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09/24/2015

“List of the weirdest places in the world”

written by Graham Marema (Davidson College)

When I was a high school student in the land-locked and country-locked state of Tennessee, I developed a habit of googling things like “List of the weirdest places in the world” and mentally noting all the ones I would visit. I had an abstract idea that one day I would just find myself in Europe with a backpack and a list of bizarre places, and from then on I’d live on the road and become one of those Travelers who Sees Things.

 Predictably, I found out that you don’t ever really find yourself anywhere. You have to research the right programs and get the right applications and send for a visa and get a coat warm enough for winters in the Czech Republic and wheedle your parents into just a little bit more spending money (It’s culture, mom!), and only then will you step off the plane into the baffling city of Prague.

 

So far I’ve seen the Prague Castle perched above orange roofs on the drive from the airport, the high dark windows of the National Museum from my flat’s balcony, and the most famous cemetery in the Czech Republic, dulled by rain as the cathedral bell tolled three, on my walk to school. I didn’t expect that once I got there - wherever “there” ended up being - it would take so long to sink in. All of these things felt like movie sets, like pictures of pictures. It wasn’t until a trip to Kutna Hora that it officially hit me. I walked down the cool dark steps of the Ossuary, where I looked up and found myself staring at one of the pictures I’d seen on “List of the weirdest places in the world” - a cathedral made of human bones. I had now found myself in a place I’d always considered to be a daydream. I’d found myself in Europe with a backpack (full of school books and planners, not dirty flannels and maps as I’d romantically imagined, but whatever) and a list of bizarre places I’ll one day really see.

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