The Oddest Things to See in the United States

Do you love anything and everything novelty? Then, it’s time to get a little creative with your next trip. You don’t have to stick to the regular tourist attractions to have fun. There are some strange yet interesting things you can go see. While they may not be the most mainstream, they are certainly a talking point.

Before taking a trip to the US, remember to think about any necessary paperwork or visas you may need. For instance, if you’re based in parts of Europe, you may requite a visum usa-ESA (or Electronic System for Travel Authorization). Make sure you know before you go! Now that you’re prepared….here are some of the oddest things you can see in the United States:

The World’s Largest Dresser

What could be odder than going to see the world’s largest dresser? Yes, North Carolina has not one – but two – giant dressers to visit. (Clearly one wasn’t enough!) There is a 38-foot dresser that features a pair of socks hanging out of the dresser. Or if you’d rather go sock free, there is an 80-foot dresser to visit as well. You can take pictures of the dressers or in front of them. If you’re feeling really ambitious, why not see them both? If oversized furniture is your thing, you may also want to drive to Anniston, Alabama. They offer tourists a peek at the world’s largest chair.

The Barbed Wire Museum

Everyone has an interest in barbed wire…. right? Okay, maybe not. If you’re up for something a little different, though, the Barbed Wire Museum might be worth the trip. It is located in Texas and is focused on telling the world “all about the history of barbed wire, its artefacts, the significance of the invention, and the impact on the development of the Old West.” In one afternoon, all the questions you ever had (or didn’t have) about barbed wire will be answered. This is definitely one odd place to visit in the United States.

carhengeCarhenge

Okay, this next attraction is kind of cool, even if it is really weird. Have you ever dreamed of visiting Stonehenge? If you can’t afford the airfare, you can head on over to Alliance, Nebraska instead. Don’t go there expecting to see stacked stones. This attraction is called carhenge for a reason…and yes, it really is made up of stacked, grey cars. While this may not be your average tourist destination, you can still find ways to have a lot of fun.

The Corn Palace

Who knew that corn was so popular? Apparently in South Dakota, it is. Forget going to see Mount Rushmore…head to the Corn Palace instead! This ‘palace’ is dedicated entirely to corn crops. It offers tons of entertainment, events, and local festivals. With bright yellow and green minarets out front, you won’t be able to miss this endearingly odd place.

The National Museum of Funeral History

Who doesn’t have an interest in funerals? Oh, wait, most people. If you’re in Texas and want to learn all about the history of funerals, there is only one place to visit. The National Museum of Funeral History has a raft of exhibits from Civil War embalming to the use of the motorized hearse. This may not be how you pictured spending a vacation, but hey – it’s an interesting story to bring back to your friends.
Want to do something a little different? Then get creative and check out some odd attractions on your next trip to the United States. With so many strange things to see, you’ll have your pick.

What to See and What to Skip in Florida

Florida is attraction central. With so much to do, there are almost too many choices! If you’re planning a trip to the sunshine state, you’ll need to start thinking about what is really worth your time. To narrow down your choices, here is a list of what to see and what to skip in Florida.

See: Disney World

It almost goes without saying that heading to the most popular theme park in the entire world is a good idea. There are many different parks to spend time in: the Magic Kingdom, Epcot, Hollywood Studios, and The Animal Kingdom. If all of that wasn’t enough, there are also water parks like Blizzard Beach and Typhoon Lagoon. If you are planning to spend time in Disney during your Florida vacation, be careful. You could easily spend your entire trip just seeing Disney! So, if you want to branch out a little, only take in a couple of parks and skip the water parks altogether. That way, you’ll get the best of Disney – without sacrificing your entire trip.

Skip: Pirate’s Dinner Adventure

Sometimes dinner theatre can be fun. You get good food and a show to go along with it. However, Pirate’s Dinner Adventure might not be the best example of an enjoyable night out in Florida. Not only does the food get terrible reviews, but the show does as well. Set inside of a pirate ship, this loud, chaotic performance leaves much to be desired. If you’re looking for more exciting dinner theatre, head to Arabian Nights or Medieval Times instead.

seaworld7See: SeaWorld Orlando

For a theme park that is a little bit different, be sure to check out SeaWorld. It has a variety of things to do and experience. Don’t believe it? For the thrill seekers, there are lots of exciting rollercoasters and even some tame rides to entertain the little ones. For the animal lovers, there are so many ways that you can explore marine life. You can get up close and personal with animals like dolphins and exotic birds at Discovery Cove. Or you can check out a great show or two! There is no better way to have some fun and even learn something new.

