Mariana Zapata

Colombian-American travel writer who has worked and traveled around the world. 

World's Most Spectacular Hot-Air Balloon Destinations

By definition, travel provides new perspectives on the world. And there’s no better perspective than the one you’ll enjoy while soaring thousands of feet above ground in a hot-air balloon. In destinations across the globe, balloon trips allow you to zoom out, taking in wide swathes of spectacular landscapes. Here, we’ve rounded up the best spots in the world to splurge in this once-in-a-lifetime (or not!) experience. Hop on the basket, light the fire, and prepare to glide through the air.

Best Places in North America to See Spectacular Fall Colors

Do you want a relaxing retreat full of hiking and fresh air? Are your kids already excited to gorge on caramel apples and pumpkin pie? Or would an urban escapade suit your cosmopolitan needs better? No matter what you’re looking for, there’s an autumnal standout for you. Some of the following hand-picked destinations are well known, while others are more suited for off-the-beaten-path types. But they all hold the promise of symphonies of color and apple cider galore.

When Giant Sequoias Were Sacrificed for Traveling Sideshows

During the second half of the 19th century, when traveling sideshows were all the rage, the so-called wonders of the world were taken from city to city to be gazed upon by spectators aching to see bearded ladies, tattooed men, and other “curiosities” that often fed the colonialist fantasies of the Western mind. But among many of the attractions included in such shows there was, at one point, an unlikely protagonist: the giant sequoia of the Sierra Nevada.

During the Civil War, Vaccination Was Not Easily Achieved, so Many Soldiers Took a DIY Approach

Bullets fly, the cold creeps in, and your body is so malnourished that you can barely walk. You know that if smallpox gets hold of you, you don't stand a chance. You look at your fellow soldier's pus-filled lesion and realize there is only one way to survive the smallpox outbreak in your unit. You breathe in deeply, cut your arm open with your rusty pocket knife, and fill the wound with the liquid coming out of your comrade's pustule.

Add a Surrealist Touch to Your Thanksgiving With These Dali Recipes

Salvador Dali once claimed that “Surrealism is destructive, but it destroys only what it considers to be shackles limiting our vision.” It was perhaps because of this that he decided to bring surrealism to one of the art forms he most admired: cooking. In 1973, he published the wonderful, confusing, and delectable cookbook Les Dîners de Gala—a title referring both to his wife, who went by the name Gala, and the lavishness of the dishes he included.

Rock 'n' Roll and Military Dictatorships Almost Destroyed Argentine Tango

In the 1940s, Argentina was tango and tango was Argentina. Born in the marginalized outskirts and upscale brothels of Buenos Aires, the musical genre slowly but surely seeped into the very roots of the country’s culture and took a strong hold. Fathers would spend years teaching their sons how to dance, singers like Carlos Gardel were national figures, and social gatherings were always accompanied by the sound of the tango concertina, the bandoneon. Then, two disparate but hugely significant things arrived: a series of military dictatorships and rock ‘n’ roll.
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