Archive for the 'Travel' Category

13 Creatively Themed Bars and Restaurants

February 4th, 2008

Recently, a restaurant in Taiwan has been making headlines because of its interesting marketing gimmick; at the eatery known as the Modern Toilet Diner, its customers sit on toilet chairs, eat from toilet-shaped dishes, and use toilet paper in place of napkins. While its theme may be extreme, it’s not the only restaurant or bar […]

20 Cities and Towns with Dubious Claims to Fame

April 30th, 2007

Many world capitals have distinctive and evocative nicknames; examples include Paris (The City of Lights), New York (The Big Apple), and Beijing (The Forbidden City). These nicknames may come about solely through a historical quirk, or may refer to something specific to that city. The same is true of smaller cities and towns, whose residents […]

Five Light-Hearted Celebrations in March and April

March 29th, 2007

In Western countries, April 1st has long been celebrated as April Fools’ Day, an opportunity to play tricks on others and to suspend seriousness for a short period of time. As it turns out, there are other holiday traditions that nearly coincide with the beginning of April; some have suggested that the start of spring […]

Six YouTube Videos Featuring Entertaining Automatons

March 20th, 2007

I first fell in love with automatons when I visited the famous Musée Mécanique in San Francisco. At that time it was housed in a dark, low-ceilinged hall right near the beach, but has since moved to the more tourist-oriented Fisherman’s Wharf. It’s a great place to visit; for a few quarters you can see […]

Nine Things To Do While Stranded in an Airplane

March 19th, 2007

Over the past weekend, the winter storm that hit the East Coast had a big effect on air travel in that area. As with some previous storms this winter, airline passengers were stranded on planes for hours without leaving the ground, sometimes overnight. To help those poor souls stuck in similar situations in the future, […]

Eight New Year’s Rituals from Around the World

March 14th, 2007

Next week, on March 19th, residents of Bali, Indonesia, will celebrate Nyepi, the beginning of their new year. Nyepi, sometimes called the day of silence, is a time when everyone remains indoors and refrains from their regular activities in order to reflect on the past year as well as the year ahead. Many other cultures […]

31 Places in North and South America That Do Not Observe Daylight Saving Time

March 9th, 2007

Starting this Sunday (March 11) at 2 A.M., most residents of the U.S. and Canada will set their clocks forward one hour in observance of the start of Daylight Saving Time. This is a change for 2007, since in previous years DST started the first Sunday in April. However, there are many regions in the […]

11 Famous Winds

March 7th, 2007

Today on Interesting Thing of the Day I wrote about the Chinook winds of the Western US and Canada. There are many other famous winds around the world; below are a few of the best-known ones. If I haven’t included your favorite, feel free to add it in the comments section. Bora: Adriatic, Greece, Russia, […]

21 Quirky Pub Names

March 6th, 2007

I first became interested in the phenomenon of pubs with names that contain two nouns (e.g., Crown and Anchor) when I visited Oxford a few years ago. Some combinations seemed natural, like Fox and Hounds, while others left me scratching my head (Angel and Greyhound). There are various explanations for these puzzling names, including the […]

12 Hotels Made of Ice

March 1st, 2007

Just a few years ago, it was a novelty found only in Sweden: a hotel built entirely out of ice. Each spring it melted, and each winter it was rebuilt, bigger and better than before. The original Ice Hotel is still a hot (well, cold) property; each year thousands of people pay handsomely to sleep […]

My 12 Favorite Signs in Hong Kong

February 26th, 2007

On a vacation in Hong Kong in January, I kept noticing terrific signs that you’d never see in the U.S. I took pictures of a bunch of them, and here are some of my favorites. I’ve seen “Caution: Wet Floor” signs, but never one warning me about a garden hose. Speaking of watering… I thought […]

Six (or More) Names for the Day Before Lent Begins

February 20th, 2007

In Western Christian traditions, the period of Lent begins 40 days before Easter, starting with Ash Wednesday. The day before Ash Wednesday is known by a variety of names, and is frequently marked by celebrations, such as the famous Mardi Gras in New Orleans, the Carnaval in Rio de Janeiro, and the Carnevale of Venice. […]

Six Fan Web Sites Devoted to British Food

December 1st, 2006

Traditional British food typically gets a bad rap in other countries for being either too bland or too greasy, but as with any food, it might simply be an acquired taste. We all have a soft spot for comfort foods we’ve grown up with, and if nothing else, the Brits do comfort food extremely well. […]

Top 10 Countries with the Lowest and Highest Population Densities

November 27th, 2006

Lowest (People per square kilometer) Mongolia (2) Namibia (2) Australia (3) Botswana (3) Iceland (3) Surinam (3) Libya (3) Mauritania (3) Canada (3) Guyana (4) Highest (People per square kilometer) Monaco (16,205) Singapore (6,386) Malta (1,261) Maldives (1,164) Bahrain (1,035) Bangladesh (1,002) Vatican City (920) Barbados (648) Nauru (621) Mauritius (603) Source:

41 Bookstores in Hay-on-Wye, Wales

November 6th, 2006

The Welsh town of Hay-on-Wye (or Y Gelli in Welsh) was the starting point for the international “book towns” movement, now made up of about 20 towns around the world. Boasting 41 bookstores for only 1500 inhabitants (that’s about one bookstore for every 37 residents), Hay-on-Wye also plays host to the annual Hay Festival, a […]

23 Food-Related “World’s Largest” Structures

November 1st, 2006

When I was a kid, I remember passing through the town of Vegreville, Alberta on a family trip and seeing the giant “Pysanka” that is the town’s claim to fame. I found this enormous replica of the highly decorated eggs that are a Ukrainian Easter tradition impressive not only for its size, but also for […]

The Castles of King Ludwig II

October 13th, 2006

King Ludwig II, ruler of Bavaria from 1864 until 1886, is one of Germany’s more colorful characters. His reign coincided with huge political changes in Germany, including the push for unification of the German territories led by Prussia. However, Ludwig preferred designing and building elaborate castles to political maneuvering, and had a special fondness for […]

23 Interesting Towers to Visit

October 6th, 2006

Humans have been fascinated with creating tall structures for most of their history; from the Tower of Babel to the Pyramids of Egypt, these grand scale building projects are symbols of power and achievement. It is no different today, as builders around the world vie to construct the tallest structures possible. But towers are not […]

13 ways to find north if you’re lost in the woods

October 2nd, 2006

To the best of my recollection, I’ve never been lost in the woods (or elsewhere away from civilization)—or at least not sufficiently lost that I didn’t have a general sense of which direction I needed to go. But if I were, I’d have many options for getting my bearings. I recall learning, as a kid, […]

32 Weirdly Specific Museums

September 18th, 2006

Taking as a starting point my short list in Museums of Interesting Things at Interesting Thing of the Day, I set out to discover other small museums that specialize in just one specific (and typically rather odd) subject matter. I thought I’d find a few more; it turns out there are dozens. Here’s a mere […]