Stunning Photos from the World’s Most Amazing Suburban Family Garden

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Located in the small backyard of a family-owned property in Wallsall, England, is one of the most incredible-looking gardens in the world. The Four Seasons Garden may not be as large as other famous English gardens you may have visited, but it certainly makes up in beauty and charm.

There are hundreds, probably thousands of breathtaking gardens all over Europe, but most of them were designed and looked-after by teams of professional gardeners, at a considerable cost. The Four Seasons Garden, created by self-taught gardeners Tony and Marie Newton, started out as a hobby, but slowly grew into one of the most popular suburban  gardens in Britain. 20 years ago, the couple from West Midlands decided to transform their traditional garden into a stunning display of creative gardening. Tony hated weeding, but loved building things, while his wife Marie just loved plants, so together they set out to create Four Seasons, their version of the ideal backyard garden.

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Kansas Man Builds Golden Gate Bridge Replica in His Backyard

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Larry Richardson, from Mulvane, Kansas, spent 11 years building a 150-foot replica of the Golden Gate Bridge, out of 90 tons of concrete and lots of salvaged materials.

War veteran Larry Richardson has had only two great loves in his life, his wife Barbara and the Golden Gate Bridge, which he has dreamed of visiting since he was a senior at Derby High School, in 1967. “I proposed to Barbara over the phone after we’d had one date,” Larry told the Derby Informer. “I was a senior in high school and she was a sophomore. I don’t think she believed I was serious.” But he also told her to wait until he got a chance to see the Golden Gate Bridge he was so  fascinated by. It didn’t take very long, as he drove over the great American landmark in February of 1968, on his way to Vietnam, for a tour duty. It was dark outside, and although he had fulfilled his dream of seeing it in person, he remembers wishing he got a chance to walk on it for a bit and admiring all the details.

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Playa de Gulpiyuri – A Strange Beach in the Middle of a Meadow

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Tucked away into a small inland hollow, right in the middle of a meadow, Playa de Gulpiyuri is one of the most amazing beaches in the world.

We’ve certainly featured some unique places here, on Oddity Central, and even a few incredible beaches, like the hot water beach of New Zealand or California’s glass beach, but none like the beach of Gulpiyuri. Located near the charming town of Llanes, on the northern coast of Spain, Gulpiyuri Beach is unlike anything I have ever seen, or even imagined existed outside of fantasy books or fictional planets. Imagine walking over 100 meters from the sea shoreline and stumbling over a small charming beach right in the middle of a green meadow. And while you may find other beaches completely hidden from the open sea, around the world, this one is actually fully tidal and even has waves bathing the small strip of golden sand.

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Bastoy Prison Island – A Relaxing Getaway for Hardened Criminals

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Norway is famous for its liberal prison system, but not even the most optimistic criminal would ever hope to end up in a place like Bastoy Island. It’s quite simply paradise on Earth for serious offenders looking for some time off from crime.

Located about an hour away from Oslo, Bastoy Prison, if you can even call this place a prison, is located on a scenic island accessible by ferry. The unique philosophy governing this place can be observed from the moment you set foot on the boat, which is manned almost exclusively by inmates. Instead of just trying to make a run for it as soon as they reach the mainland, these hardened criminals greet visitors and help dock the boat. But once you get to the island and see the kind of freedom and resort-like leisure prisoners enjoy at Bastoy, it becomes clear why they wouldn’t want to go anywhere.

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Disaster Café – Where Every Meal Comes with a 7.8 Earthquake

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If a 7.8 earthquake happened during lunch time, most of us would forget about food and run for our lives, but at the Disaster Café, in Lloret de Mar, Spain, quakes happen all the time, and all you can do is try to keep your balance and hope drinks don’t get spilled.

Normally, people are terrified of earthquakes, but at the Disaster Café, people actually pay to experience a simulated 7.8 quake while they enjoy a tasty meal. I’ve never been, but according to online customer reviews, the place is so popular you actually need to make reservations in advance, in order to be get a table. I guess people’s appetite for disaster is stronger than I thought.

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21st-Century Cavemen – 30 Million Chinese Live in Caves

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This title might seem a bit shocking, but considering China’s total population, 30 million really isn’t very much. Still, millions of people living in caves in this modern era is kind of strange, wouldn’t you say?

According to a report by The Los Angeles Times, millions of Chinese people have gone underground, to live in caves. So I guess calling someone a caveman in China really shouldn’t be taken as an insult, especially if you consider many of these burrowed dwellings have all the facilities of modern homes. Because they take advantage of the existing landscape, China’s cave houses don’t require too many other building materials, and since the hills and mountains they are dug into act as natural insulation all year round, they are more energy efficient than most conventional family homes.

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Dining in a Car at Taipei’s P.S. Bu Bu Restaurant

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Eating in a car is not everyone’s idea of an enjoyable meal, but at the P.S. Bu Bu Restaurant, in Taiwan, it’s a must. This automotive-themed venue features all kinds of auto accessories and even full cars as dining tables.

