Tuesday, 25 December 2018

Kingsley Lake! A Circular Lake of Florida

Kingsley Lake is a circular lake, that pilots call it the Silver Dollar Lake. The lake is almost perfectly round as well as nearly precisely two miles across.  It is located six miles east of Starke, in North Central Florida. It is believed that Kingsley Lake is formed as a sinkhole. There is an 85-foot deep hole in the middle of the lake. The water of Kingsley Lake is clear and blue.

There are 5.5 miles around the shoreline, and two miles across in all directions covers almost 2,000 acres. This beautiful lake is popular for its clear waters and recreational sports like water skiing and fishing. In Florida, surface water temperatures can cross the upper 90s and even go over 100 degrees on some days.

When the water is that hot, a bass is that hot as well and its metabolism goes into overdrive, with calories it consumes not going into growth but just to breathe and stay alive. Mr. Simeon Strickland (Great Grandfather of Patty Gayle’s) was a first non-Indian settlement at Kingsley in 1859.

There are more than a few hundred docks on the north and west sides of the lake and Camp Blanding is on the East and South sides. According to some sources, it is the oldest and highest lake in Florida, located on the edge of the Trail Ridge formation.

The lake is a very stable lake with a sandy bottom. Its deepest part is about 90 feet. Kingsley Lake is a perched lake mainly fed by rainfall and Surficial aquifer seepage along the Lake bottom. Kingsley Lake borders the huge Camp Blanding National Guard Base and bombing range.

Kingsley Lake is one of the best bass fisheries that you have probably never heard. The campground on the lake is a large facility with concessions, cabins, picnic pavilions, camp store, fishing, an arcade, boat rental, docks, and over 100 RV sites. The Strickland Landing, next to the camp area, is a swim park with large slides, floats, and paddleboats for rent. Source: CP

Friday, 21 December 2018

The Magic of Kata Tjuṯa / Mount Olga

Uluru or Ayers Rock is usually known, one of Australia’s most iconic landmarks. But, adjacent, there is another natural wonder that is called Kata Tjuta which is well worth to see. Kata Tjuta means “many heads” is also known as the Olgas.  The area was given a name to its tallest peak, Mount Olga. This is just a little higher than the other rock formations in the vicinity. Mount Olga was named by Ernest Giles back in 1872 after Queen Olga of Wurttemberg.

Kata Tjuta is a group of large, domed rock formations located 360 kilometers southwest of Alice Springs, Northern Territory, central Australia. Kata Tjuta forms the two major landmarks within the Uluru-Kata Tjuṯa National Park. The park is considered sacred to the Aboriginal people of Australia. The local Aboriginal Aṉangu community has inhabited this land for over 22,000 years.

The eye-catching red rock formations of Kata Tjuta rise from the dusty land to make an incredible sight. The remarkable rocks appear to change color and submerge yourself, millions of years in the making. The best ever place to take in the majesty of the 36 domes are from the top of a sand dune lookout for a panoramic view of Kata Tjuṯa with Uluṟu on the horizon. Kata Tjuṯa has spotlessly positioned viewing areas and is most impressive at sunrise and sunset.

The lengthy history of the landmark means there are plenty of stories mingling it. The 36 domes that make up Kata Tjuṯa cover an area of 21.68 km2. The area is tranquil of conglomerate, a sedimentary rock consisting of cobbles and boulders of varying rock types including granite and basalt, cemented by a matrix of sandstone. The highest dome Mount Olga is about 1,066 m above sea level. In 1993, Mount Olga was renamed Mount Olga / Kata Tjuṯa. The region surrounding Mount Olga is approximately 850-800 million years ago. The eventual erosion of the formation resulted in a molasse facies or deposition in front of rising mountains.

To view the incredible scenery that surrounds it, including dusty red dunes and tufts of greenery. Kata Tjuṯa can be reached via Ayers Rock Airport, followed by a 55-kilometer drive south, then west. Visitors are required to pay an entry fee. Kata Tjuṯa is about 495 kilometers by road from Alice Springs, via the Stuart and Lasseter highways. It is a 4½ hour drive. Kata Tjuṯa is a magical place that really shows the true natural beauty of Australia. This part of the country is renowned for its rich Aboriginal history and its incredible displays of scenery. Source: CP

Sunday, 16 December 2018

Qenko, Archaeological Site in Sacred Valley of Peru

Qenko, or Kenko, is an archaeological site in the Sacred Valley of Peru. The site is located in the Cusco Region, Cusco Province, Cusco District, almost six kilometers northeast of Cusco. Qenko was declared a Cultural Heritage of the Cusco Region by the National Institute of Culture. It is one of the largest huacas in the Cusco Region. 

Many huacas were based on naturally occurring rock formations.  Inside the rock are large niches and a possible altar. This may have been a place where the mummies of lesser royalty were kept along with gold and precious objects. This sacred site occupies over 35,000 square feet and sits on what today is known as Socorro hill.

The rock is an excellent example of the Inca Rock Worship. It was thought to be a place where sacrifices and mummification took place. Qenko is the finest example of a rock artfully carved in-situ showing complex patterns of steps, seats, geometric reliefs and a puma design. On top of the rock are zigzag which served to course chicha or sacrificed llama blood for purposes of divination.  The speed and route of the liquid, in conjunction with the patterns made in the rock, gave the answers to the priest's invocations.

