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Anniversary Travel / World's Fair Travel / Attractions / Tourist Attractions / Big Things / → All Tags
Fifty years ago, Brussels invited the world over for the first World's Fair after the death and destruction of World War II. Expo 2008 will be held later this year in Zaragoza, Spain, but Brussels is celebrating anyway with exhibitions like "Expo '58: Between Utopia and Reality," in conjunction with the renovation of the fair's most durable remnant, the Atomium.
Built in the shape of a crystallized molecule of iron, the Atomium, like the Eiffel Tower, was intended to be a temporary monument but ended up redefining the city where it was constructed. After the jump, another startling view of the Atomium and some more history.
Crime / Bridges / Czech Republic / Big Things / → All Tags
We always say to beware of thieves when traveling, but we're usually expecting them to steal a wallet or passport. But the recent crime wave in Europe that we've been following seems to be all about stealing really, really big things.
This month, a bridge was the target again, this time in the town of Cheb in the west of the Czech Republic, very close to the border with Germany. A railway bridge weighing four tons, thankfully on a currently unused piece of track, was mysteriously taken away.
Police believe the thieves would have sold it for scrap. We think souvenirs might be in order too, a bit like chunks of the Berlin Wall. So watch out for men in a Prague square offering you genuine Soviet-era railway remnants.
It's Summer Somewhere / It's-Summer-Somewhere / Adventure Travel / Big Things / Bungee Jumping / Videos / → All Tags
Forget "Victoria Falls." Zambia's Toka Leya tribe calls the falls Mosi oa Tunya, "The Smoke That Thunders," and it's a spot-on description of the rumbling mist created by the world's largest waterfall. Every February, at the height of the wet season, the tribe gathers in the fog to offer sacrifices--and you can join 'em.
To view the falls on foot, trek the well-marked, paved paths through the rainforest, catching glimpses of the cascade through the trees. At the Knife Edge Bridge, you won't be able to see much, but the cool spray from the pounding waters offers some relief from the heat.
For another perspective, you can see Victoria Falls from above. It isn't hard to find a pilot in the area to take you out for a flight, zipping through the gorges and marveling at the sheer size of the falls. United Air Charter is one local outfit you can try.
If seeing it from the sky is too wimpy, you can always try bungee jumping. These
crazies adventure lovers are jumping from 365 feet above the Zambezi River.
In the tradition of nations like Japan and Vietnam, who love to recreate famous sights so their citizens don't need to leave home to see the world, a Dubai entrepreneur has decided that he loves the French city of Lyon so much he simply has to recreate it in his homeland.
The exact location of the new Lyon hasn't been decided yet, but it's likely to be an almost 1,000-acre project with a price tag of $740 million. It will include a French university, French-style houses and offices, subsidiaries of Lyon museums and even a soccer center run by the Olympique Lyonnais team.
The funny thing is there's absolutely no secret about the plan and the actual city of Lyon is closely involved--they even launched the project in the real Lyon itself. Cloning cities and sightseeing hot spots might just be the way to save the earth: If we don't need to travel anywhere we'll sure save a heap in carbon emissions, right?
It's summer right now in South Africa and the tourists are flooding into pretty Cape Town for their summer fun. Folks are heading into the city by car at the rate of 200 cars per hour--yep, somebody measures that--though nobody can tell us how many are flying into Cape Town International.
There are plenty of attractions to keep you busy in the South African city, but we also recommend taking a trip a little further north into the Northern Cape province. The statisticians tell us that 1,000 visitors per day are headed to the Northern Cape's Big Hole and a place with a name like that sounds like something we shouldn't miss. (We love big things, you know.)
The Big Hole is actually a former diamond mine near Kimberley, the capital of the Northern Cape. It took 50,000 workers almost 50 years to dig it, and these days they're trying to get it listed as a World Heritage site. If you visit, you probably won't find any stray diamonds lying around, but the Big Hole and the related museums are spectacle enough, surely.
