The incredible story of Titanic Orphans.

It was the night of April 14, 1912, and RMS Titanic, the Ship of Dreams, was sinking. As we all know, nobody was spared from the terrible experience of dread on board, everybody, men, women, and children. Michel Marcel Navratil was almost four-years-old at the time, and his brother Edmond Roger Navratil was two-years-old. They survived the disaster only because there was a place for them on Collapsible D, the ninth and final life-saving vessel that was lowered from the Titanic’s side. The two brothers were placed in the boat…

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Basilica of Saint Bernardino da Siena: the Saint is guarded here.

This church was built, with the adjacent cloister, between 1454 and 1472 in honor of St Bernardino of Siena…. In the year 1400, a twenty-year-old man came to the door of the largest hospital in Siena, while a terrible plague was raging through the city. Every day died at least 20 people, and many of them were those who were needed to tend the ill. The young man had come only because he wanted to help the others, and for four months Bernardine and his companions worked day and night…

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Ever take an ice cream bean for dessert?

Money may not grow on trees, but ice cream beans yes! Discovered in Central and South America, ice cream beans are legumes that when split open, produce lima-bean sized seeds wrapped in a fluffy covering that looks like cotton candy and its flavor is similar to vanilla ice cream. In tropical swaths of Central and South America, you can find candy bars long about 30 centimeters, dropping from tree branches. Produced by Inga trees, ice cream beans are actually legumes, and like many seeds, they appeal to our sweet tooth…

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A new lava island was born to Hawaii, but only for a few days.

Hawaii’s ongoing eruption created new land, but only for a few days… Last week, a small new island was born. Yes, a real island, surrounded by water and smaller than a continent, and emerged just a few meters off the coast of Hawaii’s Big Island, formed by the lava that’s been flowing from Kīlauea since May. All beautiful, but a few days later, the small island had already transformed, and on Monday, July 16, it had become an isthmus. The island formed near the northern end of the area where…

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Spanish Fortress: the castle of L’Aquila

The Spanish Fortress of L’Aquila know as “il Castello” by the Aquilans, is one of the most impressive Renaissance castle in Central/Southern Italy and was built in the 16th century, when the city had become the second most powerful city in the Kingdom after Naples. In 1528, to punish the citizens for their rebellion, Viceroy Filiberto of Orange ordered to build a fortress in the highest spot North of the city, according to the project of a renowded Spanish architect, Don Pirro Aloisio Escriva, also a great expert of firearms.…

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Pylsur: Icelanders make a very, very good hot-dog!

Here we are: Compared to more intimidating Icelandic specialties, for example sour rams’ testicles or fermented shark, the three-meat Icelandic hot dog, named pylsur, is a more appetizing national dish, and it’s also said to be absolutely delicious. This hotdog features a variety of meats (lamb, pork, and beef), two kinds of onions (crispy-fried and raw) and a selection of condiments, including ketchup sweetened with apples and special sauce known as remolaði. The latter sauce is the Icelandic version to France’s remoulade, a mayonnaise-based condiment made with pickles, vinegar, and…

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Raw Herring Ice Cream: a dutch speciality.

Here we are: It’s unusual that someone speak about an ice cream parlor into the Netherlands’ national news, but that’s exactly what happened when Robin Alting started selling raw herring ice cream in his shop in Rotterdam. Even if the Dutch are known for their love of herring, the usage of the favourite fishy into sweet ice cream was probably too excessive! The flavor is a frozen blend of raw herring, onion, sugar, and cream. It’s been described as having the texture of traditional ice cream but the strong taste…

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Mawson’s Huts: Frozen in times.

Lost on the edge of Cape Denison in Antarctica, there is a small group of huts that were built by Australian antarctic explorer Douglas Mawson in the early 20th century. However, they have been abandoned for decades, preserving much of the objects and furnitur of the original expedition. The small reasearch station was built between 1911-1914 and is now known simply as the Mawson Huts. It stands as one of the last outposts left from the Heroic Era of Antarctic Exploration, and the only one created by Australians. Mawson and…

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Finland: Salt Licorice Ice Cream.

Here we are: We are in Finland, where black licorice is intensified with a hit of salty, stinging ammonium chloride, and the resulting candy is a popular snack. So popular, that summertime in Finland means salt licorice ice cream. Salt licorice ice cream is sell in different forms like scoops, soft serve, and ice-cream bars. The candy company named Fazer makes their ice cream in the same shape as their typic salt licorice candy. The sweet, salty ice cream is a deep gray, it’s often covered in an dark black…

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Maguey worms: a mexican tasty snack.

Here we are: If we are in Mexico, and at some point we want to go to the restaurant. But what can we find at the restaurant? Mexican cuisine is actually very different from the surrogates we are used to enjoying in Europe. Today I want to present a tasty dish typical of this fascinating country. The maguey worm is not really a worm, but a caterpillar, and make their home in the agave plants. There are two kind of worms, white and red, both among the most prestigious insects…

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Buy homemade pecan-pies in a vending machine: in Texas it’s possible.

Here we are: Today the vending machines are increasingly common all over the world. But just imagine a 24-hour vending machine restocked every day with homemade full-sized pecan pies! Impossible? Absolutely not! If casually you find yourself driving down Highway 71 in Texas, I suggest to look carefully the signs directing you toward the giant squirrel statue holding a pecan nut. Because next to this funny roadside statue is something that should absolutely not be missed for all sweet tooth: a vending machine stocked with full-sized homemade pecan pies. The…

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The mysterious Tower of Claudius in Faqra, Lebanon.

This curious ruins of a monumental tower in the heart of Lebanese mountains, on the main road leading to the town and ski resort of Faraya, still today makes crazy the archeologists. In the same road there are also a myriad of other small archeological sites, but archaeologists aren’t certain about the original purposes of this temple on Mount Lebanon. The ruins of the stone structure (one of four altars in the surrounding area) were once part of either a tower? A tomb? Or a temple? The building now is…

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Meteora beyond monasteries: a unique place in central Greece.

We are always in Greece…..this time for discover monasteries on rock pillars, once accessible only by frayed ropes. It’s well known, that the Orthodox church has always had the ability for picking spectacular locations for its sacred buildings, and Meteora is no exception. Even if it weren’t the site of the second most important monastery complex in Greece, it would still be a place absolutely to visit. In the foothills of the Pindus mountains, above the central Greek plains of Thessaly, is a series of geological wonders that stick out…

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Tatoi Palace: an abandoned piece of greek history.

Epidaurus, 1822. In contrast to the Ottoman forces still dominant in the Greece, the Constituent Assembly of the First Hellenic Republic is born. It will take another 7/8 years to be able to free most of Greece from the Turkish invader, but in 1830, thanks to the London Protocol, the Greek state will be officially recognized by the world powers and, after thousands of years, the Republic and Democracy will return to wave their flags from the Parthenon hill. It seems a story with happy ending…true? Absolutely not. In fact,…

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A trip in the Dogon Villages of Bandiagara Escarpment.

The Bandiagara Escarpment slices across the hot and dusty lands of the Sahel in Mali for over 160km. Bandiagara is a wonder of nature, where the cliffs rise almost 500 meters in the sky and range in geographic diversity from desert to cascading waterfalls plummeting into the plains below. We are in central Mali, about 90 km to the east of Mopti, where we can see an incredible sandstone cliff with a high plateau above and sandy semi-desert plains below. It’s known as the Bandiagara Escarpment, this cliff stretches for…

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Acid on the pool: just a story about Racism in United States.

It was 11th June 1964, and The Civil Rights Act, which guarantee equality among all men in the United States, would become law 20 days later, exactly on July 2nd, but despite this, there is still time for an absurd episode of racism. Martin Luther King Junior go at the Monson Motor Lodge Motel in Saint Augustine, Florida, intending to eat at the restaurant. The owner of the Motel “only for whites” Jimmy Brock, prevents access, and Luther King is arrested and taken to prison. From prison he writes to…

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Old Perithia, the ghost town where the villagers refuse to leave.

If you’re looking for Perithia, you’ll have to be clear on which Perithia you’re looking for…the new, or the abandoned? 😉 We are in Greece. (this time really, in fact i’m writing from Greece) On the Greek island of Corfu, the “new” Perithia can easily be seen on a main coastal road. The village has the features of a traditional Greek village, with taverns, an olive press, busy workers and a delightful ice cream shop that comes highly recommended in all the country. But if you prefer exploring, before the…

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Transnistria, the country that doesn’t exist.

More correctly known as the ‘Pridnestrovian Moldavian Republic’ (or ‘PMR’), Transnistria is one of a number of frozen conflict zones that emerged following the 1991 fall of the Soviet Union. (Others are the unrecognised states of Abkhazia and South Ossetia along the Russian-Georgian border, as well as Nagorno-Karabakh, a breakaway territory of Azerbaijan.) At the border points with Moldova there are still today tanks in the middle of the road and soldiers in camouflage. With a few euros you can get permission to enter, only few euros to put a…

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Zona del Silencio: the urban legend magnet for curious.

We are lost in the desert in northern Mexico, between the states of Durango, Chihuahua and Coahuila, in an area known as zona del silencio, in english, the “zone of silence”. This area is also known as Mapimí Silent Zone, for its close proximity to the mexican city of Mapimi. According to the legend, in this area electromagnetic transmissions cannot be received, radio doesn’t work, compasses do not point to magnetic north, and the flora and fauna have abnormal mutations. Over the years, of course, they told stories about alien,…

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Batroun, Lebanon: one of the oldest cities in the world.

