In honor of our new book, "A Stingray Bit My Nipple! True Stories from Real Travelers," we've compiled a slide show of some of our favorite art-related anecdotes. The full text is below, and the photos are in the slide show. Enjoy!
People in Birkenstocks shouldn't throw stones
"'I think that's Selarón,' said my brother-in-law about a man we saw at the Selarón Staircase in Rio de Janeiro. I scoffed because he hadn't previously even heard of the Chilean artist. We said hello to the man—it was Selarón! We talked for an hour and bought paintings, which he signed. 'I'm so embarrassed,' said our friend Jane as we left. 'I framed the first photo I took so the scruffy guy wouldn't be in it!'" Mary Sienko, Minneapolis, Minn.
"My husband and I were strolling along Las Ramblas in Barcelona when we spotted a metal sculpture of Bart Simpson on his skateboard, flanked by two metallic cyclists. My husband snapped a picture of me beside a cyclist. As I stepped away, I noticed a copper coin next to an empty can on the pavement. Having never seen a euro, I picked it up. Suddenly, onlookers were shouting in Spanish and the "metal" cyclists erupted from their bikes. It was our first experience with living sculptures." Lois Newlove, Bellevue, Wash.
Look what happened to the last trespassers
"My sister and I were at the sculpture museum in Middelheim Park, in Antwerp, Belgium, when I commented that all the sculptures had the same title and artist—after all, the text was identical from statue to statue. My sister kindly translated it for me: Do not walk on the grass." Phyllis Walker, Pinecrest, Fla.
First they suck your dignity
"Traversing the Irish countryside, my friends and I came across many great photo ops, including a large mosquito sculpture on the front lawn of a quaint cottage. I was posing with the menacing insect when I looked over to find several people peering out the window, photographing what they must've thought was a very strange American." Casey O'Connell, Pensacola, Fla.
We can hear it now: "Draw at ten paces"
"I was standing by the Hermitage in St. Petersburg, Russia, trying to stay warm, when I noticed a man with a sketch pad staring in my direction. He was drawing me, so I took out my sketchbook and started to draw him. People gathered around him, and it soon became apparent that he was the true artist. We shared a few laughs and our drawings, and I left and went on my way." Adam Tennen, Scottsdale, Ariz.
Prince Eric is in for a shock
"We went to visit Copenhagen's Little Mermaid sculpture, but she wasn't anywhere to be found—she had been blown up the night before we arrived. I bought a souvenir sculpture from a kiosk and shot a picture of it on the rock. The replica was terribly unsatisfying, so I scrambled onto the rock and posed for a photo—everyone, including people on tour boats passing by, laughed and applauded." Scott Ashkenaz, Palo Alto, Calif.
His left hand, however...
"My girlfriend and I got lost while hiking on Mexico's Baja California peninsula. 'Christ!' I said to myself. 'Where's the car?' Reaching the top of the hill, we were amazed to behold a sight that made my earlier exclamation eerily prophetic—a giant statue of Jesus. And his right hand was pointing directly to our car." Gene Pembroke, Lester, Pa.
Caught between a rock and a hard place
"At a B&B in Killinick, Ireland, my father decided to take a short walk around the gardens. I followed and could see him standing in front of a statue. As I approached, he bent over to have a look, and, without laughing, I grabbed my camera just as he reached out for further inspection. The caption in my photo album now reads, 'Touch that again, old man, and you'll find out why I'm frowning.'" Linda Coates, Colorado Springs, Colo.