9. Sri Lanka – 21.44 million people

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Located at the southern tip of India, Sri Lanka is a gorgeous island rich in its cultural, ethnic, and religious diversity. Lonely Planet named Sri Lanka its #1 travel destination in 2019.

8. Taiwan – 23.76 million people

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Across 13,974 square miles, Taiwan holds the sixth spot of the most populous islands in the world, but by 2021 that may not be the case. The declining birth rate is attributed to long hours working away from home, which is not conducive to family life. Taiwan is the largest economy not a member of the United Nations.

7. Mindanao, Philippines – 25.53 million people

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This Philippine island is the second largest island of the archipelago after Luzon. Mount Apo is the highest peak in the Philippines and an active volcano. Mindanao is the most religiously and culturally diverse of the Philippine islands.

6. Madagascar – 25.57 million people

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Madagascar is the fourth largest island in the world. While only 250 miles from Africa, most of the population is more closely related to the people in Indonesia, over 3,000 miles away. Wind patterns are attributed to the island’s settlement. Even wildlife is less like Africa and unique to Madagascar.

5. Luzon, Philippines – 49.52 million people

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Almost half of the Philippine population lives on the island of Luzon, the 15th largest island in the world. Luzon is one of the islands in the 7,641 Philippine archipelago, and only 2,000 of those islands are populated.

4. Sumatra, Indonesia – 50 million people

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The fourth-most populous island is Sumatra, an Indonesian island to the south of Java. Sumatra is prone to earthquakes and tsunamis, including the devastating Indian Ocean tsunami in 2004, because it lies between two tectonic plates. Coffee is its most well-known export, but Sumatra is also a major player in natural gas, crude petroleum, rubber, cocoa and palm oil.

3. Great Britain – 61 million people

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Great Britain is the world’s third most populous island. More generally referred to as Britain, the island consists of England, Scotland and Wales, three countries in Europe. The size of Britain’s population gives perspective to the islands of Java and Honshu (keep reading), as their populations greatly exceed Britain’s.

2. Honshu, Japan – 103 million people

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Japan is considered an archipelago, a cluster of islands. In this case, there are 6,852 islands, with Honshu being its most densely populated. Most of the country’s major cities can be found on Honshu, including Tokyo. Honshu is also home to Mount Fuji, the highest mountain in Japan, a dormant volcano that last erupted in 1707.

1. Java, Indonesia – 140 million people

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The world’s most populous island is Java, an island of Indonesia. It is only the fourth largest island in Indonesia, but 57 percent of the country lives on Java. Located between the Indian and Pacific Oceans, 35 out of 112 of Java’s volcanoes are active. In case you are wondering, Indonesia’s earliest coffee plantations were started on Java. Pun intended.

Why are there so many islands in Indonesia?

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You may have noticed several of the most populous islands in the world can be found in Indonesia. Indonesia is counting them and estimates there are 14,572 named islands and thousands more yet to be named. Its status as the largest archipelago in the world is an important distinction because its waterways are considered the most important in the world. The more islands it claims, the more waterways it can control for the country’s economically abundant trade industry.

7 bizarre Guinness World Records

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIVIA GENIUS)

 

7 bizarre Guinness World Records

Since 1955, Guinness World Records has been celebrating the best and most fascinating people among us. The fastest runners, the fastest eaters, the person with the longest fingernails… they all have a place in history thanks to Guinness World Records. While many records are very impressive, though, some are just downright strange. Here are seven bizarre Guinness World Records that you would probably rather read about than try to break.

Most people at a virtual funeral

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In 2005, a Chinese gamer named Snowly played “World of Warcraft” for three days straight (which almost seems like it could be a record in and of itself). This proved to be too much for his body to take, though, and he died of fatigue. To celebrate his life, more than 100 other gamers filed into a virtual cathedral inside the same game and held a virtual funeral service for him. After this incident, the makers of “World of Warcraft” and other Massively Multiplayer Online Role-Playing Games (MMORPGs) have changed the set-up of their games to include breaks to prevent obsessive gaming.

