It gives a whole new meaning to the term “high dive.”
It brings the experience of swimming to the edge.
It combines the fear of drowning with the fear of heights.
It is the infinity swimming pool atop the Marina Bay Sands Resort & Casino. And from it you can gaze out upon an amazing view of the Singapore skyline — and straight down a 55-story plunge to the ground.
Like so many others, Spot Cool Stuff first traveled to London as college students. That was more than two decades ago and we still remember falling in love with the British capital for its salty residents, gritty streets and low-rise charm. Back then, we never could we have imagined London as the home of The Shard.
Yet, there it is. At 306 meters (1,004 ft) tall, the gleaming glass and steel skyscraper is the tallest building in the European Union. On a sunny day, The Shard literally casts a shadow on the London Bridge.
The building has been open for a few months now. But only recently has the public been able to eat at one of The Shard’s three main restaurants: Hutong, The Oblix and Aqua Shard. Each restaurant requires taking a non-stop lift to The Shard’s 32 floor. Each restaurant charges sky-high prices though, happily, each also offers views to match.
To monks, the monastery represents the victory of good over evil. To travelers, it represents the victory of architecture over gravity.
Spot Cool Stuff previously reviewed five towns on cliff sides — villages where drinking and driving . . . or drinking and walking . . . or simply walking could be especially perilous.
Following up on that, here are five religious buildings—a shrine, temple, church and two monasteries—built at a cliff’s edge. Gaze down the rocky drops from these structures, and out upon the magnificent vistas they offer, and perhaps one can’t help but believe in God.
For some travelers the opportunity to take a guided walking tour of historic buildings is about as appealing as taking a walk through an airport security checkpoint. Yet even those travelers would find the offerings by Stockholm tour operator Upplev Mer cool. That’s because their tours don’t walk alongside acclaimed architecture—they walk on top of it!
Literally. Participants on a Upplev Mer tour scamper across Stockholm’s roof tops like Mary Poppins. Except, instead of using an umbrella for safety, they rely on hard hats, harnesses and cables.
Try not to think about the fact that you are above an enormous mound of industrial waste.
There are more than a handful of tourist attractions that feature great staircases. Among those that immediately to mind: the stairs that spiral up the Loretto Chapel in the Vatican, the stairs leading down to the ritual bathing areas along the Ganges River in Varanasi, India and the stairs that ascend Mexico’s Chichen Itza temple. But the world’s coolest set of stairs don’t go anywhere at all. For those you’ll have to visit Angerpark in the town of Duisburg, in the Ruhr area of Germany.
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.
The sound of rain falling is music to the ears of the residents of one particular building in Dresden, Germany.
Their building is one of those that form five funky courtyards collectively known as the Kunsthofpassage, located in the city’s Äußere Neustadt (Outer New Town) neighborhood. Each courtyard is designed by local artists working on a theme. And in one of the courtyards there’s a colorful building with a series of metallic funnels attached to the facade. When it rains, water is channeled down the front of the building in a way that creates melodic notes as it goes. It sounds almost like this cool piece of architecture is singing!
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.