“Not all those who wander are lost.”

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

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 [...]

  • Mother Vine Scuppernong Wine
    on 16 August 2019 at 10:00 pm

    As 16th century European explorers landed on the shores of modern-day North Carolina, they continually wrote home about the grapes. In 1584, a British captain described a land “so full of grapes as the very beating and surge of the sea overflowed them.” The following year, another globetrotter noted “grapes of such greatness, yet wild, as France, Spain, nor Italy hath no greater.” These strangers were captivated by none other than muscadines (Vitis rotundifolia), America’s oldest known species of native grape. And where there are grapes, wine is never far away. On Roanoke Island, the pioneers encountered one particularly robust tangle of grape bush, now known as the Mother Vine. Pickers could literally shake the ripe fruit off the vine, yielding plentiful quantities of exceptionally sweet, slightly musky juice housed in protectively thick, bitter skin. As such, its popularity grew, and locals renamed the grapes “scuppernong” due to its proximity to the Scuppernong River. After more than four centuries, this seminal vine has a two foot–thick trunk and has, at times, stretched more than half an acre. Those who want to see the impressively old vine can simply visit its home in Manteo. If you'd like to taste its bounty, however, head to the Duplin Winery in Rose Hill. In the early 2000s, Duplin, the state's oldest and largest winery, began experimenting with several thousand clippings taken directly from the Mother Vine herself. Of 5,000 attempted, just over 100 set roots, and from them grew Duplin's very own Mother Vine vineyard. Scuppernong grapes from the transplanted Mother Vine are harvested in September, reaching markets by early June each year. These white wines tend to have a distinct sweetness balanced by acidity and the historic grape’s characteristic musky flavor. […]

  • Montcalm Park in Oswego, New York
    on 16 August 2019 at 10:00 pm

    For a place that owes its name to a conquering commander, Montcalm Park is among the more peaceful and contemplative public spaces in Oswego. In the early 1700s, the community of Oswego, New York, was a keystone in British trading activities, located strategically on Lake Ontario at the head of the Oswego River. Coming hostilities with the French led to the British creating and fortifying edifices including Fort George on a westside cliff. During the French and Indian War, the park’s namesake, the Marquis Louis-Joseph de Montcalm, led a French garrison that overran Oswego’s defenses. The 1756 win bolstered the rising reputation of Montcalm, then the French Commander-in-Chief for this new continental activity, and resulted in 1700 British prisoners and the burning and razing of Fort George. Their statement made, the French left the city in British hands until after the Revolutionary War, when it turned over to the fledgling United States. As the nation began to grow and prosper through the early 19th century, Oswego became a key port city through which goods and people flowed. The city became a boomtown while water traffic was still primary—especially in the mid-19th century—and was the fastest growing city in New York state (from 6,818 in 1845 to around 16,000 in 1855) until the emergence of railroads redirected some of its trade. During these years of boom, Edward Austin Sheldon came to Oswego. A farmer’s son who dropped out of Hamilton College and came to the port city for what would be a failed business venture, Sheldon was a religious man who found great concern in the number of orphans in need of education in a city otherwise flourishing. He would go on to found what was called the Orphan and Free School to meet this need. While that effort eventually fell apart, Sheldon continued to learn more about education and returned to the city in 1853, asking to organize the school district for the sprawling city. Adopting the radical new Pestalozzian method of object teaching resulted in a need to develop more teachers, as his were poached by other districts. Thus he founded the Oswego Primary Teachers’ Training School (today SUNY Oswego) in 1861, which also launched what was known as the Oswego method of active learning with teachers-in-training mastering their craft in the classroom and taking their skills and methods afar. The school moved into the Montcalm Park neighborhood in 1866, where it remained for nearly half a century. Students from the Oswego teacher-training school created gardens on the plot that is today Montcalm Park. When the Oswego Normal School moved to its new (and current) location west of the city, the question arose of what to do with this prime piece of land. As the gardens fell into disrepair, the school’s principal Helen Stevens, who also was a member of the Ontario chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, proposed a park with a monument to Fort George and other veterans. In 1913, the state approved conveying the land, now named Montcalm Park, to the DAR. More recently, the neighbors of the Montcalm Park Historic District, consisting of 28 buildings around the triangular land, pulled together to lead beautification efforts at the park, buoyed by the 2001 addition of Montcalm Park to the National Register for Historic Places. Surrounded by homes of architectural and historical significance, the park’s tree-lined paths beckon people walking dogs, having picnics, enjoying its garden or reading about its historic past.&nbs […]

  • William Saroyan's Grave in Yerevan, Armenia
    on 16 August 2019 at 9:00 pm

    When American-Armenian author William Saroyan died in Fresno, California, he had an unusual request. He wanted his body cremated, with half of his ashes buried in Fresno's Ararat Armenian Cemetery and the other half in his homeland of Armenia. You can, therefore, find Saroyan's grave at the Komitas Pantheon of Yerevan, among the greats of the Armenian art world. Although the writer lived his life during the Cold War, with Armenia behind the iron curtain, he visited the country and maintained friendships with some of Soviet Armenia's artists. In 1991, this American-Armenian winner of both the Pulitzer Prize and an Academy Award was honored with the one and only joint stamp ever issued by the United States and the Soviet Union. His self-penned epitaph states: “In the time of your life, live – so that in that wondrous time you shall not add to the misery and sorrow of the world but shall smile at the infinite delight and mystery of it.”&nbs […]

  • No, the Banana Apocalypse Is Not Around the Corner
    by Sabrina Imbler on 16 August 2019 at 8:18 pm

