On Friday our friend at Everyday Strange featured a guest post that I wrote. You can read it here. I wrote about when I traveled to Germany last year, which occurred right between finishing graduate school and moving to North Carolina. I went with my best friend from high school, and we visited a foreign exchange student who his family had a few years back. Throughout our trip I noticed that Germany had a lot of giant casks, barrels, and other containers for holding alcohol. Some were tourist attractions (like the wine “tun” which was also a restaurant), while others were real, and amazingly huge. Overall, it was a post I was happy to write.
The month before I wrote another guest post about traveling to China. You can read it here. A year before going to Germany I attended the Harbin International Snow and Ice festival. Harbin, China is close to Mongolia, and it is frigid. I always heard about the festival—which is the world’s biggest—when I lived in Korea, and after many years of waiting, circumstances were finally right for the trip. To be quite serious, my time spent seeing ice and snow structures and sledding, skiing, and skating was the coldest I’ve ever been. In Harbin the temperature stays below freezing for about eight months out of the year. The experience was, however, a blast.
Leah and I ran across Everyday Strange when we started blogging. It’s a blog I check out regularly, and I suggest you do to. The blog is based in North Carolina, which is how we ran across it, and from the name you can pretty much guess the topics consist of the strange and interesting. Above is the home page, and reading it is never boring. I saw a call for guest posts one day, and thought I’d submit something, which Everyday Strange accepted. I’ve had a lot of fun guest blogging, and hopefully I can do more in the future. Also, Leah and I want to set something similar up here. So if you have any ideas for a post, please, feel free to send them our way.
Here’s something noteworthy (and strange, perhaps): my original idea was to follow up the Harbin festival post with a post about another thing the city is known for—its tiger sanctuary. I toured it and the experience was like nothing I’ve ever seen before. The Siberian Tiger Sanctuary is within city limits, and consists of about a million and a half square meters of about 2,000 Siberian tigers. They raise them, rescue them, and help breed them. The tour is unique because the tigers aren’t really the ones in cages—you are. Visitors get into armored buses, a bit like in Jurassic Park, and drive through the mostly-fenceless facility.
I thought the tigers in the facility looks well taken care of. In doing some research for the post, however, I found out that the sanctuary is fairly controversial. The tigers are fed live food, which many people see as cruel, and some people think the tigers could be treated better. These issues were enough that I decided not to do a guest post about it, and I would warn people interested in the facility in doing their own research before visiting. In the end, if there is just one take away from guest blogging, I think it is that I am now more prone to doing research on tourist sites in the future, which is a positive outcome overall. Here’s to learning more!
–Jeff and Leah
(below, my traveling buddies — Germans Stefan and Dennis, American Johnny, and my good friend Ying’s Chinese cousins Xiaozhen and Ding)