Escape from Alcatraz next time you’re in San Francisco…

Written in US DESTINATIONS

San Francisco

  • San Francisco

…and visit the linear accelerator at Stanford. Sure it might be No 20 out of 24 things to do in SFO, but hey go off the beaten track once in a while, why doncha? Don’t know your linear accelerator from your line dancing? A little education never goes astray… a linear accelerator takes positrons (positively charged subatomic particles) and sends them hurtling down a straight 2-mile path in a 4in diameter linac (an accelerator beam tube), on their way to high-speed impacts at the other end of the tube.

The Stanford Linear Accelerator Center, run by the university for the US Department of Energy, goes right under the freeway.

And the positive results (ha ha) are discovery of the existence of further subatomic particles, including quarks, and a mere three Nobel Prizes so far. At 2 miles long, SLAC’s Klystron Gallery is the world’s longest building. Visitors must be over the age of 12 and can have a look inside during the free two-hour tours conducted several times a month.

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Is this the world’s best train journey?

Written in INTERNATIONAL DESTINATIONS

You have to hand it to those hardy old Norwegians. Where we see a giant mountain and call it impassable, they shrug and drill through it … to create what is our humble opinion one of the greatest train journeys on the planet.

Norwegians, as visitors quickly learn, don’t mess about when it comes to getting around. They drive like they mean and they have a no prisoner’s attitude to their train trips as well. Mountains made of seemingly impenetrable gneiss rock are simply one more thing to go straight through. Anywhere else, the Bergensbanen or Bergen Line would be heralded as a wonder of the world. Here, it’s a matter of fact way of linking the country’s two most important cities.

The Bergen Railway travels a mere 231 miles through from Bergen to Honefoss, Norway. It is the highest mainline railway line in Northern Europe, crossing the Hardangervidda plateau at 4,058 ft above sea level. The plateau is the largest remaining wilderness preserve in Europe and you’ll likely spot the occasional reindeer as well as acre after eye-achingly beautiful acre of scenery – from grassy plains to deep lakes and more. Norway may well off the beaten track – but it’s a train track worth exploring!

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Short stuff

Written in INTERNATIONAL DESTINATIONS

Well I’m stumped, it looks like the real McCoy but I’ll let you be the judge of that. Ever wondered where all those quirky sayings we use everyday come from. Here’s the full kit and caboodle…

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Calling Major Tom, is there anybody out there? If you’ve ever fancied the idea of a quick buzz up to Saturn (we’re looking for he cheapest rooms up there as we speak), but don’t have the time this Thanksgiving, try this instead…

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And speaking of all things Spacey, ever wondered what it would be like to drop from a helium balloon 90,000 feet high and float to earth? Wonder no longer…

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Have you wondered what the suburbs of Sydney, Australia looked like? No, nor have we but this is kinda cool! View link

So you’ve done the travel, you’ve filled the memory card, whatcha gonna do next? Create a book of course! Don’t let all the happy snaps sit on your camera, download some software and create an album full of memories. Check these guys out: View link

If you love travel, you probably love photography… have you got a favorite pic of yourself from long ago? Then do it all again and love the result! View link