    Let’s cut to the chase: it is highly unlikely that the banana will go extinct, despite what you might have read elsewhere. The feared fungus Fusarium wilt tropical race 4 (TR4) has officially breached Colombia’s banana plantations, according to an August 12 report in Science. There is no known way to cure the fungus, which kills banana plants by choking their vascular systems. This is definitely very bad—Colombia is the fourth-largest exporter of bananas in the world, according to Reuters—but it’s not the banana apocalypse, bananapocalypse, or even Bananageddon that has been predicted by a new crop of yellow journalism. On August 8, the Colombian Agricultural Institute (ICA) in Bogotá confirmed that the fungus had been spotted in the La Guajira region of the country and declared a national emergency. But to those in the know, the banana rumor mill was buzzing even before the ICA made an official announcement, according to Charles Staver, a banana production research coordinator at Biodiversity International. “Until it’s announced everyone can know it,” he says. “But it’s not official until it’s announced.” The deadly fungus was found in the northern La Guajira region in an area of around 432 acres, 416 of which have been stripped of all banana plants. For an area this large to have been infected, Staver says, the fungus must have been in the country for quite some time before detection. Science first reported that the fungus might have reached Colombia in mid-July, as four plantations were quarantined with a suspected infection. “The normal procedure for a first outbreak would ideally be spotting one suspicious plant and going ‘Holy hell, this looks like Fusarium,’ and calling the authorities,” Staver says. “But in this business of these early warnings, individual farmers lose for acting quickly and efficiently. That’s the dilemma.” Meanwhile, the ICA has cracked down on quarantine procedures and plans to increase their biosecurity efforts at ports, airports, and border points. Fusarium spreads fast and lives long. Once it’s taken root in a plantation, it’s extremely hard to eradicate. No fungicides work to save infected plants, and the spores sit around in the soil for decades, Staver says. Though he says there’s no way to tell, Staver speculates the spores could have entered the country via farm machinery or workers travelling from abroad, or even tourists. “With these measures, it certainly will not move freely out of the area,” Staver says. “I guess the question is whether it’s already moved and we just don’t know it yet.” This isn’t the first time we’ve been here. In the 20th century, the United States and Europe lived in the era of the Gros Michel cultivar banana. In the 1950s, the Gros Michel met its swift downfall when the first race of Fusarium wiped out plantations in Central America. Manufacturers like Dole and Chiquita soon switched production to the Cavendish, which was resistant to that Fusarium strain. (Many of those who have tried the Gros Michel, which is still grown in Central America and Africa, still wax poetic about its vivaciously sweet flavor, a shade more complex than the Cavendish.) This time around, there is no suitable breed immediately available to replace the Cavendish. However, scientists are experimenting with a genetically modified, disease-resistant Canvendish that is tolerant of Fusarium, according to National Geographic. Though the first strain of Fusarium nearly exterminated the Gros Michel, Staver says farmers are now much more equipped to contain an outbreak. "I don’t think you’ll ever lack for bananas in your lifetime,” he says. What’s more, Staver says the banana market has always been on the verge of oversupply, resulting in a tropical fruit that costs less in the U.S. than fruits that are grown locally, like apples. So when asked if this news marked a bananapocalypse, Staver laughed. “It’s not an apocalypse, but it is not something to be taken lightly.&rdquo […]

  • Stonehenge Aotearoa in Ahiaruhe, New Zealand
    on 16 August 2019 at 8:00 pm

    Nestled in the Wairarapa hills just an hour outside of New Zealand's capital city is a key to the Southern Hemisphere skies. Don't be fooled by the name—it's simply a nod to the ancient structure over 11,000 miles away. Stonehenge Aotearoa was put in place by the Phoenix Astronomical Society. It was built specifically for its location, and therefore is an active astronomical tool for the people of New Zealand.  Parallel to its practicality, there lives an undeniable magic. While the great assembly of stones is indeed the main attraction, the site itself is sprinkled with many other oddities, all placed perfectly in front of the canvas view of Middle Earth's scenery. Take a walk through the hall of astrophotography, admire the base of an old telescope dome, or spend a while exploring the several bits of artist touch. You never know what you may find.&nbs […]

  • 17 Landmark Clocks Worth Making Time For
    by Eric Grundhauser on 16 August 2019 at 7:55 pm

