#StrangePlanet: Travel Trivia

Truth is stranger than fiction.

Here are five travel factoids to help prove it:

Bogged down: Every August, competitors in the World Bog Snorkeling Championship flipper their way to glory in a water-filled trench cut into a peat bog outside the tiny Welsh town of Llanwrtyd Wells.  

Still around: Chugging along since 1835, the St. Charles Avenue streetcar line linking downtown New Orleans and the historic Carrollton neighborhood is America’s oldest continuously operating street railway. 

No pull: Ringing church bells by hand is a dying art—even in Rome, where electric motors now power most bells, including those in St. Peter’s Basilica.  

Polar express: Flying low, Qantas Airways day tours over Antarctica give spectacular views of Earth’s coldest, windiest, and driest continent. 

Sleepy time: Residents of Shanghai began wearing pajamas in public in the late 1970s, partly for convenience but also because they felt the Western sleepwear represented fashion.

This piece, written by former National Geographic Traveler Executive Editor Paul Martin, first appeared in the magazine’s August/September 2014 issue.


  1. Lash
    Sunshine Coast Australia
    October 7, 2014, 3:26 am

    Thanks for the fun factoids!

    I did not know about the Qantas trips over Antartica. I will go check into that! Thanks for the head’s up.

    As for pajamas in Shanghai, local residents are STILL doing it! I lived there for 4 months in 2008, just beside one of the few remaining old neighborhoods. Every day I’d watch locals wandering up & down the narrow lanes in their pjs, out shopping, chatting with friends, walking their dogs. It was hilarious.

    My impression was that they don’t really get western fashions. They can’t seem to co-ordinate the colors, patterns and styles. It dawned on my that perhaps it’s a result of several generations living under Mao and wearing only khaki clothes?

    In any event, I”m off to visit Qantas. :))

    cheers, Lash