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I know you are a big fan of urban exploration, so I think you’ll get a big kick out of this book, which was written by an urban explorer, as well as the making-of video that the author made. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children incorporates vintage photos, not just as illustration, but as integral elements of the plot. How does this tie into urban exploration, you ask? Well, like all the best children’s books, the story involves a huge ramshackle house on an island on the other side of the world. And the author, being a conscientious sort of fellow, went to Belgium to find just the right house. Incidentally the author’s name is Ransom Riggs, which may just be the perfect name for a children’s book author.
A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. And a strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children who once lived here—one of whom was his own grandfather—were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a desolate island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.
Mr Riggs seems to be quite the urban explorer. There are a bunch of smashing pictures (see them all over at Mental Floss) of his trip to Poveglia in the Venice Lagoon, which has at various times been a quarantine and burial site for victims of the Bubonic Plague, leading to claims that the soil is 50% human ash, and more recently an institution which was either a mental hospital run by a mad butcher who went insane from guilt and threw himself off the roof, or a perfectly nice rest home for the elderly. Stories differ. Here are a few of my favorite shots, but I recommend reading the whole article, the story is worth it.
Bombay Beach may be the most famously depressing place in California; the poster child for the post-apocalypse. On the edge of the dying Salton Sea, an enormous body of water half the size of Rhode Island and so salty and polluted that by 2030 no fish will be able to survive in it, there is a town. There are several towns, actually, along the Salton’s 70+ miles of rancid coastline, but the most intact, the most iconically awful, is Bombay Beach.
He even made a video about it, which Roger Ebert gave a thumbs up to. It’s freaking creepy.
The Mojave Air and Spaceport, as it’s officially known, isn’t just a graveyard for inactive planes. It’s an active airport, home to one of the nation’s only civilian test pilot schools, and most famously the place where Space Ship One was developed and performed the first privately-funded human spaceflight in 2004. But it also functions as a giant parking lot for hundreds of jets owned by dozens of different entities, from major airlines to private individuals. If an airline doesn’t anticipate needing some of its planes for an extended period of time, it’s much cheaper for them to park those planes in the desert and have maintenance crews check them out once every few weeks than to keep them active.
I hope these will tide you over till we can launch an adventure of our own.
It has come to my attention that you love travel blogs. But after the credit card company cancelled my reward miles, I’ve had to become more creative in the type of traveling I do. In my research I came across a wondrous phenomenon – Urban Exploration. This is somewhat like the old tours we used to take in the 19th century to see the city’s slums for ourselves.
This first picture comes from The Moebius, he claims this is from the old Donner Pass (hardly Urban Exploration, I daresay)
This one, from A Daily Dose of Arhitecture, reminds me of the flat we shared in Paris. I daresay our graffiti was on par with this.
This one, from fotopedia, is even closer to home for you, from the Rochester Subway.
I’m not even sure if this one from Telefunker is even in the country. But I would love to explore it.
Laundelles also has some excellent pictures.
I do hope you’ve enjoyed this pictures. I hope to begin such explorations here.
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