Cookies' Guide https://spidcast.com Delightfully Delicious Tue, 01 May 2018 11:56:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=4.9.3 These Fanciful Microbes Need Your Colouring Skills https://spidcast.com/these-fanciful-microbes-need-your-colouring-skills/ Mon, 18 Dec 2017 09:48:21 +0000 https://spidcast.com/?p=557 A vast microscopic world writhes around you. Now a colouring book lets you bring wee beasts and beauties to life. Jennifer Delaney isn’t a scientific illustrator by training. She’s a math teacher for Donegal Youthreach in Ireland, working with students who have dropped out of school. She never formally studied art, she’s never been interested in colouring, and her last science class was well over a decade ago. But around two years ago, Delaney decided she wanted to publish a science-themed colouring book.

“Whenever I was growing up, I was torn between science and art,” she says. “I didn’t really realize that I could marry the two together.”

Years ago, she earned a degree in marine biology from the National University of Ireland Galway. “I still drew plenty at college,” she says. “One of my lecturers said, ‘if you would have spent as much time on your actual written work as your drawing you would do grand.’”

But instead of leaving one her passions behind, she’s managed to combine them with the publication of her microbe colouring book for adults this month. Fifty different critters from all kingdoms of life grace the pages of Life Under the Lens. Delaney has given each a scientifically accurate outline, but also added in her own artistic embellishments and detailed patterns—concentric circles swirl over a daphnia’s developing embryo, waves crash through the ridge of a radiolarian, and spots dance across the delicate frame of a foraminifera.

Her hope is that the book will inspire people of all ages to love the hidden world all around and within us. And while her artistic subjects may be small, that ambition is pretty grand.

How did this book come to be?

I started over two years ago, before the adult colouring craze really took off. When I was researching colouring books, most were either city guides or children’s colouring books. So I just started thinking of different possibilities. The idea of basing it on microscopic images actually came from social media. Both me and my husband are on Twitter. And my husband follows a feed about science that often posts microscopic images. I just decided, that’s it. I’m doing microscopic stuff.

Could you tell me a bit about the process of making the book?

It took me a very long time. I have a job and four children now. I made it through a pregnancy while working on the book. I drew in my spare time at night after my children went to bed, and didn’t go near the TV for a long time. When I started actually drawing, I wondered, “Can I do this? Can I actually make something that looks nice?” Colouring book art is tidy and I’m not necessarily a tidy drawer. A line would go wrong with my pen and I would have to redo the whole image. I used layout paper, which is transparent. You can draw out a sketch and then you put the next layer on top. That way I can draw a tidier outline.

Did you draw while looking at your subjects with a microscope?

I would have loved looking at things down a microscope, but I didn’t have access. The nearest university would be maybe an hour and a half away in Belfast. So a lot of the images I used were from the Internet. I’d always have a couple of them open so that my finished image was not exactly like anybody else’s. I had to make each of them my own.

These pictures are very different from most scientific illustrations, with lots of different patterns throughout each organism. How did you decide on the style of your work?

After I started creating the book, I contacted Millie Marotta [a UK artist who draws intricate nature-based illustrations]. I think she’s brilliant. She got back to me and wrote lovely words. She was very encouraging. She says, “Don’t look at anything else. If you do, your will just blend in with everybody else’s work. Develop your own style.” Granted, I already had some idea of what was out there at that stage. But when I got stuck, [instead of looking online] I tended to just flap back over my drawings [for inspiration]. You’ll find I use a lot of circles, a lot of stripes. The patterning is often related to the organism.

Everything I did brought me back to Ernst Haeckel [the well-known German naturalist and biologist known for his intricate scientific illustrations]. But when you look at the likes of his art, it’s realistic, but it’s also fanciful. I thought, “He got away with that, so I might get away with it, too.”

Having never done coloring books before, what was the most challenging aspect of making this book?

