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Wikitravel:Discover/Archive/2008

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December 2008[edit]

  • Cologne's Kölner Seilbahn claims to be the only chair lift in Europe that crosses a river.
  • Flights landing in Trondheim, Norway are only two minutes away from Hell — the train station, that is.
  • Tired of your boring old 4x4? Rent a llama for cruising around Mitzpe Ramon.
  • Ughatasar Mountain in Southern Armenia has thousands of petroglyphs which are thousands of years old.
  • The musical accompaniment to Mainz's culinary speciality of Handkäse mit Musik is produced by your own gastrointestinal tract.
  • The water tower in Vaasa, Finland plays host to a challenging indoor climbing wall.

November 2008[edit]

  • São Francisco de Assis Church in Belo Horizonte, Brazil has such out-of-the-ordinary architecture that the Catholic Church refused to consecrate it for a time.
  • Eger, Hungary is the site of the northernmost Turkish minaret in Europe.
  • Among the never-ending stream of adult oddities in Las Vegas is Bite, a show claimed to be a vampire-themed topless revue.
  • If you visit the Chinese city of Lijiang, make sure to pick up a comb carved from the horns or hooves of a yak.
  • Helsinki's Tin Tin Tango is a combination of café, restaurant, bar, laundromat and sauna.
  • The Puppenhausmuseum in Basel claims to own the world's greatest collection of teddy bears.
  • On Tuesdays, the musical selection at Fiszbah in Mainz is described as Discopogo for Punks in Pumps.

October 2008[edit]

  • Northern Avenue opened as Yerevan, Armenia's first pedestrian avenue this year, linking the two main hubs of Republic Square and the Opera.
  • White-painted rocks in Bamiyan, Afghanistan delineate paths that have been cleared of mines.
  • Pecherska Lavra, Kiev's celebrated cave monastery, dates to the 11th century and still contains the mummified remains of monks.
Bird Rock
  • Bird Rock (Craig yr Aderyn), near Tywyn is the only site in Europe where cormorants nest inland.
  • One of Vienna's draws is the Bestattungsmuseum, a museum devoted to coffins and mortuary science.
The Schwebebahn's Kaiserwagen, the world's oldest monorail system
  • One of the bits of folk history underlying the Rogers Park district of Chicago is the Cabbage Head War.
  • Opened in 1900, Wuppertal's Schwebebahn is the world's oldest monorail, and they still use Emperor Wilhelm II's original train for special events.
  • Don't be surprised to hear explosions when walking around Helsinki: thanks to the rock-solid granite bedrock, most new construction work involves some blasting.
  • Spare change? Singapore issues a ten thousand Singapore dollar note, worth over US$7000 at current exchange rates.
  • Mumbles, a seaside resort in Swansea, UK, derives its name from the French word mamelles (meaning breasts) - so called due to the appearance of the two islets off Mumbles Head.
  • If preserved people are your thing, visit the South Tyrol Museum of Archaeology in Bolzano; it's not only the resting place of the Iceman Ötzi, but also (through October) the host for visiting Chachapoya mummies from Peru.
  • The Mauritius dodo bird is long extinct, of course, but if you visit the islands, you might still see the rare pink pigeon, the green gecko phelsuma and the Aldabra giant tortoise.
  • Hankering for a new spin on the hot dog? Try one in Nokia (yes, that Nokia), where they like to replace the plain bun with a sugary donut.

August 2008[edit]

