Underwater Mailboxes Around The World

Remember the last time you were diving underwater and suddenly remembered an important letter that you had to post that very instant? Yup, it has happened to all of us. Fortunately, these five places has us covered.

Hideaway Island, Vanuatu

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The underwater post office off the coast of Hideaway Island in the island nation of Vanuatu is one of the most famous in the world. It was established in 2003 and is located in 3 meters of water. The post office provides special waterproof postcards that tourists can drop into the submerged post box with their own hands, or ask the staff to do so.

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The Al-Rajajil Standing Stones

Al-Rajajil, sometimes referred to as the Standing Men, or Standing Stones, are a collection of some fifty groups of man-made stone columns near the ancient oasis town of Sakakah in Al-Jawf province in northwestern Saudi Arabia. The stones are arranged in groups of four or more, joined at the base and leaning outwards at random angles. Some of them have appears to have fallen over.

Nicknamed the Stonehenge of Saudi Arabia, the Al-Rajajil stones are believed to have been erected more than 6,000 years ago.

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Photo credit: www.skyscrapercity.com

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The Abandoned Soviet Camp of Wünsdorf in Germany

About 25 miles south of Berlin lies the small town of Wunsdorf, home to about six thousand inhabitants. But less than thirty years ago it had a population of sixty thousand, of which fifty thousand were soldiers of the Red Army. They lived inside one of the biggest military bases in Europe and the biggest Soviet military camp outside the USSR. The former headquarters of Soviet forces in Germany was so large that it was known as “Little Moscow”, with daily trains going to the Soviet capital. Inside, there were schools, shops, hospitals and leisure facilities.

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Photo credit: Kevin Hackert/Flickr

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Equihen Plage: The Village of Inverted Boat Houses

Equihen Plage, on the coast of northern France by the English Channel, is a small seaside village with a population of about 3,000. Up until the beginning of the 20th century, Equihen Plage was a fishing village with a dry harbor—the kind where fishing boats were launched into the sea by sliding them on logs. Today, the village is famous for its many inverted boat houses—locally known as “quilles en l'air”—that serve as unique holiday accommodation for travellers.

In the old days, it wasn’t uncommon to find old boats— both upright and inverted—along the coast where they were dragged high and dry upon the shore to be used for habitation. In Charles Dickens' classic novel David Copperfield, Peggotty’s brother lived in such an old boathouse … Read the rest

The Handmade Globes of Peter Bellerby

When Peter Bellerby couldn’t find the perfect handmade globe for his father’s 80th birthday, he took matters into his own hands. He decided he would create two globes from scratch—one for his father and one for himself.

After all how difficult can it be to make a ball and put a map on it?”, he wondered.

But making a globe is extremely difficult, as Bellerby found out. Correctly applying the little strips of the map, called gores, onto the spheres itself took eighteen months to perfect. Some of the poorly constructed models Bellerby found had overlapping gores that wiped out entire countries, or had latitude lines that were drawn straight across the map with a ruler. Bellerby wasn’t prepared to settle on such poor … Read the rest

Kissimmee’s Monument of States

Back in 1941, after Japan’s sneak attack on Pearl Harbor, a retired physician and president of a local tourist club, Charles W. Bressler-Pettis, devised an idea to erect a unique monument in Kissimmee, Florida, that he hoped would inspire American solidarity in response to the attack. He wrote to the governors of each state and requested them to send him local rocks. Soon rocks of every shape, size and type began to arrive. There were native granite, quartz, small boulders, fossils, and pieces of old buildings. These were collected by local government and civic organizations, as well as area businesses and individual residents. President Franklin D. Roosevelt himself donated a rock from his estate in New York. Pettis also added is own collection of rocks from … Read the rest

Labuan’s Mystery Chimney

Standing on a rise on the north of the island of Labuan, located off the coast of East Malaysia, is a 100-feet tall red brick chimney. The chimney is nothing remarkable as far as chimneys go—just a square-shaped brick tower with two arches at the base and a decorative frieze at the top. But what has puzzled archeologists for decades is why it was built.