Putting it all together on a computer—the technical part. It was much more idyllic to sit and draw, even into the wee hours of the night, than to sit in front of a computer. I’m okay with computers, but I did this all on the cheap and I was often doing it with a baby in my arms. Everything I used was free software. So I had to do a lot of learning, a lot of YouTube, a lot of figuring out what everything was.

Who do you hope this book reaches?

The people I really would like to be looking at it are people who have never seen these things before. There are people who have never looked under a microscope and might never look under a microscope. I want to convert people to science and help them learn to appreciate these organisms.

I’m not really into “Oh, save the tiger because it’s beautiful.” Look at the beauty that’s in a wee flea. It’s gorgeous and fascinating. If people cared a little bit more about things that weren’t so cute, we’d be all living on a better planet.

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5 Key Factors for Painting Skies and Clouds https://spidcast.com/5-key-factors-for-painting-skies-and-clouds/ Mon, 18 Dec 2017 09:37:33 +0000 https://spidcast.com/?p=556 They are multifaceted and carry the hum of several colors. The sky is rarely blue–or rarely just blue (except for a few lucky places in the world!). As many of us transition to landscape painting during the summer season, we can sometimes make assumptions and take certain things for granted like the color of sky or clouds, perhaps because we may see our subjects primarily in photographs, or maybe because habits form over the winter and we forget what a variety of color lives in the landscape.

When it comes time for me to paint with an aerial perspective.This may be an extreme example, but for me his work demonstrates an awareness of the prevalence of color, especially in the sky. Thinking of his pointillist dots helps me remember that color is everywhere. In the spirit of this, I pulled together a few tips on painting the sky to help stave off the “blue syndrome.”

Build up the sky with various tints and tones, and not just blue ones. Really look at the sky and see what colors are there. A rainy day can often have gray, green, and even yellow tinges to it. A sunset is often much darker than I usually paint it the first time, and can contain all kinds of deep reds, pinks, yellows, and purples.

Don’t paint the brightness of the sky alone—paint the shadows in it to give a sense of space and depth. The more moisture in the air, the more reflections—and, as a result, the more color—you will find. Even when the sky is clear there is a sense of depth perception to our field of vision. In every case, question how that occurs and try to accentuate it.

Clouds reflect the light in the sky. Even on a picture perfect day, when clouds look white and the sky looks blue, don’t reach for blue and white alone. They can make a painting look flat and clichéd. Experiment with the colors you perceive in reflections and the light to add depth and greater realism.

Adding texture to the painting surface can give an entirely different sense of atmosphere than you can get by manipulating paint color. Experiment with thick and thin strokes of paint and new mediums for surprising results.

The sky tends to lighten toward the horizon. Be mindful of this as you are painting because this alone can help create a more convincing landscape painting.

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Each of These Insect Portraits Is Made From More Than 8,000 Images https://spidcast.com/each-of-these-insect-portraits-is-made-from-more-than-8000-images/ Mon, 18 Dec 2017 09:25:18 +0000 https://spidcast.com/?p=523 With a mastery of macro, Levon Biss captures every hair and dimple on insects’ vibrant bodies. These spectacular images have modest roots: a photographer’s son finding bugs in the garden. Levon Biss is known for his breathtaking portraits, from filmmaker Quentin Tarantino to Olympic track star Jessica Ennis-Hill. But his work keeps him travelling, so the London-based photographer was in search of a compact side project that he could dip in and out of during his short stints home.

His son’s insect collection proved the perfect subject. “And it all went from there, really,” says Biss. “I didn’t have a big master plan to create this project, it was something that happened quite organically.”

Attracted to the technical aspects of photography, the bug portraits allowed Biss to dabble in the challenging macro world, imaging the most minute details of his already tiny models. Using a microscope lens mounted to his camera, he developed a technique to capture every dimple on their vibrantly coloured bodies.

Biss took several of his images to staff at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History in hopes of tapping into its collections of nearly seven million insect specimens.

