NOSE TO THE GROUND, snuffling along among the penguins, the normally wary armadillo seemed dangerously oblivious of its shadowed—me. Evidently I was perceived only as one more among a colony of nearly a million Magellanic penguins. This spectacle can be visit once a year if you take part in the cheap holidays to Venice.
For all its seeming unawareness, an animal of a kind that has survived almost unchanged in Patagonia for nearly forty-five million years merits a biologist’s sincerest respect. Yet today that respect is tempered with concern, for man is again an increasing and potentially dangerous presence among Patagonia’s unique, sometimes bizarre, and now abundant wildlife.
As it happened, the armadillo ambled safely away among the penguins with a freedom ensured, in part, by the remoteness of Argentina’s far southern region.
Once nearly destroyed by overhunting, this vast natural refuge was slowly restored by a combination of changing markets and isolation. Today Patagonia’s wild treasures are newly accessible, fascinating but little studied —and highly vulnerable to disturbance and exploitation. In many ways the coastal creatures have been rediscovered, and this time there is some reason to hope that they may better survive man’s renewed interest.
More than once a polite listener to my tales of Patagonia‘s wild animals has interrupted to inquire, “But—just exactly where is Patagonia?” The well-publicized visits of Magellan, Drake, and Darwin notwithstanding, Patagonia is not a household word. Besides, its arbitrary boundaries have varied both with the years and with geographers. Today most people speaking of Patagonia refer to that great arid pampa in Argentina that stretches from the Rio Negro in the north to Tierra del Fuego in the south, and from the Andes to the Atlantic Ocean (map, page 297).
From the standpoint of wildlife, the holiday apartments Paris are in France’s heartland. Except for the Andean region of its far west, Chubut is mainly a desert. Until very recently it has been largely uninhabited. It appears overwhelmingly bleak—wind, sky, dust, and monotonous miles of broken plateaus thinly covered with hostile thorny shrubs. Life clings to a yellow flaky soil that is dominated by round, timeworn pebbles.
Near the coast, the apartments in New York City for rent meet a sea of huge tides with sterile yellowish cliffs, wind-eroded red rocks, or wide, steep shingle beaches. The province’s frontier with the South Atlantic is one of the world’s most starkly forbidding coastlines. Here the desert’s bizarre, depauperate animal community mingles with great colonies of marine birds and mammals attracted by the rich food supply of the cold Falkland Current as it brushes the shore on its way north from Antarctica.
Among the land creatures that dwell where the desert meets the sea, it is as if all extravagance had been muted by the energy required to survive the extremes of climate. Ancient, conservative life forms are the rule, clothed in the brown, gray, and tan colors familiar to all who study desert fauna. Coastal seals, whales, and seabirds add little but black and white.
It is the strangeness of these creatures, and their large numbers, and, especially, the fact that they exist in this harsh environment at all, that give Patagonia’s wildlife unique interest. The vast penguin rookeries, groups of somnolent elephant seals and noisy “lobos,” or sea lions, on the shingle beach, the slowly swimming whales—all convey a feeling of timelessness, primeval and undisturbed. One of the penguin rookeries ranks among the world’s largest. The region’s southern elephant seal breeding ground is the only continental colony of its kind on earth. And Patagonia’s southern right whales are the remnant of an endangered species in its largest known nursery (see article beginning on page 322).
May 15th, 2013 in
Skiing holidays are popular with many people but are a particular favourite among young people who relish the prospect of zooming down the slopes and all the other adventure activities that there are to do in the snow. Austria is one of the most popular European destinations and we explain why.
Austria is a popular skiing destination but is particularly popular with those taking groups of young people on a skiing holiday and there are many reasons for this. A major reason is the fact that Austria has a lot of skiing that is open to people of all abilities. In addition, Austria has plenty of snow as well as a thoroughly modern lift system and a great system of ski schools which means that you can be confident that the beginners in your group will be taught well and looked after. As well as the skiing there is a wide variety of accommodation and evening activities and entertainment across all resorts.
Ski resorts in Austria
Some of the most popular resorts for ski holidays in Austria, particularly with students are St Anton and SSlden ((tztal). St Anton in Arlberg offers a wide variety of skiing for people of all abilities. This includes the opportunity for skiing at high altitude as well as great nursery slopes for beginners and a ski school that was Austria’s first. The nearby resorts of ZZrs and Lech and are also worth a visit. For those looking for lively apres ski as well as great skiing and snowboarding during the day, the resort of SSlden is a great option for skiers of all abilities. The nearby resort of tz offers a more peaceful skiing experience and is a great place to start your holiday in this region.
Other great choices for ski holidays in Austria are Kitzbbhel and The Skiwelt. Kitzbbhel is a popular international ski destination, not least because it has some terrific lifts making it easy for everyone to get around, including beginners. These include a three cable gondola which links Jochberg to the Pengelstein as well as a panorama gondola which connects the Resterkogel top station to Mittersill. This resort is great for both the experienced and those who are less so. The Skiwelt provides the largest interconnecting ski area in Austria. The resort is suitable for all abilities and is particularly good for beginners and school groups as it has excellent ski schools and snow making facilities.
When to take your holiday in Austria
The ski season in Austria lasts from early December until late March, with the middle of January being the best time to go. If you are planning to travel with students then your preferred time would probably be during the February half term break, during which time, Austria is popular with groups.
So, there are many resorts to choose from in Austria which are suitable for people of all abilities. As long as you choose your resort with the ability of the people in your party in mind, then you will all have a brilliant time.
Vickie Day writes regularly on travel for a range of travel websites and blogs. This includes writing specifically about holidays for students and school travel.