Established in 1999, by two classic car enthusiasts, P.S. Bu Bu is an innovative restaurant that serves all kinds of popular Western dishes, as well as fusion cuisine that caters to the tastes of Taiwanese people. Although the food is to die for, it’s not the main reason people choose to eat at P.S. Bu Bu. Most of them just come here to be transported back to the “swinging sixties” by the unique decorations and accessories of the restaurant. Parked inside the restaurant are iconic automobiles like the Mini Austin, Volkswagen Beetle, 1963 Cadillac Series 6200 Coupe or a 1955 Chevrolet Bel Air.

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The Real-Life Mermaids of Weeki Wachee Springs

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If you want to see what mermaids look like in real life, you’d better head for Weeki Wachee Springs in Florida. Considered to be one of the oldest and most unique road side attractions of the state, the 430-acre theme park has been entertaining people for the past 60 years. People from all over the US visit Weeki Wachee, located an hour north of Tampa, to view its most unique attraction – the beautiful women dressed like mermaids, swimming in the cool and clear spring waters.

Becoming a Weeki Wachee mermaid is no easy task, on the contrary, it’s something that even the most experienced swimmers would find hard to do. The job involves spending almost the entire day under water, at a temperature ranging in the lower 70s. This is difficult, because the ideal water temperature for adults is much higher, between 85 and 89 degrees. Putting on 30 to 45 minute performances, three times a day, seven days a week is certainly no easy task. To add to this, the ladies have to wear tight, 15-pound mermaid tails that zip up the side and bind their legs together. It sure does look beautiful, but it’s pretty hard to swim about as though you have only one leg. Throw in a synchronized choreography routine and underwater lip-synching while trying to breathe through a hidden rubber hose and you’ve got some real heroes here. With all these factors in play, the mermaids manage to swim gracefully, with pretty hand movements and smiling faces. They sure must be highly talented actors to hide all that discomfort.

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Gaza Zoo Puts Creepy Stuffed Animals in Cages to Cut Food Costs

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If you visited the Khan Younis Zoo in the impoverished Gaza strip, you would see quite a variety of animals, but on close inspection, you would realize that over half of them aren’t even alive. The ones that died have been stuffed before going on display to keep visitors entertained. It sounds pretty creepy but the zoo keepers really have no choice. They cannot afford to get new animals across the border, and don’t really wish to smuggle them illegally, and can barely afford the food costs for the few live animals they have left. So it’s up to the embalmed corpses of the zoo’s dead animals to entertain the 200,000 odd people of Khan Younis.

In total, the Palestinian zoo has only 65 live animals the rest of which have all been stuffed. The zoo owner, Mohammed Awaida, said that he lost several of his animals in December 2008, during Israel’s 3-week military offensive against Hamas. He could not reach the zoo during this period and the animals died due to starvation and neglect. “The idea to mummify animals started after the Gaza war because a number of animals like the lion, the tiger, monkeys and crocodiles died. So we asked around and we learned from the Web how to start.”

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The Creation Museum – A Controversial Attraction in Kentucky

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The Creation Museum, located in Portland, Kentucky, is a $27million museum dedicated to the Creationist theory. Creationism, which opposes the concept of evolution, is based on the Christian Genesis story that God created heaven and earth. Spectacular multimedia displays that use Hollywood technology depict the story of Genesis at the Creation Museum. Tens of thousands of people from all over the US pay regular visits to the place dedicated to God and how he created our world. One visitor proclaims, “I finally realized today that God made time. He made the dates, He made the 24 hours, He gave this to us.”

According to the Creationist theory, the world has not been evolving for millions of years (as stated by the theory of evolution), but was created only 6,000 years ago. Calling scientific experiments and proofs as ‘based on a ton of assumptions’, the videos played at the museum’s auditorium state that it is better to “start with the word of someone who has seen everything from the beginning and told us exactly what happened.” That someone, they say, is God. Some of the other attractions at the museum include life-size models of Noah and his Ark, Adam, Eve, and other characters from the Bible. Also on display are a few fragments of Torah scrolls that were supposedly saved from the clutches of Saddam, in Iraq.

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Utopix – French Family Turn Barren Field into Outsider Art

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Jo and Dominique Pillet’s home ‘Utopix’ is like something right out of a fairy tale. They started work on it about 30 years ago, and although it was completed as of 2010, it continues to evolve. The beauty of the house is not just in the construction, but the patience and perseverance put in by its builders, given that the land it stands on was considered to be barren. Utopix is located on an 11 hectare (27 acre) plot in Causse de Sauveterre, Lozere, France. Causses are sparsely populated plateaus of limestone. The limestone soil does not hold water and so the terrain is very much like a desert, but that didn’t stop this French family from fulfilling their dream.