Farthest marshmallow nose-blow

This one is a bit gross, but the farthest a marshmallow has flown after being blown out of one person’s nostril and into the mouth of another person is 17 feet, 11 inches. The nose-blower was Paul Prado and the catcher (who must have had a lot of faith in Paul) was Sophia Rojas, who carried out this feat on the set of “Guinness World Records Gone Wild,” which is taped in Los Angeles, California.

Wealthiest cat

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The wealthiest cat in history is Blackie from the United Kingdom. When Blackie’s owner, Ben Rea, died in 1988, he left his $12.5 million fortune to the cat, which was the last living member of the 15-cat family he had lived with. Rea was a reclusive antiques dealer who wanted nothing to do with his family, so when he died, he split his fortune between three cat charities, with the understanding that they would look after his beloved Blackie.

Longest eyelash

You Jianxia of China holds them Guinness World Record for longest eyelash, with one of her lashes measuring 4.88 inches long. It is possible that this lash is even longer now, as the last official measurement was conducted on June 28, 2016. It is not clear why this woman’s eyelashes are so long, but she probably goes through a lot of mascara!

First implanted antenna

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The first implanted antenna was implanted in the head of a British man named Neil Harbisson in 2004. The antenna, which makes him look as if he was part-robot or perhaps an alien (which many people would enjoy here in 2019, as well), allows him to receive phone calls and use the internet, but it also does something much more incredible: it allows him to “hear” colors. The antenna “converts light waves into sound waves and transmits this to Neil’s inner ear,” making him one of the only people on Earth who can simultaneously see, smell, and hear a red rose at the same time.

Most toilet seats broken by the head in one minute

Kevin Shelley of the United States broke a record 46 wooden toilet seats over his head in one minute on September 1, 2007. This was accomplished on the set of a Guinness World Records television show taped in Cologne, Germany, so it is possible that America now owes this country some new toilet seats!

Most beer bottles opened by a chainsaw in one minute

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Who wants to use a regular old bottle opener when you could use a chainsaw to open a beer bottle? This was Ashrita Furman’s idea when he broke the record for “most beer bottles opened by a chainsaw in one minute” in May 2016 in New York, New York. He opened a whopping 24 bottles in sixty seconds, beating his own previous record.

6 Largest Churches in the U.S.

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

6 Largest Churches in the U.S.

Many people travel for an important reason: to savor new experiences that delight all of the senses. If you’re an experienced traveler, you often appreciate destinations of social, cultural, and historical significance. That said, a visit to a religious venue can be one way to explore your fascination with culture and history. Whether you love churches for their stunning stained-glass windows or historical artifacts, you’ll want to check out these churches below. Why? They are the six largest churches in the U.S.

Cathedral of St. Paul (St. Paul, Minnesota)

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The skyline of St. Paul, Minnesota, hasn’t been the same since the Cathedral of St. Paul held its first mass in 1915. On the exterior, you’ll marvel at the cathedral’s impressive dome, which measures a whopping 120 feet in diameter. The dome is made of steel beams, which are overlaid with clay tile and copper. Meanwhile, a 30-foot lantern sits at the apex of the dome. In all, the cathedral spans 306 feet in height, from its base to the top of the lantern.

The interior is no less impressive. The spacious sanctuary is the focal point of the cathedral and boasts a seating capacity of 3,000. Meanwhile, the marble altar is surrounded by an ornamental canopy called a baldachin. This majestic structure is supported by six columns of black and gold marble, each extending 24 feet high.

The building of the church was commissioned by Archbishop John Ireland in 1904. Emmanuel Louis Masqueray, a French architect trained in Paris, was chosen to design the Cathedral of St. Paul. Although the structure was usable in 1915, renovations weren’t fully completed until 1941.

St. Patrick’s Cathedral (New York City, New York)

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St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City is the largest Gothic-style cathedral in the United States. The cathedral is approximately 405 feet long and 274 wide, and it seats around 2,200 parishioners. Its stunning spires rise 330 feet above the street.

Construction on St. Patrick’s began in 1858 under the direction of Archbishop John Hughes, who commissioned American architect James Renwick to design the structure. However, the cathedral didn’t open its doors until May 1879 due to a pause in construction during the Civil War.

