LandLopers http://landlopers.com Thu, 02 Jul 2015 21:06:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Some Of My Favorite Photos Around Americahttp://landlopers.com/2015/07/02/favorite-photos-america http://landlopers.com/2015/07/02/favorite-photos-america#comments Thu, 02 Jul 2015 19:55:34 +0000 http://landlopers.com/?p=29946 In honor of the July 4th celebrations, the theme this week for FriFotos is America. It makes sense, I like it but there’s a problem. I actually don’t have as … Read More

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In honor of the July 4th celebrations, the theme this week for FriFotos is America. It makes sense, I like it but there’s a problem. I actually don’t have as many great photos of my own country as I should. Either I visited places a long time ago and no longer have the photos, or I just haven’t gotten around to visiting them. So in this series, yes, everything is from the US but is it representative of everything I love about my country? Sadly not, but I hope you enjoy it nonetheless.

Washington DC

Washington DC

Continental Divide at Loveland Pass, Colorado

Colorado

Waimoku Falls

Maui

Savannah, Georgia

Savannah, Georgia

Strasburg Rail Road Pennsylvania

Strasburg Rail Road Pennsylvania

New Orleans binoculars

New Orleans

Hermione Ship Virginia France

Alexandria, Virginia

Lanai Hawaii

Lanai, Hawaii

Homestead Resort Virginia

Homestead Resort in Virginia

Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Colorado

Red Rocks Amphitheatre, Colorado

New Orleans

New Orleans

christmas new york city

New York City

hot air balloon napa

Napa Valley

Wren Building Wiliam and Mary Williamsburg Virginia

College of William and Mary in Virginia

US Flag St Thomas

US Virgin Islands

Amelia Island, Florida

Amelia Island, Florida

The Rotunda at the University of Virginia

The Rotunda at the University of Virginia

US Flag Pearl Harbor

Pearl Harbor

Los Angeles, California

Los Angeles, California

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5 Luxury Hotels In Queensland To Visithttp://landlopers.com/2015/07/02/luxury-hotels-in-queensland http://landlopers.com/2015/07/02/luxury-hotels-in-queensland#comments Thu, 02 Jul 2015 19:50:58 +0000 http://landlopers.com/?p=29916 As a luxury adventure traveler, hotels are an important aspect of my stay. Whenever I travel, I’m always happy to spend a little more for an amazing hotel experience. Some … Read More

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As a luxury adventure traveler, hotels are an important aspect of my stay. Whenever I travel, I’m always happy to spend a little more for an amazing hotel experience. Some people may not care about this part of their travels, but for me a good hotel can not only shape, but define a trip. This was absolutely the case as I meandered around Queensland, in search of adventure, yes, but also a relaxing and comfortable stay. I was frankly surprised at the quality and diversity of luxury hotels in Queensland, and these five in particular are ones every luxury traveler should add to their must-stay list.

Queensland Australia

One Oceanview, Airlie Beach

One of my favorite accommodations in Queensland is also probably the hardest to write about. It’s not a hotel and it’s not exactly a B&B, it’s a delightful mix of the two. Marita Kemp and her partner built this ultimate in luxury homes to enjoy the amazing views of the Coral Sea that only the Whitsundays can provide. At some point in the process they decided that they wanted to invite others to enjoy this gorgeous seaside estate and the concept was hatched. This 2,000 square meter home can accommodate several couples or even families at a time, but each experience is tailored to the guest. After only a few hours I truly did feel like a houseguest in what is probably the most amazing private residence I’ve ever visited. The open and light design takes full advantage of the amazing weather for which this area of Queensland is so very well known, and the service was second to none. Almost by intuition, Marita understood my needs and before I knew it I had coffee ready for me whenever I needed a cup and meals that rank with the best restaurants in the area. It’s also in an amazing location, which means exploring the town of Airlie Beach and the surrounding Whitsundays couldn’t be easier. While not a hotel per se, this is one of the best luxury experiences I’ve been fortunate enough to enjoy and I can’t recommend it enough.

