Botched castle restoration is deemed a 'heritage massacre'

By Arden Dier

Published March 10, 2016
Newser

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Matrera Castle (Hispania Nostra)

Remember the botched “restoration” of Spanish fresco Ecce Homo back in 2012? Well, th…

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This design features a restaurant built in a canyon cliff face

Published March 10, 2016
FoxNews.com

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Could you enjoy a meal dining high above a rocky canyon? (Tall Arquitectos)

A new restaurant concept could take food to terrifying new he…

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Weird natural wonders you won’t believe are real

Published January 25, 2016

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Conde Nast/Newscom

From Mexico’s Cave of Crystals to waves frozen in time, these natural formations will make you look twice.

1. The C…

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9 things no one ever tells you about climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro

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Published March 09, 2016
FoxNews.com

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Mt. Kilimanjaro is a climb of 19,340 feet through all kinds of terrain and vastly fluctuating temperatures. (Reuters)

W…

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Why Iceland is on everyone’s travel radar this year

By Janeen Christoff

Published February 03, 2016

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Northern lights in Iceland. (Visit Iceland)

From budget travel to luxury travel, Iceland can’t seem to escape anyone’s list…

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Botched castle restoration is deemed a ‘heritage massacre’

Botched castle restoration is deemed a ‘heritage massacre’

By Arden Dier Published March 10, 2016 Newser Facebook25 Twitter0 livefyre28 Email Print Matrera Castle (Hispania Nostra) Remember the botched “restoration” of Spanish fresco Ecce Homo back in 2012? Well, this might top it. Having stood for more than 1,000 years, Matrera Castle in Cadiz was looking a bit worse for wear when officials decided to restore the National Monument three years ago. Now, people around the world are wishing they’d left the crumbling building alone. The result is a brand new structure with the walls of the 9th-century castle appearing almost as ivy climbing its walls. “They’ve got builders in rather than restorers and, like we say round here, they’ve cocked it up,” a local man tells Spain’s La Sexta, per the Guardian. “What the hell have they done to Matrera Castle in Cadiz?” a woman adds on Twitter. “And we thought Ecce Homo was bad!” A Spanish cultural heritage group says the restoration is “absolutely terrible” and a “heritage massacre,” per the Independent. But the architect behind the restoration says it’s really not that bad. The goal was “to structurally consolidate those elements that were at risk; to differentiate new additions from the original structure, thus avoiding the imitative reconstructions that are prohibited by law; and to recover the volume, texture and tonality that the tower would originally have had,” he says. As for those less-than-flattering comments, “opinions are always welcome and constructive criticism and debate are always enriching,” he says. “But I do think that some basic, accurate information can help avoid some of the prejudices that spring from a simple image.” (This Scottish castle could be washed away.) This article originally appeared on Newser: Castle Restoration Called a ‘Heritage...

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This design features a restaurant built in a canyon cliff face

This design features a restaurant built in a canyon cliff face

Published March 10, 2016 FoxNews.com Facebook238 Twitter0 livefyre19 Email Print Could you enjoy a meal dining high above a rocky canyon? (Tall Arquitectos) A new restaurant concept could take food to terrifying new heights. Copper Canyon Cocktail Bar designed by Mexico City firm Tall Arquitectos is perched high on a cliff overlooking Basaseachic Falls, the second highest waterfall in Mexico at 807 feet. Adventurous guests could rock climb up to the restaurant and rappel down after a thrilling meal. The first floor of the two-story building, which would be built into the rocky cliff face, features a restaurant and bar area on one side, with tables positioned strategically around the center. The middle of the floor will be glass, affording guests a bird’s eye view of the stunning canyon below. (Tall Arquitectos) Upstairs, the space boasts an observation deck with chairs, tables and lounge couches. Guests to the falls can even take an after dinner dip in the swimming pool. (Tall Arquitectos) (Tall Arquitectos) For now the bar at Copper Canyon is just a design but it’s not the first cliffside dwelling to strike fear in the hearts of the acrophobic everywhere. Last summer designers at Open Platform for Architecture created a stunning house nestled into a rocky cliff made of wood, glass, and concrete. An even bolder design simply called “Cliff House” featured a house that appearssuspended high above the ocean below. But if you’re looking for stunning space to grab a drink now, check out more stunning contemporary designs from Tall...

