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.
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!
We found ourselves in Burlington, VT a couple of weeks ago. So, first off, Burlington is awesome! If we had to do college all over again, we would have gone there! Great college town, great local craft beers, and come on–Ben and Jerry’s! It’s just a young, hip town in a state known for its complete coolness.
Then we found this, the world’s tallest filing cabinet. OK, so it’s actually a bunch of filing cabinets stacked on top of each other, but seriously, where else would you find such a thing?! Definitely worth a look before your trip to the next local brew house. ”
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Learn to Take Stunning Pictures of the Moon with a Smartphone and Backyard Telescope
This is a lot of fun. Here at UW, we enjoy playing around with technology without spending a lot of money. A couple years ago we figured out a cool and cheap way to take stunning pictures of the moon. Two things are needed: a smartphone and a telescope. The caveat? Well, it takes a lot of time, patience, and tries to get that one shot that’s just right. But on a warm summer night when there’s a bright moon and nothing better to do….why not?
Here’s our proven method
Get a cheap backyard telescope. Doesn’t have to be anything fancy; we picked up ours for $20 at a garage sale. It may not be able to give you the planets, but any telescope should be able to give you a clear view of the moon. NOTE: for best results, use a telescope with an upright eyepiece (that forms a right angle with the telescope). This design allows easy access between phone and lens.
Wait for a night when the moon is really bright and the skies are clear, then bring it outside, put in the best eyepiece available, and place your smartphone’s camera lens right up to the eyepiece, but there should be no contact between the two. If done right, the moon should come into focus on your screen, and look something like this…
Stabilize the shot if the autofocus doesn’t do it for you. This is the tricky part. It’s best if your phone’s camera has an autofocus feature, but you’ll probably need to manually adjust it anyway by tapping the screen periodically. It might sound easy, but depending on the phone and the telescope, you may have to take the time to carefully adjust the distance between the camera lens and the eyepiece. Also, as you’re doing that, don’t forget that the moon is constantly moving in the night sky. You’ll have to adjust the telescope periodically as the moon will move out of view every couple of minutes.
Have fun! Take as many pictures as you can; you can weed out the bad and blurry ones later. Go crazy and run your best photos through filters to make it look sharper, brighter, or change the moon’s color like we did.
Have fun and good luck. Check out our gallery below!
Why is UndiscoveredWanderings posting about a spiral staircase in a chapel in New Mexico? Because there’s a story behind it, of course. Actually, no one really knows who built it. Perhaps what’s more impressive is how it was built. Too bad we can’t tell you, because we don’t know. Actually, no one knows.
Legend tells of a mysterious carpenter that wandered into the chapel over 100 years ago, looking for work. He soon built this elegant staircase and then left. To this day, no one fully understands how the spiral masterpiece supports itself. It’s been functional for over a century, but there’s no support structure to be seen, believed to be held together by pegs, not nails.