“Not all those who wander are lost.”

J.R.R. Tolkien, The Fellowship of the Ring

THE PERFECT GETAWAY

Tsala Treetop Lodge & Villas   Amidst the treetops of an age-old indigenous forest, Tsala Treetop Lodge is a lavish celebration of the spirit [...]

Flamenco, Whatsapp & Google Translate

deur Gerard Scholtz (Rol af vir foto’s) Ana, flamenco cantaura, led us through Seville’s narrow, dark and cobbled backstreets. We were running a little late. [...]

Cordoba, die wit stad

deur Gerard Scholtz (Rol af vir foto’s) Ons het afgewyk van die Silwer Roete om ook Cordoba en Granada in te sluit. Kom so [...]

  • Are the Great Outdoors Off-Limits During a Pandemic?
    by Erin Beresini on 27 March 2020 at 10:10 pm

    Theodora Blanchfield, a therapy student and freelance writer, lives alone in Santa Monica. Every afternoon, she joins her neighbor to walk their dogs along the beach: two-hundred and forty-five acres of soft, California sand. “It makes me grateful to be outside of my apartment, to feel open space instead of confinement,” says Blanchfield, who has struggled with depression. “Being by the ocean always calms me. It has been very, very, very, very soothing.” When the governor of California, Gavin Newsom, enacted the first statewide stay-at-home order in the U.S., to combat the spread of the new coronavirus last Thursday, outdoor recreation was baked into the directive as an essential activity. As more states have gone on lockdown, they’ve issued similar instructions: Go outside, just stay six feet apart from anyone you don’t live with. Unfortunately, in a world that’s changing by the hour, the Golden Rule of Physical Distancing is not the only factor in finding a socially responsible way to commune with nature. We should also be thinking about how our outdoor activities might affect others: If we get injured or sick, will we stress the resources of small gateway towns, or potentially take emergency responders away from COVID-19 patients? Will the people I pass on my walk be as careful as I am? Let’s start with the good news. There are loads of studies touting physical activity and natural environments as salves for anxiety and depression, and if there were ever a time people might feel anxious or depressed, even without a medical history of these issues, it’s now. Meanwhile, the virus “dissipates quickly outside, both becoming less dense in the outside air volume and more easily destroyed by UV light,” says Ellen Jo Baron, professor emerita of pathology at the Stanford University Medical Center. In other words, the coronavirus has a harder time spreading en plein air, perhaps even more so in sunny places. “The concentration of virus drops off very quickly as you get farther away from a person” carrying it, adds Dr. Timothy Brewer, an epidemiology professor and member of the Division of Infectious Diseases at UCLA. So far, outdoorsing for the sake of mental and physical health has been allowed and actively encouraged in many parts of the U.S. Last week, Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt suspended national park entry fees to make it “a little easier for the American public to enjoy the outdoors,” while noting that many park facilities, such as visitor centers, would close. Philadelphia indefinitely closed Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive to vehicles, to give people more room to distance along the adjacent Schuylkill River Trail. And New York City mayor Bill de Blasio said he would experiment with closing two streets in each borough to help spread people out. All of this pandemic-time outdoor recreation is a good thing, Brewer says—assuming everyone stays in their 6-foot bubble and everyone who has symptoms (cough, fever, shortness of breath) stays at home. (We don’t know enough about asymptomatic people, he says, to give sound advice.) Still, these rules of thumb can get more complicated if you live in a densely populated area, or travel to parks and natural spaces that see large numbers of visitors, such as national parks. Ever since the World Health Organization declared a pandemic on March 11, and “social distancing” became a way of life all around the world, social media has been flooded with images of people flouting the command: packed beaches, crowded hiking trails, picnic-filled parks. Many areas are beefing up their restrictions in response. Across California, state parks are closing parking lots or shuttering altogether, after several of them were inundated with visitors over the weekend. “The high volume of usage by the public of parks, beaches, and open space makes it impossible for persons to maintain the required social distancing, especially in those areas where recreational biking is allowed,” wrote Sonoma County’s health officer, Dr. Sundari R. Mase, in a March 23 order. The writ also cited a domino effect as part of the decision: If the county did not take action, then as nearby areas announced similar closures, even more people might flood into Sonoma’s parks. National parks are also closing. Less than a week after the U.S. National Park Service axed entry fees, a number of parks, including Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Rocky Mountain, Great Smoky Mountains, and Yosemite, had completely shuttered, citing congestion on popular trails, fear of overwhelming nearby medical facilities, and concern for the health of visitors, rangers, and gateway-town residents. The National Park Service has been posting around a dozen news releases a day simply to announce modified park operations or closures. Even popular outdoor towns, such as Moab, Utah, have closed to visitors, to protect themselves. And several state parks or parts of them are being converted into overflow quarantine centers. Georgia reserved an acre of the 5,800-acre Hard Labor Creek State Park for this purpose. Louisiana is using Chicot State Park for for overflow as well, while Los Angeles docked 25 RVs at Dockweiler Beach for coronavirus patients with no place to self-isolate. As the California State Parks website states in bold, regarding closures: This list is dynamic and will be updated regularly. Since the rules and recommendations keep evolving, how are you supposed to make sense of them? Michael Robertson, a professor at the University of Sydney’s Health Ethics Centre, says it’s tough for anyone to make a truly informed choice about their recreational options right now. We may want to go outdoors to be by ourselves, but if others do the same, our individual decisions can add up to consequences for everyone, including reduced access for everyone. Italy and Spain have banned leisure cycling outside, and France has now limited outdoor exercise to one hour, once a day, alone, within one kilometer of home. “The mixed messaging people are getting—it’s kind of an evolving process,” he says. “People were just told, ‘OK, just wash your hands’—and now we’re looking at a shutdown of the economy and a potential depression. People can’t process that.” The waiving of national park fees, followed by the total closure of many national parks, may seem confusing or contradictory. Given all this, Robertson says that the ethical choice is actually pretty simple: “Obey the f***ing law and do what public health authorities tell you to do.” If they tell you to avoid parks or beaches, listen to them. And if you need a dose of the great outdoors, take the initiative to stay informed. You can’t necessarily rely on advice you heard a week ago, so check for recent public health announcements as well as notices from local, regional, and national authorities. For Theodora Blanchfield, in Santa Monica, the daily walk is more than a breath of fresh air. “This is a little bit cheesy,” she says, “but I lost my mom a couple of years ago, and feeling the sun is one of the ways I feel connected to her. It’s just incredibly healing to me.” When California’s Governor Newsom issued statewide stay-at-home orders on the 19th, Blanchfield’s first question was: “But I can still go outside, right?” Currently, the answer is yes—but as of Friday afternoon, she can no longer go to the beach. Los Angeles County temporarily closed all of its beaches, trailheads, piers, and beach bike paths in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. “I’m honestly feeling pretty scared right now,” Blanchfield says, when asked whether she has other places to experience the outdoors. “I live on a really crowded, really busy road. But yes, there are other places I can walk.” No matter how far you’re able to roam in the coming weeks, remember to keep your distance from others, wash your hands often, and stay tuned for updates from public officials. You can join the conversation about this and other stories in the Atlas Obscura Community Forums.

