The politics and Pleasures of Treasure

The politics and Pleasures of Treasure

The Colombian government has announced the discovery of what may be the holy grail of treasure ships – the largest and most valuable wreck of a Spanish galleon ever found, with gold, coins and precious stones  estimated to be worth billions of dollars.

Colombia’s discovery of the 300-year-old, shipwrecked galleon San Jose was sunk by the British in 1708 near the Colombian port city of Cartagena as the vessel was trying to outrun a fleet of British warships off the island of Baru where on June 8, 1708 an explosion sent it to the bottom of the Caribbean Sea.

The ship is thought to be loaded with gold, platinum and precious gems but just as valuable are the images brought up by autonomous underwater vehicles showing dolphin-stamped bronze cannons confirming the ship’s identity. Weapons, ceramics and porcelain vases have also been noted at the wreck site and could shed light on an important period in Spanish colonial history but also potentially spawn legal battles over the valuable cargo. Colombia has been involved in a three-decade legal battle with the Seattle-based Sea Search Armada, or SSA, a commercial salvage company that claims it first discovered the wreck’s location in 1981.

The San Jose, described as the holy grail of shipwrecks, is lying in about 700 feet of water and the Colombian government says it will build a museum to house the treasure.

To find out more about Galleons, Pirates and Treasure, explore our Globe Trekker special here

Galleons, Pirates & Treasure from Globe Trekker on Vimeo.

main image: Action off Cartagena, 28 May 1708. Oil by Samuel Scott

Travel ‘Appy Part 3: Find, Eat, Photo

Travel 'Appy Part 3: Find, Eat, Photo

We all love to do it really! Here’s how to in style 🙂

FIND, EAT, PHOTO

AlPineQuest GPS Hiking: For the outdoorsy type, take a look into AlPineQuest GPS Hiking. A gold-

mine investment for hikers, this app allows you to access online topographical maps even if you are

outside of cell service. With its GPS detector, AlPineQuest GPS Hiking localizes yourself into real time

on the map so you can be sure to see where you are going. AlPineQuest is the perfect solution for

those wanting to be secure adventure-seeker.

Available on Android (£6.49)

 

Maps.Me: We all know that data roaming charges cost a fortune and Maps.Me knows it too.

Maps.Me is a global map that allows you to zoom in and download detailed maps of different

cities/regions offline. The map will give you directions from point A to point B in great detail. It will

also show you locations of hidden gems, unlike the general location GoogleMaps provides.

Available free on iPhone and Android

 

TV Food Maps: Ever look at the food on Top Chef, Man vs. Food, and Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives and

thought, “God that looks good. I want that!” With TV Food Maps, you can road trip around the

United States following the famous food you see prepared on television. TV Food Maps interactively

helps you find the famous or hidden locations of some of the most delicious cuisine you can find in

the West. Make a road trip of it and go explore famous eateries as seen on the telly!

Available on iPhone (free), Android (free), and Windows (free)

 

The Photographer’s Ephemeris: The world holds the perfect backdrop for anybody wanting to model

against this scenery or photograph the set; and for all you models and model citizens out there, The

Photographer’s Ephemeris (TPE) helps you plan the perfect outdoor photoshoot that has natural

lightings against urban and landscape scenery. Time and direction of the sun/moon with the altitude

of the weather will allow you to capture that perfect postcard picture. Do it for the memories!

Available on iPhone ($8.99) and Android (£3.22)

 

Image courtesy of: Moyan Brenn

 

Travel ‘Appy Part 2: Connect

Travel 'Appy Part 2: Connect

Finding your bearings with the local currency, lingo and lay of the land is always a good idea and these are the apps you need…

CONNECT

Trip Advisor
TripAdvisor has flocked toward rising popularity with its honest user-based reviewers,
all critical of hotels, restaurants, tourist hotspots, and more. The user-based reflections show the
current number of reviews that like or dislike any location destination you’re heading towards. Users
are known to be brutally honest, keeping to their high standards. This gives you a sneak peek into
the best of what your destination has to offer, giving you a better chance for a more enjoyable
vacation.
Available on iPhone (free), Android (free) and Windows Phone (free)

GoogleGoggles
When you’re getting lost in a new city but then come across a famous landmark
you’re unfamiliar with, what do you do? Google has an answer for you, yet again. GoogleGoggles is
an image recognition app that allows you to take pictures of famous landmarks and unknown
products, and will then redirect you to more information about your photograph. You will quickly
become the fascinating world traveller who can offer up historical information in seconds.

