Island of Gorée

5 August 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, UNESCO World Heritage

© Inextre/cc-by-sa-3.0-es

© Inextre/cc-by-sa-3.0-es

Île de Gorée is one of the 19 communes d’arrondissement (i.e. districts) of the city of Dakar, Senegal. It is an 18.2-hectare (45-acre) island located 2 kilometres (1.1 nmi; 1.2 mi) at sea from the main harbour of Dakar, famous as a destination for people interested in the Atlantic slave trade although its actual role in the history of the slave trade is the subject of dispute. Its population as of the 2013 census was 1,680 inhabitants, giving a density of 5,802 inhabitants per square kilometre (15,030/sq mi), which is only half the average density of the city of Dakar. Gorée is both the smallest and the least populated of the 19 communes d’arrondissement of Dakar. Other important centres for the slave trade from Senegal were further north, at Saint-Louis, Senegal, or to the south in the Gambia, at the mouths of major rivers for trade. It is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The name is a corruption of its original Dutch name Goedereede, meaning “good roadstead“.   read more…

Mar del Plata in Argentina

13 March 2020 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

© Leandro Kibisz

© Leandro Kibisz

Mar del Plata is a city in Buenos Aires Province, Argentina located on the coast of the Atlantic Ocean. It is the head of General Pueyrredón Partido. Mar del Plata is the second largest city in Buenos Aires Province. The name “Mar del Plata” has the meaning of “sea of the Plate region” or “adjoining sea to the (River) Plate region”. Mar del Plata is one of the major fishing ports and the biggest seaside beach resort in Argentina.   read more…

Theme Week Uruguay

20 August 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Theme Weeks

Punta del Este © Roberto Tietzmann/cc-by-2.5

Punta del Este © Roberto Tietzmann/cc-by-2.5

Uruguay, officially the Oriental Republic of Uruguay, is a state in the southeastern region of South America. It borders Argentina to its west and Brazil to its north and east, with the Río de la Plata (River of Silver) to the south and the Atlantic Ocean to the southeast. Uruguay is home to an estimated 3.44 million people, of whom 1.8 million live in the metropolitan area of its capital and largest city, Montevideo (List of cities in Uruguay). With an area of approximately 176,000 square kilometres (68,000 sq mi), Uruguay is geographically the second-smallest nation in South America, after Suriname. Uruguayan culture is strongly European and its influences from southern Europe are particularly important. The tradition of the gaucho has been an important element in the art and folklore of both Uruguay and Argentina.   read more…

Atlantic City in New Jersey

11 June 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

© flickr.com - Bob Jagendorf/cc-by-2.0

© flickr.com – Bob Jagendorf/cc-by-2.0

Atlantic City is a resort city in Atlantic County, New Jersey, known for its casinos, boardwalks, and beaches. It has a population of 39,000. The city was incorporated on May 1, 1854, from portions of Egg Harbor Township and Galloway Township. It borders Absecon, Brigantine, Pleasantville, Ventnor City, West Atlantic City, and the Atlantic Ocean. Atlantic City inspired the U.S. version of the board game Monopoly, especially the street names. Since 1921, Atlantic City has been the home of the Miss America pageant. In 1976, New Jersey voters legalized casino gambling in Atlantic City. The first casino opened two years later. Just 200 km south of New York City, the city is one of the most popular destinations for short-holiday travelers from the New York metropolitan area.   read more…

Isles of Scilly

20 April 2018 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

St. Agnes Lighthouse © Andrewrabbott

St. Agnes Lighthouse © Andrewrabbott

The Isles of Scilly are an archipelago off the southwestern tip of Cornwall. One of the islands, St Agnes, is the most southerly point in both England and the United Kingdom, being over 4 miles (6.4 km) further south than the most southerly point of the British mainland at Lizard Point. The population of all the islands is at around 2,300. Scilly forms part of the ceremonial county of Cornwall, and some services are combined with those of Cornwall. However, since 1890, the islands have had a separate local authority. Since the passing of the Isles of Scilly Order 1930, this authority has had the status of a county council and today is known as the Council of the Isles of Scilly. Little of the fauna on, above or in the seas surrounding the isles was described prior to the 19th century, when birds and fish started to be described. Most records of other animals date from the 20th century onwards.   read more…

