About Julie McNamee
Born in Belfast and now living in London, Julie McNamee is involved in internet marketing as a day job and blogging as a hobby. She's interested in all things quirky and Fortean, as well as art, photography and theatre. Her blog Quirky Travel, specializes in London and Paris top tips and off the beaten path information with subjects such as London film locations and unusual Paris museums.
Latest Posts by Julie McNamee
- “Reminds me of my safari in Africa. Somebody forgot the corkscrew and for several days we had to live on nothing but food and water.”
W C Fields
- “Writing and travel broaden your ass if not your mind and I like to write standing up.”
- “I want to travel. Maybe I’ll end up living in Norway, making cakes.”
- “Don Quixote’s ‘Delusions’ is an excellent read – far better than my own forthcoming travel book, ‘Walking Backwards Across Tuscany.’”
- “Bizarre travel plans are dancing lessons from God.” (Eh?)
- “I didn’t notice I was being set upon by a pickpocket, which I am glad of, because I like to work only with professionals.”
- “I have never listened to anyone who criticized my taste in space travel, sideshows or gorillas. When this occurs, I pack up my dinosaurs and leave the room.”
- “Sometimes the road less traveled is less traveled for a reason”
- “We all know that light travels faster than sound. That’s why certain people appear bright until you hear them speak.
- “It can hardly be a coincidence that no language on earth has ever produced the expression, ‘As pretty as an airport.”
- “Did you ever notice that the first piece of luggage on the carousel never belongs to anyone?”Erma Bombeck
- “Never take a cross country trip with a kid who has just learned to whistle.”
- “There is no other article for individual use so universally known or widely distributed. In my travels I have found [the safety razor] in the most northern town in Norway and in the heart of the Sahara Desert.”
Patricia Harris and David Lyon
- Too often travel, instead of broadening the mind, merely lengthens the conversation.
- “People travel to faraway places to watch, in fascination, the kind of people they ignore at home.”
Dagobert D. Runes
- “Remember: Don’t Insult the Alligator till after you cross the river.”
Old Haitian proverb
- “Another well-known Paris landmark is the Arc de Triomphe, a moving monument to the many brave women and men who have died trying to visit it.”
- “The only way to be sure of catching a train is to miss the one before it.”
Gilbert K Chesterton
- “My experience in Amsterdam is that cyclists ride where the hell they like and aim in a state of rage at all pedestrians while ringing their bell loudly, the concept of avoiding people being foreign to them. My dream holiday would be a) a ticket to Amsterdam b) immunity from prosecution and c) a baseball bat.” Terry Pratchett
- “I went on a road trip with my cat, Cap’n. I would have let him drive, but he was drunk.”
- “A vacation is what you take when you can no longer take what you’ve been taking.”
- “Airplane travel is nature’s way of making you look like your passport photo.”
- “The cool thing about being famous is traveling. I have always wanted to travel across seas, like to Canada and stuff.”
- “We can’t stop here, this is bat country!”
Hunter S Thompson
- “You can’t see the whole sky through a bamboo tube.”
Photo credit: roughtravellguides.
Tired of the same old same old and fancying a change for your dinner in London? Here’s a list of some of my favorite quirky London restaurants that offer far more than just good food. I hope you find something that appeals to you and if you find the experience enjoyable, go on a journey of quirky-seeking of your own.
Les Trois Garcons
Converted from an old pub, this Anglo-French restaurant is quirky from the outset. The interior’s full of oddities, stuffed animals and the occasional A-lister. The food is excellent but not inexpensive, however I feel it’s worth a visit. It opened in 2000 with an exaggerated chic flourish, but there’s more to it than just the décor: the quality of the eating should get a thumbs up from most foodies.
Website: http://www.lestroisgarcons. com
Address: 1 Club Row, London E1 6JX
Is it a restaurant, a bar or ‘a Cabaret, my friend’?
It’s actually all of the above. Enjoy a very interesting evening of entertainment, good food and have a great time into the bargain.
Relax in the cocktail bar or book a table and dine, while enjoying the cabaret and circus acts. This venue is as vibrant as the rest of Covent Garden.
Website: http://circus-london.co. uk/
Address: 27-29 Endell Street, Covent Garden, London, WC2H 9BA
Interesting for techies and geeks, this is an Oriental fusion restaurant with pioneering interactive systems.
