The Golden Boy: world’s most expensive burger that costs 5.000€

The Golden Boy, a delicacy made with 100 percent Wagyu A5, Beluga caviar, king crab, white truffle, among other premium ingredients, has broken the record for world’s most expensive burger, with a price of about 5,000 euros ($6,000). The burger was created by Robbert Jan de Veen, owner of Dutch restaurant De Daltons, who came up with the idea while sitting in his restaurant pretending to get some work done. It seems that, as he browsed the internet to pass the time, he stumbled over the previous record for the…

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Thann, Alsace and L’œil de la Sorcière (The Witch’s Eye)

The little town of Thann lies on the eastern slopes of the Vosges, in the département of Haut-Rhin (Alsace). A historic town which once belonged to the Habsburgs in the Middle-Ages, it is renown for its remarkable Gothic church and the Rangen vineyard and, in fact, it is also the southern gate to the Alsace Wine Route. According to the legend, the town originated from a miracle attributed to St. Theobald, the Bishop of Gubbio (Umbria, Italy). In 1160, Ubald (or Theobald) saw his death coming soon and promised his…

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The Spirit of the Grain Fields

Harvest is the most important time of the agricultural calendar. Not only in past, the fortunes of farms, families, and even entire communities were tied to its outcome. And thus, unsurprisingly, harvest has developed its variety of deities, traditions, and superstitions which are found in almost every farming culture worldwide. Ever since the first farmers planted their crops over 10,000 years ago, people have had an anxious wait for summer. Will there be enough hot weather to ripen the corn? Will an unlucky spell rot the grain in the fields?…

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Porphyry Island – Canadian Lighthouses of Lake Superior

Just east of Thunder Bay on Lake Superior’s northern shore, Canada, lies the volcanic Black Bay Peninsula that separates Black Bay and Nipigon Bay, and consists of over 300 distinct lava flows. Porphyry Island is the last in a chain of islands that stretch southwest from the peninsula and is named for the island’s igneous rock, known as porphyry, that contains quartz and feldspar crystals. Another unique peculiarity of the island is the presence of the so-called devil’s club, a shrub with a spiny stem and large leaves. Porphyry Island…

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Sivas and the mysterious grave in the road

One of the last thing you expect to see in the middle of a regular urban paved street is a grave complete with a large tombstone. But that’s exactly what you’ll see when driving through Sivas, in central Turkey. Yeni Mahalle Hamzaoğlu is one of the several streets that traverse the relatively new Şarkışla district but, at one point, motorists need to make sure that they don’t drive straight into a grave located right in the road. It’s been there for several years now, but only recently gained national attention,…

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Big Wind: the most powerful firetruck ever built

What to you get if you combine an old Soviet tank with two Soviet jet engines and a lot of water? The Big Wind, a fire truck capable of stopping oil well fires all by itself! It was February 1991, near the end of the Gulf War, when the retreating Iraqi army set over 700 Kuwaiti oil wells on fire, thus creating the desert into an almost apocalyptic landscape. Up to six million barrels of oil burned every day for 30 weeks, sending flames as high as 90 meters into…

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Devil’s Pulpit: a strange rock with a sinister reputation lurks within the crimson waters of this Scottish glen

The real name of the gorge in Scotland is Finnich Glen. The name Devil’s Pulpit comes from a rock formation that looks similar to that of a church pulpit, even if the red coloured water seemed more satanic than saintly, to early visitors. Originally, the name “the Devil’s Pulpit” referred only to the rock that sometimes pokes above the rushing stream, and some say it is where the Devil stood to address his followers, with the crimson current swirling at his feet. Others say Druids held secret meetings there, hidden…

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Goong Ten: the Dancing Shrimp of Thailand

In the Northeast Thailand region of Isaan along the Mekong River, local cooks often serve meat raw, doused in a spicy, salty, sour marinade of chili, fish sauce, and lime. People in this region have an affair with things that are prepared raw: beef, pork, shrimp, fish, and other meats that are cooked elsewhere in the world, here can be found in their naturally squirming or bloody form. However, street vendors sometimes take the uncooked element one step further, selling a dish known as Goong Ten ( กุ้งเต้น ), which…