    In virtually every city in the world, you're likely to come across a beautiful, peculiar, or downright timeless clock. They might be set into high towers, or stand on their own, but no matter the exact details of the timepiece, landmark clocks are wonders to behold. We recently asked Atlas Obscura readers over in our Community Forums to tell us about their favorite public clocks, and their responses made us want to become time travelers. As in people who travel to see time. Via these clocks. You get it. Take a look at some of our readers' favorite landmark clocks below, and if there's a clock we missed that you'd like to recommend, head over to the forums and keep the conversation going! It's about time we gave beautiful clocks some love. The Giant Ghibli Clock Tokyo, Japan “The other clock that leaps to mind is the one in Tokyo designed by Hayao Miyazaki. It’s not historic, and doesn’t have any crazy backstory, but for a Miyazaki and Ghibli superfan like me it is one of the coolest clocks imaginable. And actually it’s an incredibly detailed piece of art—and enormous! Unfortunately, I was so overwhelmed on my trip to Japan that it completely slipped my mind to go see it. Next time…” — maren Reloj Monumental Pachuca, Mexico “I’ve written about the city of Pachuca here before. A relatively small state capital a two-hour drive away from Mexico City, it’s one of those places that knows it has tourist potential but hasn’t quite been able to market it. One thing they have managed to market however, is their city symbol, the literally-named Reloj Monumental (Monumental Clock). Representative of the city’s cultural ties with England, given that many of the silver mines in the area employed miners from Cornwall, one of its big claims to fame is that the internal clockwork was made by the same company as Big Ben’s, so they’re blood brothers, so to speak. Despite all the jolly ol’ Englishness, the architecture of the clock tower is more French as it was opened in 1910 for the Centennial of Mexico’s Independence and to be tres chic was the style at the time.” — linkogecko The Zimmer Clock Tower Lier, Belgium “It’s a fully functional astronomical clock. It’s quite impressive showing time, moon phases, star signs, and much more.” — stijn014 Reloj Floral Caguas, Puerto Rico “Here in Puerto Rico, the town of Caguas is known for its Reloj Floral or Floral Clock. The monument was erected in 1966 by mayor Don Angel Rivera after visiting Europe. The twelve faces belong to distinguished people from the town of Caguas, such as troubador and improviser Florencio Morales Ramos, former boxer Don José Aponte Torres, and one of Puerto Rico’s most famous story writers, Abelardo Díaz Alfaro, among others. During the holiday season, poinsettia flowers surround the clock.” — CDVV86 Bromo Seltzer Art Tower Baltimore, Maryland “The Bromo Seltzer Tower in Baltimore. It has a bigger clock face than Big Ben!” — smrieder Williamsburgh Savings Bank Brooklyn, New York — scottkorn7 Strasbourg Astronomical Clock Strasbourg, France “I love this astronomical clock (the Three Kings Clock) at the cathedral in Strasbourg, France. The movement is incredible and always draws crowds at noon to watch the disciples receiving a blessing from Jesus among other things. It also calculates leap years, equinoxes, and even Easter under the complicated Gregorian rule.” — rjsarles Graz Clock Tower Graz, Austria “One of the most notable landmarks in Graz and a must for any visitor, the Graz Clock Tower may be best known for its confusing clock faces, featuring long hands for the hours and short hands for the minutes. Dating back to medieval times, the tower stands 28 meters high and has a clock face on each side, each about five meters in diameter. The 18th century clockworks still operate, but are now controlled electronically. In addition to the famous clock, the tower is also home to three bells, the oldest of which dates back to 1385, and still rings on the hour. Another bell from around 1450 was used during executions and later to remind people of the city curfew.” — mmuelle7 St. Mark's Clock Tower Venice, Italy “I’m surprised that the clock tower in Piazza San Marco, Venice, hasn’t been mentioned yet. It shows the time, date, moon phases, and zodiac signs. It chimes by mechanical figures striking the bell. It has been working since 1499.” — CassEdwoods Allen-Bradley Clock Tower Milwaukee, Wisconsin “I remember the Allen-Bradley four-sided clock on the south side of Milwaukee, Wisconsin from my youth. It has been rebuilt even bigger I understand.” — Gato13 Eastern Columbia Building Los Angeles, California “There are plenty more ornate ones here, but passing by the Eastern Columbia Building in downtown L.A. always makes me feel like I’m walking around in a Raymond Chandler novel.” — tralfamadore Union Station Kansas City, Missouri “The beautiful Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri has an iconic clock at the entrance to “Grand Hall”, which used to be the waiting room. Thousands of soldiers passed through here during World War II, especially, and it became common to say goodbyes and hellos under the clock. Even now, people often use it as a meeting spot.” — crothwell Eastgate Clock Chester, United Kingdom “The Eastgate Clock, Chester, U.K. From my beautiful home city of Chester in England, U.K. As a small child in the ‘60s, I would often walk around the ancient city fortress walls with my father and grandfather, starting from the clock in Eastgate street. I would love to stand behind the rails under the clock and watch the bustling crowds below doing their shopping. Christmas was my favorite time because the festive lights made it seem magical!” — Sofabaer Rezo Gabriadze Puppet Theater Tbilisi, Georgia “When strolling through Tbilisi in the beautiful country of Georgia in 2016, we came across the most quirky and lovely leaning clock tower. It is called შავთელის ქუჩა, გაბრიაძის თეატრი in Georgian. The clock tower is located next to the Gabriadze theater in the city center and was created by its namesake, the famous Georgian puppet maker Rezo Gabriadze. Every hour, a window opens at the top and an angel strikes the bell. Below the clock, a screen opens and shows the circle of life with a young couple, marriage, babies, and a funeral.” — midnighttraveller Clock of Testour Testour, Tunisia “The Andalusian Clock of Testour, Tunisia. The numbers are in reverse order and it runs backwards. The clock is in the minaret of the 16th-century Grand Mosque; it is extremely rare for a minaret to have a clock. The minaret was built by Muslim refugees from al-Andalus, Spain, with help from Jewish refugees from the same area. A popular legend says that the clock runs in reverse to symbolize the longing of the refugees to return to their homeland, but in reality no one knows.” — libellaris Shepard's Gate Clock Greenwich, United Kingdom “Not stunning to look at, but the Shepherd’s Gate Clock at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich is nifty because it IS what time it is.” — hootmalalie Gastown Steam Clock Vancouver, Canada “It’s not the biggest clock but it is sure my favourite if that counts… It’s the Gastown steam clock in Vancouver it’s a world first in its genre so it’s pretty amazing.” — Tibz_Traveller Responses have been edited for length and clarity. […]

  • Around the World in 380 Breakfasts
    by Anne Ewbank on 16 August 2019 at 7:12 pm