You place your order via a 3D menu projected onto your table, you can even choose the virtual table cloth styling. Once you’ve enjoyed the food and a glass of wine or two, you can even order your taxi home.
Is this a look into the future?
Website: http://www.inamo-restaurant. com/pc/
Address: 4-12 Regent St, London, Greater London SW1Y 4PE
Looking for unusual food? Archipelago restaurant has some great choices, but I hope you’re adventurous.
The quirkiness of this place is in the menu, where you can enjoy crocodile, kangaroo, wildebeest and much more.
The décor is in tune with the ambiance of the restaurant: there are golden Buddhas, palm trees and peacock feathers which all add to the quirky nature of this venue.
Website: http://www.archipelago-restaurant. co. uk/
Address: 110 Whitfield Street, London, W1T 5ED
The Doodle Bar
Are you a doodler? If so, head on down to the Doodle Bar near Battersea Bridge, which is an old Victorian space near Vivienne Westwood’s studios that’s been painted white and patrons are encouraged to leave their mark there.
And there’s even a ping pong table.
Website: http://www.thedoodlebar. com/
Address: 33 Parkgate Road, London SW11 4NP.
Contributed post by Ben Inder who is an avid foodie.
Kimpton Hotels, USA
Kimpton is a US chain of that has a very generous policy, allowing animals of all sorts to stay in its hotels – regardless of size (which is unusual). They even go as far as nominating a Director of Pet Relations for each hotel – all dogs I note (Kimpton’s – how about a cat or a snake for Director? Eh?). These are real animals who hang around the hotel and even become famous in their own right (see this article about Ginger the teacup Pomeranian), and hold parties …
Kimptons also offer pet beds for loan, food and water bowls, water and snacks in the lobby and a personal greeting from management! Not forgetting a list of pet-friendly businesses and attractions in the location.
Algonquin Hotel, New York
The Algonquin have always had a resident cat, ever since a stray was taken in by the owner in the 1930s, and they’re always called either Matilda or Hamlet depending on the gender.
They’ll also allow your dog into their hotel, although there are conditions which they’re shy on publicising – you’ll need to enquire. However, if your pet is accepted into the fold, you’ll be given food and water bowls, litter tray and accoutrements and even a welcome letter from Matilda herself. I don’t know where the hotels get these talented pets from.
The most famous pet the Algonquin has taken in is probably Snowball, the cockatoo who dances to the Backstreet Boys:
The Milestone Hotel
A seriously luxurious hotel in a seriously luxurious part of London, Kensington, The Milestone is a favourite of Conde Nast, no less (voted “One of the best places to stay” in 2011). A butler will look after you and your dog, point out the dog dishes on the menu, award your pooch a Milestone dog tag and you with some dog poop bags for your walk in nearby Kensington Gardens.
A pet bed, cushions, even a duvet are the choices your pet has to make about how he’s going to spend the night. There’s even a “Do not disturb pet” sign plus fresh mineral water and a treat to round off his pampered day.
Avalon B&B, Brighton
I love this place for many reasons, not just for the fact that they’ll welcome your dog with open arms, give them a free sausage and walk them if you’re going somewhere that won’t accept your canine friend.
There are many more thoughtful touches, however: they’ll also lend you OS maps for walks, provide you with a “seagull update and window visit” (that’s what the picture above is all about), replace your energy-saving lightbulbs if they give you headaches, and seek out the quirkiest of books for your stay: “How to Survive Bird Flu – a Practical Guide”, anyone?
A more down to earth sort of place in beautiful Utah is the unusually-cased XbarH Lodge. As with quite a few of these hotels, there’s no extra charge for putting up your pet and no size restrictions – as long as they’re well-mannered and you’re not a feckless owner they’re very welcome.
Your dog won’t be short of things to do if you have to leave it on their own – the owners will take it for a walk for you.
Horse Stamp Inn
Who says cats, dogs and parakeets are the only pets? If you’re not fond of leaving your horse at home, why not visit the Horse Stamp Inn where they’ll welcome her with open arms? She’ll be sharing a pasture with resident horse, Belle, though.
The Cottages and Lofts, Nantucket
For an extra charge of at least $60, stay in a Woof Cottage and get access to all the pet essentials you’ll need for your stay with your cat or dog. Treats and toys, bowls and food, dog-walking services, pet tags and a litter box are all provided, but make sure your mutt stays quiet or they’ll be onto you!