Throughout the years, additional elements such as the West Front towers, the Lady Chapel, and the great organ were added to make St. Patrick’s the awe-inspiring vision it is today. St. Patrick’s is also known for its Pieta statue of the Virgin Mary and Christ, which is three times larger than the Pieta in St. Peter’s Basilica.

Each year, more than three million people visit St. Patrick’s Cathedral to light a candle, attend mass, or simply gaze in wonder at its impressive edifice.

Cathedral of Our Lady of the Angels (Los Angeles, California)

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Of the largest churches in the U.S., Our Lady of the Angels is the newest. Work began on the modern 11-story cathedral in May 1999 and was completed in early 2002.

Our Lady of the Angels is not only famous for its size but also its contemporary design, which was conceptualized by Spanish architect José Rafael Moneo. Our Lady of the Angels is also famous for its 300-foot nave and largest single use of alabaster windows in the U.S., which admits around 33,500 square feet of natural light on any given day.

Washington National Cathedral (Washington, District of Columbia)

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It took more than two centuries to complete the Washington National Cathedral. However, the result is a majestic Gothic structure. Nestled atop Mount Saint Albans, the cathedral sits 400 feet above sea level, making the top of its tower the highest point in Washington, D.C.

In 1792, George Washington set aside a plot of land for a national church in Washington, D.C. However, nothing happened for 100 years. Construction on the church, designed by Frederick Bodley (a British architect for the Anglican church), finally began in 1907 after President Theodore Roosevelt presided over its dedication ceremony. Although major construction work was completed and the first chapel opened for service in 1912, Washington National Cathedral didn’t come into its full glory until 1990.

Throughout the decades, the cathedral has hosted numerous funerals for U.S. presidents, such as Woodrow Wilson, Ronald Reagan, and George H.W. Bush. Washington National Cathedral also hosts prayer services when new Presidents are inaugurated.

Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception (Washington, District of Columbia)

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The Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception is the largest Catholic church in the United States. It’s 459 feet long, 240 feet wide, and reaches a height of 329 feet. Construction on the church began in 1920, but reports in Massachusetts newspapers suggest that the idea for constructing this massive church was conceived in the 1840’s.

The church held its first public mass on Easter Sunday in 1924. Today, the Basilica of the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception serves as a gathering place for Catholics from all over the world. Mother Teresa frequently visited the shrine, and many Popes have made trips when in the U.S.

Cathedral of St. John the Divine (New York City, New York)

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St. John the Divine is an Episcopal church and the largest cathedral in the world. It stands at an impressive 601 feet and is 232 feet wide; the church also boasts a spectacular 120,000 square feet of floor space. Today, the cathedral houses the third largest rose window in the world; The Great Rose Window in the Cathedral’s western wall is constructed from 10,000 pieces of glass.

Construction of the cathedral began in 1892, after multiple bishops broached the idea for construction in the late 1820’s. Although the cathedral is more than 120 years old, it remains unfinished. Despite that, St. John the Divine held its first services in 1899 and continues to be an active place of worship today.

The Cathedral of St. John the Divine also holds a special place in history for hosting ecumenical services during the Civil Rights era of the 1950s and 1960s. In fact, Martin Luther King preached at the church in 1956, and more than 6,000 people attended a service in 1964 to call for an end to racial segregation.

The 7 Most Densely Populated States

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

7 Most Densely Populated States

The U.S. Census Bureau puts the current population of the United States at just under 330 million people. It estimates that a new person joins the country (either through birth or immigration) about every 13 seconds. And while the country may have 3,783,801 square miles of space to share, according to the CIA World Fact Book, some areas are more populated than others. For example, Wyoming may be a large state in terms of size, but more people live in the smaller state of New York.

So, what are the most densely populated states? If you broaden your question to include districts, then the most densely populated area of the United States is Washington, D.C. The nation’s capital has a population of just over 700,000 people, with 11,490 people per square mile, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. That’s about ten times the population density of any of the 50 states. These are the most densely populated states.

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New York

New York

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Population Density: 414 people per square mile

New York City may have the highest population density of any city in the United States, but the rest of the state isn’t quite so crowded. According to NYC.gov, the population density of New York City is 27,000 people per square mile.

