Transportation Tips

What Are Mile Markers?

Highways and Interstates
What is interesting about highways or interstates is that usually, there will be some sort of a small green sign that has a number on it which will occur every mile. It is probably the most helpful if you are traveling to the end of that highway, or if you are traveling to a new state. It gets even better than that when you are traveling south or west. 

End of the Road Sign
End of the Road Sign

If you notice the highways, you can see that there are exit numbers and they either count up or count down depending on the direction that you are going. The numbers relate to the mile marker that is at that spot. The reason for that specific number comes from how far you are from the end of the road or the state from the south or west side. If you know the mile marker number at the point where it goes to another state or where it ends, the cool trick can work any direction. 

Do the math!
The cool trick is that you know how far it is from that end point to where you are, thanks to the number on the green sign. The engineers building the road have already done that math for you. It just gives you a better idea of how far you have to go if you are traveling to that endpoint and why the number on the mile marker sign is that specific number.

Are we there yet?
Also, mostly on interstates, you might notice that there are smaller, white signs on the side of the road that appear a lot more frequently. They represent every tenth of a mile. You know this because after ten of those white signs, the next green mile marker sign pops up indicating that you have traveled one mile from the last one of those same signs you saw. Another fun fact, on some interstates, most likely in urban areas, there will be some signs in the middle of the road on a mini barrier that indicate you have travel every fifth of a mile, possibly with the interstate you are on with the direction you are going. After five of them, there will be yet again an indicator that says you have traveled yet another mile along the long highway.

Thank you to those who have read this fun article over mile markers and what they are all about. This was written for anyone who was curious about this topic and took the time to read a little bit about them. Now you probably know a lot more about them than you did before!

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Beautiful Patagonia!

Some of the world’s most beautiful places are located in Patagonia. Explorer Ferdinand Magellan called the Southern region of Chile and Argentina “Patagonia” which means “big feet”. This region is sparsely populated and offers miles and miles of pristine beauty.

Parks to explore
Parque Nacional Los Glaciares, Argentina
Perito Merino Glacier, Argentina
Torres Del Paine National Park, Chile
Bernardo O’Higgins National Park, Chile

How to get explore Patagonia
You can fly into Santiago International Airport, Chile (SCL) or Buenos Aires International Airport, Argentina (EZE) to start your journey to Patagonia. You may wish to fly into one country and fly out of the other. If you can spare the time, fly into Santiago, Chile. Go down to the Valparaiso, Chile on the Pacific Coast of Chile. Enjoy some time on the beach and then get on a Patagonian cruise down to Punta Arenas in the Straits of Magellan (which connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean). If you do not have the time, fly from Santiago,Chile to Punta Arenas, Chile. You can make Punta Arenas, Chile your base in Patagonia. Take your time to to discover the Chilean side of Patagonia. Cross the border over to Rio Gallegos, Argentina and take Ruta 40 that runs along the Andes Mountain Range to explore the breathtaking Patagonian region of Argentina. You can make your way North to Buenos Aires, Argentina if time permits.

Antarctica
Do you know that Chile has its own Chilean Antarctic Territory? Chilean Antarctica is a territory claimed by Chile across from Patagonia. Puerto Willams (Cabo De Hornos), Chile would be your starting point to Antarctica. You can also cross from Puerto Willams, Chile over to Ushuaia, (Tierra Del Fuego) Argentina which many consider the end of the world. You are pretty much in the bottom of the world here! It is an experience of a lifetime! You can fly from Ushuaia, Argentina to Buenos Aires, Argentina to connect to your international destination.


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Kerala, land of coconuts and curry!

Kerala is located in the West Coast of Southern India. The climate is excellent for growing spices such as cardamon, cloves, cinnamon and peppers.

Cochin (Kochi)
The beautiful beaches of Cochin (Kerala), with graceful coconut trees must have been a welcome sight to weary European sailors. Cochin became a very important trading post settled by the Portuguese. Cochin’s history goes further back. Greeks, Romans, Arabs, Jews and Chinese have all traded in Cochin and along the Malabar Coast. Its natural harbor and trade made Cochin to become the Queen of the Arabian Sea.

Take a houseboat cruise through the calm backwaters of Kerala. The lush greenery is breathtaking.

Or visit Cherai Beach with beautiful coconut groves in Kochi (Cochin), Kerala.

Kerala Food
Seafood is abundant here and many dishes include coconut. Freshly grated coconut has a delicious taste. It is not the same as what we get here in the US in the frozen section. Fresh coconut makes delicious chutneys and coconut oil is used to cook pretty much everything in Kerala.

Try some Kerala Karimeen (local fish) and huge Kerala prawns (shrimp) cooked with local curry leaves and spices. This region of India is a paradise for food lovers. You can find tasty vegetarian and also a variety of delicious meat dishes in Kerala.

Getting here
Now you can fly in style into the green solar powered Cochin International Airport (COK). Cochin International Airport has grown quickly to become the 4th busiest airport in India.

