Tag Archives: Russia

5 Terrifying Tales Of Isolated Islands

Isolated and dejected, you might think only you feel that way. But there are several islands around the world going through the same feeling.

There are bone-chilling tales about the islands which are off-limits to visitors. If you are daring enough, set your sails to the hauntingly mysterious islands which have a lot of secrets to bare.

NORTH BROTHER ISLAND

On a warm sunny morning, the members of the St Mark Lutheran’s Evangelical Church were ready to enjoy a picnic. They boarded a ship General Slocum to make their way from Lower East side to Eaton’s Neck. But they did not know that it was the last trip they would ever make.

Flames engulfed the entire ship, turning the smiles into tears. Hence, The captain had no choice but to steer the ship to nearby North Brother Island.

Here a thousand corpses lay, mangled and burnt. And those who did not make it to the shore died drowning in the dark waters without any life support. Till this day, General Slocum rots beneath the ominous waters near North Brother Island.

SOLOVKI

Monks and monasteries are peaceful places where the most troubled soul can attain peace. When monks settled in Solovki islands, that was the way. But change was soon coming to the island.

The Soviet Union made the island into a prison. Those who guilty of theft, murder, blasphemy spent their life in isolation and torture.

Ivan the Terrible sent 400 prisoners every year. He sentenced convicts who fought against him in Russian civil war.

By the end of the 1890s, the monastery had become a nightmare. Chopped heads, bodies hanging from sea hooks, frozen prisoners – and many horrifying tortures took place in Solovki.

If you still think all Islands are white sands and palm trees, think again!

TIBURON ISLAND

Image Credit

Tom Grindell was an Arizonian Prospector inquisitive about the Tiburon Island. He made a team of four people, including him to discover the unknown frontiers of Tiburon.

On June 10th, 1905 they set the sails to the island. But their families never saw them again. Tom Grindell’s brother Edward wanted to know what went wrong with his brother. So, he set off to the island.

The locals told him that Seri killed a group of Americans. He only found hands tied to stakes, around dance rings. His brother and team became the victim of Seri tribe, who inhabit the land.

They are a bunch of cannibals who feed like wild animals. They do killing and pillage just for giggles. Mexican government once tried to civilize them, but whether it bore results, nobody knows.

NAZINO CANNIBAL ISLANDS

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The gruesome scenes you watch in movies is nothing compared to what happened in another cannibal island Nazino islands.

In 1933 Nazino Island saw 6200 people dropped off here. They had nothing more than raw flour. After ten days of starvation and death by contaminated water, people started feasting on each other. Nazino island earned its new name “Cannibal Island.”

SOROK ISLAND

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Like all above-mentioned islands, Sorok Island is now accessible. But the beauty and restoration does not hide the agonizing past.

Sorok Island was once a leper colony. Those who contracted the disease became objects of the experiment for the scientists who studied the disease. Their disease became their curse. Days after days they worked like slaves, with little to eat.

Oppressed by the overseers and not allowed to cross the island. Finally, in 2007, a bridge was built which connects the mainland to the Sorok Island.

15 Places To Go For The Best Northern Lights Experience

The Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis is a phenomenon that can be seen with the naked eye from late-August to mid-April when the sky turns dark around 6 PM to 6 AM. The colorful light display is highly visible in the Auroral Zone, which is between latitude 65 degrees and latitude 72 degrees.

Parts of Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Iceland, the British Isles, the Scandinavian Peninsula, and Russia are the best places to experience the Aurora Borealis.

Experiencing the dance of Northen Lights

Best Northern Lights View

In this post, we will provide you with the list of 15 best places from where you can experience one of the most sought-after bucket list worthy destinations to view the Northern Lights. Auroral displays can appear in many colors although as you’ll notice, pale green and light pink are the most common. Shades of red, yellow, blue, and violet can also be in the mix.

Fairbanks, Alaska

As the largest city in the interior region of Alaska, the city lights may distract you so you may want to go farther into the northeast to Chena Resort from where you can view the Aurora while relaxing in a hot spring. You do not need to be observant at all times because they provide an Aurora alarm service which alerts guests when the light show starts.

