Here's "10 Places You Don't Want to Visit" (via Scott Beaulier). Clearly remote snake-infested islands are not the sort of places I'd like to experience, but the list also provided an introduction to some fascinating places. The Zone of Alienation is somewhere I've been intrigued by ever since seeing Elena Filatova's travel diary. I think I would like to visit.
One place on the list I'd never even heard of is Darvaza, Turkmenistan (aka "The Gates of Hell").
While drilling in Derweze in Turkmenistan in 1971, geologists accidentally found an underground cavern filled with natural gas. The ground beneath the drilling rig collapsed, leaving a large hole with a diameter of about 50-100 meters. To avoid poisonous gas discharge, scientists decided to set fire to the hole. Geologists had hoped the fire would go out in a few days but it has been burning ever since
It doesn't seem all that dangerous, but incredibly beautiful. Here are some more photos. Seeing a live volcano in Gautemala (coincidentlaly with Scott) remains one of the most incredible natural sights I've seen. Of the other items, Yungas Road is somewhere I'm intrigued by but would be terrified of.
Browsing the listverse.com I also came across London Necropolis Railway Station - a station in Westminster that was solely built to serve funeral trains (see here for more). Someone once told me that there's more disused underground stations in London than are in use, which is a scary thought. Finally, I liked this image:
Scott Beaulier wants to know what to do in London. A few thoughts:
LSE Public Lectures and Events, Houghton Street, WC2A 2AE
RSA Events, John Adam Street, WC2N 6EZ
Given I've lived just outside London for over 3 years, the above list is pretty pathetic. The blockbusters (British Museum, Science Museum, National Portrait Gallery, Royal Academy) all go without saying. The sights (Buckingham Palace, Houses of Parliament) also. Any other ideas?
The Prince of Liechtenstein is among the world's wealthiest heads-of-state with an estimated wealth of some 2 billion dollars. The country's population enjoys one of the world's highest standards-of-living.
No idea why this is sitting in the "drafts" section, but as part of a routine clean up let's make it public. I can't remember what point I wanted to make about this information, but to see the extent of my predictability, does anyone have a better idea than I do about why my previous self thought it worth writing a blog post about?
Guess where they're talking about:
This sandy outpost, the second-largest natural harbour in the world, is the fourth most expensive place in the world to buy property, after Hong Kong, Manhattan and Mayfair.
I'm often thinking about what the world's 'best city' is. Not so much in terms of 'top trumps' - where's the best art gallery and the most beautiful park, but more in terms of where a human can really be happy, healthy, fulfilled and in good company. The sort of anthropologists at work on the 'Making Slough Happy' project may well be able to provide statistics which would help, but there's a much more fun way of going about it (if a little less scientific), and that's to go and check places out.
I wonder what you think? For me, I think that the winner is probably lurking in Northern Europe somewhere. Is there a Copenhagen without the few ugly buildings? Yes - it's called Riga. But then, Riga it too far from the coast and not quite as pleasing in the design stakes - so there's Helsinki, but I've not been to Helsinki!
What we need, is what new labour would call a 'full and frank debate' - which usually translates as 'I haven't got enough experience on this matter and have no sound bites to draw on. Plus my researcher is on holiday in Ibiza'. I'm not particularly well travelled outside Europe, and so probably wouldn't do too well if I was on Newsnight discussing the world's best city - so there's a nice opportunity for debate here. In a very real sense.
As the circadian rhythms of the academic year begin to stir in my bosom, I have summoned The Filter^ REVIEW from its summer slumber with some thoughts on Virgin Trains. Take a look here and refamiliarise yourself with our fine sister site.