    Breakfast doesn't always lend itself to adventurousness—getting out the door in the morning can be hard enough. But Emily Elyse Miller's recently published Breakfast: The Cookbook rejects that idea entirely. Miller, who runs glamorous breakfast events and, according to her website, is an "internationally renowned authority on breakfast," sees the morning meal as more than just fuel. "Breakfast," she writes in the book's introduction, "is often hastily thrown together or eaten on the go, yet it is a meal steeped in tradition and rituals." Documenting those global traditions resulted in the tome that is Breakfast, which includes 380 recipes. During her three years of research, Miller accumulated nearly 1,000 recipes before selecting the range of breakfast specialties that she tested for the book. Arranged in chapters such as "Toasts" and "Soups and Stews," some recipes are simple and global, such as fried eggs and instant coffee. Others are much more regional, such as the recipe for American hand pies ("commonly known by the brand name Pop-Tarts") or bread topped with Norway's brunost, a beloved, caramel-like brown cheese that requires a special slicer to cut. Miller wants these recipes to "encourage everyone to explore and travel the world through breakfast." Whether you're an early bird or someone who sleeps through lunch, the following foods may offer more motivation for waking up in the morning. Morir Soñando Dominican Republic Breakfast can often be simply a drink, whether it's a smoothie or cup of coffee. But in the Dominican Republic, some people start their days with a Morir Soñando, or a "die dreaming," a romantically named mix of evaporated milk and orange juice that's the country's "official drink of the summer." The end result, flavored with vanilla and sugar, tastes much like a creamsicle. But anyone making a Morir Soñando should take care while mixing, since the ingredients can curdle. Chai Tow Kway Singapore Singapore's carrot cake, or chai tow kway, is emphatically not the kind of carrot cake that comes with cream cheese frosting and piped icing carrots. In fact, this omelet doesn't contain carrot at all. Miller notes that the name of this dish, which is made with daikon radish cakes stir-fried with eggs, stems from a game of linguistic telephone between the Chinese dialect of Teochew and English. Carrot cake comes in white and black varieties, with the latter receiving a dousing of dark soy sauce. Champorado The Philippines Sweet and salty often live on separate sides of the breakfast menu. But Filipino champorado, glutinous rice cooked with chocolate and flavored with sugar and vanilla, pairs them deliciously. It gets a salty hit from tuyo, a type of dried fish, served on the side or flaked into the porridge. While often served as an afternoon snack during merienda, a light, afternoon mealtime, it's a beloved breakfast as well. Brioche con Gelato Sicily Many breakfast options are pure sweetness, and Sicily's brioche con gelato is no exception. While the combo, which consists of several scoops of gelato inside an eggy bun with a dollop of whipped cream, sounds like dessert, it certainly provides a lot of energy at the start of the day. (If you have sensitive teeth, don't worry: It's permissible to attack this icy breakfast sandwich with a spoon.) Hagelslag The Netherlands For the Dutch, bread is common at breakfast, and it's often decked out with this beloved Dutch sprinkle. Called hagelslag, or hailstorm, it's layered atop untoasted white bread slathered in butter. The moniker is a reference to the sound that thick, flavorful Dutch sprinkles make when landing on bread, ice cream, or anything else in need of a storm of tasty sprinkles, which the Dutch really, really enjoy, consuming 30 million pounds of them every year. Most of the time, Miller adds, the type on top of "never toasted" breakfast bread is, naturally, chocolate. […]

  • Golden Spike Monument in Council Bluffs, Iowa
    on 16 August 2019 at 7:00 pm

    The Union Pacific Railroad is a big part of the Council Bluffs community, and with it comes the history. Part of the local history includes Union Pacific, a Cecil B. DeMille movie that premiered in the neighboring city of Omaha, Nebraska, in 1939.  To attract attention to their own community, Council Bluffs erected a 56-foot-tall railroad spike for the movie premiere. The Golden Spike is 100 times the size of a normal spike. Union Pacific designated the location as Mile Post Zero to help with drawing attention to the site. On April 28, 1939, during the dedication of the Gold Spike, DeMille himself said he expected the monument to last 100 years. The monument was built in 1939 by the railway tracks, as most of the tourists came via train.  In 1955, there was talk about moving the spike to an area that was more automobile-friendly, as by then, most people drove into town. The plans to move the massive structure fell through, and for decades, the spike fell into decay. Fortunately, it has since been preserved. &nbs […]

  • Cold Spring Tavern in Santa Barbara, California
    on 16 August 2019 at 6:00 pm

    In the mid-19th century, Cold Spring Tavern was known as the “Cold Spring Relay Station,” a stagecoach stop. At the time, anyone looking to get from Los Angeles to San Francisco had to take a stagecoach ride through San Marcos Pass in the Santa Ynez Mountains. Weary travelers would eat their meals at the tavern before re-boarding their stagecoach, which would've been replenished with new horses for their continued journey down the mountain. A century later, Cold Spring Tavern has not changed much. Blanketed by a forest of trees and a small creek that runs through the lot, the site consists of several buildings, including the original tavern that now serves as the restaurant and the Log Cabin Bar next to it. Besides the renowned tri-tip sandwich (so named because it incorporates a triangular cut of beef) that's served with a house-made horseradish sauce, they also serve wild game such as venison, rabbit, and buffalo. Visitors can also see the old “Road Gang House” that is right behind the tavern. The Road Gang House was built by Chinese immigrants in 1868 for shelter as they paved the toll road through the San Marcos Pass. Another building near the restaurant was a bunkhouse for the stage drivers who would stop by to rest and to add or remove horses to their stagecoaches. The bunkhouse is now a gift shop. Located on Stagecoach Road along the Highway 154, Cold Spring Tavern is the only stop in an area that consists of miles of trees and roads. Nonetheless, it becomes quite packed on the weekends with people enjoying tri-tip sandwiches or their wild game chili. It is quite the hidden gem in the heart of Santa Monica mountains that weary drivers can visit to enjoy lunch, dinner, and the rustic view. […]

  • Vauxhall Bridge's Miniature St. Paul's Cathedral in London, England
    on 16 August 2019 at 6:00 pm

    If you were to tell even the most seasoned of Londoners that their beloved city has a second St. Paul's Cathedral, they would think you were “aving a larf!” Or, for those not so fluent in the local dialect, they would think you were joking and they certainly wouldn't be alone. Although for more than a century Vauxhall Bridge in central London has been harboring that very secret. A secret so closely guarded that thousands of pedestrians and vehicles pass by every day, many completely oblivious to its existence. Hidden-in-plain-sight, attached to one of this busy bridge's piers, is a clone of Sir Christopher Wren's glorious 17th-century architectural masterpiece. Spanning the River Thames, this steel bridge, designed by Sir Alexander Binnie and his successor Sir Maurice Fitzmaurice, was built to replace an earlier one on the same site. This earlier bridge found fame for being the first iron bridge built over the Thames. The construction of the current Vauxhall Bridge began in September 1898. It was expected that it would be complete by 1900, but numerous problems were encountered, and it wasn't fully finished until 1906. Finally, on Saturday, May 26, 1906, Evan Spicer, Chairman of the London County Council, declared the bridge open with the Countess of Carrington throwing down the red cord to allow full public access to the superstructure. During the construction of the bridge, in 1903, London County Council gave the go-ahead for the addition of eight allegorical bronze figures in a bid to make the bridge more aesthetically pleasing. Sculptors Alfred Drury and Frederick Pomeroy were commissioned to design the statues and took on four each. Drury completed the upriver figures, which are symbolic of agriculture, architecture, engineering, and pottery and Pomeroy the downriver figures symbolic of education, fine arts, science, and local government. The sculptures were completed about a year after the bridge opened. […]

