Archive for August 11th, 2015

8 Amazing Isolated Lodges, Homes and Monasteries

We all need a little time to ourselves, but some people would rather live like a hermit than see anyone enter their home. These lodges, homes and monasteries are sure to guarantee all the alone time you can handle -and some nice scenery along with it.

The House On Ellidaey Island

Technically a hunting lodge and not a home, this structure was constructed by a local hunting club to offer members a place to stay while stalking the puffins that inhabit Iceland's Ellidaey Island. Even so, it did provide shelter and even features a sauna so it's close enough to a house for us. Of course, you probably wouldn't want to move into this amazingly beautiful building yourself as the remote location means that the structure still lacks electricity and indoor plumbing.

It's worth noting that you may occasionally see websites claiming the home belongs to Icelandic singer Bjork, but the pop star happens to live on a completely different island in Iceland also named Ellidaey -hence the confusion.

Solvay Hut

Like the house on Ellidaey Island, the Solvay Hut isn't a home, but it still offers shelter to those traveling this isolated path. The hut is the highest hut on the Matterhorn summit, squeezed onto a ledge over 13,000 feet up and is intended only as an emergency refuge for climbers who need temporary shelter on their way to the peak (though many hikers take a break outside to admire the view). The small space was constructed in only five days back in 1915, though it was rebuilt in 1966, and features ten beds and an emergency telephone.

Wordie House

Constructed as a research base all the way back in 1947, the Wordie House is located on the Argentine Islands just off the west coast of Graham Land, Antarctica. As you might imagine, the station (that features little more than thin wooden walls and an uninsullated roof) is far from comfortable -particularly during the seemingly unending winters of Antarctica.

Even so, multiple groups of brave men and women (in groups of four or five) spent numerous winters in the uncomfortable structure that served as one of the first research stations in the world's least visited continent. The building still stands in place and even serves as a time capsule of the work performed in the research station.

Eremo di San Colombano

Built out of a cliffside cave, construction on this outlandish monastery began all the way back in 753. When the monks discontinued the use of the structure, townspeople took over care of the monastery and in 1996, it was restored and opened to the public. Of course, those visiting still have to brave the 102 steps carved right into the rock leading up to the church.

Xuankong Temple

Built right into the cliffs near China's Mount Heng, the Xuankong Temple sits an impressive 250 above the ground, seemingly supported by little more than thin wooden pillars (though the main structural support actually comes from beams fitted into the cliffs and careful use of cantilevering). Construction on the temple began all the way back in the 6th century, making the end result a marvel of ancient construction techniques.

The temple is the only existing monastery that combines religious worship from the three traditional Chinese religions, Confucianism, Buddhism and Taoism. While the facade might seem narrow, the caves inside offer ample space for religious practices, including over forty individual rooms.

Images by Paul Chong

Casa do Penedo

High in the Fafe Mountains of Portugal sits a home that looks like it fell right out of The Flintstones. Constructed between four massive boulders found on the site, the two-story home looks rustic but still has plenty of amenities, including a swimming pool carved from a nearby rocks.

Being this far from civilization comes with a cost though and this impressive home still has no electricity or indoor plumbing. Even worse, making a structure this unique attracts visitors even when it was purposely constructed out in the middle of nowhere. In fact,  owner Vitor Rodrigues had to move to escape the constant flow of visitors.

Just Room Enough Island

Like the owner of Casa do Penedo, the Sizemore family discovered that building an isolated house can backfire if it is unique enough to become a tourist destination. In this case, the family purchased a tiny island in the Thousand Island archipelago and thought the tiny home they constructed on what they named "Just Room Enough Island" would make an excellent vacation house to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. Instead, the sight of a home built on an island of almost the exact same size was enough to drive visitors past the home on an ongoing basis.

Katshki Pillar

Sitting 130 feet above the ground near the Georgian town of Chiatura is a natural limestone pillar with the ruins of a small church balanced on it. The church originally was constructed in the 9th or 10th century and remained in use until at least the 13th century. After its abandonment, it remained unvisited until researchers scaled the pillar in 1944, discovering the monastery held a wine cellar, a crypt and more. The church has since been restored, but it remains inaccessible to the public.

While you may not realistically be able to live in any of these places, they're certainly fun to daydream about when you desperately need to get away from it all.

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