  • How 'Shoebox Lunches' Made Black Travel Possible During Jim Crow
    by Nicole Taylor on 27 March 2020 at 10:00 pm

    Youtube videos of celebrity sneaker-head closets often showcase massive square footage, multiple colorways on display, and not a box in sight. Your average hypebeast might wear new kicks a handful of times, then rebox and sell them for spring break plane fare. But for the mid-century African-American traveler, shoeboxes were culinary currency. During the age of Jim Crow, a sturdy shoebox with a meal inside could mean avoiding conflict or death. In 1964, the Civil Rights Act became the law of the land. One function of the bill was to eliminate overt racism while traveling. Yet even after the bill went into effect, many food establishments kept forcing black customers to order chocolate ice cream parfaits from frumpy side windows, while twisted-lip atmospheres in roadside stores deterred black vacationers from buying penny candy. Public accommodations, such as hotels, could no longer refuse lodging to African-Americans, but certain tactics could deny individuals a place to stay. Pre-made meals not only reduced costs but served as your breakfast, if your route was void of sites listed in The Negro Motorist Green Book, a paper directory created by Victor Greene to guide black drivers and voyagers. "I remember my first travel experience to visit my grandmother. I was around four years old. We'd catch a train from Seattle, Washington, to Pine Bluff, Arkansas. We brought food on the train," says Patricia Patton, a retired hospitality professional and entrepreneur. "In the 1960s, my family brought a car, and we'd drive from the Pacific Northwest to San Diego to visit family. The cooler would be packed with enough to eat for three days.” Many families started each trip by reminding kids of the rules—daylight bathroom pit stops only, and lunch served in the car. This extra caution was vital. "I was born in the late 1940s. I was not supposed to stare or look at people while traveling,” says Patton. “Often, my mother's hand would tuck my forehead down, and no playfulness—we remained still to avoid any confrontation with white people.” In Overground Railroad: The Green Book and the Roots of Black Travel in America, author Candacy A. Taylor makes it clear that women were the powerhouses that made getting to and fro easier. A mother's to-do list then was more than untangling iPad chargers and buying granola bars; it was icing down a cooler and twisting handkerchiefs containing pinches of salt and pepper. The matriarch's job included repositioning the Stanley-type thermos, filled with water, from shifting on the floorboard. When it was time to eat, Taylor notes, a "shoebox lunch" was set up, and most often, it was cold fried chicken pieces, thickly sliced country ham sandwiches, buttery pound cake chunks, and winter oranges or backyard peaches. The condiment-slathered sandwiches and an unbreakable platter for the perfectly piped deviled eggs would likely sit high up in the cooler to avoid spoilage. Not everyone used an actual shoebox. Different vessels served the same purpose. Historical photos of the second Great Migration show black Americans in bus and train stations carrying metal lunch pails, slightly crumpled paper sacks, and packages tied with fabric or string. For individual leisure or business travel, the mode was always discretion, and dignity while consuming food was of utmost importance. A slice of layer cake doesn't carry well and requires a utensil, but a wax paper-wrapped sweet potato pie slice doesn't. Bologna sandwiches, fried pork chops, biscuits with homemade fig preserve, golden cornbread, teacakes, raisins, cheese, pickles, shelled pecans, peanuts, and apples are all portable foods that made an appearance on the laps of black passengers. Though the era of the shoebox lunch has passed, they have become an emblem of resilience. One restaurant has even created replicas of the receptacle in tribute. Since 2017, the sleek, upscale soul food joint Beans & Cornbread in suburban Detroit has sold golden, perfectly seasoned chicken wings, cornbread, and your pick of two sides in a keepsake shoebox, with black history facts and illustrations lining the sides. Owner Patrick Coleman even sends the boxes to schools around the country as educational tools. “This year, we have shipped flat boxes to 34 states," says Coleman. Paired with hashtags such as #blacktravelmovement, hilarious Facebook threads on flying with miniature Hennessy bottles and Instagram stories documenting road trip eats are common. But many still pack food while traveling; it's part nostalgia, part economics, and part logistics. Omar Tate, a chef who writes about growing up in Philadelphia and unraveling his roots, left his steady culinary job in 2017 to retrace his southern lineage. His journey included several MegaBus legs. "The Savannah to Charleston bus ride is so beautiful, and most of the passengers are black," he says. Coincidentally, his cousin recreated a shoebox lunch when packing him leftover chicken for his journey from North Carolina to Brooklyn. Not until he reflected did he realize this was a meaningful practice of the past. "I felt thankful for the freedom to experience traveling as a spiritual voyeur,” he says. "I felt protected every step of the way." This article was commissioned in partnership with the Museum of Food and Drink. MOFAD’s upcoming show African/American: Making the Nation’s Table is the first major exhibition on the culinary contributions of black Americans.

  • The Chef Bringing Native American Flavors to Communities in Quarantine
    by Reina Gattuso on 27 March 2020 at 9:39 pm

