A trip to Europe might conjure up many images in your mind. You might see yourself visiting the sites of Ancient Rome, such as the Colosseum or Vatican City. Standing outside Buckingham Palace hoping to catch a glimpse of the Queen of Great Britain. Being proposed to as the sun sets on the Eiffel Tower.
That’s our traditional view of Europe. Yet the continent across the Atlantic is also home to some of the most and wonderful experiences on the planet as well. You can literally sleep with the fishes, bet on a 90 second horse race in which the only rule is there are no rules and visit a nuclear missile base.
Here are four weird and wonderful things to do in Europe.
Sleep with the fishes in Sweden
Don’t worry – this isn’t the mafia’s take on sleeping on with the fishes, but actually going to sleep in a house submerged into a lake at the Utter Inn in Sweden. Utter Inn sits 3 meters below the surface of Lake Malaren, which means that when you look out the window of your bedroom you are greeted by large Baltic salmon gliding past. A literal take on sleeping with the fishes.
Bet on the most dangerous horse race in the world in Italy
Forget about winning big on the Kentucky Derby or picking the winner of the Breeders Cup. The horse race you really want to be betting on is Il Palio in Siena, Italy. The only rule in this bareback race is that there are no rules – jockeys are allowed to shove each other off their mounts, crash into each other and do anything to win. They don’t even have to be onboard at the finish line, with the horse that crossed first with or without rider declared the winner. It’s held twice each summer around the boundaries of the city’s Piazza del Campo but don’t blink or you’ll miss it – the race is normally done and dusted inside of 90 seconds.
Milk a cow in Switzerland
Switzerland is most famous for three things – army knives, Roger Federer and chocolate. Making that chocolate wouldn’t be possible without milk, which comes from the nations plentiful supply of cows. You can play a part in the chocolate making process by learning how to milk a Swiss Cow high up in the stunning Alps, filling up a Milk Jug with healthy milk in the process.
Visit a nuclear missile base in Lithuania
There aren’t many places in the world that you can visit a nuclear missile base, but the village of Plateliai in western Lithuania is one. The Plokstine missile base once housed Soviet rockets before it was closed down in 1978 and is eerily empty of any signs that it could’ve once housed the weapons capable of mutual destruction. That is until your reach one of the silos – a vast, metal lined cylindrical pit that was once home to a 22m warhead-tipped rocket. Its like looking into the end of the world.