  • Mother Vine Scuppernong Wine
    on 16 August 2019 at 10:00 pm

    As 16th century European explorers landed on the shores of modern-day North Carolina, they continually wrote home about the grapes. In 1584, a British captain described a land “so full of grapes as the very beating and surge of the sea overflowed them.” The following year, another globetrotter noted “grapes of such greatness, yet wild, as France, Spain, nor Italy hath no greater.” These strangers were captivated by none other than muscadines (Vitis rotundifolia), America’s oldest known species of native grape. And where there are grapes, wine is never far away. On Roanoke Island, the pioneers encountered one particularly robust tangle of grape bush, now known as the Mother Vine. Pickers could literally shake the ripe fruit off the vine, yielding plentiful quantities of exceptionally sweet, slightly musky juice housed in protectively thick, bitter skin. As such, its popularity grew, and locals renamed the grapes “scuppernong” due to its proximity to the Scuppernong River. After more than four centuries, this seminal vine has a two foot–thick trunk and has, at times, stretched more than half an acre. Those who want to see the impressively old vine can simply visit its home in Manteo. If you'd like to taste its bounty, however, head to the Duplin Winery in Rose Hill. In the early 2000s, Duplin, the state's oldest and largest winery, began experimenting with several thousand clippings taken directly from the Mother Vine herself. Of 5,000 attempted, just over 100 set roots, and from them grew Duplin's very own Mother Vine vineyard. Scuppernong grapes from the transplanted Mother Vine are harvested in September, reaching markets by early June each year. These white wines tend to have a distinct sweetness balanced by acidity and the historic grape’s characteristic musky flavor. […]

  • Montcalm Park in Oswego, New York
    on 16 August 2019 at 10:00 pm

    For a place that owes its name to a conquering commander, Montcalm Park is among the more peaceful and contemplative public spaces in Oswego. In the early 1700s, the community of Oswego, New York, was a keystone in British trading activities, located strategically on Lake Ontario at the head of the Oswego River. Coming hostilities with the French led to the British creating and fortifying edifices including Fort George on a westside cliff. During the French and Indian War, the park’s namesake, the Marquis Louis-Joseph de Montcalm, led a French garrison that overran Oswego’s defenses. The 1756 win bolstered the rising reputation of Montcalm, then the French Commander-in-Chief for this new continental activity, and resulted in 1700 British prisoners and the burning and razing of Fort George. Their statement made, the French left the city in British hands until after the Revolutionary War, when it turned over to the fledgling United States. As the nation began to grow and prosper through the early 19th century, Oswego became a key port city through which goods and people flowed. The city became a boomtown while water traffic was still primary—especially in the mid-19th century—and was the fastest growing city in New York state (from 6,818 in 1845 to around 16,000 in 1855) until the emergence of railroads redirected some of its trade. During these years of boom, Edward Austin Sheldon came to Oswego. A farmer’s son who dropped out of Hamilton College and came to the port city for what would be a failed business venture, Sheldon was a religious man who found great concern in the number of orphans in need of education in a city otherwise flourishing. He would go on to found what was called the Orphan and Free School to meet this need. While that effort eventually fell apart, Sheldon continued to learn more about education and returned to the city in 1853, asking to organize the school district for the sprawling city. Adopting the radical new Pestalozzian method of object teaching resulted in a need to develop more teachers, as his were poached by other districts. Thus he founded the Oswego Primary Teachers’ Training School (today SUNY Oswego) in 1861, which also launched what was known as the Oswego method of active learning with teachers-in-training mastering their craft in the classroom and taking their skills and methods afar. The school moved into the Montcalm Park neighborhood in 1866, where it remained for nearly half a century. Students from the Oswego teacher-training school created gardens on the plot that is today Montcalm Park. When the Oswego Normal School moved to its new (and current) location west of the city, the question arose of what to do with this prime piece of land. As the gardens fell into disrepair, the school’s principal Helen Stevens, who also was a member of the Ontario chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution, proposed a park with a monument to Fort George and other veterans. In 1913, the state approved conveying the land, now named Montcalm Park, to the DAR. More recently, the neighbors of the Montcalm Park Historic District, consisting of 28 buildings around the triangular land, pulled together to lead beautification efforts at the park, buoyed by the 2001 addition of Montcalm Park to the National Register for Historic Places. Surrounded by homes of architectural and historical significance, the park’s tree-lined paths beckon people walking dogs, having picnics, enjoying its garden or reading about its historic past.&nbs […]

  • William Saroyan's Grave in Yerevan, Armenia
    on 16 August 2019 at 9:00 pm

    When American-Armenian author William Saroyan died in Fresno, California, he had an unusual request. He wanted his body cremated, with half of his ashes buried in Fresno's Ararat Armenian Cemetery and the other half in his homeland of Armenia. You can, therefore, find Saroyan's grave at the Komitas Pantheon of Yerevan, among the greats of the Armenian art world. Although the writer lived his life during the Cold War, with Armenia behind the iron curtain, he visited the country and maintained friendships with some of Soviet Armenia's artists. In 1991, this American-Armenian winner of both the Pulitzer Prize and an Academy Award was honored with the one and only joint stamp ever issued by the United States and the Soviet Union. His self-penned epitaph states: “In the time of your life, live – so that in that wondrous time you shall not add to the misery and sorrow of the world but shall smile at the infinite delight and mystery of it.”&nbs […]

  • No, the Banana Apocalypse Is Not Around the Corner
    by Sabrina Imbler on 16 August 2019 at 8:18 pm

