#StrangePlanet: Travel Trivia

Truth is stranger than fiction.

Here are eight travel factoids to help prove it:

Criminal Intent: A company in the Czech capital of Prague has launched “corruption tours” to show where crooked civil servants have wasted taxpayers’ money.

Pet Peeve: It is illegal to own only one guinea pig in Switzerland because they are prone to loneliness.

Not the Sharpest Tool: Preventing mealtime altercations, French King Louis XIV ordered that all dinner knives be ground to a blunt tip.

Wild Thing: “Grip,” the raven that inspired Edgar Allan Poe, is displayed in a shadowbox in the rare book department of the Philadelphia Public Library.

Wet Paint: The Eiffel Tower receives a fresh coat of 60 tons of signature bronze paint every seven years, painted by hand with circular brushes.

Tiny Diner: One of the world’s smallest eateries, the Holzknechthütt restaurant in Carinthia, Austria, serves just four people at a time in a former lumberjack hut.

Epic Fail: A public holiday celebrating failure, United Kingdom’s Guy Fawkes Day, November 5, commemorates the botched attempt to blow up the Houses of Parliament and King James I in 1605.

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Lance a Lot: In 1962, Maryland made jousting its official state sport, although the modern version challenges riders to spear a series of small suspended rings along an 80-yard course.

This piece, written by former National Geographic Traveler Executive Editor Paul Martin, first appeared in the magazine’s November 2014 issue.

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