Dog Bark Park Inn, Cottonwood, Idaho
You may well have seen this place on the TV, as for some reason it’s attracted a fair bit of attention (can’t work i tout myself …) It was constructed with funds raised in a massively popular sale of wooden dogs on QVC, carved by the artist owners of the guest house.
A very comfortable guest room is located in this Beagle-shaped B&B and it’s much more than the basic room that you might expect in such an unusual structure. There’s a fridge, bathroom and extra bed in the building, and plenty of dog-related reading materials inside. Of course your dog is welcome and there’s one on site, too, belonging to the lovely, artistic owners.
Pen y Dyffryn, Shropshire
Pen y Dyffryn, Shropshire, England (on the border with Wales) is located in a wonderful part of the world with lots of countryside walks on the doorstep, so it’s an ideal place to take your dog.
The owners have accepted dogs for years and are quite accepting of canine companions, taking them in free of charge. You do need to bring your own dog bedding, though. Try to book a ground floor room with a stone patio that Lady or Max can relax on in the sunshine.
Mandarin Oriental, Paris
The Mandarin Oriental chain accepts dogs worldwide, though individual locations have different rules on the size of animal it will take in. In the Paris MO, in a city famed for the number of small dogs cuddled in their owners’ arms, pooches are pampered to a frightening extent.
Archie Lewoof, who has his own Facebook page is another letter-writing doggie who happens to be the hotel’s mascot. As well as a welcome note from him, your pooch will receive a golden MO dog tag, a range of expensive menu choices from a Posh Dog’s Menu, pet sitting and dog-walking services.
If anyone has any other dog-friendly establishments they’d like to recommend (the quirkier the better, obviously) get in touch and I’ll add you to the list.
Photo Credit: Wikimedia.com, http://www.hotelchatter.com/
The Southern Tier Brewing Company in Lakewood, New York, suggests having this beer as a dessert, pairing it with bananas foster (bananas with dark brown sugar, cinnamon etc) or even pouring it over vanilla ice cream.
One tasting of the stout describes it so: “Do you like expensive, vanilla-heavy desserts, but hate the whole chewing thing? Grab a bottle.”
Mama Mia Pizza Beer
Mama Mia Pizza beer is the “world’s first culinary beer” and made in Chicago. Here’s some information from the website on how it’s … cooked:
“The Margarita pizza is put into the mash & steeped like a tea bag. A whole wheat crust made with water, flour & yeast is topped with tomato, oregano, basil & garlic. The essence of the pizza spices is washed off with hot water and filtered into a brewpot, where it is boiled for a long, long time. During the process, we add hops & spices in a cheesecloth type bag & filter the cooled liquid into a fermentation vessel. (big glass 6 gallon water jug). After a week or two, the beer is good to go. Keg it or bottle it.”
Smisje Wostyntje Torhouts Mostaard Bier
A strong golden ale flavored with mustard seeds from the nearby village of Tourhout, this beer is brewed in the town of Smisje in Belgium. It is said that there isn’t a strong taste of mustard to it, but for some this is probably a blessing.
Mikkeller Beer Geek Brunch Weasel
Unusually, this beer is made from the coffee beans that pass through the guts and out the rear end of the civet cat – the Kopi Luwak.
A black, chocolately stout, it actually sounds very pleasant and complex. But whether you’ll be able to stomach it or not will really depend on being able to put the journey of the coffee bean out of your mind
Brewed in Hokkaido, Japan, this product was created to use up surplus stocks of milk. Yes, it’s beer mixed with milk. In fact, a third of the concoction is made up of dairy goodness.
Bilk is a sweet beer that pairs up well with desserts, apparently tastes like real beer, but has a wiff of dairy about it. Unfortunately, I haven’t been able to work out if it’s still available (it first went into production in 2007) if anyone has any information, let me know and I’ll pass on the details.
If you can’t find Bilk, there is another milky Japanese beer on the market: Hitachino Nest Beer. It’s brewed with lactose sugars and is apparently thick and yogurt-like
Kwispelbier Dog Beer
Dogs can’t metabolise real beer, so this Norwegian product aims to serve a need – for the dogs who like beer but really shouldn’t drink it: Kwispelbier’s a non-alcoholic version.