Qualia, Hamilton Island

I have to preface this with the sad caveat that I did not actually stay at Qualia. I know, I know, I wanted to but through some quirks of fate, there was no room at the proverbial inn during my time on the resort-focused Hamilton Island. Although I didn’t stay there, I did visit the property a couple of times not just to see it for myself, but to experience some of the hotel’s legendary hospitality through meals and spa experiences. Annually ranked as one of the best hotels in Australia, Qualia specializes not only in luxury living, but in privacy. Guests enjoy their time at the resort in private cottages set deep in the forest, creating an ethereal feel to the stay. The restaurant, open only to guests and invited visitors, has Michelin-caliber meals that the chef fine-tunes to each diner’s unique tastes. Add to that the resort’s amazing location on a private stretch of the island, and this truly is the best way to experience Hamilton Island. It’s also a Relais & Châteaux affiliated property, guaranteeing a level of service and comfort that ranks amongst the best in the world.

Peppers, Throughout Queensland

I know, the name doesn’t sound very luxurious but after staying at two of their properties in Queensland, I can attest to the fact that Peppers Hotels is most definitely a luxury brand you’ll want to discover for yourself. Part of the Mantra Group, Peppers specializes in refined indulgence that is difficult to find anymore. Staying with them in Broadbeach, along the Gold Coast of Queensland, this property offers suites that feel more like home than a hotel. I was there for a week, and there was nothing better than having a mini-apartment all to myself complete with living room, kitchen and two-bedrooms, not to mention stunning views of the beach. It was also perfectly located next to shops and restaurants and of course the famous seaside itself. I hated to leave their Broadbeach location, which is always a great sign that a hotel is doing almost everything right. My last night in Queensland, fittingly, was spent at another Peppers hotel, this one in another beachside resort town – Palm Cove. Once again, I was impressed by the expansive suites and a prime location along the town’s major thoroughfare. I admit I may have prejudged the entire brand based solely on their name, never a smart thing to do, but I can attest to the fact that this is one of the best luxury brands in Australia.

Shangri-La, Cairns

The Shangri-La family of hotels almost always guarantees a great hotel experience in luxurious surroundings, and their Cairns property lived up to that and more. An easy walk from the town’s major promenade, the Shangri-La in Cairns has done a great job of keeping its interior updated and elegant. The room was large and furnished with low profile, Asian-inspired décor that made my brief time there relaxing and comfortable. Add to that great marina views and an excellent staff, and I can’t say enough good things about this amazing luxury hotel in Cairns.

Silky Oaks Lodge, Mossman

The final hotel I want to highlight impressed me so much that I recently devoted an entire post to it. More than just a great luxury resort, Silky Oaks Lodge offers an experience nearly impossible to find anywhere else in the world. Occupying an enviable space adjacent to the UNESCO World Heritage protected Daintree Rainforest and Wet Tropics region, Silky Oaks has incorporated all the best elements of the jungle into its refined and private luxury experience. Not unlike Qualia, Silky Oaks is made up of a series of small cottages that they call tree houses. Perched high on hills overlooking the jungle or nearby river, the tree houses offer a secluded and luxurious experience for every guest. Silky Oaks has also done a great job of embracing its natural surroundings by offering walks through the forest, a private swimming hole, kayaking on the hotel’s river and a spa that is one of the best I’ve ever been to. There is no choice in my opinion; Silky Oaks must be on your to-do list if you’re an admirer of luxury hotels and resorts as I am.

Queensland may be blessed with beautiful natural wonders, but it also has a vibrant luxury travel sector that has kept up with the times in ways not seen in all areas of the country. It means that for someone like me, who loves experiential luxury travel, there may be no better place in the world to have a fun, adventurous day but also a calming, luxurious evening in some of the best hotels in the world.

Where are some of your favorite luxury hotels?

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Update To My American Travel Bucket Listhttp://landlopers.com/2015/07/01/american-travel-bucket-list http://landlopers.com/2015/07/01/american-travel-bucket-list#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 19:55:21 +0000 http://landlopers.com/?p=29915 A couple of years ago I wrote a post detailing all of the travel experiences in my own country that I’d like to do. It was an effort to force … Read More

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Los Angeles, California

A couple of years ago I wrote a post detailing all of the travel experiences in my own country that I’d like to do. It was an effort to force myself to think more about travel in the US, instead of always focusing on far-flung destinations. Looking back at that list two years later, it’s frankly sad to see how little of it I’ve accomplished. I guess I’m just too mesmerized by those destinations that I perceive to be exotic and foreign. So, with all of that in mind here is my second attempt to force myself to consider more domestic travel by listing a few of the many amazing experiences found within the borders of my own country. Hopefully this time I’ll be inspired enough to start planning a few trips.

