Las Médulas: Splitting Mountains In Search Of Spanish Gold

Las Medulas Sublime Vista

Las Médulas is a place of profound beauty with a surprising past. Source: Flickr

The Romans marched into Iberia in the second century BCE. The ruins of their architectural achievements are still scattered around the country, in Segovia, Mérida, Tarragona, Zaragoza, and many other places.

Las Médulas also bears a quiet testimony to the power of the empire. The mining site is located in the northwest of Spain, near where the region of Castilla y León meets the border of Galicia. The landscape here rises and falls in low, green mountains with slashes of orange cutting across them. These orange slashes are the scars of the Roman mining operations.

Las Médulas is where the Romans searched for gold. And they found it by tearing through the mountains of this verdant corner of Spain. According to ancient estimates, the Romans removed around 20,000 libra of gold from Spain each year, which converts to about 6,600 kilograms or 14,500 pounds. At current prices, this amount of gold is worth more than $27 million.

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Eerie Charcoal Forest Captured by Oskar Zapirain

The world is full of incredible forests, but this foggy beech forest in Northern Spain is one of the most striking of them all.

Oskar Zapirain’s photos take us right to Oirtzun, Basque Country. In the sixteenth century, an abundance of both iron ore and forests fit for charcoal production presented families who worked the land with a vast economic opportunity. Seeing this charcoal forest as an asset, the people chose not to engage in clear-cutting–or the act of removing all trees from a given space–but pruned the trees instead.

In a process known as coppicing, young trees are cut down to allow a number of new shoots to emerge from the stump. Eventually the coppiced tree is ready to be harvested, after which point the process begins again. While this exact woodland management technique might not have shaped the charcoal forest in Oirtzun, processes like these allow more generations to extract the wood for charcoal.

The result is visible: the stumps stay relatively short, while the limbs reach upward like an outstretched hand. Combined with the region’s heavy fog, the scene becomes incredibly eerie and mysterious. According to This is Colossal, Oskar Zapirain has been photographing this Spanish landscape for years. The photographer continues to be attracted to its “mystical atmosphere” and uniform lighting. Check out more of his work at Flickr, or in the photos below:

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TreeHouse Point: The Treetop Getaway For Grown-Ups

TreeHouse Point Night Lights

Source: 500px

Whether you’re a kid at heart, a kid in actuality or just someone who always wanted to live like an Ewok, you’ll understand the “primordial magic of treehouses.” So says the preface to a 2013 New York Times interview with Pete Nelson, a former house builder who now plies his trade slightly above ground level.

Nelson founded a treehouse design and supply firm in the 1990s before opening his own honest-to-goodness treehouse hotel in 2006. The hotel, TreeHouse Point, features six treehouses spread over four acres of forest in Issaquah, Washington.

Given the hotel’s uniqueness and all-around awesomeness, reservations have become increasingly hard to come by. While you may not be able to book one of TreeHouse Point’s arboreal abodes for this year’s summer vacation, you can at least get a taste of treehouse living and learn its surprising ins and outs in the gallery below:

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20 Surprising Travel Destinations You Need To Visit This Summer

Surprising Travel Destinations

Source: wykop

From historic wonders to unknown luxury getaways to Mother Nature’s most beautiful locales, these vacation spots from all over the world should definitely snag a spot on your bucket list. As you plan your next big trip, consider these surprising travel destinations from around the world.

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Valley of Fire State Park, Utah

Surprising Travel Destinations Valley of Fire

Utah is known for its incredible landcapes, and Valley of Fire State Park is one of the best places to catch a glimpse of that beauty. Hike, picnic and check out centuries-old Indian petroglyphs, all while you bask in endless red and orange sandstone formations. Source: Backcountry Gallery

Metéora, Greece

Meteora, Greece Surprising Travel Destinations

Metéora, Greece offers tourists a unique marriage of religion, history and natural beauty. Perched atop enormous sandstone pillars are ancient monasteries that have withstood the test of time. Whether you love history or hiking, you’ll have a blast in the Greek region. Source: Darby Sawchuck Photography

Isfahan, Iran

Isfahan Surprising Travel Destinations

Dubbed “Iran’s Hidden Jewel,” the city of Isfahan was once Persia’s capital, a location more cosmopolitan than Paris. With its beautiful and historic mosques, monuments, bridges and homes, the grandeur of the city’s past still dazzles today’s tourists. Source: Everything Beautiful

Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area, Hunan Province, China

Wulingyuan, China

Visit Wulingyuan Scenic and Historic Interest Area to trade in your regular city view for Mother Nature’s “skyscrapers.” In China’s Hunan Province, more than 3,000 sandstone pillars and peaks poke from the earth, many measuring in at more than 650 feet tall. Source: SnipView

Makepeace, Australia

Makepeace Travel Destinations

This heart-shaped island is called Makepeace, and it’s actually owned by Sir Robert Branson and Brett Godfrey. Located off Australia’s Sunshine Coast, the private island has offered luxury lodging packages for less than five years. Spanning just 25 acres, it’s said to be one of the world’s most romantic destinations. Source: Private Island News