    Let’s cut to the chase: it is highly unlikely that the banana will go extinct, despite what you might have read elsewhere. The feared fungus Fusarium wilt tropical race 4 (TR4) has officially breached Colombia’s banana plantations, according to an August 12 report in Science. There is no known way to cure the fungus, which kills banana plants by choking their vascular systems. This is definitely very bad—Colombia is the fourth-largest exporter of bananas in the world, according to Reuters—but it’s not the banana apocalypse, bananapocalypse, or even Bananageddon that has been predicted by a new crop of yellow journalism. On August 8, the Colombian Agricultural Institute (ICA) in Bogotá confirmed that the fungus had been spotted in the La Guajira region of the country and declared a national emergency. But to those in the know, the banana rumor mill was buzzing even before the ICA made an official announcement, according to Charles Staver, a banana production research coordinator at Biodiversity International. “Until it’s announced everyone can know it,” he says. “But it’s not official until it’s announced.” The deadly fungus was found in the northern La Guajira region in an area of around 432 acres, 416 of which have been stripped of all banana plants. For an area this large to have been infected, Staver says, the fungus must have been in the country for quite some time before detection. Science first reported that the fungus might have reached Colombia in mid-July, as four plantations were quarantined with a suspected infection. “The normal procedure for a first outbreak would ideally be spotting one suspicious plant and going ‘Holy hell, this looks like Fusarium,’ and calling the authorities,” Staver says. “But in this business of these early warnings, individual farmers lose for acting quickly and efficiently. That’s the dilemma.” Meanwhile, the ICA has cracked down on quarantine procedures and plans to increase their biosecurity efforts at ports, airports, and border points. Fusarium spreads fast and lives long. Once it’s taken root in a plantation, it’s extremely hard to eradicate. No fungicides work to save infected plants, and the spores sit around in the soil for decades, Staver says. Though he says there’s no way to tell, Staver speculates the spores could have entered the country via farm machinery or workers travelling from abroad, or even tourists. “With these measures, it certainly will not move freely out of the area,” Staver says. “I guess the question is whether it’s already moved and we just don’t know it yet.” This isn’t the first time we’ve been here. In the 20th century, the United States and Europe lived in the era of the Gros Michel cultivar banana. In the 1950s, the Gros Michel met its swift downfall when the first race of Fusarium wiped out plantations in Central America. Manufacturers like Dole and Chiquita soon switched production to the Cavendish, which was resistant to that Fusarium strain. (Many of those who have tried the Gros Michel, which is still grown in Central America and Africa, still wax poetic about its vivaciously sweet flavor, a shade more complex than the Cavendish.) This time around, there is no suitable breed immediately available to replace the Cavendish. However, scientists are experimenting with a genetically modified, disease-resistant Canvendish that is tolerant of Fusarium, according to National Geographic. Though the first strain of Fusarium nearly exterminated the Gros Michel, Staver says farmers are now much more equipped to contain an outbreak. "I don’t think you’ll ever lack for bananas in your lifetime,” he says. What’s more, Staver says the banana market has always been on the verge of oversupply, resulting in a tropical fruit that costs less in the U.S. than fruits that are grown locally, like apples. So when asked if this news marked a bananapocalypse, Staver laughed. “It’s not an apocalypse, but it is not something to be taken lightly.&rdquo […]

  • Stonehenge Aotearoa in Ahiaruhe, New Zealand
    on 16 August 2019 at 8:00 pm

    Nestled in the Wairarapa hills just an hour outside of New Zealand's capital city is a key to the Southern Hemisphere skies. Don't be fooled by the name—it's simply a nod to the ancient structure over 11,000 miles away. Stonehenge Aotearoa was put in place by the Phoenix Astronomical Society. It was built specifically for its location, and therefore is an active astronomical tool for the people of New Zealand.  Parallel to its practicality, there lives an undeniable magic. While the great assembly of stones is indeed the main attraction, the site itself is sprinkled with many other oddities, all placed perfectly in front of the canvas view of Middle Earth's scenery. Take a walk through the hall of astrophotography, admire the base of an old telescope dome, or spend a while exploring the several bits of artist touch. You never know what you may find.&nbs […]

  • 17 Landmark Clocks Worth Making Time For
    by Eric Grundhauser on 16 August 2019 at 7:55 pm