  • Hankering for a new spin on the hot dog? Try one in Nokia (yes, that Nokia), where they like to replace the plain bun with a sugary donut.
  • The remote, jungle-covered Japanese island of Iriomote receives 100 visitors per resident every year.
  • Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu both grew up and live on the same street in Soweto, Johannesburg.
  • Chakhar is an 8th century castle located in the Bhutanese town of Jakar. Although now a small stone building, the original structure was said to have been nine stories high and made completely of iron.
  • The Bushwacker Festival, an annual event in Pensacola, Florida, honors a mixed drink.
  • Zeno, Lazarus, and Umm Haram are all celebrated in sites and statuary around the city of Larnaca, Cyprus.
  • The arches around the town square in Jackson (Wyoming) are made of hundreds of elk antlers.
  • Travelling by KFC is common in Indonesia — it's the local abbreviation for "fast ferry boat".
  • The mythology behind the creation of the Indian state of Kerala prominently features decapitation.
  • Among the hotels and other accommodations in and near Las Vegas, New Mexico is the Star Hill Inn, an "astronomy resort" featuring a 29-inch telescope.
  • The quiet little town of Kamakura was the capital of Japan during the Kamakura shogunate, from 1185 to 1333.
  • Dodo birds are long extinct, but you can still see the bones of one at the Naturalis museum in Leiden.
  • Aberdyfi, Wales is home to Del-Boy, officially named (by The Donkey Conservancy) as Britain's best beach donkey for 2008.
  • The hiking at El Malpais National Monument is good, but stay within monument boundaries; terrain nearby was a bombing range during World War II, and unexploded bombs may still be present outside the monument.
  • Thorups Kælder, a beer cellar in Aarhus, Denmark, reputedly dates to the 13th century.
  • If you get hungry while driving the Route 66 itinerary and don't care about aesthetics, pause in the semi-ghost town of Adrian, Texas (near Vega) and get an ugly crust pie.
  • You can see remnants of gold and silver mines on the Greek island of Sifnos that extend more than 2500 years back in time.
  • Sightseeing in Shibuya? Recharge your electrolytes at either the Electric Energy Museum or the Tobacco and Salt Museum.
  • Winnipeg's signature "Golden Boy" statue is a World War I veteran of sorts: the French foundry where it was cast was bombed, but the statue escaped damage.
  • During World War II, the parklands of Cuckmere Haven were dotted with lights to distract Axis bombers away from nearby Newhaven; some WWII leftovers are still visible there.
  • A characteristic product of the Mexican town of Guanajuato is the confection "Charamuscas" -- figures made of caramel resembling mummies.
  • In a fine display of even-handedness, the Oscar Getz Museum of Whiskey History in Bardstown, Kentucky displays not only whiskey memorabilia, but also Carrie Nation's hatchet.
  • If just bathing at Helsinki's Kotiharju Sauna isn't extreme enough for you, try their traditional bloodletting service.
  • The Museum of the History of Science (Museo di Storia della Scienza) in Florence, Italy has the middle finger of Galileo Galilei's right hand on display.
  • If you're a country music legend, think twice about visiting Nashville's Grand Old Opry; with more than 35 stars dying in mysterious ways after performing, some say it's haunted.
  • The grand prize for the yearly Wife Carrying World Championships in Finland is the wife's weight in beer.
  • Summer highs in Saudi Arabia often exceed 50°C (120°F), but it can still snow in the winter.
  • Are you fluent in nerdspeak? If not, visit Tutti Frutti in San Francisco's Avenues district and pick up some flashcards on the "language."
  • The pool at Helsinki's Olympic Stadium was previously used to store potatoes and herring.
  • The Palace of Culture and Science in Warsaw was a "personal gift" from Joseph Stalin -- for better or worse.
  • Scuba divers visiting Thailand's Ko Lanta district have a chance of sighting whale sharks that's among the best such opportunities in the world.
  • Decode the validity of your Saudi visa carefully; it's counted in Islamic lunar months, not Western calendar months.
  • The emblem of Finland's Nuuksio National Park is the Siberian flying squirrel, but don't expect to see one there; they're nocturnal and live in the tree tops.
  • If you should somehow find yourself in Yakutsk, be sure to pick up some Pantoff, a vodka made with the extract from the velvet of reindeer antlers.
  • At the Food Fusion food court in Bangkok's Silom district, you place your order using a bar-coded baton.
  • The sports stadium in Novi Sad is known, locally and colloquially, as Silicon Valley -- but you'll have to read the article to see why.
  • Among the bits of statuary in public places in Detroit is a sculpture of boxer Joe Louis' fist.
  • Timbaali, a restaurant in Porvoo, Finland, specializes in a decidedly un-Finnish delicacy: snails.
  • Osaka's Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum offers an instant noodle workshop, where you can cook up and take away handmade instant noodles.
  • Of course you know that London's Wimbledon district figures in the history of tennis, but did you know it also contains a museum that depicts the history of windmills?
  • When you visit Las Vegas, take your climbing gear; in addition to the night life, there's high-quality rock climbing nearby at Red Rock Canyon.
  • Kugelmugel, a spherical house in Vienna, declared independence from Austria after its owner failed to get a planning permit.
  • A golden bust of Lenin rises from the flat icy wasteland at Antarctica's Pole of Inaccessibility — the terrestrial world's single most difficult point to reach.
  • The Manayunk district of Philadelphia reportedly derives its name from a Native American word meaning "where we go to drink."
  • Thinking of visiting the Motor Show in Frankfurt? Book your hotel early, as you'll be joined by almost a million other gearheads.
  • There's smoke in the air in Singapore in August, as locals burn hell money for their relatives and chow down at the Hungry Ghost Festival.
  • The World's Only Thermometer Museum (that's the name of the place) is in Wareham (Massachusetts), with thousands of thermometers on display.
  • Takin, a cross between a cow and a goat, is the national animal of Bhutan, and there is a takin preserve in the capital, Thimphu.
  • The leisure center in Swansea, UK (The LC) boasts among its attractions Europe's only indoor surfing center and the world's first uphill water slide.
  • Ever felt like ice skating in a parking garage for some reason? Visit Arlington (Virginia); the top floor of the Ballston Common Mall's garage is a year-round skating rink.
  • If you visit Trondheim, Norway, you can buy a one-way ticket to Hell -- the Hell Station on the railroad, that is.
  • Among the exhibits at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, Michigan is "Leonardo's Horse," the realization of a concept originally by Leonardo da Vinci.
  • The Welsh town of Tenby also bears the longer name Dinbych-y-Pysgod -- Welsh for "little town of fishes".
  • For friendly games of football (soccer) in Taichung, Taiwan, check out the local expat team -- the Taichung Tubbies.