Huacachina, Peru

Huacachina Desert Oasis

Talk about a desert oasis! Nestled in the deserts of southern Peru, Huacachina is the perfect destination for adventurous souls. While sandboarding and dune buggy tours are the norm, visitors can also head to the nearby village of Paracas to see Humbolt penguins, seals, and other wildlife. Source: TravelBloggerBuzz

Mont Saint Michel, France

Mont Saint Michel

Mont Saint Michel is an island commune off the northwestern coast of France in Normandy. Full of restaurants, shops, a museum and a centuries-old abbey, the island contains everything you need for a great visit. Source: Deviant Art

Cancun Underwater Museum, Mexico

Cancun Underwater Museum

Cancun is by no means a surprising tourist destination, but only a fraction of visitors tour the island’s coolest attraction---the Cancun Underwater Museum. Accessible via snorkeling, the museum contains over 470 underwater sculptures made from marine concrete. As an added bonus, admissions proceeds help keep the area’s Great Barrier Reef from deteriorating. Source: Places to See in Your Lifetime

Burano, Italy

Burano, Italy Travel

Known as Italy’s technicolor city, Burano island is located in the Venetian Lagoon. Locals are known for their lacemaking and Murano glass processing, both trades making the island a treasure trove for tourists looking for souvenirs. Source: When on Earth

Whitsunday Islands, Australia

Whitsunday Islands Tourism

Australia’s Whitsunday Islands offer the perfect escape for sailors and beach bums alike. In this tropical yet offbeat group of islands, tourists can snorkel and experience a variety of wildlife. Of the 74 separate islands, a number are still largely undeveloped, so you’ll be in for a quiet and relaxing trip. Source: Expedia

Mount Lingyun, China

World's Biggest Buddha

The world’s largest Buddha can be found on Mount Lingyun’s Xiluo Peak in China. Standing about 230 feet tall, the statue is one of many religious artifact in the area. Source: World Heritage Routes

Skellig Michael, Ireland

Skellig Michael Travel Destination

Even when it comes to surprising vacation destinations, Skellig Michael, an island off the coast of Ireland, is pretty unknown. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the island is home to a well-preserved monastic outpost from the Early Christian period. While lodging isn’t available on the island itself, nearby accommodations offer more views of Ireland’s gorgeous coastline. Source: Awesome Stories

Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia

Salar de Uyuni Salt Hotel

Despite being one of the coolest places on Earth, Salar de Uyuni (Bolivia) hasn’t become overcrowded by jostling tourists. The expanse of salt flats is the result of a prehistoric lake drying up, leaving behind mineral lakes and more salt than you can imagine. For the best experience, we recommend you stay at the Palacio de Sal Hotel, a luxury resort where everything---walls, ceilings, sculptures---is made of salt. Source: Huffington Post

Castle Combe, England

Castle Combe Surprising Travel Destinations

Dubbed “the prettiest village in England,” there’s no reason not to visit Castle Combe. The city’s charming streets and picturesque stone buildings will make you feel as posh and classy as humanly possible. Source: The Independent Traveler

Flower Route, Netherlands

Surprising Travel Destinations Flower Route

The Flower Route isn’t exactly a surprising vacation destination, but as the road trip that takes you on a tour through the Netherlands densest concentration of flower fields, you’re sure to go home with a new appreciation of flora and fauna. Here’s a map of the road trip tour. Source: The World or Bust

Havana, Cuba

Surprising Travel Destinations Cuba

Now that relations between the US and Cuba have improved, Americans are making their way to the nearby island in droves. And it’s easy to see why. Havana, Cuba is colorful, historic, and full of life. What more could you want in a travel destination? Source: Huffington Post

Rajasthan, India

Chand Baori in Italy

Rajasthan, India houses Chand Baori, one of the world’s largest stepwells. Built during the 8th and 9th centuries, this 13-story-deep well provided early civilizations with water way before modern technologies. Stepwells are unique to India, and this one is so large that you need to see it to believe it. Source: Wikipedia

Flowerpot Island, Ontario

Flowerpot Island in Canada

Situated just four miles off the coast of Tobermory, Ontario, Flowerpot Island is known for its caves and natural seastacks, which are called “flowerpots.” Whether you take a cruise, stay in a motel or commute from further inland, natives recommend bringing a bag lunch, as Flowerpot Island’s clear waters and beautiful landscape provide the ideal location for a picnic. Source: Flickr

Zighy Bay, Oman

Zigny Bay, Oman Surprising Travel Destinations

You’ve probably never heard of Zighy Bay, Oman, but after seeing how beautiful this rugged landscape is (the incredible beach views don’t hurt), you’ll never forget it. Visitors can stay at the relatively affordable Six Senses resort, which offers luxury villas as well as traditional and modern experiences from Oman and the nearby United Arab Emirates. Source: Six Senses

Juzcar, Spain

Juzcar White Towns Andalusia

Upon first glance, Juzcar, Spain looks a bit like a smurf town...probably because Sony painted the municipality in 2011 to celebrate the release of Smurfs. Despite the city’s current dye job, Juzcar is actually one of the White Towns of Andalusia. This autonomous province is a haven for culinary enthusiasts and outdoor adventurers. Source: Geolocation

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