NatGeo’s 9 Best Fall Escape Trips in the U.S.


 Take to the Skies at the Albuquerque, New Mexico International Balloon Fiesta 

WHY GO: Take in the gorgeous New Mexico landscape and delicious New Mexican cuisine while enjoying the spectacle of the Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta, which takes places every year in October.

WHAT TO EAT: Get the red chile pork ribs at El Pinto. For a classic chile relleno, visit Mary and Tito’s Café.

PRACTICAL TIP: Most New Mexican restaurants will ask whether you want red or green, for which kind of chili you want. To get both, just say Christmas.

FUN FACT: The Albuquerque balloon festival is the largest hot-air balloon festival on Earth.


read about more places to go, see all 9  fall vacations to experience in 2016 –>


Architecture’s Beauty – Peacock Room, Italy

Peacock Room Castello di Sammezzano, Italy, FascinatingPlacesInTheWorld, FB

Peacock Room, Castello di Sammezzano, Italy

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Not-So-Dark Ages Revealed at King Arthur Site

King Arthur, Tintagel Excavation, Smithsonian

A view of the ruins of Tintagel castle, built in the 13th century by English royals eager to strengthen their ties to legendary King Arthur, who was said to be conceived at the site. Luxury goods unearthed at royal stronghold show that Celtic rulers thrived at the legendary site of Tintagel.

A recent discovery in southwest England is making headlines for its association with King Arthur, but archaeologists are hailing it as an incredibly important find regardless of any connection with Britain’s greatest legendary ruler.

Excavations at Tintagel, a rocky promontory on the coast of Cornwall, have revealed evidence of massive stone fortifications and luxury goods imported from as far away as modern-day Turkey, all dating to a poorly understood period in British history that began with the collapse of Roman rule on the island around 400 A.D.

The earliest mentions of a leader named Arthur in the historical record are tied to events that occurred between roughly 400 and 600 A.D., the period in which archaeologists believe the fortifications at Tintagel were built. According to an account written centuries later, the legendary king was conceived at Tintagel.

Luxury Trade During the So-called “Dark Ages”

Over the summer, archaeologists at Tintagel have found evidence for more than a hundred buildings that most likely date from the fifth to seventh centuries A.D., a period when the site is believed to have been an important royal stronghold of the Celtic kingdom of Dumnonia.

Initial evidence for the Celtic stronghold was first revealed during excavations in the 1930s. Unfortunately, the home of C.A. Raleigh Radford, lead archaeologist on the project, was bombed during World War II and the scientific results were never properly published. In the 1990s, archaeologists reopened Radford’s trenches at Tintagel and discovered fine ceramics and glassware from all over the Mediterranean world.

More than two decades later, researchers have returned to Tintagel for the beginning of a five-year project funded by the charity English Heritage to better understand what was happening at the site during a time erroneously referred to by some historians as the “Dark Ages,” and by others as “Sub-Roman” or “Post-Roman.”

Why were coastal trading posts like Tintagel mysteriously abandoned in the seventh century?  read more –>…

Never Say Never! 13 Year Old Mongolian Eagle Hunter

Girl, Mongolia, Eagle Huntress, NatGeo-crop

Aisholpan, a 13-year-old girl, trains to become the first female in 12 generations of her Kazakh family to become an eagle hunter … 

A 13-year-old girl stands proud in the mountains of western Mongolia, cradling the eagle she has trained to hunt. She’s carrying on a legacy that has defined this region for centuries.

But the girl, Aisholpan Nurgaiv, is also challenging a tradition. Though she is not the first female eagle hunter—there’s evidence of female eagle hunters from as early as tenth-century Persia, and National Geographic photographed Princess Nirgidma of Mongolia with her hunting eagle in 1932—Nurgaiv is the first Mongolian woman to compete in the country’s Golden Eagle Festival … read more, see documentary trailer video –>…

What Is Your Clan?

Teepee, Crow, NatGeoWhat is your clan? What is your Indian name? Who named you?

When anthropologist Aaron Brien puts these questions to a group of Crow Indian students gathered in the community of Crow Agency, Montana, most of the hands tentatively go up.

“My name is Emily Not Afraid. I am a Whistling Water and a child of the Newly Made Lodge. My Crow name is Baasshuushe isitccheesh, which means ‘Likes to tobacco dance.’ I was named as a baby by one of my clan mothers, Clara Big Lake.” …

… This, says Brien, is what makes the Crow—or Apsáalooke in their native Siouan language—different from any other tribe on the planet:  their clan system.  But it’s one that’s in danger of disappearing …

… To put the Crow Reservation’s size in perspective, it’s physically larger than Delaware and about a million acres shy of equaling the size of Connecticut. One of seven reservations in Montana, its largest town is Crow Agency, home to around 1,500 of the 13,000 or so enrolled tribal members … two decades ago, it was rare to hear conversations in English, and the clan system was practiced as part of everyday life. Now, in a single generation, the opposite is true. Both the Crow language and the idea of the clan system is quickly becoming a casualty on the battlefield of pop culture …

Ashammaliaxxiia, the word for the Apsáalooke clan system, translates to “Driftwood Lodges.” As the name implies, just as pieces of driftwood band together in turbulent waters, so do the Apsáalooke people to provide spiritual and material support to clan members. The Crow clan system is unique not just among Plains Indians but also among all tribes and nations. At its simplest level, the mother’s clan is responsible for the physical and emotional health of the clan member, while the father’s clan is responsible for spiritual support.

