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The World’s 10 Most Adventurous Outdoor Staircases

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Ready for a nice climb, and a spectacular view? Today’s world offers some very adventurous staircases, which accentuates unique architecture, design, and blends nicely with the environment.  During a climb, take a look around and get a better view of the culture, people, and geography of a country.  Spain’s ‘Stairs Above the Sea’ has a gigantic staircase on an island, which gives travelers a beautiful sight of blue sea, greenery, and a hermitage with an orange roof.  

Here is more about ‘Stairs Above the Sea,’ and and 9 more adventurous outdoor staircases:

1. Stairs Above the Sea, Spain

Gaztelugatxe. Source: Getty

Stairs Above the Sea is located at Gaztelugatze in Spain. A bridge connects this island to the mainland, allowing travelers to enjoy breathtaking views of the sea, across the steps that lead to areas on the edge of the water. After crossing the bridge, there are about 237 steps, and at the end of these steps is a church and a hermitage.

2. Awaji Hyakudanen, Japan

Awaji Hyakudanen. Source: Ellen’s Attic/Flickr

Awaji Hyakudanen, or the Stage of Dreams, is located in Awaji island in Hyōgo Prefecture, Japan. It is built on the side of a mountain and the buildings there include a conference center, a hotel and a memorial. There is also the ‘100 Stepped Garden’ which contains 100 flower beds in small square gardens. One can climb the steps and from there, view each flower bed.

3. Moses Bridge Stairs, Netherlands

Moses Bridge Stairs. Source: Interesting Engineering

Fort de Roovere is surrounded by a moat, but later on, a restoration program planned the construction of a bridge. Moses Bridge Stairs in the Netherlands lies above the water and travelers can walk across the bridge without getting their feet wet. At the end of the bridge is a historic fortress.

4. Schlossberg Stairs, Austria

Schlossberg Stairs. Source: Orangesmile.com

In Graz, the capital city of of the southern Austrian province of Styria, on the far end of Schlossbergplatz, travelers can find the Schlossberg Stairs. It contains 260 steps, and at the top of these stairs is a spectacular view of Graz, with its urban buildings, architecture, the town hill, shops, restaurants and contemporary art.

5. Potemkin Stairs, Ukraine

Potemkin Stairs. Source: Saskia Heijltjes via Flickr

These steps may look ordinary, but they are not. In the city of Odessa in Ukraine, the Potemkin Stairs has 192 steps and provides a good climb to the traveler. At the bottom of the steps, one can only see rows of steps ahead, but once he or she reaches the top, the steps cannot be seen. The Potemkin Stairs is considered to be a formal entrance to the city from the direction of the sea, and also gives access to the harbor below it.

6. Haiku Stairs, Hawaii, USA

Haiku Stairs. Source: Unreal Hawaii

The Haiku Stairs in Hawaii is also known as the ‘Stairway to Heaven,’ and is located in the Hawaiian island of Oʻahu. There is a trail which has a steel staircase of 4,000 steps. At the end of these steps the traveler has access to a high point of mountains with spectacular views. One traveler noted that it took three to four hours to go up the staircase, and one or two hours to climb down it. Note that currently the Haiku Stairs has limited access to the public, but a decision about its future will be made soon, and so it might be open to travelers again.

7. Heaven’s Gate Mountain, Zhangjiajie City, China

Heaven’s Gate Mountain. Source: Huangdan2060 via Wikimedia Commons

8 kilometers away from the city of Zhangjiajie, the Tianmen Mountain, which has a height of 1518.6 meters, has the world’s highest cave. The cave has a length of 60, a height of 131.5 and a width of 57 meters, which has given it the name ‘Heaven’s Gate.’ From the top of Tianmen, a staircase of 999 steps leads to the cave.

8. Tiger and Turtle – Magic Mountain, Duisburg, Germany

Tiger & Turtle – Magic Mountain – Eröffnungsveranstaltung der neuen Landmarke im Angerpark in Duisburg-Wanheim-Angerhausen

This might look like a rollercoaster ride, but it is actually a flight of stairs, which contains 249 steps in Duisburg, Germany. The highest stair rises 49 yards above sea level, and travelers can have a view of the river Rhine.

9. Nossa Senhora dos Remédios, Lamego, Portugal

Nossa Senhora dos Remédios. Source: Wikipedia

In the city of Lamego in Portugal, a major attraction is the granite staircase with 686 steps. During the walk one can choose to stop at nine different landings, and one of them has the images of the 18 kings of Israel. At the top of the staircase, see the Nossa Senhora dos Remédios (Our Lady of the Remedies).

