Airbnb's Newest Listing: The Great Wall of China

Airbnb
Airbnb

Update: On August 9, Airbnb announced that the giveaway had been canceled. The company said in a statement, "While there was an agreement in place that was the basis for the announcement of this event, in light of recent feedback, we have respectfully made the decision to not move forward with this contest."

While traveling, do you prefer to rent rooms that are old and rustic with a great view? Then head on over to the Great Wall of China. As spotted by Business Insider, Airbnb is giving away a one-night stay in a centuries-old tower along one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World (and yes, flights are included).

Four winners will have the chance to camp out in a historic tower overlooking the rolling hills of Yanqing, just beyond Beijing's city center. During the trip, which is scheduled for September 3 through September 9, 2018, guests will be treated to a gourmet Chinese meal and classical music at sunset.

The next morning, they'll be taken on a sunrise hike through the surrounding countryside, all while learning about the history and heritage of the Great Wall. After that, they can try their hand at some traditional Chinese activities, like seal-engraving and calligraphy. Airbnb says the contest is part of an effort to promote tourism in China and preserve the Great Wall, parts of which have fallen into disrepair.

As part of the package, which is valued at about $4400 per person, transportation and accommodations in other Beijing locations will also be included.

To enter, you’ll have to write a short prompt about “why it is more important now than ever to break down barriers between cultures and how you want to build new connections.” The contest is open to citizens of the U.S., UK, and nine other countries. Be sure to submit your entry via Airbnb’s listing page for the Great Wall by August 11 for your chance to win.

[h/t Business Insider]

A Finnish Tourism Company Is Hiring Professional Christmas Elves

iStock.com/kali9
iStock.com/kali9

Finland isn't quite the North Pole, but it will be home to a team of gainfully employed Christmas elves this holiday season. As Travel + Leisure reports, the Scandinavian country's Lapland Safaris is looking for elves to get guests into the holiday spirit.

Lapland Safaris is a tourism company that organizes activities like snowmobiling, Northern Lights-gazing, skiing, and ice-fishing. The elf employees will be responsible for leading guests to their buses and conveying important information, all while spreading holiday cheer. The job listing reads, "An Elf is at the same time an entertainer, a guide, and a mythical creature of Christmas."

Each Lapland Safari elf will receive training through Arctic Hospitality Academy prior to starting the job. There, they will learn "the required elfing and communication skills." Training will be conducted in English, but candidates' knowledge of French, Spanish, or German is a plus.

To apply, aspiring elves can fill out and submit this form through Lapland Safaris's website. The gig lasts from November 2018 to the beginning of next year, with employees having the option to work at any of the company's Finnish destinations (Santa's workshop is unfortunately not included on the list).

[h/t Travel + Leisure]

The Truth Behind Italy's Abandoned 'Ghost Mansion'

YouTube/Atlas Obscura
YouTube/Atlas Obscura

The forests east of Lake Como, Italy, are home to a foreboding ruin. Some call it the Casa Delle Streghe (House of Witches), or the Red House, after the patches of rust-colored paint that still coat parts of the exterior. Its most common nickname, however, is the Ghost Mansion.

Since its construction in the 1850s, the mansion—officially known as the Villa De Vecchi—has reportedly been the site of a string of tragedies, including the murder of the family of the Italian count who built it, as well as the count's suicide. It's also said that everyone's favorite occultist, Aleister Crowley, visited in the 1920s, leading to a succession of satanic rituals and orgies. By the 1960s, the mansion was abandoned, and since then both nature and vandals have helped the house fall into dangerous decay. The only permanent residents are said to be a small army of ghosts, who especially love to play the mansion's piano at night—even though it's long since been smashed to bits.

The intrepid explorers of Atlas Obscura recently visited the mansion and interviewed Giuseppe Negri, whose grandfather and great-grandfather were gardeners there. See what he thinks of the legends, and the reality behind the mansion, in the video below.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER