Do you ever do this, or am I just weird?
Sometimes when I’m traveling, I like to pretend that people from my distant past have come into possession of some science-fictiony device that allows them to tap into my optic nerve and see exactly what I see.
Then I imagine — if they used the device right now to peer out of my eyes, what would they see? Would they be able to figure out where I am?
This game is most fun when I’m kicking around a place where the landscape doesn’t match popular perceptions of the region at large. I might even purposefully select a field of view that makes it most difficult for them to determine my location.
The images below depict 14 such places, 14 such views. Bet you can’t guess where they are.
Clues are displayed at the bottom of the caption box for each photo, followed by the answer, so don’t scroll down too fast if you’re actually quizzing yourself. And let us know how you do in the comments.
Photo: Thomas Depenbusch und Marina Depenbusch-Zharova
Far from its beaches and islands, the interior of this country gets funky on the edge of the Plain of Thessaly, where this 700-year-old monastery sits atop a rock pinnacle.Answer:
Monastery at Meteora, Kalambaka, Greece
Photo: JAIRO BD
The world's fifth-largest nation is more than rainforest and urban beaches. This coastal region in the northeast gets plenty of rain but supports no vegetation, giving it the appearance of a desert.Answer:
Lençóis Maranhenses National Park, Brazil
Over a distance of about 100 miles, the terrain in this country steps down from the highest mountains in the world to eleveations of just 300 feet. This national park sits at the bottom, where you can take crocodile-spotting boat tours.Answer:
Chitwan National Park, Nepal
Photo: Hamed Saber
This entire island seems to run contrary to popular perceptions of its parent country: huge malls, resort hotels, open beaches, and visa-less entries for foreigners. It's one of the most visited vacation spots in the Middle East.Answer:
Kish Island, Iran
Photo: Peter Gene
Mountaineering in the tropics? From the photographer: "Four hours into the ascent, the three of us stop to take a breather. I dug my pike into the snow and balanced my camera on it to grab this shot. The slope is absolutely as steep as it looks, one ascends zig-zagging. At this altitude we are above most of the clouds, and the full moon cast more than enough light to climb by."Answer:
Photo: Jakob Montrasio
Just outside the southernmost city in the country, this is where the national beach volleyball team trains.Answer:
Yalong Bay, Hainan, China
In the little-visited north of this country is a region of alpine peaks that--to me--was completely unexpected and pretty much blew me away. You can keep the costas.Answer:
Picos de Europa, Spain
Massive amounts of state funds have been spent to create the perception of grandeur that is this capital city. A big clue to its location is the utter lack of traffic on its streets.Answer:
Pyongyang, North Korea
I'm not sure how many countries offer access to both dog sledding and beach days...I'm guessing not too many.Answer:
Lomma Beach, near Malmo, Sweden
Though not as super-massive as coast redwoods, red tingle trees can grow to 24 meters in circumference and 75 meters in height.Answer:
Valley of the Giants, Western Australia
In the north of this country, the landscape is one of mountains, cliffs, and waterfalls, with the highest peak reaching above 4,000 meters. It's primarily known, however, for the population of babboons that make these slopes their home.Answer:
Semien Mountains, Ethiopia
Photo: Wajahat Mahmood
The southwestern corner of this country contains a variety of terrain, including caves, cliffs, and forest, totally countering its popularized image.Answer:
Al Habbala Valley, Saudi Arabia
Photo: rainy city
In a country primarily known to tourists for its beaches and resorts, places like this can be pretty quiet.Answer:
Within one of the most densely populated municipalities on Earth, it's still possible to take a quiet, solo stroll on the beach.Answer:
Lamma Island, Hong Kong