Sunday, July 13, 2008

Audience Participation

"Journeys" is on a bit of a hiatus at the moment as I suffer through a summer of horrible classes in New York City. It's great to be back home and see everyone, but my schedule is starting to really wear me down. Mainly what's getting me through all of the rote memorization of useless facts are my thoughts of where I'll get to go next year, during my last year in Europe (for now).

...And that's where you come in. I am holding an open contest for suggestions on where I should go next year. There are two separate categories - inside Europe and outside of Europe - and whoever makes the most unique suggestion *that I actually use* will get a souvenir from that destination that I will personally pick out and send to you (or deliver in person if I happen to be in your area).

If you've been following my blog, you know I've already seen the usual stuff and I'm looking for off-the-beaten-path kinds of quirky suggestions - i.e. don't bother suggesting the Eiffel Tower or the Colosseum. If you know of off-the-wall festivals or great cheese caves in the middle of nowhere, bring them on.

To get you started, here's a map of where I've been already:

Enter by leaving your suggestion in the comments box below, or on my wall on Facebook, or by sending an email to me at kim at kimberlystanford dot com. Don't forget to leave some kind of contact information so I can get in touch with you if you win. You can enter as many times as you like. Entries to be judged by me, with no particular criteria except my own opinions. Results will be posted here at the end of the summer.

Looking forward to your creative suggestions!!


Ying Zhu said...

How fun! Great idea Kim.

My 1st suggestion:

Fiordland New Zealand-Milford Sound-Doubtful Sound: a dozen grand fjords that make up majestic Fiordland National Park on the South Island’s southwestern coast.

Milford Sound: runs 15 kilometres inland from the Tasman Sea. The 10-mile-long inlet is hemmed in by sheer granite cliffs rising up to 4,000 feet, with waterfalls cascading from the mountain ridges. Among the peaks are The Elephant at 1,517 m (4,977 ft), said to resemble an elephant's head,[5] and Lion Mountain, 1,302 m (4,271 ft), in the shape of a crouching lion. Lush rain forests cling precariously to these cliffs, playful bottlenose dolphins, fur seals, and gulls call its waters home, and crested penguins nest here in October and November before leaving for Antarctica. Mitre Peak is the centerpiece, a 5,560-foot pinnacle whose reflection in the mirror-calm water is one of the Pacific’s most photographed sites. Flightseeing here is a great option, and boats leave frequently for two-hour cruises through the quiet beauty of the sound. On land, the Milford Track was once called by a flushed hiker “the finest walk in the world,” a description that has deservedly stuck. It is a four-day, 32-mile trek most serious hikers around the world dream of undertaking.

3 pages of pictures:

Doubtful Sound: located in a World Heritage Area, is an overwhelming place. You can feel the power of nature here - the remoteness, the wildness and the peace.

Known for its wilderness and wildlife, Doubtful Sound is the second largest of the 14 fiords in Fiordland National Park and it is three times longer and 10 times larger than Milford Sound.

In Maori legend, the godly figure Tu Te Raki Whanoa created this incredibly beautiful fiord with the assistance of four young sea gods who carved out its sheltered arms.

Today Doubtful Sound remains an unspoilt wilderness of many moods; one minute clear blue and sun-drenched, the next mysterious and mist-cloaked.

Doubtful Sound is unusual in that it contains two distinct layers of water that do not mix. The top few meters is fresh water, fed from the high inflows from the surrounding mountains. Below this is a layer of cold, heavy, saline water from the sea. The difference in Refractive index between these two layers makes it difficult for light to penetrate. Thus, many deep-sea species will grow in the comparatively shallow depths of the Sound.

This fiord is home to one of the southernmost population of bottlenose dolphins. This population is small (56 individuals) and has been drastically declining over the past 6 years. It is common for tour boats to interact with these dolphins.
Other wildlife to be found in Doubtful Sound includes fur seals and penguins (Fiordland crested and blue). The waters of Doubtful Sound are also home to an abundance of sea creatures, including many species of fish, starfish, sea anemones and corals. It is perhaps best known for its Black coral trees which occur in unusually shallow water for what is normally a deep water species. An underwater tourist observatory found in one of the bays of the sound provides viewing of black coral. A dark surface layer of fresh water, stained by tannins from the surrounding forest, allows the corals to grow close to the surface here.


Ying Zhu said...

My 2nd pick:

There are SO many beautiful places in Ireland.

Here is one: Ireland's Dingle Peninsula, it's beautiful and lots of history.

The westernmost point in Europe juts out fiercely and dramatically into the Atlantic; "next parish, America" as the saying goes. The lilt of Irish Gaelic is still heard here, and Celtic monuments to ancient Christianity still litter the rugged and spectacularly scenic coastline. The windswept Dingle Peninsula is 30 miles long and from 5 to 12 miles across, providing hikers, cyclists, and motorists with a vast and visually complex expanse of water and shore. From here you can see the seven Blasket Islands- evacuated in 1953 and uninhabited since, they once gave rise to a unique body of literature and today make for a mysterious, near-mystical destination when the sea is not too rough.

Dingle is the prettiest town in all of County Kerry, still reliving its moment when, in 1969, Robert Mitchum (and a sizable Hollywood contingent) arrived to film Ryan's Daughter. In the cheerily painted town is a collection of pottery shops, alternative bookstores, and the country's highest pub-per-person ratio, plus the family-run Doyle´s Seafood Bar, famous the world over for its straightforward cooking based on lobster and fresh fish served with minimal ceremony. When Doyle's opened thirty years ago, John Doyle would go down to the small port every day to cull from the local fishermen´s daily catch; now the fishermen come to Doyle's.

Adventure map for 2009...