Available on iPhone (free) and Android (free)
Convertor Plus

To the avid traveller, converting money is not enough when it comes to visiting a
different country. All different units of measure have to be taken into consideration, which
Convertor Plus accomplishes. Convertor Plus has the most extensive list of currencies and units in
categories such as loan, tip, fuel consumption, temperature, and hundreds of others. This app also
includes a built-in calculator, making splitting the bill easy for once.
Available on iPhone (free) 

iTranslate
The iTranslate app makes translating clear, cut, and concise. iTranslate has continually
kept up with the millennial age as it continually revamps itself with a simplistic style on how to
communicate with other nations. With its ability to convert over 90+ languages, iTranslate can
translate over voice recognition, copied text, phonetic spelling, and much more. It will even speak
back to you with the correct pronunciation.
Available on iPhone (free), Android (free), and Windows Phone (free)

Wi-Fi Finder
Wi-Fi has become a necessity to access since data roaming charges keep rising. Wi-Fi
Finder allows you to look for a Wi-Fi hotspot using your GPS function on your phone. The app will tell
you where the exact location of the Wi-Fi hotspot and how to get there. In over 650,000 locations
and 144 countries, Wi-Fi Finder can help you save your data for real emergencies.
Available on iPhone (free) and Android (free)

Babushkas of Chernobyl by Holly Morris Showing in London This Weekend

Babushkas of Chernobyl by Holly Morris Showing in London This Weekend

A new film directed by Globe Trekker presenter Holly Morris and Globe Trekker director, Anne Bogart, Babushkas of Chernobyl, is screening in London this weekend as part of the Green Caravan Festival.

The documentary follows an unlikely group of rebels as they continue to go about their daily lives in the toxic and lonely environment. These women defiantly cling to their ancestral homeland in Chernobyl’s radioactive Exclusion Zone while most of their neighbours have long since fled and their husbands have gradually died off.

The film depicts the zone’s scattered ghost villages, now silent, eerie and contaminated. Many villages have eight or 12 babushkas, or babas – the Russian and Ukrainian words for “grandmother” – still living in them.

babushkas

Why do they insist on living on farms that the Ukrainian government and radiation scientists have deemed uninhabitable? How do they manage to get by, isolated, in an abandoned landscape guarded by soldiers and rife with wild animals? How has the radiation affected them these past 29 years?

“Starvation is what scares me, not radiation,” says resident Hanna Zavorotyna. That stark choice reveals the incredible journey that the women have traveled: from Stalin’s enforced famines in the 1930s, through Nazi occupation, to nuclear disaster.

Like the wolves, moose, wild boar and other wildlife not seen for decades that have come back to the abandoned forests around Chernobyl, the women of the Exclusion Zone have an extraordinary story of survival, and offer a dark yet strangely affirming portrait of post-apocalyptic life.

Directed and produced by: Anne Bogart + Holly Morris
Runtime: 72′
Year: 2015
Country: USA

The film is screening this weekend at the Frontline Club in Paddington, London as part of the Green Caravan Film Festival, a nomadic film festival focussing on environmentally and socially conscious films.

Travel ‘Appy!

Travel 'Appy!

When a bright-eyed traveler regales you with tales of their adventure, for the most part you hear about breath-taking views, awe inspiring sites, soaking up the atmosphere and wild ideas for their next trip. Rarely do you hear about the unavoidable calamities attached to travel when things inevitably go awry. You miss your flight; you forget your high school level French; you need a taxi but have run out of cash – a myriad of things can fall apart at any time. With the advent of technology, however, the solution to your anxiety is only a tap away. Travel apps have the ability to save you from the unforeseeable mishaps that happen whilst on holiday, making your adventures more enjoyable. Whether you need to learn how to say ‘sorry’ in Vietnamese or find the nearest transportation system in the middle of Morocco, it can be guaranteed that, “there’s an app for that!” From transportation to eateries, apps can help navigate you to get the most out of your traveling experience.

Part One

REST WELL

Air b’n’b
Airbnb encompasses the best parts of traveling all into one. Meeting new people, staying at safe locations, and cheap havens creates a traveling experience that allows you to be stress free! By choosing through a list of people that offer up their homes as a place to stay, you can participate in smart travel in an interesting way. This app gives you an itinerary as well as all the information you need to know about your host and their room.

