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.
There’s a UNESCO heritage site near the Chinese village of Nantaizi that, to some, looks like a real life scene from a Dr. Seuss illustration. Others imagine the giant hand of a deity painting the rocky mountains in pastel colors with long sweeping brush strokes. To Spot Cool Stuff’s eye, the area looks like giant pieces of bacon.
Whatever it reminds you of, unless you happen to have visited one specific section of Gansu province, you’ve never seen anything like the Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park.
Though not on the sea, water at the beach falls and rises with the tides.
In Spain, it isn’t surprising to find a crystal-clear waters lapping up against a golden sand beach. Yet it is completely surprising when you come across Spain’s Playa del Gulpiyuri. That’s because this unusual beach isn’t on the Atlantic Ocean. And it isn’t on the Mediterranean sea. It isn’t even on a lake or next to a river. Instead, Gulpiyuri beach is in the middle of a meadow!
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.
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:
When the world’s highest climbing cable car brings you to the highest mountain in the Alps you know you are in for an amazing view. But maybe not this amazing.
The scene from the summit of Aiguilles de Chamonix, a jagged mountain high in the middle of the Mont Blanc massif, is the single most spectacular in the whole of the Alps. It might be the best mountain view that doesn’t involve hiking, flying or driving available anywhere.
Here’s how to make the trip:
Back in 2009, we reviewed the Bergmönch—a scooter that transforms into a backpack.
In 2011, one of the stars of the Outdoor Retailer Summer Show was the Skyver Ortovox—a scooter that transforms into a backpack.
Yes, everything old being new again. But Spot Cool Stuff is thrilled to see the Ortovox get such attention. (And we’re happy to lend our voice to it.)
There may be no country in the world as into hiking and mountaineering as Switzerland. The Alpine nation is criss-crossed by trekking trails and dotted with remote hiking shelters.
Most of those shelters are basic—a roof, a few beds, an outhouse, perhaps a wood burning stove. But one Swiss shelter is very much not basic: the Monte Rosa Hütte. It’s been nicknamed the Bergkristall (mountain crystal) and those who have visited are calling it “the mountain hut of the future.”