At only 19,370 square miles, Costa Rica only occupies a third of a percent of the total landmass of the planet. But, within that third of a percent, Costa Rica has some of the most stunning natural features in its twelve climactic zones which feature coastline on both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, tropical rainforests, deciduous forests and cloud forests. The most amazing statistic about Costa Rica’s area, however, is that within that third of a percent of the earth’s total landmass is four percent of the total species of the planet. If all of this wasn’t impressive enough, hundreds of these species in Costa Rica are endemic to the region – meaning they exist nowhere else on the planet. While there are a huge number of ways to experience the diversity of Costa Rica if you travel there, one of the best ways in my book is to hike it, because over twenty-seven percent (27%) of the country is protected in National Parks. Assuming you have the time, starting in San Jose, one can traverse a hiker’s loop around the country, starting on the Atlantic Coast, and ending on the Pacific Coast before returning back to the capital. If you don’t have the time to do the whole loop listed herein, this list also serves as a great starting place for whatever area you are visiting, or could provide you with ideas on where you want to go.
One of the many interesting things about Ireland is that it is a place where the practices of the past and present intersect in modern day life. While there are many examples of the past in modern day Ireland, one of the tangible features that people can experience are the many holy wells that still dot Ireland’s countryside. During the nineteenth century, a survey was taken of the wells that were considered holy, and over 3,000 were considered to have some sort of interesting power. While this number has likely decreased over the course of time, and a subsequent survey has not been conducted, many of these holy wells remain, and are very accessible. One of the most well-known of these wells due to its location near the Cliffs of Moher is St. Brigid’s Well outside of Liscannor.
Victoria is the capital city of British Columbia, and one of the oldest cities in the Pacific Northwest. And, among other unique things, it is the home to the narrowest street in all of Canada, Fan Tan Alley. During the gold rush period of the nineteenth century, Victoria attracted a large number of Chinese immigrants, who formed their own district in the city, an area that is also the oldest Chinatown in Canada. Fan Tan Alley was a narrow street in this area, and an area of ill-repute, full of opium dens, gambling, and various other illicit activities. However, a hundred and sixty some years later, its narrow passageway is known as a tourist mecca, both for people who like strange, narrow streets, and for people who like to explore the history and shops of Victoria. At its narrowest point, the alley is just under four feet wide, and has been featured in a number of movies, including Bird on a Wire.
Although London has a plethora of historic and iconic locations, one of the top destinations is and has been the distinctive Tower Bridge. The Tower Bridge is also not to be confused with London Bridge, which sits nearby on the Thames, and has been replaced on numerous occasions over the last two thousand years. The Tower Bridge was designed by Horace Jones and John Wolfe Barry with two towers that were connected by two upper horizontal walkways; and at the time of its opening, it was the largest – and most sophisticated bascule bridge in the world. Construction of the bridge took eight years (1886-1984), and over 70,000 tons of concrete and 10,000 tons of steel. Since 1894, the bridge has been open to foot, vehicle, and water traffic, although the internal engines of the bridge have been replaced, and the original upper walkways have been renovated since the opening. While any pedestrian can walk across the Tower Bridge, or admire it from the nearby Tower of London, since 1982 the bridge has been a working museum as well with the “Tower Bridge Experience”; and since 2012, the Tower Bridge Experience has featured glass bottomed walkways in the upper horizontal passthroughs.
Among other things, Iceland is an amazing place to visit because of its impressive geologic features. When traveling around the Ring Road, one can see lava fields, green rolling hills, tall mountains, moon-like black sand, lakes, ocean, rivers, and more all within a four hour span. Although Iceland has been formed by a plethora of events, the main factor in its creation has been its position on the mid-Atlantic Ridge in the Atlantic Ocean. The mid-Atlantic Ridge is the largest mountain range on the planet, invisibly stretching over 10,000 underwater miles. It is also the boundary of North American and Eurasian plates, which have been moving apart for over one hundred and fifty million years. This movement has caused a continuous flow of magma from the Earth’s core into the ocean, forming the Ridge, and Iceland itself. On a yearly basis, the plates continue to move approximately 2 centimeters further apart. As a result of this movement, in 1789, this pressure was released in the area now known as Þingvellir National Park with the creation of a series of rifts (fissures) in the surrounding region. After it was created by seismic activity, the main rift immediate filled with water from an underground aquifer, and is now known as the Silfra Fissure.
One of the more interesting pieces of public art in Seattle can be found in Fremont; although technically, if one’s being honest, a lot of interesting things can be found in Fremont. In case you’ve never heard of Fremont, it is a suburb of Seattle that was its own town until it was annexed in 1891. Today, Fremont is known for its claim that it is “the Center of the Universe”, for its unique and funky vibe, and for its street art. Even though the reclaimed giant statute of Vladimir Lenin is fairly impressive, the Fremont Troll is by far the most-well known piece of art in Fremont.