    What’s in your kitchen pantry? If you answered quinoa, green beans, or potatoes, you have, perhaps unbeknownst to you, been eating Native American heritage. “They might not know they have indigenous foods in their cupboard: might be canned corn, canned beans, squash,” says Brian Yazzie, a Twin Cities-based chef and food activist from the Navajo Nation, of his YouTube channel’s at-home viewers. But thanks to the ingenuity of indigenous farmers, who domesticated these crops over millennia, much of the world relies on Native American staples when times get lean. Now is one of those times. Since mid-March, when more than a quarter of the United States population was directed to stay at home due to the novel coronavirus, food insecurity has intensified for many American households. Public-health experts recommend social distancing as one of the best ways to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. But for those stuck at home, especially the elderly or vulnerable, for whom a simple trip to the grocery store could mean a life-threatening brush with the virus, this poses a unique culinary challenge: How can we stretch pantry stables into nourishing meals? Brian Yazzie, co-owner of Intertribal Foodways, an indigenous culinary and wellness organization that offers catering and cooking classes, is turning to Native American cuisine for an answer. Like most American chefs, Yazzie canceled his in-person engagements for March and April. So he is bringing Native food directly into community homes. Yazzie has moved much of his operation online, offering how-to videos and one-on-one remote classes for home cooks looking to learn about indigenous American cuisine while turning their pantry staples into a feast. And he’s teamed up with the staff of the Minneapolis American Indian Center’s Gatherings Cafe to make and deliver meals to Native elders in the Twin Cities area. “Being an indigenous chef and being able to use my skills and network to help those who are in need in this time is keeping me sane,” Yazzie says. Community efforts like these are particularly important for Native Americans, says Yazzie, because of the profoundly traumatic history of epidemics in indigenous communities. After European colonization, epidemics of smallpox, plague, and influenza devastated indigenous Americans. According to a recent estimate, 60 million people inhabited the Americas in 1492. By the 1600s, pandemic and colonial violence had killed 56 million people. That’s 90 percent of pre-Columbian people, or 10 percent of the world’s total population—the largest genocide in known history. The effects of colonialism continue to plague Native communities, putting indigenous Americans, including Yazzie’s Navajo Nation, at particular risk from the novel coronavirus. One in three members of the Navajo Nation has diabetes or prediabetes, a condition that increases the risk of serious complications due to COVID-19, but only one-fifth of the Nation’s 23,000 elders have access to medical care. Native Americans lack plumbing at 19 times the rate of white Americans, making it nearly impossible to follow public-health advice about sanitation. And widespread food insecurity makes social distancing at home particularly difficult. There are only 13 grocery stores for the approximately 200,000 residents on the Navajo Nation, which covers 27,000 square miles in the American Southwest. “The Navajo Nation is putting out a call to stay home, but it’s hard to do that when the nearest gas station or grocery story is hours away,” says Yazzie. As of March 25, there have been 69 identified COVID-19 cases on the Navajo Nation. Yazzie grew up on the Navajo Nation, and moved to St. Paul in 2013 with his partner and the co-owner of Intertribal Foodways, Danielle (Hoonmana) Polk. “I had to leave my reservation to get a job or to get an education,” he says. He enrolled in culinary school in St. Paul, and his love of cooking brought him back to his roots. “I was looking through cookbooks, and I realized that not only have my ancestors survived Manifest Destiny and colonization, but they still have ingredients of the Americas,” he says. Indeed, while Native people and food are often erased in elite culinary establishments, their agricultural heritage is fundamental to the world’s most rarefied cuisines. “You can’t have Italian cuisine and French cuisine without squash, beans, corn, or even potatoes,” says Yazzie. Most non-indigenous Americans associate Native food with dishes such as fry bread and Indian tacos. But, Yazzie says, “About 50 percent of indigenous tacos are indigenous to North America.” The rest, like the wheat flour, lard, and ground beef, became incorporated into indigenous American diets during colonization, part of a forced alienation from traditional food and agriculture that many blame for the current high rates of diabetes and heart disease in Native communities. Yazzie acknowledges that many indigenous Americans, including elders forced to grow up in residential schools, have fond associations with foods like Indian tacos. But he chooses to focus on pre-colonial ingredients, combining pan-American foods into contemporary dishes such as bison heart tacos and roasted acorn squash with agave. Last year, he started featuring recipes like these on his YouTube channel, in an attempt to make his work more accessible to Native communities who lacked the resources to host a professional chef. “I started thinking about, how can I reach out to this community besides sending a recipe?” This digital pivot has helped Yazzie reach community members during the coronavirus outbreak. Rather than his usual produce and game-heavy recipes, such as wild rice and bison liver and squash, corn, and tomato sauté with seared bison, Yazzie is taking requests from social media followers looking to cook with pantry staples. And he’s bringing his work directly into the homes of Native elders in the Twin Cities. Each day, Yazzie and his fellow chefs meet at the Minneapolis American Indian Center’s Gatherings Cafe, check to make sure none of the staff have symptoms, don masks, and get to work. In their first week of operations, the chefs have been utilizing ingredients left in the Gatherings pantry after the Cafe closed in support of social-distancing measures. The meals they’ve crafted aren’t what you’d typically associate with “clean-out-the-pantry” cooking. “Yesterday we made a bison and kale soup, and we added a sweet potato mash,” as well as organic local melons and in-house bread, says Yazzie. The next day, the menu included slow-braised turkey and mixed greens with homemade pickles and maple-candied sunflower seeds. Community response has been eager, even joyous. “I reached out to the network I had and asked if anyone was available to donate food,” Yazzie says. Within hours, community members brought an “overwhelming” amount of food, including a cache of Bloody Butcher and Oaxacan Green corns, both heritage corn cultivars. “Seeing the resiliency from the Native community here in the Twin Cities brings me hope.” With bison and beans, squash and sweet potatoes, Yazzie brings this hope to his viewers. If a pandemic is a reminder of the fundamental permeability of being human—viruses, after all, know no borders between nations or bodies—it’s also a reminder that healing, too, is collective. “Knowing that an elder has been fed, knowing that tomorrow they will be seeing a hot meal,” says Yazzie, “That’s what’s keeping me going.” You can follow Chef Yazzie on YouTube at Yazzie The Chef TV, and request remote cooking lessons at the Intertribal Foodways website. Join the conversation about this and other stories in the Atlas Obscura Community Forums.

  • Silent Films, Flower Festivals, and Cooking Classes to Enjoy at Home
    by Jessica Leigh Hester on 27 March 2020 at 9:29 pm

    At Atlas Obscura, we’re all about wonder and exploration—and since many of our readers are spending time at home to stay safe and healthy, we’re highlighting ways you can be awestruck no matter where you are. Read more. As communities around the world respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, many lectures, performances, and other crowded events have been canceled. But many others have migrated online, and they can help you tap into wonder from home. Here’s how to feast your eyes or sharpen your brain from a distance. Savor cherry blossoms and bulbs This year, the National Park Service and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority discouraged visitors from congregating around the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., whose riot of ballet-pink blossoms attracts roughly 1.5 million people in normal years. To stem the spread of COVID-19, the transit agency shuttered some nearby metro stops in an effort to slim the crowds and, and the Tidal Basin temporarily closed to vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists. (“The trees will still be there next year,” the transit agency tweeted.) In the meantime, you can swoon over photos and videos from this year’s glorious bloom, wherever you happen to be. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden cancelled its annual cherry blossom festival, but is tracking the status of its blooms so you can follow along at home. Check this map to see which trees have already erupted, and which are just on the edge. The Macon, Georgia, cherry blossom festival—billed as “the pinkest party on Earth”—set up a live bloom cam showing off some of its 350,000 trees, and will also stream concerts from March 27 to April 5. The Bulb Show at Smith College in Massachusetts isn’t open to the public this year, but you can cue up a video and follow along as two students show you around the petal-packed alleys, and even describe the smells of tulips, anemones, forsythia, apple blossoms, and more of the 8,000 stunners on display. Hone a new skill It’s a fine time to step up your culinary prowess or just stockpile some nuggets of information. Brooklyn Brainery, a brick-and-mortar hub for affordably priced classes about pretty much everything, has moved many of its offerings online. Sign up to learn how to make dumplings or kimchi, or dive into the real tales of Caribbean pirates or the “archaeology” of alien landings, lost cities, and other murky histories. Geek out on a digital walking tour At the moment, it’s not safe to wander around as a roving band of nerds, but you can check out digital walking tours online. Turnstile Tours has adapted its tours of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Brooklyn Army Terminal, street vendors’ carts, and much more into digital experiences you can enjoy at home. (Whether you clutch your phone and pace around your apartment while you watch is totally up to you.) Go to the cinema You can’t crowd into a theater, but you can watch alongside a bunch of other cinephiles all over the world. At 3 p.m. EDT on Sunday, March 29, the silent film accompanist Ben Model will be playing live to a trio of slapstick comedies. If bumbling antics and a plucky score sound like they might lift your mood, tune in on YouTube. The Toronto International Film Festival’s Stay-at-Home Cinema project is streaming films online, including cult classics, and recruiting cast and crew to participate in virtual Q&As on Instagram. Check out the lineup here. The Virtual Cinémathèque at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Melbourne is also hosting remote screenings. (They’re weekly, and free.) Find the schedule here.

  • Abbott Church in Lindon, Colorado
    on 27 March 2020 at 6:00 pm

    The Abbott Church is a tiny nondenominational church about 100 miles east of Denver. The church is off the beaten path and stands in stark comparison to the surrounding farmlands.  To truly understand why the church is so far off the beaten path, is to understand the history of the region. The Homestead Act of 1862, a law that gave willing settlers 160 acres of public land to make their new homes, brought hundreds of settlers to the area. After six years of cultivating the land, the settlers were then given ownership of the property.  One of these new settlers was a man by the name of Albert Abbott, a rather successful settler who owned most of the land surrounding the church. Abbot's land was just north of the up-and-coming town of Lindon. Seeing the town's need for a church, Abbot had the building constructed in his namesake in 1913.  Today, the church acts as a county historical spot. It's open to the public with no fee or appointment. The upkeep of the church is maintained by the local community who have had this elegant church around them their entire lives.

  • Sherlock Holmes Retirement Cottage in East Dean, England
    on 27 March 2020 at 5:00 pm

    The exact location of where Sherlock Holmes retired is of course merely speculative, but the few details that do exist often point to this spot in East Dean near Beachy Head. Literary detectives have often highlighted several clues that point to this location as the possible destination. One of which was Holmes's desire to become a beekeeper. In His Last Bow, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle mentions that Holmes retired to a small farm on the Downs five miles from Eastbourne. Located along South Downs Way, is the tiny village of East Dean. It's located just far enough from the winds of the sea that beekeeping is possible. Doyle also grew up not far from East Dean and is believed to have visited the village.  This building, part of the Gilbert Estate, contains a blue plaque staking its claim as the final home of the famous literary character.   Occasionally, fans of Doyle's famous series will hold walks along a small portion of South Downs Way to enjoy the scenery, as well as the house. There are many charming sights to enjoy throughout the village and its only a mile from the beach at Birling Gap. If you need a break from walking, right across from the cottage is the Tiger Inn.  Although it may not be as famous as 221B Baker Street when visitors take in this peaceful location, they'll understand why it's the quintessential place to retire. 

  • Oaks Hotel Stained Glass Window in Lancashire, England
    on 27 March 2020 at 3:00 pm

    This window illuminates the magnificent grand staircase in the Oaks Hotel in Burnley. Unfortunately, the man who commissioned the magnificent window died just before its completion. In his early twenties, Abraham Altham worked as a stonemason in his uncle's quarry when he saw an opportunity in the growing tea trade. Altham is said to have pushed a handcart to Liverpool to buy a chest of tea and on his return, split it into packages for sale. The tea sold very well and became an established business for Altham, one that would soon become an empire. Eventually, he began to sell coffee and cocoa. Soon, his retail chain would encompass some 60 stores, a Walmart of sort of its day. In 1874, Altham started a travel agency business that is still operating north England. In 1884, he commissioned the construction of a building that would later become the Oaks Hotel, including this magnificent window. However, before his new home was finished, Altham fell ill and never recovered. The house served as a private residence to a number of local dignitaries and was known as Tea-Pot Hall because of the teapot that formed part of the window. When the Burnley Rural District Council (RDC) took over the building as its offices in 1941, the panel with the teapot was replaced with a panel containing the council's crest. The images on the window speak for themselves. There are scenes depicting tea and cotton processing, as well as others that contain botanical images of the four plants Altham used to build his business. The building was closed and desolate for some time. It was converted to a hotel in 1984. The hotel retains much of its Victorian features, particularly on the ground floor and is certainly well worth a visit.

  • Australia’s Koalas are finally released back into the wild
    by Kyro Mitchell on 27 March 2020 at 2:14 pm

    Koalas are finally being released back into the wild following the devastating fires that ravaged large parts of the Australian landscape. The post Australia’s Koalas are finally released back into the wild appeared first on Getaway Magazine.

  • Vicars' Close in Somerset, England
    on 27 March 2020 at 2:00 pm

    The first houses on this attractive street, close to Wells Cathedral in Somerset, were constructed during the mid 14th century and the street was completed about a century later. The area was initially used to house a group of chantry priests. Although changes and improvements have been made over the years, the properties are still essentially the same as they were centuries ago. Almost all of the 27 houses on Vicars' Close are protected as grade 1 listed buildings.  The street derived from a significant land grant by the cannon of Wells Cathedral, Walter de Hulle. The chantry priests were supported by the rents from tenants who lived on the land.  The road is a 460 feet (140 meters) long roadway with paved stone down its center. An optical trick created by the space between the two rows of houses makes the street look longer when standing near the main entrance. The street looks considerably shorter when viewed from the other end. During the 12th century, the group of clergy who served the cathedral were responsible for chanting the divine service eight times a day and were known as the Vicars' Choral. At the end of the street is the Vicars' Hall which housed several communal and administrative offices relating to the Vicars' Choral. In particular, was a room associated with the collection of rents used to support the clergy. This hall contains a gateway that links Vicars' Close to St Andrew Street.  To put the age of this street into context, at the beginning of its construction Henry IV was on the throne. He was the first king of England to speak English rather than Norman French.

