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30 Most Shocking And Beautiful Places That You Need To Visit

30 Most Shocking And Beautiful Places That You Need To Visit

The world is full of wonder and beauty, but it important to remember that beauty is a very subjective trait. After all, what one person finds to be absolutely stunning may be disturbing to the person standing next to them. With this is mind, we have compiled a list of some of the most shocking and beautiful places to visit throughout the world so that you can expand your travel bucket list accordingly.

1. Tunnel of Love, Ukraine

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    Photo by Kashif Pathan

    This 1.8 mile private railroad passage is set deep in the woods within the Ukraine. Due to its beautiful and serene setting, it has become a favorite spot for adventurous travelers and couples in love. This is the perfect location for a proposal or a romantic photo-shoot. Just make sure that you steer clear of the tracks when the lone train that utilizes them is in action.

    2. McMurdo Dry Valleys, Antarctica

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      Photo used with permission of Matt Schwachofer

      Have you ever wondered what it would be like to walk on Mars? Although you will probably never have the opportunity to visit another planet, you can see some of the most extreme deserts on earth by visiting Antarctica. The McMurdo Dry Valleys have a physical appearance that bears some similarities to the topography and general conditions of Mars, and they are almost just as remote.

      3. Glowworm Caves, New Zealand

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        Photo by neverunprepared

        Taking a boat ride through the Glowworm Caves in New Zealand’s North Island allows you to harness some of the mystery and magic that early humans felt when they first looked up at the night sky. The glowworms that are present within these caves exist only in New Zealand, and you can take an organized boat tour to soak in their natural beauty. Make sure that you bring your camera with you because this is truly a once in a lifetime experience.

        4. Salt Tiles, Salar de Uyuni, Southern Bolivia

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          Photo by Phil Whitehouse

          There is nothing else on earth quite like the salt tiles in Bolivia, and this gives people the sensation of visiting an alien planet. You will be able to see for miles, but the white salt tiles can also provide the illusion of a giant mirror during the right weather circumstances. As an added bonus, the nearby mountains have numerous caves to explore, and you can get photos that make the salt tiles look like a large, white sea.

          5. Ice Caves, Mendenhall Glacier, Alaska, USA

          Since people seemed to like the first ones, here are more pictures of the ice caves under the Mendenhall Glacier in Juneau, Alaska.

            Photo by Andrew E. Russell

            Many people are attracted by the idea of seeing a glacier in person, but what if you could go inside one? The ice caves in Juneau, Alaska make this a possibility. The caves are 12 miles long, and adventurers who kayak and then ice climb can capture stunning photographs that look like they were digitally created. Be quick if you want to visit this spot, though, as climate change is causing the glacier to melt at a rapid pace.

            6. Tulip Fields, the Netherlands

            2014-04-20 [07] Warmond

              Photo by Reinoud Kaasschleter

              Whether you love flowers and bright colors or simply have an appreciation for amazingly well-designed fields, the tulip fields in The Netherlands will deliver a visual treat. There are several places throughout the world that place an emphasis on growing tulips, including Holland, and Michigan, in the USA, but nothing is quite as stunning as what awaits you in The Netherlands.

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              7. Antelope Canyon, Arizona, USA

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                Photo by herdiephoto.com

                Antelope Canyon is part of the Navajo Nation Parks & Recreation, and it was once home to a large population of pronghorn antelope. In order to visit the Upper or Lower Antelope Canyons, you will need to schedule a guided tour. Other areas such as the Rainbow Bridge Trail and the lowest section of the East Waterholes allow you to roam freely with a hiking permit.

                8. Black Forest, Germany

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                  Photo by ptwo

                  The name Black Forest conjures up dark imagery and twisted fairy tales, and its canopy of evergreens does have a slightly sinister look and feel. This area is the setting for Hansel and Gretel’s meeting with the wicked witch, but it also has some of the most stunningly gorgeous wooded views on earth.

