In 2011 I spent five weeks in Southern Africa with a group called International Student Volunteers. It was an amazing trip! Being the camera-happy person I am, I ended up taking about 3000 photos while I was there, and this is one of my favorites! We took a river cruise on a small boat in Chobe National Park and saw tons of wildlife, including this elephant feeding on aquatic vegetation in the middle of the river.
So here's an obscure one for you. A national monument that I'm pretty sure 95% of you have never heard of. And I really don't know why this park is not more well known than it is, because, as you can see, it's friggin' gorgeous!!
Yes, dear readers, I have blogged about this before. And normally my policy is not to blog about the same thing twice, because that's redundant. Totally redundant. But I felt I had to make an exception here, because my second visit to the Platte River to see the sandhill crane migration was so much different than my first visit. Better than my first visit. And I'll tell you why!
This isn't a place I was planning to stop at, or a sight I was planning to see. It was one of those completely magical travel moments that just kind of sneaks up on you and takes you by surprise.
Here's what happened:
So, being the middle of March, we obviously just had a big holiday last weekend. What did you say? Saint Who's Day?
No, no, no, not that holiday! I mean, who celebrates St. Patrick's Day anyway? I'm talking about National Quilting Day of course! And what better place to celebrate National Quilting Day than at the International Quilt Study Center & Museum.
In addition to their regular exhibits, the Museum also had an assortment of speakers and demonstrations in honor of the day, so you could learn all sorts of things about quilts.
Even though I'm not a quilter myself, I still had a great time at the Museum seeing all the beautiful things that can be made with quilting techniques.
Well, one of them anyway. Yes, there are four contenders of the title of world's largest ball of twine. This one, located in Cawker City, Kansas, is the world's largest ball of sisal twine, by size, and made by a community (The other three are the world's largest ball of plastic twine in Missouri, the world's heaviest ball of twine in Wisconsin, and the world's largest ball of sisal twine rolled by one man in Minnesota).
Cawker City's ball of twine was started in 1953 by a man named Frank Stoeber. There was a bit of a competition in the early days between this ball of twine and the one in Minnesota. The Minnesota twine ball was in the lead for a while, but the competition shifted after the respective deaths of the men who started each ball. The people of Darwin, Minnesota decided to let the ball stay as it was so it would remain the largest ball of twine rolled by one man, whereas the people of Cawker City decided to carry on Mr. Stoeber's work and continue rolling the twine. As a result, the Cawker City ball is still growing. Every August, in fact, the city holds a twine-a-thon, where residents and visitors alike are allowed to continue rolling twine around the ball.
After my visit to Kansas City's Croatian neighborhood of Strawberry Hill earlier this week, I've been feeling really nostalgic about my own trip to Croatia in 2009. I loved everything I saw in the country, but there was one place that really stood out: Plitvice Lakes National Park. This park is made up of hundreds of crystalline lakes interconnected by little streams and thousands of waterfalls. A truly incredible place - I've never been anywhere else like it!
The United States is a nation of immigrants, and most larger cities have a handful of traditional ethnic neighborhoods. These neighborhoods were important for immigrants because they were able to maintain their connection with home while starting a new life in a new country. They were able to live among people who shared their language, music, customs, and other traditions.
The historically Croatian neighborhood of Strawberry Hill is located in Kansas City, KS right across the Kansas River from Kansas City, MO. It was founded in the 1800's, and still preserves a strong Croatian heritage with many second-, third-, and fourth-generation Croatians still living here today.
Croatian immigrants first settled at the bottom of the hill where you could once find strawberry fields. A 1903 flood forced many of them to move up the hill, which they renamed Strawberry Hill.
The neighborhood itself is very charming, with brick sidewalks, rows of old houses, and great views over the surrounding areas.
Ontario's second biggest waterfall is affectionately nicknamed "The Niagara of the North" due mainly to its large size. It isn't as absolutely massive as Niagara (few waterfalls in the world are), but being known for being second best to something as grand as Niagara Falls is not a bad distinction!
I don't have any particular feelings about lighthouses in general. I mean one lighthouse is not drastically different from another - they're all tall roundish buildings with some kind of light-and-mirror apparatus on top. The main appeal to me of lighthouses is that they are often located in very beautiful places. Like this one, perched on top of a sheer cliff overlooking Lake Superior in Minnesota's Split Rock Lighthouse State Park.
Hi, I'm Alex! I'm always on the lookout for new and exciting travel experiences, and am happy to share them with you here!
Take a Tour:
In addition to being a blogger, I'm also a tour operator at Surprising Destinations! On my tours, you can visit many of the fascinating places featured in this blog. This prairie dog sure is happy he took a Surprising Destinations tour!