So before I spill the tea on our big secret, I wanted to talk to you about taking the ‘road less traveled’. In other words, going ‘off the beaten path’.
I am not knocking the normal tourist sites, we have visited many ourselves, there is just so much more to travel than only seeing the ‘normal’ stuff.
I mean why go to the Eiffel Tower when you can see a hidden gem like The Museum of Vampires and Legendary Creatures? Trust me, they are usually way more interesting and a lot less crowded. And you will find some of the most unbelievable and colorful histories at these places.
When we say ‘off the beaten path’ many times– they literally are. You may need to put your best Dora The Explorer outfit on because some of these places are very desolate and hard to get to.
It could be a single track unpaved road, a main highway or even someone’s property (for which you will ask permission first). But the thrill when you find one of these treasures is beyond words.
So here’s our secret–it’s this wonderful website called “Atlas Obscura” and ladies and gentlemen we have the distinct honor of having a published entry! Yes, siree—we are officially Atlas Obscura contributors and darn proud of it.
They don’t just take any old Tom, Dick, and Harry my friends— to be accepted you have to submit an original, engaging description along with good quality pictures. They review it and decide if your entry makes the cut.
So yes–that “Ringfinnan Garden of Remembrance” entry you see above means we made the cut and you can read the entire entry here.
What Is It?
It’s basically a giant database of over 19,000 unique and hidden wonders from all over the world submitted by explorers like me. So when we are planning a trip we always check Atlas Obscura first to find any unique treasures near our destinations. We have found so many great places that we wouldn’t have found otherwise. The unusual and quirky stuff never seem to show up in the guidebooks.
Like this Deserted Village in Ireland that wasn’t in any of our guides. There wasn’t a soul there, just us and the sheep. I couldn’t believe we could just wander through the village and actually touch the ancient stone houses.
It was such an amazing experience and all possible because some nice people took the time to write it up and submit it to Atlas Obscura. This village has to be one of our top ‘finds’.
At last count, we have visited over 80 Atlas Obscura hidden treasures! If you join (it’s free) then you can keep track of all the hidden wonders you have explorered. Here’s a few of ours:
A Few Memorable Finds
1. O’Shea’s Pub, Ireland
O’Shea’s has the honor of being the most far-flung pub that has never served a pint of beer. It was actually used in a Guinness commercial. This place was so out there–down this single track road, in a field with very few houses or people. I made a cute little video on it but can’t find it anywhere, so you will just have to view it on our Instagram account (which BTW, I have been trying to center this video for 2 hours–I probably won’t sleep tonight).
2. Oradour, France
Oradour is a French ghost town destroyed by the Germans in World War II. It has been left ‘as-is’ as a memorial to those who died and as a reminder of the atrocities of the war.
3. Statue of King Wenceslas, Poland
In the middle of a very nondescript strip mall in Prague, you will find this statue of King Wenceslas riding upside down on a dead horse. It’s supposed to be a mockery of the King Wenceslas Statue that sits in Wenceslas Square.
4. Sean’s Bar, Ireland
Sean’s Bar has the distinction of being the oldest pub in Ireland and quite possibly the world. During some renovation in the seventies, they found coins embedded in the walls from 900 AD. That along with carbon dating of the materials leads them to believe the pub could be over a thousand years old. Guinness Book has officially proclaimed them Ireland’s oldest, as far as the world’s oldest I don’t think that’s official yet.
Hopefully, you get the gist of the website with this small sampling of places we have explored. I am a treasure hunter at heart, so wandering around finding the obscure just warms my heart. And let’s not forget our other passion…slow traveling.
For all you fellow slow travelers finding hidden wonders is perfect for our lifestyle. Taking the road less traveled isn’t always the fastest, but it’s usually the one with the least amount of people! This gives you the chance for quiet reflection, living in the moment, and quality experiences.