We are in Batroun, a coastal city in northern Lebanon, located 50 km north of Beirut and 30 km south of Tripoli. This is one of the oldest cities in the world, with a history of human occupation going back to at over 5,000 years. Despite this, very little is known about its history. Once was a flourishing city and port in Phoenician times (3000 – 64 BC) and one of the most important Phoenician cities in the region. Its name derives from the Greek, Botrys (or Bothrys), which was…

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Anchors graveyard in Portugal…rust in peace!

The Cemetery of Anchors in Santa Luzia, Portugal, is surely a different place from the conventional touristic destinations. Here the dead anchors honor the victims of Portugal’s fishing industry. No one knows who placed the first of the hundreds of anchors along the sand dunes of Praia do Barril Beach. But one leads another, and locals people continued adding rusted old weights to honor the small tuna fishing community that once were on all this area, a symbolic memorial to the abandonment of this way of life. Historical reference indicate…

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Joachim Martin: the carpenter who wrote his secret diary on the floor.

The carpenter Joachim Martin wanted to ensure no one read his thoughts while he was still alive. So he decided to tells some disturbing facts of his life and his personal reflections in a very original secret diary: the floorboards of his castle. We are in France, in the castle of Picomtal, in the Hautes-Alpes. In an old-fashioned yellow novel, a normal guy suddenly become an investigator when finds old stories of murders and adulterers, long gone. But it’s not a novel, this is really happened: in the early 2000s…

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An Italian story: Giovanna Bonanno, “the old of the vinegar” who sold the death.

We are in the South of Italy, exactly in Palermo, Sicily, and it’s 30 July 1789. Giovanna Bonanno, an elderly beggar known to all as “the Old of the vinegar”, is hanged in front of a large audience of noble, but especially curious. The accusation is of “witchcraft”, but the sentence says “poisoning”. In a short time everything is over, Giovanna Bonanno is dead and the streets of the city can return to their ordinary routine. Who usually means esotericism, says that the soul of those who die following an…

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Driving a motorized muffin is possible….

Here we are: Exist parades and events that are an incredible show sight, where giant muffins and cupcakes roll along the streets, drived by drivers whose heads poke out of the tops. This electric, eclectic vehicles have been rolling since 2004 and were built by a loose group of makers under the banner of Acme Muffineering. Motorized muffins and cupcake cars have been popping up at events such as parades and Maker Faires since their debut at Burning Man in 2004. The original “muffineers” are Lisa Pongrace and Greg Solberg…

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The Eyes of God (Проходна)

Prohodna, in bulgarian Проходна, is one of the best known caves in Bulgaria, a country full of caves, and is located in the Iskar Gorge, one of largest karst regions, 2 km away from Karlukovo Village and 112 km away from Sofia. If it’s so famous, is especially thanks to the strange symmetrical holes in the cave’s ceiling, which offers a rather striking subterranean image. Known as “the Eyes of God”, these holes are located in the middle chamber of the cave, long 262 meter, illuminating the interior and providing…

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Did you know, that in Istanbul drinking Coffee in public was punishable by death penalty?

…It’s true! Throughout Europe and the Middle East years ago tried to ban the black drink. In 1633, the ottoman sultan Murad IV absolutely forbade an activity he believed was the cause of social decay and disunity of Istanbul, his capital. The risk and the bad habits of this activity were so terrible that he declared transgressors should be immediately punished with the death, and according to some documents, Murad IV controlled the streets of Istanbul undercover, using a 100-pound broadsword to decapitate all people that he found in this…

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The Pied Piper: the creepy medieval mystery behind one of the most popular Children’s Tale.

Every summer Sunday in the city of Hamelin, actors gather in the old town center to pay homage to a strange, enduring tale. The “Pied Piper” (or “the Piper of Hamelin”) is one of the most famous classic fairy tales all over the world. Despite its great diffusion, only a few people have studied the genesis of this story, probably for the habit of considering it harmless, only a fairy tale, and for this without any reference to reality. The most recent children’s story (the version of 1857) tells that…

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Enriqueta Martì Ripólles, the story of the “Vampire of Barcellona”

It’s normal, in every culture, than if children misbehave, they are told the bogeyman will get them. But not in Spain, where they’re threatened with Enriqueta Martí i Ripollés the ‘Vampire of Barcelona’, a psychopath woman who would kidnap children, offer them to paedophiles and then kill them, using their remains to make cosmetics and beauty product. The story of one of the most sadistic women in Spain is intertwined with that of the “Semana Tragica” in Barcelona, ​​in 1909. During that week a brothel was discovered by a self-styled…

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