Breathtaking places in Europe that feel unreal – part 2

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Dolomites, Europe’s Pale Mountains

If we look at the Dolomites mountains we might think that this is a set for a dystopian movie where the planet froze. The ice and freezing sculpted these spectacular mountains that are separated by a line of green nature.

Dolomites, Europe

The old Italians came out with a legend to explain their formation: it is said that gnomes observed that the Moon Princess was in a blue mood. This princess was married to the Mountain Prince. The gnomes figured out how to raise her mood: they covered the mountains with a white coat made from the moonbeams.

But if you want to know the origin of the name then we should thank Deodat de Dolomieu who figured out that the rocks contained a small amount of magnesium. This special type of rock carries his name.

 

Samariá Gorge, or where kri-kri lives

Another European place that seems to have been covered in white by supernatural creatures is the Samariá Gorge. Here, the summer sun gives a whitish glow to the mountains and the snow does the trick during the wintertime.

Samariá Gorge, Europe

This gorge is either narrow or broad depending on the area being (and still is but maybe the tourism hinders this property) the perfect place for villains to hide. Over the years people around Crete hid here when they knew they upset the wrong person. Even the communist used the gorge as a hiding spot during the civil war.

There is also a village called Samariá which sadly was abandoned in the 60s when the gorge became a national park. You can find a beautiful Byzantine church here. But it is not the only abandoned village.

 

Askania-Nova, or the miracle from Ukraine

In the south of Ukraine, we can find a nature reserve like none other: a zoological park, a botanical garden, and even an open territory of virgin steeps.

Askania-Nova, Europe

In the past, the region where Askania-Nova is found was a German colony. When the Red Army came and the owner refused to give it to them (as part of the nationalization program) she was executed without the chance of having a trial. The Russians hoped to study the flora and fauna of the steep.

One good thing about this Russian claiming it was that it was greatly expanded, even though it suffered a lot during World War 2.

Today it is considered one of the seven wonders of Ukraine.

 

Postojna Cave, or the most fascinating cave in all of Europe

Hop on the train (no kidding, there is a train that you can take in this cave) and discover one of the most spectacular caves that exist.

Postojna Cave, Europe
https://www.viator.com/tours/Koper/Postojna-Cave-and-Predjama-Castle-Day-Trip-from-Koper/d4170-24363P6

Why a train, you might ask. Postojna cave was supposed to be a cave show but no one wants to walk almost 4 kilometers on foot. So, a solution was to be found. No donkeys or other animals were used. But what could people in the 19th century think to be a good solution?

Well, the cave is horizontal, which made perfect sense to bring a type of carriage for four people. Especially since the imperial couple Franz Joseph and Elizabeth decided to see the cave.

Years went by, and tracks were put in for a real train. And when this territory went to Italy after World War 1, then a better locomotive was chosen (which is displayed in the cave).

But they were so loud that the guests kept complaining. Battery-powered electric locomotives were bought (today there are almost 12).

 

Pravčická brána, are we in Europe or in Narnia?

Pravčická brána, Europe

Czechia can be proud to have the largest natural sandstone arch in Europe.

And because it looks so iconic, it was a filming spot for the first Narnia movie. However, the arch cannot be walked on anymore and a little CGI was used to give the impression that our beloved characters run over the arch.

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