                  9. Sea Ice, Spitsbergen, Svalbard

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                    Photo used with permission of Matt Schwachofer

                    The sea ice outside of Spitsbergen is wondrous to behold on its own, but what makes it really beautiful is the regular appearances by polar bears. Some trip logs from Spitsbergen have even documented rare behavior from the polar bears in this particular region, including sparring. In other words, this area is a good choice for travelers who want to have photographic opportunities of the ice that just might include a polar bear or two, as well.

                    10. Catacombs of Paris, France

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                      Photo by Adam Baker

                      For some people, macabre locations can be not only stunning but also provide a beautiful place to visit. For example, the Catacombs of Paris contain a truly compelling collection of bones and skulls. Many of these grisly but somehow beautiful reminders of history are arranged artistically, and you can also learn a lot about the lives of each of the Catacombs’ residents by studying their remains. This is a must-see location for history enthusiasts and individuals whose interests run toward the dark side.

                      11. Bamboo Forest, Japan

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                        Photo by Tim Brennan

                        The Bamboo Forest in Kyoto is one of the most beautiful green spaces in the world, but this is not all that the area has going for it. Additionally, the Bamboo Forest has been named to the 100 Soundscapes of Japan, which means that this is location is a visual and auditory delight.

                        12. Fairy Pools, Isle of Skye, Scotland

                        Fairy Pools, Glen Brittle, Isle of Skye

                          Photo by Indrik Myneur

                          A walk to the fairy pools will take you approximately 40 minutes, but your reward for taking this hike includes beautiful views and a cold but crystal clear pool of blue water from the River Brittle. Most travelers stick with photographing the Fairy Pools. However, if you are a swimming enthusiast, it is worth the cold water temperature to spend some time enjoying some of the clearest water on earth.

                          13. Machu Picchu, Peru

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                            Photo by Peter Burka

                            There is a good reason that Machu Picchu was at the top of Lisa Simpson’s bucket list: it’s gorgeous, difficult to reach and contains an amazing opportunity to study a lost culture. No one is certain exactly what this area was used for in the 15th century, but reaching the peak of Machu Picchu without taking a helicopter ride is a huge feat that travelers from all over the world have set out to accomplish.

                            14. Mamanuca Islands, Fiji

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                              Image by Juliane Schultz

                              There are 20 islands in Fiji that fall under the heading of the Mamanuca Islands, and they offer travelers a wide array of beautiful recreational opportunities. You can enjoy the water, take stunning photos, go dolphin-watching, parasailing and much more during a trip to this portion of Fiji.

                              15. Giant’s Causeway, Ireland and Scotland

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                                Photo by Julian Dunn

                                Giant’s Causeway, which is found in Ireland and Scotland, was once believed to be the remnants of an ancient rock bridge that was formed by giants to enable them to travel between the two countries. Science tells us that the actual origins are less mythical but still really fascinating: the causeway is the result of quickly cooling and contracting volcanic lava.

                                16. Neuschwanstein Castle, Germany

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                                  Photo by Manuel Nunez Salinas

                                  One of the most visited and photographed castle in the world was once the refuge of an introverted king. Fortunately for the public, Neuschwanstein Castle became accessible by tour in 1886, shortly after the death of King Ludwig II. Disney lovers will want to make a trip to Germany to see the real-life inspiration for the Beast’s castle.

                                  17. Great Blue Hole, Belize

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                                    Photo by Eric Pheterson

                                    Approximately 150,000 years ago, a limestone cave was formed in Belize. Over time, though, the water levels rose, and this caused the cave’s roof to collapse. The result of this process is the Great Blue Hole, which is considered to be one of the most unique and worthwhile diving spots in the world.

                                    18. Castle Dracula, Romania

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                                      Photo by Dennis Jarvis

                                      Bran Castle, which is better known as Dracula’s Castle, is a stunning landmark in Romania. Tourists with a taste for the macabre will enjoy the castle and the surrounding countryside. It is believed that the real Dracula, Vlad the Impaler, spent two nights in the dungeon of this castle. If you are really adventurous, you may also want to go to the ruins of the Poienari Castle in Brasov, Romania, which is where Dracula most likely actually lived.

