When words are just not enough…!
Undoubtedly, we live in a world so beautiful that mesmerizes. As a matter of fact, some places seem so surreal, like a series of elaborate movie sets, but they are real to the bone. From the plethora of landscapes that look as if they have been carved by a mastermind, reflecting the tremendous powers applied all around us over time, here is a list of the 10 most jaw-dropping ones that take you to another world; a world where all is shamelessly enchanting and definitely inviting to explore.
I have said it int he past, will say it now. To me, a creative writer is a charismatic creature that can give life to the lifeless, and express the unexpressed. However, when it comes to raw beauty, “A picture is a thousand words” is well-suited. Having said that, if you are up to one-in-a –lifetime experience, the following places will certainly earn a place in your bucket list.
10. Tunnel of Love, Klevan, Ukraine
The mystery surrounding this fairytale track makes it even more enthralling. Located just 7km outside the city of Klevan, in Ukraine, this railroad track surrounded by natural green arches, sends a lovely aroma of older, romantic eras, where couples would hold hands and exchange words of worship and love, protected under the rich greenery. Even today, many couples ride the train through the green tunnel and make a wish. A new tourist legend says their wish is always granted by the spirits residing in the trees. It is an amazing sight with a wild beauty surrounding it, all year round. If you happen to be there at around wintertime, when snow has fallen, you will see a superb white passageway that could as well be Santa Clauses railway as he sets off with Jolly Old Elf to give his goodies to the kids the globe over!
9. Sea of Stars on Vaadhoo Island in the Maldives
For those romantic souls out there, the Sea of Stars is the perfect place to be. What you can expect from your visit to the Maldives, especially the Vaadhoo Island, is a phantasmagoric bioluminescence in the water that makes the sea glow, creating a lovely glowing blue tide. It is as if the sea is trying to mirror the stars above or even surpass their night-sky illumination!
This phenomenon happens due to the phytoplankton residing in the waters of the Maldives. This effect on the shore is completely mind-blowing. Just see as waves break onto the beach and be drawn into a fantasy land of fairytale-like places, out of this time.
8. The Wave, Arizona, U.S.
Obtaining a permit to hike in the Wave is among the most fascinating things you could do in a lifetime. This amazing sandstone rock formation is the outcome of millions of years of water and wind corrosion and is dated back to the Jurassic Period (approximately 170 million years ago). The fantastic spectrum of colors and the undulating strata found in its walls give out an eerie, almost unearthly sense to visitors, who feel the chills running up and down their spine, as they walk through the exotic rock formations, as displayed in numerous patterns, forms, and shapes. If you are up to it, avoid hiking the wave during summertime, as it is too hot, and there is no shade as you walk.
7. Grand Prismatic Spring, Yellowstone National Park, U.S.
The 3rd largest hot spring in the world is located in Yellowstone National Park, and it is so spellbinding that once you cross the bridge, you will most likely feel as if you have stepped into another planet. The spring has a deep blue color, due to its mineral-rich water; however, the landscape is enriched with vibrant greens and yellows and rusty reds, as they encircle the spring. This is the magnificent result of microbes called thermophiles, which live in extremely high temperatures.
With words not able to fully mirror what other senses can tell, and colors so amazing, the Grand Prismatic Spring is a sight for sore eyes, especially near sunset, when the last rays of the sun play games with the surrounding landscape, projecting the reflection of the trees and hills against the blue haze emitted from the spring, as the steam rises up off it.
6. Giant’s Causeway, Antrim, Northern Ireland, U.K.
The Giant’s Causeway well deserves its title as a National Natural Reserve and one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. It is a spectacular sight distinguished by huge, mostly hexagonal, columns from stepping stones (tallest in 39 ft. /12 meters high) that lead from the cliff foot and look as if the sea devours them, as they disappear in it. Providing the finest cliff scenery and spectacular cliff-top views, the Giant is a British tourist attraction that should not be missed.
5. Lake Retba, Senegal
Located in the north of Senegal’s CapVert peninsula, the 3 square kilometers Lake Retba has a candy-like pinkish color that leaves everybody speechless. With extremely high salt concentrations, it owes its strange color to the Dunaliella salina bacteria. Others, claim that the halobacterium (a sault-loving microorganism) is the reason for the lake’s superb colorization. Anyway, you need not to worry. Both the bacteria and microorganism are harmless, so if you feel like swimming in the tranquil waters of the Lake, feel free to do so! And, depending on the time of day, you might find yourself swimming in waters that change from deep pink to a rich mauve!