Until now, it's always been Australia that has bragged about oversized fruit and vegetables masquerading as tourist attractions. But the new Lonely Planet Bluelist singles out New Zealand as the go-to destination for big things.
We're not sure if it's worth checking out, but in the spirit of fairness, we thought we should tell you about the huge kiwifruit to be found in the town of Te Puke. The giant slice of kiwifruit is part of the Kiwi360 attraction which features Kiwicarts, kiwi cuisine and a kiwi shop, too.
In fact, the whole Kiwi360 concept sounds kind of fun, and a tad educational as the Kiwicarts take you on a tour of the whole kiwifruit growing process. But we suspect at the end of the day--no matter how big the fruit is--there's definitely such a thing as too much kiwiana.
We can't get enough of ridiculous Australian big things. And soon, if you're holidaying in Oz and want to send a postcard home, you can help immortalize your favorite Big Thing by using a postage stamp.
National postal agency Australia Post has seen it fit to make the Big Things small. New designs painted by the ultra-cool Reg Mombassa feature the Big Banana, the Big Pineapple and the Big Golden Guitar, among others. But our personal fave, the Big Potato (the one that more closely resembles dinosaur poop), hasn't made it onto a stamp. We're not happy. Big Things postage stamps are due out June 5, so listen up, Australia Post: we want the Big Potato stamp. Please.
· Icons Have Australia Post Licked [SMH]
· Fossilized Dino Pool Down Under [Jaunted]
· Stamp Bulletin 287 (Big Things) [Australia Post]
· Big Banana Just Got Bigger [Jaunted]
All you well-informed Jaunted readers know that big stuff is big Down Under, and perhaps no object is more popular than Coffs Harbour's Big Banana. The giant bendy fruit, celebrating one of the major crops of the area, has been a tourist attraction (of questionable value) for many years now. But today we want you to know that the Big Banana is getting bigger.
The Big Banana and its connected attractions have already been blessed with a $2 million upgrade, and that's just the beginning of a 10-year, $18 million improvement plan. Just imagine how many black blemishes can be scrubbed out of a banana for that kind of cash. This week, the first phase of the extension opened, including:
a games hall for children, a guided tour through a working banana plantation, an interactive banana-packing shed, as well as "two high-tech shows with hologram-like figures"How itchy are you getting in your seat, just waiting to get to the new bigger and better Big Banana? The Sydney Morning Herald rightly suggested that other big fruit in Oz might be shaking in its peels, but had a few good ideas for other improvement plans:
To compete, should the Big Orange add rides derived from juice-based cocktails such as the Screwdriver, the Bahama Mama and Sex on the Beach, while the Big Pineapple offers an interactive exhibit called the Rough End?Bigger and better, what can we say.
· Achievements: Bananas in Dioaramas [SMH]
· More on Coffs Harbour and the Big Banana [Jaunted]
· Banana Prices Going Bananas [Jaunted]
No doubt the last few months of dedicated Jaunted reading have convinced you to pack up everything and take a Big Things tour of Australia. When the idea of a road trip taking in impressive sights like the Big Banana, Big (Ugly) Koala and Big Potato even makes it into Wikipedia, it's got to be a winner.
But when you're out there, be on the lookout for some of the missing Big Things in Australia. The doing-it-for-love curator of the unofficial Australian Big Things website has an ongoing list of Big Things that are rumored to exist, but are yet to be confirmed with photographs and facts. Among other oversized excuses for tourist attractions that are allegedly lost in Australia, you should watch for a big giraffe (a little irrelevant in kangaroo-covered Australia), a big shark (fair enough), a big lemon, a big watermelon (big fruit's always a winner) and, in a continent really quite far from the natural habitats of these creatures, a big lion and a big tiger. It might be a good thing that these Big Things aren't really on the map.
· Bananas Going Bananas [Jaunted]
· Fossilized Dino Poop Down Under [Jaunted]