Water: A Unifying Element of Travel
Water gives life. Without it, the world as we know it wouldn’t exist. In fact, 71% of the Earth’s surface is covered in water. Water systems have allowed humans to traverse the globe for thousands of years. Although water is not always our chosen method of transport today, it still plays an important part in travel.
Today we’re sharing some of our favourite travel photographs, united by one of Earth’s most important elements: water.
North America’s Great Lakes comprise the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth, containing 21% of the world’s surface fresh water by volume. The Great Lakes began to form over 14,000 years ago, at the end of the last glacial period. Retreating ice sheets carved basins into the land and the area filled with glacial meltwater.
With its etymological roots in the Norwegian language, the term fjord means “where one fares through”. The word was coined by ancient Vikings who fared the fjords before setting sail on the North Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.
Chobe National Park in Botswana is known to have healthy populations of elephants, lions, hyenas, hippos, zebras and many other species. and indeed they can be seen everywhere. The river is a life source for the many animals that call the park home.
The Cliffs of Étretat in France are a unique feature for a country with 3,427 km of coastline. Layers of chalky rock reflect the passage of time, and one can almost imagine when this sea-facing wall may have been connected with another. The cliffs consist of three naturally occurring arches and what is known as the ‘needle’. Two of the three arches, Porte d’Aval and Porte d’Amont, can be seen from town; however, to truly enjoy the view and to see the third arch, Manneport, one must traverse the sloping cliff-side.
Burano resembles a quilted patchwork of colours sewn together by the threads of dark green canals. Bright flowers bloom in window boxes, fresh laundry blows in the breeze, small boats dot the canals, and sweet smells of freshly baked pastries float through the air. The village is postcard perfect, and is certainly a peaceful place for an afternoon getaway from busy Venice.
Gullfoss waterfall is impressive by any standard, but particularly notable for how close you are able to get to it if the weather is okay. A walking path takes you down beside it, where you can stand on a rocky ledge made slick by the waterfall’s spray. A fence of two small ropes–and hopefully your better judgement–are all that is there to dissuade you from getting even closer.
Admire Ghent’s wide canals and grand architecture, bigger and taller than what you would see in quaint little Bruges. Ghent offers a glimpse into a medieval village, mixed with the busy hustle and bustle of a modern day city.
Alaska’s capital, Juneau, provides the perfect opportunity to see one of the region’s breathtaking ice sheets up-close. The Mendenhall Glacier is settled between rocky mountains, with a lake at its feet and surrounding forested wilderness. To the naked eye, the glacier is magnificent in both size and beauty. However, its recession in recent years is apparent, and one wonders how long visitors will be able to view this incredible sight.
We hiked through grazing meadows and up mountains, and strolled through the village of Portree. We saw castles and graveyards, the Old Man of Storr, befriended strangers, and fell in love with our bed and breakfast host. The Isle of Skye welcomed us with open arms, and its people and culture captivated.
The Cinque Terre, or “the five lands”, is comprised of 5 colourful coastal villages. These villages date to the 11th century, first established as naval bases and then as vibrant fishing communities. While tourism has taken over in the last decades, the neighbouring Mediterranean sea played an important role in the towns’ histories.
Sometimes, water can even find its way to the most unexpected places. One evening in late September 2014, rain beat down on the Sahara desert all night, saturating the dry sand and pooling in the valleys of the dunes. The Sahara hadn’t seen that much rain in almost 40 years.
Where are your favourite places to enjoy the water? Let us know in the comments below.