Ever been on a subway train so slow you thought you could walk there faster? A man in Paris decided to see if he could run from one metro station to the next, catching the same train he just got off. With a camera strapped to his head and friends documenting his race from the street and the train, the anonymous Frenchman tries to run between the Cluny-La Sorbonne and Odéon stations. The stations are close together, but he has to navigate a busy street crossing, stairs, and the turnstile when he re-enters the metro, plus, you know, outrun a train. Watch the split-screen video to see if he catches the next train.
While you may think you’ve done some crazy things on your travels, you’ll probably change your mind after reading this list. Planning your own kidnapping? Paying someone to torture you? Getting into a tank with giant saltwater crocodiles? These experiences are definitely once-in-a-lifetime, and not for the faint of heart.
Although some of these daring activities can be pretty – OK, very – dangerous, they have all been done time and time again by adventurous travelers. And, if you’re looking to take your adrenaline to the next level, or just want to try something new, you may want to consider adding some of these excursions to your trip itinerary.
For some daring and unique ideas for your next vacation, check out the gallery below.
[Image via Puuikibeach]
Would you be tempted to enter a race that covers 100 miles, has no set trail, and only nine people have completed? How about if you add a cumulative elevation of over 59,000 feet – that’s twice that of Mount Everest, natural obstacles of all varieties including thorns and rats, and no aid or resting stations along the way? Hundreds have entered and attempted the Barkley Marathons in Tennessee each spring, known as one of the world’s most challenging races. Even if you “only” complete the 60-mile “fun run,” chances are you’ll come out bleeding, sleep-deprived, and a little insane (though perhaps no more so that when you agreed to enter this run) and if you give up, you still have a few hours’ walk back to camp.
This month, Believer Magazine has a fascinating account of the people behind this insane race and the culture that has developed along with it. Gary Cantrell – known as Lazarus Lake or just Laz – started the race 25 years ago, inspired by the prison escape attempt of James Earl Ray, Martin Luther King Junior’s assassin. Ray ran around the same woods for 55 hours during his attempt and made it only 8 miles, prompting Cantrell to imagine he could do at least 100 miles in that time. Now, Cantrell begins the race each year not with a starter pistol or bullhorn, but a lighter and a cigarette. Runners depart from Frozen Head State Park in Tennessee, about 50 miles from Knoxville. There’s no set start time (runners camp out the night before and await the warning via conch shell from Cantrell) and runners have to chart their own course from a map made available the day before the race. Participants have 12 hours to complete each of 5 loops, and have to tear out a page matching their race number of a book on each loop to prove they made it.
You can read another account of the race on Runner’s World, and the author’s post-script is another amazing story: after attempting the Barkley and making a documentary about running across the Sahara Desert, he’s now serving prison time for mortgage fraud.
Still want to enter? Hope you have good Googling and writing skills – there’s no official website or entrance instructions and only 35 will be allowed in each year, after completing an essay called “Why I should be allowed to run Barkleys Marathons.” The race is held in late March or early April each year, giving would-be runners a head start on figuring out how to enter.
Photo courtesy Flickr user Michael Hodge
What makes a city crazy? The Daily Beast thinks it’s found a scientific(ish) method for figuring that out– by looking at the number of psychiatrists per capita as well as survey data on drinking and stress. Our own Mike Barish contributed to the list, which includes hard-to-believe factoids like…
- In Birmingham, Alabama, it is illegal to wear a fake mustache that causes laughter in church.
- “Gamblers looking to make an apt political statement should visit Las Vegas’ Main Street Station Casino, where male patrons are invited to relieve themselves on a large chunk of the Berlin Wall.”
- A retired plumber from San Antonio named Barney Smith has a museum dedicated to his 600 decorated toilet seats.
Which city took the top honor for craziness? You might be surprised. Head on over there to find out.
It’s probably the same with every tourism agency. People don’t understand the locale and call with strange requests. Recently, an article appeared in Minnesota’s Star Tribune directing savvier travelers to laugh at the craziest ones in a list compiled by Explore Minnesota Tourism‘s Chuck Lennon, Explore Minnesota Tourism’s Quirkiest Queries of 2009.
Chuck Lennon, who handles media relations, asked counselors from the call-in lines and 11 travel information centers to send him their oddest requests. The responses included:
- “Where are the Indians? We want to go see them.”
- “Is there such a thing as an easy fishing lake? Something without having to hunt and work real hard?”
- “I’m coming in July and I want snowmobile rental information.”
- “Does one need a travel permit or visa to visit Minnesota?”
- “A traveler asking to see a bridge in Minnesota with arches was shown various photos, none of which seemed right to her. She finally identified a picture of the St. Louis Gateway Arch as the right attraction, and was given directions to Missouri.”
According to Lennon, the counselors are trained with the following advice: “Don’t laugh in their faces. Calm yourself and just deal with it.”
[via Star Tribune]