Santa Maria, Sal Island, Cape Verde

Santa Maria and the Atlantic Blessing of Sal

Santa Maria was founded in the first half of the XNUMXth century, as a salt export warehouse. Today, thanks to the providence of Santa Maria, Sal Ilha is worth much more than the raw material.

We arrived in the middle of the week. No matter how crowded the hotels and resorts on the large cove that Santa Maria spreads out, life seems to be centered on the city's pier. With a richness and diversity for which we were not prepared.

Fishermen flock there from the translucent and emerald Atlantic offshore and unload the fish they've caught into wheelbarrows, buckets and large pots.

Santa Maria, Sal Island, Cape Verde, boat

Barco makes a final maneuver before docking at the Santa Maria jetty.

At the top, fishmongers and fishmongers for a long time receive, tomorrow and weigh the fishery for the sales that will follow.

Part of the wood of the pontoon turns scarlet from the slaughter that takes place there. Medium tuna are quartered and tails roll.

Santa Maria, Sal island, Cape Verde, fish

A range of freshly caught fish, prepared and ready for consumption.

Less edible parts of different fish are converted to bait.

Generate a fish aroma to match. In a closed cycle of predation and predator in which almost everything is taken advantage of, an entourage of young fishermen to the line throws the bait into the sea, in search of more fish.

Santa Maria, Sal Island, Cape Verde, group fishing

A small group of friends fish at the far end of the Santa Maria pier.

They do so facing the south of the archipelago and the wild north of Atlântida beach. Boavista island where, even too far away for us to see it, the freighter “Cabo Santa Maria” remains stranded and battered by the waves.

In the peace and safety of Santa Maria, the island, other passenger boats dock, gaudy and with unusual names. We see the “No It's Not Toy”. Then the “God Guides You”. They disembark people from other parts of the Sal onto an amphibious staircase that takes them to the bustle above.

Santa Maria, Sal Island, Cape Verde, tuna

Fisherman holds a freshly caught tuna on the Santa Maria pier.

From the terrestrial end of the pier, employees from the many restaurants and hotels in the surrounding area also arrive. They scrutinize and negotiate the exposed fishery with zeal and the concentration possible given the abundance of distractions they have to get around.

Dozens of tourists circle and stick their noses and small cameras and smartphones in everything that has life and color. "Whoa, don't you just sit still!" tells us a fishmonger to whom our hyperactivity and proximity were already confusing. "What do you want these photos for, explain to me that it's not easy to see." complete with a very Salense smile on her lips.

Santa Maria, Sal island, Cape Verde, fishmonger

Fishmonger tomorrow fish newly landed on the Santa Maria pier.

We admire the inexhaustible patience that fishermen and fishmongers dedicate to intruders, armed with practical answers and gentle smiles for whatever approach.

Apart from fishing and its related business, the pontoon also serves the recreational purposes of a restless community of kids and teenagers.

We see one of them, wearing a t-shirt, swimming towards us. Noticing the attention we were giving him, a small group of friends threw him the slippers they had left on the pier.

First one. Then the other one. Spaced apart, so as to hinder your swimming and embarrass you.

Further down, despite an almost total lack of spaces, two kids are entertaining themselves by giving their bodyboard boards a spin.

Santa Maria, Sal Island, Cape Verde, body board

Boy from Santa Maria has fun with the waves formed by the jetty.

Pontão and Ponta de Vera Cruz: a border on the coast of Santa Maria

For those who, like us, come from far away, the Santa Maria pier has an additional function that we have learned to value. It divides the wide bay almost in half.

At the point where it gives us to the island's sandy soil, we are left with Viana's white and red house in front of us. We found it closed, a mere shadow of history that some vendors take advantage of to protect themselves from the dry and salty brazier at one in the afternoon.

Day after day, thousands of strangers pass through it, flying to the salt in search of the warm ocean, the ever-blue sky and the sun that caresses them.

Few are aware of the importance that that kind of mansion with a terrace and crowned by a pyramidal roof had for Santa Maria and for the island.

Santa Maria, Sal Island, Cape Verde, Casa Viana II

Passersby pass by Casa Viana, a landmark in the history of salt and the Salt of Santa Maria.

Casa Viana and the History of Salt in Santa Maria

At one time, Casa Viana housed the offices of the Companhia de Fomento that controlled the export of salt. The salt was accumulated in a shed installed behind it.

From there, the workers loaded him onto wagons and, on rails that traversed a tunnel in the heart of the building, proceeded to the boats anchored on the jetty.

