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#StrangePlanet: Travel Trivia

Truth is stranger than fiction. Here are eight travel factoids to help prove it.

Nat Geo Travel’s Annie Fitzsimmons spends a large part of her life scouting out the sites, restaurants, and people that reveal the distinctive soul of cities large and small. But even Urban Insiders need a break from the hustle and bustle once in a while. So after attending the Adventure Travel World Summit in Killarney, she couldn’t resist…

Zubair Khawar is a textile designer, but his true passion is travel photography. Born and raised in Lahore, he has recently started exploring his hometown through the eyes of a visitor—the true mark of any travel photographer worth his snuff—wandering the city’s markets, observing the crowds, and sharing the color and bustle of daily life through images. Here’s a look at the Punjab provincial capital through Zubair’s lens.

Yellowstone became the world’s first national park in 1872, leading the British diplomat James Bryce to declare national parks “the best idea America ever had.” Indeed, it was, and is. But celebrations and plaudits aside, look at what we have done to our national treasures. As we prepare to celebrate the National Park Service centennial in 2016, here’s a birthday wish for the future.

Join @NatGeoTravel this Thursday for a live Twitter chat with Traveler features editor Amy Alipio (@amytravels), who will be revealing the magazine’s much anticipated Best of the World list for the first time. Find out National Geographic’s take on the 20 must-visit destinations of 2015—and add your own two cents about where travelers should set their sights in the new year by using #BestoftheWorld.

National Geographic Traveler editor at large Christopher Elliott is the magazine’s consumer advocate and ombudsman. Over the past 15 years he has helped countless readers fix their trips. Here’s his latest advice.

This Friday: Join Traveler magazine’s director of photography and features editor for a virtual photo walk to get a sneak peek at the National Museum of Natural History’s new dinosaur exhibit and find out Traveler’s picks for the top 20 places to visit in 2015.

In Brisbane’s pedestrian-friendly urban center, the cackle of a kookaburra is more common than a car horn. But don’t let the subtropical city’s laid-back impression fool you.

In addition to being longtime contributing photographers for Traveler magazine, my wife Sisse and I are frequently invited to join National Geographic Expeditions trips as photography experts, interacting with guests aboard the National Geographic Explorer. On a recent trip to the Macaronesia Islands—composed of the Azores and Madeira (both belonging to Portugal), the Canaries (which is under Spanish rule), and…

Wiener schnitzel—an unassuming breaded, fried veal cutlet—has so captured Vienna’s taste buds that it bears the city’s very name (Wien = Vienna). Yet Austria’s national dish may actually have originated in northern Italy as costoletta alla Milanese, a similarly prepared slice of veal.

In the 1970s, Ethiopian musician Mulatu Astatke made waves when he introduced a new style of music that layered jazz improvisation with Ethiopian folk rhythms and its traditional five-note scale. Now 70, the father of Ethio-jazz is still mixing things up.

In 1864, the French novelist Jules Verne published one of his most ambitious works—”Journey to the Center of the Earth.” Though Verne was widely regarded for the meticulous scientific research that informed his writing, what he posited in “Journey” has been rejected: namely, that volcanic tubes lead to the Earth’s core. This, of course, hasn’t stopped curious travelers from exploring the book’s geological protagonist: Iceland’s Snæfellsjökull.