“He was explaining what he was doing,” recalls James Hogan, an entomologist at the museum. “And then he just kept zooming in on the images.” As Hogan saw a ground beetle, baby bush cricket and a fly in progressively greater detail, he was floored. “Normally you zoom in on an image and it becomes pixelated quite quickly,” he says. But Biss’ images captured every hair on the bugs’ tiny legs.

Two years and countless hours of work later, Biss’ photographs were featured in “Microsculpture,” an eight-month exhibition that opened at the museum in May 2016. The collection included 24 large-scale prints paired with the actual specimens that Biss and Hogan carefully selected from the drawers where they are preserved behind the scenes.

The images highlight details in nature that are easy to overlook. “You would think perhaps that the surface of an insect would be really smooth,” Hogan says. “But when you’re really zoomed in, it’s not at all. There’s a whole layer of complexity there that’s not usually apparent.”

These minute curves, depressions and textures most likely have a purpose. The microscopic texture of shark skin, for example, reduces friction as they swim, helping them glide faster through the water. But determining the reason for these structures in the tiny world of bugs has largely eluded scientists, Hogan explains. By making these mysterious structures larger than life, Biss could perhaps inspire future entomologists to study them.

To capture these micro sculptures, Biss attaches a microscope lens to the front of his camera, which allows him to magnify the bugs 10 times their normal size. But looking through such magnification strictly limits his depth of field. This means that only a small fraction of the image can be in focus at any given time.

Biss overcomes this problem by mounting the whole camera to a contraption that allows him to adjust its distance away from the bug, and his focal point, by 10 micron intervals. To put that into perspective, a hair on a human’s head is roughly 75 microns thick, Biss explains. So photographing a single hair would take about seven shots. Hundreds of images are required to create a single sharp image of each section of the bug.

Even so, this was only part of the process. Biss was determined to not lose his own artistic style while photographing his tiny subjects. “I like to sculpt my images with light,” he says. But applying this style to bugs, some of which are less than an inch tall, was a challenge. “You’ve got no real control over the light,” Biss explains, “the way it falls on the insect.”

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The 5 Most Magical Christmas Destination https://spidcast.com/the-5-most-magical-christmas-destinations/ Mon, 18 Dec 2017 09:18:14 +0000 https://spidcast.com/?p=517 It’s that magical time of the year when you’re dreaming of spending Christmas in a town that seems to have stepped out of the pages of a children’s storybook.

Whether you want to soak up the atmosphere of Germany’s typical Christmas markets, meet Santa’s elves or ride the legendary Polar Express to the North Pole, here are The 5 Most Magical Christmas Destinations On The Planet, where you can almost guarantee your dream Christmas will take place…

1|DURANGO, COLORADO

This mountain town serves up a magical old-fashioned holiday with stunning landscapes, great ski slopes, hot springs, Western saloons, festive music and the legendary Polar Express. Pulled by a steam locomotive, the train takes you on a ride to visit Santa Claus at the North Pole, with melodic Christmas carols and hot chocolate…

2|FAIRBANKS, ALASKA

Oh, the perfect white Christmas with a thick fresh coat of snow on the ground, Santa knee-deep in snow and Christmas trees transformed in snow ghosts… All the excuses you need to cozy up to a mug of hot chocolate around a fireplace. Alaska is in full winter swing, with wide open spaces covered with snow, ice playgrounds, holiday parades and wonderful places to drive around and take in the sights…

3|CASTLETON, ENGLAND

 

With its magnificent location and its cluster of old stone cottages and hilltop castle, Castleton is one of Britain’s most appealing villages. At Christmas, it takes on a magical appeal with pretty lights, decorations, beautiful Christmas trees and candlelight carolers. If you’re looking for a charming Christmas in the countryside, then here it is!

4|KOBE, JAPAN

In Asia, it can be hard to get a true taste of holiday cheer. However, there is a city in Japan that will satisfy your Christmas light craving… Every year, Kobe hosts a breathtaking event called the Kobe Luminarie. This fabulous light festival symbolizes hope for citizens. It’s the most spectacular light show in Japan.

5|QUEBEC CITY, CANADA

Every year in December, Old Québec is transformed into a real Christmas village, with its cobblestone lanes covered with beautiful fluffy white snow, magical illuminations and stunning Christmas trees. Markets and concerts keep the streets buzzing, whilst mulled wine keeps you warm in this cold and wonderful winter…

6|ROTHENBURG OB DER TAUBER, GERMANY

 

Longs nights and shorter, colder days: if you want to get the best out of a German tradition, then a visit to Rothenburg’s Reiterlestmarkt is a must during the holidays. This cute 800-year-old town is one of the best-preserved medieval towns in Germany, and get transformed every year into a true winter’s fairytale.

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Reach Out and Touch This Virtual Reality Art Installation https://spidcast.com/reach-out-and-touch-this-virtual-reality-art-installation/ Mon, 18 Dec 2017 09:10:46 +0000 https://spidcast.com/?p=509 “The Sands,” currently on view at Essex Flowers, projects elaborate creations in a physically empty space.

There’s only so much space in a gallery to hold art, but one New York venue has figured out a clever way to get around this problem, reports Benjamin Sutton for Hyperallergic. For its latest show, the Chinatown gallery Essex Flowers is showcasing the work of 15 artists in a 400-square-foot space. How? Thanks to some virtual reality wizardry. Rather than having the works physically occupy the space, the exhibit, titled “The Sands,” lives entirely in the VR headsets that visitors don when they enter the exhibit.

The innovative solution allows the works on view to be rotated through an endless virtual space. Visitors can reach out and interact with, and even walk through, the curated displays. “The works in this show…simply share the same space and time in ways that are sometimes funny, sometimes poignant, and occasionally even discordant,” the gallery writes in a description of the exhibit.

The show’s name draws inspiration from the legendary Las Vegas hotel and casino of the same name, where Frank Sinatra and many other stars of the mid-20th century could often be found. Even though it was demolished more than 20 years ago, the casino lives on strongly in the American cultural memory today, serving as a shorthand for a golden era of Las Vegas in the 1950’s—full of ambition, glamour and arrogance.

“It was a place both physical and imaginary, where fantasies came true and where realities transformed into myth,” the gallery writes.

Essex Flowers isn’t the first artistic venue to make use of burgeoning virtual reality technology. Last year, The Dali Museum in Florida allowed visitors to literally step inside a surreal painting, while London’s Tate Modern museum plans to employ VR technology to simulate the early 20th-century Paris in an upcoming exhibit on the career of artist Amedeo Modigliani.

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6 Beautiful Cities in Europe https://spidcast.com/6-beautiful-cities-in-europe/ Mon, 18 Dec 2017 09:05:15 +0000 https://spidcast.com/?p=504 There’s so much more to Europe than London, Paris and Rome-and sometimes it’s the less popular locales that prove the most spectacular vacation spots of them all. Take the road less travelled and visit these hidden gems, which we’re celebrating as the 6 most underrated cities in Europe.

Split, Croatia

The city of Split, Croatia, will appeal to just about any traveller. It is known for fine dining, excellent shopping and loads of bars to choose from. The city is also home to the Diocletian’s Palace, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and formerly a retirement palace built for the Emperor Diocletian around the year 300 A.D. If that weren’t enough reason to book your trip to Split right now, then the captivating view of the sea from this coastal town will surely do the trick.

Vézelay, France

The city of love may be calling your name but before you book your ticket to Paris, you might want to consider Vézelay. Built back in the 11th century, this ancient city is known for its vineyards, and the famous church built for Mary Magdalene. Built on a hilltop, this town is nothing short of picturesque. Fine wine, inspiring architecture and beautiful landscapes ensure a most peaceful stay.