As seen from Beaver Creek Scenic River in Alaska

Murmansk, Russia

Located above the Arctic Circle in northwest Russia, be prepared because temperatures can drop to as low as -40 degrees Celsius in the Russian winter. This season also brings polar nights where the sun is constantly below the horizon. During this period, the sky will be completely dark, increasing your chances of viewing the Northern Lights.

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Yellowknife, Canada

Located in the northwest of Canada, Yellowknife is just 250 miles from the Arctic Circle. A half-hour drive will bring you to Aurora Village, a teepee campground where you can view the Northern Lights from the comfort of warm and cozy viewing chairs.

As seen in Yellowknife, Canada

Labrador, Canada

Found in the eastern part of Canada, the forbidding terrain and extreme climate keep the region pristine. The top of the ski trail at the Birch Brook Nordic Ski Club, located near central Labrador, will provide you with a view of the Northern Lights reflecting on vast snow-covered trails.

Yukon, Canada

You do not need to be on land to be able to view the Northern Lights. The partnership between Tourism Yukon, Air North, and the Yukon Astronomical Society now offers flights from Whitehorse, Yukon that specifically flies over the Auroral zone to allow viewers to see the Aurora from the air. You can now enjoy the beautiful northern lights from 36,000 feet above the Yukon.

As seen from Yukon Territory, Canada

Abisko National Park, Sweden

Surrounding mountains and prevailing winds create an atmospheric effect that clears the sky over this region found on the center of the Swedish Lapland. The cloudless winter night creates an excellent viewing condition of the sky along with the view of the mountains and alpine meadows.

Tromso, Norway

Located above the Arctic Circle, this city in northern Norway is a famous site for viewing the Northern Lights. You can make the viewing more special by boarding the Hurtigruten, the Norwegian coastal steamer, so you can view the Aurora in a fjord. Don’t worry if you fall asleep, the ship provides wake up calls when the Aurora is visible.

As seen from Norway

Svalbard, Norway

A remote archipelago located north of Norway known for glaciers and frozen tundra, the islands here have long, dark, cloudless nights with dry weather – ideal conditions for viewing the Northern Lights. Although you will find more polar bears than people, there will be no shortage of attractions, from dog-sledding to backcountry skiing.

 

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Luosto, Finland

Santa’s Hotel Aurora glass igloos provide visitors with a different experience as they view not just the Northern Lights, but the whole arctic scenery from inside a Lapland hut-styled room with glass roof and walls. Here you can view the Aurora from the comfort of a fully equipped hotel room just a few steps from the reception and other services.

As seen in Finland

Oulanka National Park, Finland

Located in the Lapland regions of Finland, Oulanka National Park is one of the best places to go to see beautiful scenery backdropped by the Northern Lights. Comprised of pine forests and river valleys, you can find various camping areas from where you can view the Aurora.

Another shot of the dancing Aurora from Finland

Kangerlussuaq, Greenland

A region close to the Arctic Circle, this town in western Greenland is the main air transport hub so getting here will be easier than the other locations. Having clear skies 300 days a year also makes this a prime location for viewing the Northern Lights.

Thingvellir National Park, Iceland

The Northern Lights are visible from the whole of Iceland but you can improve the experience by viewing it from Thingvellir National Park, located in a rift valley that marks the crest of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge, which is a popular tourist destination because of its history and geology.

As seen from Iceland

Cairngorms National Park, Scotland

The largest national park in Britain, located in the Scottish Highlands, where you can perform daytime activities like skiing and hiking. Once night falls, one of the best places to view the Northern Lights is in Glenlivet Estate. Awarded a Dark Sky status, this location ensures that there are no artificial lights that prevent you from seeing the Aurora.

As seen in Scotland (Picture credit)

Isle of Skye, Scotland

The British Isles frequently have cloudy skies, but when the cloud cover breaks during the winter, the low light pollution paired with the breathtaking view of jagged mountain ranges, sea cliffs, pools, and moors makes for a beautiful scene backdropped by the Northern Lights.

On an Alaskan Crusie Ship

When you book a cruise ship going to Alaska during September, you would probably think that the highlight of the trip would be on one of the cruise shore excursions in the rugged outdoors, but you may be pleasantly surprised when the Northern Lights suddenly presents itself at sea.

