From Paris to islands in the southeast Pacific, the world has become our playground. Travelling is more accessible than ever before. As when travelling in any foreign country, at some stage you are going to come across some interesting landmarks. Just don’t be surprised if the answer includes ‘turn left at the thumb…’
Le Défense is Paris’ major business district, and situated in the centre is The Thumb or Le Pouce. This statue of a giant thumb weighs over 18 tons. It is, in fact, the largest reproduction of the artist, Cesar Baldaccinni’s thumb, the first of which stood only 40 cm high. Cesar’s art style was dubbed New Realist and he was strangely obsessed with his thumb. Today its replica stands, imperfections exposed, in sharp contrast to its manicured surroundings.
We all know the apocalypse is on our doorstep every other day. Okay, we’ve got it wrong a few times, but the next time is definitely it. Luckily for us, there will be one less thing for the survivors to figure out, thanks to the Georgia Guidestones, which lay out the Ten Commandments for an “Age of Reason”. There are many stories about the origins of the Guidestones and the commandments. Some make perfect sense, like ‘be not a cancer on this earth’. Yet others, like ‘limiting humanity to a mere 500 million’, not so much – unless you can overlook the massive percentage of the population that would need to disappear for this to happen. Here’s hoping the stones survive the end of the world as we know it.
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The little pee man, or Mannekin Pis can be seen in Brussels. This little guy is happily having a pee into the basin below. Due to numerous kidnapping incidents, the original is now housed in the Museum of the City of Brussels. There are a few legends surrounding the origins of this statue and it seems to have started a trend. The new additions include statues of a peeing girl and a peeing dog at other sites in Brussels.
Another, although much more disturbing statue, is the Kindlifresserbrunnen found in Bern. This statue shows a creature snacking on some kids. Not kids of the goat variety, but the tiny human kind. The statue is by no means modern and has been there since 1546. Theories behind its symbolism range from Antisemitism to a child-eating beast, sent to punish naughty children. The statue and expression of the living snacks is quite disturbing.
Rapa Nui, Polynesia
The Moai of Easter Island (Rapa Nui) are human faced statues that date back between 1100 and 1500 CE. There have been 1000 of these statues documented and studied. Interestingly, they all face inward to the centre of the island, not out toward the sea. This suggests they were built to worship deities rather than stand sentry for the island, but what makes them truly amazing is their size. At 40ft. (12 meters) high these are sizable faced monoliths.
Some landmarks are downright strange, and as unique as the cities they belong to. Because what city would be complete without a landmark as equally strange as a statue of a cherub like boy, having a pee, into a fountain?