Qenko is made up of two areas; one is a large area, located next to the road from Sacsayhuamán to Písac. However, the small area a quarter of a mile farther back, showing remains of high walls, a circular design, and the same carefully cut stones. 

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Lanzarote Vineyards – The Magical Black Gardens

In Lanzarote, Spain there is a unique cultural landscape called “La Geria”. The La Geria covers around 5,250 hectares, of which almost 3,000 acres are cultivated. The vineyards of Lanzarote are spectacular and fascinating. Semi-Circular stonewalls protect verdant vines from the persistent blowing trade winds. In the first look, you can’t even help. The cultivation of grapes in Lanzarote is unique to this part of the world. But to be impressed by endless land that’s covered black ash and volcanoes. Most of the island has treeless, moonlike landscapes with different colored soils, craters, strange rock formations, and gently sloping mountains.
These vines spot actually created more than 250 years ago with human hands. Each vine yields produced approximately 25KG of grapes a year. However, rains make the place seem like a miracle. The greenery you might expect to find at this tropical latitude is almost completely absent from most of Lanzarote. The young vine is placed into this human-made depression. Then, larger volcanic stones are balanced around the wind-facing edge of the hole, creating a low, semicircular barrier.

The ‘Paisaje Protegido’ – cultural protected landscape has an interesting history. In the 18th century, Lanzarote was a lush island with a thriving agriculture industry.  But massive volcanic eruptions took place in the 1730s when the entire region was covered in Lave ash. A series of violent eruptions left thick layers of ash and volcanic pebbles on the ground. That is also called lapilli, Rofe or picón. Therefore, thousands of hectares of fertile farmland were lost under up to three meters thick layers of ash. After the volcanoes had ceased to rumble, the Islanders starts to dig holes until they came upon fertile soil in areas where the lapilli was thin.

Then they began to plant vines and other fruit trees. After they quickly realized that the ash was a blessing in disguise. The lapilli is porous and has hygroscopic (water-attracting) properties. Some wineries still follow the traditional practice of using camels to haul newly harvested grapes from the vineyard to the processing areas, which are lower on the hillside.

The cool breezes from the Atlantic and the warm temperatures from the African mainland give the vineyards the kind of warm-to-cool variation that grapes need. Also, the days are warm and almost always sunny; nights are very cool.  Though annual rains fall is very low in Lanzarote. But early morning hours are very humid and allow ash to store the morning dew. The difference in temperature, known in the viticulture world as the diurnal temperature variation, is important for grapes to develop both the right amount of acidity and sweetness.

The pits were the vines are dug have to be 5 meters in diameter and 2-3 meters deep and also need a lot of space. The roots spread out in a wide circle near the surface to be able to absorb as much water as possible. The range of wines from La Geria includes the traditional Lanzarote wines Malvasia, Listán Negra, Moscatel, and Manto. To add to the mystic, tourists often arrive at the wineries' bodegas on the backs of camels. Imported from the Sahara long ago, these beasts are able to easily negotiate the soft, sandy soil and go where vehicles cannot. Lanzarote landscapes are unforgettable and you must visit once in a lifetime.
 Source: CP

Thursday, 6 December 2018

The Steinhuder Meer or Lake Steinhude is a lake in Lower Saxony, Germany. The Lake is located 30 KM northwest of Hanover. It lies within a region known as the Hanoverian Moor Geest. The lake is named after the nearby village of Steinhude, has an area of about 30 square kilometers. The steinhuder Meer is the largest lake of northwestern Germany. The Lake Steinhude is very shallow, with an average depth of only 4.4 ft and a maximum depth of less than 9.8 ft.
The Steinhuder Meer is part of the glacial landscape formed after the recession of the glaciers of the latest Ice Age, the Weichselian glaciation. Nature lovers can join one of the nature and landscape tours and with luck catch a glimpse of sea eagles. The environment around the lake can be best explored as a one or two-day trip around the Steinhuder Meer.
The two theories explained the formation of Lake Steinhuder. The first one says that glaciers gouged out the hole and meltwater filled it. However the other theory says that an ice storm formed the hole and as the groundwater rose, the lake was formed. The most important is 18th century fortification small artificial island “The Wilhelmstein”.  The Wilhelmstein Island was built around 1761 to 1765 then used as a military fortress. Afterwards it was used as military school. It is located in the middle of lake. The The Steinhuder Meer is heart of nature reserve, and also used as recreational area.
The other Badeinsel Steinhude  was built in 1975 using sand retrieved from the lake. It has a sandy beach which is popular during summer.  Access to this island is via 80m pedestrian bridge from Steinhude. The lake offers the opportunity for sailing and surfing for water enthusiasts.

The Steinhuder Meer as a Tourist Place:
The lake steinhuder is famous destination for locals and for vacationists. Up to three ships offer cruises; they are supplemented by smaller boats running on schedule across the lake. The various small shops, seafood restaurants and markets invite you to take a stroll or enjoy a good meal. A beautiful bike path encircles the lake, crossing various landscapes. Source: CP