It was the abundant salt from Sal that gave rise to the village that we continued to discover.

If we are facing the sea, it is to the east of the pier that the real Santa Maria extends. There are located its Nazarene church and the city's Municipal Market, for convenience, installed a few hundred meters from agricultural plantations forced into a wider swamp, competing with those in the fertile area of ​​the island, Terra Boa.

To the left of those contemplating the ocean, there is the geometric grid of streets that, when close to home, the natives walk, to and fro, among neighbors.

And that outsiders wander, keeping an eye on the small craft shops, among the terraces and bars that give more meaning to the island's heat.

The weather. And Morabeza's.

Santa Maria, Sal Island, Cape Verde, painting

Paintings of the Santa Maria pier, for sale in this city in the south of the island of Sal.

The names of these routes evoke the past of the island and Cape Verde, in several of its facets. There is Rua da Independência and, of course, Rua das Salinas, the inevitable homage to the “white gold mines” of the island of Sal, in the already secular genesis of everything we lived.

The Contract Work by Manuel António Martins and the Export of Salt from Santa Maria

It all started with Manuel António Martins, a native of Braga, a settler in Cape Verde since 1792, governor of the archipelago and of Guinea from 1833 to 1835 and the agent responsible for extracting and selling the abundant salt on the island of Sal.

Manuel António Martins was also appointed Royal Councilor, honorary vice-consul of the United States. Awarded the trump card of this diplomatic relationship, he sent a batch of prefabricated houses from America.

These ready-to-live-in homes enabled him to put his plan into practice with great speed. It began by enticing residents of the neighboring island of Boavista to move to Sal.

At the turn of the XNUMXth century, acquired slaves on the African coast charged with the hardest work.

It built marinas, wind pumps and installed the so-called railway that passed under Casa Viana and ensured the connection to the embarkation point in the Ponta de Vera Cruz area, next to the small lighthouse now incorporated into the Farolim restaurant.

Santa Maria, Sal Island, Cape Verde, pontoon

The Pontão de Santa Maria entering the Atlantic in the south of the city.

From 1835, year after year, up to 30.000 tons of salt were shipped from Santa Maria, almost all of it to the Brazil.

In 1887, Brazil's governors decided to protect their own production and imposed heavy taxes on incoming salt. The island of Sal was immediately affected.

Santa Maria, its large town, entered a state of morass that worsened until 1920, when a Portuguese investor resumed production and sale of the raw material.

This revival proved both lasting and fruitful. It allowed the village to move from a small town to a city, which happened in 1935.

The Pioneer Hotel and the Metamorphosis of Santa Maria

The production and export of salt continued until 1984. In the decades that passed, without anything being foreseen, the island saw alleviation of the isolation to which it was destined.

In 1963, Gaspard Vynckier and his wife Marguerite Massart, Belgian engineers and investors, were saturated with the wintry climate of Ghent, the city in which they lived.

Marguerite suffered from asthma. Determined to alleviate the ever uncomfortable symptoms, she needed to settle in a warmer, drier climate. Through friends the couple had in Portugal, discovered Sal.

Marveled at the island, they built their second home there. Shortly after, they decided to open a pioneer resort in Sal. In order to promote, among visitors, the spirit of kindness, affability and warmth of Cape Verde, they called it “Morabeza”.

Santa Maria, Sal Island, Cape Verde, Praia

The rich sand that stretches south of the city of Santa Maria.

Revolutionary, the resort had, on May 13, 1967, a politicized inauguration. It had the governor of Cape Verde and the island's administrator, flanked by an entourage of other prominent figures.

The owners arrived the next day, in time for a lunch provided by Governor Sacramento Monteiro to the Belgian couple, resort guests and several other guests.

From then on, Gaspard and Marguerite spent their winters on Sal. Engineers as they were, they became involved in solving the lack of drinking water on the island, as well as in its sanitation, among other initiatives.

Since 1962, the South African Airways flight between Johannesburg and Frankfurt had stopped at the airport of Asparagus. Over the years, several other companies, including TAP, TAAG, Cubana and Aeroflot – the last three involved in Angola's Civil War – have guaranteed stops on the island.

The “Morabeza” resort expanded in line with demand. In 1991, Cuban troops left Angola. Cubana, Aeroflot and others suspended their stopovers on Sal.

Santa Maria, Sal Island, Cape Verde, boat

Boat with passengers about to dock at the Santa Maria pier.