Note: I actually haven’t completed ANY of the items on my original list (sigh) so expect a few repeats here today.

Route 66

This was the first one listed on my old post and it still holds top place in my heart. Steinbeck once called it The Mother Road and from the Dust Bowl to the American Renaissance in the 1950s, this road has held a special place not only in the hearts of Americans, but of people around the world. It hearkens back to an era when anything seemed possible, when taking to the open road was an adventure and the fun truly was in the getting there. While Route 66 technically doesn’t exist anymore, it’s still possible of course to drive huge parts of it as you meander from Chicago to the pier in Santa Monica, California. Along the way are quirky roadside attractions, strange motels and national wonders that rank amongst the top in the world. Yes, I want to see and experience all of those things but I also want to reconnect with my own country, one I love dearly and of which I am fiercely proud. Just as people did in the 1950s and 60s, I want to experience a great American road trip and to discover aspects to the American experience that I don’t even know exist.

Continental Divide at Loveland Pass, Colorado

Colorado

I recently attended a meeting in Colorado and although I was there for less than a day, I was reminded just how beautiful a state it is. I was last there three years ago, but that experience was also a brief one, which means I really haven’t seen a lot of the state. Driving along I-70 through the mountains, I was dumbstruck time and time again by the raw, unparalleled beauty and vowed to myself that I’d find a way to get back out there and soon. More than just the mountains though, Denver intrigues me as well for a variety of reasons. I like laid-back places and Denver seems to be one of those cities where everyone is welcomed and the living is good. I could be wrong, but I’m curious to find out for myself. So, hopefully, I’ll manage to travel back to Colorado, explore more of Denver before getting out into the countryside and see even more of the beautiful landscapes I recently caught a glimpse of.

Road

Remaining 9 U.S. States I Haven’t Visited

Well before I adopted travel as my professional, I traveled a lot around the country both for work as well as personal enjoyment. As a kid I lived in a lot of different states and my parents’ aversion to flying meant long road trips whenever we went on vacation. Through all of those travels, I was lucky enough to visit most of the country. However, I haven’t been to every state and this year I am determined to see them all. On the list are: Alaska, North Dakota, South Dakota, Montana, Kansas, Iowa, New Mexico, Nebraska and Wyoming. As you can see, most of them are situated next to each other in the northern-middle part of the country. There’s no specific reason why I haven’t visited these states, the opportunities just haven’t come up. While I’d very much like to see them all, Alaska holds a place higher up on that list than the others. There’s just something about Alaska, an allure that calls not only to me, but thousands of others from around the world. It’s America’s last outpost, our final terrestrial frontier and I’d love to spend some time exploring it.

Oahu, Hawaii

Pacific Territories & Possessions

I love Hawaii and have long ached to see some other Pacific possessions, many of which most Americans don’t even realize are (sort of) part of the country. The territories in the Pacific include: American Samoa, Guam, the Northern Mariana Islands as well as many other reefs, islands and atolls that are dependent areas. The problem so far is that these places are all far away, small, hard to reach and expensive to do so. Still, I’m very curious about them, their cultures and how being (sort of) a part of the US has affected them – or not. This is a long-term goal, but one I hope to someday achieve.

So there you go, an update to the original list that I ended up ignoring any way. I do hope though that this time is different, that I can force myself away from the streets of France or the wilds of Africa and instead focus more on some of the many amazing places we have to offer right here in the US.

What are some places on your American travel bucket list?

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Local Woman Inspecting The Maras Salt Pans in Peruhttp://landlopers.com/2015/07/01/photo-maras-peru http://landlopers.com/2015/07/01/photo-maras-peru#comments Wed, 01 Jul 2015 17:45:36 +0000 http://landlopers.com/?p=29947 The post Local Woman Inspecting The Maras Salt Pans in Peru appeared first on LandLopers.