Aurora Borealis

That’s it! These top 15 places offer unique perspective and view of the Northern Lights.

One tip in general: for those planning a visit to these areas, don’t make it a trip just for the Aurora Borealis because this phenomenon is elusive and you might be disappointed when you don’t see it. Clouds, weather, light pollution, time in hand, things that are not in your control can affect your viewing experience.

Having other activities planned will ensure that you will enjoy your trip whether you see the dancing Aurora Borealis or not.

Also, these aren’t the only places where you can view the Northern Lights. Sometimes, the Aurora presents itself in unexpected locations. So if you find yourself in the auroral zone in the evening, just face north, look up, and you just might get lucky.

Let us know in the comments below if you have experienced the mystical dance of the northern lights. What do you think? Please do share if you have any special moment or thought that came to you while viewing and experiencing the Aurora Borealis.

 

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15 Photos Showing How the World Celebrated Easter

Easter is recognized on the first Sunday after the first full moon of Spring. Since 325 AD, Christians have celebrated Easter on a collective day. Some indulge in the easter eggs hunting and some just want to feel the experience the warm sun rays falling through the Holy Sepulchre.

Here are 15 unique and interesting easter tradition photos from around the world that capture the essence and spirit of Easter celebration.

This Photo dates back to 1930 taken in  Megara, Greece. The women are performing a traditional Easter Dance.

Here is a photo which was taken by Alessio Romenzi when the nuns were blowing out their candles after the Holy Fire ceremony, Jerusalem.

In Stinatz, Austria women dressed up in traditional dresses, while they shared Eggs with “Happy Easter”  written on them.

The procession along the Via Dolorosa is carried out in Jerusalem City, Israel, during the Good Friday.

This mascot is the Easter bunny who the curious children found when on an egg hunt in Connecticut, USA.

This is how the window looks from the roof of the church of the Holy Sepulchre. And all that haze is due to the smoke from the Holy Fire Ceremony in Jerusalem.

An altar created in Oaxaca, Mexico for Easter. And a woman who unknowingly became the subject of this photo.

During the Holy Week,  Procession of Verges takes place in Verges, Spain. The actors re-enact the life story of Christ. This photo is from the final act – The Dance of Death.

This delish scene is outside St Michael’s Church in Vorkuta, Russia. Eggs, candles, and cakes! I bet the parish is feeling the giving spirit of Easter.

The photo was taken by David Alan Harvey in 1978 during Holy week procession in Valladolid, Spain.

The Holy Fire is indeed blazing during the Holy Fire Ceremony in Jerusalem. Alessio Romenzi accentuates the passion of the festival.

A March in Chartres, France in 1969 when the students walked to the cathedral bearing crosses.

The light coming from the window of Holy Sepulchre (in Jerusalem) is considered Holy by many Christians. Some women reverently basking in the sun rays coming through the window.

These beautifully painted Easter Eggs are all the way from Lincoln, Nebraska. Ready to hide the eggs and play the fun game?

A procession held from Mount Olives to the Temple of Holy Sepulchre, Jerusalem, where pilgrims carry crosses to commemorate the journey of Christ to his Crucifixion.

All photo credits go to the gallery of National Geographic Travel.

Interested in pilgrimages? Check our Post 5 Pilgrimages That Could Change Your Life

You may like: Visiting the Birth Place of Buddha in Nepal

 

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Top 5 Harshest Places to Live on Earth

We all find reasons to visit exotic places around the world. There are some places though that may strike your wanderlust despite being opposite of a dream-vacation-land.

In this blog post, I want to take you on a tour of the world’s top 5 harshest places that are impossible to explore for long because of the natural conditions.

Mother Nature births beautiful places in the different environment. Some of them are in the harshest environment. These sites are not only impossible but fatal to live in. If you are feeling particularly adventurous, venture out on your own free will.

Dallol, Ethiopia

Many times we think of shoving someone’s head in burning sulfur. Our anger is wrong! But did you know there is a place where you can do so? Dallol in Ethiopia is a volcanic site. The rugged terrain has sprawling volcanic lakes.

These hell-like lakes are not just any lakes; they are full of acid and sulfur.

So, if you want to go near it, then go at your own risk. The temperatures here reach an average of 35 degrees Celcius all the year round.