July 2008[edit]

  • Department of False Cognates: The Ouchy district of Lausanne may sound like the place to go for S&M, bondage, etc., but it's just a perfectly legitimate port area with normal hotels and restaurants.
  • If you visit Albuquerque and hear people talking about the "Big Eye", don't get paranoid; it's not a surveillance device, but rather the intersection of two Interstate highways.
  • One of the sights of Senggigi, Indonesia is an empty chair representing Brahma's empty throne.
  • One of the strangest events of the summer in Nagoya, Japan is the World Cosplay Summit, where admirers of Japanese animation dress up as their favorite animated characters and parade through the streets.
  • If you fly into Peoria (Illinois), you'll travel from airport to city on a road named for comedian Richard Pryor, a native of Peoria.
  • One of the must-sees of Nkhata Bay, Malawi is the feeding of the fish eagle that lives high up on the cliff face south of Njaya Lodge.
  • If you visit the island of Caye Caulker, try to catch a drink at the Lazy Lizard bar; it's next to the site where the island split in two following a hurricane.
  • When visiting Finnish Lapland, plan to feast on exotic poronkäristys, and forget about its considerably less exotic-sounding English name: reindeer hash.
  • North Pole, Alaska, a small town located near Fairbanks, is nowhere near the North Pole, but is famous for celebrating Christmas all year long.
  • If you travel to Cincinnati during the city's Oktoberfest, you can participate in the world's largest chicken dance.
  • The Neolithic site of Silbury Hill at Avebury, England is believed to be the largest prehistoric man-made mound in Europe.
  • In a pleasing reversal of modern trends, the site of Governor Tom McCall Waterfront Park in Portland, Oregon was once occupied by a freeway.
  • One of the features of the Diamante K resort in Tulum, Mexico is hanging beds.
  • Boca Raton, Florida is a more pleasant city than its name -- which means Mouse Mouth -- might suggest.
  • How about a burger and fries with a side of fabric softener? Brainwash, in San Francisco's SoMa district, is a combination restaurant and laundromat.
  • Up for a culinary feast in Porvoo, Finland? Try snails, deer carpaccio and tar-flavored salmon, then finish your meal with a Kiss.
  • Venetian raiders stole the body of St. Mark the Evangelist from Alexandria in 820, but they left behind his head.
  • The Leaning Tower of Puerto Morelos? The old lighthouse there was knocked askew in a 1967 hurricane, but has remained standing through several subsequent storms.
  • If you go to a restaurant in Quebec City during Carnaval season and order Caribou, you may not get what you expect; in local jargon, it's an alcoholic beverage.
  • Under Zimbabwean law, it is illegal to "hoard" more than Z$100 billion — or about one US dollar.
  • Many of the hoteliers in Göreme, Turkey can offer you the option of sleeping in a cave.
  • The Greek town of Hydra isn't named for the mythical monster, but rather for a long-defunct spring.
  • With a population of less than 60,000, Dubuque, Iowa isn't a big city, but it's home to no fewer than six colleges with affiliations to churches.
  • Moussorgsky notwithstanding, there's no Great Gate in Kiev, but you can visit a Chernobyl museum there.
  • Got a hankering for iguana skin boots? You can get them at Sanchez Brothers Western Clothes, on Chicago's Southwest Side.
  • If you visit Mongolia and have an adventurous palate, try a boodog, or marmot barbecue. (May cause bubonic plague.)
  • The entrance to the (American) Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton (Ohio) is (unsurprisingly) surmounted by half of a giant football, but the effect is to make the building look like a giant orange squeezer.