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Weird natural wonders you won’t believe are real

Weird natural wonders you won’t believe are real

Published January 25, 2016 Facebook160 Twitter0 Email Print Conde Nast/Newscom Next From Mexico’s Cave of Crystals to waves frozen in time, these natural formations will make you look twice. 1. The Cave of Crystals Conde Nast/Newscom Mexico Mother Nature hid the largest crystals in the world nearly 1,000 feet below Naica Mountain, in the northwest region of Chihuahua, Mexico. The hidden caves were drained in 1975 but miners only unearthed these milky-white selenite crystals—spires of gypsum as long as flagpoles—in 2000. Though they may look icy, the mega crystals are forged in extreme heat, up to 122 degrees Fahrenheit and were developed in mineral-rich water over a period of 500,000 years. Researchers can only enter the cave for short periods of time, and there are plans to re-flood it to preserve the crystals. 2. The Wave Conde Nast/Newscom Utah and Arizona This awe-inspiring rock wave in shades of ochre and crimson unfolds through the Paria Canyon–Vermilion Cliffs Wilderness on the border of Utah and Arizona. First water, then wind eroded the Navajo sandstone, revealing layers of sand that blew through the area during the Jurassic period. Access to “the wave” is heavily restricted; the Bureau of Land Management hands out only 20 permits to the Coyote Buttes region a day. 3. Fingal’s Cave Conde Nast/GMS Photography Scotland Reminiscent of Giant’s Causeway in Northern Ireland, and just across the sea in Scotland’s Inner Hebrides, Fingal’s Cave on the island of Staffa boasts the same hexagonal basalt columns, but houses them in a cathedral-like sea cave with shimmering turquoise water. Not convinced Fingal’s Cave is superior? German composer Mendelssohn wrote an overture inspired by the acoustics he heard on his visit. 4. Wave Rock Nigel Killeen Australia Like a 46-foot-high cresting wave that’s never going to break, this odd rock formation in Hyden Wildlife Park is a popular photo stop on trips to western Australia. (Travelers tend to assume the surfer pose for pictures.) The wave was formed by the erosion of softer material at the bottom of the ancient granite dome, and the vertical stripes are the result of rain washing chemicals down its face. 5. Snow Rollers Conde Nast/Newscom USA Like a cross between tumbleweed, a hay bale and a doughnut, this natural phenomenon is rarely witnessed; it requires very specific snow conditions and wind speed. But when all the boxes are ticked, as they were this January in Ohio (pictured), the wind rolls an ever-growing snowball and then blows out its middle, creating this bizarre sight. See more weird natural wonders at Conde Nast Traveler More from Conde Nast Traveler Crazy Restaurants in Extreme Locations 10 Things Not to Do in Paris Why Does Airline Food taste So Bad? The Answer Might Surprise...

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9 things no one ever tells you about climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro

9 things no one ever tells you about climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro

By Jo Piazza Published March 09, 2016 FoxNews.com Facebook44 Twitter0 livefyre9 Email Print Mt. Kilimanjaro is a climb of 19,340 feet through all kinds of terrain and vastly fluctuating temperatures. (Reuters) When my husband-to-be asked what I wanted to do for our honeymoon, I was stumped. I’m a travel editor. I’d traveled all over the world. We’d met in the Galapagos. How do you top that? Do you even try? We both love adventure and the outdoors, and we wanted a once-in-a-lifetime trip that would leave us with a sense of accomplishment, not just a tan. Then one night it hit me: “We’ll climb a mountain!” What better way to start a marriage than by scaling a high peak together? How symbolic. I paused and added, “What mountain can we climb without a lot of training or ropes?” Related Image Expand / Contract Massive fluctuations in temperature demand wool hats and athletic shorts. (Nick Aster) There are plenty of mountains where you can do that in the U.S.; Colorado alone is filled with them. But this was our honeymoon, and we wanted to get away, far away, to a land without cell service. All the way to Tanzania. Mt. Kilimanjaro, the tallest and most recognizable mountain in Africa, fit the bill. It takes hikers through five different ecosystems – from rainforest to alpine desert to arctic snowcap – and climbing 19,340 feet to the top is one of the most empowering adventures you can experience without serious training. About 35,000 people begin the climb each year. How many reach the summit is an elusive statistic. Related Image Expand / Contract Marching into the alpine desert. (Nick Aster) We hooked up with the adventure travel company Intrepid, because it has a wide variety of dates for different climbs and a good track record for getting people to the top. “Kili” climbs take anywhere from five to nine days, depending on your route and how much time you want to take to acclimate to the altitude. All tourists must register at the base and climb with a licensed guide. And at a cost of several thousand dollars, this isn’t something you do on a whim. This is one for the bucket list. I researched the climb before we left, but there are things I know now that I wish I’d known before I got there. They would have made the climb easier, more enjoyable and less uncomfortable. 1. Kilimanjaro is hard work. The literature describes it as a walk, but just because you don’t need special equipment doesn’t mean it’s easy. Parts of the trail are very steep and feel like they go on forever. There are sections filled with 2-foot-high boulders that feel like a StairMaster...

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Why Iceland is on everyone’s travel radar this year

Why Iceland is on everyone’s travel radar this year

By Janeen Christoff Published February 03, 2016 Facebook677 Twitter0 Email Print Northern lights in Iceland. (Visit Iceland) From budget travel to luxury travel, Iceland can’t seem to escape anyone’s list of the best of travel this year. Luxury Travel Guide chose Iceland its number-one destination for travel this year. The country topped Budget Traveler’s list of Where to Go 2016. Women’s lifestyle website Refinery29 said Iceland was one of the places every woman should go this year. NatGeo staffers picked it, saying that it is one of the only places on earth where the “highlight of your trip (the northern lights) depends on factors such as solar wind conditions and space storms.” Praise has been heaped upon the tiny island nation with a population around 350,000 people. And for good reason. Iceland has something for everyone in this exotic, ice-capped paradise. Movie buffs will thrill at the sight of filming locations for “Star Wars: The Force Awakens.” Adventure enthusiasts will love glacier climbing and those looking to get a glimpse of the elusive northern lights have a good chance in Iceland during the winter months. The country is enjoying a boom that is driven by increased tourism investment. There is more airlift, providing travelers around the world with more connectivity to Reykjavik. Hotels are springing up around the country – not just in the capital – and tour operators are creating new itineraries – and more options – that include Iceland. More Airlift Airlift received a major boost with the entry of low-cost airline Wow in the international market. The company took over operations of Iceland Express in 2012 and, in 2014, it had already flown 1 million passengers. The company began serving passengers in the U.S. last year and launched extremely low-cost fares to Iceland from a variety of destinations on the East Coast. Now, in 2016, the company will expand to offer direct connectivity between Reykjavik and the U.S. West Coast this summer. Influx of Hotels The number of overnight stays in the country has also risen. Iceland saw a 36 percent increase from December 2014 to December 2015 – and 89 percent of those overnight stays booked by foreign tourists were in hotel rooms, rather than other forms of rental accommodation. Perhaps this is what is leading to Iceland’s recent hotel boom. New hotels are popping up around the country. Iceland will be the home of a new Marriott Edition hotel, scheduled to open in 2018 and the new Canopy brand from Hilton will open a property in the country later this year. In 2015, Iceland welcomed a crop of new properties around the country. Mengi Kjarnholt in South Iceland is akin to a B&B. It is...