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Buck Moon: July’s Full Moon

A moon-flooded prairie; a straying Of leal-hearted lovers; a baying Of far away watching dogs; a dreaming Of brown-fisted farmers; a gleaming Of fireflies eddying nigh, — And that is July! James N. Matthews (1852–1910) As we already know, full Moon traditional names come from a number of places, including Native American, Colonial American, and European sources. Traditionally, each full Moon name was applied to the entire lunar month in which it occurred and not only to the full Moon. July’s long and hot summer days are filled with the…

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The remains of Buchanan Castle in Scotland

The eerie remains of Buchanan Castle are located west of the village of Drymen in Stirlingshire, central Scotland. Interestingly, although it bears the name of the Buchanan Clan, none of the Buchanans ever lived there. And in fact it is not even related with them, except that the original castle on the site (Buchanan Auld House) was the ancestral seat of Clan Buchanan for several centuries. Historically, the old house and surrounding lands had been the property of the Clan Buchanan but passed to the Clan Graham in the late…

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Gnomesville: an unusual roadside community of thousands of garden gnomes

In the Ferguson Valley of country Western Australia there lives a thriving community of gnomes, in a gnome village called Gnomesville. And no. I’m not joking. Garden gnomes are a classic symbol of kitschy yard decorations around the world, but most people are content to have just a couple of the little creatures living in their yards. But Gnomesville, a collection of thousands of the weird little statuettes set up on a roundabout, is definitely something different. The community of silent gnomes actually began as a whimsical protest some 20…

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St Ninian’s Cave

St Ninian’s Cave stands at the rear of a collapse in part of the rocky headland at the north western end of the stony beach at Physgill, that looks out over Port Castle Bay,some three miles south west of Whithorn. To reach it, there is a car park at Kidsdale, which is signed for St Ninian’s Cave. The walk begins along the path which is signed from a corner of the car park. It then runs down the wooded Physgill Glen. At one point the path divides, with a higher…

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C.Y. O’Connor Horse and Rider

Charles Yelverton O’Connor (11 January 1843 – 10 March 1902) was an Irish-born engineer who found his greatest achievements in Australia, before tragically committed suicide. His life has been commemorated in monuments across Australia, but his death is remembered by a bronze horse and rider who peek out of the waves off the coast of the beach where he died. Born at Gravelmount, Castletown, Meath, Ireland, in 1865 he migrated to New Zealand, where he worked initially on the locating and survey of a route for the first dray and…

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The War Rubble of Crosby Beach

Crosby Beach, about five miles North of Liverpool, is basically a stark reminder of World War II. What remains of the city before the conflict that destroyed the world in the middle of the 20th century is literally strewn across these two miles of coastline: from pebble-sized remnants of bricks eroded by the adjacent Irish Sea, to graves, or large keystones of major civic buildings. Historically, Liverpool was one of the most heavily hit British cities by the German Luftwaffe, the Nazi air force. It was the second most bombed…

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Wat Phu Tok: the most dangerous temple in Thailand?

In Thailand, a country where the majority of inhabitants are Buddhist, there are temples scattered everywhere, even on mountains which are not that practical to build a worship place. Welcome to Bueng Kan province, far in the northeastern Isan region. It’s one of the lesser visited provinces, and you will love it if you are in search for peace, nature, and something off the beaten path. Without a doubt, Wat Phu Tok (วัดภูทอก) is one of the most unique, thrilling, (and scary) temples in Thailand. And, above all, a visit…

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Sad Jelly Noodles: the spicy street food that has a reputation for making people cry.