Various hypothesis has been put forward to its purpose. Some said it belonged to an unfinished mansion, while others said it was a light house beaconing passing ships, or a bell tower. The most likely hypothesis links the chimney to previous coal mining activities in the area.

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The Wreck of Swedish Warship Mars

About 18 km off the coast the Swedish island of Öland, in the Baltic Sea, at a depth of about 75 meters, lies one of the most beautiful shipwrecks. The low level of sediments, slow currents, brackish water, and the absence of a wood-eating worms have kept the wreck of the 16th century warship “Mars” in a remarkable condition.

Named after the Roman god of war, Mars was one of the largest battleships in the world when it was built, even larger than the famous Swedish ship Vasa. The ship was commissioned by the King of Sweden, Erik XIV, in 1563. With a length of 48 meters, and 107 guns on board, it was the leading ship of Sweden's fleet, until it was sunk during … Read the rest

The Bottlecap Alley

For years, boozers from the Texas A&M University in College Station, Texas, and elsewhere, have been paving a short alley located between the pub Dry Bean and the restaurant Dixie Chicken, with used bottle caps. The alley, about 50 meters long and 2 meters across, is today filled with hundreds of thousands of weathered metal bottle caps. It’s a curious little attraction.

The alley periodically receives “donation”, in the form of bottle caps, from the surrounding bars and individuals who collect them for the purpose. 

The Bottlecap Alley is located at the north edge of the Texas A&M campus. The Alley entrance is on the north side of Hwy 60/University Drive, midway between College Main and Boyett St.

Related: Bubble Gum Walls: America’s Stickiest Attractions

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Colletta di Castelbianco: A Modern Stone Village

Up on the steep hillside of the Maritime Alps near the Italian Riviera, halfway between Genoa and Nice, lies the ancient medieval village of Colletta di Castelbianco. It’s just a bunch of old stone houses with red-tiled roofs and baby blue windows bordered in white. But hidden behind these mediaeval façades lie a high tech secret—every home has fiber broadband Internet connection and satellite TV, and the village has a sophisticated business center with teleconferencing, fax, and audio-visual equipment.

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Photo credit: Gregwilkins/Wikimedia

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Mark Twain’s Study at Elmira College

On the campus of Elmira College in upstate New York sits a small octagonal wooden cabin with a writing desk and chair, a brick fireplace and a few other memorabilia related to Mark Twain. It was inside this cozy cabin where the celebrated American writer produced some of his best works, such as The Adventures of Tom Sawyer, Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, The Prince and the Pauper, A Tramp Abroad, Life on the Mississippi, and A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court.

Now if you are picturing Mark Twain striding across the grass campus of Elmira College every morning to lock himself up inside a tiny room to write while students peer at him through the glass windows, and think that’s odd, you are right—because … Read the rest

The World’s Quietest Train Stations

Some of the world’s busiest train stations are located in Japan. Indeed, as per statistics that surfaced in 2013, out of the top 51 train stations in the world, all but six are located in this small but suffocatingly dense island nation. The busiest of them all —the Shinjuku Station in Tokyo— handles a staggering 3.6 million passengers every single day, or 1.3 billion riders a year. In contrast, the Shippea Hill station in Cambridgeshire, Britain, has an average of just one passenger per month making it the least-busiest train station, at least in Britain. The station is served by only one train on weekdays, which arrives from Cambridge but stops for passengers only if requested in advance. On most days there are no passengers. On … Read the rest

The Japanese Hotel Staffed By Robots

In the last few weeks, we have been hearing a lot about how robots have been replacing human workers across industries in developed countries. According to a recent study conducted jointly by economists from M.I.T. and Boston University, for every robot that was added to the workforce up to six workers have lost their job, and wages fell by as much as three-fourths of a percent. The study also found that up to 670,000 Americans have lost jobs to industrial robots between 1990 and 2007. Another study made an even more foreboding report —more than 10 million UK workers could be replaced by robots within the next 15 years.

While mechanization in industries is “necessary” to increase efficiency and reduce costs, robots in Japan are more … Read the rest