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Total Privacy at Clingstone

This 103-years-old mansion in Rhode Island is built on a small, rocky island far away from any nosy neighbors. Just like this house, built close to Oslofjord Island, Norway, it offers total privacy.

Clingstone mansion was built in 1905, for a cost of roughly $36,000, by J.S. Lovering Wharton, a distant cousin of 79-year-old Henry Wood, the present owner of the house. He and his ex-wife bought it in 1961, for $3,600 and managed to bring it back to life after it had been abandoned for two decades.

Mr. Wood and his family found an ingenious way of preserving this 23-room architectural wonder: the Clingstone work weekend. Every year, around Memorial Day, the Wood family and up to 70 friends gather at Clingstone to clean the mansion and fix any of its problems. Practically, any volunteer workers are welcome.

In winter time the boats and floating dock are stored at the nearby Jamestown Boatyard, in exchange for a week’s stay at Clingstone, during the summer.

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Waldspirale – The Wooded Spiral of Darmstadt

Located in Darmstadt, Germany, the Waldspirale apartment-building was designed by Austrian artist, Friedensreich Hundertwasser, and built during the 1990s.

There are other apartment buildings in Darmstadt, but the U-shaped Waldspirale is special. Its diagonal roof is covered with grass, shrubs and trees and the facade follows an irregular grid organization.

Waldspirale has over 1,000 windows, but no two are the same. The handles on the apartment doors and the windows are also unique.

Waldspirale was completed in 2000 and people actually live in it.

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Weirdest Hotel in China?

Personally I think it has a shot at the title of weirdest hotel in the world, but it’s definitely not the best looking one.

Located in Hebei province, China, the Tianzi Hotel was built sometime in the 2000-2001 period. It is a ten-story high representation of Fu Lu Shou (good fortune, prosperity and longevity) that apparently holds the Guinness World Record for the “biggest image building”…whatever that means.

You probably won’t find much more info about the Tianzi Hotel on English websites. Don’t know if it will help, but it’s also known as The Emperor Hotel and Son of Heaven Hotel.

via Killer Directory

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Mooning of the Amtrack Train

On every second Saturday of July, people gather outside the Mugs Away Saloon, in Laguna Niguel, California, for the annual Mooning of the Amtrack.

Known also as the Mooning of the Train, this tradition dates back to 1979. Legend has it it all started when a rich person walked into the bar and promised free drinks to anyone with enough balls to show their naked behinds to the passing Amtrak train.

This year around 1,000 people attended the mooning and a great time doing so. there were no incidents, unlike last year, when many of the 8,000 mooners got intoxicated in public and the festivities had to be shut down.

The trains are mostly full when they pass by the Mugs Away Saloon and the conductors even slow down so the passengers can really enjoy the view.

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The Zipper Pond of Taiwan

An artistically designed pond that looks like it could be zipped up at any time.

Designed by renowned Taiwanese sculptor Ju Chun, the Zipper Pond has become one of the most popular attractions at the Juming Museum, outside Taipei.  It does look absolutely amazing…I mean I’ve seen some beautiful ponds in my time, but a zipper pond? That’s special.

via Crooked Brains

photos by JT

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Bous a la Mar Festival, in Denia, Spain

Spanish people really have a thing for bulls, don’t they. Bullfighting, the festival of Pamplona, they’re all centered around the bull.

During the Bous a la Mar Festival, in Denia, near the city of Alicante, people get chased by bulls through the streets and into the Mediterranean Sea. The brave participants plunge into the waters just before the bulls are about to catch them. The animals often fall into the sea as well, where they are taunted some more. Eventually, the bulls are caught with a lasso and towed back to shore by a boat.

via Telegraph.co.uk

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La Tomatina – Biggest Food Fight in Colombia

What started as La Tomatina of Bunol, Spain, is now also a popular celebration in Sutamarchan, Colombia and even Dongguan, China.

On June 14, locals of Sutamarchan and many tourists gathered on an old football field to stage Colombia’s biggest food fight of the year. Around 15 tons of tomatoes were sacrificed in La Tomatina this year. The food fight, inspired by the much more famous Tomatina of Bunol, is part of a three day tomato celebration. A tomato-eating contest and a competition for the largest tomato, are also part of the celebration.

via Telegraph.co.uk

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Trekkies Party in Vulcan, Alberta

Why journey to Vulcan in a spaceship when you can just drive there?

The Canadian town of Vulcan, Alberta has become a true pilgrimage site for Star-Trek fans because of its coincidental link to the sci-fi series. Vulcan received its name in 1915, from a surveyor of the Canadian Pacific Railway who named it after the Roman God of Fire. It has no connection to Mister Spock’s home planet, but do trekkies care?

Of course not, anything that relates to the Star-Trek universe, accidentally or not, is worth a visit. So the people of Vulcan decided to capitalize on this great tourism opportunity and built a 5-ton replica of the USS Enterprise. And it paid out. This year trekkies gathered in Vulcan, Alberta for a celebration called Spock Days.