It is unfortunate to say that, Dallol is the hottest inhabited place on Earth! Yes, you read that right, it is inhabited. People who live here have no means of transportation, not even roads. You can travel on the hot volcanic terrain on a camelback.

Le Rinconada, Peru

After reading about the hottest inhabited place, let us move on to the highest inhabited place. Le Rinconada is in Peru. You can say it is a quaint town in the Peruvian Andes.

This little town is not so small after all. It has people flocking to it, because of the gold rush. Even at the height of 16,700 feet where people should suffocate for oxygen, people settle here. Talk about gold motivation! The highest spot on earth, where people live offers gold as bribe in place of oxygen.

 

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Atacama Desert, Chile

The wide expanse of wilderness spans across four countries, making it the largest non-polar desert. Atacama desert might cover Peru, Bolivia, and Argentina but it’s the part of Chile that is the harshest to live in.

The temperature here rises to 50 degree Celsius. And it hardly receives an annual rainfall of 0.51 Inches. With little to no water for hundreds and thousands of miles in Chilean Antofagasta, how is a man gonna survive? That remains the biggest question.

Oymakon, Russia

When we talk about extreme places, we see they are either bone-freezing cold or brain-melting hot! But there is a place in Russia that happens to experience both types of climates. Now, this is what extreme tourism is all about. Whether you believe it or not Oymakon is the coldest inhabited place on earth.

Temperature drops to a deathly low of -67.7 degrees Celsius. But after the tiring cold weather, residents of Oymakon are set to deal with the scorching hot summer. Two sides of the coin are just the same in Oymakon; the only difference is one is hot and another cold.

Death Valley, USA

The name assigned to this national park in California suits it perfectly. While we talked about the hottest, driest, and highest places on earth; Death Valley somehow must have smirked behind our back. It is a must-mention in the list of harshest places.

Where the Atacama Desert receives the lowest rainfall, Death Valley witnesses the hottest of temperatures. It is hard to live here for more than the twelve hours; you may die of dehydration.

Temperatures reach a high of 51 degrees Celsius, then how is any human supposed to survive here? Yes, Death Valley is a National Park in the US and hundreds of thousands of tourists do visit the park (only if for few hours).

 

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6 Travel Destinations for Curious Millennials

Millennials put more value on a meaningful life than on material possessions and career goals, and one of the ways they do so is by traveling.

As with everything else, millennials have unique expectations when it comes to traveling. They want to get to know new cultures, new people and relax.

With that in mind, here are six unconventional travel destinations that will satisfy every curious millennial’s expectations.

Helsinki, Finland

This beautiful seaside city is the capital of Finland. It’s known for its laid-back atmosphere and natural treasures. Helsinki has a lot to offer: large parks, beautiful islands, lakes, and forests spread across and around the city.

The city is a perfect getaway from the hustle and bustle of modern life. 

Helsinki is not a big city, and it’s easily explored on foot. Walking down the streets of Helsinki will help you get the feel of it, as well as offer a chance to enjoy its beautiful architecture.

When in Helsinki, you shouldn’t miss out on getting to know the greener side of it, since there are many natural sights that are definitely worth seeing.

Tahiti, French Polynesia

One of the most beautiful islands of the Polynesian Triangle is a great travel destination for art lovers and curious people alike who want to relax and try something new.

The name of the island will be familiar to many, as it was popularized by the French painter Paul Gauguin. He painted the way of life on the island that continues to capture the eye and imagination of many. 

Picturesque beaches, clear seas, and exotic vegetation will welcome you to this beautiful place. Enjoying nature is just one part of the Tahiti experience; you will also get to know a different way of life, and learn how to relax and be in the moment.

Yellowknife, Canada

Yellowknife is a little town in Northwest Territories, Canada. This remote part of the world doesn’t sound like much until you discover that it’s considered the best place to see the Northern Lights.

The interaction of radiation from the sun with the Earth’s magnetic field causes the natural phenomenon known as the Aurora Borealis. The result of which is a spectacular and colorful light show in the sky.

Seeing Aurora Borealis should be on everyone’s bucket list, and if you can, you should definitely see it from Yellowknife.

