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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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Cascate del Mulino – Tuscany’s Stunning Limestone Pools

Among the rolling hills and vineyards of the Tuscan countryside lies one of the most stunning tourist attractions not only in Italy, but in the entire world – a cascade of white limestone pools overflowing with warm, turquoise water known as Cascate del Mulino.

Translated as “Waterfalls of the Mill” in Italian, this surreal-looking natural wonder is located on the grounds of an old mill, just a few kilometers outside of the village of Saturnia. Since the time of the Roman empire, people have been coming here to have various ailments cured by the special water of the underground springs in the area, which is rich in sulfur and other minerals. But nowadays, Cascate del Mulino has become a popular destination for tourists and Instagram travel influencers, offering both stunning views of the surrounding Tuscan countryside and attention-grabbing social media pics.

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England’s Killer Creek – The Most Dangerous Stretch of Water in the World

The Bolton Strid, a narrow segment of the River Wharfe in North England has a reputation that doesn’t quite suite its picturesque appearance – it is informally known as the most dangerous stretch of water in the world, with an alleged fatality rate of 100 percent for everyone unlucky enough to have fallen in it.

There is no official death toll for the Strid, but its deadliness is infamous not only in Yorkshire, but the whole of England, and judging by the literary references to its appetite for taking lives going back centuries, one would say that its reputation is well deserved. Part of what makes the Strid so dangerous is how calm and harmless it looks to the unsuspecting stranger, which is why there are now signs along its banks that read “The Strid is dangerous and has claimed lives in the past. Please stand well back and beware slippery rocks!”

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China’s Mosquito-Free Village, an Unsolved Mystery

Surrounded by lush vegetation and dotted with ponds and pools of water, the Chinese village of Ding Wuling should be teeming with mosquitoes, especially during the summertime. However, the tiny bloodsuckers allegedly haven’t been seen here in almost a century.

Located in the hills of China’s Fujian province, 700 meters above sea level, the village of Ding Wuling is home to the hakka minority, a people with a very rich history and culture evidenced by the unique architecture of their stone houses. But in recent years, the culture and architecture of this picturesque village have been overshadowed by a mystery enhanced by national media – the absence of mosquitoes. Despite being virtually covered by a lush canopy and surrounded by vegetation, the village has reportedly been mosquito-free for several decades.

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“Covidiots” Celebrate Quarantine End by Jumping in Lake “as Toxic as Household Bleach”

Hundreds of people, including families with children, were branded “covidiots” after being spotted breaking social distancing rules on the shores of a toxic lake formed on the site of an old chalk quarry, and even jumping in the dangerous water.

The old quarry at Chinnor, in Oxfordshire, has become known as the “Chinnor Riviera” or the “Blue Lagoon”, after its deceptively turquoise water became a hot spot among local teens but also families with young kids, especially after the end of the Covid-19 quarantine. Last weekend, locals alerted police forces in the area about the presence of hundreds of people on the private property, a closed chalk quarry. Despite its alluring color, the flooded quarry contains highly alkaline substances, is highly toxic and can cause serious health issues.

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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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Macabre Doll-Covered Building in Mexico Goes Viral on Google Maps

Avenida Iztacalco 9 in Mexico City was one of the most searched addresses on Google Maps this week, after photos of a creepy, doll-covered house located there went viral on social media.

It all started with a short TikTok video shared by user Fernando Mata, who runs a segment called “Weird Things on Google Maps”, where he gradually zooms in on strange things found on the popular platform. In episode three of his series, he featured Avenida Iztacalco 9, an address in Mexico City where a creepy-looking building is supposedly located. With dozens of old and dismembered dolls hanging on its facade and on the fence around the building, it’s not hard to understand why warnings like “Do not search for Avenida Iztacalco 9 on Google Maps before going to bed!” went viral on Twitter and Facebook.

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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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Tokyo Bar Only Lets People In if They Come Alone

Nights out on the town are much better when shared with friends or loved ones, but while most bars and clubs around the world welcome groups, one particular Tokyo establishment only welcomes parties of one.

Hitori, a small bar in Tokyo’s Shinjuku neighborhood, has a very particular admission system – everyone is welcome as long as they come alone, no groups allowed. They make that abundantly clear from the front door, where a sign informs would-be patrons that this is a “bar limited to parties of one”. If you and your work buddies want to get a beer after a long day, or if you’re on a date with a special someone, this is most definitely not the place for you. But that doesn’t mean Hitori is a bar for loners or the socially awkward, quite the contrary…

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Italian Town Bans Use of Google Maps After Too Many Tourists Stranded Because of It

Baunei, an idyllic mountain village on the Italian island of Sardinia, has launched an appeal to visitors asking them to stop relying on the directions of Google Maps when driving around the area.

Salvatore Corrias, the mayor of Baunei, claims that in the last year alone the local fire service or mountain rescue team have been called 144 times to help stranded tourists who had followed the directions of Google Maps. Apparently, people are often using the GPS-powered app to reach so-called “hidden beaches” around Baunei and end up driving down lanes that are unsuitable for cars or onto off-road tracks. To stop this from happening, local police have put up signs that read “Do not follow the directions suggested by Google Maps”.

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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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