grottoes

“As I lifted up my head to look at the Grotto, I saw a Lady in white. I was a little frightened and, thinking it must be an illusion, I rubbed my eyes, but in vain. I still saw the Lady. Then I put my hand in my pocket and took out my rosary. I wanted to make the sign of the Cross but I could not lift my hand to my forehead. Then I was seized by a great fear. The Lady took up the rosary she held in her hands and she made the Sign of the Cross. I tried again to make it and this time I could. My great fear went as soon as I had made the Sign of the Cross. I knelt down and said the rosary before this beautiful Lady. When the rosary was ended she beckoned me to go nearer but I did not dare to. Then she disappeared.“ ("St. Bernadette,” Aileen Mary Clegg, Cath. Truth Society, Dublin, by permission.)

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Hamilton Pool

Just 23 miles west of Austin, Texas is a breathtaking natural oasis emerging out of the desert dust and scrub grass. More than a century ago, the natural dome that once concealed the entire grotto underground collapsed and created what is now called Hamilton Pool.

Hamilton Pool is a natural spring formed in the limestone bedrock and fed by an underground river, which also feeds the small tributaries and lush flora surrounding the pool. The abundant freshwater has allowed a diverse population of trees and vegetation to emerge surrounding the pool, forming a beautiful protected nature preserve.

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The Winchester Mansion was a modern marvel when construction was (first) completed in 1884, with indoor plumbing, a hot shower, and central heating. With over 160 rooms and 40 bedrooms and 10,000 brightly colored window panes, the Winchester Mansion was one of the biggest mansions in the Bay area in it’s day.

But that wasn’t enough for eccentric individual Sarah Winchester, heir to the Winchester gun fortune. She demanded that the house be under constant construction and, for the next 38 years, workers added doors to nowhere, stairs that stopped, and more secret passages than Narina. A particularly odd delight is a cabinet that, when opened, extends through thirty rooms of the house.

No one is quite sure why Miss Winchester demanded constant changes to her very large house. Of course, there are stories.

The most prevalent story is that Miss Winchester was being haunted by the spirits of those killed by the Winchester rifle. In order to keep her paranormal tormentors at bay, she wanted them to get lost in the many intricacies of the house. That way, the theory went, they’ll never bother her.

Keep reading for more history on the Winchester Mystery House, including damage caused by the Bay Area's massive earthquake of 1906

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“Certain people have said that the world is like a calm pond, and that anytime a person does even the smallest thing, it is as if a stone has dropped into the pond, spreading circles of ripples further and further out, until the entire world has been changed by one tiny action. If this is true, then the book you are reading now is the perfect thing to drop into a pond.”
- Lemony Snicket, The Penultimate Peril

Korean is the national language of Korea and is spoken by over 77 million people as their first language. Learn Korean and communicate with the locals as you explore beautiful cities such as Daegu, Jeonju, and Seongnam. You’ll be able to ask for directions to the iconic Seokguram Grotto, cheer on your team at the Donghaean derby or even order your favorite Korean dish! Start learning Korean today through Duolingo and immerse yourself in this unique language.