Sights & smells

Sealand: The world's smallest nation (well, maybe!)

Sealand: The world's smallest nation (well, maybe!)

Anyone who has been to a few quiz nights has probably encountered the question “what is the smallest nation in the world?” Answer: Vatican City, right? Well, perhaps not, as there is an “island” that’s been making claim to this envious title. So please stand aside, Your Holiness, whilst I investigate!

5 'big things' from around the world

5 'big things' from around the world

There’s a theory in psychology that all men are obsessed by size, and that they’ll compete with each other by displaying large objects to substitute for their (often inversely proportional) physical attributes. I’ve no idea if this theory is correct, so let’s try not to think about it as we take a look at some of the world’s biggest man-made structures.

The Hill of Crosses in Lithuania

The Hill of Crosses in Lithuania

If you’re a fan of religious paraphernalia, then the Hill of Crosses is definitely the place for you. Situated in northern Lithuania, just outside the city of Siauliai, the hill is home to over 100,000 crosses, crucifixes, statues and carvings brought to the site by visiting Catholic pilgrims.

Wacky public transport systems from around the world

Wacky public transport systems from around the world

I have often stood at train stations cursing the delay of my train, or queued behind miles of road traffic and wondered if there was another way. You might have wondered this too… Teleportation devices, computer-chauffeured travel booths, time travel and hovercrafts must all be rapidly approaching our horizon, surely… But in the meantime, some wacky ideas have sprung into life to make our lives more convenient. Here are my favourite, which also happen to be the wackiest!

3 different ski lifts and how they can cause hurt and disappointment

3 different ski lifts and how they can cause hurt and disappointment

Do you have some warm clothes and a reckless disregard for your own safety? If so, why not try skiing? Warm clothes optional! The 2012/13 ski season is about to come to an end, but there’s still time to book a last minute weekend of throwing yourself down a snowy mountain. Before you can ski down a hill, you first have to get to the top. The descent may be fun, but the trip up is often so miserable that the activity as a whole provides the skier with no net happiness benefit. Here’s a look at three different types of ski lift and the ways in which they can cause hurt and disappointment…

The rural Welsh town of Gaiman… in Argentina

The rural Welsh town of Gaiman… in Argentina

Hapus Dydd Gŵyl Dewi! Or, if you aren’t from Wales or the town of Gaiman, Argentina – happy St David’s Day! For amazingly, this Argentine town’s mother tongue is Welsh! Just how a Welsh-speaking town, complete with Welsh identity and architecture, managed to emerge in a country where Spanish is the official language is pretty fascinating, or “diddorol”, as the Welsh/Gaimanions may say.

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.

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!