Skip: Scuba Quest Florida Dive Center

Are you interested in learning how to scuba dive? Well, Florida is the perfect place to learn! Maybe a trip to Scuba Quest in Florida isn’t the best place, though. Yes, the staff goes through all of the basics to get you on your way – and you can even choose locations that you want to dive. They offer a number of boat trips, beach trips, and so on. However, you may not get everything you need at Scuba Quest. For a professional attitude and one-on-one attention, look into your options first before you make your final decision.

Florida is jam packed with fun things to do and experience. If you’re having trouble deciding exactly how to spend your time, start doing some research. You’ll quickly discover what to see and what to skip.

3 Places to Take Photos with a Llama

Ever since the famous Machu Picchu Llama photo (or Bossy Llama) went viral, people have been going crazy over llamas. So much so, that we’ve given them a world appreciation day – January 27th for those taking note. These furry creatures have been helping people with transportation for thousands of years and notably in the past few years, have been used as a form of therapy – who would have thought that the key to happiness is through the company of a llama? If meeting one is number one of your long list of priorities, then you’re in luck, here’s three of the best places to take a photo with a llama.

It looks like Julian Assange...

It looks like Julian Assange…

Take A Photo On A Trekking Tour

Get up close and personal with a llama on My Adventure Store’s Mount Salkantay Trek and The Inca Trail. Not only will you adventure into remote Andean reaches, sacred valleys and see the ruins of Sayacmarca, but you’ll also get to see llama’s in their element. In all seriousness, this trek was voted as one of the world’s greatest by National Geographic Adventure Travel and should be something everyone ticks off the bucket list. It’s a remarkable exploration that will test your body and spirit as you delve into the mystical history of the Inca’s.

Don’t Travel Far With Your Local Llama Farm Retreat

For something exceptionally unique, why not indulge in a luxury cottage retreat while taking a llama for a daily walk? Don’t think that this exists? Well Daybro Cottages and Llama Walks prove all the disbelievers wrong. The cottages reside in the hinterland of Dayboro, Queensland and each room overlooks large fields where the llamas are free to roam. At certain points of the year, Dayboro Cottages allow the public to take some of their fuzzy llama’s for a walk through surrounding bushland where you’ll learn about the history of llama’s and have a spot of afternoon tea.

Why Have A Photo With A Llama When You Could Have Lunch With A Llama

Wild Earth Llama Adventures in Taos, New Mexico offer custom designed llama treks and gourmet lunch day hikes for llama enthusiast of all ages and fitness levels. Both fun and educational, their treks venture into untouched wilderness areas of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and Rio Grande Gorge. With your belongings strapped to your llama, your guides will take you through America’s remaining ancient forests until you reach the base camp in the heart of the forest. From there you will set out on daily hikes to discover transparent lakes, climb up mountain peaks and spend time relaxing around the campfire. If you’re after a quick llama fix, they also offer single day escapes with a gentle Llama trail that will allow you to enjoy the backcountry before feasting on a native cuisine.

There’s Always Photoshop…..

Llama’s aren’t the easiest animal to find, they’re mysterious mammals who love to frolic in the wild. So for this, there’s always Photoshop.

Have you had an unforgettable Llama experience? Tell us in the comments below.

Awesome Video Game Travel Destinations

As a geeky traveller, you had to know I was going to incorporate my love of video games into my travel dreams – and if you didn’t, well, I question your intelligence! This won’t be the only completely irrelevant topic I cover on this site from a travel and geek perspective but I can guarantee that I will be revisiting this again!

Video games create amazing worlds that just long to be explored – in fact, that is sometimes one of the main purposes of the game. The sad thing is, we have to do so from a distance through an avatar, taking in the sights and sounds through the limitations of our televisions or screens. What if we could actually get into those worlds and see them for ourselves? Where would you go? Which ones would be great for a mere mortal to check out who just wants to explore?