However, the state itself only ranks as the seventh-most densely populated, with just 414 people per square mile, according to the World Population Review. If you take the population of NYC out of the equation, New York would drop way down this list.

Delaware

Delaware

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Population Density: 500 people per square mile

Delaware comes in next with a population density of 500 people per square mile, according to the World Atlas. The state ranks a surprising number six on this list. Why surprising? That’s because Delaware’s population hasn’t even reached the one million mark yet, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

However, it’s densely populated because of its size. The state is smaller than Anchorage, Alaska, according to World Atlas, and is only 35 miles across at its widest point. So, it’s packing just under a million people into a state the size of a small city.

Maryland

Maryland

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Population Density: 625 people per square mile

Maryland packs a lot into 10,000 square miles, especially people. The state comes in fifth in population density in the United States, with 625 people per square mile, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

While Maryland may be one of the smallest states in the union, big cities such as Baltimore contribute quite a bit to its high population density. Baltimore itself has a population density of 7,657 people per square mile, according to Open Data Network.

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Connecticut

Connecticut

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Population Density: 737 people per square mile

This scenic state is the home of Yale, which counts Bill Clinton, Gerald Ford, and George W. Bush as graduates. It’s known officially as the Constitution State and unofficially as the Nutmeg State.

Connecticut is also home to about 737 people per square mile, according to the World Population Review. That puts it fourth in the nation for population density. The state packs about 3.5 million people into under 5,000 square miles, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

Most people in Connecticut live in New Haven, Hartford, Stamford, and Bridgeport, four of the largest cities in the state. Bridgeport, the largest city, has around 144,229 inhabitants and is New England’s fifth most populous city. It’s also the home of Beardsley Zoo, which has been Connecticut’s only zoo for 90 years.

Massachusetts

Massachusetts

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Population Density: 890 people per square mile

Massachusetts is home to nearly 7 million people spread out over almost 8,000 square miles of space, according to the U.S. Census BureauWorld Atlas puts the population density of the state at 890 people per square mile, more than twice that of New York. It’s also the home of Martha’s Vineyard, the Boston Pops, and the third-largest Chinatown in the U.S.

Additionally, Massachusetts is one of only four states to have the word “commonwealth” in its official name (the other three being Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and Virginia). As the location for many Revolutionary War conflicts, it will always hold a special place in the nation’s history.

Rhode Island

Rhode Island

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Population Density: 1022 people per square mile

There are about 1022 people per square mile in Rhode Island, according to States 101. The total population is just over one million people.

Rhode Island is actually the smallest state in the union. It’s also one of the least populated. Yet, because of its size, it ranks at an impressive number two on our list of the most densely populated U.S. states. According to Rhode Island’s official government website, the distance from north to south is just 48 miles. If you want to travel from east to west, you’ll only need to drive about 37 miles at the widest point.

The total area of the state is about 1,500 square miles, but an astonishing 66% of that consists of bodies of water. So, those million or so Rhode Island residents are crammed into a region spanning 34% of inhabitable land.

New Jersey

New Jersey

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Population Density: 1211 people per square mile

The Garden State has plenty to offer, including amazing beaches. There’s one area, however, where the state outshines its neighbor New York, and that’s in population density. According to the U.S. Census Bureau, New Jersey has 1,211 people per square mile. The state has a population of 8.9 million, according to the U.S. Census Bureau, but packs them into an area that’s a little smaller than Maryland.

The Garden State is also home to some of the most densely populated cities in the world. According to NJ.com, Guttenberg, Union City, and West New York are three of the most densely populated cities on earth. Also, New Jersey isn’t just famous for having the highest population in the U.S. Turns out that the state also has more horses than any other state in the Union. According to NJ.com, there are about 4 horses per square mile.

5 U.S. Cities Stuck in Time

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRAVEL TRIVIA)

 

5 U.S. Cities Stuck in Time

Some cities are immune to change. These places make time travel feel possible, offering glimpses back into different eras. From historic cities with cobblestone streets to ghost towns that can’t seem to move forward, here are five U.S. cities stuck in time.

