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Blog posts of '2015' 'March'

Antarctic Peninsula
Kindly contributed by Felicity Aston, the first woman to ski solo across Antarctica. Her inspirational saga, captured in her new memoir Alone in Antarctica, takes us deep into the polar climate where the daring explorer meditates on human vulnerability, struggle and the kind of aloneness we rarely feel in today's Information Age.
  My first proper job at the age of 23 was as a meteorologist on a British scientific research station on the Antarctic Peninsula. Responsible for monitoring climate and Ozone, one of my regular tasks was to measure the accumulation of snow using an array of stakes that had been established a short distance from the base.
Puglia
Following its popular predecessors Tuscany and Sicily, Puglia is the latest title in the Silver Spoon regional cookbook series, a collection that celebrates rich Italian heritage through the country's local cuisine. It’s not hard to see why the southern heel of Italy was chosen for this year’s installment. Puglia's climate and long coastline make it ideal for growing olives and fresh produce. Author and chef Tara Russell explores this landscape, providing information on the area's bountiful markets alongside over 50 recipes.
Meet Me in Atlantis
In his follow-up to his bestseller Turn Right at Machu Picchu, Mark Adams delves into the crazy, exciting world of “Atlantology,” visiting communities of amateur scholars convinced that the lost city of Atlantis is the only destination worth seeking. Meet Me in Atlantis digs deep into Mediterranean history, analyzes ancient philosophy and tries to separate Atlantis fact from fiction. Adams explores places as diverse as Morocco, Ireland, Malta, Minnesota and the Rock of Gibraltar in his quest for the lost city. Written in clear, nonchalant prose, Adams’ travel narrative is also an experiment in historical travel.
An Interview with Michael Booth
In his new book The Almost Nearly Perfect People, Guardian journalist Michael Booth writes with laugh-out-loud humor and brutal candor about the Scandinavians, mixing history with his own experiences, including residency in Denmark and travel throughout Norway, Finland, Sweden and Iceland. In this interview, Booth elucidates the idiosyncrasies and charms of each Scandinavian nation, from eco-footprints to Legoland.
  Longitude. Your book encourages readers to look past tropes and stereotypes about the Nordic countries. Were you guilty of buying into some of the stereotypes yourself? Which ones? Booth.
The Albayzin, Granada
Kindly contributed by Steven Nightingale, a Nevada native who moved to Granada and who takes readers back to the city's medieval zenith in his new book Granada, A Pomengranate in the Hand of God.
 
©Robert Blesse
In the spring of 2002 my wife and I traveled with our 11-month old daughter through southern Spain, in search of a city to live. After visiting Cordoba and Sevilla, we wandered into Granada. Across a narrow gorge from the Alhambra—the finest Moorish palace in the world—we found the Albayzín, a medieval neighborhood designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984. Within an hour of our arrival, we had decided to move in.
Naturalists in Paradise
When they arrived at the mouth of the Amazon River in the late 1840s, Russel Wallace, Henry Walter Bates and Richard Spruce were not experts in science. They had little experience outside of their provincial English towns, only basic education and all three were of humble means (they planned to support their adventures through the sale of specimens). Wallace and Bates were in their 20s and Spruce only 32, yet these three adventurers were destined to become famous naturalists. Their discoveries in the Amazon, where they would spend the prime of their lives, would have an influence that outlasted even their highest hopes as they began their journeys in, as Wallace put it, “a fever-heat of expectation.
Happy 100th, Nat Geo Cartographic!
Happy Birthday, National Geographic! This month National Geographic Cartographic celebrates 100 years of map making. Over the past century, National Geographic's cartographic department has produced maps charting the night sky, the ocean floor and all the continents in between. (The full count is: 438 supplement maps, thousands of maps for the magazine, ten world atlases, dozens of globes -- even maps in digital form). In celebration, we’re highlighting their line of Adventure Maps to countries across the globe. Don’t miss this fascinating
The Italians
“No one would choose to start a book at Porta Pia,” John Hooper’s new book begins. And of course, that is exactly where his cultural portrait, The Italians, places the reader, in what Hooper calls “one of the least attractive corners of central Rome,” where Michelangelo’s gate stands among a barrage of architectural styles, each evocative of a different era. The confused aesthetic of the area surrounding Porta Pia might not be the most picturesque landscape Italy has to offer the traveler, but Hooper manages to find something essential in the mix of modern and ancient buildings.
Mapping the World
Cartography has a story, but it is one best told in images. The Royal Geographical Society’s Mapping the World artfully narrates the tale through visually stunning maps, culled from the society’s archives. While informative text by author and historian Beau Riffenburgh supplements the display, it would be difficult to find a page without an illustration, and many charts are given a luxurious and much-deserved full-spread. Behind each map is an explorer’s journey, and Riffenburgh expertly relates the daring expeditions that supplied cartographers with information about the unknown world, from the adventures of Sebastian Cabot to James Cook to David Livingstone.