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This is part 32 of the puzzle series Around the World in Many Days. Each part is solvable on its own.


Dear Puzzling,

Today, I have toured some lovely small lakes in Britain. I have seen Chinese wall paintings depicting balls of fire, heard street singers performing songs from the Gatsby musical, and listened to a knowledgeable Dane’s lecture on how to deal with depression. So far the experience has been wonderful.

No, wait. Actually, today I have had to temporarily leave my vehicle by an avenue in New York City to explore the city’s central area. I have looked for amusement on parallel streets and walked south to see some fossils from the Jurassic era. I have also met an actor in Blockbuster and visited Madison Square Garden.

Just kidding. In all seriousness, though, today I have visited a mall in the District of Columbia and spotted many geographic landmarks in the surrounding area. I have met a player representing Washington in the hockey league, and listened to a guard express his identity by singing a Socialist anthem. It’s been a really cool experience for me as a world citizen.

I can’t believe it. That is still not it. Okay, this time for real. I am at a Scandinavian location that you might find in an atlas. Arriving here was a rocky ride, but since I’m a taurus it hasn’t bothered me all that much. Moving around has been a bit of a challenge, especially since there is a superstition in this place that if you take three right turns in a row you have to pour some salt under a table to ward off bad luck. Luckily an Olympic athlete I met earlier has agreed to give me a ride in his Ford Sierra.

Oh no, that wasn’t it either. Today I have visited a huge forested area somewhere east of the Mississippi. I have crossed a historic hiking trail and walked to an overlook spot with magnificent views. I have seen a lot of wildlife including some deer and many different types of birds. I have also passed by numerous waterfalls on my way. There is a lot to explore in this place, actually.

No no no no, silly me. Now I remember. Today I have visited one of the Miracles of the ancient world. The fauna here is like nowhere on Earth. I have seen a talking bear, some kind of cow-horse hybrid, and a war dog from World War II. I also met a mascot representing the “Volunteers”, whatever that means. He and the bandit chasing us got into a fight on top of old… What was it? Oh yes, an old quartz mine. Sorry, my memory of it is still a little hazy.

Can you guess where I really am?

Love, Gladys.


Gladys will return in An International Affair.

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  • $\begingroup$ 32 parts!?!?!?! $\endgroup$ Aug 2, 2023 at 18:16
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ @TheEmptyStringPhotographer Out of 81! $\endgroup$
    – Jafe
    Aug 3, 2023 at 9:18

1 Answer 1

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Gladys is in:

Great Smoky Mountains National Park

To work this out, note that each paragraph (bar one)...

...makes lots of references to words or phrases that share a particular one-word connection. In particular, the last word of each paragraph is a literal definition of that connecting word. The one exception is the paragraph referring to the "huge forested area somewhere east of the Mississippi", which is actually a literal description of the target location and its wildlife.

Taking this paragraph by paragraph then... (note that I may not have caught all references, since there are A LOT!)

Paragraph 1:

GREAT: Today, I have toured some lovely small (GREAT) lakes in (GREAT) Britain. I have seen {Chinese wall} (GREAT Wall of China) paintings depicting (GREAT) balls of fire, heard street singers performing songs from the (GREAT) Gatsby musical, and listened to a knowledgeable (GREAT) Dane’s lecture on how to deal with (GREAT) depression. So far the experience has been {wonderful = GREAT!}.

Paragraph 2:

PARK: No, wait. Actually, today I have had to {temporarily leave my vehicle} (PARK) by {an avenue in New York City} (PARK Avenue) to explore {the city’s central area} (Central PARK). I have looked for amusement (PARK) on parallel (PARK) streets and walked south (PARK) to see some fossils from the Jurassic (PARK) era. I have also met {an actor in Blockbuster} (Randall PARK) and visited Madison Square (PARK) {Garden = PARK!}.

Paragraph 3:

NATIONAL: Just kidding. In all seriousness, though, today I have visited {a mall in the District of Columbia} (NATIONAL) Mall and spotted many (NATIONAL) geographic landmarks in the surrounding area. I have met {a player representing Washington} (Washington NATIONAL(S)) in the (NATIONAL) hockey league, and listened to a (NATIONAL) guard (NATIONAL) express his (NATIONAL) identity by singing a (NATIONAL) Socialist (NATIONAL) anthem. It’s been a really cool experience for me as a world {citizen = NATIONAL!}.

Paragraph 4:

MOUNTAINS: I can’t believe it. That is still not it. Okay, this time for real. I am at a Scandinavian (MOUNTAINS) location that you might find in an atlas (MOUNTAINS). Arriving here was a rocky (MOUNTAINS) ride, but since I’m a taurus (MOUNTAINS) it hasn’t bothered me all that much. Moving (MOUNTAINS) around has been a bit of a challenge, especially since there is a superstition (MOUNTAINS) in this place that if you take three right turns in a row you have to pour some salt (MOUNTAINS) under a table (MOUNTAIN(S)) to ward off bad luck (MOUNTAIN(S)). Luckily an Olympic (MOUNTAINS) athlete I met earlier has agreed to give me a ride in his Ford {Sierra = MOUNTAINS!}.

Paragraph 5:

Definition of the target location: Oh no, that wasn’t it either. Today I have visited a huge forested area somewhere east of the Mississippi. I have crossed a historic hiking trail and walked to an overlook spot with magnificent views. I have seen a lot of wildlife including some deer and many different types of birds. I have also passed by numerous waterfalls on my way. There is a lot to explore in this place, actually.

Paragraph 6:

SMOKY/SMOKEY: No no no no, silly me. Now I remember. Today I have visited {one of the Miracles} (SMOKEY Robinson) of the ancient world. The fauna here is like nowhere on Earth. I have seen {a talking bear} (SMOKEY Bear), {some kind of cow-horse hybrid} (SMOKY the Cowhorse), and {a war dog from World War II} (SMOKY). I also met {a mascot representing the “Volunteers”} (SMOKEY), whatever that means. He (SMOKEY) and the bandit chasing us got into a fight on top of old… (SMOKEY) What was it? Oh yes, an old (SMOKY) quartz mine. Sorry, my memory of it is still a little {hazy = SMOKY!}.

All that remains is to rearrange the discovered words...

...and we have GREAT SMOKY MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK!

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