The 90's and the tourist wave that continues to grow

Always cautious, since 1986, Gaspard Vynckier sought to entice European tourists to vacation on the island of Sal. The first groups of Portuguese arrived via the Abreu agency. The travels of the first Germans were the responsibility of an agency called Neckerman.

With the purpose of solidifying the tourism of Sal, Vynckier also founded agencies in Paris and Belgium.

Visitors increased gradually. Arrived from Portugal and, soon, from an assortment of European countries. The demand justified the construction of new hotels and resorts.

This new reality takes us from Hotel Morabeza, a few meters away, back to the pier.

Santa Maria, Sal Island, Cape Verde, Ponta do Pontão

Silhouettes at the tip of the Santa Maria pier.

And then to the western section of the structure, the one that welcomed the competing establishments, one after the other, from Ponta de Vera Cruz, to the rounded threshold of Ponta do Sinó.

It's from one of those resorts that we leave by car, hoping to discover other coastlines than just the southern one. First, we take a look at Ponta Preta beach, which we are told has been one of Sal's Kite Spots for a long time.

Kite Surf Fashion Brought by the Trade Winds

Over time, fashions change. Apart from its sun, the island's strong and steady trade winds have also won over fans. As a result, Sal receives thousands of windsurfers and, increasingly, kitesurfing fans every year.

Due to some meteorological whim, only a few practitioners, obviously learning, frequented Ponta Preta. We sent a dive, which the Atlantic was too attractive for us to avoid.

Still to dry, we return to the car and cross to the opposite coast (to the east) as direct as we can, bearing in mind that from the main artery of the island to the east, the path becomes a chaos of undefined dirt and sand roads and where we feared getting bogged down.

We interrupt that kind of Paris-Dakar a few hundred meters above the 100 Feet kite surfing school. We walked among yellowish dunes. Finally, between two of them, we can see the green-blue of the Atlantic, there much more agitated and windy than in Ponta Preta.

As we survey the beach, we are dazzled by the Atlantic magnificence of the scenery.

Santa Maria, Sal Island, Cape Verde, Kitesurf Beach

Crowds of kite surfers fill the bay south of Ponta da Fragata and Serra Negra.

From the Serra Negra and Ponta da Fragata promontory to the south, a multicolored profusion of kiteboard sails fluttered in the white sky and crossed back and forth over and over again. On the sand, some candidates for more serious practitioners of the sport, rehearsing their entry on the scene.

We relax for a moment against a dune and watch that strange ballet.

We are satisfied with the fact that there are numerous manifestations of the miracle of Santa Maria do Sal on display. And we gave up counting the kites.

Chã das Caldeiras, Fogo Island Cape Verde

A "French" Clan at the Mercy of Fire

In 1870, a Count born in Grenoble on his way to Brazilian exile, made a stopover in Cape Verde where native beauties tied him to the island of Fogo. Two of his children settled in the middle of the volcano's crater and continued to raise offspring there. Not even the destruction caused by the recent eruptions deters the prolific Montrond from the “county” they founded in Chã das Caldeiras.    
Boa Vista Island, Cape Verde

Boa Vista Island: Atlantic waves, Dunas do Sara

Boa Vista is not only the Cape Verdean island closest to the African coast and its vast desert. After a few hours of discovery, it convinces us that it is a piece of the Sahara adrift in the North Atlantic.
Cidade Velha, Cape Verde

Cidade Velha: the Ancient of the Tropico-Colonial Cities

It was the first settlement founded by Europeans below the Tropic of Cancer. In crucial times for Portuguese expansion to Africa and South America and for the slave trade that accompanied it, Cidade Velha became a poignant but unavoidable legacy of Cape Verdean origins.

island of salt, Cape Verde

The Salt of the Island of Sal

At the approach of the XNUMXth century, Sal remained lacking in drinking water and practically uninhabited. Until the extraction and export of the abundant salt there encouraged a progressive population. Today, salt and salt pans add another flavor to the most visited island in Cape Verde.
Dead Sea, Israel

Afloat, in the Depths of the Earth

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Nha Trang-Doc Let, Vietnam

The Salt of the Vietnamese Land

In search of attractive coastlines in old Indochina, we become disillusioned with the roughness of Nha Trang's bathing area. And it is in the feminine and exotic work of the Hon Khoi salt flats that we find a more pleasant Vietnam.

