Three Bizarre Museums and Why They're Worth Your Time

Three Bizarre Museums and Why They're Worth Your Time

I spend a lot of time in museums. They’re exciting and inspiring and always make the top of my to-do list when I visit someplace new. And while you might first think of finding paintings and sculptures inside a museum, that’s of course not always strictly the case. In fact, as I’ve gotten older, I’ve found that many of my favorites are those that are less traditional. Below are four I believe should make it onto your to-visit list!

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That Time I Met the Patriarch

That Time I Met the Patriarch

Being forced under the water by a middle-aged Greek man in pursuit of a sacred crucifix was not how I had originally envisioned myself starting off the new year. In retrospect, I should have known what I was getting into when I spontaneously hailed a taxi destined for Istanbul’s historic Fener district to witness the Blessing of the Waters. The event is one of the city’s oldest traditions and is a reminder that a large Greek community once inhabited Istanbul.

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Explaining Asian Glow to an Irishman

Explaining Asian Glow to an Irishman

One of the biggest perks about staying in hostels is that you meet people from all around the world. In Bordeaux, I met a whole cast of characters. The interesting about this hostel—Hostel 20—was that it hired backpackers from across the globe and offered them lodging in exchange for a few hours of work a week consisting of checking guests in and out, cleaning bathrooms, doing laundry, making sure guests didn’t get rowdy at night (which doesn’t work too well, to be honest) and taking turns making the nightly hostel supper.

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100km on Italy’s Forgotten Cammino

100km on Italy’s Forgotten Cammino

Many guidebooks like to advertise all the off-the-beaten-path-secret-locals-only places that they’ve quote unquote discovered. And sure, there might be a super cool part of Versailles that only gets 100k tourists instead of a million, or some “hole in the wall” restaurant just off the main square that has a menu in two languages instead of 10. Yes, those places exist. But if you’re looking for something even less known, more ancient, and sufficiently challenging, try the Via degli Abati: literally an unbeaten path.

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Flamenco: Andalucía’s Language

Flamenco: Andalucía’s Language

I went to Seville, Spain this semester with the hopes of learning Spanish—a familial duty I felt obligated to fulfill before I left for college, considering I was the only remaining Martín that did not know how to speak the language that our ancestors had once spoken with pride in the regions of Galicia and Castilla y León. What I stumbled upon was a new language entirely: flamenco.

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How Solo Travel Transformed Me—And Then Squirrels Ruined It

How Solo Travel Transformed Me—And Then Squirrels Ruined It

I used to be convinced that squirrels were evil and plotting to take over the world. Or at least, there used to be a running joke in my family that I held such a conviction. I don’t remember how it started, but throughout my childhood, every time someone in my family saw a squirrel behaving even mildly out of the ordinary, I would be notified immediately.

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I Tried Iceland's Infamous Rotten Shark

I Tried Iceland's Infamous Rotten Shark

Full disclosure: I like eating weird food. It’s one of my favorite things about traveling. I’ve tried chicken feet in China (delicious), haggis in Scotland (somewhat less delicious), and pig intestines in Hong Kong (think really chewy, orange meat noodle). When I got to Iceland, I wasn’t really sure what to expect. After all, it’s normally the volcanoes, glaciers, and black-sand beaches that draw people to this island, not the food.

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