Free for iOS and Android

iCampsites
A great value guide to more than 8,000 campsites in the UK and Europe, backed up with user reviews, pictures and inch-perfect GPS coordinates. If you’re looking for more than just somewhere to bed down for the night the filter local results by facilities and you’ll soon be en route to a patch that’s right for you.
Available on Android (£1.99)

Hostelworld
Hostels are a fantastic alternative way to stay in central city locations across the world as well as interesting historical buildings and more off the beaten track places for a lot less than a hotel. This is a geo-tagged directory of 25,000 listings for budget hotels at your fingertips. The app also provides access to over 3.5million user reviews, minimising the likelihood of a nasty surprise when you turn up after that all night train ride.
Available on iPhone (free) and Android (free)

Couch Surfing
Couchsurfing’s motto stands as: “the world is full of friends you haven’t met.” This app allows you to insert yourself into a global community of over 9 million traveling enthusiasts across 120,000 looking for someone with a shared enthusiasm for exploration. The app (and much more developed website) provides a platform for members to surf on couches by staying as a guest at a host’s home, host travelers, or join an event. The system is reciprocal though this is not compulsory, and review based so you can offer up your sofa or stay somewhere new; either way, this app gives you a place to stay or someone to meet, broadening your travel experience.

Available on iPhone (free) and Android (free)

We’ve Walked in These Wild Woods! Trekking the Appalachian Trail!

We've Walked in These Wild Woods! Trekking the Appalachian Trail!

This weekend sees the UK release of A Walk in the Woods; a film that took Robert Redford ten years to get around to making, based on the 1998 book by travel writer Bill Bryson, A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian Trail which describes his attempt to walk the Appalachian Trail with friend Stephen Katz.

A_Walk_in_the_Woods_Poster

The trail is 2160-miles  and is the longest continuous footpath in the world, stretching along the East Coast of the United States, from Georgia to Maine, through some of the most arresting and celebrated landscapes in America.

The Appalachian Trail is famous for its many hikers, some of whom, called thru-hikers, attempt to hike it in its entirety in a single season. Others have managed to perform a round-trip of the trail where they thru-hike from one end to the other and then turn around to thru-hike the trail the other way, otherwise known as a yo-yo.

Eli Christman/Flickr, Creative Commons

Eli Christman/Flickr, Creative Commons

 

 

 

So we thought it apt to show off a little; cos Megan and the Globe Trekker got there before Robert Redford, (though after Bill Bryson 🙂 She even meets a group of thru-hikers -enjoy!

UPDATED: The world fights back with technology as Palmyra in Syria is the latest site from ancient world to come under threat from Islamic State forces

UPDATED: The world fights back with technology as Palmyra in Syria is the latest site from ancient world to come under threat from Islamic State forces

Back in May we posted an article about the ancient city of Palmyra in Eastern Syria being captured by the terrorist group who refer to themselves as IS – Islamic State (see original post below).

Since then, global fears that IS would destroy the numerous artefacts of the ancient city have been realised, with horrifying violence.

So far, amongst the artefacts destroyed are the temple of Baalshamin, a 2,000-year-old relic, the Assyrian Palace at Khorsabad, Hatra the capital of the Parthinian Empire, immense statues at Nimrud, the ancient Temple of Bel (pictured below) and ruined artefacts at the Mosul Museum, the Mosul Public Library.

The destruction has not been limited to the antiquities; Khaled al-Asaad, the 81-year old former director of the world-renowned archaeological site at Palmyra in Syria, was beheaded in August. Prior to his death, al-Asaad and his son Walid, the current director of antiquities, had been detained for a month. They had been tortured as their captors tried to extract information about where treasures were to be found. Al-Asaad devoted his life to the ancient city and worked at the archaeological site for more than 50 years, spending most of that time as its director.

Archeologists from Harvard and Oxford are fighting against the destruction by sending a a ‘flood’ of 3D cameras to the region so that people can scan and photograph historically significant buildings and artefacts to preserve them from politically-motivated obliteration. The Million Image Database Project will distribute 5,000 cameras to war zones around the world by the end of 2015 allowing some traces to remain safe from the senseless destruction.

Furthermore the Director of the IDA , Institute for Digital Archaeology in Oxford, says it’s hoped that the resulting images will contain sufficient detail so they might one day be used to recreate them using 3D printers.

A glimmer of light recently revealed by authorities was that most of the sculptures the IS members destroyed were replicas of the real artefacts, many of which are stored safely in Baghdad and outside the reach of the vandals however, at least two of the destroyed pieces were authentic.

The Temple of Bel, Bernard Gagnon

The Temple of Bel, Bernard Gagnon

Palmyra in Syria is the latest site from ancient world to come under threat from Islamic State forces

The city of Palmyra in Eastern Syria is the latest site in the ancient and classical world in the Middle East to come under threat from so-called Islamic State forces.

Palmyra is in the middle of the Syrian desert, in the north-east of Damascus and contains the monumental ruins of a great city that was one of the most important cultural centres of the ancient world.

From the 1st to the 2nd century, the art and architecture of Palmyra, standing at the crossroads of several civilizations, married Graeco-Roman techniques with local traditions and Persian influences representing the epic relics of a shared human history and were of particularly special meaning to Iraqis and said to the cradle of civilization.

