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Crown Shyness – When Trees Avoid Touching Each Other

Crown shyness or canopy disengagement is a mysterious natural phenomenon in which the crowns of some tree species do not touch each other, but are separated by a gap clearly visible from ground level. The effect usually occurs between trees of the same species, but has also been observed between trees of different species.

The Crown Shyness phenomenon was first documented in scientific literature during the 1920s, but researchers have since not been able to reach a consensus regarding its causes. There are many theories going around in scientific circles, most of which make sense, but no one has been able to prove without the shadow of a doubt why some trees avoid touching each other. But perhaps it’s this mystery, along with its striking appearance, that makes crown shyness such a fascinating phenomenon.

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World’s Largest Rose Bush Dates Back to 1885

You’ve probably seen some impressive-looking flowers, but unless you’ve been to the Tombstone Rose Tree Museum, you’ve never seen anything quite like the World’s Largest Rose Bush – a gnarled trunk about 12 feet in diameter, with its branches covering 9,000 square feet. It’s been around since 1885, and yes, it still blooms every Spring.

The White Lady Banksia Rose found its way to Tombstone, Arizona, from Scotland, over a century ago. In 1884, a young miner by the name of Henry Gee and his bride Mary left Scotland for the United States and settled in the legendary town. Mary felt homesick and after writing to her family about it, she received a box full of plants, bulbs and cuttings from the beautiful garden that she missed so much. As a token of friendship, Mary gifted one of the rose cuttings to a friend she had made in Tombstone, a woman called Amelia Adamson. The two of them planted it near the woodshed in the back patio of Amelia’s boarding house, and not only did the rose flourish in the Arizona desert, it grew into the largest rose bush in the world.

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The Famous Stone-Sculpting Hermit of Nicaragua

Alberto Gutierrez Giron has been living alone in the mountains of Nicaragua for nearly 40 years, sculpting a 300-foot long cliff into a giant artwork, just like the one he saw in a dream, when he turned 9-years-old.

Popularly known as the “Hermit of Nicaragua”, “Stone Man” or “Sculptor of the Mountain”, Alberto Gutierez claims he was born on October 17, 1944 – although he doesn’t have a birth certificate anymore – in a village near Esteli City. He had always loved exploring the forests around his home, and at age 33, he decided he wanted to live his whole life surrounded by nature, creating an epic stone artwork he had dreamed of as a young boy. He had been thinking about it for years, but during the war that swept Nicaragua at the time, it seemed like the perfect opportunity to get away from it all.

 

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The Old Motorcycle Worshiped as a Deity in India

In the Indian state of Rajasthan, some 50 km from the city of Jodhpur, along National Highway 65, there is a temple. That, in itself, is not unusual, as temples are virtually everywhere in India, but what is strange is that the deities worshiped here are an old Royal Enfield 350cc motorcycle and its deceased owner.

The story of “Om Bana” or “Bullet Baba” temple dates back to an accident that occurred almost three decades ago.  On December 23rd, 1988, Om Singh Rathore, the 23-year-old son of a village elder in Chotila, Pali district, was riding home on his motorcycle when he lost control, hit a tree and was catapulted into a 20-foot, where he died on the spot. His body was discovered the next day, and the broken “Bullet” motorcycle was taken to the police station. And that’s where things start to get weird.

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Costa Rica’s Turquoise River – A Natural Optical Illusion

Up until four years ago, Rio Celeste, a 14-kilometer river in Costa Rica’s Alajuela province, was a complete mystery to scientists, who could not understand why its waters had an unusual turquoise color. And then they realized that it wasn’t turquoise at all.

Theories regarding the turquoise color of Rio Celeste had been circulating in the scientific community for years, but nobody had ever managed to provide enough evidence to solve this natural enigma. Some claimed that the unusual coloring was caused by high levels of copper, but tests revealed that there was no copper in the water, others said that it was due to chemicals like calcium carbonate and sulfur, and some even connected it to the river’s proximity to the Tenorio Volcano. Everyone was so convinced that a mysterious chemical reaction was turning the water turquoise that they never even entertained the possibility of an optical illusion.