  • Interview with a South African stranded abroad
    by Gabrielle Jacobs on 27 March 2020 at 1:05 pm

    We touch base with a South African stranded in London after flights home to South Africa were cancelled amid national lockdowns around the world. The post Interview with a South African stranded abroad appeared first on Getaway Magazine.

  • Are the Great Outdoors Off-Limits During a Pandemic?
    by Erin Beresini on 27 March 2020 at 10:10 pm

    Theodora Blanchfield, a therapy student and freelance writer, lives alone in Santa Monica. Every afternoon, she joins her neighbor to walk their dogs along the beach: two-hundred and forty-five acres of soft, California sand. “It makes me grateful to be outside of my apartment, to feel open space instead of confinement,” says Blanchfield, who has struggled with depression. “Being by the ocean always calms me. It has been very, very, very, very soothing.” When the governor of California, Gavin Newsom, enacted the first statewide stay-at-home order in the U.S., to combat the spread of the new coronavirus last Thursday, outdoor recreation was baked into the directive as an essential activity. As more states have gone on lockdown, they’ve issued similar instructions: Go outside, just stay six feet apart from anyone you don’t live with. Unfortunately, in a world that’s changing by the hour, the Golden Rule of Physical Distancing is not the only factor in finding a socially responsible way to commune with nature. We should also be thinking about how our outdoor activities might affect others: If we get injured or sick, will we stress the resources of small gateway towns, or potentially take emergency responders away from COVID-19 patients? Will the people I pass on my walk be as careful as I am? Let’s start with the good news. There are loads of studies touting physical activity and natural environments as salves for anxiety and depression, and if there were ever a time people might feel anxious or depressed, even without a medical history of these issues, it’s now. Meanwhile, the virus “dissipates quickly outside, both becoming less dense in the outside air volume and more easily destroyed by UV light,” says Ellen Jo Baron, professor emerita of pathology at the Stanford University Medical Center. In other words, the coronavirus has a harder time spreading en plein air, perhaps even more so in sunny places. “The concentration of virus drops off very quickly as you get farther away from a person” carrying it, adds Dr. Timothy Brewer, an epidemiology professor and member of the Division of Infectious Diseases at UCLA. So far, outdoorsing for the sake of mental and physical health has been allowed and actively encouraged in many parts of the U.S. Last week, Secretary of the Interior David Bernhardt suspended national park entry fees to make it “a little easier for the American public to enjoy the outdoors,” while noting that many park facilities, such as visitor centers, would close. Philadelphia indefinitely closed Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive to vehicles, to give people more room to distance along the adjacent Schuylkill River Trail. And New York City mayor Bill de Blasio said he would experiment with closing two streets in each borough to help spread people out. All of this pandemic-time outdoor recreation is a good thing, Brewer says—assuming everyone stays in their 6-foot bubble and everyone who has symptoms (cough, fever, shortness of breath) stays at home. (We don’t know enough about asymptomatic people, he says, to give sound advice.) Still, these rules of thumb can get more complicated if you live in a densely populated area, or travel to parks and natural spaces that see large numbers of visitors, such as national parks. Ever since the World Health Organization declared a pandemic on March 11, and “social distancing” became a way of life all around the world, social media has been flooded with images of people flouting the command: packed beaches, crowded hiking trails, picnic-filled parks. Many areas are beefing up their restrictions in response. Across California, state parks are closing parking lots or shuttering altogether, after several of them were inundated with visitors over the weekend. “The high volume of usage by the public of parks, beaches, and open space makes it impossible for persons to maintain the required social distancing, especially in those areas where recreational biking is allowed,” wrote Sonoma County’s health officer, Dr. Sundari R. Mase, in a March 23 order. The writ also cited a domino effect as part of the decision: If the county did not take action, then as nearby areas announced similar closures, even more people might flood into Sonoma’s parks. National parks are also closing. Less than a week after the U.S. National Park Service axed entry fees, a number of parks, including Yellowstone, Grand Teton, Rocky Mountain, Great Smoky Mountains, and Yosemite, had completely shuttered, citing congestion on popular trails, fear of overwhelming nearby medical facilities, and concern for the health of visitors, rangers, and gateway-town residents. The National Park Service has been posting around a dozen news releases a day simply to announce modified park operations or closures. Even popular outdoor towns, such as Moab, Utah, have closed to visitors, to protect themselves. And several state parks or parts of them are being converted into overflow quarantine centers. Georgia reserved an acre of the 5,800-acre Hard Labor Creek State Park for this purpose. Louisiana is using Chicot State Park for for overflow as well, while Los Angeles docked 25 RVs at Dockweiler Beach for coronavirus patients with no place to self-isolate. As the California State Parks website states in bold, regarding closures: This list is dynamic and will be updated regularly. Since the rules and recommendations keep evolving, how are you supposed to make sense of them? Michael Robertson, a professor at the University of Sydney’s Health Ethics Centre, says it’s tough for anyone to make a truly informed choice about their recreational options right now. We may want to go outdoors to be by ourselves, but if others do the same, our individual decisions can add up to consequences for everyone, including reduced access for everyone. Italy and Spain have banned leisure cycling outside, and France has now limited outdoor exercise to one hour, once a day, alone, within one kilometer of home. “The mixed messaging people are getting—it’s kind of an evolving process,” he says. “People were just told, ‘OK, just wash your hands’—and now we’re looking at a shutdown of the economy and a potential depression. People can’t process that.” The waiving of national park fees, followed by the total closure of many national parks, may seem confusing or contradictory. Given all this, Robertson says that the ethical choice is actually pretty simple: “Obey the f***ing law and do what public health authorities tell you to do.” If they tell you to avoid parks or beaches, listen to them. And if you need a dose of the great outdoors, take the initiative to stay informed. You can’t necessarily rely on advice you heard a week ago, so check for recent public health announcements as well as notices from local, regional, and national authorities. For Theodora Blanchfield, in Santa Monica, the daily walk is more than a breath of fresh air. “This is a little bit cheesy,” she says, “but I lost my mom a couple of years ago, and feeling the sun is one of the ways I feel connected to her. It’s just incredibly healing to me.” When California’s Governor Newsom issued statewide stay-at-home orders on the 19th, Blanchfield’s first question was: “But I can still go outside, right?” Currently, the answer is yes—but as of Friday afternoon, she can no longer go to the beach. Los Angeles County temporarily closed all of its beaches, trailheads, piers, and beach bike paths in an effort to slow the spread of the coronavirus. “I’m honestly feeling pretty scared right now,” Blanchfield says, when asked whether she has other places to experience the outdoors. “I live on a really crowded, really busy road. But yes, there are other places I can walk.” No matter how far you’re able to roam in the coming weeks, remember to keep your distance from others, wash your hands often, and stay tuned for updates from public officials. You can join the conversation about this and other stories in the Atlas Obscura Community Forums.