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Terrifying zipline takes you over live crocodiles

Terrifying zipline takes you over live crocodiles

Published March 08, 2016 FoxNews.com Facebook535 Twitter0 livefyre3 Email Print Soar over gators and crocs on Crocodile Crossing. (St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park) Looking to take a real walk on the wild side? If the average zoo isn’t thrilling enough, St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park in eastern Florida boasts a heart-pumping attraction that allows nature lovers to get up close and personal with real wild reptiles—alligators, crocodiles, and gharials (fish-eating crocs), oh my! Related Image Expand / Contract Don’t look down. (St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park) Crocodile Crossing is a zipline attraction that spans 11 different lines over seven acres allowing visitors a unique way to take in the park’s exotic species. In addition to viewing tropical birds and lemurs at eye level—the ropes are nearly 60 feet high—adventurers glide right over numerous pits teeming with live crocodiles and alligators. Though the zipline is a relatively new draw to the park, the St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park has been showcasing Florida’s reptiles and wildlife to the public since opening in 1893. Today guests can view living specimens of all 24 currently recognized species of crocodiles—the only facility in the world to house them all. The park is home to dozens of other species and visitors can take in educational show or learn more about global conservation efforts. Related Image Expand / Contract Clocking in at 1,250 pounds and stretching over 15 feet, Maximo, a saltwater crocodile, is the park’s largest animal. (St. Augustine Alligator Farm Zoological Park) But there’s little doubt that Crocodile Crossing is the park’s most unique—and sometimes scary—exhibit, according to previous visitors. Attempting all 11 lines over the full Crocodile Crossing will set you back $67 but if you don’t want to spend too much time hovering above snapping alligator jaws, the park offers a 5-line route for $37. Check out more thrilling activities to do in St....

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Yosemite Park forced to change names of iconic attractions

Yosemite Park forced to change names of iconic attractions

Published March 01, 2016 Associated Press Facebook104 Twitter0 livefyre12 Email Print On Tuesday, the historic Ahwahnee Hotel will become the Majestic Yosemite Hotel and Curry Village campground will be named Half Dome Village. (AP) Yosemite National Park is set to start showing the new names for some of park’s most iconic attractions after no settlement was reached to a bitter legal dispute. As of Tuesday, the historic Ahwahnee Hotel will become the Majestic Yosemite Hotel and Curry Village campground will be named Half Dome Village. Badger Pass Ski Resort will now be Yosemite Ski and Snowboard Area. The park service announced last year that it would change the names of Curry Village, the Ahwahnee Hotel, Badger Pass Ski Resort and many other attractions after failing to reach agreement with the company that says it owns the trademarks to those attractions. The company, Delaware North, has served as the park’s concessionaire since 1993, running numerous park operations until losing the contract to Aramark, which is scheduled to take over at midnight. Delaware North and the Park Service have been unable to agree on the value of the trademarks and the Buffalo, New York-based company filed a breach-of-contract lawsuit. The dispute prompted the Park Service to announce the name changes. Starting at midnight, Park Service employees will begin placing temporary signs over road signs directing visitors to the attractions while Aramark will be responsible for changing the names of the attractions. Park Service spokesman Scott Gediman said temporary signs are being used in the hope that a settlement will be reached with Delaware North. An historic sign welcoming visitors to the park’s Ahwahnee Hotel was stolen sometime Saturday night or Sunday morning, Gediman said. “It’s part of the park’s historic fabric,” Gediman said. “And we are taking this seriously.” The Ahwahnee Hotel is to be renamed the Majestic Yosemite Hotel. Delaware North spokesman Glen White said Park Service officials turned down the company’s offer to let the park continue using the trademark names until the legal dispute was resolved. Gediman said the Park Service turned down the offer made Friday because that would “acknowledge they own the names.” Mark Bartholomew, a University at Buffalo law professor who teaches trademark law, says Delaware North may also want to preserve the value of the names at issue. The iconic names will lose value if they are no longer used, he said. “I think all sides will ultimately come to an agreement after some more posturing,” Bartholomew said. Court filing show the Park Service valuing the trademarks at $3.5 million and Delaware North puts their worth at $51...

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