Tourists Driven Cuckoo By Chiming Clock

Bishop's Castle UK
Shirokazan, Flickr

A tourist destination in the U.K. has brought new meaning to the term “wake up call” with fears the constant chiming of the local clock tower is driving visitors away.

While thousands of tourists descend upon the small English town of Bishop’s Castle each year, many apparently vow never to return after spending sleepless nights listening to the chime of the city’s clock.

The bells in the clock tower chime not just on the hour, but every 15 minutes — regardless of whether it’s day or night.Debate has erupted recently over whether to quiet the clock for the sake of tourists. For the uninitiated, the constant jingling from the clock is maddening, according to the owner of a local hotel. He says many of his guests love the town but refuse to return because of the incessant chiming. Although the clock has been chiming every 15 minutes since the 18th century, he’s pushing for it to be silenced at night.

However to locals, the musical clock is part of the town’s character and many say they’re lulled to sleep by the reassuring chimes. “I always sleep better when I can hear it. It is definitely part of the town and it would be a real shame to see it go,” argued one resident.

Would a chiming clock drive you bonkers when traveling, or is preserving the character of the destination more important?

Denver’s Inflatable Hovering Hotel Room Costs $50K

AP

Have you ever wondered what a $50,000 a night hotel room would be like? Well, one hotel in Denver is giving travelers the chance to find out — though they might a little surprised by what they discover.

Expecting a heavenly mattress? Too bad, because all this pricy pad offers is an inflatable bed for your weary body. Dreaming of unwinding in a jacuzzi in your marble-clad bathroom? Sorry to burst your bubble but you’ll be doing your business in a chemical toilet instead.

Completely confused yet? Well, despite the lack of amenities, it turns out that people are willing to cough up wads of cash for the sake of novelty. In this case, The Curtis Hotel in Denver is offering a room that’s hoisted 22 feet up in the air, perched on top of a van. The room — which is entirely inflatable — is a temporary space that was designed as part an arts festival.This isn’t the first strange hotel room to be dreamed up by artists and designers. We found several other bizarre places to lay your head down for the night.

  • Weymouth Beach in England opened the world’s first hotel made entirely out of sand a few years ago. Guests were able to book a stay at the hotel for as little as $15 until the hotel was washed away by the ocean. Even the beds were made of sand, with hotel operators warning visitors that the sand “gets everywhere.”
  • At the Tubo Hotel in Mexico, travelers can make themselves at home in an old drain pipe. The recycled concrete pipes, which were previously used in sewers, are decked out with queen beds so you don’t actually have to feel like you’re sleeping in the gutter.
  • In Belgium last year, travelers could stay in a hotel room designed around the top of a 100-year-old clock tower. The room, which hovered 75 feet above the busy streets of Ghent, was designed to give guests an intimate perspective on the city’s history. With a massive clock right up against your bed, we’re guessing you don’t need to request a wake up call when you’re staying in this room.

Tell us, what’s the strangest hotel room you’ve slept in?

London’s Most Famous Landmark Gets A New Name

London, Big Ben
Pop Quiz: what’s this called?

Undoubtedly, 99% of people will immediately answer, “Big Ben.” Actually, only the clock’s bell is called Big Ben. The tower as a whole is called Clock Tower. Everybody knows this iconic sight in London but nearly everyone misidentifies it.

Now the name is getting changed. In honor of the Queen Elizabeth II’s Jubilee, the UK government has decided to honor her 60 years on the throne by renaming the tower Elizabeth Tower.

While this is a nice sentiment, they should have probably picked some other landmark. Everyone is still going to call it Big Ben. The clock itself will keep its name, and everyone calls the tower by the clock’s name.

Big Ben/Elizabeth Tower is not open to the public, but you can get nice photos of it from several spots. Two good ones are about two-thirds of the way across Westminster Bridge, and from the little unsigned park just across the street from Victoria Tower Gardens, just to the south of the Houses of Parliament.

[Photo courtesy Vicky Brock]

Photo of the Day (2.15.09)

Flickr user Pirano got this great shot of the clock tower in Ljubljana, Slovenia reflected in a nearby window. There’s a lot to like here, particularly the way the window panes break up the original image into sections. It’s also interesting how the dirtier panes also change the reflections, adding additional tone and texture. It reminds me of an old cubist painting by Braque or Picasso.

Have any great travel photos you’d like to share with the world? Why not add them to the Gadling Pool on Flickr. We might just pick one of yours as our Photo of the Day.