Photos show Klingons, Romulans, Tholians, Vulcans and even good old Captain Kirk had a great time in Vulcan this year.

via Telegraph.co.uk

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Modern-Day Gladiators Battle in Croatia

The largest city of the Istrian Peninsula and an ancient Roman port, Croatia’s Pula takes tourists back to the days when Romans ruled the lands.

During the Antiquity festival, at the start of summer’s traveling season, people gather in the Forum and Small Roman theater, demanding “bread and games”. This year, on My 23rd, the members of the Hungarian Collegium Cladiatorium fighting club were only happy to oblige. They entertained the crowds just like the gladiators of old used to…minus the hurting and killing each other, of course.

Photos by Xianhua/Reuters

via big5.cri.cn

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Kodinhi – The Village of Twins

With 250 registered pairs of twins, the Indian village of Kodinhi, in Kerala, has six times more twins born than the world average.

Dr. Krishnan Sribiju has been studying the odd twin phenomenon in Kodhini, for the last six years and says that although 250 pairs have been registered, there may be up to 300-350 sets of twins. Villagers say an unusually high number of twins started being born three generations ago, and it’s been rising ever since.

Because the twins don’t present any deformities, Dr. Sribiju says the twin phenomenon isn’t caused by some pollutant, but by something the villagers of Kodinhi eat and drink. If that proves to be true, this magic element could turn into the next treatment for infertile couples.

via Telegraph.co.uk

Photos by Niklas Halle’n/BARCROFT MEDIA

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Volcano Surfing in Nicaragua

Thrill-seekers have a new reason to be happy. Volcano-surfing, a new kind of extreme sport, is growing more and more popular.

Phillip Southan is the young owner of Green Pathways Tour, the company that organizes volcano surfing sessions on Cerro Negro, one of Nicaragua’s most active and dangerous volcanoes.

Dressed in protective gear, adrenalin-junkies climb 726 meters up Cerro Negro and slide down on specially-built plywood boards. Southan admits there is a chance the young volcano could erupt, but says the biggest danger is the volcano surfers might fall off the board and injure themselves.

The volcano surfing tour has only been around for 4 years, but 10, 000 people have already participated.

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via Telegraph.co.uk

The Heidelberg Project

The Heidelberg Project began in 1986 when Tyree Guyton and his grandfather Sam Mackey started painting houses in Detroit’s McDougall-Hunt neighborhood, which began to fall apart after the riots of 1967.

Guyton and Mackey painted the abandoned houses in bright colors and decorated them with salvaged items, similar to those used by Bogdan Litniansky for his trash house and garden, transforming it from one of the city’s most dangerous places, into a regular local attraction. The Heidelberg Project attracts over 270,000 tourists every year, making it one of Detroit’s most popular tourist destination.

The Heidelberg outdoor art environment project faced demolition twice since it was started, but Tyree Guyton and his supporters filed a civil lawsuit against the city of Detroit and managed to protect it. This year The Heidelberg Project celebrates its 23rd anniversary.

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Tim Burke’s studio gallery – Detroit Industrial Gallery

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The Heidelberg Project official site

The Train-Bar of Brno

Who new toy-trains could be so useful.

These photos were taken in a bar somewhere in Brno, the Czech Republic. It might look like a nice decorative addition, but that train has a very specific purpose. Its rail passes through the bar, stops at customer tables, taking their orders. Then it goes back to the bartender, who sends the drinks in the train carts.

It’s a very ingenious system that spares the customers the trouble of having to tip the waitress. I wonder how quick it is though, do the customers have to wait a long time for the toy-train to bring them their drinks?

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Angel Oak – The Fairytale Tree

Angel Oak is one of the oldest organisms east of the Mississippi, believed to be over 1,500 years-old.

Before you start with the “It’s photoshoped” comments, check Wikipedia and you’ll see it’s very real. Angel Oak is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Charlestone, South Carolina. It has a height of 20 meters, measures 2.7 meters in diameter and it’s crown shades an area of 1,600 square meters. It’s longest limb stretches out 27 meters.

Its name comes from the Angel estate, but local legends say ghosts of former slaves sometimes appear around the tree, as angels.

Angel Oak has survived countless earthquakes and floods, as well as human interference. It was damaged by Hurricane Hugo, in 1989, but has since then recovered.

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The Plane-Hotel of Costa Rica

If you are afraid of flying, but want to spend a night in an airplane, then travel to Costa Rica and spend a night at the Costa Verde Hotel.

There are a lot of things you can do with an old jumbo-jet, some just cut it to pieces and sell it as scrap-metal, others transform it into a bar and call it El Avion, others make a plane-boat out of it, and others turn it into a airplane-hostel. So a plane-hotel shouldn’t seem that bizarre.

The plane hotel is an old Boeing 707 from 1965 that now has two bedrooms, two bathrooms. a dinningroom, a kitchen and a terrace overlooking the ocean. It’s definitely not your average vacation hotel, but if you’re into trying new things, the Costa Rica plane-hotel is worth $300-$350 per night.

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via Inhabitat