Gibraltar

Madrid and Barcelona may be among Spain’s most visited cities, but Gibraltar will inspire awe in even the most jaded traveller. Historically, Phoenicians were thought to be the first inhabitants of Gibraltar (around 950 B.C.), but new evidence suggests that Neanderthals were here as far back as 28,000 B.C. The Rock of Gibraltar, which borders Spain, is its only official landmark, but the densely populated city is so rich in its own unique culture and history that it never disappoints.

Ferrara, Italy

Rome isn’t the only Italian city with rich history, culture and architecture. Located in Northern Italy, Ferrara, a lesser-known and less frequently visited city, is the destination missing from your summer itinerary. Ancient walls-nearly 9 kilometres long-surround this city, which is filled with immense cathedrals and castles that date back to the 14th century. Every road and building are reminiscent of the era the city was constructed, garnering it a UNESCO World Heritage Site designation.

Basel, Switzerland

Bordering Germany and France, this multi-cultural, multi-lingual city is among Europe’s most unique. Boasting the most museums in Europe, it’s a culture-lover’s dream. It also happens to be peaceful and quiet with an absolutely serene atmosphere, making it the perfect getaway from everyday stressors.

Porto, Portugal

If the name of this city reminds you of wine, your head is in the right place: this is indeed the place where port wine originated. Built during Roman times, this beautiful port city’s architecture, landscapes and history will certainly impress. Soak in the beauty of this underrated city with a glass of the finest wine and you’ve got the recipe for a perfect vacation.

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7 Reasons to Visit Rio de Janeiro https://spidcast.com/7-reasons-to-visit-rio-de-janeiro/ Mon, 18 Dec 2017 08:54:08 +0000 https://spidcast.com/?p=490 Host to the 2016 Summer Olympics, Rio de Janeiro and its hot beaches, lush countryside and ancient culture have never looked more appealing. Pack a bathing suit and head south to explore Rio de Janeiro’s 7 most irresistible attractions.

1. Praia de Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro

One of Rio’s most celebrated beaches, Copacabana stretches from the Morro do Leme hill in the northeast to the Arpoador rocks in the southwest. It is a year-round tourist hub, famed for its incredible New Year’s Eve celebrations. Until the construction of a tunnel connecting the area with Botafogo in 1892, Copacabana was an unspoilt bay with picturesque dunes. The introduction of trams in the early 20th century made the area fashionable, and by the time the Copacabana Palace was built, the neighbourhood had more than 30,000 residents. Today, it is one of the most densely populated areas in the world.

2. Ipanema and Leblon, Rio de Janeiro

Urban Rio’s most beautiful, fashionable and secure beaches – Ipanema and its extension farther south, Leblon – offer a wealth of different beachside activities, from sunbathing to keeping in shape. Most tourists made their base at two of Rio’s wealthiest neighbourhoods located behind the beaches (also called Ipanema and Leblon), where chic boutiques and glamorous restaurants line the narrow streets. Although the city center is 9 miles (15 km) away, neighbouring Copacabana, as well as the Jardim Botanico, Corcovado and Gavea, are easily accessible from here.

3. Parque Nacional da Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro

This stunning park contains the lush Floresta da Tijuca, one of the world’s largest urban forests, which carpets the hills and coastal mountains that cut through the center of the city. It also features the dramatic Serra de Carioca (Carioca Mountains), the awe-inspiring monolith of Pedra de Gavea, and the Cristo Redentor statue, which looms over the city from the top of Corcovado. Home to countless species of plants, birds and mammals, as well as waterfalls and natural springs, this peaceful forest, which covers 15 sq miles, is a little piece of paradise.

4. Corcovado, Rio de Janeiro

The iconic statue of Cristo Redentor (Christ the Redeemer) watches over Rio de Janeiro from atop the 2,316-ft. high Corcovado, a mountain that derives its name from the Portuguese word corcova (hunchback), which reflects its shape. The winning design in a competition for a grand monument to represent the spirit of Rio de Janeiro, it was inaugurated in 1931 and has in its short lifetime come to symbolize Brazil. The journey to Christ’s feet – through the charming streets of Cosme Velho neighbourhood and the beautiful tropical Parque National da Tijuca, or up the mountainside on the little funicular – is as rewarding as the panorama from the summit.