    In virtually every city in the world, you're likely to come across a beautiful, peculiar, or downright timeless clock. They might be set into high towers, or stand on their own, but no matter the exact details of the timepiece, landmark clocks are wonders to behold. We recently asked Atlas Obscura readers over in our Community Forums to tell us about their favorite public clocks, and their responses made us want to become time travelers. As in people who travel to see time. Via these clocks. You get it. Take a look at some of our readers' favorite landmark clocks below, and if there's a clock we missed that you'd like to recommend, head over to the forums and keep the conversation going! It's about time we gave beautiful clocks some love. The Giant Ghibli Clock Tokyo, Japan “The other clock that leaps to mind is the one in Tokyo designed by Hayao Miyazaki. It’s not historic, and doesn’t have any crazy backstory, but for a Miyazaki and Ghibli superfan like me it is one of the coolest clocks imaginable. And actually it’s an incredibly detailed piece of art—and enormous! Unfortunately, I was so overwhelmed on my trip to Japan that it completely slipped my mind to go see it. Next time…” — maren Reloj Monumental Pachuca, Mexico “I’ve written about the city of Pachuca here before. A relatively small state capital a two-hour drive away from Mexico City, it’s one of those places that knows it has tourist potential but hasn’t quite been able to market it. One thing they have managed to market however, is their city symbol, the literally-named Reloj Monumental (Monumental Clock). Representative of the city’s cultural ties with England, given that many of the silver mines in the area employed miners from Cornwall, one of its big claims to fame is that the internal clockwork was made by the same company as Big Ben’s, so they’re blood brothers, so to speak. Despite all the jolly ol’ Englishness, the architecture of the clock tower is more French as it was opened in 1910 for the Centennial of Mexico’s Independence and to be tres chic was the style at the time.” — linkogecko The Zimmer Clock Tower Lier, Belgium “It’s a fully functional astronomical clock. It’s quite impressive showing time, moon phases, star signs, and much more.” — stijn014 Reloj Floral Caguas, Puerto Rico “Here in Puerto Rico, the town of Caguas is known for its Reloj Floral or Floral Clock. The monument was erected in 1966 by mayor Don Angel Rivera after visiting Europe. The twelve faces belong to distinguished people from the town of Caguas, such as troubador and improviser Florencio Morales Ramos, former boxer Don José Aponte Torres, and one of Puerto Rico’s most famous story writers, Abelardo Díaz Alfaro, among others. During the holiday season, poinsettia flowers surround the clock.” — CDVV86 Bromo Seltzer Art Tower Baltimore, Maryland “The Bromo Seltzer Tower in Baltimore. It has a bigger clock face than Big Ben!” — smrieder Williamsburgh Savings Bank Brooklyn, New York — scottkorn7 Strasbourg Astronomical Clock Strasbourg, France “I love this astronomical clock (the Three Kings Clock) at the cathedral in Strasbourg, France. The movement is incredible and always draws crowds at noon to watch the disciples receiving a blessing from Jesus among other things. It also calculates leap years, equinoxes, and even Easter under the complicated Gregorian rule.” — rjsarles Graz Clock Tower Graz, Austria “One of the most notable landmarks in Graz and a must for any visitor, the Graz Clock Tower may be best known for its confusing clock faces, featuring long hands for the hours and short hands for the minutes. Dating back to medieval times, the tower stands 28 meters high and has a clock face on each side, each about five meters in diameter. The 18th century clockworks still operate, but are now controlled electronically. In addition to the famous clock, the tower is also home to three bells, the oldest of which dates back to 1385, and still rings on the hour. Another bell from around 1450 was used during executions and later to remind people of the city curfew.” — mmuelle7 St. Mark's Clock Tower Venice, Italy “I’m surprised that the clock tower in Piazza San Marco, Venice, hasn’t been mentioned yet. It shows the time, date, moon phases, and zodiac signs. It chimes by mechanical figures striking the bell. It has been working since 1499.” — CassEdwoods Allen-Bradley Clock Tower Milwaukee, Wisconsin “I remember the Allen-Bradley four-sided clock on the south side of Milwaukee, Wisconsin from my youth. It has been rebuilt even bigger I understand.” — Gato13 Eastern Columbia Building Los Angeles, California “There are plenty more ornate ones here, but passing by the Eastern Columbia Building in downtown L.A. always makes me feel like I’m walking around in a Raymond Chandler novel.” — tralfamadore Union Station Kansas City, Missouri “The beautiful Union Station in Kansas City, Missouri has an iconic clock at the entrance to “Grand Hall”, which used to be the waiting room. Thousands of soldiers passed through here during World War II, especially, and it became common to say goodbyes and hellos under the clock. Even now, people often use it as a meeting spot.” — crothwell Eastgate Clock Chester, United Kingdom “The Eastgate Clock, Chester, U.K. From my beautiful home city of Chester in England, U.K. As a small child in the ‘60s, I would often walk around the ancient city fortress walls with my father and grandfather, starting from the clock in Eastgate street. I would love to stand behind the rails under the clock and watch the bustling crowds below doing their shopping. Christmas was my favorite time because the festive lights made it seem magical!” — Sofabaer Rezo Gabriadze Puppet Theater Tbilisi, Georgia “When strolling through Tbilisi in the beautiful country of Georgia in 2016, we came across the most quirky and lovely leaning clock tower. It is called შავთელის ქუჩა, გაბრიაძის თეატრი in Georgian. The clock tower is located next to the Gabriadze theater in the city center and was created by its namesake, the famous Georgian puppet maker Rezo Gabriadze. Every hour, a window opens at the top and an angel strikes the bell. Below the clock, a screen opens and shows the circle of life with a young couple, marriage, babies, and a funeral.” — midnighttraveller Clock of Testour Testour, Tunisia “The Andalusian Clock of Testour, Tunisia. The numbers are in reverse order and it runs backwards. The clock is in the minaret of the 16th-century Grand Mosque; it is extremely rare for a minaret to have a clock. The minaret was built by Muslim refugees from al-Andalus, Spain, with help from Jewish refugees from the same area. A popular legend says that the clock runs in reverse to symbolize the longing of the refugees to return to their homeland, but in reality no one knows.” — libellaris Shepard's Gate Clock Greenwich, United Kingdom “Not stunning to look at, but the Shepherd’s Gate Clock at the Royal Observatory, Greenwich is nifty because it IS what time it is.” — hootmalalie Gastown Steam Clock Vancouver, Canada “It’s not the biggest clock but it is sure my favourite if that counts… It’s the Gastown steam clock in Vancouver it’s a world first in its genre so it’s pretty amazing.” — Tibz_Traveller Responses have been edited for length and clarity. […]

  • Around the World in 380 Breakfasts
    by Anne Ewbank on 16 August 2019 at 7:12 pm