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Christmas in Lalibela Ethiopia

Christmas is celebrated in January in Ethiopia. An exceptional place to celebrate Christmas is in the ancient rock-hewn churches of Lalibela, Ethiopia. This place is also known as the “New Jerusalem”. There are eleven ancient churches clustered together. Pilgrims clad in white come from all over to celebrate Christmas. Eat some wat (thick spicy stew) on a Ethiopian sourdough bread (injeera) which looks similar to Indian dosas.

Getting to Lalibela, Ethiopia
Addis Ababa International Airport (ADD) is the international gateway to Ethiopia. Addis Ababa means “new flower”. Ethiopian Airlines flies into the local airport in Lalibela. Lalibela is situated in the Northern part of Ethiopia in the region of Amhara, South of neighboring Eritrea.

Attractions
If you have time visit ancient Aksum, Gondar (Camelot of Africa), Lake Tana and the breathtaking Simien Mountains National Park.

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South Africa’s Wild Coast

South Africa’s Wild Coast (Transkei) is fascinating. How many places in the world can you find cows relaxing on sandy beaches? Wild Coast is a stretch along South Africa’s Eastern Cape’s Northern Coastline. Here you can explore the Xhosa local culture and the natural beauty of South Africa. If you can spare the time, linger a little longer here. Hiking is a good way to soak in the natural beauty of the Wild Coast. There are beautiful seaside villages you can visit as you explore the Wild Coast. Start from East London and head towards Port Edward, South Africa.

Flying into South Africa
Cape Town International Airport (CPT) is the main gateway to South Africa. Since South Africa is in the Southern Hemisphere, the seasons will be opposite of the Northern Hemisphere. So for an example, Christmas will be in the Summer just like Australia! So if you are coming from the USA in December, pack for the Summer! If you live the Northern Hemisphere, you may consider South Africa as a good winter getaway.

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The New Old Silk Road

The Old Silk Road is being revived with modern infrastructure and technology. The New Old Silk Road is being built and extended from places like Shenzhen, China (Silicon Valley of China) to Duisburg, Germany (strategic river harbor with access to the Atlantic). Now you can travel on paved roads and high speed trains instead of the camels of old on China’s New Belt and Road. Marco Polo would be impressed!

Uzbekistan
However it is still the ancient charm of places like Bukhara, Khiva, Tashkent, Samarkand, Uzbekistan that draws tourists to retrace the steps of ancient travelers on the Silk Road. Ideas, food, goods and culture were exchanged between the Far East and the West on the old Silk Road. You could say this was the “interstate” or the “internet” of the old. Things sure moved more slowly then. Timur or Tamerlane of the Mongol Empire invested in building up Samarkand which is now in Uzbekistan. Amazing cities on the old Silk Road!

Nowruz (new day) marking the beginning of Spring is a good time to visit to soak in the Uzbek culture and warm hospitality. Enjoy some Uzbek Plov (Lamb Pilaf) and Samarkand bread.

Fly Uzbekistan Airways to Tashkent International Airport (TAS) which is the largest airport in Kazakhstan. You can get to Samarkand via train from Tashkent.

Kazakhstan
Almaty, Kazakhstan is another one of those cities that has grown and thrived! Imagine what the travelers on the Old Silk Road would have felt when they saw those beautiful mountains! In modern Almaty, Kazakhstan, you can find both the Russian Orthodox Ascension Cathedral and the Muslim Central Mosque. You can also try some great Central Asian cuisine influenced by the Great Steppe and nomadic life. You can try some Kazakh Cuisine such as Beshbarmak and Sirne.

You can fly into the Almaty International Airport (ALA) to begin your journey.

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Summer Beach Christmas in Australia’s Queensland

Australia is sure blessed with some of the best beaches in the world! Coming from the Northern Hemisphere, we usually think of December as winter. But it is just the opposite in Australia. Well it is Summer in Down Under!

Getting There
Fly into Brisbane International Airport (BNE), Queensland Australia for a beach Christmas. There are plenty of things to do right in Brisbane for Christmas. Brisbane is a modern bustling city. A good base to launch your exploration of Australia. You should check out either the Sunshine Coast or the Gold Coast Beaches. Head north from Brisbane to explore the Sunshine Coast of Australia. Or head south to the Gold Coast area of Australia.

Food
Christmas food is influenced both by the Summer weather and culture. Enjoy some yummy seafood. You can enjoy great BBQ and prawns. Not to mention English Christmas goodies like English Christmas Pudding and Mince Pie. You got to try the Aussie Pavlova Meringue dessert.

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Romanian Cuisine

The great thing about travelling is you get to savor all types of tasty food on the road. Romania with its various cultural influences has some really tasty food. If you are paying in US Dollars, you can eat like a king.

Cultural Influences
Germans (Saxons) settled the Transylvania region when it was under Hungarian rule. You can visit many of the Saxon castles and even fortified churches that protected against invasions. The Turks, Austrians, Greeks and Romans have also left their influence on the food of Romania. Each region in Romania borders different countries such as Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria, Moldova and Ukraine. Some of the Romanian Cuisine is closely related to food eaten in the Balkans.