5. Sugar Loaf Mountain, Rio de Janeiro

Rio is a city of magnificent views and none are more breathtaking than those from the top of 1,312-ft. high granite and quart Pao de Acucar (Sugar Loaf) that sits at the mouth of Guanabara Bay. The mountain’s sides are shrouded in remnants of the forest that once covered the whole of Rio de Janeiro and which still provide refuge for marmosets, tanagers and numerous birds. These are a common sight on the trails that run around the monolith’s summit. Come early in the day or right after it has rained for the clearest air and best views from both the Sugar Loaf and its equally impressive monolithic neighbor – Morro da Urca.

6. National Museum of Fine Arts, Rio de Janeiro

Housing the most comprehensive collection of Brazilian art in the country, the National Museum of Fine Arts was established in 1937 in the former Brazilian Academy of Fine Arts building. The architect responsible for the building, Adolfo Morales de Los Rios, was inspired by the Musee de Louvre in Paris, and the building echoes the French-inspired architecture that appears all over Rio de Janeiro. The museum’s collection comprises close to 20,000 pieces, including fine, decorative and popular art. The majority of works are Brazilian and date from the 17th to the 20th centuries. A small part of the collection is foreign and predominantly from Europe.

7. Mosteiro de Sao Bento, Rio de Janeiro

The Benedictines, the first religious order to firmly establish itself in Brazil, founded this magnificent hilltop monastery and church in 1590, just to the north of the city center. The church is dedicated to Our Lady of Montserrat, one of the black Madonnas of Europe, and boasts richly decorated interiors that date from the 18th century – the formative years of Brazilian Baroque. The elaborate interior of the church took almost 70 years to complete and was the life work of a series of artists, notably the Benedictine monk Frei Domingos da Conceição.

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Top 5 Things to Do in Munich https://spidcast.com/top-5-things-to-do-in-munich/ Mon, 18 Dec 2017 08:47:53 +0000 https://spidcast.com/?p=481 Steeped in history, and packed with museums, castles and seasonal festivities unlike anywhere else in the world, Munich is a city truly unlike any other. From Oktoberfest and Munich’s beer gardens, to the fairy tale-like Neuschwanstein castle, here are the top 10 things to do in Munich.

1. Neuschwanstein and Ludwig II

An idealized vision of a knight’s castle on the outside and a homage to Wagner’s operas on the inside, Neuschwanstein was Ludwig II’s most ambitious project. During the same period, he commissioned Linderhof and Herrenchiemsee, two castles in the French style. More than 50 million visitors have admired these fairy-tale castles since they were built by the shy and world-weary king. At Neuschwanstein, in particular, there seems to be no low season. A day trip toward Füssen in the Schwangau is an unforgettable experience, and one of the top things to do in Munich!

2. Oktoberfest

With more than six million visitors, over five million litres of beer, 200,000 pairs of pork sausages, and 100 spit-roasted oxen – Munich’s Oktoberfest is the largest folk fair in the world. At the foot of the Bavaria statue, a huge field, the There sienwiese (Wisen for short), is transformed into a fairground with beer tents operated by traditional breweries, rides, and a variety of vendors selling gingerbread hearts, roast chicken and fresh pretzels. For 16 days, visitors and locals, some in traditional costumes, indulge in Bavarian revelry.

3. Schloss Nymphenburg

To celebrate the birth of their son in 1664, the Elector Ferdinand Maria and his wife Henrietta Adelaide of Savoy commissioned Agostino Barelli to build a summer palace to the west of Munich. The wings and annex building were added from 1701 onward. The historic gardens to the rear of the palace beckon for a pleasant stroll. Over the course of 300 years, the original ornamental garden was expanded into a vast ensemble comprising a Baroque garden, a system of canals, and small pavilions scattered throughout the park.