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Maras Peru

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Brisbane – An Aussie City That Surprised Mehttp://landlopers.com/2015/06/30/brisbane http://landlopers.com/2015/06/30/brisbane#comments Tue, 30 Jun 2015 17:55:37 +0000 http://landlopers.com/?p=29918 When it comes to prejudging places, I’m guilty as charged. I think it’s something we all do though, whether we consciously realize it or not. We all have images or … Read More

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Brisbane Queensland Australia

When it comes to prejudging places, I’m guilty as charged. I think it’s something we all do though, whether we consciously realize it or not. We all have images or certain preconceived notions of almost everything in life, and that certainly extends to the travel experience. The key isn’t to arrive to new places with a blank slate, that’s just not possible or even advisable honestly, no, the key is to arrive with an open mind and the willingness to be wrong. Before first visiting the capital city of Queensland, Brisbane, I didn’t know a lot about the city, aside from the boring facts. It’s not a place I’d heard a lot about and I knew very few people who had actually spent any time exploring it. So, in my mind, it was just another innocuous city, like so many others around the world. The reality though was far different and this was one of those great moments when I was thrilled to be so very wrong.

Around the world there’s an international system of free tour guides called Global Greeters. In each city, volunteers lead visitors around their cities, showing them aspects of it that they think are most interesting. They aren’t professionals, they aren’t trained and may actually know very little but they all do have one thing in common – passion. A passion for their city and it is that passion which, hopefully, translates to the tour experience. I tried them once in Marseilles, France and the experience was so bad that I blame it for my dislike of the city. But when in Brisbane I decided to once again try this free guide service, and it was one of the best experiences of my time in Queensland.

Anna is one of the most interesting people I’ve ever met. Her background is fascinating, slightly complex and her personality infectious. Right away it was clear that she has a fervent love of Brisbane and during the course of the few hours I spent with her, this passion was thankfully contagious. Of all the stories she shared though and all the places she took me, there were a few take-aways; observations about Brisbane in general that made me fall in love with this Australian city, observations that I want to share with you all today.

Incredibly Livable

This sounds slightly inane, but hear me out when I say that Brisbane, the third largest city in Australia, is one of the most livable and resident-friendly cities I’ve ever visited. That’s saying a lot for a country like Australia, whose cities routinely rank in the top tier when it comes to judging the happiness of residents. I first noticed it when, after a couple of hours of walking with Anna, we hadn’t actually crossed a street. We ambled from one pedestrian-zone to the next, from park to promenade, enjoying the sights of the city without dealing with the typical city problems like cars and crosswalks. The city’s main pedestrian zone, Queen Street Mall, is a delightful circus of sights and sounds, restaurants, shops, cafes and people. It was the middle of the week and yet it was packed with folks out enjoying the wonderfully warm temperatures of a mild Queensland winter. But it was crossing the Kurilpa Bridge, and seeing the city from the Southbank that truly drove home just how nice Brisbane is to be in. The lengthy promenade was dotted with joggers and families and nearly every bench was occupied with folks enjoying the day. Brisbane is blessed with a lot of great weather, and everything about the city encourages residents and visitors alike to get out and enjoy that natural gift. Again, at the risk of sounding infantile, Brisbane is just a fun city to be in and sometimes that’s enough.

Cultural Fascinating

If you’re a traveler who loves to learn about a city through its cultural offerings, then you’ll love Brisbane. Maybe it’s thanks to the large university population or because it’s the state capital, but Brisbane has done a great job of creating interesting places for people to visit. The hub of this cultural activity is located along the Southbank and almost like Museum Island in Berlin here you’ll find museums and exhibits covering everything from nature and science to art and of course history. There are theaters and plays, a robust commitment to public art, but my favorite form of cultural travel is through food. What I think is perhaps the most underrated but interesting aspects of Australian cuisine is the high priority Australians place on coffee and café life in general. Throughout Australia, and especially in Brisbane, coffee shops are everywhere, some right next door to each other. This caffeine addiction has inadvertently created a relaxed café culture that I love. There’s nothing better than ordering a flat white or a long black and some cake, and spending an afternoon outside watching the world walk by. And in Brisbane, there are enough quirky personalities to make this a fulltime job.

Not a Pass-Through City

I’m not basing this on actual facts, which may be a problem, but it is my intuition that tells me that the average tourist to Queensland does not spend a lot of time in Brisbane. Who knows, maybe I’m wrong, but I don’t think so. In chatting with people it seems to me that it’s more common to pass through Brisbane en route to the Gold Coast or perhaps up to the Whitsundays, Hamilton Island or the Tropical North. All of those places are great and should be seen, but so should Brisbane. It’s so easy to build in a day or two extra and spend them exploring the city, relaxing and learning and getting to know not only the city, but the state and ultimately the country in a way that’s hard to replicate. Plus, where else can you enjoy a delicious dinner outside along the riverfront, wearing shorts and a t-shirt in the middle of what is technically winter? It doesn’t get much better than that.