Popular Romanian Food
Try some tasty sausages Mici or Mititei which is like a blend between a kebab and a regular sausage. Grilled lamb is quite popular here. Various stewed meat dishes with a fusion of locally grown spices create an exotic flavor. Sarmale or stuffed cabbage rolls with meat is a very popular dish eaten in this part of the world. You can also try some very unique cheeses including sheep cheese. Sibiu, Transylvania is a great foodie destination to visit.

Rural Romania
The pastoral lands in Romania offer some really good organic grown food. Even Prince Charles sources organic Transylvanian honey (for his Highgrove Royal Gardens) from Saschiz, Romania! If you have time, take a trip to rural Romania. You can get to experience Eastern Europe at a slower pace and go back in time. Wild flowers still grow in the Romanian meadows like it used to around the rest of Europe.

Getting to Romania
If you are flying from the USA, Delta, KLM, Air France and Alitalia can connect your flight to Bucharest Henri Coandă (OTP) International Airport. The Sky Team Airline partners may connect the flights via their local airline hubs in their respective countries. From Bucharest (Bucuresti), Romania you can take a train to Brasov, Transylvania to explore the castles and the fortified churches.

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European Airport Hubs

Major Continental European Airport Hubs
European Airport hubs are well integrated with ground transportation networks. Europe has an excellent rail network.

Netherlands

Schiphol International Airport (AMS)
Amsterdam is a good gateway to explore Europe further. Schiphol International Airport (AMS), Amsterdam, Netherlands is a major transportation hub. If you prefer to fly, there are low cost flights that will connect to you to rest of Europe from Schiphol International Airport (AMS). You can even take a train to Brussels, Belgium or Paris, France from the airport train station. The airport train station is conveniently located right within the airport complex. The airport has lockers where you can store your bigger luggage so you do not have to take it with you.

Amsterdam Centraal Train Station
From Schiphol train station, you can quickly reach Amsterdam’s main Centraal Station. From Amsterdam Centraal Station, you can connect by train to major European cities such as Zurich, Switzerland or Berlin, Germany. There are also river cruises that will take you up the Rhine from Amsterdam.

Germany

Frankfurt International Airport (FRA)
Frankfurt am Main International (FRA) Airport is the busiest airport in Germany. This is Lufthansa Airlines largest airport hub. Rent a car or take the trains to connect to your travel destinations. You can drive down to the Romantic Mid Rhine area. The Mid Rhine area has a lot offer with beautiful castles between Mainz and Kobenlz. Best to explore the Rhine River by boat. Slow down and enjoy the views. You can also explore the Romantic Road.

Munich International Airport (MUC)
Munich International (MUC) Airport is an excellent hub to explore Southern Germany, Bavaria and the Alps. Munich is also known as Munchen in German. If you are travelling during Christmas, the Munich Airport hosts its own Christmas Markets. You can take trains to beautiful cities like Salzburg, Austria or Vienna, Austria and Zurich, Switzerland.

Germany’s Alpine Region
Take a beautiful train journey south to Fussen, Germany. Fussen is located right across the border from Austria. Here you can explore King Ludwig’s castles. The most famous is the Neuschwanstein Castle. You should also check out the Linderhof Palace and Hohenschwangau Castle. If you have time, check out Herrenchiemsee Palace which is based on King Louis’ Versailles. Herrenchiemsee (New Palace) is located on the largest island in Lake Chiemsee closer to Salzburg, Austria.

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Germany’s Romantic Road

Germany’s Romantic Road between Wurzburg and Fussen is a destination in itself. There are several castles on this route to be explored. So take time and soak in the beautiful German towns and villages.

Rothenburg
Spend time in towns like Rothenburg ob der Tauber. Rothenburg is located in the Franconia region of Bavaria. Experience the German culture at its best.

Fussen
Most travellers will remember the Neuschwanstein Castle. Neuschwanstein Castle is known as Schloss Neuschwanstein in German. Neuschwanstein is best explored from Fussen, Bavaria. Fussen can be reached by train from Munich. This is a very beautiful part of Bavaria. Fussen borders Austria and is lush with the Alpine scenery.

Flying into Frankfurt am Main, Germany
If you are starting in the North from Wurzburg, best to fly into Frankfurt am Main International (FRA) Airport. Rent a car and you can make your own travel plans to get to Wurzburg.
You can also take a detour from the Romantic Road and drive down to the Romantic Mid Rhine area. The Mid Rhine area has a lot offer with beautiful castles between Mainz and Kobenlz. Best to explore the Rhine River by boat. Slow down and enjoy the views.

Flying into Munich, Bavaria, Germany
If you are starting in the South from Fussen, fly into Munich International (MUC) Airport. Munich is also known as Munchen in German. If you are travelling during Christmas, the Munich Airport hosts its own Christmas Markets.

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