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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Protect your library with terrible medieval Book Curses!

In the middle ages, creating a book wasn’t easy, and could take years: a scribe would bend over his copy table, illuminated only by natural light, because candles were too big a risk for the books, and spend hours each day writing letters, by hand, careful never to make not even an error. To be a copyist, wrote one scribe, was painful: “It extinguishes the light from the eyes, it bends the back, it crushes the viscera and the ribs, it brings forth pain to the kidneys, and weariness to…

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The Ravens of the Tower of London: an ancient legend which has lasted for 400 years.

For many centuries the world-famous Tower of London, built in 1078 on the north bank of the Thames, is guarded by a small flock of imperial ravens, regularly enlisted in the United Kingdom Armed Forces. These winged soldiers receive a privileged treatment: they are cared for by liveried servants, fed with first choice meat purchased in the nearby Smithfield Market, and their health is constantly monitored. However, they too have obligations: they can not leave the Tower. A legend, whose origins are unknown, links the destiny of the British Crown…

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Kostel svatého Jiří: the medieval church haunted by the ghosts!

Kostel svatého Jiří (St. George’s Church) in Luková, Czech Republic, has been neglected for more than 40 years. Believing it to be haunted, the congregation refused to set foot into the church, which slowly fell into decay. Until it was saved by ghosts! It’s true: in fact still today, thirty creepy ghosts now inhabit this 14th-century church. The church, was consecrated in 1352, was victim to an unusual number of fires over its long years, and was partly rebuilt and restored many times. The last creepy event happened in 1968…

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Donauquelle: the great Danube river starts here.

The start of the great Danube, which flows over 2,700 kilometers, through 10 countries, before to flows into the Black Sea, can be found in the small german town of Donaueschingen. Donaueschingen is a pretty old town, located about an hour and a half drive from Stuttgart and its most famous tourist attraction is the Donauquelle, the source of the Danube, “Donau” in German, marked by a charming small blue pool of water. The basin is framed by wrought iron fence and a group of allegorical statues sculpted by Adolf…

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Jo Lido, the most advanced italian waterpark, over 20 years later.

It was the 90s, the years in which the waterparks were all the rage. This was built in record time in 1990 (work began in March, and in June of the same year it was inaugurated). Was called Joe Lido by the owners that deliberately did not put the word “water” in its name, to distinguish this place from all the others. Apparently, for these times, it was the most advanced water park in Europe: 55,000 square meters of green and another 50,000 square meters for parking, swimming pool with…

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Rocky Mountain Oysters: the “oysters” that doesn’t come from the ocean.

Here we are: If they are speaking about Rocky Mountain oysters, Cowboy caviar, or Prairie oysters, they not speak about a dish that come from the ocean. In fact, these “oysters” come from the underside of a bull. In American West and Western Canada, castrate the bulls for eating their testicles for legendary snacking is usual. Most gourmands enjoy their testicles battered, fried, and served with ketchup, cocktail sauce, hot sauce, or mayonnaise. The oysters come from a necessary process in the cattle industry, in fact castrating bulls is important…

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King Frederick William I of Prussia and his “obsession”…

King Frederick William I of Prussia, also know as “The Soldier King”, was undoubtedly a leader, skilled to running his country’s economy and the military. During his reign, between 1713 and 1740, he transformed the army of about 30,000 poorly-trained troops he inherited from his father, Frederick I, into a terrible army with over 80,000 strong soldiers. Next, it would become one of the most strong forces in all of Europe, expanding Prussia’s territories and transforming the German state into an European powerhouse. But there was another regimen of soldiers…

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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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Lizzie Borden: a Victorian-age mystery much discussed.

“Lizzie Borden took an axe And gave her mother forty whack When she saw what she had done She gave her father forty-one.” Exist this strange odd children’s rhyme and may sound amusing too, but it is actually real-life inspired and briefly tells the story of Lizzie Borden, a creepy murderer and one of America’s most widely-known cases of parricide. The Borden’s crime happened exactly 126 years ago, during Victorian times, and its horror story is talk even today, also between authors, horror story fans, and film-makers. The story tells…

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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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Klever Gate: the towers that defied demolition, now a fairytale vacation rental.

A story with a happy ending that of these incredible tenacious 14th-century towers survived of a demolition and now a fairytale vacation rental. Built in 1393, these are the last medieval city gates in the historic city of Xanten, on the banks of the River Rhine. They’re so well-built that a demolition attempt in the 19th century failed to raze them. The two towers were built by the cities of Kleve and Cologne, which shared administrative responsibility for Xanten in the 14th century. Once they were joined together by a…

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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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Is Glastonbury Tor really the legendary island of Avalon, where King Arthur was buried?