  • How 'Shoebox Lunches' Made Black Travel Possible During Jim Crow
    by Nicole Taylor on 27 March 2020 at 10:00 pm

    Youtube videos of celebrity sneaker-head closets often showcase massive square footage, multiple colorways on display, and not a box in sight. Your average hypebeast might wear new kicks a handful of times, then rebox and sell them for spring break plane fare. But for the mid-century African-American traveler, shoeboxes were culinary currency. During the age of Jim Crow, a sturdy shoebox with a meal inside could mean avoiding conflict or death. In 1964, the Civil Rights Act became the law of the land. One function of the bill was to eliminate overt racism while traveling. Yet even after the bill went into effect, many food establishments kept forcing black customers to order chocolate ice cream parfaits from frumpy side windows, while twisted-lip atmospheres in roadside stores deterred black vacationers from buying penny candy. Public accommodations, such as hotels, could no longer refuse lodging to African-Americans, but certain tactics could deny individuals a place to stay. Pre-made meals not only reduced costs but served as your breakfast, if your route was void of sites listed in The Negro Motorist Green Book, a paper directory created by Victor Greene to guide black drivers and voyagers. "I remember my first travel experience to visit my grandmother. I was around four years old. We'd catch a train from Seattle, Washington, to Pine Bluff, Arkansas. We brought food on the train," says Patricia Patton, a retired hospitality professional and entrepreneur. "In the 1960s, my family brought a car, and we'd drive from the Pacific Northwest to San Diego to visit family. The cooler would be packed with enough to eat for three days.” Many families started each trip by reminding kids of the rules—daylight bathroom pit stops only, and lunch served in the car. This extra caution was vital. "I was born in the late 1940s. I was not supposed to stare or look at people while traveling,” says Patton. “Often, my mother's hand would tuck my forehead down, and no playfulness—we remained still to avoid any confrontation with white people.” In Overground Railroad: The Green Book and the Roots of Black Travel in America, author Candacy A. Taylor makes it clear that women were the powerhouses that made getting to and fro easier. A mother's to-do list then was more than untangling iPad chargers and buying granola bars; it was icing down a cooler and twisting handkerchiefs containing pinches of salt and pepper. The matriarch's job included repositioning the Stanley-type thermos, filled with water, from shifting on the floorboard. When it was time to eat, Taylor notes, a "shoebox lunch" was set up, and most often, it was cold fried chicken pieces, thickly sliced country ham sandwiches, buttery pound cake chunks, and winter oranges or backyard peaches. The condiment-slathered sandwiches and an unbreakable platter for the perfectly piped deviled eggs would likely sit high up in the cooler to avoid spoilage. Not everyone used an actual shoebox. Different vessels served the same purpose. Historical photos of the second Great Migration show black Americans in bus and train stations carrying metal lunch pails, slightly crumpled paper sacks, and packages tied with fabric or string. For individual leisure or business travel, the mode was always discretion, and dignity while consuming food was of utmost importance. A slice of layer cake doesn't carry well and requires a utensil, but a wax paper-wrapped sweet potato pie slice doesn't. Bologna sandwiches, fried pork chops, biscuits with homemade fig preserve, golden cornbread, teacakes, raisins, cheese, pickles, shelled pecans, peanuts, and apples are all portable foods that made an appearance on the laps of black passengers. Though the era of the shoebox lunch has passed, they have become an emblem of resilience. One restaurant has even created replicas of the receptacle in tribute. Since 2017, the sleek, upscale soul food joint Beans & Cornbread in suburban Detroit has sold golden, perfectly seasoned chicken wings, cornbread, and your pick of two sides in a keepsake shoebox, with black history facts and illustrations lining the sides. Owner Patrick Coleman even sends the boxes to schools around the country as educational tools. “This year, we have shipped flat boxes to 34 states," says Coleman. Paired with hashtags such as #blacktravelmovement, hilarious Facebook threads on flying with miniature Hennessy bottles and Instagram stories documenting road trip eats are common. But many still pack food while traveling; it's part nostalgia, part economics, and part logistics. Omar Tate, a chef who writes about growing up in Philadelphia and unraveling his roots, left his steady culinary job in 2017 to retrace his southern lineage. His journey included several MegaBus legs. "The Savannah to Charleston bus ride is so beautiful, and most of the passengers are black," he says. Coincidentally, his cousin recreated a shoebox lunch when packing him leftover chicken for his journey from North Carolina to Brooklyn. Not until he reflected did he realize this was a meaningful practice of the past. "I felt thankful for the freedom to experience traveling as a spiritual voyeur,” he says. "I felt protected every step of the way." This article was commissioned in partnership with the Museum of Food and Drink. MOFAD’s upcoming show African/American: Making the Nation’s Table is the first major exhibition on the culinary contributions of black Americans.

  • The Chef Bringing Native American Flavors to Communities in Quarantine
    by Reina Gattuso on 27 March 2020 at 9:39 pm

    What’s in your kitchen pantry? If you answered quinoa, green beans, or potatoes, you have, perhaps unbeknownst to you, been eating Native American heritage. “They might not know they have indigenous foods in their cupboard: might be canned corn, canned beans, squash,” says Brian Yazzie, a Twin Cities-based chef and food activist from the Navajo Nation, of his YouTube channel’s at-home viewers. But thanks to the ingenuity of indigenous farmers, who domesticated these crops over millennia, much of the world relies on Native American staples when times get lean. Now is one of those times. Since mid-March, when more than a quarter of the United States population was directed to stay at home due to the novel coronavirus, food insecurity has intensified for many American households. Public-health experts recommend social distancing as one of the best ways to fight the COVID-19 pandemic. But for those stuck at home, especially the elderly or vulnerable, for whom a simple trip to the grocery store could mean a life-threatening brush with the virus, this poses a unique culinary challenge: How can we stretch pantry stables into nourishing meals? Brian Yazzie, co-owner of Intertribal Foodways, an indigenous culinary and wellness organization that offers catering and cooking classes, is turning to Native American cuisine for an answer. Like most American chefs, Yazzie canceled his in-person engagements for March and April. So he is bringing Native food directly into community homes. Yazzie has moved much of his operation online, offering how-to videos and one-on-one remote classes for home cooks looking to learn about indigenous American cuisine while turning their pantry staples into a feast. And he’s teamed up with the staff of the Minneapolis American Indian Center’s Gatherings Cafe to make and deliver meals to Native elders in the Twin Cities area. “Being an indigenous chef and being able to use my skills and network to help those who are in need in this time is keeping me sane,” Yazzie says. Community efforts like these are particularly important for Native Americans, says Yazzie, because of the profoundly traumatic history of epidemics in indigenous communities. After European colonization, epidemics of smallpox, plague, and influenza devastated indigenous Americans. According to a recent estimate, 60 million people inhabited the Americas in 1492. By the 1600s, pandemic and colonial violence had killed 56 million people. That’s 90 percent of pre-Columbian people, or 10 percent of the world’s total population—the largest genocide in known history. The effects of colonialism continue to plague Native communities, putting indigenous Americans, including Yazzie’s Navajo Nation, at particular risk from the novel coronavirus. One in three members of the Navajo Nation has diabetes or prediabetes, a condition that increases the risk of serious complications due to COVID-19, but only one-fifth of the Nation’s 23,000 elders have access to medical care. Native Americans lack plumbing at 19 times the rate of white Americans, making it nearly impossible to follow public-health advice about sanitation. And widespread food insecurity makes social distancing at home particularly difficult. There are only 13 grocery stores for the approximately 200,000 residents on the Navajo Nation, which covers 27,000 square miles in the American Southwest. “The Navajo Nation is putting out a call to stay home, but it’s hard to do that when the nearest gas station or grocery story is hours away,” says Yazzie. As of March 25, there have been 69 identified COVID-19 cases on the Navajo Nation. Yazzie grew up on the Navajo Nation, and moved to St. Paul in 2013 with his partner and the co-owner of Intertribal Foodways, Danielle (Hoonmana) Polk. “I had to leave my reservation to get a job or to get an education,” he says. He enrolled in culinary school in St. Paul, and his love of cooking brought him back to his roots. “I was looking through cookbooks, and I realized that not only have my ancestors survived Manifest Destiny and colonization, but they still have ingredients of the Americas,” he says. Indeed, while Native people and food are often erased in elite culinary establishments, their agricultural heritage is fundamental to the world’s most rarefied cuisines. “You can’t have Italian cuisine and French cuisine without squash, beans, corn, or even potatoes,” says Yazzie. Most non-indigenous Americans associate Native food with dishes such as fry bread and Indian tacos. But, Yazzie says, “About 50 percent of indigenous tacos are indigenous to North America.” The rest, like the wheat flour, lard, and ground beef, became incorporated into indigenous American diets during colonization, part of a forced alienation from traditional food and agriculture that many blame for the current high rates of diabetes and heart disease in Native communities. Yazzie acknowledges that many indigenous Americans, including elders forced to grow up in residential schools, have fond associations with foods like Indian tacos. But he chooses to focus on pre-colonial ingredients, combining pan-American foods into contemporary dishes such as bison heart tacos and roasted acorn squash with agave. Last year, he started featuring recipes like these on his YouTube channel, in an attempt to make his work more accessible to Native communities who lacked the resources to host a professional chef. “I started thinking about, how can I reach out to this community besides sending a recipe?” This digital pivot has helped Yazzie reach community members during the coronavirus outbreak. Rather than his usual produce and game-heavy recipes, such as wild rice and bison liver and squash, corn, and tomato sauté with seared bison, Yazzie is taking requests from social media followers looking to cook with pantry staples. And he’s bringing his work directly into the homes of Native elders in the Twin Cities. Each day, Yazzie and his fellow chefs meet at the Minneapolis American Indian Center’s Gatherings Cafe, check to make sure none of the staff have symptoms, don masks, and get to work. In their first week of operations, the chefs have been utilizing ingredients left in the Gatherings pantry after the Cafe closed in support of social-distancing measures. The meals they’ve crafted aren’t what you’d typically associate with “clean-out-the-pantry” cooking. “Yesterday we made a bison and kale soup, and we added a sweet potato mash,” as well as organic local melons and in-house bread, says Yazzie. The next day, the menu included slow-braised turkey and mixed greens with homemade pickles and maple-candied sunflower seeds. Community response has been eager, even joyous. “I reached out to the network I had and asked if anyone was available to donate food,” Yazzie says. Within hours, community members brought an “overwhelming” amount of food, including a cache of Bloody Butcher and Oaxacan Green corns, both heritage corn cultivars. “Seeing the resiliency from the Native community here in the Twin Cities brings me hope.” With bison and beans, squash and sweet potatoes, Yazzie brings this hope to his viewers. If a pandemic is a reminder of the fundamental permeability of being human—viruses, after all, know no borders between nations or bodies—it’s also a reminder that healing, too, is collective. “Knowing that an elder has been fed, knowing that tomorrow they will be seeing a hot meal,” says Yazzie, “That’s what’s keeping me going.” You can follow Chef Yazzie on YouTube at Yazzie The Chef TV, and request remote cooking lessons at the Intertribal Foodways website. Join the conversation about this and other stories in the Atlas Obscura Community Forums.

  • Silent Films, Flower Festivals, and Cooking Classes to Enjoy at Home
    by Jessica Leigh Hester on 27 March 2020 at 9:29 pm

    At Atlas Obscura, we’re all about wonder and exploration—and since many of our readers are spending time at home to stay safe and healthy, we’re highlighting ways you can be awestruck no matter where you are. Read more. As communities around the world respond to the COVID-19 pandemic, many lectures, performances, and other crowded events have been canceled. But many others have migrated online, and they can help you tap into wonder from home. Here’s how to feast your eyes or sharpen your brain from a distance. Savor cherry blossoms and bulbs This year, the National Park Service and the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority discouraged visitors from congregating around the Tidal Basin in Washington, D.C., whose riot of ballet-pink blossoms attracts roughly 1.5 million people in normal years. To stem the spread of COVID-19, the transit agency shuttered some nearby metro stops in an effort to slim the crowds and, and the Tidal Basin temporarily closed to vehicles, pedestrians, and cyclists. (“The trees will still be there next year,” the transit agency tweeted.) In the meantime, you can swoon over photos and videos from this year’s glorious bloom, wherever you happen to be. The Brooklyn Botanic Garden cancelled its annual cherry blossom festival, but is tracking the status of its blooms so you can follow along at home. Check this map to see which trees have already erupted, and which are just on the edge. The Macon, Georgia, cherry blossom festival—billed as “the pinkest party on Earth”—set up a live bloom cam showing off some of its 350,000 trees, and will also stream concerts from March 27 to April 5. The Bulb Show at Smith College in Massachusetts isn’t open to the public this year, but you can cue up a video and follow along as two students show you around the petal-packed alleys, and even describe the smells of tulips, anemones, forsythia, apple blossoms, and more of the 8,000 stunners on display. Hone a new skill It’s a fine time to step up your culinary prowess or just stockpile some nuggets of information. Brooklyn Brainery, a brick-and-mortar hub for affordably priced classes about pretty much everything, has moved many of its offerings online. Sign up to learn how to make dumplings or kimchi, or dive into the real tales of Caribbean pirates or the “archaeology” of alien landings, lost cities, and other murky histories. Geek out on a digital walking tour At the moment, it’s not safe to wander around as a roving band of nerds, but you can check out digital walking tours online. Turnstile Tours has adapted its tours of the Brooklyn Navy Yard, Brooklyn Army Terminal, street vendors’ carts, and much more into digital experiences you can enjoy at home. (Whether you clutch your phone and pace around your apartment while you watch is totally up to you.) Go to the cinema You can’t crowd into a theater, but you can watch alongside a bunch of other cinephiles all over the world. At 3 p.m. EDT on Sunday, March 29, the silent film accompanist Ben Model will be playing live to a trio of slapstick comedies. If bumbling antics and a plucky score sound like they might lift your mood, tune in on YouTube. The Toronto International Film Festival’s Stay-at-Home Cinema project is streaming films online, including cult classics, and recruiting cast and crew to participate in virtual Q&As on Instagram. Check out the lineup here. The Virtual Cinémathèque at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image in Melbourne is also hosting remote screenings. (They’re weekly, and free.) Find the schedule here.