Have you been to Brisbane? What did you think?

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Sunset In The Incan Mountain Town of Ollantaytambo Peruhttp://landlopers.com/2015/06/30/photo-sunset-ollantaytambo-peru http://landlopers.com/2015/06/30/photo-sunset-ollantaytambo-peru#comments Tue, 30 Jun 2015 17:45:15 +0000 http://landlopers.com/?p=29943 The post Sunset In The Incan Mountain Town of Ollantaytambo Peru appeared first on LandLopers.

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Ollantaytambo Peru

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What I Would Tell My 30-Year Old Selfhttp://landlopers.com/2015/06/28/30-year-old http://landlopers.com/2015/06/28/30-year-old#comments Sun, 28 Jun 2015 19:55:44 +0000 http://landlopers.com/?p=29920 A few months ago I published a post called My Personal 40 Before 40 Challenge thus signaling the fact that I was in the final throes of my 30s. I … Read More

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Cairns Queensland Australia

A few months ago I published a post called My Personal 40 Before 40 Challenge thus signaling the fact that I was in the final throes of my 30s. I still have a little more than half a year left before I have to start dropping that 3 from my age, but I have been giving this illustrious birthday a lot of thought. Specifically, I’ve been reflecting on my 30s, a decade that for most people is about change, growth and (hopefully) some maturity. It was definitely all those things and more for me; a decade that saw more death and loss than I’d ever expected but balanced by personal changes that were better than I could have ever imagined. While we can’t go back in time, and I’m not really sure I’d want to either, there are some lessons about life I wish I could go back and tell my younger 30-year old self, and maybe in the process of this exercise I’ll be able to enjoy my 40s in a way that won’t necessitate another post like this in a decade.

You Don’t Know Everything

I’ve needed this advice at every stage of my life I think, including now probably. It’s a common problem, most of us tend to think we’re right no matter what, but in my case I’ve noticed that this attitude isn’t just annoying (it is) but it limits us dramatically when it comes to our growth potential. Think about it for a second; when most of us get into an argument with someone, it’s not a high school debate, we become intractable and usually indignant. We refuse to listen to counterarguments that would sway our thoughts or opinions on something we have accepted to be fact. This can be something silly like disagreeing about a “Jeopardy!” answer but it becomes really dangerous when it comes to both our professional and personal lives.

We never get to see the whole of any situation. Whether it’s trying to understand someone’s emotions, or eking out what an employer wants from us. That’s what I’ve failed to keep in mind throughout most of my 30s, and I wish I could go back and change that. When it comes to our personal lives, we have to remember that people really are like icebergs. We may think we know what their lives are like and what they’re going through, but we don’t. We only see what’s on the surface, a small portion of their actual lives. We need to give people more slack, be more tolerant of them and instead of assuming that everything is peaches and cream for them, understand that they may be going through hard times and to try to be accommodating of that. There’s a fine line between confidence and being a jerk and it’s also the difference between someone who is successful and someone else who is a narcissist. The most successful people in the world didn’t get to where they are today by ignoring good advice, but they also understood the need to take a different path when necessary.

Don’t Be Afraid

I mention this a lot, but only because I think it’s so very important. If you stop to think – really think – about your life, I believe like me you’ll realize that a lot of what we all do is fear based. We’re afraid of making our significant others angry, so we don’t criticize when perhaps we should. We’re afraid of being wrong, so we don’t always speak up at work. We’re afraid of making big decisions, because of the ramifications they could have; and so on. A lot of what we do, from the small stuff to epic, life-changing decisions are all based on fear and that needs to stop. The movie “Defending Your Life” operated under the premise that when we die, we’re judged not only by our actions in life, but how we confronted fear. Fear holds us back and prevents us all from living truly memorable lives. It took a long time for this message to take root in my soul, but once it did the effect was extraordinary. I stayed in meaningless jobs for years because I was scared of the unknown. I was scared of not having a steady income and frightened what would happen to me. Little did I know that my life only became truly excellent after I stopped being scared.