What is also intriguing in Lake Retba is the endless piles of rink salt found along its shores (it has more salt concentration than the Dead Sea!), while the profound contrast of the mountainous pink salt piles right next to the shore, masterly blending with the gold sand dunes of Lac Rose’s other side, can leave you breathless.
4. Yueyaquan or Crescent Lake, Dunhuang, China
If there is a place dominated by peace of mind, then this is it. This crescent-shaped lake, resting in the heart of an oasis, just 6km south of Dunhuang city, is like it has just jumped out of a children’s book. It is the result of how wind has effected on the area, which, according to the cross-ventilation theory, the sand falling from the surrounding mountains would eventually end up in the Echoing-Sand Mountains, located nearby, allowing the lake to coexist harmoniously with the sand dunes, in the most paradoxical way ever!
This World Heritage Site has seen its water shrunk to about a third of its original size, from the 1970s until nowadays, while the area has also shrunk in size by approximately 6 times. It is an amazing spectacle, especially when looked as part of the desert’s vastness and infertile land.
3. Antelope Canyon, Arizona, U.S.
One of the most surreal places found in the face of Earth is definitely the Antelope Canyon, located on Navajo land, in Arizona, USA. This impressive sight is the outcome of many years of sandstone erosion, mainly because of rainwater, which, especially during the monsoon season, fills the basin above the slot sections of the canyon, and rushes into its narrow passageways with enormous speed and loads of sand. With this phenomenon being chronic, the canyon’s passageways have become eroded away, which in turns have helped deepen and smoothen the edges of the rocks’ surfaces, creating a totally unworldly spectacle.
The Canyon is divided into two sections, the Upper Antelope Canyon and the Lower Antelope Canyon, which the Navajo consider sacred and call Tsé Bighánílíní and Hazdistazí respectively, naming the place where the water runs through the rocks and the place of spiral rock arches.
Sometimes, despite the richness of the English language, words seem so poor to be able to give the full picture of the beauty of this place. It lies majestic through the centuries, patiently waiting to shower you with light beams that slip through the openings between narrow walls, and to be explored.
2. Ice Cave in Skaftafell, Iceland
Glacial mills are to be held responsible for this icy/crystal cave, situated on the frozen lagoon of the Svínafellsjökull glacier, in Iceland. Icy caves are formed streams of water (from the melt water and rain on the glacier’s surface) that flow into the crevices and melt holes, giving the glaciers their jaw-dropping cave formation, with intricate ceilings and most impressive walls. Since icy caves are the end product (if we can say that!) of weather conditions, it makes sense that they are a temporary marvel that could just collapse at any time.
Had this cave existed until now, it would certainly be on the top of this list, but this particular cave is long gone. However, there are still other icy caves with unsurpassed beauty that can also be visited by people around the world, such as the ones found in Vatnajokull, glacier Öræfajökull, just a breath away Skaftafell.
1. Kelimutu Volcano, Indonesia
Kelimutu volcano stands on the east side of Ende, Indonesia, sending thunders to visitors, mainly due to its three summit crater lakes: the Lake of the Old People, the Lake of the Young Men and Maidens, and the Bewitched Lake, namely Tiwu Ata Bupu, Tiwu Ko’o Fai Nuwa Muri, and Tiwu Ata Polo respectively. What has earned the sight’s place in the top 3 list of the most surreal places Earth has gifted us with, is the fact that these lakes change colors over time, because of volcanic activity fluctuations. So, if you happen to be there, you will see a gorgeous and strange shade of blue that has little to remind of the sea-blue or the sky-blue, scattered all over the Tiwu Ata Bupu. The other two lakes are more to the east and are separated by a shared crater. The color of Tiwu Ko’o Fai Nuwa Muri is usually emerald green, while a more reddish color is seen in Tiwu Ata Polo.As you can see in the photo I have uploaded for you, colors vary and one thing is for sure: You never get bored watching this volcano! Definitely a sight worth visiting, even for once.