Hyrule_Castle_Hyrule_FieldHyrule (Legend of Zelda)

As far as epic landscapes go, complete with diversity in populous and climate, you can’t get much more incredible than Hyrule. While there may be more ridiculous destinations in video games, as far as a relatively welcoming atmosphere (depending on the version), you could actually visualize making a trip to the land of Hyrule and not being brutally murdered – just stay in at night. I’d chill by Lake Hylia with some fishing, climb atop Death Mountain to watch the sunrise and hang out with the locals in Hyrule Castle Town. The only thing I hope for is it’s the world after it’s been saved… then again maybe I could be that legendary hero?

Kingdom of Zeal (Chrono Trigger)

For me, it’s the very definition of a fantasy location complete with magic and a dark under current – especially when you consider the land below is a completely frozen hellscape. Floating high above all the rest of the worries, I’d love to go and check out the Belthazar’s Blackbird being built, gleaming off the sun as you gaze down from the floating world that seems to hang impossibly high in the sky. It’s just a shame Lavos had to ruin it all…

Yoshi’s Island (Mario’s Universe)

Yoshi just seems to be a pretty chill dinosaur, one that I wouldn’t be terrified to hang out with because I don’t think he’d kill me (wait, he is a he, right?). The land of the Yoshi’s is a veritable paradise with tropical fruit, and bright colours that might make you wonder if you’re on acid or something. In truth, it’s just a wild jungle where the apex predator is a childish saddled multicoloured dinosaur. Nothing to worry about here!

Mushroom Kingdom

Mario’s stomping ground is probably the most diverse of all the video game worlds because it’s always changing depending on the game. While its goomba and turtle problem seems to be a bit out of hand, you can rest assured that a simple jump on their head would take care of them. I think the Mushroom Kingdom would be great to wander around in and just get lost – which is always a great sign for a travel destination.

Four Foods I want to Make in their Home Countries – Part 3

Just so you know, I paused for about a half second longer before starting this entry than I did between the first and second one and that was only because I felt guilty about mentioning some countries twice. I got over it quickly though and set right to work – if I can’t have any of these things for dinner tonight, I can at least fantasize about cooking them. Yes, I’m a sick puppy.

Oh baby I could go for some of this right now...

Oh baby I could go for some of this right now…

Guacamole – Mexico

My all time favourite dip and addition to everything from salads to sandwiches hails from the all mighty Aztecs and their wonderful avocado plant. I remember growing one in school under a heat lamp and then being upset when I got older and found out my climate isn’t suitable for growing them in mass quantities. Oh well. I would love to see what kind of ingredients the locals use to make their guacamole and whether they turn up their nose at the sludge many people try to pass off as the same thing. My tacos will never be the same!

Chocolate – Switzerland

Admittedly I’m not the biggest chocolate fan in the whole world but there really is something magical about the Swiss chocolatiers. Do they whisper sweet nothings to the cocoa beans in order to get it so velvety smooth? Is the process for being a chocolatier in Switzerland on par with being a sushi chef in Japan? These are the questions that keep me up at night.

Beer – Germany

Okay, this isn’t a food but who cares? Beer is awesome and I want to learn it from the people whose culture is synonymous with great brewing – they even have a purity law! This is one of the few things I would never try to make back home as I know the ingredients, equipment and know how is something I could never possess, so I’m better to just know how to make it than to actually do it for myself. I’m sorry, but the swill people make in their garages and then force down their friends throats is a travesty and must be stopped!

Pizza – Italy

Yes, Italy made it on here a second time but to be fair, I was originally intending on it being on here many more times but I had to limit myself. I will more than likely write an entire piece on why Italian food is so great, but I’ll save that for a later date. You can get pizza all over the world and while it was invented outside of Italy, it is Italy that gets the credit – and rightly so. After grabbing a pizza from a wood fire stove in Rome, I can’t go back to eating it from a restaurant like Pizza Hut again. Okay, that’s a lie… I still do that, but my mind is definitely on other things when I am;)

Geeky Romantic Getaways

As any nerd can verify, there is nothing more romantic than sharing a passion with your significant other; staring deeply into each other’s eyes while raving over the latest Doctor Who episode. Or analyzing methods of surviving a zombie apocalypse – it is enough to get any heart wildly fluttering. Therefore, I thought it was only appropriate to highlight fun US travel destinations for nerdy couples who want a little bit of romance and a lot of geekiness.