This is another drink that appeared in 2007 (a good year for quirky beer, obviously) but I’ve been unable to find out if it’s still on the market. Again – any info greatly appreciated.
Bacon Maple Ale
Applewood smoked bacon (no less) is used is this concoction, cooked up as a collaboration between a doughnut company (spelt “doughnut” even though it’s an American company) and Newport, Oregon brewers Rogue Ales.
Impossible to say how the taste of doughnut comes into it, but some reviewers say that the drink in the garish pink bottle has a smoky aroma, while others can only taste “dirty bbq grill water”
This photo of Red Dot is courtesy of TripAdvisor
Get the Benjamin Button effect by drinking green Hawaiian Spirulina Beer (brewed in Singapore). Supposedly anti-aging, (although the alcohol is bound to undo any positive consequences), the spirulina grown in Hawaii is a superior variety of this micro salt water plant (nods head wisely).
Three Floyds Rabbid Rabbit
Brewed in Indiana in a Franco-Belgian style, Three Floyds Rabbid Rabbit beer (don’t try saying that when you’re drunk) is flavoured with coriander, lavender, chamomile, rose hips and rock candy!
It’s quite a perfumed concoction with hints of lemon peel and cinnamon, according to some
Mongozo Coconut, Banana and Quinua Beers
The exotically-named Mongozo brand is actually brewed in the Netherlands, and they have quite a range of exotically-flavoured beers.
Choose from coconut, banana, mango, quinua (their spelling) and palmnut. Some reviewers have been less than enthusiastic about the coconut and banana flavours. (Overly sweet and artificial-tasting are some of the kinder comments).
Hell or High Watermelon Wheat Beer
The Amendment Brewery in San Francisco produce this sweetish wheat beer. Slightly strange, but apparently better when eaten with actual watermelon.
Having just returned from a trip to Iceland in early March, I wondered to myself, should I be recommending the island during the winter months?
What are the considerations to mull over before you decide whether to visit Iceland in winter?
Lack of People
The number of tourists to Iceland is on the increase, rising on average 11% per year since the year 2000. There were 700,000 visitors to the island in 2012, and this is expected to rise to 1 million or more in 2013.
But the thing is, most of them arrive on the island between mid-June and August hoping for good weather.
This means that there are areas that are largely devoid of people – our trip around the Snaefellsnes Peninsula bore that out – we barely saw a person. No – that’s a mistake – we did see two people in a car scoffing sandwiches at the car park near this spot, Hellnar:
You can’t see it in this photo but there are thousands of seabirds gathered around these cliffs.
And at the frozen Hraunfossar waterfall …
… where we were largely on our own, until five mysterious people in matching orange jackets turned up in a gigantic landrover …
What any visitor to Iceland in winter must take into account is that they mightn’t get where they want to go.
Although roads are cleared remarkably quickly (we arrived the day after a major snow storm and the roads were largely snow-free, although there was plenty of the white stuff lying by the roadside), if you’re travelling to more isolated parts you mightn’t be as lucky. There is a possibility of being marooned in Reyjkjavik (which isn’t at all a bad thing), or in your hotel.
I do have an anecdote to lay your mind at rest.
After the Eyjafjallajökull eruption, a part of the main ringroad was washed away by flowing lava, leaving a bunch of tourists stuck on one side of the gap with their hire cars, and another bunch of tourists at the other.
The enterprising Icelanders simply ferried each lot of stranded holidaymakers to the opposite side of the road and had them swap over hire cars. Job done!
So if bad weather does hit, you’ll be assured that the authorities will be doing their darnedest to open up the roads.
The Northern Lights
Any sensible person knows not to go to Iceland to see the Northern Lights.
The Iceland skies are notoriously full of cloud and if you travel with the certainty that they’ll clear long enough for you to glimpse this wonderful phenomena, you may be sorely disappointed. But, winter is of course the time of year to see them – they could appear at any time between September and April.
Excitingly, we did see them. We were wakened from a peaceful slumber just after midnight at the Hraunsnef Country Hotel (much recommended, especially for their farm-fresh meat dinners) to be told the lights were shining.