June 2008[edit]

  • If you visit Malacca during Intrudu in February, be ready to have buckets of water thrown at you. (It's all in fun.)
  • In Iriomote, Japan in the summertime? Stay at the pineapple-shaped Pineapple House and tuck into all-you-can-eat pineapple.
Pineapple House
  • What's that doing there? One of the features of the Frauenkirche in Munich's City Center district is the Teufelstritt, or devil's footstep.
  • Skip the "city chicken" jokes: The most famous menu item at the Lung Wah Hotel, in Hong Kong's New Territories district, is roasted pigeons.
  • Despite what the name may lead you to believe, the Australian town of Orange is well known for its crop of apples.
  • The temple of Wat Lan Khuad in Si Saket Province, Thailand is built entirely from glass bottles — and the frescoes are made from bottle caps.
  • Public transportation in Boone, North Carolina is via a bus line known as AppalCART for its association with Appalachian State University.
  • Hevimesta, a nightclub in Helsinki, features heavy metal karaoke.
  • Fascinated by big money? Then visit Sudbury, Ontario and see the 30-foot-tall coin replica known as the Big Nickel.
  • The official mascot of the Caribia Spa in Turku, Finland is the Posankka, a cross between a duck and a pig.
  • At Tokyo Disneyland, flavors of popcorn include cream soda and curry (sold, appropriately enough, only in Adventureland).
  • Blueberry Hill Restaurant, in St. Louis, is full of pop-culture artifacts, but its most notable "artifact" is Rock&Roll legend Chuck Berry, who still performs there once a month.
  • Tartinijev trg square in Piran, Slovenia was once a marina, but after it silted up, it was paved over in marble.
  • Ever hear of the California Bear Republic? You can see the old adobe home of William B. Ide, its only president (and that not for long), in Red Bluff.
  • Guildhall in Windsor, England incorporates pillars that don't actually support anything -- but the town burgesses insisted on having them anyway.
  • Of course you know that The Loop, Chicago's downtown district, contains many skyscrapers, but did you know that among them is a prison nearly 300 feet tall?
  • The trams in Alexandria, Egypt are kind of slow, but at 25 piastres or around 4.6¢ a ride, you can't really complain.
  • In the market for plastic food? Kappabashi St in Asakusa, Tokyo is the place to go.
  • Don't overestimate how "friendly" the Thai-Lao Friendship Bridge connecting Vientiane, Laos and Nong Khai, Thailand is; you still can't cross it by foot or bicycle.
  • The sound of the Arabic letter ʿayin has been likened to someone being strangled.
  • A statue in Simon's Town, South Africa memorializes Just Nuisance, the only dog ever to be enlisted in the Royal Navy.
  • Visiting Tucson, Arizona and fascinated by organized crime? Consider the Congress Hotel; infamous public enemy John Dillinger was arrested there.
  • The dessert the Trianon Cafe of Alexandria, Egypt is famous for is om Ali, a type of pudding, but the name translates as Ali's mom.

