Monthly Archives: June 2015

Glass Beach – Fort Bragg, California

Glass Beach – Fort Bragg, California

Imagine a beach not made of sand but Glass! Seems imaginary and impossible but everything is possible on this Earth… and so is this. The Glass Beach, as it is famously called, is a beach in MacKerricher State Park near the Fort Bragg in California. But unlike many other marvels on the face of our planet that have been created out of various geological processes and phenomenon, this one is due to the reckless dumping of garbage over the centuries.


This began in the earlier phase of the twentieth century when the residents of the Fort Bragg began throwing their garbage onto the dump yard   which is now the Glass Beach. The garbage consisted of many electrical appliances, glass articles as well as transportation vehicles! More surprising was the fact that the whole dumping ground was actually the property of Union Lumber Company which the people very completely took for granted to serve for their waste disposal. Over the time the dumps resembled mountains and heaps of trash which were impossible to control with the growing and exploding population, so they were simply burnt down by fire.

In 1967, the place was finally sealed by the authorities of California, the California State Water Resources Control Board who did not know how to further reduce the ever increasing volumes of trash. Various clean up programs were organized and undertaken in the area but to no avail and hence the land was left at the mercy of nature for the rest few decades. Over time, the waves from the sea swept away all the junk, carrying along the pieces of anything and everything the sea could manage to gobble up but left behind pieces of glass. These pieces were broken down into yet smaller bits and smoothed and rounded by the pressure and friction of sea waves that hit these pieces. What was left behind was the beautiful and spectacular Glass Beach of the present times.

What is even more surprising is the fact that there is not just one such beach but in fact three Glass Beaches in Fort Bragg, California. All the three of these beaches were broadly formed by rampant dumping of glass articles and household garbage over a sixty years period beginning from early twentieth century 1906 to the post half of the twentieth century, 1967. The two of the beaches out of the three are located in Elm Street and Glass Beach Drive. They were subject to garbage dumping from 1943 to 1949 after which the sea took over the Herculean task of turning these into eye catching destinations which stand out as a marvel even a midst a long story of destruction and wastage of the resources on these grounds.


These beaches are easily and freely accessible to people who would either like to enjoy the picturesque beauty of shining and glistening glass pieces beneath their feet and also for those who would like to take a tougher path of climbing down hillocks and cliffs to reach these Beaches.

Unlike the two beaches the Beach number one which has faced the longest history of dumping on its grounds and bears deepest scars of the abandoned glass on its face, has something more special about it. This one cannot be accessed so easily as the cliffs that lead to it are strictly monitored for no encroachment. So, in order to get to this destination, people use the waterways which are safer and quicker.

This Beach officially became the property of the people after a private property owner stressed in 1998 that the Glass Beaches were of the people, for the people and by the people in essence! Then began a half a decade years of mechanism to clean up the place in collaboration with the California Coastal Conservancy and California Integrated Water Management Board in order to make it worth a place to be sold to the state. It was purchased by the California Department of Parks and Recreation from where the fifteen hectare of the purchased Glass Beach property in October 2002 was amalgamated with the MacKerricher State Park which remains the same to this date.

This Glass Beach has become a popular tourist spot in California. People come to enjoy its uniqueness and glitter of the colorful glass scattered everywhere and the soothing blue of the sea waters. But, tourists are strictly prohibited from collecting the glass and carrying it with them. A Glass Festival is also held to commemorate these wonderful triplet Beaches.


Just as the nature created this, the same force of nature is also destroying this beach with time. The action of waves is slowly grinding down the glass to nothing and the beach is slowly losing its glass. The state authorities are making efforts to replenish the Beaches before they completely vanish along with their beauty, glitter and uniqueness. Similar Glass Beaches have also sprung up in Benicia, California and Hanapepe, Hawaii.

The Land of Romeo and Juliet – Verona Italy

The Land of Romeo and Juliet – Verona Italy

Verona in Italy is a beautiful city that offers a lot of stuff to do and see and admire! The birthplace of the William Shakespeare set Romeo and Juliet, also offers so many mesmerizing views to behold. From ancient Roman ruins (including an incredibly well-preserved arena) to a medieval castle, from stunning piazzas to historic churches, Verona is bursting with sightseeing opportunities. And, oh yes, it’s one of the most beautiful cities in Italy and every bit as romantic as you’d expect!  Verona is a city situated on the banks of river Adige in Veneto, northern Italy, with over 265,000 inhabitants. It is one of the main tourist destinations in northern Italy.  With its marvelous artistic heritage, several annual fairs, shows, and operas, such as the lyrical season in the Arena and the ancient amphitheatre built by the Romans, it is the second most beautiful city of Italy, ranking just a bit below Venice. The city has been awarded World Heritage Site status by UNESCO because of its urban yet traditional structure and architecture.


The precise details of Verona’s early history remain a mystery. The origin of the name Verona is also unknown. One theory is it was a city of the Euganei, who were obliged to give it up to the Cenomani in 550 BC. With the conquest of the Valley of the Po, the Veronese territory became Roman at about 300 BC. Verona became a Roman colony in 89 BC, and then a municipium in 49 BC; Verona had the franchise in 59 BC.


The city hosts a huge number of tourist attractions. Arena de Verona the Verona Arena is a Roman amphitheatre in Piazza Brà in Verona, Italy. It is one of the best preserved ancient structures in the city and is internationally famous for the large scale opera performances given there.


Moving around you will also find Lake Garda, also known as Lago di Garda or Lago Benaco in Italian, is the largest lake in Italy. It is a popular holiday location and is located in Northern Italy, about half-way between Brescia and Verona, and between Venice and Milan. Glaciers formed this alpine region at the end of the last Ice Age.


Christian churches on the same site had been destroyed by an earthquake in 1117. Built in Romanesque style, the cathedral was built on September 13, 1187. Here you will also find Castelvecchio, a castle in Verona. It is the most important military construction of the Scaliger dynasty that ruled the city in the Middle Ages. Its construction was started in 1354 and the patterns followed were Italian Gothic architecture and Gothic architecture. Also, located in the eponymous medieval castle is the Castelvecchio Museum. It was restored by the architect Carlo Scarpa, between 1959 and 1973, and this restoration has enhanced the appearance of the building and its exhibits multiple times. It was initially opened in 1925.


The Castelvecchio Bridge or Scaliger Bridge is a fortified bridge in Verona, northern Italy, constructed over the Adige River. The segmental arch bridge featured the world’s largest span at the time of its construction. The Renaissance architecture styled bridge was built in 1354.


In the north only, Piazza delle Erbe is a square in Verona, northern Italy. It was once the town’s forum during the time of the Roman Empire. The attractions here include the fountain, surmounted by a statue called Madonna Verona, the Torre dei Lamberti, the Casa dei Giudici, the Mazzanti Houses, the Casa dei Mercanti and the reminiscent of medieval tower-houses.


Then there is the Scaliger Tombs, also known as Arche scaligere which is a group of five Gothic funerary monuments in Verona, Italy, celebrating the Scaliger family, who ruled in Verona from the 13th to the late 14th century. These are a series of tombs built in Gothic style, most of which are in the shape of a small temple and covered by a baldachin.


Apart from these, there is also The Basilica di San Zeno which is a minor basilica of Verona, Northern Italy. Built in 1135, its fame rests partly on its architecture and partly upon the long held tradition that its crypt was the place of the marriage of the protagonists from Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. It is also known as San Zeno Maggiore or San Zenone and is dedicated to Saint Zeno of Verona.


The church of the Scalzi is another religious building in Verona, named after the Discalced Carmelites who commissioned it. The order had arrived in Verona in 1663 and was initially housed in a Dominican monastery. Also, San Fermo Maggiore is a church built in Romanesque style in central Verona. A church at this site may has been traced to the 8th century, and by the 11th century a second story and bell tower was added by the Benedictine order. Santa Maria Antica is a Roman Catholic church situated in the city. The bell tower of the church contains three bells cast during the 17th century and rung in the Veronese syle. Built by architect Michele Sanmicheli, San Giorgio in Braida is a Roman Catholic church in Verona, northern Italy. It was built in the 16th century in the medieval quarter of Veronetta. And of course, not to forget is the Arco dei Gavi, an ancient structure in Verona, built by the gens Gavia, a noble Roman family who had their hometown in Verona, at the beginning of the Via Postumia, the Roman road leading to the city. All in all, it’s a must visit for all those who wish to admire the scenic beauty of Italy and of Verona.