A sandy floor, a full size tree trunk, a profusion of green plants and a posse of endangered species — in cuddly toy form. The WWF room at Scandic Vulkan hotel in Oslo is wild! The only thing missing are the calls of rainforest birds. Although, if you are after a good night’s sleep, that’s is probably for the best.
Designed in partnership with WWF Norway, to raise awareness of environmental issues among hotel guests, the room also features recycling bins (yes, you’ll have to sort out your paper from your plastic waste), second-hand furniture, organic toiletries and long-life bulbs, among other energy-saving devices.
Incredibly fragile, many of the instruments hang from the ceiling during concerts so as not to be melted by their musician’s body heat.
Ice and music. Depending on your age, those two words might conjure up the infamous 80s band Vanilla Ice and their hit “Ice Ice Baby” or the more recent rendition of the song by North Carolina school administrators announcing a snow day. But what’s really too cool (too cool) is the Swedish musical group aptly named Ice Music, whose instruments are carved out of ice.
The HBO epic fantasy of Game of Thrones has taken the world by storm on television, intriguing many to venture to these exotic locations that provide the show with an authentic feel.
The sets, locations and environment are as much of a character in the show as are the Lannisters and Starks. These relatively remote locations are becoming tourist spots and vacation destinations that will have you immersed in the Game of Thrones world, but beware, winter is coming.
Here are the more prominent locations where the show has been filmed:
While being lead to your room through dark rock passageways one feels like a dwarf on a quest in the Mines of Moria
Hitting rock bottom on vacation can be a very cool experience. At least it can in Scandinavia, in Sweden, in the county of Västmanland and in the town of Sala. For it is there that travelers can find the Sala Silvermine and can stay in the accommodations of its Mine Suite. At 155 meters (509 feet) below ground level, it is deepest hotel room in the world!
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.
Anyone can (attempt to) sing Dancing Queen in a karaoke bar. But what about singing Dancing Queen along with a holographic rendering of ABBA and then fielding a real live phone call from one of the original band members? That’s possible only if you are exceedingly wealthy, eccentric and well-connected — or if you visit The ABBA Museum. It’s part of a new complex in Stockholm that celebrates Sweden’s second most famous export after Ikea furniture: The Swedish Music Hall of Fame.
There are all kinds of hotel categories: boutique hotels, eco hotels, heritage hotels, apartment hotels and capsule hotels, to name a few. (To say nothing of motels, hostels, lodges, resorts, inns, pensions, guest houses, flophouses, bunkhouses, bed and breakfasts, holiday cottages and caravanserai). But chances are you’ve never stayed at a “landscape hotel.” That’s because, chances are, you’ve never stayed at the cool Juvet Landscape Hotel near the village of Gudbrandsjuvet, Norway, a five-hour drive north from Oslo.
The landscape hotel category was virtually invented by the Juvet and the Norwegian architectural firm that designed it, Jensen & Skodvin. The idea was to create a hotel that’s minimalist in design, that blends into its environment and that offers amenities oriented outwards towards the surrounding nature.
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.