                                      19. Valley of the Ten Peaks, Alberta, Canada

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                                        Photo by Florin Chelaru

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                                        This valley is found in Alberta’s Banff National Park. From this spot, you can see and photograph the 10 peaks, including Mount Fay, Neptuak Mountain and Mount Tuzo. It is also possible to see several other peaks from within this strategic location.

                                        20. Central Austrian Alps, Austria

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                                          Photo by Sonja und Jens

                                          The Alps wind their way throughout Austria, Switzerland, Slovenia, Italy and Liechtensein. Some of the most memorable and stunningly gorgeous sections of the Central Austrian Alps are found in Austria, and they include a mixture of topographical features such as the small waterfall pictured above.

                                          21. Candy Cane Mountains, Azerbaijan

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                                            Photo by David Davidson

                                            These mountains are part of Azerbaijan’s Greater Caucasus range. The Candy Cane Mountains are nicknamed for the stunning colors that have been caused by a natural event: altered iron compound oxidation mixed with groundwater. Hiking in these mountains can be dangerous for people who are not experienced, but beautiful views can be seen without climbing up into the range.

                                            22. Golden Temple, Amritsar

                                            Amritsar, Golden Temple

                                              Photo by Arian Zwegers

                                              Harmandir Sahib, which is commonly referred to as the Golden Temple, is a breathtaking building that attracts religious and secular visitors. This unique blending of Muslim and Hindu architectural styles is often referred to as one of the most artistically designed buildings in the world.

                                              23. Mavora Lakes, New Zealand

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                                                Photo by Tom Hall

                                                Mavora Lakes in New Zealand offer visitors a mixture of forests, lakes, mountains and tussock grassland, which makes it very appealing to people who thrive on time spent in the great outdoors. Even better is the spectacular way that the night sky comes to life. The lack of nearby light pollution provides an experience you will never forget.

                                                24. Emerald Lakes, New Zealand

                                                The Emerald Lakes seen from the Red Crater. This is about half way on the Tongariro Alpine Crossing, one of the most impressive walks in New Zealand.

                                                  Photo by Marcus Holland-Moritz

                                                  If you head to New Zealand to see the view from Mavora Lakes, make sure that you also make time for a visit to Emerald Lakes. Named after their unusual color, this is another remote area of New Zealand that offers beauty combined with peace and quiet.

                                                  25. Etretat Cliffs, France

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                                                    Photo by Gabriel Calderon

                                                    These cliffs in Upper Normandy are famous for their white, chalky appearance and the inclusion of three naturally-occurring arches. As an added bonus, the white pebble beach makes these cliffs easily accessible, and you can spend some time relaxing while you enjoy the area’s natural beauty.

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                                                    26. Gullfoss, Iceland

                                                    Gullfoss, "Golden Falls" in Icelandic, is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Iceland. The Hvítá River flows down into a wide curved three-step "staircase" and then abruptly plunges in two stages (11 m and 21 m) into a 32 meter deep crevice. (Info from Wikipedia). For more photos and infomration, go to the Gullfoss web site, http://www.gullfoss.is

                                                      Photo by Mark Fischer

                                                      Gullfoss, or the Golden Falls, is made up of three naturally carved steps. The water from the Hvita River flows down this so-called staircase, and it eventually makes a large plunge into a crevice that is 22 meters deep. From the view to the mist, standing on the side of the Golden Falls is truly memorable.

                                                      27. Pamukkale, Denizli, Turkey

                                                      Pamukkale, Denizli, Türkiye (Pamukkale, Denizli, Turkey)

                                                        Photo by miquitos

                                                        Pamukkale is a Turkish word that means cotton castle. Aside from the unique aesthetic appeal of this area, travelers are able to partake in hot springs that have served as an invigorating bathing spot for thousands of years. At one point, there were hotels and a thriving tourism industry, but the hotels were torn down to preserve Pamukkale’s natural beauty. You can still visit this World Heritage Site, but there are likely to be far fewer people in the area with you.