hike Antarctica

Mistakes Are Fine

Instead of fearing mistakes, we need to accept the fact that failure is freeing, it’s an opportunity for growth. The most successful people in the world have almost all failed epically at some point in their lives. The key isn’t to dodge failure, that’s impossible, but to know what to do when it does happen. Failure is the best method we have of better understanding our actions and provides a chance for us all to step back, evaluate, change and evolve. Zig Ziglar once wrote, “Failure is an event, not a person.” Extrapolated, that means that all of our mistakes, our personal failures either at work or with our families, do not define us. They are not who we are as human beings. Every new soul is born on this earth with I believe the ability to achieve great things and to be a good person. It is the culmination of a lifetime of choices, and mistakes, that then tailor the individual. But at no time, even the worst amongst us, can anyone really be called a failure. Rather, they have failed and these errors are just single moments in time. It is our reaction to those failures, what we do when slapped in the face that really, truly matters.

Stop Wasting Time

While 30 is indeed young, as is 39 if we’re being honest, the truth is that none of us really know how long we have until we shuffle off this mortal coil, and instead of putting things off or waiting for a better moment, we need to live the lives we have today and not the ones we might have tomorrow. For years, years, I worked in jobs I didn’t like because I felt like I had to. I felt like there was no other path in my life and that I just had to learn to deal with the unhappiness and lack of motivation that came from that lifestyle. That was wrong. What I failed to realize that none of us are on a rigid path, we all zig and zag on a daily basis and that to accept these deviations in our lives isn’t only ok, it’s necessary. Looking at the kids today, Millennials, they seem to understand this in a way that my own generation (Gen X) and definitely my parents generation (Baby Boomers) do not. It’s a matter of the times in which we live, no doubt there. My mother was raised by parents who were always haunted by the specter of the Great Depression and World War II, which meant finding a job, any job, and working at it as hard as you can until you die or retire. If you do retire, that’s when you can have some fun. That lesson was handed down to me and I accepted it for a long time, too long. It was only when I was thankfully pushed forcefully off of that path that I saw it for what it was. Not a single lonely road, but part of a great collection of paths and avenues, all waiting for me to try them out. If we want to change our lives or if we want something more in our lives, we have to act on that today, because tomorrow is frankly far too late.

This post is probably a little too early in the year, I still have 7 months or so until my 40th birthday, but it’s where I found myself thinking today. No matter what the numbers are on our birthday cakes, we all have lessons to learn and ideas we’d love to share with our younger selves. It’s not about lamenting poor choices, not at all, it’s taking these life lessons and extrapolating them so that hopefully by the time the next birthday rolls around, you don’t have nearly as much to share with your mythical, younger selves.

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Local Color in Cuzco Peruhttp://landlopers.com/2015/06/28/local-color-in-cuzco-peru http://landlopers.com/2015/06/28/local-color-in-cuzco-peru#comments Sun, 28 Jun 2015 19:39:03 +0000 http://landlopers.com/?p=29937 The post Local Color in Cuzco Peru appeared first on LandLopers.

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Cuzco Peru

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Quirky Museums in Oslo I Lovehttp://landlopers.com/2015/06/28/museums-in-oslo http://landlopers.com/2015/06/28/museums-in-oslo#comments Sun, 28 Jun 2015 17:55:04 +0000 http://landlopers.com/?p=29912 I had long anticipated my first visit to Oslo; it was a city that I just knew I’d love. And for the most part I was right, the capital of … Read More

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I had long anticipated my first visit to Oslo; it was a city that I just knew I’d love. And for the most part I was right, the capital of Norway has a lot going for it and spending a couple of days exploring it before heading north to the wilds of rural Norway was a great counterbalance. Instead of visiting the normal museums though, I wanted to go further afield and made a point to seek out and tour a few popular, but quirky museums in Oslo. It was a great day of exploration and learning and I hope my experiences get you excited for your own Norwegian travel adventures.

Notes: These museums are all fairly close to each other located on the peninsula of Bygdøy in Oslo. Since I stayed in downtown Oslo, I used the comprehensive public transportation system to get out there; an easy and painless experience. Once there I actually walked to each of the museums, which makes sense since the Fram and Kon-Tiki are next to each other, but the other two were more of a hike so you may want to take the bus to visit them.

