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Wednesday May 28, 2014 MYT 6:00:00 AM
Friday May 23, 2014 MYT 4:50:52 PM
by james teideman
To Sua (ocean trench), one of two large holes in the ground by the coast in Lotofaga village, Upolu island in Samoa. - Photo from Wikimedia Commons
From a milkshake lake to a land of fairies, from Scotland to Senegal, be amazed at 10 of the world’s strangest and prettiest places.
MAGICAL, mysterious, surreal and simply stunning: 10 of the world’s most magical places you’ve just got to go to.
1. Lake Retba, Senegal
What the devil? It’s pink? Ok, it looks orange in this picture. Lake Retba (in French it’s the more descriptive Lac Rose) has been described as looking like raspberry milkshake. Unfortunately, up close it’s not quite as pink, nor can you drink it as you do the breaststroke. The lake gets its Lambrusco Blush tone from an algae that produces a red pigment to resist the water’s high salinity level. When pigment and salt collide in sunlight, the water goes pink. It’s at its pinkest in the dry season. Like the Dead Sea, it’s so salty that you can float in it.
2. The Trulli, Italy
Yes, they are real, people do live in them. These cone-topped fairytale dwellings are not populated by Hobbits but the inhabitants of the Itria Valley in Apulia, southern Italy. Dating back to 1500, the Trulli (one of them is a ‘Trullo’) are adorned with symbols that range from the Christian to the bizarre.
3. The Enchanted City, Cuenca, Spain
Cuenca, in Castile-La Mancha in central Spain is famous for its hanging houses), but tear yourself away from admiring precipitous architecture to be awestruck by rock formations that make you think ‘how on earth did those get there? Resembling giant mushrooms, put there by a creative, slightly psychedelic god, these natural monuments actually owe their appearance to erosion (sorry, boring).
4. The Tunnel of Love, Klevan, Ukraine
Take your ‘loved one’ (or lover, if we’re not beating around the bush) to the Tunnel of Love and legend has it that ‘ask a sincere desire and it will be fulfilled’. Sounds a bit creepy, especially after dark. This naturally-created tunnel in Klevan, Ukraine is in use three times a day when a train passes through to take wood to a nearby factory. So don’t get too lost in the moment.
5. Antelope Canyon, Arizona, United States
Good old Mother Nature has done her best with screensaver favourite Antelope Canyon. Geologists call it a ‘slot canyon’ – a narrow gorge carved by water and mud. Photographers will have a field day here thanks to the natural lighting as well as the procession of sculpted shapes and forms.
6. Salar de Uyuni, Bolivia
Did you know that Salar de Uyuni in Bolivia is the largest salt desert in the world? Ok, another question, name a salt desert. Pretty weird. huh?
7. Red Seabeach, China
The beach in Dawa in the Liaoning region of China, is famous for being, well, not beach colour, but red. It’s not actually sand that gives it its colour, but the plant, Chenopodiaceae, which in autumn turns this saltmarsh-type land into a mind-bending sea of red.
8. To Sua Ocean Trench, Samoa
This paradisical pool isn’t, as it sounds, an ocean trench deep under the sea, but a ‘blowhole’. Translated unglamorously as ‘big hole’ To Sua, on the island of Upolu in Samoa, must be up there in the most amazing places to go swimming anywhere. Take the ladder to descend into its depths or, if you’re feeling brave, dive off it.
9. MUSA Underwater Museum of Art, Cancun, Mexico
The Underwater Art Museum is a magical place off the coast of Cancun, which aims to protect the areas’s coral reef, in style. Underwater there are more than 400 works of art from Jason Taylor deCaires resting peacefully between fish and marine vegetation. Not surprisingly, it’s a favourite with scuba divers.
10. The Fairy Glen, Scotland
The Fairy Glen on the Isle of Skye off the west coast of Scotland is a weird place. It’s not actually inhabited by fairies, but the further you go up the valley, the more your sense of scale goes awry and it’s easy to imagine that this word-in-miniature hides away a population of otherwordly beings. – Skyscanner (www.skyscanner.net)
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