We were greeted by a clear sky and some not-very-colourful-it-has-to-be-said lights moving and dancing. (Interestingly, although we couldn’t see the fabulous colours we’ve all seen in photographs, they were there in a photo taken by one of our fellow hotel guests – a beautiful green.) I’m not saying that Northern Lights are normally this pale, it’s just something to be aware of.
And of course, you’ll not get a showing of them at all in Iceland.
Iceland isn’t as covered in ice as you would think from the name. Sure, there’s a glacier the size of Holland to the South, and a few more scattered around, but it’s not permanently snow and ice-covered in the winter. You may well, however, see some of the white stuff.
If you’ve already been to Iceland outside of the winter months, you’ll know it has the most dramatic and other-worldly landscape possible. Black lava fields, red iron oxide, bright green patches of lichen and the white of the glaciers all contribute to a spectacular view.
In winter, just to add to the beauty, there may well be lots and lots of pure white snow, and that offers a completely different view of the place. Snaefellsnes produces a wonderful vista when blanketed in white (as shown in the photo above.
Well, yay or nay?
I say go. If you can put up with possible disruption to your plans and you can brave anything when you’re wrapped up against the elements, then go. If you’re not so happy in with cold, wind, rain, grey skies or enforced confinement to your hotel room for short periods.
Photo Credit: danshort.com
As well as the obvious benefits of reducing your carbon footprint and helping out the environment, choosing to stay at an eco friendly B&B also gives you the chance to give something back to the community by eating the local products on offer at mealtimes, taking part in on-site activities like beekeeping and orphaned lamb feeds and not having to worry about how long you have the lights on for, as much of the energy coursing through these buildings comes straight from the sun.
What’s more, the majority are situated right in the heart of the beautiful British countryside, a holiday destination that’s set to be incredibly popular in 2013 and is sure to relieve the stress that can come from city life. So without further ado, take a look at these five eco friendly retreats that are perfect for more than just the hippies among us…
1) Bliss Cottage B&B, Glastonbury
Bliss Cottage is a quaint little bed and breakfast a stone’s throw from the Somerset levels and, for the shopaholics among us, Glastonbury town centre.
It’s a true eco friendly retreat, with energy generated from photovoltaic panels and the heating and hot water taken care of by a wood burning stove. And it doesn’t stop there; all breakfasts are either vegetarian or organic, with all produce sourced locally and eggs laid fresh from the B&Bs own hens.
Travel tip: Stay in the yurt for a different take on a country break. Situated in the B&B’s pretty garden, it comes complete with a wood burner and camp stove. Above photo is from tripadvisor.com.
Stays at Bliss Cottage B&B cost from £30 per night for single occupancy, while stays in the yurt cost from £60 (flat rate) per night.
2) The True Heart, Frampton-on-Severn
Formerly a village pub in the swinging 60’s, The True Heart now functions as a comforting bed and breakfast that utilises at least 75% solar powered hot water. In addition, Veronica – the owner – buys in fairtrade, organic and locally sourced produce and beverages, mineral water that’s been locally bottled in a spring in Devon, ecological cleaning products and even organic bed linen.
It helps to be situated in such a glorious area of Gloucstershire, where walking and cycling opportunities are rife and access to the Forest of Dean, Slimbridge Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust and historic Bath is easy.
Travel tip: Invest in a jar of delicious organic jam that’s been home made in Veronica’s own kitchen.
Stays at The True Heart cost from £40 per night for double occupancy.
3) Woodford Organics Vegetarian B&B, Bude
Situated just a mile from the stunning North Cornwall coast, it’s no surprise that the Woodford Organics Vegetarian B&B embraces the notion of environmentally friendly accommodation wherever possible. As well as providing a carbon-free electrical supply, solar heated water and organic bedding, owners Steve and Clare utilise a rainwater WC and recycle constantly.
Perhaps one of the nicest touches at this B&B is the fact that they produce their own organic fruit and vegetables, organic free-range eggs and even honey, while all other supplies are sourced locally.
Travel tip: Take part in one of the B&B’s courses. From bee-keeping and organic gardening to running, walking and music recording, there’s something for everyone.
Stays at Woodford Organics Vegetarian B&B cost from £40 per person, per night.
4) Ashcroft House B&B, Blagdon
Although formerly known as The Cottage B&B and Glampsite, Ashcroft House B&B is still situated in a lovely Victorian cottage surrounded by stunning views and greenery, and provides the option of a caravan stay.