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Hallerbos – The Blue Forest of Belgium

Most times of the year, Hallerbos is a beautiful but unremarkable forest in central Belgium, near Brussels. However, in mid-April and all through May, it turns into the Blue Forest, a fairytale-like natural attraction unlike any other.

The Blue Forest of Belgium gets its intriguing name from the vibrant carpet of bluebells that replaces the usual brown floor of the forest. Imagine millions of flowers covering the ground as far as the eye can see and you can get a pretty good idea of what this place is like in full-bloom. Bluebell forests are not unusual in Europe, but what makes Hallerbos unique is the density of the flowers that make its floor look like a living carpet.

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Swiss Village Bans Tourists from Taking Photos Because It’s Too Beautiful

Located in the Swiss Alps, near the famous resort of St. Moritz, the commune of Bergün/Bravuogn is one of the most beautiful mountain villages in Europe. So beautiful, in fact, that photos of it shared on social media may make people feel depresses that they can’t visit, so local authorities banned tourist from taking photos.

It may sound like a joke, but it’s actually a new law adopted by the Bergün village council and approved by its mayor. And yes, their justification for the photo ban is that photos of their beautiful home with the stunning mountain peaks in the background could make people seeing them on social media jealous and depressed. To deter visitors from taking photos in Bergün, they plant to implement a symbolic €5 fine for those caught breaking the new rules.

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The World’s Largest Residential Cruise Ship Takes Community-at-Sea on Perpetual Vacation

Wouldn’t it be great if you could travel to the most exciting destinations on Earth without the hassle of packing and unpacking, or ever having your dream vacation end? Well, for the few dozen residents of “The World”, this dream is a reality.

The World” is the largest, oldest and currently only active residential cruise ship on the planet. Collectively owned by its residents, many of whom live aboard the vessel full-time, The World continuously sales on a worldwide itinerary at a maximum speed of 18.5 knots. Residents decide the yearly itinerary, along with the ship’s captain, often planning expeditions in the most exciting and exclusive of places. So far they have visited the tribes of Papua New Guinea, tracked polar bears in the Russian Arctic, kayaked among icebergs and retraced Sir Ernest Shackleton’s historic Trans-Antarctic Expedition, among other memorable adventures. The things most of us only dream about, these people experience day.

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The Bottle Cap Alley – A Dumping Ground Turned Tourist Attraction

Bottle Cap Alley is a unique roadside attraction located at the north edge of the Texas A&M University campus, in College Station Texas. As the name suggests, it is paved with hundreds of thousands – by some accounts, millions – of beer and soda bottle caps.

No one knows exactly how the tradition of paving the 50-meter-long by 2-meters-across alley with metal caps began, but seeing as it is located between the iconic Dry Bean pub and the Dixie Chicken restaurant, some people believe that it started out as a dumping site for the two establishments. Patrons who took their drinks outside followed their example, and as word of the Bottle Cap Alley spread, other local bars started bringing in their nightly haul of bottle caps here as well. It is estimated that the tradition goes back four decades.

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Couple Spend 25 Years Turning Barren Patch of Land into Paradise of Biodiversity

In 1991, Anil and Pamela Malhotra bought a 55 acres of unused farmland in Karnataka, India, and started planting native trees on it. Over the last 25 years, their small forest has turned into a 300-acre wildlife sanctuary that hundreds of endangered plants, animals and birds call home.

Anil and Pamela met and married in New Jersey, USA, during the 1960s. They both shared a love for wildlife, and after visiting Hawaii on their honeymoon, they fell in love with the archipelago’s lush forests and fascinating fauna. They bought some land and decided to settle there. “That is where we learnt the value of forests and realized that despite threats of global warming no serious efforts were being made to save forests for the future,” Anil said.

