Wikivoyage:Discover/2009

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December 2009[edit]

  • The Statue of Jesus in Dili was actually built by Muslims as a gift to the local Christians.
  • The name Kumasi literally means "flourishing Kuma tree", attributed to the growth of a kuma tree planted there by King Osei Tutu I.
  • Despite being famed as the Marble City, Kilkenny's black marble is in fact a finely grained carboniferous limestone.
  • Despite being a tropical island, shirtless men may be arrested in Tonga if caught outside of the beaches.
  • Mitsukoshi, Japan's 325-year-old retailer, has only one North American location—and it's inside the Epcot theme park at Walt Disney World.
  • With a length of 800 meters, Hilversum has the largest wildlife crossing of the world.

November 2009[edit]

  • Among the attractions at Frederik Meijer Gardens and Sculpture Park in Grand Rapids, Michigan is "Leonardo's Horse," a finished interpretation of the giant sculpture da Vinci intended to be his masterpiece.
  • You're welcome to have as much as you like, but the Emperor of Japan is legally barred from eating Shimonoseki's most famous dish, fugu, the poisonous pufferfish.
  • The only place you can hear the gut wrenching screech of a live Tasmanian Devil outside Australia, is in the Copenhagen Zoo. It was a gift from Australia to the Aussie princess Mary's first-born.
  • Legend has it that the city of Ljubljana was established by Jason and the Argonauts with Jason himself as the city's first citizen.
  • The Hotel Paisano in Marfa, Texas shows the James Dean film Giant in a screening room off its lobby all day, seven days a week.

October 2009[edit]

  • At Tokyu Hands in Shinjuku, Tokyo, you can buy — among many, many other things — a dozen types of sand for model railways.
  • For avid runners, the summer festival in Dunedin, New Zealand hosts a race up Baldwin Street, the world's steepest street.
  • Jefferson City, Missouri houses the only museum in the United States devoted specifically to veterinary medicine.
  • Going for sushi in Tsukiji, Tokyo? Detour to nearby Tsukudajima and sample some inago tsukudani, or pickled locusts.

September 2009[edit]

  • While it's not considered to be the most beautiful diving location, Dahab's Blue Hole is considered to be the most dangerous scuba diving location on the planet.
  • China's Leaning Tower, Huqiu Tower in Suzhou predates Pisa's Leaning Tower by over 200 years.
  • In the Museo Santuarios Andinos in Arequipa, Peru you'll find a mummy named Juanita, who was offered as a human sacrifice by the Inca.

August 2009[edit]

  • The world's largest church is the Basilica of Our Lady of Peace in Yamoussoukro, Côte d'Ivoire
  • Citizens of Inis Mór placed seaweed in the dirt between cracks in the rock island to revive agriculture, transforming the area from grey rock to green fields.
  • One of the annual "events" in Fredericton, New Brunswick is the Great Pumpkin Sacrifice, held every Halloween.
  • The SkyCycle roller coaster at the Washuzan Highland Park in Kurashiki is 100% pedal-powered — no electricity is used.
  • Time to kill at Amsterdam's Schiphol Airport? Check out the free art museum in the transit area.
  • Atlanta's Georgia Aquarium now offers intrepid visitors (with some money to burn) a chance to swim with whale sharks.

July 2009[edit]

  • In Rwanda, it is against the law to use plastic bags, as an abundance of loose plastic bags were causing environmental issues.
  • Sumo wrestlers in Tokyo achieve their massive bulk by chowing down on chanko-nabe, a soup consisting mostly of vegetables and tofu.
  • Hidden in a library in Tashkent, Uzbekistan is the world's oldest Quran, written by Othman only 19 years after the death of the Prophet Muhammad.
  • Ever wanted to take a nice strawberry milk bath? You can do just that at the Hur Shim Chung Spa in Busan, South Korea.
  • Hyde Park, New York is the site of the only National Historic Site in the United States of America specifically commemorating a First Lady (Eleanor Roosevelt).
Love Valley
  • You'll find some strangely phallic-shaped rock formations in Göreme's Love Valley in Turkey.
  • Nagano's Binzuru Festival is celebrated by banging together rice scoops and rubbing down the statue of an Indian saint.
  • The nation of Guadeloupe is nicknamed Butterfly Island, as the two main islands look like butterfly wings.

