If you’re anything like me, that means you love to travel — but who needs Disneyland? Here are nine great, offbeat sites and landmarks to consider checking out on your next trip.
1. Aoshima, Japan: perhaps better known — or at least more accurately described — as Cat Island, this small space is home to a cat population that outnumbers humans six-fold. While this absolutely sounds like a nightmare to me, if you’re a fan of felines, Aoshima is seeing increased tourist traffic in recent years.
2. Prada Marfa, Valentino, Texas: this is the only Prada store in all of Texas. However, it’s a bit of a no-frills experience for the shopper, as the store is little more than a fake storefront and a door that is permanently locked. In truth, Prada Marfa is an art installation by Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset. I’m sure it makes some great big important statement about something, but if nothing else it’s one of the fakest storefronts you’ll find this side of North Korea.
3. Soviet Bunker, Nemenčinė, Lithuania: simply tell the driver to drop you off at the “Naujasodes Kaimas” and live the authentic Soviet citizen experience in this converted forest bunker that dates back to the days of communist rule. In-character tour guides show you around and apparently can be pretty hard on you if they suspect you of being a spy. Think — the tunnels of Moose Jaw meets Alcatraz but also frightening. Sounds fun!
4. Carhenge, Alliance, Nebraska: it’s Stonehenge but with cars — no funny business here. Celebrating its 30th year nestled in the Nebraska topsoil, Carhenge will also be in the direct path of Aug. 21, 2017’s total solar eclipse. Sounds like this is the year to finally check it out.
5. Great Pacific Garbage Patch, North Pacific Ocean: this one is a little more difficult to visit, as it’s not so easy to access the patch and in all likeliness it cannot be stood on. Regardless, this gigantic pile of floating, wet garbage pays tribute to humanity’s contempt for the planet. It’s also one of the largest man-made monuments in the world. It would be a shame not to stop by and pay your respects sometime.
6. Popeye Village, Anchor Village, Malta: if you’ve seen Robert Altman’s 1980 film adaptation of Popeye — yup, the sailor man himself — you know it’s a tad underwhelming. However, nearly 40 years after shooting, the set village that was built exclusively for the film remains intact as a popular yet quaint tourist stop. Since August 2014, the sun-kissed village has also served as an unofficial memorial for its star, Robin Williams.
7. Isla de las Muñecas, Mexico City, Mexico: translated to “Island of the Dolls” for us humble anglophones, this place has conflicting histories. It may or may not be a tribute to a little girl who died under tragic and mysterious circumstances. What isn’t up for debate, however, is that it is an island of mutilated and deteriorating baby dolls and it looks fucking horrific. Looking at pictures of Isla de las Muñecas made me think Cat Island wouldn’t be so bad after all.
8. Momofuku Ando Instant Ramen Museum, Ikeda-shi, Osaka, Japan: ramen — you know and love it. At this museum, you can learn a little about the life of Momofuku Ando — the inventor of instant noodles — and even see the shed where he did his groundbreaking work. With free admission, it’s almost as cheap as ramen!
9. The Big Nickel, Sudbury, Ont.: What do you do when you have no claim to fame? Do something dumb and get a Guinness World Record, of course. In recognition of its nickel output, Sudbury has the world’s largest coin on display. The rear side of the coin is the most respected and honoured nickel back in the country.
Zach Tennent / Opinions Editor
Photographic Illustration: Lesia Karalash / Graphics Editor
Photo: MasaHufromPixaby / Flickr