10. The Cascading Universe, Garden of Cosmic Speculation, Dumfries, Scotland

The Cascading Universe. Source: Symmetry Magazine

In Dumfries, Scotland, this garden has linear path patterns and a cascading switchback of steps to highlight the story of the universe and its development over billions of years. It is open to the public once a year.

 

Originally posted 2017-09-28 16:10:06.

Hello, my name is Shipra and I am a writer who likes to explore travel, social justice and other issues. After college I began my journey is Australia where I worked for campaigns and sales, and then went on to travel in other places. Currently I live in New Jersey with my two dogs, Guster and Tip.

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I Know Where I’ve Been: All Over The Place, As It Seems

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Travelogues are nothing new in the realm of literature. Ever since the dawn of the written word, there have been innumerable people who want to tell the stories of faraway places they may or may not have visited. Marco Polo was just only the most visible one; there was many who came before him, and many who sought to imitate him afterwards. In fact, one of the first modern satires, Gulliver’s Travels, was written under the thin veneer of being a parody of “traveller’s tales”. So in the age of social media, the concept of the travelogue might seem as dated as the rotary phone.

Which leads to Robert Coles’ I Know Where I’ve Been: A Year-Long Journey of Self-Discovery, a new type of spectrum-friendly travelogue. Though he notes of occasional trips to Mexico and Colombia, most of the travels documents are in the United States and Canada. More specifically, it detailed his travels throughout 2015 and the connections that he had made in the process of reaching his goal of visiting 30 cities by the end of the year. In between the stories about random adventures and quirky friends/lovers are a series of sober reflections on not only his life but also the lives of those around him.

It is in these reflections that one can find the emotional core of I Know Where I’ve Been, and certainly makes it stand out from the standard travelogue. These include stories of his family (specifically of his dad, who died of a heart attack at 53) as well as past lovers (such as “Josh”, with whom he had a fun but ill-fated relationship). It also informs the reader of Coles’ mentality about travel, as his family was not able to travel very much, save for the occasional trip to Disney World or a place like Yellowstone. In a household like that with a person like Coles turned out to be, it is no wonder that he turned out to be such a major traveler. And of course, his sexuality does play an important role at certain moments, including an experience with those with a homophobic bent. Specifically, it first comes to a head when a seemingly nice Christian family turns on him with a vengeance when one of its members catches him looking up certain explicit files downloaded from Limewire.  

Of course, the travel stories in I Know Where I’ve Been themselves do stand out in their own right, which is an important part of a work in this genre. And unlike many popular travelogues, there is a tinge of emotional honesty to most of them, which makes it akin to a mix of An Idiot Abroad and Michael Palin’s Around The World In 80 Days in literary form. Coles does not shy away from the horror stories, such as the Airbnb fiasco in Chicago or a miserable night on the bad side of Detroit. Nor does he leave out some of the stranger things, such as the night in Detroit being followed by a slightly unnerving passport check at the Canadian border. Nor does he gloss over several of the tales of him and his company going on full-blown benders, with the results akin to a remake of The Hangover on a college film fest budget.

However, the experiences throughout his 2015 in I Know Where I’ve Been come out as a net positive, especially with all of the people he met. Standouts include the “Denver Death Tour”, the visits to the Second City improv venue, and visiting Toronto ’s famous CN Tower. Perhaps the most accurate statement by Coles is the following: “While I certainly regret some of the behaviors and wish I could erase some of the memories, I wouldn’t change who I am today because of them.” It is likely the reader will share the same sentiment by the end.

Originally posted 2017-07-30 10:04:24.

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Relationships and Monogamy: Does Sexuality Play a Role in Monogamous Practices?

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Whatever your sexual orientation or gender may be, there’s one thing we can all collectively agree on: Monogamy seems a difficult practice for many people.

That is not to say there are not monogamous partners out there. There are, in fact, plenty of happily practicing monogamous partners who are satisfied with their current relationship situation.

According to the Journal of Sexuality and Social Psychology, men, considered the “fast sex,” tend to “maximize their mating opportunities” by increasing the number of sexual partners in their life. For women, a large number of partners holds no physiological benefits, and “would risk producing offspring of low quality if mated indiscriminately,” making it much more likely for men to cheat than women.

However, as we watch the world progress, we observe a greater tolerance of gender and sexual fluidity. With simplicity comes complexity, and, to state the very obvious: Relationships can be rather messy.

It’s been proven that men show, “a greater interest in uncommitted sex.” It’s also been proven that out of all couples, gay men are by far the least committed to staying faithful in a long term relationship (numbers change based on national averages.)

