Hi all. A few weeks ago I did a post on some of the strange places I have been to. (You can read that post here – The Weirdest Places I’ve Been. Well today I wanted to talk about some strange places around the world which I haven’t been to, but would (potentially) like to. The world is full of some strange, weird and wonderful destinations, and seeing these things are just as interesting, perhaps more so, and they certainly make for more interesting write ups.
So where are we (virtually) going today? Well, we’ll head to Kumasi, Ghana, to Ethiopia, Northern Asia. And heck, we might even take a little look over in the USA, because this is one country that has its share of the different. Ideas for places where you might not immediately think of going. Without much ado, let the blog begin!
- The Hat Museum, Kumasi, Ghana
I have a penchant for ‘different’ museums. As interesting as simple, ethnographic museums may be to many people, personally I feel like I’ve been to enough to last me a lifetime. I still like to go to important museums – for example the Jewish Museum and the Holocaust Museum (Yad Vashem) in Jerusalem (check out these posts – Jerusalem as a Tourist, and Jerusalem & The Holy Land Vlog for more info on Jerusalem).
I have visited the Voodoo Museum in New Orleans which was kinda cool, torture museums in Bratislava and Sighisoara which were pretty … disappointing. Manga museum in Kyoto was really worthwhile. I even went to Astroboy museum in a town near Kyoto. I’m sure there are others as well they just don’t spring to mind. Oh wait – Noodle Museums! I went to at least two of those!
But. A museum devoted to hats? Well that’s an awesome concept! And I would love to visit it. I unfortunately balked at the chance in 2006 when I was in Ghana to go to Kumasi because I just didn’t feel like a long bus journey to a dusty town with… a Hat Museum! But it was the wrong call. I have regretted ever since. Okay, certainly not in my top ten of travel regrets, but nevertheless.
- The Danakil Depression, Ethiopia
I guess the closest thing I’ve witnessed in my life to the Danakil Depression in Ethiopia, would be the Darvaza Gas Crater in Turkmenistan last year. The Danakil Depression is somewhere out in the east of Ethiopia, a long way from most things (which is why I didn’t get there when I went to Ethiopia) and is in fact below sea level. Considering much of Ethiopia is mountainous with some of the highest mountains in Africa, to find a spot lower than sea level is pretty special.
It sits at around 125 metres below sea level, and regularly reaches temperatures of 55 degrees Celsius. It sits at the convergence of three tectonic plates, on top of volcanic activity which adds to the heat. It’s covered in pools mixed with some amazing colours. I’m not sure if I’ll ever get there, but it looks amazing. It’s remoteness is a factor making it a bit hard I guess, but if the chance arrives…
- Baku, Azerbaijan
I’ve been to all the capitals across Central Asia – and in particular Ashgabat in Turkmenistan and NurSultan (Astana) in Kazakhstan stand out as cities with a real touch of the weird and out there. I’m not sure if there are many cities in the world I haven’t been to that can rival these two (Dushanbe maybe does a little) in the realms of the ‘weird’.
The capital of Azerbaijan though has a reputation as a futuristic city with a lot of sleek modern buildings that shine in the sun. I don’t think that it will rival Ashgabat, but I do think this glitz in a small country on the Caspian Sea sound interesting at the very least.
And a quick look at some images of Baku on the interweb certainly reveal some very interesting buildings indeed. 25% of the population of Azerbaijan live in Baku which is known as the ‘City of Winds’ (not an appealing factor I guess) and anyway, a little at this city I think would be great.
- Dollywood, USA
Ok so, I’ve been to a few ‘theme parks’ in my life. From Warner Brother’s Movie World in Queensland, to Universal Studios in both California and Singapore, Disneyland CA, Tokyo Disney, Tokyo DisneySea… and a few more. For more about those experiences, try my post ‘3 Spots on Sunday – Theme Parks’. But I haven’t been to one inspired and dedicated to the greatest female country singer of all time, Dolly Parton!
Now I’m no huge Dolly Parton fan, but by the same token I’m not anti-Dolly either. And of all the wacky things to base a theme park on, I would say Dolly Parton I, well, pure genius. Dollywood is located in the Knoxville-Smokey Mountains region, Tennessee and is apparently filled with loads of rides and attractions along with the museum of the region. I mean, the idea seems so wacky at first, I’m already sold regardless of what the visitor is likely to find within. It is part owned by the singer and includes no less then NINE roller coasters! I can’t imagine anyone could get bored there!
- Chernobyl, Ukraine
Ummm okay. So, I did a post a while ago asking – Would You Go to Chernobyl? And I think generally the consensus is NO. It’s still radioactive, and although a load of precautions are in place, it still seems like a dubious venture at best. So I’m not saying I WOULD go. I’m also not saying I wouldn’t because frankly it sounds like a weird and ‘out there’ experience which would float my boat!
Walking around Priypat and seeing the devastation, the homes where people lived, now empty and crumbling, and the building where the reactor is sealed in and I think needs to be for hundreds of years would no doubt be eerie, and I really can’t say why I think it would be really interesting. I don’t want to come across as someone who revels in, you know, the bad things that have happened to humankind or who is morbidly curious about them, and I have no plans in the foreseeable future to head to Chernobyl, but there are tours and it has become actually quite popular for tourists to go there. Which in itself I find somewhat off-putting. The idea of people lining up for selfies in front of the reactor where people died – heroes trying to save the day – is a little…. I don’t know. But it is!
- North Korea
Yes okay so here we are at the ULTIMATE in weird and strange, North Korea. Some people don’t realise you CAN visit North Korea, you need a tour guide and your visit is greatly controlled – much more than Turkmenistan. But to gaze over the only real remaining ‘Iron Curtain’ if you will in the world, it’s something I would love to do.
Of course, the news has been full (not so much of late) of visitors to North Korea who fell foul of the system and the law there, and so I think you have to play it extra safe when there and not push the envelope when there, which in some ways would be a pity. And I think just the experience in being THERE, for westerners, is some sort of weird dystopia.
So. Do any of these places appeal to you? Would you consider North Korea, perhaps the Ultimate in weird places across the world? Please do comment, and take care of course. May the Journey Never End!