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Osoyoos – Canada’s Spotted Lake

Praised, from times immemorial, as a healing lake, Osoyoos has become one of the most popular tourist attractions in Canada, because of its spotted look.

Located in the Oskogan Valley, British Columbia, Osoyoos is one of the most mineral-rich bodies of water on Earth, featuring mostly sulfates of magnesium, calcium and sodium. During the summer, as the lake’s water evaporates, it leaves behind the minerals, which take the shape of pools. Each natural pool has a different color, depending on the type and concentration of the minerals, making Osoyoos a unique sight to behold.

Ever since ancient times, the Indians of the Oskogan Valley have considered the Spotted Lake a holy place that cured their every illness. Whether they were suffering from sprains, infections, skin diseases or body aches, they would get better by immersing their bodies in the lakes waters. Even during times of war, tribes would ask for truce, so warriors could come to Osoyoos Lake and heal their wounds.

During World War I, minerals from the Spotted Lake were used to make ammunition, in the factories built in the area. For generations, Osoyoos was the property of the Earnest Smith family, who wanted t build a healing spa, on the lake. But constant pressure from the Indian natives kept this from ever happening, and eventually convinced the Smiths to sell the lake back to the Indians.

An impressive sight, the Spotted Lake is of limits to tourists, for fear they might damage the pools. But you can still enjoy a great view of it, from behind the iron fence that surrounds Osoyoos.

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The Samurai Robot Waiters of Hajime Restaurant

A Japanese restaurant in Thailand isn’t something to get overly excited about, but if that restaurant has robot samurais as waiters, it’s a whole other matter.

Lapassarad Thanaphant, a Thai entrepreneur, decided to open a new Japanese restaurant, and found the perfect way to make it stand out from the competition: robot waiters. But not just any robots, samurai-shaped machines that slide all the way to your table, bring you your order, clean tables, and even do an adorable dance routine, to entertain guests.

So, just days after the robot kitchen chef was presented, we already have an almost complete automated restaurant system. According to the owner of Hajime Restaurant, the cool samurai robot waiters cost $930,000, but with the popularity this place is enjoying this days, he’s sure to get his money back very soon.

Be sure to check out the Hajime samurai robot waiters in action, in the video, at the bottom.

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The Bubblegum Alley of San Luis Obispo

The “most talked-about landmark” of San Luis Obispo, California, the Bubblegum Alley is a 21 meter-long alley lined with chewed-up pieces of bubblegum.

The exact history of the Bubblegum Alley is unknown, but there are a few theories about how this sticky tradition began. Some say it started during World War II, as a graduating class event, while others are convinced it dates back to the 1950s, as the result of the rivalry between San Luis Obispo High-School and Cal Poly. Whatever its beginnings, by the 70s, Bubblegum Alley was already covered with plenty of gooey material.

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The Seattle Gum Wall – A Sticky Attraction

One of the most offbeat attractions in the United States, the Seattle Gum Wall is also one of the most germ infected tourist spot in the world.

Located in Post Alley, under Park Place Market, the Gum Wall has its beginning in the early 1990s, when people, irritated that they had to wait in line to get tickets to the theater, stuck chewing gum on the wall. At first, they would use the gum to stick small coins to the wall, but in time, the tradition of the coins disappeared, and the gum remained.

Theater attendants scraped the Gum Wall twice, but gave up in 1999, when it became a certified tourist attraction of Seattle. Now it is filled with thousands of pieces of chewing gum, of any color imaginable. And, as the wall grows, the chewing gum art becomes more sophisticated. You’ll find names written with pieces of gum, and symbols like hearts or the peace sign.

But, the Seattle Gum Wall is also one of the germiest tourist destinations on Earth. In a ranking made by Trip Advisor, it came in second place, after Ireland’s Blarney Stone.

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The Mysterious Stone Spheres of Costa Rica

Spread all over Diquis Delta, and on the Isla de Cano, the mysterious stone spheres of Costa Rica have fascinated scientists ever since they were discovered, in 1930.

Known as “Las Bolas”, by the locals, the spheres range from a few inches to meters, in diameter, and reach weights of up to 16 tons. Researchers believe they were sculpted before 200 BC and 1500 AD, but since the only way of establishing their age is stratography, and most of the balls are no longer in their original locations, it’s difficult to say for sure.

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The Underwater Restaurant of the Red Sea

The world’s first underwater restaurant and bar, the Red Sea Star Restaurant is still one of the most amazing places on Earth.