Saint Petersburg, Russia

Russia has long been a mystery to the western part of the world, but the time to discover it has finally come. If you’re interested in discovering Russia, Saint Petersburg is the perfect place to start your journey.

This city is the cultural center of its country, and its architectural backbone is like no other in the world.

The Winter Palace and the Kazan Cathedral are a must-see for every visitor. They display the power of the old empire and the unique building style of this part of the world.

Saint Petersburg is also home to the Hermitage, the biggest museum of art and culture in Russia, and one of the biggest in the world.

Sydney, Australia

Moving down under, Sydney is the most versatile city you can visit! This is the place for you if you want to both relax and have an adventure. If you love nature, start your visit by going to the Royal National Park and soaking in the scenery.

The Sydney Opera House is one of its best-known landmarks. It definitely deserves a visit and a good look at! After all, you haven’t really traveled the world if you haven’t visited Australia.

 

Sydney has many other beautiful places and sights and walking around the city, you are sure to find them. But Sydney is also famous for its party side!

After a great day of exploring, the best way to relax is during happy hour at a Manly restaurant by the beach. Grab a drink and get to know the locals.

Cartagena, Colombia

This colorful city in Colombia is becoming a tourist favorite. The cobblestone streets and colonial-era buildings located within the stone walls of the city center are a sight worth exploring.

Strolling around the old city brings its history to life. However, modern life is just around the corner.

In the modern part of Cartagena, you will find many amazing restaurants and cafes. The modern part of the city is every bit as worth exploring as its historical part.

Author’s Bio

Peter is a travel writer at Voice Boks magazine. Besides writing, he worked as a travel journalist for many publications around UK & AU. Follow Peter on Twitter for more travel tips.

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The 7 Strange Natural Wonders of the World

Strange natural wonders take us by surprise. Nature has a mind of its own that continually amazes and perplexes us.

Just as soon as we think we have understood nature, it surprises us with another phenomenon that challenges our understanding. Have you ever seen a glittery beach or a rainbow-colored tree?

Nature plays weird tricks on us every day. Here are some of the top strange natural wonders in our world.

RAINBOW TREES

rainbow eucalyptus by hollyladd is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

The Eucalyptus Delta is a rare tree. You can find these elusive trees in Seram, New Britain Island, New Guinea, and Mindanao.

The trees shed the old bark when the new bark emerges. This process is beautiful to watch. As the transition occurs, the bark becomes the colors of the rainbow. The blue, red, purple, and orange hues give it an unnatural beauty.

 

GLITTERY SHORE, MALDIVES

Just coming to the Maldives will make you think that you are on an alien planet. Or maybe you will believe that you are dead and gone to heaven. Either way, these beaches are ethereal. The shores of Vaadhoo Beach in the Maldives stand above the rest.

The phytoplankton in the water emits light. Consequently, the blue waters glow at night due to the bioluminescence. The glittering shore of Vaadhoo beach is one of nature’s anomalies and thus a strange natural wonder of the world.

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BLOOD FALLS

The name itself fills you with curiosity, what is this place? East Antarctica is a pristine piece of land where many strange things occur, including the Blood Falls. Furthermore, this phenomenon is straight out of a vampire movie. At Taylor Glacier, the red colored water flowing through the snowy landscape is haunting. However, the red tinge of the water is due to the presence of iron oxide. Regardless of the explanation, the falls are still eerie to many.

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DOOR TO HELL

Sounds chilling. The door to hell is a gas crater in Turkmenistan. Derweze was a place rich in natural gas. Thus, Geologists tapped into the natural gas supply in a cavern in Derweze. However, soon after the whole rig collapsed into the ground.

To prevent methane from spreading in the atmosphere, the geologists decided to burn the natural gas. Since then a crater the size of the rig (230ft wide x 66ft deep) is all that remains. The crater might have occurred due to man’s activity, but the structure is a natural one. Therefore, you can call the Door to Hell one of the strange natural wonders of the world.

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LIGHT PILLARS

You can witness this magnificent sight in Moscow. During the evening it seems like the doors of heaven open up as pillars of light consume the sky. You can not see this anywhere else in the world. The secret behind this strange natural wonder is ice crystals. The tiny ice crystals hang in the air. Then the light from the sun, moon, or other terrestrial source hits them. The angle of the crystals is planar or parallel and therefore when the light hits them, pillars of light illuminate the sky.