May 2008[edit]

  • If you're interested in World War II history and visiting New South Wales, check out the town of Cowra; it's the site of the only Japanese war cemetery in Australia.
  • The Fighting 69th Monument in Ballymote, Ireland hosts a piece of metal from the World Trade Center in New York City, honoring a firefighter who perished in the 9/11 attacks and had ancestors in the town.
  • Travelers visiting Socorro, New Mexico in April or September might get to join a tour of the site of the world's first atomic bomb explosion, at nearby White Sands Missile Range.
  • The entire Grand Shrine of Ise is dismantled and rebuilt from scratch every 20 years — counting up from 690 AD, the current incarnation is the 61st.
  • The ossuary at St. Catherine's Monastery at Mount Sinai houses the skulls of 1400 years' worth of monks.
St. Catherine's Monastery
  • Having declared independence on the 3rd of June 2006, Montenegro is the youngest officially recognized country in the world.
  • The ladies' restroom at the China Blue bar in Boise, Idaho has its own private champagne bar and bartender.
  • The students who guide you through Durham Castle in Durham (England) aren't just employees; they're residents, as the castle contains the oldest student accommodations in the world.
PLO Flag Shop, Gaza
  • The most popular souvenir at the PLO Flag Shop in Gaza was an inflatable Yasser Arafat. (No longer in stock, alas.)
  • The name of Shait Gumbad Mosque in Bagerhat, Bangladesh means Mosque of 60 Domes, but that's misleading as it actually has 77 of the structures.
  • If you're fascinated by solid waste for some reason, check out 60-foot-high Mount Trashmore in Virginia Beach, Virginia.
  • The Pickle Factory in Bangkok's Phahonyothin district is not a factory and has nothing to do with pickles.
  • Interested in really higher education? The Watterson Towers complex at Illinois State University in Normal, Illinois stands nearly 300 feet high and is the tallest college dormitory in the world.
  • According to the Ten Courts of Hell in Singapore's Haw Par Villa, cheating in exams merits having your body dismembered and your intestines pulled out.
  • Of course, you won't find the extinct dodo on the island of Mauritius any more, but birders may catch a glimpse of the endangered Mauritius kestrel there as consolation.
  • Finland is known as The Land of a Thousand Lakes, but it actually has 187,888 of them.
111-1151 IMG.JPG
  • The street address of the Toledo (Ohio) Zoo is 2 Hippo Way. (No information on what "1 Hippo Way" might be.)
  • Singapore's Mint Museum houses a collection of... no, not money, but over 50,000 toys.
  • In the mood for a luxurious train ride? Go beyond First and try Rehab Class on Saudi Railways.
SaudiRailways FirstClass.JPG
  • The latest craze in Akihabara, Tokyo is cat cafes, where customers can drink tea while playing with felines.
  • When in Dingle, Ireland, be sure to visit its most famous resident, Fungi the dolphin, who has been living in the bay for 20 years and welcomes human visitors.
  • Does ten dinars for a taxi ride in Bahrain sound cheap? At US$2.67 to the dinar, it's not!
  • With the Loot of Lima worth in excess of $50 million rumoured to be buried there, Cocos Island is the perfect destination for any treasure hunter.
  • One of Riyadh's more macabre sights is Chop-Chop Square, where public beheadings are carried out on Fridays.
  • The head office of the Longaberger Baskets Company in Newark, Ohio is a building in the shape of a gigantic basket.
  • At the Singapore Zoo's Jungle Breakfast, you get to feed yourself and elephants as well.
  • The Maropeng centre in the Cradle of Humankind caters for all aspiring time travelers. In the time tunnel it only takes a few steps to walk backwards from today until 4 billion years ago.
South Africa-Gauteng-Maropeng03.jpg
  • Spice up your sandwich with one of the more than 800 varieties of mustard available at the Mustard Museum just outside Madison
  • For anyone that has ever dreamed about running away and joining the circus. The Aloft Loft in Chicago offers a Two-Day Beginning Trapeze course.

April 2008[edit]

