High snows. Cold temperatures. Brutal winds. Camping at altitude in the Alps during the winter is for the hard core. But going glamping — glamorous camping — needn’t be.
Travel in the Alps offers many opportunities to experience the rugged charm and back-to-nature feeling of staying in a tent without, you know, having to stay in a tent. Spot Cool Stuff readers might remember our review of the disappearing-and-then-reappearing Whitepods ski resort or our post about the boutique hiking hut at the base of the Matterhorn. To those we now add the PodHotel Flims — though the “hotel” in the name is a serious misnomer.
Mountain biking is one of these sports that its enthusiasts take to extreme (and often dangerous) levels — and each of the five locations below are certainly places where you can do that. But this is not a post exclusively for aspiring X-Games participants. Each of these five destinations is also a great travel destination even for those with no interest in biking (or mountains). And if you are an uninspiringly average mountain biker, you’ll find cool travel ideas for you too:
If you think dessert is the best part of a meal, check out our review of the world’s best chocolate shops.
If you think dessert should be the only part of a meal, head to Tokyo, Japan and check out The 100% Chocolate Cafe.
But don’t let the name fool you. The 100% Chocolate Cafe isn’t exclusively a cafe where every menu item involves chocolate. It’s also a store — where every item for sale involves chocolate. And there’s also a street-side walk-up window — exclusively for chocolate.
The man made hole is so large that helicopters and small aircraft can not fly near it without the very real fear of being sucked in!
Spot Cool Stuff has been thinking of cool spots lately. Big geologic spots, that is. Circles on the face of the planet of the sort that would make some one browsing around on Google Earth (or traveling in a spaceship) stop and ask What the heck is that circular thing?
Here’s an overview (literally!) of seven of our favorite such spots. They span six countries on four continents:
Heretofore, Spot Cool Stuff’s favorite camping stove was the Jetboil. The gas-burning stove is compact, light weight and seems to have an accessory for every type of cooking. But, recently, the Jetboil was eclipsed as our choice for The World’s Coolest Camping Stove by a new offering: the BioLite CampStove.
The BioLite can do two things that no other easily portable camping stove in the world can do (or, at least do well):
• The BioLite runs on twigs. No charcoal, fuel canisters or logs required.
• The BioLite can charge a smartphone or MP3 player or most any small electronic device that can be charged via a USB outlet.
The real challenge is the overhang, which curved 11 meters out from the base.
For the ultimate wave challenge surfers head to Hawaii. For ultimate mountains hikers head to Nepal. And for the ultimate rock climbing wall? For that one must go to the north of Holland.
It is there, in the city of Groningen, that daring climbers take on The Excalibur at the Bjoeks Klimcentrum.
Spot Cool Stuff is a huge fan of glamping. The word is a conjunctive of “glamorous” and “camping” and can describe pretty much any travel experience that is more luxurious than staying in a typical tent but more outdoorsy than an ordinary hotel. A glamping experience might involve sleeping in a portable treehouse, staying in a human-sized bird nest, making an espresso in the middle of nowhere—or touring in a cool camping trailer.
The number of unusual, creatively-designed campers currently on the market is truly amazing. Clearly neither the upward trend in road traffic or fuel prices are deterring some people from taking a mini-home with them on an adventure. Here’s our rundown of five especially cool caravan camping trailers: