Tag Archives: Historical

Mark Twain’s Final Resting Place

Nestled in New York State’s Southern Tier

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Graves aren’t typically considered offbeat, but we like to make exceptions for great people who’ve solidified their places in history. We were honored to pay tribute to Ernest Hemingway in Ketchum, Idaho a while back.

In a cozy little city called Elmira lies one of America’s greatest literary minds. Mark Twain–or Samuel Clemens, as he was legally known–led a life of adventure considered ambitious even by today’s standards. His writings certainly reflect that and more, including his brutal honesty about people and life in general.

Although he passed away in Redding, Connecticut, he had ties to Elmira, especially since it was where he married his wife, Olivia. It was her family that was from Elmira, and it is her family’s plot at Woodlawn Cemetery where they are both buried today.

Signage is available upon entering Woodlawn Cemetery that will direct you to his gravesite.

Madrid’s San Miguel Market Just Works for Everyone

Fish Heads, Anyone?

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Looking for something fresh? How about just a sample? Tapas? Atmosphere? Mercado San Miguel in Madrid has just that! 

We don’t really know what drew us to Madrid’s Market of San Miguel. As far as offbeat attractions go, it’s not like it’s hard to find, since it’s in the center of the city, near Plaza Mayor. But the chic iron and glass structure—recently renovated since our first visit to Spain in 2008—called out to us.

Maybe it was the oversized saw tooth fish on ice that was smiling at us (see above), or the casual European atmosphere at the height of the Spanish summer, but San Miguel is a good stop for something different and relaxing, especially if you came a long way like we did. We didn’t eat anything.

We didn’t buy anything. We just explored. Sometimes that all you need to do to experience a place. It just works. And for all you hardcore foodies out there, this might just be your version of heaven. Enjoy!

LINKS
The Market of San Miguel
Visit Madrid

Spain’s Kilometer Zero

Every Country Has One

Americans like to go to places that are geographically weird—for example, a road or bridge where you can be in more than one state at once. The Four Corners monument also comes to mind. It’s just a thing about us. Perhaps not as popular outside the United States, virtually every country on Earth that uses the metric system has a Kilometer (or Kilometre) Zero, a point from where distances to other parts of said country are measured. All roads lead to somewhere, but they have to start somewhere, right?

Since we spent so much time in Spain, it’s no wonder that we found the Spanish Kilometre Zero. Not surprisingly, it’s in Madrid, since these markers are usually in capital cities. It’s right in the middle of Puerta Del Sol, a public square. It’s not hard to find, but it’s actually fun to hunt for it without GPS and your smartphone, which is why we’re not including a map link to it. Go out and be adventurous, young reader!

Spain’s marker is fancier than most; the “origin of the radial highways”. It is also frequently, though inaccurately, referred to as the geographical center of Spain. But it’s close enough.

LINKS
Kilometre Zero Explained

A Perfect Replica of a Perfect Canal Boat: Welcome Aboard the Lois McClure!

Sailing the Canals Like its Ancestors

Canals built America. They were the vital veins of commerce and trade before the railroads took over. New York’s Erie Canal comes to mind, but that was just one of many that helped to define a young United States in the early 1800s. Navigating these winding waterways were canal boats, which came in all shapes and sizes over the years. They were designed for long trips between ports and were pretty nifty for 19th century engineering–many of them complete with folding sails and a raisable keel.

Most canal boats from that era are long gone, but the Lois McClure shines new light on how these vessels worked and what life was like on board. Lois McClure is a perfect replica, built like the schooners of their day. Launched in Lake Champlain (Burlington, VT) in 2004, the McClure spends a good amount of time on the go, using the same canal systems its progenitors once did. Except it’s not a ship of commerce, but one of education, stopping at various ports to show the public just how intricate these vessels were.

A great summertime visit, check out Lake Champlain Maritime Museum’s website to see if the boat is at its homeport or is heading to your neck of the woods.

Explore Submarine Life in Sweden!

Parked Above the Sea

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If you’ve ever wondered what living in a World War II-era Swedish submarine was like, you can get a pretty good idea by visiting the Teknikens og Sjöfartens hus (The House of Maritime and Technology) in Malmö, Sweden. The museum is packed with historical objects related to high tech and the sea, including a vintage Swedish fighter jet. And don’t worry: the submarine—known as the U3—is in permanent dry dock, so hydrophobic travelers need not worry. Great for families as you walk through the belly of this stunning water machine.

Malmö is a cool city at the southern tip of Sweden. Although not a primary destination for most foreign visitors to Sweden, it’s worth the train ride from Stockholm or, as was our case, Copenhagen. It’s a quick ride across the Öresund Bridge from Denmark.

LINKS
The House of Technology and Maritime
More information about the U3 submarine
U3 Veterans Crew


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