Seattle_Center,_Space_Needle,_Experience_Music_Project,_Sci-Fi_MuseumFor a trip that is both romantic and genuinely fun, spend a long weekend in Seattle, a city that loves its geeks almost as much as you love each other. You can start your day off at the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame, the first museum dedicated to the subject. Inside this eccentrically shaped sheet-metal building, imaginations and conversations can be invigorated by a wild collection of aged posters, fun movies, fascinating props, engaging exhibits (like “Fantasy: Worlds of Myth and Magic”) and more. Snuggle up together with a good graphic novel at the beloved comic book store, Arcane Comics, and people watch over a delectable cup of coffee at the buzzing Neptune Coffee where they hold amusing events like trivia and knitting nights. Picnic in the lovely Olympic Sculpture Park for a picturesque view of the glistening water and modern art. Plus, when walking down this metropolitan’s streets, you will see the pavement bursting with stylishly thick frames and other trademarks of grunge and geek chic.

When many of us think of Chicago, what comes to mind are sports, pizza and gangsters. However, this American city is a treasure-trove of forward-thinking creativity and futuristic architecture. Geeky honeymooners can combine natural beauty with a touch of science fiction at Millennium Park; a stroll through Lurie Gardens contrasted against the silvery skyscrapers is perfect for photographs, and no trip would be complete without a promenade over the windy, ultramodern BP Pedestrian Bridge. Plus, the park’s various buildings will prove to be fascinating with their progressively ecofriendly technologies. Couples can make the city’s twinkling stars a little brighter when standing in Adler Planetarium’s Atwood sphere, which reveals the night sky without the city’s light pollution. An attraction that is bound to call to your inner-children is the Legoland Discover Centre, a space in which you can both play with Legos and behold masterpieces.

It’s remarkably simple to book a trip to Chicago and experience some of these forward-thinking architectural marvels. Just go online and set up the date and location of the hotel. Perhaps you could spend some time online planning the trip (what places you’d both like to see, etc.) and book a hotel closest to those locations. Even if Chicago isn’t that far away from you, it can still make for a fun little weekend getaway. There are plenty of geeky landmarks in the area that will be sure to have you both talking about the trip for months afterward.

Of course, a certifiable-geek could not visit Chicago without making a pilgrimage to the Museum of Science and Industry; here, couples will see new industry innovations and biology presented in ways that you will never forget!

Austin, Texas – the city that prides itself on “keeping it weird”. This laid back community has plenty of quirky charms and offers up generous amounts of live music, bicycle paths and computer companies. There are plenty of cool sites to witness; for instance, as the sun sets, lean over the beautiful Congress Avenue Bridge and watch wave upon wave of bats fly out and head towards the dusky skies. Another unique experience that puts Austin on the map is the Barton Springs Pool, a naturally heated spring that overlooks the woods of Zilker Park. Self-expression takes a front seat in the Texan capital, which results in vibrant museums and the never-ending procession of talented musicians that take the city’s countless stages.  Carouse the eccentric boutiques, colorful murals and friendly bars of South Congress Avenue and mingle with the medley of hipsters, hippies, suited workers and geeks galore. Whether it is sharing a cone at Amy’s Ice Cream, touring the streets via Segway or nuzzling together over a beer and movie at the iconic Alamo Drafthouse, there is plenty of personality in this youthful city to keep any nerdy couple entertained.

For those couples that are fascinated with extraterrestrial life, a trip to Roswell should be at the very top of the list. This small, New Mexico town has a fascinating International UFO Museum  that explores its famous 1947 crash, and many summer events are structured around the notion of aliens, like the June Film Festival & Cosmicon, as well as July’s UFO festival. However, Martians are not the only thing this community provides, as the local art center’s works by Georgia O’Keeffe and local hiking opportunities will add splatters of simple splendor. Plus, let us not forget about the dreamy backdrop that is the New Mexican landscape – a visit to the Bottomless State Park will reveal breathtakingly blue waters surrounded by dramatic cliffs.