                                                        28. Kodiak Island, Alaska, USA

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                                                          Photo by Andrew Peterson

                                                          Kodiak Island is the largest of the islands in the Kodiak Archipelago. Located off of south coast of Alaska, this location features almost 3,600 square miles of beauty to explore, ranging from heavy forests and mountains to relatively flat land. Two-thirds of the island is part of the Kodiak National Wildlife Refuge, and it is possible that you will find yourself face-to-face with the native Kodiak bear.

                                                          29. Athabasca Falls, Alberta, Canada

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                                                            Photo by Bastien Deceuninck

                                                            This gorgeous waterfall is part of the Jasper National Park in Canada. Although the height of Athabasca Falls is not nearly as impressive as many other waterfalls around the world, the forceful rush of such a large amount of water is unusual. Another major draw is that these falls can be photographed safely from several nearby spots.

                                                            30. El Chalten, Argentina

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                                                              Photo by Justin Vidamo

                                                              El Chalten is a mountain village located within Argentina’s Santa Cruz Province. The village itself is charming and worthwhile for anyone who wants to get away from it all for a while, but the true appeal is the two surrounding mountains. This region is beyond gorgeous during the autumn season, and it is known as Argentina’s Trekking Capital.

                                                              With all of these locations to choose from, there is no reason to take a boring vacation ever again. Keep in mind that traveling off the beaten path and seeing shocking and beautiful places will make you more likely to have a successful career. Additionally, it will also provide you with memories that last a lifetime.

                                                               

                                                              Featured photo credit: Peter Burka via flic.kr

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                                                              Last Updated on May 22, 2019

                                                              10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

                                                              10 Simple Morning Exercises That Will Make You Feel Great All Day

                                                              There are lots of studies that show if you do some exercise in the morning, you will be in a better mood all day long. You will have more energy and you will certainly be a better colleague, friend or partner.

                                                              One psychologist at Duke University has researched the effects of exercise on depressed patients and he has come to the conclusion that exercise has a definite role in treating this condition and has an important role in preventing people from relapsing.[1] According to the New York Times, scientists have now established that exercise also boosts your brain power.[2]

                                                              In addition, there are studies from the Appalachian State University which show that blood pressure can be reduced by doing regular morning exercise.[3]

                                                              Here are 10 simple morning exercises that will help you feel great the whole day long. You can include some of them in your morning exercise routine or do them all at home without having to enrol in a gym. Consult your doctor before starting any form of exercise routine if you are new to this.

                                                              1. Cat Camel Stretch

                                                              Stretching exercises are useful for muscle toning and also preventing arthritis. They can either be dynamic or static.

                                                              Dynamic ones such as the cat camel stretch, are particularly useful for doing other exercises in the morning. They are also beneficial at other times of the day, especially after long periods of sedentary work. This one is great for spinal flexibility and is a good warm up exercise.

                                                              Kneel down on all fours. Start by rounding your back just like a camel so that your head will try to meet your pelvis. This is the camel position. Then lower and lift your head so that your lower back is arched. This is the cat position. Do these movements slowly and smoothly. About 4 or 5 times.

                                                              Here’s a video to guide you through:

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                                                              2. Go for a Walk or a Run

                                                              This is better done outside so that you can connect with nature but running inside on a treadmill is almost as good. You can time yourself and increase length and time according to your fitness program.

                                                              Always have new goals to reach. Start with brisk walking and work up to running. At my age, I am still walking!

                                                              The health benefits are considerable. You can build stronger bones and you can help to maintain your weight.

                                                              Also, you are helping your heart to stay healthy and keeping your blood pressure low.

                                                              Learn more about the benefits of running here: 8 Benefits of Running 5 Minutes Every Day You Didn’t Know

                                                              3. Jumping Jacks

                                                              Michelle Obama is a great fan of this exercise and has become “Jumper in Chief.”[4] They are great for cardiovascular health and also for toning muscles especially the calves and the deltoids.

