Photo Of The Day: A Plus Cathedral

Today is March 14, also known as Pi Day (in case it’s been awhile since you took math, pi is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, 3.14), a day to celebrate mathematics, or just eat some pie. If you are in Cambridge, Massachusetts, today and can remember a good portion of the many digits of pi, you might get to eat some free pie. Today’s Photo of the Day by Flickr user autisticglobetrotting2010 is a bit math-inspired: the cross at the ceiling of Rio de Janeiro‘s San Sebastian Cathedral hints at a plus sign. The modernist cone-shaped church is highlighted by four enormous stained glass windows that form at the top with a cross. Designed to echo the Mayan pyramids, the distinctive structure is hard to miss in the Rio skyline.

Share your travel photos in the Gadling Flickr pool for a future Photo of the Day, and happy pie-eating!

[Photo credit: Flickr user autisticglobetrotting2010]

The World’s Prettiest Destination Tunnels

Size matters – with tunnels, anyway. Most lists of the world’s most spectacular designs pant over the longest passageways, like Norway’s Laedral Tunnel, currently the record-holder at 15.25 miles.

But beauty before distance, I say. Give me the arched canopy of tart pink cherry trees in Bonn, Germany, over a cold engineering marvel anytime. Or Shanghai’s psychedelic light show inside the Bund Sightseeing Tunnel (pictured above). Or a simple rock cutaway in South Dakota with a million-dollar view. To that end – short trip though it may be – here’s a photo tour of the most striking destination tunnels.

Cherry Blossoms in Bonn, Germany
There’s something poetic about the very existence of tree tunnels, formed by nature instead of built to conquer it.

[Photo credit: K.A.I. via Flickr]

Rua Gonçalo de Carvalho in Porto Alegre, Brazil
This high-reaching green carpet in the middle of the city, formed by more than 100 tipuana trees pressing up against tall buildings for several blocks, was at risk of being uprooted to make way for more development before residents won a fight to preserve it. Now the tree tunnel is a protected heritage and environmental site.

[Photo credit: Ander Vaz via Flickr] For more leafy canopies, see World Geography’s photo gallery of tree tunnels.

Custer State Park in South Dakota
Three tunnels on the Iron Mountain Road scenic drive frame a view of Mt. Rushmore in the distance, like a spyglass. They are also cut out just wide enough for a motor coach to squeeze through.

[Photo credit: Devin Westhause via Flickr]

Bund Sightseeing Tunnel in Shanghai
A light show flashes along video walls that line the entire length of this tunnel connecting two major sights, and kids love it.

[Photo credit: Thewamphyri1 via Flickr]

Traboules in Lyon, France
These ancient passageways in the old quarter and the Croix-Rousse stretch the definition of “tunnel,” but we can make room for such graceful architectural details, and history – the French used them to elude the German occupation during World War II.

[Photo credit: Emmrichard via Flickr]

Have you visited any of these beauties, or others that belong on the list?

[Top photo credit: Synchroni via Flickr]

Spiders Blanket The Sky In Brazil (VIDEO)

As many of us in the northeast scramble because of heavy snow and delayed flights, at least we can rest assured knowing we don’t have it as bad as these people in Brazil. The terrifying video above shows a strange phenomenon: thousands of spiders dangling in the sky. According to Gawker, the footage comes from the southern Brazilian town of Santo Antônio da Platina, and was posted online earlier this week by 20-year-old web designer Erick Reis as he was leaving a friend’s engagement party. A bad omen, perhaps?

Brazilian news outlet G1 spoke with a local biologist who says the spider activity is actually quite normal. He identified the species as Anelosimus eximius, a “social spider” known for its massive colonies that create blankets of webs. The behavior might also seem familiar to people in Chicago, where each year the city experiences an influx of “flying spiders” – so many that earlier this year the Hilton’s Magnificent Miles Suites hotel formally requested guests keep their windows shut to avoid the annual migration. This species, known as Larinioides sclopetarius, spin their silk into balloon-like formations and ride lakefront air currents to crevices in high rises downtown.

Would sky spiders (or spiders that blanket the ground) ruin your vacation, or would you brave the invasion?

Video Of The Day: New Year’s Celebrations Around The World

As the year comes to a close, here’s a look back on how the world rang in 2012. From Sydney to Cape Town, these impressive fireworks displays highlight some of the most famous cities and landmarks throughout the world – whether that be the London Eye or the beaches of Rio de Janeiro. Tonight’s celebrations are sure to be just as impressive, so circle back to Gadling tomorrow for some photos from the start of 2013.

Win A Trip To South America With Richard Bangs

South America is a land of diverse cultures, stunning scenery and breathtaking adventure. Travelers can climb to the highest peaks of the Andes, experience unique wildlife, explore the biodiversity of the Amazon and indulge in a variety of wonderful cuisines. The continent truly does have something to offer nearly every kind of traveler and now television personality Richard Bangs wants to take you there on an adventure of your own choosing.

Bangs, who hosts the PBS travel show “Adventures with Purpose,” has teamed up with LAN to bring us the Only In South America sweepstakes. The contest, which runs through January 18, will allow one lucky winner to select one of four destinations as their dream trip to South America. Those destinations include Machu Picchu in Peru, the Galapagos Islands of Ecuador, Iguazu Falls along the border of Brazil and Argentina or the remote Easter Island off the coast of Chile. While on their excursion, the winner will be joined for dinner and a private tour with Bangs, who will share in their adventure. The prize includes airfare, ground transportation, guides and accommodations for two.

To enter the contest, simply click here and fill out the online form. You’ll provide basic contact information, answer a few demographic questions and select the destination that you prefer. With any luck, your name will be drawn in January and you’ll be whisked off on an unforgettable adventure to South America.

And if you’re having any trouble deciding which of the four trips you would prefer, the site provides excellent videos, like the one below, to help you choose. They’re all very well done, however, and viewing them may actually end up making the decision even more difficult.

[Photo Credit: Martin St-Amant via WikiMedia]