Finally, another issue of Wish You Were Here!, my monthly collection of unique, unusual, and beautiful travel-related discoveries I’ve made around the internet. Pack a snack, a drink, and you’ll be fine. Enjoy!
Above 1 The travertine steps and ancient ruins at Pamukkale in Turkey, a Unesco World Heritage Site.
2 The Art of the Burning Man Festival comes to England! Who’d have thought that the grounds of an English stately home would become the setting for a celebration of the off-beat music and arts festival usually held in Black Rock, Nevada? The annual Burning Man event involves constructing large-scale sculptures and culminates in the ceremonial burning of a huge wooden man. From 9 April until 1 October, the Duke and Duchess of Devonshire’s home, Chatsworth House in Derbyshire, is hosting an exhibition called Radical Horizons: The Art of Burning Man, including 12 sculptures from the festival displayed at different points around the estate’s free-to-access parkland. Find out more here.
3 Pysanka: The art of the Ukrainian Easter egg. I’ve just learned that as in many ancient cultures, Ukrainians worshipped a sun god, Dazhboh. The sun was important for warming the earth and as a source of all life. Eggs decorated with nature symbols became an integral part of spring rituals, serving as benevolent talismans. Found on Wikipedia.
4 Sheila Bridges’ Harlem Toile. Toile de Jouy is a fabric wealthy people covered their walls in popular in France in the 18th century typically featured “romantic pastoral scenes”. African American interior designer Sheila Bridges developed her own patterns in a series called Harlem Toile, inspired by her Harlem and Philadelphia neighbourhoods and the African American experience more generally. It features, “… beautiful drawings of African Americans in the lush, historical settings that rarely featured them — a couple in 18th-century dress dance under a structure that recalls the Arc de Triomphe to the tunes of a boombox that rests playfully on the grass; women in ball gowns sit under a majestic tree, one combs the other’s hair while yet another woman holds up a fairy-talelike mirror; a courting couple in a fashion that now brings to mind the popular series Bridgerton feast on a picnic,” writes Veronica Chambers in this brilliant New York Times article. Story via here.
5 Meet the Swiss cartographers who draw rocks. “Every few years, Switzerland’s national mapping agency dispatches one of its planes to scour every centimetre of the Swiss Alps, the pilot looping back and forth to capture photographs of changes in the landscape,” writes the New York Times. “For the most part, the modifications made to the country’s official map are minor and largely automated: a house pops up here, a funicular there. But lately, for a rarefied group of the agency’s nearly three dozen cartographers, the need for revisions has intensified. ‘The glaciers are melting, and I have more work to do,’ as Adrian Dähler, part of that special group, put it… It’s a little bit like being a god,” Gilgen said. “You’re creating a world.”
Read the brilliant full article on the New York Times.
6 Hunter’s Moon Retreat, a mystical and magical looking luxury escape in Glastonbury, Somerset. This unique secluded property is set within an acre of woodland, sleeps 8-10 and has been designed in keeping with its unique location near Glastonbury. It’s set on a powerful ley line, in a place called Pennard Hill thought to be where King Arthur’s army kept its horses for their natural protection, as it was surrounded by water when the Isle of Avalon was truly an island. The stream below the property is still known locally as Witches Dip, from the days of sorcery and witchcraft. Book your stay or take a virtual 3D tour here.
7 This collection of unusual geological landforms! I must be the last person to discover the Instagram account Geomorphological Landscapes which has over half a million followers. It features some of the more beautiful and unusual natural and geological features on planet Earth, including inselbergs, caves, murmurations, ice balls, clouds, and river meanders. The account doesn’t stick to strictly natural wonders, but whatever they post is usually worth a look.
8 Meet the girl who builds unique AirBnBs on a budget. I first learned about Kristie Wolfe when I read about the giant potato-shaped tiny home AirBnB she’d built in US potato-farming country, Idaho, also her hometown. In fact, she has a plethora in her portfolio, ranging from a jungle treehouse in Hawaii, a real-life hobbit hole in Washington, and a converted fire lookout in the middle of a forest. She has the kind of style that inspires me! Unique, unusual, imperfect yet beautiful. Her story is interesting too. Before building Airbnbs, she was unloading sacks of dirt-laden potatoes for $13/hour. She cites her mother as her inspiration for creating beautiful spaces that are marked by practicality, using reclaimed materials and doing the rest herself.
The first tiny house Kirsten built was her own, from scratch, on a small piece of land in Idaho she snapped up for US$5000. Inspired, she decided to build another unique tiny home, this time to rent out, which she did in Hawaii on another dirt-cheap (no pun, intended) of land.
She realized that chasing hot tourist destinations wasn’t a good strategy. Land in those places was far pricier, and competition was more intense; instead, she decided to focus on rural, traditionally undesirable sites. ‘I decided to build properties so cool that people would come to me,’ she says. ‘The house itself — not the location — would be the destination.’
Read the full article on The Hustle.
9 Water jugs being stacked in Qena, Egypt. Found here
10. He wanders England capturing the strangeness of scarecrows. “It is not unusual for passers-by to attack a scarecrow – stabbings and mutilations being the most common. Dead bodies have been hidden inside scarecrows, and stolen loot stashed in the pockets of their greatcoats.” Found on the Guardian.
11 The Grand Tour. Fans of the golden age of travel will swoon over this lust-worthy coffee table read from Taschen that captures the spirit of adventure of such classic trips as the Orient Express, the Grand Tour, and the Trans-Siberian Railway. In fact, it just made it to the top of my Christmas list. It tells the story of a bygone golden age of discovery and romance through vintage travel ephemera from 1869 to 1939, such as posters, tickets, menus, and quotes from literary travellers like Jules Verne or F Scott Fitzgerald. Published by Taschen, £60. Buy from here or here.
12 A reminder of why we need to love amazing trees. Follow a group of skiers, snowboarders, scientists and healers to the birch forests of Japan, the red cedars of British Columbia and the bristlecones of Nevada, as they explore an ancient story written in rings.