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Migingo – The Most Densely Populated Island in the World

Migingo, a tiny rock island on Lake Victoria, in Kenya, measures just 0.49 acres, but is officially home to 131 residents – although some sources put the population at around 1,000 – making it the most densely populated island in the world.

The so-called “Iron Clad Island” of Migingo (after the metal shack shanty town covering it almost entirely) has a very unclear history. According to some accounts, it was originally settled by two Kenyan fishermen, Dalmas Tembo and George Kibebe, who came here in 1991 and laid the foundation of today’s community. Others say that it was a Ugandan, Joseph Unsubuga, who came here first and then brought more of his fishing friends. It was this kind of contradicting stories, and the battle over the island’s fish-rich waters that created a long-standing conflict over the ownership of Migingo between Kenya and neighboring Uganda.

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This International Store Chain Only Sells Rubber Ducks

From eBay to toy stores and gift shops, there are plenty of places to look for rubber ducks, but if you’re searching for a brick-and-mortar store that only caters to rubber duck enthusiasts, there’s only one place to go – The Duck Store.

It all started a few years ago in Amsterdam, when the owner of a small toy store on Oude Leliestraat, noticed that visitors, most of which were tourists, were particularly interested in rubber ducks. The adorable bathtub toys seemed to always draw people’s attention and put a smile on their faces. Then, one day, the owner read the words of Dutch artist Florentijn Hofman – famous for his giant rubber duck art installations – and was inspired to get rid of the other toys and focus solely on rubber ducks. And that’s how the Amsterdam Duck Store was born.

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Nature Turns Human Pollution into Stunning Glass Beach

For years, Ussuri Bay, on Russia’s Pacific shoreline, was a dumping ground for glass bottles and waste from a nearby porcelain factory. But nature found a way to turn lemons into lemonade, and today, all those unwanted materials have been shaped into a colorful glass beach.

The story goes that many years ago, truckloads of glass and porcelain were dumped in Ussuri Bay, but instead of what should have been a landfill for unwanted waste, Steklyashka beach is actually one of the most stunning tourist attractions in the world. Years of erosion have rounded and polished the pieces of glass and porcelain into beautiful pebbles of various colors and have turned this place into a wonderland reminiscent of California’s Glass Beach.

 

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The Japanese Train Station Built Around a 700-Year-Old Tree

Kayashima Station, in Neyagawa, a north-eastern suburb of Osaka, is one of the most unusual-looking train stations in all of Japan. Despite being located on an elevated platform, Kayashima has a giant broccoli-like tree pocking out through a rectangular hole in its roof.

The Big Kusu Tree of Kayashima, as the camphor tree is commonly known in Japan, is older than most records, but officials estimate that it has been around for at least 700 years. In 1910, when Kayashima train station was originally opened, the tree stood right next to it, offering travelers some much needed shelter on both sunny and rainy days. It didn’t bother anyone for the next 60 years, but as Japan’s population increased at an accelerated rate, overcrowding became a problem and local authorities decided that the train station needed to be expanded. Plans were approved in 1972, and the old camphor tree was going to be cut down.

The stories about how the ancient camphor tree of Kayashima cheated its fate vary, but they all border on the supernatural. Spoon & Tamago reports that the tree had long been associated with a local shrine and deity, and news of its removal caused an uproar in the community. Rumors about the tree being angry about the authorities’ decision also coincided with a series of bizarre events. People reported seeing a white snake slithering through the branches of the tree, others claimed to see smoke rising up from the tree, and a worker who cut off one of the tree branches developed a fever later that day.

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Bangkok’s Husky Cafe – A Must-See for Dog Lovers

If you’re a dog lover visiting Bangkok, you simply must stop by the True Love Café, a wonderful place where you can get a taste of Thai cuisine, or enjoy some refreshments in the company of dozens of adorable huskies.

The True Love Café opened in 2013, when Chotiros Ratanabirabongse, Paw for short, a long-time husky breeder, decided to convert his farm into a place where people could interact and learn more about this wonderful canine breed. The place instantly became a hit with tourists, and today it is one of Bangkok’s most popular attractions.

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