São Nicolau, Cape Verde

Photography of Nha Terra São Nicolau

The voice of the late Cesária Verde crystallized the feeling of Cape Verdeans who were forced to leave their island. who visits São Nicolau or, wherever it may be, admires images that illustrate it well, understands why its people proudly and forever call it their land.
Santo Antão, Cape Verde

Up and Down the Estrada da Corda

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Fogo Island, Cape Verde

Around the Fogo Island

Time and the laws of geomorphology dictated that the volcano-island of Fogo rounded off like no other in Cape Verde. Discovering this exuberant Macaronesian archipelago, we circled around it against the clock. We are dazzled in the same direction.
São Nicolau, Cape Verde

São Nicolau: Pilgrimage to Terra di Sodade

Forced matches like those that inspired the famous morna “soda” made the pain of having to leave the islands of Cape Verde very strong. Discovering saninclau, between enchantment and wonder, we pursue the genesis of song and melancholy.
Chã das Caldeiras a Mosteiros, Fogo Island, Cape Verde

Chã das Caldeiras to Mosteiros: descent through the Ends of Fogo

With the Cape Verde summit conquered, we sleep and recover in Chã das Caldeiras, in communion with some of the lives at the mercy of the volcano. The next morning, we started the return to the capital São Filipe, 11 km down the road to Mosteiros.
Brava, Cape Verde

Cape Verde Brave Island

During colonization, the Portuguese came across a moist and lush island, something rare in Cape Verde. Brava, the smallest of the inhabited islands and one of the least visited of the archipelago, preserves the authenticity of its somewhat elusive Atlantic and volcanic nature.
Santiago, Cape Verde

Santiago from bottom to top

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Santo Antão, Cape Verde

Porto Novo to Ribeira Grande the Seaside Way

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Ponta do Sol a Fontainhas, Santo Antão, Cape Verde

A Vertiginous Journey from Ponta do Sol

We reach the northern tip of Santo Antão and Cape Verde. On a new afternoon of radiant light, we follow the Atlantic bustle of the fishermen and the less coastal day-to-day life of Ponta do Sol. With sunset imminent, we inaugurate a gloomy and intimidating quest of the village of Fontainhas.
Mindelo, São Vicente, Cape Verde

The Miracle of São Vicente

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Nova Sintra, Brava, Cape Verde

A Creole Sintra, instead of Saloia

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Tarrafal, Santiago, Cape Verde

The Tarrafal of Freedom and Slow Life

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Ribeira Grande, Santo AntãoCape Verde

Santo Antão, Up the Ribeira Grande

Originally a tiny village, Ribeira Grande followed the course of its history. It became the village, later the city. It has become an eccentric and unavoidable junction on the island of Santo Antão.
El Fuerte, Sinaloa, Mexico

Zorro's Cradle

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Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique, Wildlife, lions
NP Gorongosa, Mozambique

The Wild Heart of Mozambique shows Signs of Life

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Prayer flags in Ghyaru, Nepal
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 4th – Upper Banana to Ngawal, Nepal

From Nightmare to Dazzle

Unbeknownst to us, we are faced with an ascent that leads us to despair. We pulled our strength as far as possible and reached Ghyaru where we felt closer than ever to the Annapurnas. The rest of the way to Ngawal felt like a kind of extension of the reward.
Visitors at Talisay Ruins, Negros Island, Philippines
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Talisay City, Philippines

Monument to a Luso-Philippine Love

At the end of the 11th century, Mariano Lacson, a Filipino farmer, and Maria Braga, a Portuguese woman from Macau, fell in love and got married. During the pregnancy of what would be her 2th child, Maria succumbed to a fall. Destroyed, Mariano built a mansion in his honor. In the midst of World War II, the mansion was set on fire, but the elegant ruins that endured perpetuate their tragic relationship.
Totems, Botko Village, Malekula, Vanuatu
Malekula, Vanuatu

Meat and Bone Cannibalism

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Apia, Western Samoa

Fia Fia – High Rotation Polynesian Folklore

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Suzdal, Russia

Thousand Years of Old Fashioned Russia

It was a lavish capital when Moscow was just a rural hamlet. Along the way, it lost political relevance but accumulated the largest concentration of churches, monasteries and convents in the country of the tsars. Today, beneath its countless domes, Suzdal is as orthodox as it is monumental.
Singapore Asian Capital Food, Basmati Bismi

The Asian Food Capital

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Saint Petersburg, Russia

When the Russian Navy Stations in Saint Petersburg

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combat arbiter, cockfighting, philippines

When Only Cock Fights Wake Up the Philippines

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unmissable roads

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Nelson to Wharariki, Abel Tasman NP, New Zealand

