Brigitte’s Pick: Unusual places where people LIVE


Hugh Paxton’s Blog thanks Brigitte for this! Where (of the following) would you choose to live?

“Able was I ere I saw Elba” (to be read both ways with identical results) but after escaping and then losing all at Waterloo, St Helena was Napoleon’s final place of exile. If you were to choose a place of exile which (of the following) would you choose as your final destination?

Cheers from Bangkok!


Over to Brigitte’s Pick!

A village inside a volcano crater, cliff houses made of clay and a tiny town that lives under a rock: Are’nt these the most magical settlements in the world?

  • Some villages exist in what would be considered as uninhabitable places around the world
  • They have thrived by adapting to the natural surroundings and some remain hidden away from the rest of the world
  • Hidden villages can be found in the middle of the Grand Canyon, in clay structures on rock faces, and underground

Nestled in some of the most beautiful corners of the world, are tiny settlements of people who have adapted to live around nature.

From villages under boulders in Portugal, to floating villages in Peru, these dwellings are hidden away from the rest of the world.

The secluded settlements are often cut off from the surrounding areas, but are each set in their own natural paradises.

Bravest village ever? The settlement of Aogashima in the Philippine Sea, has 200 inhabitants who live in the middle of a volcanic crater

Aogashima, Philippine Sea

Perhaps the last place you would expect to find a living community would be inside a tropical volcanic island in the Philippine Sea.

The last time the Class-C volcano erupted was in the 1780s, and it proved fatal for half of the people living on the island.

Over fifty years later, the inhabitants who had escaped the island returned, and now there are 200 brave villagers living there.

Hidden behind a rock! This tiny settlement is concealed from the Greek coastline behind a giant rock on the island

Monemvasia, Greece

Monemvasia is a little settlement concealed behind a huge rock face in Laconia in Greece.

The island was separated from the mainland in 375 AD by an earthquake, although a small walkway has been created since for easy access to the mainland.

Inhabitants are hidden away from the rest of the world, with spectacular views of the Palaia Monemvasia bay.

Giant honeycomb! The Phugtal Monastery in India is hidden on a cliff on the entrance to a cave in the Zanskar region

Phugtal Monastery, India

The hidden cliff face village of Phuktal or Phugtal Monastery is one of the most isolated monasteries in northern India.

Constructed from mud and timber, it is located at the entrance to a cave on a cliff face in the south-eastern Zanskar region in Ladakh district.

Looking like a giant honeycomb it was founded in the early 12th century, but remained a hidden treasure until the 1800s when Alexander Cosmo de Koros visited the place, and stayed there for a year.

The remote east Greenland village of Isortoq includes a supermarket, the large red building (pictured front)

Isortoq, Greenland

On 64 people reside on Greenland’s Isortoq village, which is set in the middle of miles of snow and ice.

The Inuit inhabitants used to be forced to survive on only meat, as the harsh landscape didn’t allow for plants to be grown.

They do have a supermarket nowadays, which offers a variety of other produce.

There is even ketchup and mayonnaise available for eating with seal !

Long way to the corner shop! Only 16 people live in this tiny village nestled high on the cliffs near the coast of the Faroe Islands

Gásadalur Village, Denmark

The isolated village of Gásadalur situated on the west side of Vágar in the Faroe Islands.

Only 16 residents live in the peaceful settlement, with stunning views of tumbling cliffs overlooking the North Atlantic’s Gulf Stream.

A tunnel was built through the mountains in 2004, but before that, a walk to the next village would have meant a strenuous hike or horseback ride over the 400m high mountain.

Nestled in one of the driest locations on earth, is Huacachina; a town complete with trees, hotels, shops and even an oasis library – tranquil!

Huacachina, Peru

In the midst of one of the driest climates in the world is an oasis town with lush palm trees, flourishing foliage, and a tranquil lagoon which is said to have curative properties.

The magical town is called Huacachina, and it can be found not only on adventurers’ bucket lists, but also in a barren desert in Peru.

Visitors can visit the surreal settlement and the 96 residents who thrive on running small businesses on their greatest resource; sand.

The incredible Cliff of Bandiagara in Mali is an impressive series of clay structures, which are home to the Dogon people

The Cliff of Bandiagara, Mali

It looks like a model village created by clay, but it is actually a real village in West-Africa, home to the Dogon people.

The Cliff of Bandiagara is zone of tablelands, gorges and plains which has been constructed out of red-coloured clay.

The series of fascinating clay chambers consists of houses, granaries, altars, sanctuaries and, or communal meeting-places, which look perfect for exploring.

Fairytale village! Undredal is hidden in a narrow valleyin the Aurlandsfjord in Norway, and looks like something out of Disney movie

Undredal, Norway

The small village of Undredal is home to approximately 100 people and 500 goats, and is a popular tourist destination along the Aurlandsfjorden.