4. Olympiapark

In preparation for the 1972 Olympic Games, a former airfield and parade grounds were transformed into an Olympic park. The park features landscaped hills, an artificial lake, a communications tower, and sports facilities. Designed by the firm of Behnisch & Partners, the elegant, airy ensemble derives its character chiefly from the transparent tensile roof designed by Frei Otto. Tent-shaped, it covers part of the stadium, the hall, and the pool, and is considered a masterpiece of modern architecture.

5. Marienplatz

Henry the Lion transformed Marienplatz into the centre of Munich – and it remains the heart of the city today. This is where the Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall) stands, major public transit lines meet, and locals and visitors alike stroll past street entertainers, or sit at the restaurant and cafe patios lining the square. A pedestrian zone begins at the western end of the square; the elegant WeinstraBe and TheatinerstraBe lead off from the north; toward the east are the Isartor and MaximilianstraBe, and to the south the Viktualienmarkt.

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5 Great Places to Go Walking in Scotland https://spidcast.com/5-great-places-to-go-walking-in-scotland/ Mon, 18 Dec 2017 08:39:57 +0000 https://spidcast.com/?p=471 Combining breathtaking scenery, one-of-a-kind art and science museums, and castles unlike anywhere else, Scotland is one of the most beautiful places on earth. Take a second to enjoy these gorgeous photos, and discover 5 stops you have to make on your next tour or sightseeing expedition through Scotland.

Loch Ness and the Great Glen

A geological rift split the land from coast to coast, once dividing Scotland in two. Glaciers deepened the trench and the result today is a long glen of steep-sided, wooded mountains and dark, mysterious lochs. Castles and forts abound, bearing witness to the Great Glen‘s strategic importance and enhancing its dramatic grandeur with intrigue and nostalgia. And, of course, there’s the legendary Loch Ness monster, elusive but irrepressible, and still attracting scientific interest – keep that camera to hand.

Edinburgh Castle

Dominating the city’s skyline as it has done for over 800 years, this castle is a national icon and, deservedly, the country’s most popular visitor attraction. Din Eidyn, “the stronghold of Eidyn”, from which Edinburgh takes its name, was the vital possession in Scotland’s wars. Varying roles as royal palace, barracks, prison and parliament have all helped shape this castle, home to the Scottish crown jewels and the fabled Stone of Destiny.

Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum

Scotland’s most visited collection is more popular than ever, since a 27.9 million pound refurbishment allowed even more of its fascinating collection of art and artifacts to be seen. Some 8,000 works of major international significance are displayed over three floors of gallery space. The diverse collection takes in worldwide cultures, gives a comprehensive view of European and Scottish art across the centuries, and provides insights into 20th-century Glasgow life. Contrasting displays in open spaces demonstrate Kelvingrove’s quirky sense of fun.

Isle of Skye

The product of violent geographical upheavals, the Isle of Skye is justly famed for its towering, ragged mountains and wild coastline. Add to these a colourful patchwork of crofts (farms), waterfalls, an exceptional whisky, a castle linked to the fairy world and the historical romance of Bonnie Prince Charlie, and you find on Skye all the ingredients that best symbolize the Highlands.

Glasgow Science Centre

This £75-million millennium project is a pure delight. The heart of the centre is the Science Mall, a glass-sided silver crescent with three floors of hands-on exhibits, demonstrations and special-effect theatres. Adjacent to this is the world’s only revolving tower and an IMAX cinema projecting gigantic 3D films.

