This northern nation has more islands than any other

An island in Sweden

If you didn’t know which country had the most islands in the world, you’d think it might be some place huge like Russia or Canada or an archipelago nation like Indonesia or Philippines, but you’d be wrong. It’s actually one of the Nordic nations, Sweden.

According to, Sweden has a staggering 221,800 islands larger than 25 square metres in size about 1,000 of which are inhabited. Fourteen of those islands make up the country’s capital, Stockholm.

The Eiffel Tower is beautiful, but I wouldn’t want to paint it

The Eiffel Tower gets a new paint job on average of every 7 years and it takes 25 painters applying 60 tonnes of paint by hand to cover 250,000 square metres of the Paris landmark’s surface.

Painting the iron surface of the tower is vital to protect it from rust, pollution and pigeon droppings. The job takes about 18 months and costs as much as four million euros.

Over its history, the tower has changed colour several times. It started as red-brown then changd to yellow-ochre and chestnut brown before settling in to the bronze colour we know today.

Find out more on the Eiffel Tower’s official website.

If you’re heading to Paris, here are some hotel deals to check out:

One country has a third of the world’s airports

The country with the most airports in the world, more than 33 per cent of the global total, is the United States.

As of 2017, the U.S. boasted 14,263 airports, 5,104 which were public airports.

The countries with the next largest number of airports are Brazil and Mexico with 4,093 and 1,714 airports respectively.

You say Bangkok, I say Krung Thep

In English, the capital of Thailand is known as Bangkok, but in Thai, it’s referred to as Krung Thep Maka Nakhon which is often shortened to Krung Thep.

However, it has a much fuller name: “Krung Thep Mahanakhon Amon Rattanakosin Mahinthara Ayuthaya Mahadilok Phop Noppharat Ratchathani Burirom Udomratchaniwet Mahasathan Amon Piman Awatan Sathit Sakkathattiya Witsanukam Prasit.”

The translation of that mouthful is “The city of angels, the great city, the residence of the Emerald Buddha, the impregnable city (unlike Ayutthaya) of God Indra, the grand capital of the world endowed with nine precious gems, the happy city, abounding in an enormous Royal Palace that resembles the heavenly abode where reigns the reincarnated god, a city given by Indra and built by Vishnukarn.”

Try fitting that on a luggage tag!

No countries for old rivers

Believe it or not, but there are countries in the world that don’t have a single river within their borders.  Some of them because they are very small, others because they are islands and some because they are mostly desert.

Some have temporary rivers during the rainy or wet season when torrential downpours fill wadis and valleys, but the rest of the time, they are bone dry.

The list of riverless nations includes Bahrain, Comoros, Kiribati, Kuwait, Libya, Maldives, Malta, Marshall Islands, Monaco, Nauru, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Tuvalu, United Arab Emirates, Vatican City and Yemen.

On top of that, there are another 16 territories like Bermuda, Easter Island and Gibraltar without rivers.

Spain still controls parts of continental Africa

While most African nations have gained independence since the end of the colonial age, there are still parts of the continent under foreign control.

Most of these are small islands or archipelagos that are dependent territories of the U.K., France, Spain, Portugal and even Italy, but there are still two cities on the continent itself that are considered European territory.

Ceuta and Melilla are two port cities on Morocco’s Mediterranean coast which have been claimed by Spain for more than 400 years along with a handful of islands that are collectively known as the plazas de soberanía or places of sovereignty.

Ceuta is home to 82,000 people and is about eighteen square kilometers in size. While most people speak Spanish, there is still a sizable Moroccan population and the North African country continues to claim that the city is in its territory.

Melilla is the smaller of the two cities in land area at about 12 square kilometers which is the home to about 80,000 people.

Today, both outposts have become magnets for migrants trying to make their way to the European Union which is why giant fences have been erected around the territories which otherwise rely mostly on fishing and tourism to survive.

Walk the world’s longest beach

Enjoy long walks on the beach? You’re going to be hard-pressed to walk the length of the world’s longest beach. Depending on who’s measuring it, Brazil’s Praia do Cassino Beach runs anywhere from 212 kilometres (132 miles) to 254 kilometres (158 miles) in length from the Brazilian seaport of Rio Grande to the Uruguay border.

You might have more luck if you try to walk the length of the world’s longest freshwater beach, Wasaga Beach which runs a mere 14 kilometres along the southern shores of Georgian Bay in Ontario, Canada.

The origins of the world’s airport codes don’t always make sense

The world’s airports are identified by three-letter codes known as IATA station identifiers. You’ve no doubt seen them on your baggage tags when you were flying somewhere.

Some of them are abbreviations of the cities they are located in like MEX for Aeropuerto Internacional Benito Juárez in Mexico City while others are derived from the airport’s name like JFK for John F. Kennedy Airport in New York City.

Some, however, seem to make no sense, but they are often references to historical names like ORD for O’Hare in Chicago. It’s former name was Orchard Field. And in the case of Canada, it gets complicated with which one has a weather station and which one does not.

It’s all explained on this Wikipedia page.

The world’s shortest international bridge links Spain and Portugal

Plenty of countries are connected by bridges, but none of them are as short as the one that links Spain and Portugal.  The wooden bridge that crosses the stream between Spain’s La Codosera and Portugal’s Arronches stretches a mere 10.4 feet or 3.25 metres. Don’t expect to drive across. It’s for pedestrians only, although it’s okay to cross on your bicycle.

Just say no to camo

Camouflage clothing has crossed over from the military to civilian life as something of a fashion trend. The thing that travellers should know is that it’s illegal for non-military persons to wear it in some countries, particularly in parts of the Caribbean, Africa and Middle East. Specific places where it is banned include, but are not limited to, Barbados, Dominica, Grenada, Jamaica, Saudi Arabia, St. Lucia, St. Vincent, Zambia and Zimbabwe.