Undredal is famous for the brown goat cheese, and even produces goat sausages.

Before 1988, Undredal was only accessible by boat, but now a road connection has been made by constructing two tunnels as part of the European route E16.

A village in a Fjord! Furore in Italy is a brightly coloured settlement tucked away in the mouth of the fjord

Furore, Italy

Tucked away in a Fjord is a quaint Italian village, completed with brightly coloured houses decorated with murals.

Furore can be discovered in the Campania region of south-western Italy, although it used to be practically hidden from travellers.

Following Furore being dubbed ‘the village that doesn’t exist,’ the mayor decided it was time for action, and sought to put the minuscule commune on the map.

He ordered that the tiny buildings should be painted in vibrant colours so the picturesque village could be viewed from the coastal road.

Green haven! Sapa is one of the most beautiful places in earth, and is home to villagers who farm the rice fields and sell trinkets to visitors

Sapa, Vietnam

Cascading vibrant green rice fields line the hills in the Sapa region of North Vietnam.

Hill-tribe people fill the mountains with colour, and open their homes to tourists who flock to take in the incredible views across the region.

Visitors can trek through the hills and buy colourful trinkets from the tribes people, who accompany them on the walk to help.

Giant mole hills? An entire population of over a thousand residents live underground in dugouts at Coober Pedy in northern South Australia

There is even an underground chapel (left) and houses that come with lounges, (right) kitchens and dining rooms

Coober Pedy, Australia

From first glance you would think that Coober Pedy in northern South Australia, is a series of giant mole hills.

It is, in fact, a town concealed underground in dugouts which were built to withstand the blazing daytime heat.

According to the 2011 census, its population was 1,695 (953 males, 742 females), who live in the area to mine the precious opals that lie there.

Gorge-ous views! Tiny hilltop village, Rougon, boasts panoramic views of the surrounding Verdon Gorge in the south of France

Rougon, France

After winding your way through the picturesque mountain views in Alpes-de-Haute-Provence in France, you will stumble on a preserved, peaceful village called Rougon.

Sitting under a large rocky outcrop, the hidden village is perfectly situated for panoramic views of the Verdon gorge.

Visitors can explore the Saint Christophe chapel, the Huguenote church, the remains of its feudal castle and enjoy the local fair occurring in the last Sunday in June.

If you are feeling adventurous, guests can camp at the village all year round.

The Havasupai tribe are the smallest Indian nation in America, with just over 600 village inhabitants. It is so remote that mail is delivered by mule

Supai, Arizona

Millions travel to witness the spectacular Grand Canyon every year, but few know that this Arizona landscape is home to a secret tribe, hidden away in its depths.

More than 600 people are part of the Havasupai tribe, which is the smallest Indian nation in America.

Visitors can reach the mysterious tribe on foot or by helicopter or mule, and experience life in the village of Supai, which has a cafe, general stores, a lodge, post office, school, LDS chapel, and a small Christian church.

The most remote location in the world: Tristan da Cunha is situated over a thousand miles from the nearest land and has 300 residents

Tristan da Cunha, Saint Helena

Taking the prize for the most remote village is Tristan da Cunha, which is only accessible by a six-day boat journey from South Africa or as part of epic month-long cruises through the South Atlantic Ocean.

The inhabited archipelago stands 1,243 miles from Saint Helena, 1,491 miles from South Africa and 2,088 miles from South America in the middle of ocean.

It’s just seven miles long and 37.8 square miles in area, and has but one settlement at the foot of the 6,765-foot Queen Mary’s Peak, with 300 residents all of whom farm for a living.

Floating village! The Uros live on islands made by interwoven reeds which sit in Lake Titicaca Puno. The tribe have been living on the lake for hundreds of years, since Incas expanded onto their land forcing them out

Uros Floating Islands, Lake Titicaca Puno, Peru and Bolivia

Secluded from the world are the Uros Islands in Lake Titicaca Puno which sits on the border of Peru and Bolivia.

The pre-Incan Uru tribe live on forty-two floating islands that are made out of totora reeds.

Reeds must be constantly added to the islands, as the bottom rots away in the water.

The Uros also use these reeds for a big part of their diets, and consume the white bottom of the reeds as they are pulled from the bottom of the islands.

The village under a rock! Monsanto in Portugal has built its homes around the 200-tonne rocks in the area. Some of its 828 brave residents even sleep under gigantic boulders

Monsanto, Portugal

Residing under a roof that weighs more than the average cruise ship may make some people anxious.

Residents in the Portuguese village of Monsanto, have adapted their homes around the gigantic granite boulders.

In the mountaintop village, homes are sandwiched between, under and even in the 200-tonne rocks.

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