Strange currencies from around the world

Strange currencies from around the world

Foreign money’s a funny thing. I’ve recently returned from Iceland, where I had to hand over hundreds and hundreds of krona just for a small bottle of orange Fanta. On the plus side, however, I was for the first time in my life able to claim I had “several grand” in my wallet… My experience with the Icelandic krona inspired me to research other, far more unusual currencies, so here are some of my favourite finds.

Century egg: A Chinese delicacy you probably wouldn’t want to try

Century egg: A Chinese delicacy you probably wouldn’t want to try

I’ve recently taken up baking, and one of the first things you’re supposed to learn when using eggs is how to tell whether or not they’re still edible or ripe for a chucking. Just drop them in a bowl of water and, if they float, they’ve gone off. But if they sink straight to the bottom, crack those bad boys (eggs) open and get mixing! This isn’t quite how it works with the Chinese delicacy that is century egg, however…

Illa de la Discòrdia: Barcelona’s discordant ‘apple’

Illa de la Discòrdia: Barcelona’s discordant ‘apple’

You’re probably wondering why I’ve put “apple” in quote marks like that… Well, it’s because Illa de la Discòrdia is not actually an apple at all. It’s actually a block of buildings in Barcelona’s Eixample District. A pretty unusual block, as it happens… Still confused about the “apple” bit? Don’t worry – I’ll come to it.

Attacus atlas: The world’s largest moth

Attacus atlas: The world’s largest moth

If you ask me, moths get a bad rap. Butterflies get all the attention and adoration, and moths get… well, trapped in the bathroom, usually. However, if you were to walk into your bathroom and discover an atlas moth hanging around on your shower curtain, I think you’d definitely give it some attention…

Chinese New Year: The 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac

Chinese New Year: The 12 animals of the Chinese zodiac

Happy new year! No, this isn’t a post that we forgot to publish early last month; I’m talking about the Chinese New Year, which was yesterday. You might have seen lots of colourful costumes, dancing dragons and fireworks on the news. Or, if you’ve got a Chinatown nearby you, just round the corner. According to the Chinese calendar, we’re no longer in the year of the Dragon. We’re now in the year of the Snake. But why are the animals in the order they’re in? Well, gather round and I’ll tell you…

Ciudad Encantada: The enchanted rock city

Ciudad Encantada: The enchanted rock city

e love nothing more than rocks that look a bit like other things. We’ve already blogged about rocks that look a bit like people… Now how about rocks that look like mushrooms? Or bridges? Or elephants and crocodiles having a fight? Because you can find all of those at Ciudad Encantada in Spain!

7 Christmas traditions

7 Christmas traditions

Christmas is a time of tradition and ritual, such as singing “We wish you a merry Christmas” to the Christmas pudding as it emerges, alight, into the dining room… (OK, so that’s a personal tradition, but I have only just found this out. I thought everyone did this up until last year!)

5 quintessentially Christmassy foods

5 quintessentially Christmassy foods

Christmas is obviously a time for great tradition; rolling out your “happy face” when you discover someone’s got you a new pair of socks, re-gifting a soap set from last year, and sacking off work early on Christmas Eve. But there are some longer standing traditions, too, of the food sort, many of which originate from Germany! Mmmm, köstliche deutsche Nahrung!