A glittering diamond in the rough
Peering from this vantage point you may wonder, how in the world could anyone access this hut nestled in the Bavarian Alps? By hiking in, of course. There are well over 1,000 such huts dotting the Alpine landscape throughout Europe, most of them built and maintained by private social clubs devoted to climbing, hiking, and other activities in the mountains. These huts allow hikers to light out onto the extensive trail systems, sometimes for days, while carrying as little gear as possible. No need to pack cooking equipment, tents and sleeping bags when you have guaranteed shelter each night, with dinners, breakfasts, and, if you're lucky, a hot shower, included.
Do pack earplugs and a sleeping bag liner, as most of the beds are lined up next to each other in a dormitory setting. And don't try booking for this time of year. The hiking season in the Bavarian Alps typically begins in mid-May and lasts through the end of October. Weather, and COVID, permitting of course.
Even nature needs a backup plan…
This glittering monolith of cold metal is a lot like that still-sealed emergency survival kit languishing in your basement since 1999: Reassuring to have around, but a bummer when you actually have to use it. The Svalbard Global Seed Vault—better known by its cute nickname, the 'Doomsday Vault'—was established on this far-northern Norwegian isle in 2008 to archive frozen genetic copies of seeds already housed in seed banks around the world: a backup of all the backups. Kept at -0.4 degrees F within the Seed Vault, precious botanicals from food to fibers to flowers are safe from disasters, even of the apocalyptic variety. Lucky us: It'll take a healthy diet of veggies to fight off the zombies.
But hey, doomsday can wait. Today is Seed Swap Day, an event encouraging horticulture buffs to propagate positivity by trading their favorite species and strains. So, no matter how green your thumb, try to get your hands on some new seeds today—let's plant a future where this Arctic chamber can stay good and sealed.
这颗闪闪发光的冰冷金属巨石很像自1999年以来一直在地下室里煎熬的那个密封的应急救生包：有人在身边让人放心，但当你真的不得不使用它的时候，它却让人扫兴。斯瓦尔巴特全球种子库（Svalbard Global Seed Vault）因其可爱的绰号“末日宝库”（The Doomday Vault）而闻名于世，该库于2008年在挪威这个遥远的北方岛屿上建立，目的是将已经存放在世界各地种子库中的种子的冷冻基因副本存档：所有备份的备份。保存在-0.4华氏度的种子库，珍贵的植物从食物到纤维到花都是安全的，即使是世界末日的品种。幸运的我们：这将需要一个健康的素食饮食来击退僵尸。
A dramatic view of Sicily
If you mistook this gorgeous, postcard-worthy image for one of the many coastal towns along Italy's famous Amalfi coast, you wouldn't be far off. However, the town seen here actually lies farther to the south, located on the eastern side of Sicily, the largest island in the Mediterranean. Beginning in the late 19th century, sun-seeking tourists have come to the chic resort town of Taormina during the warmer months, looking to dine in its restaurants, relax on its beaches, and of course just to take in the exquisite scenery.
As expected in a town built over 2,000 years ago, traces of history can be found everywhere here, from the tiny medieval streets of old downtown to the Ancient Theatre of Taormina, an amphitheater built in the Greek style in the third century BCE, and later expanded by the Romans. And though it's been around for more than two millennia, the theater is still in use, with opera, theatrical productions, and concerts staged there to this day—or at least whenever performances aren't canceled due to the pandemic. The beauty of this town, built into a steep hill overlooking the Ionian Sea, is said to have inspired writers and thinkers both ancient and modern, from Plato to D. H. Lawrence to Truman Capote.
Didgeridoo you know what day it is?
If this aerial view of the Great Barrier Reef is a reminder that you ❤ everything Australia, today's your day. Australia Day commemorates January 26, 1788, when the first transplants from England said g'day to Australian shores, but you can just call it a day to celebrate all things Aussie. From the Barrier Reef to the rugged bush to the dry Outback, we invite you to join the diverse people of Oz in celebrating their island nation (well, we can almost join the Aussies—it's tomorrow for them already, so they celebrated yesterday).
Meanwhile, we presume you find yourself stuck in a Northern Hemisphere winter—so why not scroll Down Under and try our Australia Day quiz?
Struck by Southwestern beauty
It's okay if this stormy shot stirs your spirit with holy awe: They call this wind-carved edifice Church Rock for a reason. Surrounded by an enchanting Southwestern landscape, it's a sight that almost invites you to get lost out here—and if you look at a map of these parts, you'll see that's not too hard.
We're in the 'checkerboard' region of western New Mexico, where patchwork borders separate sovereign Navajo Nation grounds and private land from that administered by an alphabet soup of federal, state, and local agencies. (For its part, Church Rock was the crown jewel of a state park before it was returned to the Navajo in 1989, while the city of Gallup now maintains the nearby parkland.) Maybe it's simpler to think in terms of a more ancient boundary line: The Great Continental Divide, marking the border between North America's Atlantic- and Pacific-destined waters, crosses Route 66 just east of the checkerboard.
