You can probably list the major travel hotspots around the globe off the top of your head. Picture tourists in terrible shirts and sneakers posing obnoxiously for the camera and getting in everyone”s way. If that doesn”t sound like your idea of a vacation, consider going a little farther afield. Or way farther afield. Our planet is pretty amazing, and full of truly weird places.
The Devil”s Bath, New Zealand
This lake in the Taupo Volcanic Zone gets its unique color from the sulfur deposits under the water. These deposits float when they break off. They also smell really, really, really bad. Remember the Bog of Eternal Stench from Labyrinth? This is it.
Love Valley, Turkey
Guess why it”s called Love Valley. Go on, guess. If you guessed it”s because these naturally-occurring rock formations look like giant peens, you are totally right. They were formed over long periods of geologic activity that caused their, erm, interesting shape. The residents of the nearby town of Goreme are probably really, really sick of everyone”s sophomoric humor, though.
Glass Deserts, Egypt and Libya
Yes, okay, so technically any sand desert could be considered a “pre-glass” desert, since glass is created by melting the silica that makes up sand. In Egypt and Libya, something melted the sand way far back in history to over 2,000 degrees Celsius and created lumps of yellow-green glass all over the place. It was probably a meteor or comet impact that literally melted the desert and turned it to glass. That must have looked amazing, and over the millennia, it was eventually ground back into sand, except for chunks like this. The ancient Egyptians used it for jewelry.
This Thing, Austria
This thing is known as the Weltmaschine, or “World Machine,” and it was created by Franz Gsellmann, who has no mechanical engineering or scientific background whatsoever. It spins and clicks and whirs and has parts including a xylophone, an iron rooster, and whistles. The best part about this creation is that no one knows why Gsellmann created it. He spent years on it, but no one knows what the reasoning behind it was.
Lake Abraham, Canada
This human-made and committee-named lake is known by nature photographers everywhere for the way its bubbles freeze mid-rise in the water during the winter. Of course, the bubbles aren”t air, but methane gas, caused by bacteria eating dead organic matter on the lake floor. That means that this lake gives off flammable gas.
Shah Cheragh Mosque, Iran
This mosque is beautiful on the outside, but inside is an unexpected shock of color, thanks to its stained glass windows. It was built in the 1400s in honor of two murdered brothers, victims of anti-Shiite persecution. Today, it is a pilgrimage site.
Laguna Colorada, Bolivia
This deep crimson lake appears to be filled with blood. It actually gets its color from the red algae that lives there.
First of all, “fogbow” is really fun to say. Try it. Okay, now that you”ve done so, a fogbow is even rarer than a rainbow, but they follow the same principles of light passing through water droplets. Unlike a rainbow, these are ghostly white and gray, and that”s because they”re caused by diffraction instead of refraction.
Iceberg Bottom, Antarctica
Under the ocean, icebergs do have a bottom. We almost never get to see them, though. Here”s an underwater shot of what it looks like underneath an iceberg. Imagine being one of these cold-water creatures and having the ice monoliths pass by over your head like frozen clouds. Trippy.
This Dead Horse, Nevada
Near the almost-ghost town of Baker, Nevada, is a dead horse behind the wheel of an equally-dead car. Some weirdo propped a horse”s skeleton inside this husk of an antique car, one hoof on the wheel and left it there. Why? Are you seriously asking that? It”s unclear how long this has been out here in the desert, but the horse has been giving the rare passerby a smile for a long time.
So the next time a family trip comes up, consider a stinky lake, a NSFW valley, or a mysterious machine as possible destinations. Or just stop by for a chat with a dead horse. It”ll be fun for the whole family.