And while lesbian affairs are the least likely of all, let’s not forget emotional cheating, and how damaging the effects can be on a relationship. More importantly, over the past couple of decades, the percentage of women who have admitted to cheating has risen 40%, while the percentage of men has stayed the same.

We know these numbers also depend on different factors, such as socioeconomic conditions, lack of self-satisfaction, and poor emotional validation,   

Gender norms may have you believe that men are more likely to cheat, but in a 2016 study, statics show that while 57% of men are likely to cheat, this is just a small incline from the 54% of women who have admitted to some type of affair.

In a Psychology Today study, Dr. Elizabeth Sheff finds a common theme among cheating in monogamous relationships over two-decade study, “Some people become polyamorous, starting swinging, or attempt other forms of CNM after they have tried – sometimes for many years – to maintain monogamous relationships and found themselves cheating repeatedly.”

Thus, a question remains: Does your gender and sexual orientation play any type of role in your participation of monogamous relationships?

In short: The answer is no.

Your sexuality does not play a role in whether or not you are more inclined to monogamous practices, but a New York Times article explains that the answers may be found in your genes.

The culprit seems to be “vasopressin,” a “hormone that has powerful effects on social behaviors like trust, empathy and sexual bonding in humans and other animals,” which strongly affects your inclination to cheat.

In a study using prairie and montane voles, sexually monogamous and sexually promiscuous creatures, Dr. Thomas R. Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health, noticed a change in the animal’s behavior when vasopressin receptors were induced and when they were blocked.

When blocked, the animals were disposed to monogamous sexual behaviors. When injected, “pair bonding,” the scientific term for infidelity, was promoted.

It seems vasopressin is the key to “social bonding” between animals and can be speculated that this is the reason such a large number of people are naturally against monogamy.

Although this research is not 100% proven and is still debatable, it seems that human’s polygamous nature comes naturally from within.

Of course, we are not set to one standard or one type of relationship with our partner(s). Relationships, much like sexuality, comes in all different shapes and sizes. Everyone should have the freedom to explore whatever they should so choose, but bear in mind that respect, honesty and mutual happiness are the most important factors of any relationship between partners.

Originally posted 2017-07-29 15:01:00.

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One Step Forward, Two Steps Back: Trump’s Trans Military Ban

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The LGBTQ community has made significant progress in terms of equality. A person was not allowed to be openly gay in the US military until former president Obama repealed the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy in September of 2011. Gay men and women are now allowed to be out, proud, and active members of the military. Unfortunately, this is not the case for transgender individuals. On Wednesday, July 26, 2017, president Donald Trump tweeted that transgender people are not allowed to serve in the armed forces “in any capacity.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Images via goo.gl/mSw8hr

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

How alarming! This is a clear violation of human rights and extremely detrimental to the fight for equality for the LGBTQ community. (We also have to appreciate the irony of the tweets considering that on July 26, 1948, former president Truman desegregated the military).

What Trump is basically saying is that allowing transgender people in the military would be a financial detriment. I’m assuming that he is referring to the cost of hormones for transgender people. What he doesn’t realize that the cost of hormones is significantly less than what the military is paying for medications such as Viagra. According to the United Press International, the US military spends ten times more on erectile dysfunction medication than transgender care. 

So, what does this mean? Well, it may mean any number of things:

  1. Trump has no idea what he’s talking about
  2. He’s pandering to the conservative right
  3. He’s transphobic

Who really knows? Whatever the reason, it is definitely a step back for equality. However, hope is not lost as many people are taking a stand against Trump’s ban. Celebrities such as Lady Gaga had some things to say about this ban.

 

 

 

Images via goo.gl/JmdNo2

 

Lady Gaga is not the only person fighting against Trump’s un-American ban. The Human Rights Campaign, or HRC, is fighting for the rights of transgender people, saying that the ban is an “all-out assault on service members” and that the ban would affect approximately 15,000 currently serving troops. This will clearly have a negative impact on the US military as it consists of millions of brave men and women who fight for the freedom of the American citizens and losing even one soldier due to bigotry can cause the military to weaken.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The American Civil Liberties Union, or UCLA, is also fighting against Trump’s ban.

Image via goo.gl/RxN1n9

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t give up hope! This ban is definitely a step in the wrong direction and it hopefully won’t spiral into something even more horrible which is why it is very important that we speak out against this hateful action. Voice your outrage anywhere where your voice can be heard and stand with the transgender community during this trying time, use the hashtag #protecttranstroops on Twitter, repeat the maxim “trans people are not a burden,” and fight for what is right. It may not be easy but as long as we fight, the rights of transgender individuals can and will be protected.

 

 

 

 

 

Originally posted 2017-07-28 21:19:21.


Also published on Medium.

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