Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Punting in Oxford, England


Punts are the name given to the flat bottomed wooden boats, which form a quintessentially Oxford (or Cambridge) experience. Punting is boating in a punt; the punter propels the punt by pushing against the river bed with a pole.  Punts were developed in medieval times to transport things on rivers that were too shallow for regular boats.

A traditional river punt is a wooden boat constructed like a ladder. The two side-panels are connected by a series of cross-planks. The boat has no keel which makes it maneuverable in very shallow water.

Punting became popular in Oxford when William and John Salter established Oxford’s first commercial punting company in 1880. They began by hiring out rowing boats on the Isis but soon realized that punt boats would be more suitable for the shallow waters of the nearby River Cherwell.

Friday, September 08, 2023

Paititi: The Lost Golden City of the Inca


Paititi is a legendary lost city of the Inca which lies east of the Andes in the remote rainforests of Peru or Brazil.  Paititi was supposedly the last refuge of the Inca from the invading Spanish.  Vast amounts of golden objects were evacuated to Paititi, making it perhaps one of the most spectacular treasure sites in the world.

In 2001, the Italian archaeologist Mario Polia discovered the report of a missionary named Andres Lopez sent to Europe about 1600.  The missionary describes a large city rich in gold, silver, and jewels, located in the middle of the tropical jungle called Paititi. The priest himself never reached Paititi but only heard about it from the local inhabitants.

The British explorer Colonel Percy Fawcett and his party disappeared in 1925 during an expedition to find the lost city.

Expeditions in search of Paititi continue into our own times.