Once upon a time, in a small Polish village called Zalipie, somebody painted a flower on their ceiling in order to cover up a soot mark caused by the stove. Ventilation was poor back then, and soot stains were a common sight in most if not all of the houses, and so other people started concealing the marks with their own little flowers until every house was covered in them.
Eventually everything in town was covered in flowers, from houses and barns to bridges and churches, and every spring since 1948 the village has held a Painted Cottage Competition, or Malowana Chata. The original purpose of this contest was part of a movement to help Poland psychologically recover from the atrocities that the country suffered in World War II.
Today Zalipie is a far cry from those dark times. Situated in the southeast of Poland just 90 minutes from Krakow, this beautifully bright and colorful village is the perfect location for anybody looking for a unique and memorable day trip. (h/t: mentalfloss)