  • At just 396 meters, the runway at Saba International Airport is probably the shortest commercial runway in the world.
Winair.jpg
  • A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush, except in Buffalo National River where harming a Ivory-billed woodpecker will get you arrested, but a photo of one will earn you $10 000.
  • Some cultures require a handsome, sword-bearing prince to rescue the damsel in distress; in Kawasaki they make do with a blacksmith and hammer. Visit the Iron Penis Festival to find out why.
  • The huge limestone spires of the Pinnacles Desert in Western Australia is best viewed early in the morning or around sunset when then low angle of the sun enhances the colours and contrasts of the rock formations.
PinnaclesDesert WA.JPG
  • Fast food does not always have to be a burger and fries. In Barbados the fast food can do 30mph through the air.
  • Miyake, a bar in Palo Alto, California popular with students at nearby Stanford University, is known for its Sake Bomb (shot of sake dropped into a glass of beer and chugged).
  • For a dip with a difference, visit Yamanouchi in Japan, where you can go hot spring bathing with snow monkeys.
JapaneseMacaqueM2216.jpg
  • The Spring of Life fresco in the Lutheran church at Rovaniemi, Finland, follows Biblical themes, but with some twists; for example, it depicts reindeer standing in for lambs.
  • Ürümqi, in China, claims to be the most inland city in the world because of its distance from the (any) ocean.
  • The Allen-Bradley Clock Tower in Milwaukee is the world's largest four-sided clock, with clock faces nearly twice the size of London's famous "Big Ben."
  • Guadalajara's characteristic salsa is called Tapatío, but choose your words carefully when buying it; "Tapatio" also means a resident of the city.
  • Bedwellty House and Park in Tredegar, a small town in Wales, lays claim to hosting the world's largest lump of coal.
  • Feeling hung over in South Korea? Try the traditional remedy haejangguk, a soup made from pork spine and ox blood.
  • Despite being the site of a mass Japanese POW breakout in 1944, the Australian town of Cowra is now the site of Australia's only Japanese war cemetery.
  • The famed Sphinx of Giza is no lovable kitty-cat: the Arabs call it the Father of Terror, while the Greek name means the Strangler.
  • Curry or ramen? The Japanese port city of Yokohama has museums devoted to both.
RamenMuseum Sky.JPG
  • The tiny Norwegian community of Finse is home to a railway museum (the Rallar Museum) even though its permanent population is only about 10 people.
  • One of the sights of Sydney's Manly district is The Quarantine Station, preserving the city's original defenses against infectious diseases.
  • The symbol of the Thai town of Ubon Ratchathani is a 22-meter-tall candle sculpture and they even hold a yearly Candle Festival.
  • Nostalgic for the great era of ocean liners? Visit Cobh, Ireland; it was the last port ever visited by the Titanic before that fateful day in 1912.
  • The word bordello comes from the 2nd arrondissement of Paris, where ladies of night used boards to divide up their rooms.
  • Feeling a little under the weather in Indonesia? Odds are you've caught wind (masuk angin), so the local cure is to either rub an oiled coin on your skin or, easier yet, just break wind.
  • Taiwanese roads often feature brightly lit booths staffed by attractive, skimpily dressed girls, whose job is to sell mildly narcotic betel nuts.
  • Cardiff, Wales is home to a Roman-era castle and the Doctor Who Exhibition, complete with studio tours.
  • The main road to tiny and remote Regent, North Dakota, USA is called the Enchanted Highway, as it's adorned with giant sculptures of a grasshopper, a covey of pheasants, and Teddy Roosevelt, among others.

March 2008[edit]