Check out Holly Morris’s visit there in Globe Trekker Syria and our report on other Danger Lands in the Middle East and beyond.

Holly Morris filming Globe Trekker Syria

Holly Morris filming Globe Trekker Syria

 

 

 

 

 

Image credit: Yvonnefm
For more information visit:

http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/23

Beware the Baggage Squeeze!

Beware the Baggage Squeeze!

For many years now, travellers in Europe have bemoaned the stingy luggage allowances of budget airlines such as Ryanair and EasyJet. But now, airlines are tightening even hand baggage allowances with British Airways reducing the size of a second item passengers can take into the cabin. Be warned!

In the past, those carrying more than allocated cabin baggage allowances have caused controversy. In one incident earlier this summer, a young Scottish man collapsed with heat exhaustion after and needed to be given oxygen on board an EasyJet flight from Stanstead to Glasgow after wearing 12 layers of clothing to avoid paying a 70 dollar excess baggage fee.

Holy Robot Hotels! The Future Has Arrived!!

Holy Robot Hotels! The Future Has Arrived!!

“We will make the most efficient hotels in the world…in the future, we’d like to have more than 90 percent of hotel services operated by robots.”

This is the vision of the service industry that Huis Ten Bosch company President Hideo Sawada shared at a news conference earlier this week  to announce the opening of Henn na Hotel within the Nagasaki Prefecture in Japan.

This is the future of robotics and the future is now…

robotreception

The hotel is fully equipped with a startling array of robotic features such as automated receptionists, including an English-speaking dinosaur and a Japanese-speaking female android, facial recognition technology, rather than keys, is used at check-in and guests have to type their information into a touch panel, porter robots are used by tapping room numbers into their digital panel for delivery, giant robot arm usually seen in manufacturing helps guests store items at the hotel’s cloak room and sensors in the bedroom adjust the room according to body heat and also deliver weather forecasts.

It’s not just the functionality of the hotel that looks to the future, room prices are reasonably low compared to other high end hotels in Japan and potential visitors will have to bid for the price they are willing to pay. The highest one wins, although there will be an upper limit of ¥14,000 for a single room. The park’s founder Hideo Sadawa told reporters that having robot staff at the hotel is no gimmick as he said he wants to show how establishments can improve efficiency and lower labour costs.

The name of the hotel reflects how the hotel will “change with cutting-edge technology,” said a company official, “this is a play on words: “Henn” is also part of the Japanese word for change.”

Exciting times ahead, let’s just hope it turns out rosier than the outcome in the 1973 sci-fi classic Westworld.

westworld

 

 

 

 

 

To make booking your experience at other robot themed places in Japan easier and at best value contact:

GoVoyagin

His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Visit Glastonbury Festival 2015

His Holiness the Dalai Lama to Visit Glastonbury Festival 2015

This year’s Glastonbury Festival is welcoming His Holiness the Dalai Lama on Sunday 28 June to give a talk to festival goers in the Green Fields area of Glastonbury site on Sunday, before travelling to Aldershot in Hampshire, where he will open a Buddhist community centre.

The Tibetan spiritual leader is a guest of the Festival as part of a four day UK visit. The key themes throughout the visit will be the promotion of His Holiness the Dalai Lama’s message of compassion, non-violence and the oneness of humanity.

The visit is not however, without controversy.

China have expressed disapproval and Lu Kang, a foreign ministry spokesman, told a daily news briefing that he was not aware of the details of what the Dalai Lama was doing at the festival. He said, however, that “China resolutely opposes any country, organisation, body or individual giving any kind of platform to the 14th Dalai Lama to engage in anti-China splittist activities.”

Tibetan-exile media reported on Friday that China has arrested a Tibetan man for sharing a picture of the Dalai Lama and the banned Tibetan national flag on the messaging app WeChat.

Since the 1950’s China has been engaged in what they call ‘incorporation of Tibet into the People’s Republic of China, the process by which the People’s Republic of China (PRC) gained control of the area comprising the present-day Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR).

In 1959, the Dalai Lama and many other Tibetans fled Tibet and both he and the People’s Republic of China (PRC) government in Tibet subsequently repudiated the 17 Point Agreement and the PRC government in Tibet dissolved the Tibetan Local Government.

India designated land for the refugees in the mountainous region of Dharamsala, India, where the Dalai Lama and the Tibetan government-in-exile are now based.

The visit will also be marked by protests by the International Shugden Community (ISC), which claims the Dalai Lama is involved in the persecution of Shugden Buddhists in Tibetan exile.

Shugden Buddhists say they have been mistreated in Tibetan exile communities because the Dalai Lama has banned them from worshipping the fierce spirit known as Dolgyal or Shugden and claim that he has had escaped media scrutiny because of his “cult celebrity status.”