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Drone Photographer Captures ‘Lenin’-Shaped Forest in Siberia

Vladimir Ilich Lenin, the founder and first leader of the Soviet Union, lives on in the hearts and minds of the Russian people, but also in one little-known geoglyph in the country’s Siberia region – pine tree forest that spells “Lenin” in Cyrillic letters.

Russian photographer Slava Stepanov was planning a business trip to the city of Omsk, when he remembered a fascinating Google Earth satellite image captured in that region a few years earlier. Taking a day off from work, Stepanov decided to drive to the town of Tyukalinsk and look for a very common-looking grove on the outskirts of the settlement. Planted in straight rows, typical for man-made forests, the pine grove only revealed its secret when Stepanov released his drone to get a view from high above.

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The Twisted Trees of Slope Point – A Natural Wonder Shaped by the Wind

Slope Point is known for being the southernmost tip on New Zealand’s South Island, but also for hosting some of the strangest-looking trees in the world. They are shaped by the relentless winds that constantly pummel this place.

Trees don’t usually grow in the Slope Point area. It’s not that the soil isn’t fertile enough, but the winds blowing through the slopes and fields of this place make it an inhospitable place. Still, the farmers that bring their sheep here for grazing planted patches of trees as shelter for the animals. Only instead of growing upright, like other specimens, most of these trees are twisted and crooked, with their canopy looking like windswept hair. They look unlike anything else in the world, and they have made the otherwise unremarkable Slope Point famous around the globe.

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The Mesmerizing Salt Pools of Siwa Oasis

Siwa Oasis, one of Egypt’s most remote settlements, is also a popular tourist destination thanks in no small part to the stunningly beautiful salt pools with their azure water that people can float in.

Salt is both a blessing and a curse in Siwa. Years ago, people started realizing that there is money to be made in the salt trade, and salt mining operations created the salt lakes that the oasis is now famous for. Bottled salt and salt-rock souvenirs such as lamps are also very popular among the tourists that visit this wonderful places, but it’s the natural salt pools that get the most attentions, especially since photo-sharing sites like Instagram became so popular. To be fair, they really are a perfect place to have your picture taken, whether you’re a simple tourist or an Instagram influencer.

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Grandparents Create Real-Life Totoro Station for Their Grandchildren, It Becomes Viral Tourist Attraction

An agricultural field is one of the last places you would expect to find a tourist attraction for fans of Hayao Miyazaki’s anime, but this one farm in Japan’s Miyazaki Prefecture is actually home to a popular Totoro Bus Station.

If you’ve ever watched Miyazaki’s “My Neighbour Totoro” anime, you’re probably familiar with the simple yet iconic bust stop scene where Totoro appears next to the main character of the animated film as she waits for the bus in the rain. There are actually several real-life Totoro bus station across Asia, from the one in Saikai City, Nagasaki, to one in Taiwan’s Taichung area, but the most popular one these days seems to be the one created by an elderly couple in the middle of a field in Takaharu, as a present for their grandchildren.

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How the World’s Largest Signature Is Used by NASA to Analyze Satellite Imagery

In the late 1990’s, when a Texas farmer decided to clear up some new grazing land for his cattle by leaving up just enough trees to spell his name in giant letters, he probably never imagined that his signature would one day be used by NASA to evaluate the quality of their satellite cameras.

Jimmie Luecke was a young Texas state trooper who left the highway patrol in 1980 to try his luck in the oil business. He was lucky enough to do so during the chalk oil boom, became a millionaire, and invested most of his profits in land outside the town of Smithville. He started raising cattle on it, and by the late 1990’s his heard had gotten so large that he needed to clear up some more of his land of trees for grazing. Only he didn’t just settle for bulldozing all the trees, he decided to write his name in the process, thus creating the world’s largest signature.

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Horsetail Falls – The Yosemite Waterfall That Turns Into a Natural Firefall in February

A temporary waterfall in Yosemite National Park has become a popular tourist attraction in the mouth of February, because under the right conditions sunlight makes the water flowing down the rock face look like fire, hence its nickname, Yosemite Firefall.

Every year, from December to April, water from melting mountain snow flows toward the eastern edge of El Capitan, forming the temporary Horsetail Falls. The waterfall itself is quite a sight to behold, but it becomes truly breathtaking for a few days (7 -10) in February, when, under the right conditions, it turns into a firefall, with the water looking like flowing lava and swirling flames. The Yosemite Firefall is considered one of the most amazing spectacles one can behold in Yosemite National Park.

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Small Italian Town Lights Up World’s Largest Christmas Tree

For nearly three decades, Gubbio, a small medieval town at the foot of Mount Ingino in Italy’s Umbria region, has held the Guinness Record for the world’s largest Christmas tree.

In 1981, the 750-meter Christmas tree spread over the slope of Mount Ingino was lit up for the first time. Every year since, on the 7th of December (the Eve of the Immaculate Conception), the over 700 giant lights that make up the tree are turned on, and they remain active throughout the holiday season, until the day of Epiphany, on 6th January. Created in honor of the local Patron Saint Ubaldo, the Christmas tree of Mount Ingino was recognized by the Guinness Book of Records as the ‘world’s largest Christmas Tree’ in the year 1991. Since then, no one has even come close to challenging its record.

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Just Room Enough Island – The World’s Smallest Inhabited Island

Just Room Enough Island, is an aptly-named private-owned island with literally just enough room for its owners’ house, a couple of trees and a miniature beach with a pair of bench chairs.

Part of the Thousand Islands archipelago on the border between the U.S. and Canada, Just Room Enough Island measures about 3,300 square feet (310 m2), which makes it the world’s smallest inhabited island. It was purchased by the Sizeland family in the 1950s, as a comfortable retreat, but they never expected it to become an internationally-recognized tourist attraction.