  • You can't reach Parismina, Costa Rica by road or train, and car and bike rental doesn't exist there, but take heart: once you're in town, you can get around by rented ox cart.
  • Vung Tau, Vietnam nestles beneath the cliff called Mũi Nghinh Phong -- translated as “Cape of Breeze Welcome”.
  • The Stockholm Globe Arena, Globen, claims the title of world's largest spherical building.
  • Each April, Tokyo's transvestites congregate at the Iron Penis Festival held by a fertility shrine in Kawasaki.
  • The cuisine of Baltimore theoretically features Chesapeake Bay steamed crabs, but most crabs served in the city are imported from states on the Gulf of Mexico because of overfishing in the Bay.
  • Chicken Wreck, a dive site off Jeddah in Saudi Arabia, is named after the unlucky ship's cargo: tons and tons of frozen chicken.
  • If you're in Kobe and your budget doesn't stretch to the famous beef, try sobameshi — a mix of fried rice and fried noodles.
  • The Ishiya Chocolate Factory in Sapporo, Japan offers tours, souvenirs, restaurants and a musical robot show.
  • During Cold War days, parts of Cincinnati's never-completed subway system did double duty as a fallout shelter.
  • The small town of Rishikesh in Uttarakhand, India is often called the world's capital of yoga, not least because Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's now-closed ashram was there.
  • Saudi Arabia bans all booze, but you can still get Budweiser beer — although it's non-alcoholic and apple-flavored.
  • The term hanging judge derives from Judge Issac Parker of Fort Smith, Arkansas, who sentenced more than a hundred criminals to death by hanging.
  • In Jeddah's old town of Al-Balad, the teetering seven-story houses are made from coral.
Coral houses
  • The origin of the poker term Dead Man's Hand comes from the murder of Wild Bill Hickok, who was holding a pair of aces and eights when he was shot from behind in Deadwood, South Dakota.
  • Hungry? You will find Lobster Salad Rolls and Fried Scallop Rolls in the town of Sandwich, Cape Cod.
Bromo, left; Semeru, right
  • In the tropical city state of Singapore, feeding monkeys is punishable by a fine.
  • A popular restaurant in Kilgore, Texas, USA, is the Jalapeño Tree, even though jalapeño peppers don't grow on trees.
  • In Bergen, locals refer to the seven mountains surrounding the city, but there's no agreement on which mountains these seven really are, as there are in fact nine mountains in the area.
  • At sukiyaki specialist Mishima-tei in Kyoto, the premium beef retails for the equivalent of US$ 700 per kilo.
  • Ever had a desire to take a donkey for a walk, for some reason? You can do it at the Nerja (Spain) Donkey Sanctuary.
  • Among the artifacts displayed at The Gordon Highlanders Museum in Aberdeen, Scotland is a flag from Hitler's staff car. (Don't ask how they got it.)
  • In Saudi Arabia, you can try authentic apple-flavored Budweiser. (Non-alcoholic, of course.)
  • UPC Arena in Graz, Austria was renamed in 1997 to honor native son Arnold Schwarzenegger, but the old name was restored in 2005 over the governor's support of the death penalty.
  • For an "authentic" experience in getting around Havana via public transportation, try El Camello, a split-level bus pulled by a semi-truck, and resembling a 2-humped camel.
  • The Hall of Skulls at Monsopiad Cultural Village outside Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia features 42 skulls of enemies, all killed by the warrior-hero Monsopiad.
  • Among the objects on display at the Buddy Holly Center in Lubbock, Texas, memorializing the city's favorite son, is a giant-size replica of the rocker's trademark glasses.

February 2008[edit]

  • Fans of spicy fermented cabbage from all over Korea flock to the Kimchi Museum in Seoul.
  • The Norwegian city of Bergen is famously rainy, but the locals say there's no such thing as bad weather, only bad clothing.
  • On your way from Takaoka to the Vladivostok ferry? Take a look out the window: the name of the Himi train line means Ice-Watching.
  • If you visit Cranbrook, British Columbia, Canada and crave a dinner of alligator meat, you can get it at K's Amazon Eatery -- even though the Amazon and its gators are thousands of miles away.
  • A cypress tree outside Kurje Lhakhang monastery in Jakar, Bhutan is claimed to have grown from Guru Rinpoche's walking stick.
  • When you visit Vicksburg (Mississippi) National Military Park, you can see one of the first ironclad gunboats, dating back to US Civil War times.
  • Good things come in threes — and in Japan, the list includes views, castles, gardens, mountains, hot springs and giant Buddha statues.
  • Medieval frescoes in the Church of St. John the Baptist in Bohinj, Slovenia often show figures with large swellings of the neck (goiters), caused by lack of iodine in the local diet.
  • Don't look for nightlife in Saudi Arabia: alcohol, dancing, movies and mingling with the opposite sex are all prohibited.
  • Want to visit the Northern, Western, Eastern and Southern Capitals? Book flights to Beijing, Xian, Tokyo and Nanjing.
  • Chippewa Square in Savannah, Georgia was the site of the bus stop in the movie Forrest Gump, but don't look for the famous bench; it was just a prop.
  • When eating at Houston's restaurant in Kanab, Utah, tip the servers well; they pack pistols, although it's just for show -- allegedly.
  • A bullet train ride on the Hakata-Minami Line in Fukuoka, Japan costs just ¥290 (under US$3). Alas, the end-to-end trip lasts just ten minutes.
  • If you somehow find yourself visiting Clipperton Island and lack things to do (understandably), try running around the island and timing yourself; the record circumnavigation time is one hour and 17 minutes.
  • The interior of the Phnom Sombok temple in Kratie, Cambodia is decorated with torture scenes for the edification of the non-virtuous visitor.
  • If you visit Fort Caroline National Memorial in Jacksonville, Florida, don't expect to see the eponymous fort itself; it's now beneath the waters of the St. John's River.
  • The Kadriorg Palace in Tallinn, Estonia was built for Tsar Peter the Great, but the tsar actually preferred to stay in a small house nearby.
  • Lasting just three minutes, the flight between the Japanese islands of Minamidaito and Kitadaito is the shortest Boeing 737 service in the world.
  • Need directions to the May Natural History Museum in Colorado Springs, Colorado? Just turn at the 7-foot-long statue of a beetle; you can't miss it.
  • The Grand Hyatt Shanghai, in a skyscraper in Shanghai's Pudong district, houses the world's longest laundry chute.
  • Tired of the usual drinks? Try a black pepper and grilled pineapple martini at hip nightspot Ku dé Ta in Seminyak, Bali.
  • If you travel to Baku, Azerbaijan, make sure to see Yanar Dagh, a mountain riddled with natural gas vents that have been on fire for a thousand years.
  • Tradition calls for visitors to Nobel Laureate William Faulkner's grave in Oxford, Mississippi to leave a pint of whiskey -- although he'd probably prefer Scotch.
  • A characteristic beverage of the Vercors region of France is walnut wine (vin de noix), made from walnut stain (not the nut itself).
  • The Kumbh Mela, an Indian festival held every twelve years, may have drawn as many as 70 million people to Haridwar in 2003.