The Gulf of Morbihan

2 October 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Île-aux-Moines © Pinpin/cc-by-sa-3.0

Île-aux-Moines © Pinpin/cc-by-sa-3.0

The Gulf of Morbihan is a natural harbour on the coast of the Département of Morbihan in the south of Brittany. This English name is taken from the French version: le golfe du Morbihan. It is more accurately called ‘the Morbihan’ directly from its Breton name which is Ar Mor Bihan, meaning ‘the little sea’ (Compare the Welsh y môr bychan), as opposed to the Atlantic Ocean outside, (Ar Mor Bras). Legend says that there are as many islands in the Gulf as there are days of the year. However, this is untrue and the gulf has about 40, depending on the tide. Many islands are private property, except the largest two, l’Île-aux-Moines and l’Île-d’Arz.   read more…

Theme Week South Africa

19 June 2017 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General, Theme Weeks

East London - City Hall on Oxford Street © Bfluff/cc-by-sa-3.0

East London – City Hall on Oxford Street © Bfluff/cc-by-sa-3.0

South Africa is the southernmost country in Africa. It is bounded on the south by 2,798 kilometres (1,739 mi) of coastline of Southern Africa stretching along the South Atlantic and Indian Oceans, on the north by the neighbouring countries of Namibia, Botswana and Zimbabwe, and on the east and northeast by Mozambique and Swaziland, and surrounding the kingdom of Lesotho. South Africa is the 25th-largest country in the world by land area, and with close to 56 million people, is the world’s 24th-most populous nation. It is the southernmost country on the mainland of the Old World or the Eastern Hemisphere. About 80 percent of South Africans are of Sub-Saharan African ancestry, divided among a variety of ethnic groups speaking different Bantu languages, nine of which have official status. The remaining population consists of Africa’s largest communities of European (white), Asian (Indian), and multiracial (coloured) ancestry. South Africa is a multiethnic society encompassing a wide variety of cultures, languages, and religions. Its pluralistic makeup is reflected in the constitution‘s recognition of 11 official languages, which is among the highest number of any country in the world. Two of these languages are of European origin: Afrikaans developed from Dutch and serves as the first language of most white and coloured South Africans; English reflects the legacy of British colonialism, and is commonly used in public and commercial life, though it is fourth-ranked as a spoken first language. The country is one of the few in Africa never to have had a coup d’état, and regular elections have been held for almost a century. However, the vast majority of black South Africans were not enfranchised until 1994. During the 20th century, the black majority sought to recover its rights from the dominant white minority, with this struggle playing a large role in the country’s recent history and politics. The National Party imposed apartheid in 1948, institutionalising previous racial segregation. After a long and sometimes violent struggle by the African National Congress and other anti-apartheid activists both inside and outside the country, discriminatory laws began to be repealed or abolished from 1990 onwards. South Africa is often referred to as the Rainbow Nation to describe the country’s multicultural diversity, especially in the wake of apartheid.   read more…

Baracoa near the eastern tip of Cuba

17 October 2016 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

Sunset at the Bay of Honey © Paul Postiaux/cc-by-sa-3.0

Sunset at the Bay of Honey © Paul Postiaux/cc-by-sa-3.0

Baracoa is a municipality and city in Guantánamo Province near the eastern tip of Cuba. It was discovered by Admiral Christopher Colombus on November 27, 1492, and then founded by the first governor of Cuba, the Spanish conquistador Diego Velázquez de Cuéllar in August 15, 1511. It is the oldest Spanish settlement in Cuba and was its first capital (the basis for its nickname Ciudad Primada, “First City”). Baracoa is located on the spot where Christopher Columbus landed in Cuba on his first voyage. It is thought that the name stems from the indigenous Arauaca language word meaning “the presence of the sea”. Baracoa lies on the Bay of Honey (Bahía de Miel) and is surrounded by a wide mountain range (including the Sierra del Purial), which causes it to be quite isolated, apart from a single mountain road built in the 1960s.   read more…

Theme Week Cuba – Varadero

30 April 2016 | Author/Destination: | Rubric: General

La Casa de Al, Al Capone's warhouse during prohibition, today a restaurant © Laslovarga/cc-by-sa-4.0

La Casa de Al, Al Capone’s warhouse during prohibition, today a restaurant © Laslovarga/cc-by-sa-4.0

Varadero is a resort town in the province of Matanzas, and one of the largest resort areas in the Caribbean. The first mention of Varadero was in 1555. The place was first used as a dry dock (Spanish: varadero) and the salt mines of the peninsula (closed in 1961) supplied most of the Spanish Latin America Fleet since 1587. However, the foundation date of Varadero as city was only on December 5, 1887, when ten families from the city of Cárdenas obtained a permission to build their vacation homes between today’s 42nd and 48th Street. Juan Gualberto Gómez Airport, situated west of the peninsula, is Varadero’s airport. It is the second-most-important airport of the island after José Martí International Airport in Havana, and serves international and domestic flights.   read more…

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