A sleeping green giant
We're looking down on Chu Dang Ya, an extinct volcano that last erupted millions of years ago. Located in the Gia Lai Province in the Central Highlands of Vietnam, Chu Dang Ya, means 'wild ginger' or perhaps 'tough ginger root' in the local Jarai language. The volcano provides fertile soil for crops such as pumpkins, sweet potatoes, taro, and more. Among the best times to visit this rural gem is at the beginning of the rainy season, in late April and early May, and as the rains wind down in November. That's when Chu Dang Ya takes it up a notch—its hillsides erupt with sunflower and other wildflower blooms along roadways, dirt paths, and fields.
Cold? What cold?
As the Scandinavian saying goes, 'There's no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothes.' The adventurer seen here, conquering the New England chill on a stand-up paddleboard, is a cold ocean removed from Nordic shores. But this watery winter excursion embodies the Scandie stamina distilled in the word 'friluftsliv,' literally translated 'free air life'—the notion that any time is a great time to be outdoors, weather be damned.
Friluftsliv has been part of Norse identity since Vikings and Goths eked out their existence in frozen fjords and forests. But it was Henrik Ibsen, the Norwegian master playwright, who brought the word into Nordic popular culture in the 1850s, imbuing it with national pride and folk spirituality. Now it's so woven in the fabric of Scandinavian life that some nonprofits are dedicated to friluftsliv, and many employers allot workers time to play outside—especially in winter, when daytime is brief and precious.
The ruins of a Mayan superpower
Deep in the jungle of southern Mexico lay the ruins of a city that thrived for centuries before it was abandoned more than 1,000 years ago. Calakmul was once one of the two dueling superpowers—along with Tikal—of the Classical Mayan civilization. At its height, around 1,200 years ago, the city of Calakmul had a population of about 50,000 people, but the kingdom as a whole numbered more than 1.5 million. Archaeologists have uncovered 6,750 structures here—the largest is this pyramid temple, called, simply, 'Structure 2.' It's one of the tallest and most massive remaining structures from that highly advanced culture. The ruins of the city proper cover nearly eight square miles in the jungle and the kingdom once ruled over settlements as far as 90 miles away.
All the more amazing, then, that it was apparently lost to history until an American botanist named Cyrus L. Lundell discovered it when flying over the jungle on a survey of the area in December 1931. A few expeditions were sent to explore it over the next few years, but it went largely unstudied until the 1980s. Calakmul is now recognized as one of the most important archeological sites in southern Mexico.
菲希特尔贝格山上的气象站和Fichtelberghaus酒店，德国上维森塔尔 Weather Station and Fichtelberghaus Hotel on Fichtelberg Mountain (1214m), Oberwiesenthal, Ore Mountains, Erzgebirge, Saxony, Germany (© Cornelia Dorr/eStock Photo)
Weather lights in the Ore Mountains
Lew Tolstoy would have had his true joy at this sight, and the picturesque winter landscape would surely have inspired him in the work of his epochal works. But neither Anna Karenina nor Father Frost found the way up to the Fichtelberg. Because today we do not show you a recording from Russia, but we take you on a trip to the Ore Mountains in Saxony.
The Ore Mountains are a mountain range in Saxony and Bohemia. The Fichtelberg near Oberwiesenthal is the highest mountain in Saxony, at around 1,214 metres. The spa town of Oberwiesenthal in the Pöhlbach valley is the highest town in Germany.
On the Route of the Waterfalls
Coursing down the steep slopes of the Andes, just as the mountains meet the Amazon jungle, the Pastaza River is forced through a narrow channel, which concentrates its power like a firehose. The roiling torrent then shoots over the edge of this mountainside, plunging 200 feet into a cauldron-shaped pool. Agoyán, better known as El Pailón del Diablo (The Devil's Cauldron) is Ecuador's tallest and most famous waterfall. It's a highlight of the Ruta de las Cascadas (Route of the Waterfalls), a popular circuit of the many waterfalls and hot springs near the mountain town of Baños de Agua Santa.
Baños, as it's better known, is in the shadow of Tungurahua, one of South America's most active volcanoes. The once-sleepy town has become a gateway to the Amazon for outdoor adventurers who love to hike, zipline, rock climb, or bike down the mountain to this roaring cascade in the verdant jungle. Pro tip: Bring a rain jacket. The best way to experience the awesome power of The Devil's Cauldron is to walk onto a swaying suspension bridge and then follow the steep steps down the mountainside, around and behind the roaring curtain of water, literally soaking in the view.
帕萨扎河沿着安第斯山脉的陡坡蜿蜒而下，就在山脉与亚马逊丛林交汇之际，它被迫穿过一条狭窄的河道，像消防水龙带一样集中了它的力量。翻滚的激流随后从山腰边缘喷涌而出，注入200英尺深的一个大锅状的水池。阿戈安，俗称暗黑破坏神（魔鬼大锅），是厄瓜多尔最高、最著名的瀑布。它是瀑布之路（Ruta de las Cascadas）的一大亮点，瀑布之路是巴尼奥斯德阿古亚圣塔（Baños de Agua Santa）山镇附近众多瀑布和温泉的热门线路。