January 2008[edit]

  • Rick's, a popular nightclub complex in Bergen, Norway, was the quarters of the Gestapo, the Nazis' secret police, during World War II.
  • There is a street in Warsaw called Ulica Kubusia Puchatka -- or "Winnie the Pooh Street".
  • Among the oddities at the Ripley's Believe It or Not! Odditorium in Orlando, Florida is a 3/4-scale model of a 1907 Rolls Royce Silver Ghost automobile -- made of matchsticks.
  • Some of the principal architectural attractions in Kobe, Japan are 19th-century foreign traders' homes, known today as Ijinkan (異人館) -- meaning Barbarian Houses.
Ijinkan GermanHouse.JPG
  • How's that again? Huangpu Park, at the northern tip of the Bund district of Shanghai, was the home of the legendary "No dogs or Chinese" sign — which in fact never existed.
  • The Scandic Hotel at Helsinki's airport is located under one of the runways.
  • Cork, Ireland gets its name from the Irish word Corcaigh, which means marsh.
  • Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus, Ohio was the site of General William Tecumseh Sherman's famous "War Is Hell" speech.
  • If visiting the Italian town of Sperlonga, try the local mozzarella cheese; it's made with water-buffalo milk.
  • Here's an oxymoron: the Santa Barbara (California) Museum of Natural History contains the world's most complete skeleton of a pygmy mammoth. (It's pony-sized.)
  • A small plaza/park in the Brazilian city of Salvador bears the name Largo do Pelourinho -- "Place of the Pillory," which is exactly what it was formerly used for.
  • Among the items on display at the Olympic Museum in Lausanne, Switzerland are the golden track shoes worn by sprinter Carl Lewis.
  • Highways through gorges in the French regional park at Vercors are known as les routes du vertige -- vertigo roads.
  • Rauma, Finland has its own drink, Puksprööt, made of juniper-rowan liqueur and white wine, served with a tar-infused rope.
  • It won't surprise you that Sleepy Hollow has tourable sites related to Washington Irving's eponymous short story, but did you know that you can tour some of them via kayak?
  • South Tyrol is the only region in Italy in which the majority of the population speaks German as their mother tongue.
  • Extinct in the park for 150 years, northern elephant seals began re-colonizing Point Reyes National Seashore in the 1970's, and the population has been growing at the astounding rate of 16% annually.
  • A dish characteristic of Ghent, Belgium is "Gentse waterzooi" -- "boiled water from Ghent." (It does have other ingredients.)
  • Portland, Oregon received its name as the result of a coin toss -- with the other possibility being Boston.
  • The permanent population of the Pitcairn Islands numbers only about 50 people, but they still rate their own Internet top-level domain (.pn).
  • Among the culinary "treats" you can experience on the major Japanese island of Hokkaido are asparagus, corn, or squid-ink ice cream.

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