The Maori coastline on which Europeans landed

Abel Janszoon Tasman explored more of the newly mapped and mythical "Terra australis" when a mistake soured the contact with natives of an unknown island. The episode inaugurated the colonial history of the New Zealand. Today, both the divine coast on which the episode took place and the surrounding seas evoke the Dutch navigator.
sunlight photography, sun, lights
Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
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Cathedral of Santa Ana, Vegueta, Las Palmas, Gran Canaria
Vegueta, Gran Canaria, Canary Islands

Around the Heart of the Royal Canaries

The old and majestic Vegueta de Las Palmas district stands out in the long and complex Hispanization of the Canaries. After a long period of noble expeditions, the final conquest of Gran Canaria and the remaining islands of the archipelago began there, under the command of the monarchs of Castile and Aragon.
Santa Maria, Mother Island of the Azores
Santa Maria, Azores

Santa Maria: the Azores Mother Island

It was the first in the archipelago to emerge from the bottom of the sea, the first to be discovered, the first and only to receive Cristovão Colombo and a Concorde. These are some of the attributes that make Santa Maria special. When we visit it, we find many more.
Horses under a snow, Iceland Never Ending Snow Island Fire
Winter White
Husavik a Myvatn, Iceland

Endless Snow on the Island of Fire

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Lake Manyara, National Park, Ernest Hemingway, Giraffes
Lake Manyara NP, Tanzania

Hemingway's Favorite Africa

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Early morning on the lake

Nantou, Taiwan

In the Heart of the Other China

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Mother Armenia Statue, Yerevan, Armenia
Yerevan, Armenia

A Capital between East and West

Heiress of the Soviet civilization, aligned with the great Russia, Armenia allows itself to be seduced by the most democratic and sophisticated ways of Western Europe. In recent times, the two worlds have collided in the streets of your capital. From popular and political dispute, Yerevan will dictate the new course of the nation.
Boat and helmsman, Cayo Los Pájaros, Los Haitises, Dominican Republic
Natural Parks
Samaná PeninsulaLos Haitises National Park Dominican Republic

From the Samaná Peninsula to the Dominican Haitises

In the northeast corner of the Dominican Republic, where Caribbean nature still triumphs, we face an Atlantic much more vigorous than expected in these parts. There we ride on a communal basis to the famous Limón waterfall, cross the bay of Samaná and penetrate the remote and exuberant “land of the mountains” that encloses it.
deep valley, terraced rice, batad, philippines
UNESCO World Heritage
Batad, Philippines

The Terraces that Sustain the Philippines

Over 2000 years ago, inspired by their rice god, the Ifugao people tore apart the slopes of Luzon. The cereal that the indigenous people grow there still nourishes a significant part of the country.
Era Susi towed by dog, Oulanka, Finland
PN Oulanka, Finland

A Slightly Lonesome Wolf

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Tobago, Pigeon Point, Scarborough, Pontoon
Scarborough a Pigeon Point, Tobago

Probing the Capital Tobago

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Police intervention, ultra-Orthodox Jews, Jaffa, Tel Aviv, Israel
Jaffa, Israel

Unorthodox protests

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Train Kuranda train, Cairns, Queensland, Australia
On Rails
Cairns-Kuranda, Australia

Train to the Middle of the Jungle

Built out of Cairns to save miners isolated in the rainforest from starvation by flooding, the Kuranda Railway eventually became the livelihood of hundreds of alternative Aussies.
Military Religious, Wailing Wall, IDF Flag Oath, Jerusalem, Israel
Jerusalem, Israel

A Festive Wailing Wall

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herd, foot-and-mouth disease, weak meat, colonia pellegrini, argentina
Daily life
Colónia Pellegrini, Argentina

When the Meat is Weak

The unmistakable flavor of Argentine beef is well known. But this wealth is more vulnerable than you think. The threat of foot-and-mouth disease, in particular, keeps authorities and growers afloat.
ice tunnel, black gold route, Valdez, Alaska, USA
Valdez, Alaska

On the Black Gold Route

In 1989, the Exxon Valdez oil tanker caused a massive environmental disaster. The vessel stopped plying the seas, but the victim city that gave it its name continues on the path of crude oil from the Arctic Ocean.
Passengers, scenic flights-Southern Alps, New Zealand
Scenic Flights
Aoraki / Mount Cook, New Zealand

The Aeronautical Conquest of the Southern Alps

In 1955, pilot Harry Wigley created a system for taking off and landing on asphalt or snow. Since then, his company has unveiled, from the air, some of the greatest scenery in Oceania.