Most crazy cat ladies live in dilapidated houses in blighted suburban neighborhoods that you wouldn’t want to travel to. Henriette van Weelde is not one of those crazy cat ladies. For one, she lives in a quaint section of central Amsterdam. Also, her cat-filled abode is not only a place you might want to visit, it’s a place lots of tourists do.
It started in 1966 when van Weelde decided to take in a family of stray cats she found near her home. Then she found another stray and thought to herself what so many crazy cat ladies have: Well, I’m sure I can find room for just one more cat.
Off the coast of Iceland there’s one particular island upon which is built a single, solitary house. It is a house that looks like the sort the Dursleys could have hidden Harry Potter for his 11th birthday.
Over the years, photos of this house — some snapped from airplanes, most from boats — have circulated around various blogs. And as people have glimpsed the digital images of the abode’s stark setting and seemingly impossible seclusion, internet gossip about the place has mounted.
So, let’s start by dispensing with some misconceptions. Here’s some of what the house is not:
It is not located on Iceland’s third largest island. It was not a gift by the government of Iceland to its most famous pop star, Bjork. The house is not a hoax created using PhotoShop. And it is not inhabited by a secretive billionaire, nor by a religious hermit, nor by a paranoid recluse intent on surviving a coming zombie apocalypse.
In fact, technically, it is not a house at all.
Happy 1st birthday, South Sudan! Congratulations on making globes everywhere outdated.
After more than two decades of strife and civil war between the mostly African and Christian southern part of Sudan and mostly Arab and Muslim north the two sides officially split. The divorce process started with a 2005 peace agreement that granted the south autonomy and the right to a referendum on independence. Then last January that referendum took place, with the pro-independent side winning an overwhelming majority. Today, the Republic of South Sudan is a sovereign state.
The workings of this new, impoverished, politically precarious state are still a work in progress. A new currency, the South Sudanese pound, is still taking hold. The visa policy is a bit uncertain, though the limited number of South Sudan embassies are issuing them and, as of August 2012 at least, travelers arriving into Juba by air have reported being able to procure one at the airport.
Assuming you can figure out where to get a visa—and what money to use—you may be wondering what there is for travelers to see in what would be the world’s youngest country. Spot Cool Stuff takes a look:
Every day around dusk the world’s smallest penguins waddle up on a stretch of coast near Oamaru, New Zealand
Is it possible to dislike penguins? There’s something universally adorable about them. Maybe it’s their waddling. Or their tuxedo outfits. Or how they are portrayed in popular culture, as in the wonderful March of the Penguins documentary.
Most penguin stories, including March, take place in Antarctica. However there are several other places on the planet to see wild penguins. At a few of those you can hop in the water and swim along side these friendly, feathered creatures. Here’s a look at our favorite:
At this affordable bed and breakfast, paying the bill is not a bitch
Getting sent to the doghouse can be a very good thing if you happen to be traveling through central Idaho. Because there, on a rise on the outskirts of the town of Cottonwood, is where you’ll find the Dog Bark Park Inn, an unusual bed and breakfast that’s shaped like an enormous beagle!†
The gregarious proprietors of the Dog Bark Park, Dennis Sullivan and Frances Conklin, describe their property as “a noble and absurd undertaking.” That sounds exactly right to us.
You’d probably expect a lodge named “Giraffe Manor” to have some sort of African decor. You might even guess that a lodge with such a name would be in Africa and perhaps be located within the vague vicinity of where giraffes sometimes roam. But you’d never imagine this . . .
Giraffe Manor is not merely in the vicinity of real giraffes. It is inundated by them!
The monkeys wash themselves, kick back with their arms resting on the hot spring’s rim, and generally carry on like humans would
So, a man and a monkey are in a hot tub . . .
That’s usually the start of some bad joke. Unless you are in the Japanese village of Jigokudani.
It is there, outside of Nagano in the Japanese Alps, where travelers can stay at the Korakukan Inn, a wonderful little Japanese-style hostel. The inn has a rotemburo (outdoor hot springs) that is for guests only. Though, apparently, no one has informed the local primate population of this policy. Stay at the Korakukan, go for an early morning bath in the winter months, and you may well be sharing the tub with a monkey.