  • Abbott Church in Lindon, Colorado
    on 27 March 2020 at 6:00 pm

    The Abbott Church is a tiny nondenominational church about 100 miles east of Denver. The church is off the beaten path and stands in stark comparison to the surrounding farmlands.  To truly understand why the church is so far off the beaten path, is to understand the history of the region. The Homestead Act of 1862, a law that gave willing settlers 160 acres of public land to make their new homes, brought hundreds of settlers to the area. After six years of cultivating the land, the settlers were then given ownership of the property.  One of these new settlers was a man by the name of Albert Abbott, a rather successful settler who owned most of the land surrounding the church. Abbot's land was just north of the up-and-coming town of Lindon. Seeing the town's need for a church, Abbot had the building constructed in his namesake in 1913.  Today, the church acts as a county historical spot. It's open to the public with no fee or appointment. The upkeep of the church is maintained by the local community who have had this elegant church around them their entire lives.

  • Sherlock Holmes Retirement Cottage in East Dean, England
    on 27 March 2020 at 5:00 pm

    The exact location of where Sherlock Holmes retired is of course merely speculative, but the few details that do exist often point to this spot in East Dean near Beachy Head. Literary detectives have often highlighted several clues that point to this location as the possible destination. One of which was Holmes's desire to become a beekeeper. In His Last Bow, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle mentions that Holmes retired to a small farm on the Downs five miles from Eastbourne. Located along South Downs Way, is the tiny village of East Dean. It's located just far enough from the winds of the sea that beekeeping is possible. Doyle also grew up not far from East Dean and is believed to have visited the village.  This building, part of the Gilbert Estate, contains a blue plaque staking its claim as the final home of the famous literary character.   Occasionally, fans of Doyle's famous series will hold walks along a small portion of South Downs Way to enjoy the scenery, as well as the house. There are many charming sights to enjoy throughout the village and its only a mile from the beach at Birling Gap. If you need a break from walking, right across from the cottage is the Tiger Inn.  Although it may not be as famous as 221B Baker Street when visitors take in this peaceful location, they'll understand why it's the quintessential place to retire. 

  • Oaks Hotel Stained Glass Window in Lancashire, England
    on 27 March 2020 at 3:00 pm

    This window illuminates the magnificent grand staircase in the Oaks Hotel in Burnley. Unfortunately, the man who commissioned the magnificent window died just before its completion. In his early twenties, Abraham Altham worked as a stonemason in his uncle's quarry when he saw an opportunity in the growing tea trade. Altham is said to have pushed a handcart to Liverpool to buy a chest of tea and on his return, split it into packages for sale. The tea sold very well and became an established business for Altham, one that would soon become an empire. Eventually, he began to sell coffee and cocoa. Soon, his retail chain would encompass some 60 stores, a Walmart of sort of its day. In 1874, Altham started a travel agency business that is still operating north England. In 1884, he commissioned the construction of a building that would later become the Oaks Hotel, including this magnificent window. However, before his new home was finished, Altham fell ill and never recovered. The house served as a private residence to a number of local dignitaries and was known as Tea-Pot Hall because of the teapot that formed part of the window. When the Burnley Rural District Council (RDC) took over the building as its offices in 1941, the panel with the teapot was replaced with a panel containing the council's crest. The images on the window speak for themselves. There are scenes depicting tea and cotton processing, as well as others that contain botanical images of the four plants Altham used to build his business. The building was closed and desolate for some time. It was converted to a hotel in 1984. The hotel retains much of its Victorian features, particularly on the ground floor and is certainly well worth a visit.

  • Australia’s Koalas are finally released back into the wild
    by Kyro Mitchell on 27 March 2020 at 2:14 pm

    Koalas are finally being released back into the wild following the devastating fires that ravaged large parts of the Australian landscape. The post Australia’s Koalas are finally released back into the wild appeared first on Getaway Magazine.

  • Vicars' Close in Somerset, England
    on 27 March 2020 at 2:00 pm

    The first houses on this attractive street, close to Wells Cathedral in Somerset, were constructed during the mid 14th century and the street was completed about a century later. The area was initially used to house a group of chantry priests. Although changes and improvements have been made over the years, the properties are still essentially the same as they were centuries ago. Almost all of the 27 houses on Vicars' Close are protected as grade 1 listed buildings.  The street derived from a significant land grant by the cannon of Wells Cathedral, Walter de Hulle. The chantry priests were supported by the rents from tenants who lived on the land.  The road is a 460 feet (140 meters) long roadway with paved stone down its center. An optical trick created by the space between the two rows of houses makes the street look longer when standing near the main entrance. The street looks considerably shorter when viewed from the other end. During the 12th century, the group of clergy who served the cathedral were responsible for chanting the divine service eight times a day and were known as the Vicars' Choral. At the end of the street is the Vicars' Hall which housed several communal and administrative offices relating to the Vicars' Choral. In particular, was a room associated with the collection of rents used to support the clergy. This hall contains a gateway that links Vicars' Close to St Andrew Street.  To put the age of this street into context, at the beginning of its construction Henry IV was on the throne. He was the first king of England to speak English rather than Norman French.

  • Interview with a South African stranded abroad
    by Gabrielle Jacobs on 27 March 2020 at 1:05 pm

    We touch base with a South African stranded in London after flights home to South Africa were cancelled amid national lockdowns around the world. The post Interview with a South African stranded abroad appeared first on Getaway Magazine.