Anyone brave enough to enjoy a mound of shangxin liangfen, which literally means “Sad Jelly Noodle”, or “heartbreak jelly” should expect to cry. Yes. Cry. Street vendors popularized these translucent noodles, made from green bean starch and hot water, or sweet potato starch, throughout the Sichuan province of China. Despite It was rumoured that this dish was made by a person who missed home, isn’t jelly that makes these delicacy “sad”, but the heap of hot chili peppers and oil that covers them. Either way, everyone eaters seems to agree…

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July 15: the weather folklore of St. Swithin’s Day

What’s the weather doing outside your window today? July 15th is St. Swithin’s Day and, according to an ancient tradition, if it rains on this day, it will rain for the next 40 days. In short, the story began in the year 971, when the bones of St Swithin (who had died over 100 years before) were moved to a special shrine at Winchester Cathedral, and there was a terrific storm that lasted for 40 days. And People said that the saint in heaven was weeping because his bones had…

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The secret history of Closeburn Castle, one of the oldest continually inhabited houses in Scotland~

Closeburn Castle is a tower house and one of the oldest continually inhabited buildings in Scotland. It is located 1 km east of the village of Closeburn, in the historical county of Dumfriesshire. The lands were granted to the Kirkpatrick family back in 1232, with the likelihood that the ancient fortalice was built thereafter. The tower house was probably built in the late 14th century, although some sources give a date as early as 1180 or as late as 1420. In any case, everything about the building was designed for…

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Cape Bruny: the second oldest lighthouse in Australia

The Cape Bruny Lighthouse, that towers 114m, is an inactive lighthouse located at the southern tip of Bruny Island, Tasmania, Australia. First lit in March 1838 and eventually decommissioned on 6 August 1996, It is the second oldest lighthouse in Australia. The project was commissioned by Governor George Arthur in 1835 after a series of shipwrecks south of Bruny Island. Cape Bruny, and in general southern coastlines, were feared by many early navigators and Tasmania had over 400 shipwrecks around its wild coastlines. The catastrophic wreck of the convict transport…

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Medb’s Cairn: the grave of a mythological Irish queen?

Perched atop the monolithic Irish hill Knocknarea west of Sligo town, lies Medb’s Cairn, in Irish Miosgán Médhbh, a 5,000 year old burial mound, even though no one is quite sure whose it is. It is about 55 metres wide and 10 metres high, making it the largest cairn in Ireland outside the Brú na Bóinne complex in Meath. It is believed to date to around 3000 BCE, and it is a protected National Monument. In recent years, archaeologists have warned that the ancient cairn is being eroded by hikers…

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Arthur Muir, the retiree who took up mountaineering at 68 and conquers Everest at 75

A 75-year-old retired attorney from Chicago recently became the oldest American to ever conquest Everest, the world’s tallest mountain top. And the craziest thing is that he had only started mountaineering 7 years prior. Arthur Muir, a married father of three and grandfather of six (a child in his family was born while he was climbing the mountain), had been fascinated with mountain climbing ever since his father gave him a book about the Himalayas when he was a child, and his passion grew when Barry Bishop, a legendary climber…

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Dujiangyan Zhongshuge: a surreal bookstore that look like endless in China

For a book lover, stepping into a bookstore is always exciting, but a bookstore in China makes the experience absolutely amazing. Dujiangyan Zhongshuge, a bookstore in Dujiangyan, Sichuan Province, relies on strategically placed mirrors and gleaming black tile floor to create a stunning illusion that makes the place look like an endless bookworm’s paradise. The roughly 3,200-square-meters bookshop was designed by Li Xiang, founder of Shanghai-based architecture studio X+Living, and inaugurated in the Fall of 2020. Using elements like spiraling staircases, curved archways and strategically-placed mirrors, the designers of this…

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Death Noodles: a Jakarta hole-in-the-wall serves what may be the world’s spiciest noodles!