Located in Eliat, Israel’s southernmost city, the Red Sea Star was built in 1998, in an area that had become very dirty and polluted, due to illegal human activities. Designing and planning the underwater structure lasted 4 years, during which time, a coral nursery was created, to revive the beautiful underwater life that was once present in the area. The actual building lasted another 4 years.

Submerged six meters under the Red Sea, this underwater restaurant, bar and observatory features a marine-themed interior design and a large number of windows that allow visitors to check out the underwater paradise that surrounds them. The Red Sea Star is the world’s only night-time underwater observatory, using a soft light (specific colors and wave lengths) to reveal the natural habitat, without disturbing it.

Red-Sea-Star-Restaurant

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The Phallic Monuments of Love Valley

The appropriately-named Love Valley is a part of Cappadocia that features some rather excited exciting natural structures.

Before you ask, no this is not where the annual Phallic Festival is celebrated, it’s one of Turkey’s most interesting tourist destinations. Apart from its breathtaking beauty and one of the best trekking places in Asia, Love Valley is famous for hosting a relatively large number of literally rock hard…willies. That’s right, the eroded volcanic ash monuments resemble phalli proudly reaching for the sky.

Like the inspired dude who post this story on Neatorama said: “If God created Love Valley, he most likely did it when he was a school boy.” Brilliant!

via Trifter

Love-Valley

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Unique Swiss Ice-Palace Is a Winter Wonderland

One of the most popular tourist destinations in Switzerland, the open air Ice-Palace features an impressive collection of castles, towers and grottoes made of ice.

The Ice Palace (Eispaläste) is located in the middle of a forest, near Black Lake, in western Switzerland. Designed by Karl Neuhaus, a talented ice sculptor, the Ice Palace celebrates its 23rd exhibition. The cold climate in the Freibourg area can only sustain this frozen masterpiece for around three months, from Christmas until early March.

The best time to visit the Swiss Ice Palace is after sundown, when all the structures and sculptures are illuminated with colorful lights. It’s a truly memorable sights that attracts thousands of tourists every year.

Freibourg-Ice-Palace

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The Grotto of the Redemption

The Grotto of the Redemption is an excellent example of what man can achieve with faith and hard work.

Paul Dobberstein was a German immigrant ordained as a priest in 1897. At some point he fell critically  ill with pneumonia and vowed he would dedicate his life to building a shrine to The Virgin Mary, if she would save his life. Father Dobberstein survived and soon after his recovery began gathering piles of rocks for his mission. His search for materials lasted 14 years.

Construction of the Grotto of the Redemption, in West Bend, Iowa,  began in 1912. Foundations were poured, stone slabs were set into place, all in the name of The Holy Virgin. Father Dobberson was actively involved in the building process and many times his hands would crack and bleed from all the cement. He would say “there isn’t any redemption without a little blood”.

Though West Bend isn’t the best place to look for crystals and semi-precious stones, Paul Dobberstein traveled to Hot Springs, Black Hills and Carlsbad Caverns and managed to gather truckloads of materials for his Grotto of the Redemption. The redeeming priest worked on expanding and improving the grotto until he died, in 1954, at the end of a long day’s work.

At the time of Dobberstein’s death, the Grotto of the Redemption was the size of a city block and is still expanding today. The crystals, semi-precious stones and petrified wood used to decorate the structures of the grotto are said to be worth over $4,300,000.

Considered “the world’s most complete man-made collection of minerals, fossils, shells and petrifications in one place”, the Grotto of the Redemption welcomes over 100,000 visitors every year. It reminds me a lot of the Ideal Palace.

Grotto-of-the-redemption

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Japan’s Famous Wine Spa Reopened

Located in Kowakien Yunessun, the biggest, most popular spa center in Japan, the outdoor has opened its gates once again.

Hundreds of gallons of Beaujolais Nouveau, the most popular wine in Japan, are used during the 12 day period the wine spa welcomes its guests. Four the last four years, Japanese wine lovers have had the opportunity to drink and bathe in the liquor they love so much, at the Hakone Kowakien Yunessun.

The red pool is constantly fed wine through the wine-bottle-shaped spring, while a sommelier stands by to fill up the glasses of those craving some more Beaujolais Nouveau.

Apart from a wine pool, the spa center also features a sake spa, green tea spa and coffee spa, where clients can bathe in the drinks mentioned.

wine-spa

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Mexico’s Island of the Dolls Is Beyond Creepy

Known as “La Isla de la Munecas”, by the Spanish, The Island of the Dolls is perhaps the creepiest tourist attraction in Mexico. Located within an extensive network of canals, south of Mexico City, the island is a place of mystery and superstition.