Four Foods I want to Make in their Home Countries – Part 2

As soon as I got done the first part about food I want to make, I immediately began part two because… well… I’m hungry now and far too poor/impatient to actually do any of this. Take a look at the next four foods I’d love to learn how to make in their home countries and begin salivating with me.

Oh… and probably check out part 3 which will likely follow this incredibly shortly!

Gumbo – Louisiana, USA

I have made gumbo many a time but no matter how great I think it is, I know it doesn’t hold a candle to the ones served up down in the bayou. To be fair, gumbo isn’t that much different then soup but it’s the dirtying up of the vegetables that adds the extra element that makes it unique. Just like making chilli or some sort of marinade for ribs or chicken wings, gumbo recipes are heavily guarded secrets – so wouldn’t it be fantastic to learn some of the tips from the pros?

Bread – France

The French have a sensational culinary history but it’s their baked goods that seem to be in a realm of their own. Fresh, hot bread can be made by anyone with a bread maker or the patience to make it themselves in the oven, but I’d like to see how the expert French bakers, the ones who spend their lives making it in a wood stove, do it. Then maybe I can come back home and put everyone else to shame with their store bought stale loaves.

Really, any of this would be amazeballs

Really, any of this would be amazeballs

Tom Yum Soup – Thailand

Thai food is another one of those types of cuisine that I really have no clue which one I would prefer over another but seeing as everyone would likely say pad thai or spring rolls, I’m going to go with my personal favourite – Tom Yum soup. It’s a spicy, sour soup that warms the soul and has more distinct flavours than my tastebuds know what to do with. I’ve never attempted to make it at home as it feels like sacrilege, but if I had the right pointers, maybe I would.

Curry – India

There are so many curry dishes I enjoy that I really have no idea which one to start with. I think what I would like most to get out of learning from the curry professionals is what goes into making a good curry base? I recently started making my own pastes rather than buying them and I’ve noticed the quality in the cooking has skyrocketed to the point of I almost don’t feel any need to go out for it anymore – the only thing holding me back is an inability to make proper naan. Such is life…

Four Foods I Want to Make in their Home Countries

One of my favourite things about travelling is eating, which is why it’s surprising that I’m not larger than I am because as a substitute for the former I tend to do the latter. For places I have been to, it’s a chance to revisit the feeling I had while being there and for those I haven’t been, it’s to dream up future excursions.

With this in mind, it isn’t enough just to eat the food in the native country but to learn how to prepare it properly. It’s not hard to pick up a cookbook on international cooking or watch a cooking show and get the knowledge that way, but there’s something very different about learning how to do it right at the source. Wouldn’t that make a great memory in itself?

Below is a short list of some of the food I’d love to make in the country that it’s known for – keep in mind, I will probably make a second edition of this topic as there are a lot of things I want to make and eat!

Yes please!

Yes please!

Sushi – Japan

When I spent time in Japan, I never learned how to make sushi – something I only kind of regret. The reason I didn’t and only partially regret not doing it is because sushi is so highly valued over there and it’s so plentiful that it was better to just buy it then to butcher it. If I could get the chance to study with a sushi master and skip the 10-year dish washing apprenticeship part, I think that would be an excellent experience.

Meatballs – Sweden

Despite all the jokes about horse meat in the meatballs at IKEA (which, in many countries around the world, isn’t a big deal), I’d like to see what goes into making the Swedes such experts at making these seemingly simple creations. Is it the sauce? The aging? Is there some secret ingredient that I might as well give up trying to find? I must know!

Lasagne – Italy

It’s fair to say the Italians wrote the book on great food and deciding on just one thing to make is an exercise in futility, but I think I’d like to see how to make a great lasagne. I’ve had some fantastic ones in my day and also some watery, soupy, bland disasters. What is the key to a perfect pasta dish that likely isn’t as terrible for you as most would think it to be?

Poutine – Quebec, Canada

I have to be region specific with this as poutine can be found almost everywhere in Canada but it originates from the French province of Quebec. For those of you who don’t know what poutine is, it is french fries, cheese curds and gravy – and is just as fantastic as  it sounds. Sometimes you can even get smoked meat on top of it, thus earning it the title of ‘heart attack in a box’. Unless the cheese squeaks, it’s not fresh enough and if the gravy comes from a powder you should hang your head in shame – there is a method and I must learn it one day.