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Picture this: You are looking forward to take a long impending vacation. You have zeroed in on the place, after looking at numerous pictures over the internet over and over again. And, when you finally reach it, it is not even to close to what you thought it to be.  Disappointing? Isn’t it?

To compensate for all the exaggerated, over-stated, heavily photo-shopped pictures you are tortured and teased with on the internet; we at HolidayMe, have compiled a list of places that look ‘made-over’ but aren’t.

Don’t believe us…check for yourself.

Deadvlei, Namibia:

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‘Death is beautiful and graveyard is peaceful’, I wouldn’t have believed it, had I not seen the extremely beautiful landscape of Deadvlei, which actually is a graveyard of trees that thrived on the surface of earth, some 900 years ago.

Deadvlei or the ‘Dead Marsh, is a clay pan that came into existence when Tsauchab river got flooded due to excessive rainfalls. The camel thorn trees grew in the resultant shallow pool, and with change in the climate over the years, it resulted in the creation of big sand dunes.

After sometime, the trees died due to paucity of water and have remained like this for over 900 years. Wonder why they are black and still ‘standing’ and not decomposed? Well, thanks to the scorching heat and extremely dry climate.

The Richat Structure, Mauritania:

The Richat Structure, Mauritania
image source: wikipedia

Okay, so this one has stumped the geologists too! The 50-kms-wide concentric circles in various shades of blue in the hot desert are often referred to as the Blue Eye of Africa or the Eye of the Sahara.

No one really knows how these mystical structures came into existence. Initially, it was thought to have been an impact crater but later proved otherwise. Want to have the best view of the Richat structure? Well, you will have to spend a bomb for the it is best seen from the space.

Stockholm Metro, Sweden:

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With looks that appear straight out of some sci-fi movie, the Stockholm subway system is perhaps world’s longest art exhibit. What looks like monstrous red clouds here, are cleverly painted ceiling.

Interestingly, The Stockholm subway system has 100 stations, with each stop sporting a distinct design. Some show exposed rock, and others tile, but they have one thing in common: they all are AWESOME!

La Casa del Árbol, Ecuador:

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This one ranks really high on my bucket list. Even though it is a swing, mounting on this one is no child’s play. Suspended from a treehouse-cum-seismic monitoring station in Ecuador, the swing is aptly named ‘At the end of the world’. The swing is simply made of a metal beam attached to a rope. And the craziest part? There are no safety belts to keep you from falling down the abyss.

The Wave, Arizona, USA:

The Wave, Arizona, USA

Hikers’ haven and photographer’s delight, these stunning sandstone rock formations near the Arizona-Utah border, date back to the Jurassic age. The textures and layers of the sand are a result of wind and water erosion. In order to hike ‘The Wave,’ you must get the permission beforehand and get a permit. The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) limits access to the North Coyote Buttes Wilderness Area to just twenty permits per day.

Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park, China:

Zhangye Danxia Landform Geological Park, China

Doesn’t this picture look like a handy work of a child, who was given a bunch of crayons? These unconventionally coloured rock formations, are located in the Zhangye Danxia National Geological Park and are the effect of red sandstone and mineral deposits accumulating over 24 million years. One of the very popular tourist attractions of China, Zhangye Danxia was chosen as one of the “six most beautiful landforms” in China, by the Chinese National Geography magazine.

Tunnel of Love, Ukraine:

 Tunnel of Love, Ukraine                                     

If you are a sucker for romance, you would definitely love this one! 3 kms in length and with a track covered with lush greenery, this mesmerizing railway track is located near Klevan, Ukraine. Though the line is used to ship woods to a local factory, it is a hot favourite among the couples.

Great Blue Hole, Belize:

Great Blue Hole, Belize

The Blue Hole of Belize is distinctive and the only Blue Hole that can actually be seen from space with the naked eye. Originally an above ground cave, the water level rose causing the caves to flood and its roof to collapse and form an almost perfect circular hole. Now, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and counts among the world’s top dive spots.

Waitomo Caves, New Zealand:

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There is only one way of enjoying the Waitomo’s biggest and brightest glowworm show and it is ‘slowly’. Rushing through the experience would not do justice to this breath-taking spectacle. Sign up for a boat ride and treat your eyes with the soft glow of thousands of glowworms that lit up the Waitomo Caves.

Moravia, Czech Republic:

Moravia, Czech Republic

You may have seen this picture as someone’s desktop wallpaper or may be it adorns your own! With absolutely gorgeous green hills to boast of, Moravia is a large region in the Czech Republic. Rich with history and natural beauty – Moravia has got to be one of the most beautiful grasslands in the world.

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