SALT MIRRORS

There are countless reflective surfaces around the earth. However, this reflective surface is something you would have never imagined. The Salt Mirrors appear in Bolivia. Plus, they cover an area of 10,582 square km! Changes in prehistoric lakes have given us the salt mirrors. Now the flat salt deposits cover the ground as clear as glass. Thus, the sky is vividly reflected in these mirror-like sheets of salt deposits. You can even see your reflection in the natural salt mirror. Salt and mirror? Sounds unbelievable, but nature always surprises us.

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UNDERWATER FOREST

The dreamer in you will be excited to discover there is an underwater forest. You may ask, where can I find this natural wonder? The Kaindy Lake in Kazakhstan holds the secrets to this enchanted forest. The lake is a part of Tian Shan Mountain. During a massive limestone landslide in 1911 the forest was dislocated, resulting in the sunken wood inside Lake Kaindy. The trees have not rotted because of the perfect conditions in the Lake. Now the Lake is home to an underwater forest which spans 400 meters! 

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There are many strange natural wonders you can visit around the globe beside the ones in this article. However, these are good places to start your adventure into the abnormal!

 

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180th Meridian and International Date Line Mystery

Did you know that the 180th meridian navigates the entire surface of the Earth from the North Pole to the South Pole? It exists 180° East and 180° West of the Prime Meridian.

Starting at the North Pole and heading south to the South Pole, the 180th meridian passes through Arctic Ocean, Russia, Chukchi Sea, Bering Sea, Amchitka Pass (east of Alaska), Tuvalu, Cikobia Island, Fiji, and Antarctica.

However, the only place where roads cross this meridian, and civilization exists, is in Fiji.

180th Meridian

Photo by Paul Lenz shared under CC BY 2.5 license

The 180th meridian is used as the basis for the International Date Line (IDL) because for the most part, it passes through the open waters of the Pacific Ocean without much international water disputes or boundaries.

International Date Line

In reality, the International Date Line (IDL) does not exist. It is an imaginary line roughly based on the meridian of 180° longitude. I would love to go to Fiji and change my day by just taking a step.

If you cross the date line moving east, you subtract a day, whereas if you are moving west you add a day. For example, if today is Friday and we crossed the International Date Line from west to east then it would be Thursday. 

When you cross the date line, you sort of become a time traveler! Cross to the west and it’s one day later; cross back and you’ve “gone back in time.”

Look at the man standing in the center of the past and future (pictured above). This is almost mind-tripping. At one moment you could be in the present and yet another moment you could be still living in the yesterday. How cool!

Around the World in Eighty Days

The concept behind the International Date Line was used as a plot device in Jules Verne’s novel “Around the World in Eighty Days” published in 1873.

Original book cover

The book’s main protagonist, Phileas Fogg, travels eastward around the world. He had bet with his friends that he could do it in 80 days. To win the wager, Fogg must return by 8:45 pm on Saturday, 21 December 1872.

However, the journey suffers a series of delays and when Fogg reaches London, it’s 8:50 pm on Friday, 20 December, although he believes it’s Saturday, 21 December and that he has lost the wager by a margin of just 5 minutes.

The next day, however, it is revealed that the present day is still Saturday, not Sunday, and Fogg arrives at his club just in time to win the bet.

Verne explains:

In journeying eastward Phileas Fogg had gone towards the sun, and the days, therefore, diminished for him as many times four minutes as he crossed degrees in this direction.

There are 360 degrees on the circumference of the earth; and these 360 degrees, multiplied by 4 minutes, give precisely 24 hours — that is, a full day unconsciously gained.

In other words, while Phileas Fogg, going eastward, saw the sun pass the meridian eighty times, his friends in London only saw it pass the meridian seventy-nine times.

Fogg had thought it was one day more than it actually was, because he had forgotten this simple fact. During his journey, he had added a full day to his clock, at the rhythm of an hour per 15 degrees, or 4 minutes per degree.

So what do you think? Would you like to explore the 180th meridian and make it in some sort of trip idea or bucket list? Please leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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