Etc...

Forget the beach this year

Say, if you haven't taken a summer vacation yet, perhaps you'd be interested in a unique experience that you're certain to remember for years. If so, a German company is offering just the thing. For $122, Artemis GmbH will put you up for one night in medieval Hoheneck Castle, high above the city of Stollberg. But there's much more: The deal includes unappealing food, a cramped cell, and sleep deprivation. Yes, you read that correctly. From 1950 to 1989, Hoheneck was the largest prison for women in formerly communist East Germany, a "black hole in the landscape" where thousands of inmates endured torture and other forms of repression. And the reason anyone would want to submit to that? Well, according to an Artemis spokes-man, it's "the chance to relive the past firsthand, instead of just reading about it in dry history books."

They had what it takes: Top winners of Olympic gold

American swimmer Michael Phelps entered the Athens Olympics with an outside shot at winning a record eight gold medals and breaking Mark Spitz's single-Games record of seven. That quickly went by the boards, but Phelps already has collected a handful of medals (three of them gold) and isn't finished yet. Depending on what happens in Saturday's final swimming competition, he could join the ranks of the "most golden" summer Olympians of all time. The leading gold medal winners at a single Olympics with the year of their achievement, the number of golds won, the sport, and the country each represented:

Mark Spitz 1972 7 swimming (US)
Vitaly Scherbo 1992 6 gymnastics (Unified Team of former Soviet republics)
Kristin Otto (1988) 6 swimming (East Germany)
Willis Lee 1920 5 shooting (US)
Matt Biondi 1988 5 swimming (US)
Anton Heida 1904 5 gymnastics (US)
- www.infoplease.com

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