“The clan system creates a respect between people,” Brien says. “It’s a kinship system. It needs to be an everyday thing.” …  read more –>…

10 Awesome Music Festivals Around The World This Summer

Music, Bestival, UK, NatGeo

It’s getting hot up here in the Northern Hemisphere. With summer fully upon us, people are soaking up the sunshine, showing some skin, and planning adventures near and far, including trips to the sweatiest of summer traditions: music festivals.

Before you bust out your flower headdress and head to Lollapalooza, check out what else the world has to offer. Here are 10 music festivals across the globe that can offer a unique—and potentially more meaningful—travel experience.

Reggae Sumfest in Jamaica
July 17-23, 2016

Billed under the slogan “Our Music, Our Festival,” Jamaica’s biggest festival is held every year in Montego Bay, kicking off with an annual beach party and an all-white dress code party followed by days of music from some of the biggest acts in the homeland of reggae.

Lineup highlights: Stone Love, Beenie Man, Super Cat

Alfa Future People in Russia
July 22-24, 2016

Held in the Russian countryside, six hours east of Moscow by car, Alfa Future People is more than a massive EDM (electronic dance music) festival, with exhibitions on the latest in technology and athletic opportunities like a volleyball tournament and aerial gymnastics classes.

Lineup highlights: Armin Van Buuren, Axwell and Ingrosso, Martin Garrix

Fuji Rock in Japan
July 22-24, 2016

This event held every year at Japan’s Naeba Ski Resort might be the music festival surrounded by the most stunning natural beauty of any in the world. Hikes between stages will lead you through green cathedral forests and cool mountain streams. Or you can hitch a ride on the Dragondola—the longest gondola on Earth.

Lineup highlights: Beck, Wilco, Ben Harper and the Innocent Criminals

Splendour in the Grass in Australia
July 22-24, 2016

It may be winter in Byron Bay, Australia, but it is still summertime in the Northern Hemisphere! Besides, winter in Byron Bay is like winter in Hawaii, so you don’t need to leave behind your flip-flops and board shorts. Splendour in the Grass includes great live music plus additional draws like the Global Village, talks from thought leaders on science, politics, and more, and the Splendour Comedy Club.

Lineup highlights: The Strokes, the Cure, Band of Horses, Sigur Rós

Baleapop in France
August 8-11, 2016

This four-day festival with a focus on art, music, and openheartedness takes place on the stunning beaches of French Basque country in the city of Saint-Jean-de-Luz. Baleapop organizers seek to foster connections between people through musical performances and contemporary art installations, while keeping the event affordable, environmentally friendly, and open to all.

Lineup highlights: Suuns, Shackleton

In the Mix in the Philippines
August 18, 2016

A brand-new festival this year, In the Mix offers the chance to experience one of the most underappreciated cities in Southeast Asia: Manila. The Philippines’ capital is widely, and rightly, known for being crowded, polluted, and hectic but there’s a rich history and culture hiding in plain sight if you know what to look for, plus some one of the warmest, most fun-loving people you’re likely to ever meet.

Lineup highlights: The 1975, Panic! at the Disco, James Bay

Dusk til Dawn Blues Festival in Oklahoma
September 2-4, 2016

If you really want to get off the beaten path, check out this all-night blues festival in tiny Rentiesville, one of Oklahoma’s few surviving historically all-black towns. Night owls dig the blues from 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. for three days straight.

Lineup highlights: Joanna Connor, Johnny Rawls

Bestival in England
September 8-11, 2016

Held annually on the beautiful and bucolic Isle of Wight in the south of England, this midsize gathering of around 50,000 is widely considered among the best festivals in Britain. Bestival is known for its eccentric, alternative feel (jump in the world’s biggest bouncy castle!) and commitment to environmental issues.

Lineup highlights: Major Lazer, Wiz Khalifa, Diplo, Animal Collective

K-Pop World Festival in South Korea
September 30, 2016

K-Pop is hardly outside the mainstream but this festival is still unlike any other. After surviving preliminary rounds in countries around the world, finalists and fans gather in Changwon, South Korea, for high-energy, upbeat performances and to select the next K-Pop stars.

Lineup highlights: TBD

Lake of Stars in Malawi
September 30-October 2, 2016

This arts and music festival held annually on the shores of Lake Malawi in southern Africa promises a truly unique experience. Lake of Stars brings together Malawian artists with creatives from around the world for a weekend of music, dancing, and positive vibes that infuses $1.5 million into the local economy.

Lineup highlights: Freshlyground, Faith Mussa, Flo Dee

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Did You Know? Friday Was International Tiger Day

Tiger, Sumatran, NatGeo-crop


We have lost 97% of all wild tigers in a bit over 100 years.

Sumatran tigers are the last of the so-called island tiger subspecies, having outlived the Bali tigers (Panthera tigris balica) and the Javan tigers (Panthera tigris sondaica) that once roamed the Indonesian islands of Bali and Java, respectively.

Although more than a thousand Sumatran tigers are thought to have lived on Indonesia’s island of Sumatra in the 1970s, their numbers have declined by roughly half due to poachers and deforestation.

read more –>…