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Searching for “Strange” When Traveling

There are plenty of reasons to get off the couch and hop on a plane. Perhaps you want to do a tour of New York’s hot dog carts. Maybe you imagine spotting a new species on a bird-watching trip. You might be on a mission to climb the tallest peak in every country. Or maybe all you want to do is get a photo of yourself holding up the Leaning Tower of Pisa.

Hey, whatever floats your boat. We’re not here to judge, man.

No matter what motivates you to travel, our conversations with travelers over the years tell us that many trips end up being quests of one kind or another (see the aforementioned hot dog cart tour) – even if that’s not what got you out the door in the first place. Personally, I’ve made something of a habit of seeking out bone churches (AKA ossuaries) in many cities. It’s never the thing that drew me there, but it provides an odd sort of continuity to many destinations that otherwise have nothing in common.

The strangest things can give travel a “theme,” and it can be a fun way to make your trip unique – looking for small bakeries to sample the goodies in every town you visit, for instance, can help get you away from the tourist trail and into more residential areas. Sure, you’ll probably check off a few must-see things everywhere you go, but after that? The sky’s the limit.

If oddities in general are your thing, every country has something to offer. The United States is known as the home of some of the weirdest roadside attractions anywhere, and making a tour of these is a popular road-trip itinerary. Other countries have strange roadside attractions, too, however – Australia is home to its own long list of “world’s largest” items, including a boomerang (naturally) and blade of grass (yes, really), and Canada lays claim to the world’s largest axe and fiddle.

Las Vegas might seem like one big roadside attraction, but you could do a trip focused entirely on the city’s plethora of wedding chapels alone (no tying the knot required). Not all the chapels are kitschy, but those tend to attract more attention. Before you go, learn a few of the weird facts about getting married in Vegas in case you get caught in any trivia contests, or to impress (bore?) your friends.

Seemingly civilized Europe isn’t immune to weird tourist sights. All those bone churches I’ve visited so far have been in Italy and Croatia, and there are plenty more catacombs throughout the continent that I haven’t seen yet. Even some of the laws you’ll find on the books throughout Europe are amusing enough to make you want to go to these places and see if you’d actually get in trouble for breaking them. For instance, did you know that in France it’s illegal to kiss on the railways? Or that it’s illegal to name a pig Napoleon? There are plenty more weird French laws, but those are two of my favorites. If anyone would like to buy a pig in France and try to call it Napoleon to test the law, please let me know.