Stories, not Superlatives: Strange Tales From the Perceptive Travel Blog
By Tim Leffel

Too many travel blogs are either glorified diaries seemingly meant to stoke the writers' egos or top-10 listicles to court social media shares and clicks. Since 2007, the Perceptive Travel bloggers have been turning over rocks in offbeat places to bring you tales from the road that you haven't seen a hundred times already. Here are some notable ones from the past year.

strange travel Indonesia

Brian Spencer, based in Singapore, is a freelance travel writer who digs up interesting bars, craft beers, and good food. In This Is Not About Grilled Sticky Rice Sticks in Bangkok, he revisits his former home in Bangkok and sparks the usual performance from his favorite street vendor.

Indonesia's capital is the setting for a rundown of the ghoulish figures that preside over a local tourist attraction. See In Jakarta, 2,000 Rupiah for Nightmares Filled with Animated Corpses of Legendary Seafarers.

On a writing trip to Holland, he learns that what you see online for a hotel description might just be wishful thinking. See In Amsterdam, a 37-Step Stairway to Hotel Hell

Steamboat Arabia

Sheila Scarborough, based in Austin, hits a lot of small-town America in the course of her work. She dug up the tale of the Steamboat Arabia, which sunk in the Missouri River in 1856 and was dug up more than 130 years later from 45 feet under dry land. (The river has moved over time...) The meticulously cleaned items are now housed in a Kansas City museum.

If you go to Oklahoma City, there's a whole museum and library where you can learn things you never knew about pigeons. And apparently if you want to eat like a Hawaiian, you need to visit a crack seed shop

gozo island

You don't read much about Malta, even less about the Maltese island of Gozo. Kristin Winet dug deeper though and highlighted the Mr. Cinii, the sea salt baron of Gozo, who has been producing his salt there since 1974. She also took us to Popeye's Village in the region. It's a Popeye movie set from 30-some years ago that has been preserved intact.

Scotland standing stones

The stone circle in the book and TV series Outlander may be fictional, but Kerry Dexter shows us that there are many very real stone circles throughout Scotland that date back to ancient times. Kerry often highlights Irish musicians and singers, but this is also the land of great storytellers. See Reading Ireland: Four Stories Set in Irish History.

You probably don't expect to find hills or much history in the Tallahassee area of Florida, but it turns out there are both and here's a rundown on a wooden Spanish mission church, San Luis.

strange travel New Zealand

Liz Lewis notes that "Don't talk to strangers" is terrible advice, especially for a traveler, because ignoring that advice has led to some of the coolest things she has seen. In western Australia, the winery/brewpub she planned to visit was closed, but just down the road was a place she probably would have skipped otherwise: a lake filled with 3,500-year-old "living rocks" known as thrombolites.

Since she lives in New Zealand, you can trust her advice on quirky places to stay on the south island, like a giant's boot, a giant's house, a treehouse, or a jail.

too many travel photos

Dana MacMahan was only with us this calendar year, explaining why she was shoving off in I Gave up Travel for a House in Detroit. While still traveling, she discovered that Indianapolis is actually beautiful and we should all stop taking so damn many travel photos all the time.

strange Salt Lake City

I popped onto the Perceptive Travel blog now and then myself, usually to add my own strange findings to the mix. If you want to see this bizarre sculpture above, head to Salt Lake City. Meanwhile, what may be the world's greatest collection of erotic art is right in the heart of South Beach, Miami.

I also checked out that strange cosmic pyramid near San Miguel de Allende.

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