Almost every tree growing on the island is decorated with old, mutilated dolls that give anyone the feeling that they’re constantly being watched. The story behind the Island of the Dolls began when a hermit by the name of Don Julian Santana moved here. Although he was married he chose to live the last 50 years of his life alone.

Don Julian used to say he was haunted by the ghost of the little girl who had drowned in one of the canals around the island. Some say he used to fish the dolls from the water because he though they were real children, but the truth is he was collecting and placing them around his home as a shrine for the spirit that tormented him. At one point he even traded home grown fruit and vegetables for old dolls.

Ironically, in 2001 Don Julian Santana was found dead by his nephew, in the same canal that he said the little girl drowned in. Now his Island of the Dolls is one of the world’s weirdest tourist attractions. Some tourists who visited this place claim the dolls whisper and you must offer them a gift upon setting foot on the island, to appease their spirits.

via Bizarre

Island-of-the-dolls

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Witches’ Well – An Estonian Oddity

Located in Tuhala, northern Estonia, Witches’ Well has fascinated locals and tourists for thousands of years.

Founded around 3,000 years ago, Tuhala host one f the most unique natural phenomena in the world, Witches’ Well. Most of the time the 2.5 meters deep well looks totally normal, but after heavy rains it starts spouting up water and floods the entire area. The local population have been blaming this strange occurrence on witches.  It’s said they gather in a sauna below the ground and beat each other with birch branches causing a commotion on the surface.

Scientists say the bizarre phenomenon occurs when the underground Tuhala River can’t handle the volume of water gathered from rainfalls, but the people of Tuhala don’t want an explanation, they like living in a world surrounded by magic. There are some who claim to have seen burning demons flying over their town, while others still believe in the Estonian God Taara.

Whether you choose to believe that witches are behind the flooding of Witches’ Well, or you believe it’s nothing more than a perfectly explainable natural phenomenon, Witches’ Well remains a must-see attraction of Estonia.

witches-well2

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Berkeley Pit – A Toxic Tourist Attraction

That’s right, Berkeley Pit is one of the few places in the world where you have to pay to look at a giant pool of toxic waste.

Located in Butte, Montana, Berkeley Pit is a former open-pit copper mind turned weird tourist attraction. It’s one mile long over half a mile wide and 1780 feet deep, 900 of which are full of extremely toxic water. On the surface, the poison looks a lot like blood and is so saturated with copper, miners were able to harvest the metal directly from the water. From 13 million gallons of water, 400,000 pounds of copper were produced.

The acidic water includes chemicals like arsenic, cadmium, zinc or sulfuric acid and, if you were to drink some, it would corrode through your digestive system before getting a chance to poison you. In 1995 a flock of migrating geese landed on Berkeley Pit and never took flight again. A total of 342 carcasses were recovered. Since the incident a bird watch program was implemented.

But, interestingly enough, good things can come out of toxic waste. Scientists have discovered new types of bacteria that have adapted to the harsh conditions of Berkeley Pit, by producing highly toxic compounds that improve survivability. These chemicals have proven very resilient to cancer and further research is currently ongoing.

Berkeley-Pit

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The Ideal Palace

Le Palais Ideal is one of the most popular examples of naive art architecture, built by Ferdinand Cheval, a French Postman, over a period of 33 years.

Cheval began building his Ideal Palace in April 1879. While he was on the job, the postman tripped over a stone and was impressed by its unusual shape. Inspired by the stone, he returned the following day and started gathering more rocks and putting them in his pockets. Over time he began carrying them in baskets and then, in a wheelbarrow.

With no architectural skills whatsoever, Ferdinand Cheval managed to build his Ideal Palace, combining several styles and using the Bible and Hingu mythology as inspiration. He spent 20 years on the outer walls alone, binding the stones together with lime, mortar and cement and decorating them with all sorts of chapel and temple models.

Cheval wanted to be buried in his Palais Ideal, but French law didn’t allow it. So he spent the last years of his life building himself an intricate mausoleum, in the cemetery of Hauterives. His palace was recognized as a masterpiece and is now a cultural landmark and one of France’s popular tourist attractions.

palais-ideal

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The Marble Caves of Rio Tranquilo

Located in the Coyhaique province, Chile, the Marble Caves are some of the most impressive attractions of Patagonia.

Las Cavernas de Marmol, as the Spanish call them were created by the clear waters of Rio Tranquilo that dug into a giant limestone peninsula, creating an impressive labyrinth of caves. The peninsula is known as the Marble Cathedral and can be reached by boat, during a guided tour.

Marble-Caves

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