We’ve been travelling for over five years now. Over the years, we’ve developed a distinctive travel style. We enjoy exploring archetypal tourist attractions. But in our quest to ditch the clichés while travelling, we often go searching for the bizarre things the world has to offer.
So far we’ve stumbled upon many an oddity – abandoned railways lines, labyrinthine caves, ghoulish waterways, and ideologically-provocative installations. With Halloween just around the corner, we thought we would put together our favourite weird (yet wonderful) things we’ve seen on our travels :-
1) A Cathedral Made Out of Bones in Portugal
Forget intricate frescoes and stained-glass windows. At the Capela dos Ossos in Portugal, the decor boasts of bones of monks. This tiny cathedral is tucked away in the town of Faro in Southern Portugal. The macabre decor is meant to work as a reminder of mortality. As you tip-toe into the chapel you will spot skeletal arms, legs, and teeth. Spooky doesn’t even begin to describe it.
2) David Černý’s Giant Babies in Czech Republic
David Černý is notorious for his provocative sculptures in Prague. The 3 giant babies guarding the entrance to Museum Kampa are not subtle. But they are definitely compelling. Cerny’s subversive infants reappear at the Zizkov Television Tower. Here 10 enormous and creepy babies can be seen crawling up the Tower. Stifled by this landmark of totalitarian rule in Czech Republic, they are unable to reach adulthood.
Fascinated? Read more about Černý’s sculptures in our post on Offbeat Prague.
3) A ‘Volcano’ Oven in Spain
We first mentioned this oven in our post on Lanzarote’s Volcanoes. Volcanic activity continues under the surface of the earth at Timanfaya National Park in Lanzarote, Spain. It generates immense heat and the on-site restaurant uses this heat to grill meat and cook food. It’s one of the few places in the world where it is possible to have food cooked ‘on a volcano’. This ensures an intriguing culinary experience. We couldn’t stop ourselves from peering down the bottomless volcanic ‘grill’ every 2 minutes.
4) Goat’s Head on a platter in Morocco
Marrakech is an assault to the senses like no other place in the world. Walk to the Djemaa-El-Fnaa (the central square) and you will see what we mean. On our first night in Marrakech, we were offered snails, sheep’s head, and fried aubergines in the same breath. We opted for sheep’s head, all in the name of research for our blog. In restrospect, it wasn’t the smartest decision – the meat was chewy, it might even have been tasty – but we just couldn’t get used to the fact that we were munching on the head of an animal. A local specialty, this one is definitely not for the squeamish of heart.
If you ever find yourself in Marrakech, do make sure you experience it the way we did!
5) Secret, Underground Canals in France
Paris is frequently touted as the most romantic city in the world. The slightest mention of Paris conjures visuals of the Eiffel Tower and picnics by the Seine. But Paris also has miles of neglected underground waterways which have a ghoulish air about them. We explored these on a canal tour recently – the watery darkness of these mysterious underground canals is enough to set your heart racing. Let’s just say we were very relieved when the canal hit open air.
Intrigued? Discover another side to Paris in our 10 Must Dos in Offbeat Paris
6) Hidden Ice-Caves in Austria
A steep cable car ride, followed by an uphill climb, led us to the world’s largest ice caves in a small Austrian village called Werfen. We were left dumbstruck on entering the caves – there are miles of stalactites, stalagmites, and bizarre ice formations. Photography is strictly forbidden, but the labyrinthine display of natural ice sculptures left a lasting impression on us
7) Nuclear Bunker in Czech Republic
Visiting a nuclear bunker in a decrepit part of Prague is the highlight of a entire trip to Eastern Europe. It was, without a doubt, the best of our top 10 offbeat experiences in Prague. This ex-Soviet bunker, made during the Cold War, is located 5 stories under the ground. The paraphernalia including gas masks, medical kits, and uniforms is evocative of the paranoia and violence of the Cold War years. It is bound to send a chill down your spine.
What is the weirdest thing you have encountered on your travels? 🙂