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A spur-of-the-moment decision landed me this very morning in a landscape unlike any other I’ve visited. Fresh off a long-distance move and caring for a sick mother and dog, I had no travel plans in sight, but my one itchy foot just would not be scratched and, last-minute, I booked a trip to a place out of time – literally and figuratively.

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Like Nepal, Onfoonapfoda has a 45-minute time zone, but instead of being 5:45 ahead of GMT, it is 3:45 behind, making my destination in the lower mid-Atlantic Ocean a mere 15 minutes ahead of my departure city in the eastern U.S. Once I figured out my connecting flight times (no mean feat!), I was here, feeling fresh and ready to explore.

My first stop was the capital city, also called Onfoonapfoda, but shortened by natives to Onfoona. Like Reykjavik, this tiny town is a colorful collection of small buildings, but here they are an eclectic mix of Nordic, French, and Portuguese influences, the result of a patchwork colonial past. Imagine boxy, metal-roofed structures, brightly painted, in small squares reminiscent of the Place des Vosges, all nestled up against the sea.

Close to the equator, Onfoonapfoda’s flora also makes for a jarring juxtaposition with the cold middle-of-the-Atlantic air and the surprising elevation. Snow-capped peaks rise up from fields of rice and palms; meanwhile, the sun shines brightly even as winds from the Antarctic continent buffet the low-slung buildings and dune grasses on the shore.

Mere miles away, volcanic fumaroles steam amid waving grasses and rolling hills (see initial panoramic photo above), and lenga forests, typically endemic only to the southern hemisphere, flourish here, along with the beautiful calafate berry.

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Small tropical birds flit above buffalo crossing the perennially-foggy main island road, and ostriches (presumably brought by sea from the western tip of South Africa) herky-jerk through deep canyons, stopping only when they reach the sun-warmed hoodoos inland.

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Cape Town July 2013 007

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Meanwhile, offshore, there are giant floating icebergs of a supernatural blue hue, which I will not have time to view by boat.

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I have much more wandering to do and little time to take in the magnificent array of landscapes here. My flight leaves just after midnight tonight (0:15 am to be exact), so I’ll be off now to do it justice. Hope your *first day of April* is as exhilarating as mine!

*Adding a little notation here on April 2 to draw your attention to the day I took this “trip.” Happy April Fools’ Day! A few of you guessed, but many wanted to go to this magical little island! Photos are from Iceland, Argentina, Nicaragua, France, the American West and Southwest, Mount Everest, Uruguay, and South Africa.

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