New Bedford, Massachusetts

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In 1765, a Quaker merchant named Joseph Rotch identified New Bedford, Massachusetts, as a prime location for his business. Located along the Atlantic Coast, with a deep harbor and easy access to Boston and New York, he believed New Bedford to be the perfect candidate for a top-notch whaling port. Rotch was correct in his assertion — during the 19th century, this Massachusetts city became the whaling capital of the world. New Bedford is still known today as The Whaling City and its identity is entwined with the million-dollar industry that once profited from its shores.  From the mansions built by the captains of industry on County Street to the flagged bluestone sidewalks, much of the city is unchanged from when it was first built.

Inquisitive visitors should stop at the New Bedford Whaling Museum. And although whaling is no longer permitted, the citizens of New Bedford still make their living on the water, with commercial fishing as one of the top sources of income.

Pacifica, California

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Pacifica, California, is a mere 10 miles from San Francisco, yet it feels a world away. A beachside haven that has changed little since its incorporation, this foggy surf town is surrounded by two sections of Golden Gate National Recreation Area. Pacifica was originally formed in 1957 when officials merged nine different communities to create one larger city. Although city planners envisioned growing Pacifica to 100,000 residents, these lofty plans never came to fruition. Much of the surrounding area became preserved land during the 1970s, which protected it from the rampant development happening elsewhere in the state. The result? Pacifica remains much the same as it was when it was incorporated, with stunning beaches perfect for surfing and acres of pristine public lands.

Some change, however, has found its way into this picturesque beach side community. In the past couple of years, new plans have been passed to turn Palmetto Avenue into a downtown area, making it more appealing to visitors and residents alike.

St. Augustine, Florida

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The oldest continually occupied city in the U.S., St. Augustine, Florida, was first established by Spanish settlers in 1565. Today, remnants of Spanish culture remain untouched in this historical gem of a city. From Castillo de San Marcos National Monument, a 330-year old fortress built by the Spanish, to the well-preserved Plaza de Constitucion, visiting St. Augustine is like stepping back into the well of history. The Colonial Quarter harkens back to the days when Spanish was spoken on the cobblestone streets, including live black smith and musket demonstrations.

St. Augustine’s most famous piece of architecture, however, is the Lightner Museum. Originally built as the Alcazar Hotel in 1888, the establishment closed during the Depression; it was later bought and renovated by Otto Lightner in 1948. Today, the restored museum includes memorabilia from the Gilded Age, in addition to rotating art exhibits.

Galena, Illinois

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Although it is commonly referred to as “The City That Time Forgot,” considering Galena a “city” is a bit of a stretch. For all intents and purposes, however, this well-preserved gem has rightfully earned its place on this list. Once the busiest port on the Mississippi River, Galena became a mining town in the mid-1800s when a lead ore mineral called “galena” was found in the surrounding area. The newly born city, named for the mineral that put it on the map, eventually became a political, industrial and cultural hub. Abraham Lincoln gave a speech from the second-floor balcony of a Galena hotel and even Ulysses S. Grant called it home for a spell.

Today, the town holds the magic of yesteryear, with its immaculate Victorian homes and brick architecture on Main Street. The city also draws scores of tourists looking to grasp onto the charms of days gone by, and with its working blacksmith shop and many historical sites, this feat is easily achieved.

Detroit, Michigan

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Detroit, Michigan, truly looks like a city frozen in time — but which time exactly? When Michigan Central Station opened in 1913, the train station was a shining example of Beaux-Arts Classical architecture and the tallest train station in the world. But when the station closed in 1988, it stood vacant for 30 years, a sad reminder of Motor City’s former glory. In an effort to move Detroit forward, Ford bought the train station last year, with plans to revitalize the building and bring the workforce back to the area. Still, the city is often referred to as a ghost town, with its fleeing population, abandoned homes and empty skyscrapers. In this sense, Detroit seems to be stuck in the early aughts, as it certainly hasn’t made any large strides since the collapse of the auto industry. With dreams of Detroit’s revival on the horizon, this is one city we hope isn’t stuck in time forever.

5 most bizarre Greek myths about animals

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF TRIVIA GENIUS)

 

5 most bizarre Greek myths about animals

There are numerous myths, legends, and folk stories surrounding the history of Ancient Greece. Greek mythology is renowned for its bizarre creatures, powerful Gods, and epic battles—though some of these tales are stranger than others. While most of us are familiar with the stories of the “classic” monsters — the Hydra, the Minotaur, the snake-haired Medusa — there are plenty of other bizarre beasts populating these Greek stories.

