Tag Archives: travel

Quick, to the bat cave… in Aruba!

BPF Jake at cliffsOne of our intrepid framers managed to flee the country get away with the family for a vacation on the island of Aruba. His favorite site was Arikok National Park, where he snapped some pretty impressive pics and was able to… well, we’ll let Jake tell it.

I figured Aruba would be nothing but beaches & piña coladas. But my wife and I read there was a national park that occupied 30% of the island. So after we’d had our share of the beach and the bar, we rented a car and spent an afternoon at Arikok. It was easily one of the most unforgettable experiences of my life. After entering the park, we drove through cactus and rocks for about 30 minutes. Then, suddenly, the coast appeared. It looked like something out of a National Geographic centerfold. The volcanic rock made it difficult to walk near the edge of the cliffs, so we went as far as we dared. The force of the wind and the sound of the waves was hard to ignore.

Pano of cliffsPano of waves

waves at Arikok

The ocean view was so awe-inspiring that I didn’t think we could top it and I was ready to call it quits for the day. But Laurie was convinced that the bat caves were worth a look. A short walk back from the shoreline, there were rocky hills that one could easily enter.

Batcaves Once inside, it was pitch black. I almost didn’t go in, but framers are known for their *ahem* fearless demeanor. So even tho’ I literally could not see where I was stepping for about a dozen yards, I bravely followed my wife into the caves. Jake entering batcave The entire time, it felt like every monster movie ever made, certain that something was going to reach out of the darkness and bite one of us. It was worth the anxiety because after we made it to the interior, there was a comforting about of sunlight coming in through openings in the natural roof. Jake inside batcaveIt was so odd to see such a remarkable sight in person, and not just on a computer screen or in a coffee table book. I think the entire trip reminded us that seeing something or knowing something is not more important than doing something and sharing new experiences. Since getting home, we’ve vowed to do more traveling whenever possible.


The open-air museum of Ferropolis, City of Iron

Museums don’t have to be inside a building and they don’t have to feature art hung on a wall. Check out Ferropolis, an open air museum showcasing ginormous industrial machines that are no longer in service. Located in Gräfenhainichen, a city near Dessau, Germany and opened in 1995, Ferropolis means “city of iron”. The metal behemoths can measure up to 30 meters high, 120 meters long and weigh up to 1980 tons. The traditional museum rule of “look but don’t touch” does not apply here. In addition to guided tours onto the machines, visitors are invited to climb certain items that have been fitted with a climbing frame made out of steel and rubber. In fact it sounds like there’s no end of activities in Ferropolis – concerts, bike excursions, festivals, swimming and diving, cultural and sport events – so grab your hard hat and let’s go!

Hey, there’s a hair in my museum!

In Avanos, Cappadocia, there’s a pottery shop run by a Turkish potter named Chez Galip. Sometime over 30 years ago, one of his girlfriend’s had to leave Avanos and gave him a lock of hair to remember her by. Since then, women who visited the town and heard the story have followed suit, as well as including their address with each piece of hair. So, over the years Galip has collected over 16,000 locks of hair, from women all around the world. He used them to create this unique museum underneath his pottery shop. Every surface – walls, ceiling, shelves – are occupied by the hair with each woman’s address.
The point of the addresses is this: twice a year, 10 locks of hair are chosen and the not-yet-quite-bald winners are awarded an all expenses paid week-long vacation in Cappadocia. They even get to take Galip’s pottery workshops for free. Thanks to Neatorama for posting this. The ladies on our staff have already started growing out their hair.