Sunday, July 3, 2016
Forget Splash Zone, or whatever water park is in your vicinity, this summer. Get your swimsuit-covered butt over to Sliding Rock in North Carolina's Pisgah National Forest to experience a natural water slide. Nothing beats slip-sliding down a 60-foot sloping boulder, pushed along by 11,000 gallons of water! Just as at Splash Zone, however, long lines and strict rules still apply. That means no going down head first, troublemaker.
Sunday, June 26, 2016
Sometimes trippy = germy, and that's certainly the case with the Seattle Gum Wall, at Pike Place Market. What started as just another wall that people would stick their chewed gun onto has turned into a major tourist attraction. At one point, the marketplace decided to completely clean off the wall, removing more than 2,350 pounds of gum, but people immediately began to add to it again, eventually resurrecting the wall to its former glory. Viva la gomme!
Sunday, June 19, 2016
I love ice skating but hate going in circles (in the rink, as well as metaphorically). Which is why I'm saving up to visit Paterswoldse Meer Lake in Groningen, Netherlands, where I'll be able to skate as far as my little legs can take me in a gorgeous, natural setting.
Now please excuse me while I work on perfecting my double axle for this trip.
Sunday, June 12, 2016
If you visit one castle in your lifetime, make it the spectacular and spooky Corvin Castle in Hunedoara, Romania. It is one of the largest in Europe and also just happens to be the home of Dracula. Well, technically it was where Vlad the Impaler (Bram Stoker's inspiration for Dracula) was imprisoned for seven years ... but close enough. Don't forget to admire the bear pit, the place where unwanted prisoners were once quickly dispatched.
Sunday, June 5, 2016
Situated off a back country road in Crossville, Tennessee, is the world's largest tree house/hotel, dubbed The Minister's Tree House by the religious man who built it. With 10 stories supported by seven oak trees, the hotel of 80 rooms is made entirely of wood, complete with a church and bell tower on the top level.
If you think this place sounds like a fire hazard, well, the local fire marshal agrees. Even with its firm no smoking policy, the hotel was shut down a few years ago and today stands empty, although the owner is still trying to get it open.
Sunday, May 29, 2016
If the idea of climbing into an acrylic tube and being lowered into a pool of 16-foot saltwater alligators is your idea of fun, then you should by all means head on over to Crocosaurus Cove in Darwin Australia, where you can do exactly that. Soothingly dubbed "the cage of death," the tube is large enough to fit two people -- which is fortunate, because I'd need to hold someone's hand.
Sunday, May 22, 2016
Are you the kind of person who doesn't get a wink of sleep while on a plane? Maybe you should try the Jumbo Stay Hotel in Stockholm, Sweden. The hostel is situated in a retired Boeing 457 whose interior was completely redesigned to include 27 guestrooms, a suite in the cockpit, and a café. Plus, the hotel is located right outside a real airport, so you can roll out of bed and catch your actual flight with no worries. It may the closest I'll ever come to flying first class.
Sunday, May 15, 2016
Sunday, May 8, 2016
In my day, doing a load at the laundromat was something to be dreaded and put off. Now it seems that laundrobars like Spin Laundry Lounge in Portland, Oregon, are the place to be on a Friday night. You come with your laundry, stay for a few craft beers and locally sourced menu items, and leave with a pile of clean clothes and maybe some new friends. Gotta love the efficiency.
Sunday, May 1, 2016
Mountains may be beautiful, but don't you find them a little monochromatic sometimes? All that green can get a little boring, amirite? If you're in the market for a more colorful mountain, journey to the Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park in Gansu, China, where the mountain ranges are decidedly more technicolor, having been formed by various layers of sandstone and minerals over 24 million years. Go, just go.
Sunday, April 24, 2016
Hiking up a mountain in Baños, Ecuador, you might come upon a treehouse and a swing that's unlike anything you'll find in the 'burbs. The treehouse, Casa Del Arbol, is a seismic monitoring station and the swing is a crude contraption hanging on a tree branch -- that flies you over the edge of a canyon, more than 8,500 feet above sea level. At the risk of sounding like your mother, make sure you hold on tight!
