Posts Tagged ‘hell’

POTD: When your address is an expletive … expect tourists

Sunday, July 13th, 2014

Did you know that there is an actual town in Austria which is called “Fucking”? And less than two hours’ drive to the east from Salzburg, you’ll hit the mountain named “Loser” which is also a popular ski resort.

Pit stop at Fucking, Austria.

Pit stop at Fucking, Austria. Photo taken with a Sony A7 with Vario-Tessar T* FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS full-frame E-mount zoom lens. Photo credit: John Tan.

Fucking is a tiny miniscule hamlet about 40km to the north of Salzburg. This Austrian town is about 40 minutes’ drive from Salzburg.

Located close to the border between Germany and Austria, the town comprises a cluster of houses on either side of the road.

I wonder what else is not allowed in this idyllic town. But seriously, that's just a sign to tell you that you're leaving Fucking behind you.

I wonder what else is not allowed in this idyllic town. But seriously, that’s just a sign to tell you that you’re leaving Fucking behind you. Photo taken with a Sony A7 with Vario-Tessar T* FE 24-70mm F4 ZA OSS full-frame E-mount zoom lens. Photo credit: John Tan.

It is so tiny that less than 200m after passing the signboard that marks your entry into the town, you see the signboard that marks your exit from the town.

I’ve driven around Europe a fair bit and passed through many one-street towns – but Fucking is one of the tiniest we have driven through.

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Travel: Sightseeing the hells of Beppu in Oita, Japan

Wednesday, December 5th, 2012

Today we started our sightseeing in earnest – checking out the onsen “hells” of Beppu.

Umi Jigoku(海地獄) - or Sea Hell - is my favourite hell.

Umi Jigoku (海地獄) – or Sea Hell – is my favourite hell.

Beppu claims to be the world’s second largest hot spring water producer in terms of volume – behind the Yellowstone National Park in the USA.

The Umi Jigoku has nicely landscaped gardens aroud the hotspring ponds.

The Umi Jigoku has nicely landscaped gardens aroud the hotspring ponds.

The seaside town is a popular onsen destination in Japan – both for the regular version spas where people immerse their bodies in the healing attributes of natural hot spring water – as well as eight hot springs that can only be viewed for their striking colours and characteristics but which are not suitable for bathing in.

Each of these eight hot springs are called “hells” (地獄)because of the high temperatures and vivid colours – much like the boiling waters used to punish evil-doers for their sins – traditional Japanese and Chinese beliefs about what hell is like.

Six of the eight hells are located close to each other so you can visit them one after another before heading to the other location where the remaining two are located next to each other.

There's also a red mud hot spring pond in the Umi Jigoku.

There’s also a red mud hot spring pond in the Umi Jigoku.

The most striking onsen among those we visited must be the Umi Jigoku (海地獄) – or Sea Hell – because of the vivid turquoise colour of the hot spring water here.

It had emerged after a volcano explosion 1,200 years ago.

The Yama Jigoku (山地獄) - Mountain Hell - comprises steam spewing out of a pile of rocks.

The Yama Jigoku (山地獄) – Mountain Hell – comprises steam spewing out of a pile of rocks.

The second Jigoku we visited was the Yama Jigoku (山地獄)- or Mountain Hell – comprising hot steam emitting from a pile of rocks.

Ever stared into the mouth of a hungry hippo before? For 100 yen, you get some fresh carrots to throw inside this begging hippo at the Yama Jigoku.

Ever stared into the mouth of a hungry hippo before? For 100 yen, you get some fresh carrots to throw inside this begging hippo at the Yama Jigoku.

Though the hot spring itself is simple, it’s a favourite with the children because there were some enclosed animals on display, including a hungry hippo, some flamingoes and a bored elephant.

And here's a one-eared Llama at Yama Jigoku. Wonder who chewed up his ear.

And here’s a one-eared Llama at Yama Jigoku. Wonder who chewed up his ear.

Next was Kamado Jigoku (かまど地獄) – or Boiling Hell – because of its association with boiling water for cooking.

Bubbling boiling water at the Kamado Jigoku (かまど地獄) - or Boiling Hell.

Bubbling boiling water at the Kamado Jigoku (かまど地獄) – or Boiling Hell.

It actually comprises six pots of murky, bubbling boiling water.

An orange mud hot spring pond at the Kamado Jigoku.

An orange mud hot spring pond at the Kamado Jigoku.

After that was Oniyama Jigoku (鬼山地獄) – or Demon King Hell – which claims that the force of the steam produced here is strong enough to pull one-and-a-half train carriages.

The Oniyama Jigoku (鬼山地獄) - Demon Mountain Hell - produces steam that's strong enough to pull train carriages.

The Oniyama Jigoku (鬼山地獄) – Demon Mountain Hell – produces steam that’s strong enough to pull train carriages.

This hell also had a collection of crocodiles relishing the warm spring water.

The Oniyama Jigoku has a collection of crocodiles frolicking in warm spring water despite the cold winter.

The Oniyama Jigoku has a collection of crocodiles frolicking in warm spring water despite the cold winter.

Next was the Shiraike Jigoku (白池地獄) – or White Pond Hell – which got its name from its creamy-white hot-spring water.

The Shiraike Jigoku (白池地獄) - or White Pond Hell - also has a nice Japanese landscaped garden around it.

The Shiraike Jigoku (白池地獄) – or White Pond Hell – also has a nice Japanese landscaped garden around it.

It had a collection of tropical fishes, including a tank of deceptively-harmless-looking piranhas which were eyeing us as intently as we were eyeing them.

Piranhas lining up to watch us. This was the first time that the kids had seen live piranhas.

Piranhas at Shiraike Jigoku lining up to watch us. This was the first time that the kids had seen live piranhas.

Finally, we visited the Oniishibozu Jigoku (鬼石坊主地獄) – or Shaven Monk’s Head Hell – because the bubbles of gray mud boiling up the ponds resemble the shaven heads of monks.

The Oniishibozu Jigoku (鬼石坊主地獄) - or Shaven Monk's Head Hell - has white bubbling mud springs.

The Oniishibozu Jigoku (鬼石坊主地獄) – or Shaven Monk’s Head Hell – has white bubbling mud springs.

We had to give the final two Jigokus a miss because of time constraints – although they looked beautiful and sounded interesting in the brochures.

The Chinoike Jigoku (血の池地獄 – Blood Pond Hell) has red water while the Tatsumaki Jigoku (龍巻地獄 – Geyser Hell) has a geyser that spouts every half hour.

Along the way, we had plenty of Jigoku Mushi – food cooked using the steam and hot spring water – such as eggs and sweet potato.

As per the night before, we rounded off the day with a visit to the onsen.

* All photos in this post were taken with a Nikon D800 DSLR and AF-S NIKKOR 24-70mm f/2.8G ED lens.