Fram Museum

It doesn’t take any great or worldly knowledge to realize that Norway’s history is linked with the sea. Since well before its Viking days to the modern era, Norwegian culture in inextricably intertwined with the ocean, ships and boatbuilding. One of their greatest stories, and there are many, is the adventurous history of the remarkable ship known as the Fram. Never heard of it? Don’t worry, neither had I, but I had read about the famous Norwegian explorers who were amongst the first to visit some of the most remote places on the planet in both the Arctic and Antarctica. The Fram is the ship that was used in expeditions of the Arctic and Antarctic regions by the Norwegian explorers and which is today, thankfully, preserved inside the Fram Museum itself. I visited on a Tuesday morning in the middle of March, so I wasn’t surprised to see that I was quite literally the only patron at the museum. That suited me just fine as I took my time to tour the well-interpreted museum sharing the story not just of the Fram itself, but of man’s exploration of the most remote and dangerous places on the planet. Having been to Antarctica myself, it was fascinating to read about the exploits of those who first visited the 7th continent, ultimately making my own leisure cruise there possible. This is a fun, slightly quirky museum that has tons for kids to do as well, so don’t worry about any member of the family getting bored.

Kon-Tiki Museum

One of the strangest expeditions ever undertaken, the story of the now infamous Kon-Tiki is known around the world. But it all started with one slightly outlandish idea by the famed Norwegian adventurer Thor Heyerdahl. If you’re not familiar with the story, in 1947 Heyerdahl and his crew sailed by raft across the Pacific Ocean from Peru to Polynesia in an effort to prove the theory that people from South America populated Polynesia in pre-Columbian times. Using only materials and methods available to ancient South Americans, the journey took 101 days but they did eventually make it, proving that technically it could have been done. Scientists have since debunked this theory, but it’s not the anthropology that makes the Kon-Tiki such an exciting story. It’s the adventure of it all that has fascinated people since the first day of Heyerdahl’s expedition. As humans, that spirit of adventure and discovery appeals to us on a very base level and in an era when such experiences seem impossible, Heyerdahl proved that the world still holds many mysteries for us to discover. The museum captures this spirit and tells the story well and is probably the only place in Oslo where you can buy Hawaiian print shirts.

Viking Ship Museum

The legacy of the Vikings doesn’t only touch the modern day history of Norway, their rampaging ways sent reverberations through history that can be felt all over Europe, and even into the Americas. The Viking era was a fascinating one, and more important than most people probably realize. But sadly a lot of their history and even traditions have been lost to time, which is why the relics found at the extraordinary Viking Ship Museum are so very important. The museum itself holds several, completely intact Viking burial ships as well as a collection of grave goods from various archeological finds. These extraordinary ships were found in situ, just as they were buried more than 1,000 years ago, and they offer an unparalleled look into Viking culture and traditions. Walking into the massive, simple hall of the museum the feeling was more of a church than one of the world’s most unique museums. And rightly so I think, given that most of what is housed inside all comes from ancient burial mounds, the final resting place for our Viking ancestors. It doesn’t take long to tour the museum, but is well worth it to see these amazingly intact Viking ships, a glimpse into the past you won’t find anywhere else in the world.

Oslo Norway

Norwegian Museum of Cultural History

I originally hadn’t planned to visit this particular museum, but my tour guide a day earlier told me it was a “must-see” and since it was close to the Viking Ship Museum, I figured why not go? I’m glad I did too, although I didn’t allot nearly enough time to visit this expansive property. So much more than a museum, this is a collection of buildings, structures and even an entire town; all emblematic of Norway’s cultural and architectural history. The museum began life back in the 19th century, with the collection of the Norwegian king. Today it’s one of the best open-air museums in the world and is home to 150 buildings relocated from towns and rural districts all around Norway. Everything from a 13th century stave church to a 1950s gas station; all of the preserved structures are meant to tell a story and altogether, to share the history of Norway through its culture and traditions. My favorite aspect of the museum though is the three-story apartment building that used to sit in downtown Oslo. Today, each room of the building shares a different era of apartment living in Norway, from the 19th century to today. You’ll see what people of each generation used as they went about their daily lives, from 1950s housewives to immigrants who moved to Oslo in the 1970s and 80s. It’s one of the best ways to share the cultural history of a country that I’ve ever seen and my only regret is not having enough time to spend there.

Oslo is an extraordinary city if you love great museums and while there are plenty of “normal” art and history museums, it was the quirky museums in Oslo that I enjoyed most. No matter where your interests lie though, make sure to carve out enough time to sample just a few of these extraordinary museums in Oslo.

Where are your favorite quirky museums?

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