It’s a true eco friendly retreat, with the establishment’s owners sourcing fruit, vegetables and edible flowers from their own garden, growing hay for their horses and ponies and even making their own compost. What’s more, none of the produce is grown using chemicals or non-organic fertilisers.
Travel tip: Let loose your inner Bear Grylls with on-site wild food forays, camp craft and bush craft sessions.
Stays at the Ashcroft House B&B cost from £65 per night for a double room, while stays in the caravan cost from £25 per person, per night.
5) Brighton House, Brighton
Eco friendly no longer means dank and pokey, as this refurbished regency town house clearly illustrates.
The Brighton House Hotel is located conveniently on the West Pier and goes that extra mile to embrace an environmentally friendly ethos. Owners Christine and Lucho take into account even the smallest detail, utilising energy from renewable sources, buying energy saving bulbs whenever possible, recycling regularly and even upping their insulation during a recent refurbishment. Even the breakfast is almost entirely organic, with exceptions to the rule made known to guests.
Travel tip: Take a relaxing stroll along Brighton Beach before visiting the blossoming Cultural Quarter, home to eclectic shops and exotic eateries.
Stays at the Brighton House Hotel cost from £50 per night for single occupancy.
It’s clear to see that eco friendly B&Bs are about so much more than lentil dinners and “lights out at 8!” They’re now a fantastic place to stay if you want to not just reduce your carbon footprint, but relax in a slow-paced atmosphere that’s kind to both you and the environment, with many owners going that extra mile to pique your enjoyment.
Contributed Post by Michelle Pegg.
It may seem strange but Venice isn’t just the sinking city of Europe, it also happens to be one of the more haunted cities of the world. When you think about it, it starts to make sense: thick foggy nights, empty alleys and water walkways every which way you turn. Not only is it easy to get lost in Venice, it also happens to be a common spot for flickering shadows, time loops and ghosts. And ghouls and vampires appear all over the place. Photo above: Ca’Dario Venice.
You may have heard of Poveglia, an island separate from Venice that no one is allowed on because of the terrible ghost stories and cursed legends surrounding it (and supposed diseases). Instead, we will look at some spots that you can visit in haunted Venice itself.
The Ca’Dario is a castle, palace or house (depending on who you ask) built off the Grand Canal of Venice around 1486. This palace has had a string of deaths and misfortunes connected to it for every owner since the original one died. That is over 500 years of documented evidence of tragic and strange deaths, accidents or unusual situations that either happened to the owner of the place or someone incredibly important to the owner. Probably the most famous owner of this place is Kit Lambert, the manager of The Who, who fell down the stairs after a major downward spiral in his life.
Many of the deaths and accidents are in rather strange circumstances, with quite a few car accidents happening in the last 50 years. Although the place is currently owned by a private organization rather than an individual, it has been up for sale for a number of years but no one else wants to test the curse that seems to have befallen this canal-side property. It has gained such a reputation that it is now often called the ‘house of no return’ by locals.
Luckily you can still view the inside and much of this place if you come along for some of the art exhibitions that still take place there. Because there is no specific owner, there haven’t been any major accidents surrounding it recently, but it continues to be one of the most cursed homes in all of Italy.
Casa Degli Spiriti
This place is also known as the House of the Spirits. And if the previous house didn’t have enough spirits for your taste, this one is full of them. There are all sorts of legends surrounding it, including the stories of religious sects and cults performing major religious and magical rituals within it. These are said to have cursed the Casa with spirits and demons that often escape.
The most famous is a spirit, wandering the house after he committed suicide in it over his unrequited love for his muse. This spirit is Luzzo, who is well known for painting the ships around the Venice canals. His ghost is often the explanation today for cries coming from the home and doors randomly shutting.
The most recent death to occur was when a woman was stuffed in a trunk and sunk in the lagoon that surrounds the house in the 1950s; and even that isn’t the end of the story: all the pipes burst at once during a more recent renovation.
The place can still be visited, but can be difficult to get to, as it’s in the middle of the lagoon. Many locals are afraid to go near the place, so don’t expect to find a guide to take you without a hefty fee.
If you would like to find out more about the haunted places of the Venice area, you can find all sorts of tours focusing on that subject. The best option as always though, is to look things up yourself and find some of the good haunted places, or even ask some of the locals about the ghost stories they’ve heard. Every town has at least a few, though of course Venice isn’t just any town.
