Browsing: Travel

A Brief History On March 22, 1995, Russian cosmonaut Valeri Polyakov made it back to Earth after spending a record 437 days and 18 hours in space.  A physician, Polyakov had previously spent 241 days in space on another space flight in 1988. Digging Deeper These two space flights were the only ones Polyakov made in his career.  After medical and psychological tests, Polyakov was found to have undergone mood swings, but otherwise remained healthy after his experiences.  He lived to the age of 80, dying in 2022. The current record for total time spent in space by anyone is…

Read More

A Brief History On March 17, 1945, the Ludendorf Bridge over the Rhine River fell 10 days after the US Army seized the span allowing them to cross the Rhine into Germany.  The Germans failed to blow up the bridge, and again failed to take it down later, a major blunder in World War II. Digging Deeper Bridges are often magnificent, and when they fall the event is major news.  Some notable bridge collapses include the following: The Ponte das Barcas of Porto, Portugal in 1809, is the deadliest bridge collapse, with 4,000 people fleeing French soldiers falling to their…

Read More

A Brief History On March 15, 1986, the Hotel New World in Singapore arguably became the worst hotel in the world in moments when the six story building suddenly collapsed, burying 50 people under the rubble.  Fortunately, 17 of those people were saved, but the other 33 died. Digging Deeper Hotel New World, originally called the New Serangoon Hotel, was built in 1971 and had a name change in 1984.  The ground floor was a bank, the second floor was a nightclub, and the top four floors were the hotel.  A parking garage was in the basement. Perhaps an omen…

Read More

A Brief History On March 12, 1938, German troops marched into Austria and the absorption of Austria into Germany became a fact.  Other countries have either merged or absorbed independent lands, either voluntarily or involuntarily, and today we look at some of those mergers. Digging Deeper A long lasting, but tenuous merger is the United Kingdom of England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. This union was a work in progress from 1535 to 1801, until most of Ireland became independent in 1922. The USSR, which resulted from Russia transforming into a giant communist state in 1922, incorporated 21 “republics” and…

Read More

A Brief History On March 10, 1535, Tomás de Berlanga, a Spanish Bishop based in Panama, accidentally discovered the Galapagos Islands while sailing to Peru. These beautiful islands were not occupied by humans at the time and seem to never have had human inhabitants.  The 18 main islands are famous for their unique species of animals and plants and as the inspiration for Darwin’s theory of evolution. Digging Deeper Accidental discoveries have led to great things, including: In 1492, Christopher Columbus landed in the Bahamas, finding the Americas while on his way to East Asia, opening a vast and rich…

Read More