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6 Top Tourist Attractions in Jamaica https://spidcast.com/6-top-tourist-attractions-in-jamaica/ Mon, 18 Dec 2017 08:32:54 +0000 https://spidcast.com/?p=461 Jamaica boasts a treasure trove of natural jewels and a colorful African vibe. Golden beaches, emerald mountains, turquoise seas, cascades, coral reefs, rainforests, rivers, and mineral springs are just some of the island’s enviable assets. Not surprisingly nature lovers will find plenty of things to see and do, from hiking and birding in the jungle to horseback riding along the beach and diving colorful coral reefs. Jamaica is also renowned for its many historic plantations where visitors can sample tropical fruits and tour the grand great houses.

Negril Beach

Also known as Seven Mile Beach, Negril Beach is one of Jamaica’s most beautiful stretches of white sand and aqua sea. The beach extends from Bloody Bay to Long Bay and the Negril Cliffs south of town. Tucked within groves of coconut palms, many resorts and restaurants fringe the shore here. Water sports abound, and snorkelers will find schools of fish swimming in the clear waters. Be prepared for persistent hawkers prowling the beach.

Doctor’s Cave Beach, Montego Bay

One of the best beaches in Montego Bay, Doctor’s Cave Beach is an alluring strip of white sand fringed by clear waters that helped shape the fate of Montego Bay. In the early 1920’s a famous British osteopath declared that the water had curative powers after swimming here, a claim which began to lure visitors from around the world. Hotels sprouted and the area became a popular tourist destination. The cave for which the beach is named was destroyed by a hurricane in 1932, but the beach is as popular as ever and is often crowded with cruise ship passengers.

Rose Hall Great House, Montego Bay

Built in 1770, Rose Hall is a restored plantation house with beautiful ocean views. Legendary Annie Palmer (the White Witch) ruled here with cruelty and met a violent death. Today her home is adorned with period furniture and visitors can choose between a day tour or a spooky candlelit evening tour topped off with tales of ghost sightings.

Falmouth

Surrounded by sugar estates and cattle land, Falmouth is one of the Caribbean’s best-preserved Georgian towns. Once a leading port, the town offers excellent examples of 19th-century Georgian architecture including a faithful restoration of the courthouse. Greenwood Great House is a major tourist attraction in the area. Built in 1790 by Richard Barrett, a relative of poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning, the Great House is now a museum with period furniture and a rare collection of musical instruments and Wedgwood china.

Good Hope Estate, built in 1755, was an old-established coconut and sugar plantation. The well-preserved Great House contains period furniture, the first 18th century Caribbean hot water bath, old slave quarters, and the sugar mill with its waterwheel. Half Moon Beach is a peaceful crescent of sand with coral reefs just offshore. East of Falmouth is the Luminous Lagoon, named for its eerie marine phosphorescence.

Martha Brae River

Rafting the Martha Brae is one of Jamaica’s most popular tourist attractions. At Martha Brae Rafter’s Village guests can glide down a picturesque stretch of the river on bamboo rafts poled by local guides. This relaxing trip is a great way to soak up some of the tropical scenery and many guides will share information about the flora and fauna.

Kingston

At the foot of the Blue Mountains, Jamaica’s busy capital city offers a cosmopolitan contrast to the island’s relaxed pace. Kingston can be intimidating, but visitors can view some of the town’s attractions on organized tours. The Bob Marley Museum, at the reggae superstar’s former home, is Kingston’s most-visited attraction and the site of the Tuff Gong recording studio. Highlights are Marley’s bedroom with his star-shaped guitar by the bed. Look for the bullet holes in the rear wall, evidence of an assassination attempt.

Tours will also take travellers to explore mansions like historic Devon House, as well as museums such as the National Gallery, and the Natural History Museum, Jamaica’s oldest museum, with preserved specimens of the island’s plants and animals. Also in town, the Institute of Jamaica’s museums cover a wide range of the country’s history from prehistoric to modern times, Hope Gardens is the largest botanical park in the West Indies, and National Heroes Park features statues of leading players of Jamaican history and independence. At the tip of the peninsula surrounding Kingston Harbour lies the community of Port Royal, the focus of British fortification in the late 17th century.

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