This is a guest post by Sarah Murphy.
Meguro Parasitological Museum
This isn’t a large museum, but it’s the only one in the world dedicated to the parasite and it’s situated in Tokyo. The star attraction is a tape worm just under nine metres in length, but you’ll also see examples of over 300 species of parasites, including a dolphin stomach infected by one as pictured above (or as someone quite rightly pointed out as a comment to that picture, is it the Flying Spaghetti Monster)? And you can take home a souvenir: t-shirts with pictures of parasites on them can be purchased in the museum shop. Above photo from Flickr.
The Carrot Museum
In the tiny Belgian village of Berlotte lies a carrot museum that is actually just a rotating display unit in an ex-electricity tower. The unit is controlled by the user turning a wheel to view the carrot exhibits. There’s more carrot-related paraphernelia in the vicinity including a carrot clock, light, weather vane and a carrot light. The “museum” is maintained by a carrot club that admits only men, because only men can grow carrots, obviously.
The Bunny Museum
Over 28,000 examples of bunny-related items decorate this Pasadena museum. It’s in a private house and visits are by appointment only. Giant bunnies, little bunnies, pictures, books, fancy dress outfits, live rabbits, cuddly rabbits, Elvis-bunnies, Canadian Mounty-bunnies: whatever your interest, as long as it’s rabbit-related, it’ll be catered to at the Bunny museum!
Museum of Food Anomalies
This one’s purely online and features food that has “Gone Horribly Wrong”. Novelty items like a “Blackhole M&M” (gravitational pull has stretched it out of all recognition), a “Peanut Zombie Pirate” complete with eye patch and scowl and “The Saddest of Sad Potatoes” all the way from Slovenia.
British Lawnmower Museum
Discover the fascinating history of the lawnmower in an apparently internationally known museum in Southport, Merseyside. The lawnmower dates back from 1830 when a cloth cutting piece of machinery was ingeniously used by a man called Beard Budding to cut grass. The museum has many Victorian and Edwardian examples of the lawnmower, “The water cooled ‘Egg’ Boiler Lawnmower” and some of the most expensive lawnmowers in the world. Not sure about the photograph of Nora the Tour Guide on the page below.
Shanghai Eyeglasses Museum
Thousands of pairs of glasses are on display at this Shanghai museum, including some dating back to the Song dynasty in the 10th century. There are exhibits on eye health, plus a giant eye, an eyeglasses workshop from the 1970s and a 1.4 meter pair made of turtle shell.
Museum of the Purpose of the Object
The Museo Del Objeto (MODO) examines the design and packaging of everyday objects. Whether that be water bottles, religious knick-nacks, 1980s trainers, skateboards or more. The collection upon which the museum was founded was that of Bruno Newman who found that visitors to his home enjoyed looking at five old French toiletry containers he’d bought. So he thought he’d expand. These days, many of the 30,000 exhibits have come from collectors who have donated part of their collections.
Museum of Enduring Beauty
AKA the Museum of Torture. No, that’s in Amsterdam. This one’s in Malacca, Malaysia and counts among its exhibits coils designed to lengthen the neck and shoes to bind the feet: basically tools used for body modification in the name of some sort of culturally-defined beauty that in the grand scheme of things means absolutely nothing (sorry – I’ll get off my soapbox now).
The Medieval Crime Museum
This Rothenburg ob der Tauber, Germany museum is, according to the museum’s website, the only one on the subject of law in Europe and should actually be yet another Museum of Torture. Execution equipment, a wheel for killing the convicted by crushing their bones, a torture chair specifically for bakers who sold bread that wasn’t big enough, a mask of shame and a chastity belt are among the gruesome items on display.
Thailand is one of the largest producers of condoms (who knew?) And this Ministry of Health sponsored museum in Nonthaburi, Thailand, was set up to encourage a more positive attitude to these small rubber items. The building is actually within the Ministry itself and is quite hard to find as it’s hidden away at the back beside a sewage treatment plant (full details in this CNN article but it’s well worth a visit if you’re into condoms and penis pumps and lubricants. Plus there’s a large selection of sexual health posters through the ages. Unmissable.
And no, I’m not going to mention the Penis Museum in Iceland.