June 2009[edit]

  • The Grand Mosque in Xian was the first mosque ever to be built in China.
  • Despite being located at the source of the Nile River, Jinja, Uganda is more famous as the source of Nile Beer.
  • In the Hawaiian language, the reef triggerfish is called the "triggerfish with a snout like a pig", and the butterflyfish is the "long-snouted fish shaped like a wiliwili leaf".
  • For spiritual travelers, you'll find the Gateway to God in Haridwar, India, while the Gateway to Hell is on Mount Osore in Japan.
  • Jake and Elwood aren't always there, but the Chicago Blues Fest, held annually in June, is the world's largest free blues music festival.
  • Phone books in Iceland are alphabetized by first name rather than surname.
  • Among Milwaukee's artistic attractions is a statue of one of its most famous fictional inhabitants: one Arthur "Fonzie" Fonzarelli.
  • If you visit Antigua Guatemala and develop a craving for Indian food, Dabbawala Tandoori delivers curries, vindaloo, etc. -- via motorbike.

May 2009[edit]

  • The two monasteries of Sanahin and Haghpat which make up a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Northern Armenia lie atop opposite sides of a deep canyon.
  • You can cross the Bridge over the River Kwai, of movie fame and located in Kanchanaburi, on foot -- and then ride an elephant (for a price, of course).
  • The fence around Saint Petersburg's Transfiguration Cathedral is made from captured Ottoman cannons from the Russo-Turkish War.
  • Old Sow, off the coast of the Canadian province of New Brunswick, is the largest tidal whirlpool in the world. (Try not to get sucked in if you visit.)
  • Alaska's Dalton Highway includes one 240-mile stretch without services (fuel, food, etc.), the longest such no-services segment of highway in the United States of America.

April 2009[edit]

  • Among the attractions of Japan's Dewa Sanzan is a temple dedicated to a priest who starved to death while praying.
  • James A. Little Theater, one of Santa Fe (New Mexico)'s many great venues for concerts, plays, etc., is on the campus of the New Mexico School for the Deaf.
  • Auckland, New Zealand is built on an active volcanic field containing at least 48 separate volcanoes -- none of them currently active, fortunately.
  • Oddly E is one of only two letters (the other being X) that doesn't have a national capital starting with it (unless you count Edinburgh, Scotland).
  • The name of Rambutsiwi Temple in Negara, Bali literally means "Hair Worship".
  • Le Conte Lodge, the only lodging within Great Smoky Mountains National Park, is reachable only via a 5-mile trail, and the lodge's supplies must be brought in via llama or helicopter.

March 2009[edit]

  • If you climb Mount Fuji via the Gotembaguchi route, you'll traverse an ash field erupted as recently as 1707.
  • Opened December 2008, the Jumbo Hostel in Stockholm is a Boeing 747-turned-hostel. (Book early to spend the night in the deluxe cockpit room!)
  • Ukraine is generally glad to be out from under the Soviet Union, but its capital Kiev still hosts a Soviet-themed restaurant -- called СССР (USSR), of course.
  • So-called "Hotel Laurier" at Waterloo (Ontario) isn't so much a hotel as the off-season rental of residences at Wilfrid Laurier University.
  • The international airport for Brisbane, Australia is at the community of Eagle Farm, appropriately enough.
  • The altar at 1,700 year old Echmiadzin Cathedral in Central Armenia, the mother Cathedral of Armenians is built over a preserved fire worshiping pit.
  • Holy mackerel! The fish market in Gothenburg, Sweden is called Feskekôrka (Fish Church) because of the shape of its building.
  • If you buy clothes at the Chlorophylle Montréal retail outlet in Montreal's Quartier Latin, you may try them on first in a dressing room made of recycled sheds from northern Quebec.

February 2009[edit]

  • Tradition asserts that the Dattatreya Temple, in the Nepalese city of Bhaktapur, was built from the trunk of a single tree.
  • If you're a chessplayer and are visiting Fairbanks, Alaska, look for the Aurora Ice Museum and its chess set made of ice.
  • The trolley-style buses that roam Austin, Texas are known as 'Dillos -- short for Armadillo Express.

January 2009[edit]

  • Klang, Malaysia is the original home of Bak kut teh -- or, if you prefer, pork rib tea.
  • The Terrace Hill house in Des Moines is not only home to Iowa's governor, but formerly the home of the state's first millionaire -- although he eventually went bankrupt.