The Nemean Lion

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One of the mythological creatures on this list, the Nemean Lion was a gigantic beast, armed with razor-sharp claws and adorned in golden fur said to be impervious to mortal weapons.

This seeming-immortality was put to the test when Greek hero Heracles was ordered to slay the Nemean Lion as the first of his 12 famous Labors. As the story goes, Heracles attempted to shoot the lion with arrows before realizing that its fur was impenetrable. When this didn’t work, Heracles took a different approach. Different versions of the tale offer two possible outcomes:

  • Heracles shot an arrow into the lion’s unprotected mouth, killing it instantly.
  • Heracles used rocks to trap the lion in its den and proceeded to grapple with it by hand, eventually using his godlike strength to strangle the beast to death.

The Stymphalian Birds

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Denizens of the ancient Greek city of Stymphalia, these monstrous birds were pets of Artemis, the Greek Goddess of the hunt. According to the story, the Stymphalian Birds had beaks made of bronze that were strong enough to pierce the iron plate of Greek armor. Their feathers were supposedly made of metal, used as projectile weapons that could be launched at victims, and their dung was toxic to mortals.

Again, Heracles was set to the task of eradicating these creatures as the sixth of his 12 Labors. However, Heracles didn’t do it alone. With the help of Greek Gods Athena and Hephaestus, and using the poisonous blood of the already-slain Hydra, Heracles was able to rustle the birds from their nest and shoot them down with his toxic arrows. And though many of the birds escaped the purge (later to encounter Jason and the Argonauts), Heracles was able to accomplish his task.

Pegasus

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We’ve all heard of Pegasus: The majestic winged stallion that Poseidon created from the magical blood of the slain Medusa.

In texts, Pegasus was a valuable ally to Poseidon’s son, Bellerophon, in his epic battle against the Chimaera, and later, the Amazons. Bellerophon shortly thereafter met his end (he fell off Pegasus while trying to ascend to Mt. Olympus), and Pegasus would join the pantheon of the immortals in service to Zeus, who charged the stallion with carrying his thunderbolts into battle. Eventually, Pegasus would be immortalized as the constellation that shares his name.

Pegasus is one of the most popular icons for in Greek Mythology, with frequent depiction on coins, in sculpture, pottery, and other artistic works. More than many other Greek creatures, Pegasus has become ingrained in Western culture, so much so that the word “Pegasus” now refers to both the mythological figure and the entire species of winged horses that we often see in fantasy stories.

The Mares of Diomedes

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Marking another of Heracles’ legendary Labors, (most of which involved mythic animals in some way), his eighth task was to recapture the lost Mares of King Diomedes.

The only problem? The horses were consumed by madness, trained to eat human flesh instead of regular feed and even thought to breathe fire. Though the story differs amongst versions, it’s generally accepted that Heracles was able to calm the horses enough to be tamed and kill the mad king Diomedes of Thrace, leaving Heracles free to rescue the horses and complete his task.

Carcinus

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Carcinus played an important role in Heracles’ battle against the Hydra. Not in favor of Heracles, of course — Carcinus is yet another mythical creature sent by the Gods to kill Heracles. And while the Hydra is certainly the headliner in that battle, the crab Carcinus fought bravely against the Greek hero, despite the fact that Carcinus had no impenetrable fur, fire breath, or toxic dung. So says the text:

“Then a giant crab (karkinos) came along to help the Hydra, and bit Herakles on the foot. For this he killed the crab.”

Yes, brave Carcinus did not last long. However, the Goddess Hera (who hated Heracles, incidentally) was moved by the crab’s bravery, and immortalized him as the constellation Cancer (pictured above).

Bizarre Greek Animals

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Yes, Greek mythology is full of strange tales and bizarre creatures. But that’s what makes the stories so much fun. The fantastical elements, epic poetry, and otherworldly monsters have captured the imaginations of cultures across the world. And given that these are just a few examples of the strange and bizarre Greek creatures that exist, it’s not hard to see why.

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