Sunday, April 17, 2016
Um, so what's going on here? Is it a natural mineral deposit? A toxic wasteland? A painting palette for a giant? If you chose the first option then you're right, if a little boring. Spotted Lake, located in the town of Osoyoos in British Columbia, is created every summer when the lake evaporates from the heat and leaves behind these distinct pools of minerals. Each one has a different mineral composition, which explains all the different, beautiful colors.
That's pretty cool ... but not as cool as the idea of a giant who likes to paint.
Sunday, April 10, 2016
What's better than bathing in a Japanese hot spring? How about watching monkeys bathe in a Japanese hot spring! At Jigokudani Monkey Park in Yamanouchi, wild Japanese macaques hang out in the naturally heated water all winter long, working out those knots as visitors observe them relaxing.
Sunday, April 3, 2016
Do you want to see the world but have no time? Verdenskortet in Hobro, Denmark, may be the answer. The attraction features a to-scale map of the world measuring approximately 150 x 300 feet and constructed entirely out of dirt and rocks.
You can walk through all of Asia in just a few steps. Take a rowboat across the Pacific Ocean. Break for lunch at the adjoining cafe ... because even small-scale world travelers need to eat.
Sunday, March 27, 2016
You know what they say if you're ever lost in a hedge maze: Just place one hand on a wall, and start walking. You'll eventually get out that way. That's something to keep in mind if you ever find yourself stuck in the Longleat Hedge Maze, otherwise known as the longest hedge maze in the world. It consists of more than 16,000 English yews and 1.75 miles of twists and turns.
I've always wanted to get lost in an English hedge maze. Until it was time for afternoon tea, at which point I'd want someone to helicopter me out.
Sunday, March 20, 2016
Everyone wants their seafood to be fresh. So Zauo Fishing Restaurant in Tokyo, Japan, decided to give the customers what they want: a fishing pole with which to fish out their own dinner. Patrons can fish from their seats aboard a fishing vessel, or if you find that you're simply not an effective fisherman, you can go to a tank full of already "caught" fish and simply point at what you want.
Sounds delicious, if a bit unfair for the fish.
Sunday, March 13, 2016
So you say your last hotel wasn't decorated with enough whimsy for you. Well, next time you're in the Los Rios region of Chile, look into booking a room at the Montaña Mágica Lodge, where you must cross a rickety wooden rope bridge to get to your guestroom situated in a natural stone spire, covered with jungle foliage.
And while the exterior may seem a little rustic, the hotel provides many luxurious amenities, including a hot tub made from a carved out tree trunk and a mini-golf course that utilizes real obstacles such as the forest itself to get in the way of your colorful little ball. I know. Where's the Hobbit bellhop? This place needs to hire a Hobbit bellhop.
Sunday, March 6, 2016
If I came upon this road flanked by crazily entwined beech trees that look almost sentient, my instinct would be to turn around and run as fast as I could in the other direction. But the intention of the Stuart Family, who planted the trees in the 18th century along Bregagh Road in Northern Ireland, was to create a welcoming pathway leading up to their mansion. To each his own, I guess?
Actually, we can all agree that this scene is beautiful. Creepy, but beautiful. And the name of this place, The Dark Hedges, doesn't really help. Maybe if they called this place The Friendly Trees That Definitely Won't Come Alive, I'd go visit.
Sunday, February 28, 2016
|Photo credit: John Seymour|
It's time you planned your next vacation ... to Transylvania. Wait, you say, what's there to do there besides visit old castles that may or may not be populated by vampires? Well, how about kayaking in an underground salt mine? Or bowling in an underground salt mine? Or getting a facial in an underground salt mine?
Romania's Turda Salt Mine has been around since the year 16 A.D. It wasn't until a couple of decades ago, however, that the site was transformed into an amusement park and spa specializing in salt therapy. So go and get your fill of salt, fun and good old-fashioned time spent underground, away from that annoying sun. Hmm ... sounds like the perfect place for vacationing vampires.