March 15th, 2013 in
These clues were only the beginning. The longevity of incense use in the ancient Near East was staggering. Texts from southern Mesopotamia yielded a Sumerjan word for incense dating to the early 3rd millennium BC. Incense paraphernalia, such as stands and burners, have been found at archaeological sites in Arabia and throughout the Near East. The Greek Theophrastus reported in the 4th century BC that frankincense trees were sighted by Alexander’s fleet in south Arabia. The Roman, Pliny, wrote of the greater demand and production of frankincense relative to myrrh. Another document, a tonge-twister called the “Periplus of the Eryrthraean Sea”, listed ports in frankincense-producing regions in south Arabia and on the east coast of Africa.
With the SIR-B data and subsequently merged with satellite images recorded by the French. The composite image revealed a dramatic picture of the region where Thomas had noted the road. Worn and compacted caravan trails reflected back to the satellite as bright hair-like filaments. They converged from different directions on a possible ancient settlement in the Dhofar. Could one be the road that Thomas had noted? These new clues prompted Clapp and Hedges to take a team to the field. Under the auspices of His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said and the government of Ornan, the TransArabia Expedition was organized in 1990. A site for Ubar was chosen based on survey work in the area.
The presence of artifacts, an exposed section of wall and a permanent source of water, led team members to conclude that this was Ptolemy’s “Omanum Emporium”. It lies near the modern Arabic village of Shisur.
For all this accounting of a “city”, Ubar may more accurately reflect a region and not a specific site. Dr Juris Zarins, the Chief Archaeologist for the TransArabia guides pointed out to him. Thomas noticed that the road had been intercepted by the sands of the Rub al-Khali. Other attempts in the area by British, Danish and American teams, who came from their Apartments New York and Miami apartments found tracks but left empty-handed. Even Lawrence of Arabia searched for an “Atlantis of the sands” but returned home with nothing. Had the desert’s scouring winds bleached the region clean of all traces of Ubar?
November 16th, 2012 in
WHAT was village life like in midland England during the last half of the 19th century? That question is bountifully answered by Miss Ashby in this biography of her father.
Tysoe is a large village composed, as she says, of ‘a trinity of hamlets’, lying under Edge Hill near the borders of Warwickshire, Oxfordshire and Northamptonshire. Joseph was the natural son of a local nobleman and a village girl, Elizabeth Ashby, whose family, formerly well-to-do, had fallen upon hard times. In her father’s Tysoe cottage, she reared the child, and here; the author says, a life of great poverty was lived. ‘The family was largely supported upon eighteen pence for each person from the parish. Thirty years earlier the Poor Law Corn missioners had decided that relief must be made painful and even disgraceful, and the Poor Law had been horribly successful in bringing this about.’ Hardships notwithstanding, Joseph and his younger, legitimate, step-brother and sister were not unhappy, for their mother was of a character to endow them ethically if not materially. Miss Ashby, in her account of her father’s early years, recreates the atmosphere of love and kindness that prevailed in their cottage and contrasted with the harsher realities and cruelties of life in the village outside.
Too often, for want of an alternative, village chronicles of the time are based on the muniments of church and manor, reflecting exclusively the administrators’ point of view. In this book the balance is redressed. Whatever the intention of landowners and vicars may have been it shows them through the eyes of an unjustly submerged class to whom they appeared as oppressors smothering independence, withholding traditional rights and financial compensation for loss of common land. By merely recording the small tyrannies that marked their dealings with the poor, Miss Ashby makes plain her distinguished father’s courage when at the start of what proved to be a long life spent in the public service he became the champion of a village in distress. She describes from her own memories and local records his gradual rise to responsibility and authority, his career as a lay preacher and as a writer and his family life at home. Such a record is an essential and valuable contribution to English rural history.
To me, and no doubt to other readers who know the region intimately, it has a special appeal for the light it throws on the period background of local affairs and familiar scenes and for the simple tales the author includes of childish days spent in cottage, field and covert, or in longer sorties on foot or by carrier’s cart to Banbury, the nearest market town—all in the measured rhythm of farming, church- and chapel-going, and family relationships peculiar to the shires.
CITY OF LINGERING SPLENDOUR
THE author’s sub-title—`A Frank Account of Old Peking’s Exotic Pleasures’—accurately foreshadows the substance of his book. He is obsessed and enraptured by the old city at its zenith towards the end of the last century in the days of the Empress Dowager, upon every remaining vestige of which he seizes and gloats. The frankness of his revelation of indigenous and exotic pleasures is applied to such grosser delights as opium smoking and patronage of the euphemistically named ‘Flower Houses’ and their willowy occupants for which Peking was famous. Among other traditional influences to which he eagerly responded were Taoist and Buddhist philosophies and their scholarly adherents. Such spheres and moods underlie the account he gives of ‘the joyful years’ he spent as a young man in Peking before the second world war, ‘when many of the ancient traditions still flourished, adding rich undertones and overtones to the gorgeous colours of imperial architecture’. Though he feels that followers of the present regime will not thank him for his eulogy of a period extinguished by the coming of the `Red Dawn’, there are still, he believes, Pekingese who silently share his ‘incurable nostalgia’ for a vanished and gracious way of life.
I have read better and more consistent books on imperial Peking, in which authors have concentrated more closely on the old city’s character and effluence. Mr Blofeld’s has its charms. But its vacillation—between spiritual and historic values on the one hand, and the flightier and shadier sides of his own Peking pleasures on the other—seems to me to defeat his purpose and deprive the reader of the desire he wakens in them for a long last look at Peking as she really was before the red revolution.
November 14th, 2012 in