Glastonbury Tor is a conical hill located in the English town of the Somerset county of the same name. It is surmounted by an open-air tower of the fourteenth century dedicated to St.Michael, and over the centuries has concentrated on itself the attention of historians and writers for the alleged link with the Arthurian cycle and the Britannia subjects. The archaeological excavations have revealed that the hill was a place frequented both during the Iron Age and in the following centuries by the Romans, while the typical terracing would date…

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The curious case of Jeremy Bentham.

Following the request attached to the will, the body of the English philosopher Jeremy Bentham was embalmed and preserved after his death in 1832 by his pupil Thomas Southwood Smith. In life he was an exceptional thinker, a forerunner of many social revolutions like equal rights for women, the abolition of slavery, the defense of animal rights, the separation of state and church, the right to divorce and the decriminalization of the crime of sodomy. The head and body were placed in a wooden cabinet that Bentham himself called “Auto-icon”.…

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Charles’ Oak: the lost constellation to honor a King’s escape.

In 1651, after the battle of Worcester, Charles II, who would go on become the king of England, climbed a tree. Nothing strange….the future monarch would later say to have ensconced himself in the branches of the oak in Boscobel Wood, while the troops who fought the Royalists over how England should be governed, passed below. According to the legend, he had to stay there, dead quiet, until his enemies buggered off. His hiding spot, later called the Royal Oak, once the monarchy was restored, was commemorated also on pieces…

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L’Aquila: the Fountain of 99 Spouts

The Fountain of 99 Spouts (in italian Fontana delle 99 Cannelle), is an icon in the city of L’Aquila, and one of the most impressive and famous monuments in the center/southern Italian region of Abruzzo. Historically, the number 99 seems to have been associated to the city and the Fountain some time after the construction. Built in the 13th century, it is shrouded in legend, and the true meaning of its 99 sculpted stone faces is still today a mystery. The name “99 spouts” started to be used only decades…

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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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Anna Göldi: the last witch killed in Europe.

Did you read our story? Do you remember? In Kilkenny, Ireland, in 1324 Petronilla de Meath is burned at the stake because was probably a “witch”. The woman can not know it, but the trail of blood that traces her innocent death will be extended for another 458 years, until 1782, when Anna Göldi dies, and was the last witch killed in Europe. Anna Göldi was born in Sennwald, Switzerland, in 1734, the fourth of eight children, in a wealthy family. His father was a nephew of a prestigious local…

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Photostory of Alkimia Club: what’s left of a pizza restaurant with live music.

Since three years, but certainly since many and many more, on the trunk road Adriatica SS16, between the italian sea localities of Francavilla and Ortona, there are the remains of this abandoned building. Once it was a pizza restaurant, where on Saturday evening you could dance or listen to live music during dinner or after dinner. Musical revival, rock, pop, Latin American, commercial, hip hop or r & b for all tastes. Nothing else is known about this place. There are no ratings, reviews, photographs or memories on the web,…

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The curious story of Michelin Guide: why a tyres company has been interested in restaurants?

Here we are: The Michelin Red Guide is the sacred text of cooking enthusiasts, and the nightmare of many chefs, where the opinions expressed on the guide can determine the fate, positive or negative, of any restaurant…but why a tyres company has the idea to publish a guide to the best restaurants, which over the decades has become the reference point of gastronomic tourism? A brilliant idea and a creative marketing strategy began the publication of the Michelin Guide, created to encourage the use of cars. The French brothers Edouard…

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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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Petronilla de Meath: the Dramatic History of the first “Witch” burned at the stake.

Nearly nothing is known about Petronilla de Meath, except that she was the first woman to be burned at the stake as a witch, in Kilkenny, Ireland, in 1324. It is not known who her parents were, nor what surname she had, because “De Meath” simply means “of Meath”: she was therefore probably born in Meath, around 1300, and was a servant in the house of a very rich but not noble woman, named Alice Kyteler, the only daughter of landowners, who at 17 he married William Outlaw, an equally…

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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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Grand Hotel Boarezzo: past, present and future.

This is the Story of the “Grand Hotel of Boarezzo”, also known as “Albergo Piambello”, an hyperbole that starts in the 20s of the last century, wanted and built in the 20s by Giovanni Chini, also called “the artist of the cement”, who also decorated the sumptuous gallery of the Central Station of Milan and the Maritime Station of the Ponte dei Mille in Genoa. The hotel had 70 rooms with a dining room that can accommodate over 200 people. In the lower part of the hotel (built with three…

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