    Breakfast doesn't always lend itself to adventurousness—getting out the door in the morning can be hard enough. But Emily Elyse Miller's recently published Breakfast: The Cookbook rejects that idea entirely. Miller, who runs glamorous breakfast events and, according to her website, is an "internationally renowned authority on breakfast," sees the morning meal as more than just fuel. "Breakfast," she writes in the book's introduction, "is often hastily thrown together or eaten on the go, yet it is a meal steeped in tradition and rituals." Documenting those global traditions resulted in the tome that is Breakfast, which includes 380 recipes. During her three years of research, Miller accumulated nearly 1,000 recipes before selecting the range of breakfast specialties that she tested for the book. Arranged in chapters such as "Toasts" and "Soups and Stews," some recipes are simple and global, such as fried eggs and instant coffee. Others are much more regional, such as the recipe for American hand pies ("commonly known by the brand name Pop-Tarts") or bread topped with Norway's brunost, a beloved, caramel-like brown cheese that requires a special slicer to cut. Miller wants these recipes to "encourage everyone to explore and travel the world through breakfast." Whether you're an early bird or someone who sleeps through lunch, the following foods may offer more motivation for waking up in the morning. Morir Soñando Dominican Republic Breakfast can often be simply a drink, whether it's a smoothie or cup of coffee. But in the Dominican Republic, some people start their days with a Morir Soñando, or a "die dreaming," a romantically named mix of evaporated milk and orange juice that's the country's "official drink of the summer." The end result, flavored with vanilla and sugar, tastes much like a creamsicle. But anyone making a Morir Soñando should take care while mixing, since the ingredients can curdle. Chai Tow Kway Singapore Singapore's carrot cake, or chai tow kway, is emphatically not the kind of carrot cake that comes with cream cheese frosting and piped icing carrots. In fact, this omelet doesn't contain carrot at all. Miller notes that the name of this dish, which is made with daikon radish cakes stir-fried with eggs, stems from a game of linguistic telephone between the Chinese dialect of Teochew and English. Carrot cake comes in white and black varieties, with the latter receiving a dousing of dark soy sauce. Champorado The Philippines Sweet and salty often live on separate sides of the breakfast menu. But Filipino champorado, glutinous rice cooked with chocolate and flavored with sugar and vanilla, pairs them deliciously. It gets a salty hit from tuyo, a type of dried fish, served on the side or flaked into the porridge. While often served as an afternoon snack during merienda, a light, afternoon mealtime, it's a beloved breakfast as well. Brioche con Gelato Sicily Many breakfast options are pure sweetness, and Sicily's brioche con gelato is no exception. While the combo, which consists of several scoops of gelato inside an eggy bun with a dollop of whipped cream, sounds like dessert, it certainly provides a lot of energy at the start of the day. (If you have sensitive teeth, don't worry: It's permissible to attack this icy breakfast sandwich with a spoon.) Hagelslag The Netherlands For the Dutch, bread is common at breakfast, and it's often decked out with this beloved Dutch sprinkle. Called hagelslag, or hailstorm, it's layered atop untoasted white bread slathered in butter. The moniker is a reference to the sound that thick, flavorful Dutch sprinkles make when landing on bread, ice cream, or anything else in need of a storm of tasty sprinkles, which the Dutch really, really enjoy, consuming 30 million pounds of them every year. Most of the time, Miller adds, the type on top of "never toasted" breakfast bread is, naturally, chocolate. […]

  • Golden Spike Monument in Council Bluffs, Iowa
    on 16 August 2019 at 7:00 pm

    The Union Pacific Railroad is a big part of the Council Bluffs community, and with it comes the history. Part of the local history includes Union Pacific, a Cecil B. DeMille movie that premiered in the neighboring city of Omaha, Nebraska, in 1939.  To attract attention to their own community, Council Bluffs erected a 56-foot-tall railroad spike for the movie premiere. The Golden Spike is 100 times the size of a normal spike. Union Pacific designated the location as Mile Post Zero to help with drawing attention to the site. On April 28, 1939, during the dedication of the Gold Spike, DeMille himself said he expected the monument to last 100 years. The monument was built in 1939 by the railway tracks, as most of the tourists came via train.  In 1955, there was talk about moving the spike to an area that was more automobile-friendly, as by then, most people drove into town. The plans to move the massive structure fell through, and for decades, the spike fell into decay. Fortunately, it has since been preserved. &nbs […]

  • Cold Spring Tavern in Santa Barbara, California
    on 16 August 2019 at 6:00 pm

    In the mid-19th century, Cold Spring Tavern was known as the “Cold Spring Relay Station,” a stagecoach stop. At the time, anyone looking to get from Los Angeles to San Francisco had to take a stagecoach ride through San Marcos Pass in the Santa Ynez Mountains. Weary travelers would eat their meals at the tavern before re-boarding their stagecoach, which would've been replenished with new horses for their continued journey down the mountain. A century later, Cold Spring Tavern has not changed much. Blanketed by a forest of trees and a small creek that runs through the lot, the site consists of several buildings, including the original tavern that now serves as the restaurant and the Log Cabin Bar next to it. Besides the renowned tri-tip sandwich (so named because it incorporates a triangular cut of beef) that's served with a house-made horseradish sauce, they also serve wild game such as venison, rabbit, and buffalo. Visitors can also see the old “Road Gang House” that is right behind the tavern. The Road Gang House was built by Chinese immigrants in 1868 for shelter as they paved the toll road through the San Marcos Pass. Another building near the restaurant was a bunkhouse for the stage drivers who would stop by to rest and to add or remove horses to their stagecoaches. The bunkhouse is now a gift shop. Located on Stagecoach Road along the Highway 154, Cold Spring Tavern is the only stop in an area that consists of miles of trees and roads. Nonetheless, it becomes quite packed on the weekends with people enjoying tri-tip sandwiches or their wild game chili. It is quite the hidden gem in the heart of Santa Monica mountains that weary drivers can visit to enjoy lunch, dinner, and the rustic view. […]

  • Vauxhall Bridge's Miniature St. Paul's Cathedral in London, England
    on 16 August 2019 at 6:00 pm

    If you were to tell even the most seasoned of Londoners that their beloved city has a second St. Paul's Cathedral, they would think you were “aving a larf!” Or, for those not so fluent in the local dialect, they would think you were joking and they certainly wouldn't be alone. Although for more than a century Vauxhall Bridge in central London has been harboring that very secret. A secret so closely guarded that thousands of pedestrians and vehicles pass by every day, many completely oblivious to its existence. Hidden-in-plain-sight, attached to one of this busy bridge's piers, is a clone of Sir Christopher Wren's glorious 17th-century architectural masterpiece. Spanning the River Thames, this steel bridge, designed by Sir Alexander Binnie and his successor Sir Maurice Fitzmaurice, was built to replace an earlier one on the same site. This earlier bridge found fame for being the first iron bridge built over the Thames. The construction of the current Vauxhall Bridge began in September 1898. It was expected that it would be complete by 1900, but numerous problems were encountered, and it wasn't fully finished until 1906. Finally, on Saturday, May 26, 1906, Evan Spicer, Chairman of the London County Council, declared the bridge open with the Countess of Carrington throwing down the red cord to allow full public access to the superstructure. During the construction of the bridge, in 1903, London County Council gave the go-ahead for the addition of eight allegorical bronze figures in a bid to make the bridge more aesthetically pleasing. Sculptors Alfred Drury and Frederick Pomeroy were commissioned to design the statues and took on four each. Drury completed the upriver figures, which are symbolic of agriculture, architecture, engineering, and pottery and Pomeroy the downriver figures symbolic of education, fine arts, science, and local government. The sculptures were completed about a year after the bridge opened. […]