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The Japanese City Where Beautiful Koi Fish Swim in Drain Channels

Can you imagine an inhabited city where the water running through the the drain channels is so pure that beautiful koi fish can swim in it? Well, such a place exists on Japan’s Kyushu island. It’s called Shimabara, and it’s quite a sight to behold.

When the area around Shimabara was affected by the natural disaster known as the “1792 Unzen earthquake and tsunami” which killed 15,000 people, no one imagined that the dozens of fresh water springs that started gushing out would one day put the city on Japan’s travel map and inspire its now famous nickname – the “City of Water”. There are at least 60 known springs throughout Shimabara, making clean water one of the city’s most abundant resources. There is so much of it, in fact, that it flows through the drain channels along some streets. But that’s not even the craziest thing about this place; because the water is so pure, at one point authorities decided to put some koi carp in the channels, and Shimabara became the City of Swimming Carp.

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This Famous Tree Log Has Been Floating Vertically for 120 Years And No One Knows Why

A floating tree stump known as the “Old Man of the Lake” has been bobbing in the blue water of Oregon’s Crater Lake for at least 120 years, baffling scientists with its upright orientation and allegedly even controlling the local weather.

The first account of the Old Man of the Lake dates back to 1896, when geologist and explorer Joseph Diller described a splintered and bleached white log floating vertically in Crater Lake. Five years later, Diller observed that the unusual log had moved 400 meters from the location it had originally been spotted at. Further research would show that the Old Man of the Lake is able to move more than four miles in just one day, despite lacking any apparent means of propulsion. How it’s able to do that is still a mystery, but it’s only one of many.

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This Whimsical Unicorn Cafe Is Probably the World’s Most Colorful Place

If you’re ever in Bangkok, Thailand, and you;re a fan of unicorns, ponies or just colors in general, there’s a place you simply must visit. It’s called “Unicorn Cafe” and, just like you’d expect, it’s full of plush unicorns, rainbows and lots of other colorful treats.

To say Unicorn Cafe is a colorful place would be an understatement. There’s colorful and there’s this place where even the food, including a multi-layered cake and spaghetti, come in all colors of the rainbow. There are plastic chandeliers and plush unicorns hanging from the ceilings, multi-colored couches, and tiny My Little Pony Toys decorating the tables. Did I mention you can put on a unicorn onesie to really get into a magical mood? It’s the kind of place you’d think only existed in someone’s acid trip, or in a pastel fantasy dream.

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Doll’s Head Trail – Probably the World’s Creepiest Hiking Trail

Just outside the city of Atlanta, in Georgia, lies one of the strangest, most disturbing hiking trails in the world – Doll’s Head Trail. Faithful to its name, this 1.5-mile course is lined with creepy doll heads that seem to be following you with their gaze as you walk by.

Long before it became home to the world’s creepiest hiking trail, Georgia’s Constitution Park was a huge 19th century brick laying site. But that shut down half a century ago, giving nature the chance to reclaim it, along with the deep clay pits which have since been flooded with rain water and created the network of ponds known as Constitution Lakes. And despite being located just a few miles from downtown Atlanta, this natural haven is home to several species of wild birds and even big game like deer. But the thing Constitution park is most famous for is its unique hiking trail, Doll’s Head Trail.

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How a Quirky Village Pond in Indonesia Became an Underwater Selfie Hot-Spot

It’s not very common for small ponds to have their own Instagram accounts, let alone tens of thousands of followers, but then again Umbul Ponggok is not your usual village pond.

Located in Indonesia’s Central Java region, Umbul Ponggok is a small pond measuring just 20 meters by 50 meters, but boasting the cleanest water imaginable. It is continuously fed with fresh water from 40 different springs, at a rate of 800 liters per second, so the water is always crystal clear. It’s this fascinating property that makes Umbul Ponggok an ideal location for underwater selfies, and in the age of Instagram you’d best believe people are taking advantage of it.

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Monet’s Pond – The Japanese Pond So Beautiful It Looks Like a Real-Life Monet Painting

Up until four years ago, Monet’s Pond, a small body of water just outside Seki City, in Japan’s Gifu Prefecture, didn’t even have a name, but thanks to social media and a catchy nickname, it has become one of the most popular tourist destination in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Before it became known as Monet’s Pond, this hidden gem was called Namonaki, or “Nameless Pond”, and what’s even more interesting is that it was never meant to be a tourist attraction. It was originally designed as an irrigation reservoir, but after it fell into disrepair during the 1990s, the owner of the neighboring  Itadori Flower Park took it upon himself to clear the overgrown weeds and clean it up. With the help of the neighborhood council, the man filled the lake with clean water from Mt. Koga, and planted beautiful water lilies. Later, Japanese carp were donated by local owners who could no longer care for them. But it would take over a decade and a half for this pristine body of water to reach its full potential as a tourist attraction.

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SkyCycle – Japan’s Sluggish Yet Terrifying Pedal-Powered Roller Coaster

Most roller coasters rely on speed, tight turns and steep slopes to get riders’ adrenaline levels up, but SkyCycle, a pedal-powered coaster ride in the Japanese city of Okayama is proof that roller coasters can be even more terrifying at low speeds.

Located on a greenery-covered hill at the Washuzan Highland amusement park in Okayama, SkyCycle is probably the world’s slowest roller coaster ride. That’s because it’s pedal-powered so it goes as fast as the rider can pedal. It doesn’t have any steep slopes or spectacular drops either, but it still manages to get your heart racing by constantly conveying an uneasy sense of danger and uncertainty. It may look like a quaint ride for people who are too scared to go on conventional roller coasters, but once you get on one of those flimsy carts and realize there’s nothing but a loose safety belt keeping you from falling to your doom, your pulse goes up instantly.

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