Friday, February 19, 2016
Most people dine out to eat meals that are particularly tasty - and particularly bad for you. But a restaurant in Singapore called Imperial Restaurant has taken a decidedly different path. Everything on its menu is low-sugar, low-salt, low-seasoning -- low-taste, presumably. But hey, it's good for you!
In addition, an in-house physician that specializes in traditional Chinese medicine examines each patron and recommends herbal remedies to them. Some of these remedies include items like scorpion or animals organs, while others consist of herbs, plants and ... well, I'm not sure what, exactly, like the "ladies' tonic" pictured above. Doesn't that look "Mm, mm good"?
Sunday, February 14, 2016
Goats like to climb things, and the owners of Fairview Wine and Cheese Farm in South Paarl, New Zealand, wanted to make the goats they kept happy, so the solution was simple: build a goat tower. Sounds crazy, but it works. The more than 1,000 goats of Fairview blissfully trot up and down the spiral staircase every day, then produce milk that makes award-winning Camembert.
So the moral of the story is: If you build a goat tower, they will climb it. And make you delicious artisanal cheeses.
Sunday, February 7, 2016
There's nothing like grilling a piece of meat over a volcano. What? You've never had the pleasure? Then you'd better get down to El Diablo restaurant on the island of Lanzarote in Spain, where chefs barbecue food over a dormant volcano with lava bubbling benignly under the surface of the earth at 750 degrees F. Now that'll give you a good sear.
What about safety, you ask? Well, the last eruption this volcano experienced was in 1824. So of course that means you're perfectly safe. Until you're not.
Sunday, January 31, 2016
Alta, Norway, can be a cold and beautiful place. And if after a day spent sightseeing in the frigid temps isn't enough for you, you can now spend the evening sleeping in frigid temps as well, in your very own igloo hotel room.
Sorrisniva, the adventure company that runs the hotel, promises that the temperature in the igloo will stay a constant -7 to -4 degrees and recommends that you wear woolen underwear to bed if you want to stay warm. I recommend that you check into the nearest Ramada instead.
Sunday, January 24, 2016
Zip-lining over a gorgeous Costa Rican rainforest that has rainbows at every turn? Yawn. So two decades ago. Today's generation of zip-liners is looking for a different experience -- and it can certainly be found at the Slotzilla Zip Line in Las Vegas.
Shaped like a giant slot machine and starting at 77 feet in the air, Slotzilla flies you across the Fremont Street Experience at 40 miles an hour, over hundreds of people, and deposits you at the Golden Gate Casino. Now you can satisfy your need for thrills and people-watching all at once. But just remember that what happens on a Vegas zip-line probably won't stay in Vegas, since dozens of people will probably be taking your photo from below.
Sunday, January 17, 2016
China! It's not enough that you decide to build a 900-foot suspension bridge over between two gorgeous cliffs in the Hunan Province's Shiniuzhai National Geopark, you gotta make it out of glass, too? It's like you're forcing me to go and check out this crazy piece of construction, aptly dubbed Brave Men's Bridge.
Featuring a 600-foot drop, the glass bridge was completed at the end of last year, is the first of its kind, and has already attracted visitors from all over the world, even those who can't bring themselves to walk across the entire thing and resort to crawling instead. Hey, you do what you gotta do.
Sunday, January 10, 2016
Ever wanted to sleep in an underwater hideaway? No? OK, me neither. But after learning about the Utter Inn in Sweden, you might. Take a boat out to the small red house floating on a platform in the middle of Lake Mälaren in Västerås. Enter .. and discover that the house isn't a house at all, but a portal into the depths of the lake! Crawl down a ladder and hang out in your own reverse aquarium, complete with windows that peer into the water.
You might even spot some Swedish fish. (Sorry, couldn't help myself.)
Sunday, January 3, 2016
Americans are so boring. We go into a coffee shop ... and we drink coffee. In Korea, you can go into a coffee shop ... and dress up like a bride! Yes, in addition to sipping lattes at the Princess Diary Café in Seoul, patrons can pay a fee to select a wedding gown, put it on, accessorize to their heart's content, then participate in a photo shoot!
Starbucks, you need to get on this. I've never actually fantasized about doing a bridal dress-up session after having my mocha frappuccino, but now I totally will.
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