                                                              Stand with feet together. Jump while spreading your arms and legs. Return to first position and keep going! You can start with doing these for 1 minute and then gradually build up to the number you are comfortable with. Here’s how:

                                                              4. Abductor Side Lifts

                                                              Watch the video below to see how to do this exercise. These muscles are important because you use them everyday to run, get into the car or onto and off a bicycle. They are very important also for your core stability and prevent the pelvis from tilting.[5]

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                                                              Do about 10 to 15 raises for each side like this:

                                                              5. Balancing Table Pose

                                                              This is a classic yoga pose. It benefits the spine, balance, memory and concentration.

                                                              Start with the table pose (hands and knees). Breathe in before starting each movement. As you exhale, raise your left leg parallel to the floor as you raise the right arm, also parallel to the floor. Breathe in as you lower arm and leg. Repeat for the other side. 10 repetitions on each side is a good starting point.

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                                                                6. Leg Squats

                                                                Not just legs are involved but also hips and knees.

                                                                Stand with your feet a bit further out from your hips. Arms are out in front of you. Then lower yourself as if you wanted to sit down until you reach a 90 degree angle. You can go down further if you want to. Then return to the starting position. Repeat 15 times for 2 sets for beginners.

                                                                The benefits are that these exercises help with knee stability and can benefit the leg muscles such as quadriceps, hamstrings and calves.[6]

                                                                7. Push Ups

                                                                You start lying down (face down) but with your body held up at arm’s length. Your hands should be in line with your shoulders. Breathe in as you lower your body. That is fairly easy. Now, as you exhale, you have to get back up to the starting position.

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                                                                An easier version to start with is to bend your legs at the knees so you do not have to lift your whole body.

                                                                Beginners may take up to a month to be able to do 100 push ups so you will have to start with a very small number and gradually increase it.

                                                                This exercise is great for strengthening the chest, shoulders and the triceps. It is a great strengthening exercise for many muscle groups. In fact, most muscles from the toes to the shoulders are being used.

                                                                8. Bicycle Crunches

                                                                There are numerous crunch exercises targeting the abs. The bicycle crunch is a variation where you work more muscle groups. Aim for 15 to 20 reps to start off with.

                                                                Watch the video to see how this is done correctly:

                                                                9. Lunges

                                                                Stand with feet shoulder width apart. Place your hand on your hips. Take one giant step forward with the right leg. Make sure the knee does not go too far forward, that is, past your toes. The left knee will go down to almost floor level. Alternate the legs as you go on.

                                                                Try to do a set of between 8 and 12 reps for each leg. It is important to allow for a day of rest, so this exercise should be done on alternate days, especially if you are using weights.

                                                                This exercise is great for strengthening and toning the quadriceps, glutes and hamstrings.

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                                                                10. Bicep Curls

                                                                You can do this sitting down so if you spend a lot of time on the phone, this is a great exercise to do.

                                                                Choose suitable dumbbells or another household object that you can easily hold. Sit down with the dumbbell in your hand. You need to sit forward a bit so that your triceps can lean on your thigh to give you support.

                                                                Then bring the weighted arm up to shoulder length and then down again. Exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower it.

                                                                Here’re some important notes before you start doing this exercise:

                                                                Try to do one or two sets of about ten repetitions for each arm and then switch arms.

                                                                These exercises are really useful for toning the arm muscles.[7] In addition, they can strengthen and tone the brachioradialis muscle located in the forearm. These are the muscles we use to pick up things when we flex the arm at the elbow so we use these muscles countless times a day.

                                                                You may have to build in a rest day for the heavier exercises, numbers 6–10. On the rest days, you can do gentler stretching exercises and also some walking or running.

                                                                Morning exercise is not only a great mood booster, but will help you keep your weight down and also sleep better![8] Start including one or some of these exercises in your morning routine!

                                                                More Articles About Exercises for Beginners

                                                                Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

                                                                Reference

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