Some foods become legendary. But if we speak about the so called “Death Noodles”, the legend went viral on the web when one man, Ben Sumadiwiria, claimed he went deaf for two minutes after enjoying a plate of it. His YouTube channel features several additional videos of he and his friends chowing down on noodle bowls that make literally their skin flush and their eyes water. Apparently, nothing strange, as the base of the intense dish is quite innocuous: Indomie noodles, a type of instant spiced noodles made in Indonesia.…

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The forgotten Benbulben Barite Mines – Ireland

In a beautiful and remote area of Ireland are the remains of Benbulben Barite Mine. The once industrious mine was used to unearth barite ore, a naturally occurring mineral used in cement as an aggregate, or ground down and used as a filler or extender. It’s an agent in the sugar refining process, a white pigment in paint and paper, and used as a weighting agent in oil and gas exploration mining, among many other industrial-type things. Due its chemical stability it can be used to give added value to…

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Tanabata: the Japanese Star Festival

Tanabata (Japanese: たなばた or 七夕, meaning literally “Evening of the seventh”), also known as the Star Festival (星祭り, or Hoshi matsuri), is a Japanese festival that celebrates the meeting of the deities Orihime and Hikoboshi, represented by the stars Vega and Altair respectively. According to legend, the Milky Way separates these lovers, who are allowed to meet only once a year on the seventh day of the seventh lunar month of the lunisolar calendar. The festival was introduced to Japan by the Empress Kōken in 755. It originated from “The…

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Minnesota’s Split Rock Lighthouse: the picturesque cliffside beacon that no longer calls to sailors but shines once a year in honor of a famous shipwreck.

The cliffside lighthouse is built on a 41-meters wall of rock overlooking Lake Superior. The structure was designed by lighthouse engineer Ralph Russell Tinkham and was completed in 1910 by the United States Lighthouse Service at a cost of $75,000, including the buildings and the land. It was built after the disastrous Mataafa Storm wrecked 29 ships in the area five years previous, and one of these shipwrecks, the Madeira, is located just north of the lighthouse. At the time of its construction, there were no roads to the area:…

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Grave of W. B. Yeats at St. Columba’s Church, Drumcliffe, Ireland

In the churchyard of St. Columba’s Church, a few miles north of Sligo town, Ireland, William Butler Yeats lies under a remarkably plain gravestone bearing his name, birth and death dates, as well as the last three lines of one of his poems: “cast a cold eye on life, on death, horseman, pass by.” He was one of Ireland’s most celebrated poets, and explained the plans for his final resting place the best way he knew how, through poetry. The final verse of “Under Ben Bulben” details the way he…

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The ancient origins of the Dog Days of Summer

According to popular folklore: “Dog Days bright and clear Indicate a happy year; But when accompanied by rain, For better times, our hopes are vain.” It sounds good…but what are the Dog Days of summer, exactly? And what do they have to do with dogs? The exact dates of the Dog Days can vary from source to source and probably they have changed over time. However, most sources agree that they occur in mid- to late summer, from July 3 to August 11. This is soon after the Summer Solstice…

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Pescarenico: the fishing village which has kept intact its charm over time

«È Pescarenico una terricciola, sulla riva sinistra dell’Adda, o vogliam dire del lago, poco discosto dal ponte: un gruppetto di case, abitate la più parte da pescatori, e addobbate qua e là di tramagli e di reti tese ad asciugare.» Alessandro Manzoni, I promessi sposi. Alessandro Manzoni mentioned Pescarenico in his most famous work, “The Betrothed” and, thanks to the story of Renzo and Lucia and the ingenious pen of their creator this Lecco’s district, in Northern Italy, has become famous. Manzoni wrote that the monastery of the Capuchins, in…

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The Month of July: holidays, a Summer Triangle and folklore

Traditionally, July is the month that seems to be dedicated to freedom, independence, and celebrations of countries and culture. It is named after Roman dictator Julius Caesar (100 B.C.–44 B.C.), after his death. Julius Caesar made one of his greatest contribution to history: with the help of Sosigenes, he developed the Julian calendar, the precursor to the Gregorian calendar we use still today. Its celebrations iclude July 1, Canada Day, a Canadian federal holiday that celebrates the creation of the Dominion of Canada in 1867. In short, this federal statutory…

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