The Pillets got married in the 70s and purchased their plot of land with the intention of building a beautiful home. Being artists themselves, they wanted to create something that was both functional and aesthetically pleasing. It’s been a long journey with several hurdles, but the couple has managed to complete the task and quite beautifully in fact. The construction project was started in 1979, and Jo Pillet mostly worked on it alone, or with the help of a few friends. He mostly made use of the abundant limestone in the region, structuring it in the form of igloos. The domed structures were then reinforced with concrete and wood, and later covered with stones to give them a cave-like feel. After two whole decades, the building finally began to take shape in 1992. Utopix has been quite popular since then, with local newspapers carrying stories, and several visitors coming to see it regularly.

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Hamster Villa Lets You Experience Life as a Small Rodent

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According to French scenographer Yann Falquerho, sometimes people really do want to live like their caged pets. I’m not sure I do, but Falquerho must be right, because his creation – the Villa Hamster – is immensely popular. The hotel allows you to experience exactly what the life of a caged hamster is like.

42-year-old Falquerho had always felt that the hotel industry did not pay any attention to the animal transformation niche. So he decided to open his own hotel designed with a hamster theme. Villa Hamster opened in 2009 and has been very popular ever since then. Located in Nantes, western France, the hotel opened with a room tariff of $150 per night, but this was soon increased in accordance with the demand. “We have a lot of success with this little house. It is because of the concept to transform into an animal,” Falquerho told the press just a couple of weeks after the hotel was inaugurated.

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The Unique Hot Water Beach of New Zealand

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Can you imagine a beach where the water is actually hot? Seems unnatural, but there really is such a thing in New Zealand. Located on the east coast of the Coromandel Peninsula (about 175 km from Auckland),  Hot Water Beach got its name from the underground hot springs which filter up through the sand in between the low and high water tidal reaches. The beach attracts a huge number of tourists every year (approx. 130,000) and is one of the most popular geothermal attractions of the region.

What’s even more interesting than Hot Water Beach itself is the ingenious way people create their own spas at the beach. This generally happens in the two-hour time frame before or after a low tide. During this period, you can actually dig large holes into the sand at the beach, allowing hot water to escape to the surface. A hot water pool is created in the hole – a natural spa of sorts. The water gets as hot as 64C (147F). Several tourists bring buckets and spades with them, and later relax in the large hole of thermal water they dug out.

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Japan Inaugurates World’s First Hotel for Sheep

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UPDATE: As it turns out, this story is completely FAKE. After it was picked up by Yahoo News, this story got a lot of attention, but according to popular rumor-busting website, Snopes.com, it was just made up by someone who wanted to have a little fun. Well, I’m sure they had quite a laugh to see the Interwebs go crazy over their made-up Sheep Hotel. We fell for it, good job. We’ll just leave the original article below as proof of our “disgrace”:

Sheep are to the Japanese, what dogs are to the rest of the world – awesome pets. Owning sheep in Japan is considered quite fashionable and the latest luxury for the wealthy. Sheep are cute, cuddly, gentle and loving creatures, so who wouldn’t want to keep them, right? Pictures of the rich and famous dressed in designer clothing and holding their sheep by a leash are really quite amusing. And the wealthy Japanese apparently take quite good care of their sheep, even when they’re out of town. Hotel Sheep is a place where the Japanese leave their woolly pets behind whenever they are on vacation.

Hotel Sheep Guest House was inaugurated last month, the first and only place in the world meant exclusively for sheep. No other animal is allowed inside. Not even rams, because hotel authorities feel that ‘rams can be too harsh to accommodate’. And you would be surprised to know that at Hotel Sheep, the sheep aren’t housed in regular barns, but in luxury rooms. Thirty such rooms are available and each of these is equipped with several amenities, including fine beds and television sets, in case they get lonely. Other services include a full-time trained maid service, and complete clean up. Japanese sheep sure are lucky.

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The Bone Chapel of Portugal – A Creepy Sacred Destination

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A structure with interiors covered completely in human bones – sounds like the stuff that scary houses are made of, right? But believe it or not, it is actually a place of worship. Capela dos Ossos, or the Chapel of Bones, is located next to the Church of St. Francis in the medieval Portuguese town of Evora. The 16th century chapel is a large room that has been adorned with the bones of over 5,000 monks.

The decision to use human bones as building material for a church is certainly an unusual one, but there’s a story to justify it. It seems that in the 16th century, Evora had about 43 cemeteries that took up way too much land. When the decision was made to destroy some of these cemeteries, the corpses of 5,000 monks were exhumed in an effort to save their souls from condemnation. It was decided that the remains of these monks would be relocated to the Capela dos Ossos. However, the existing monks soon realized that it might be a better idea to put these bones on display, rather than behind closed doors. These monks were concerned about the societal values of the wealthy town of Evora.  So they set about creating a place for meditation, a place where the undeniable reminder of death would help people transcend the material world.

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