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Epic New Zealand Rail Line to Reopen After Quake

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 08/15/2018, 12:00 PM

New Zealand's gorgeous Coastal Pacific rail service, which runs between Picton and Christchurch on the South Island's east coast, announced it will return on December 1. KiwiRail's popular five-hour, 335-km (208-mile) trip was halted in November 2016 after a major earthquake devastated the Christchurch area. For much of the journey, the route hugs the coast, with the sea on one side and the ...

The 'Mamma Mia!' Sequel is a Lie: That's Not Greece!

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 08/02/2018, 8:30 PM

You may remember—or perhaps you studied it in your Great Achievements of World Cinema class—that the first Mamma Mia! movie was set in Greece. Based on the hit Broadway musical, the film was famously, dazzlingly Greek, so Greek it made Zorba look shy. Meryl Streep's American character has decamped there to run a preposterously picturesque cliffside inn, where old flames hover and neighborhood teens...

A Deadly End for the Yellowstone Daredevils

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 07/09/2018, 12:00 AM

Two years ago, in the spring of 2016, a few young Canadians created an international scandal by treading into forbidden, protected areas of Yellowstone National Park and recording it for their social media followers in the name of living life to the fullest. The men were famous for shooting videos of themselves doing extremely dangerous things in beautiful places. We wrote at the time: "Hundreds...

After 700 Years, Westminster Abbey Opens Secret Attic to Visitors

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 06/11/2018, 12:00 AM

It took five years and $30.5 million (£22.9 million) to make it happen, but Westminster Abbey in London has just made a spectacular new addition to one of Europe's top tourist attractions. Which is to say it opened something more than 700 years old. The Triforium, a medieval attic balcony that runs around the top of the Abbey's nave from 52 feet high, has been converted into the Queen's Diamond ...

U.S. National Park Fees Leap Higher Overnight

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 06/01/2018, 1:00 PM

When Americans woke up this morning (June 1), they discovered it would cost them a lot more to enter their national parks. Nearly all the major parks hiked their entry rates by a hefty $5. Bryce Canyon, Canyonlands (pictured), Grand Canyon, Joshua Tree, Mount Rainier, Olympic, Yosemite, Yellowstone, Zion—all of them, and many more, saw their prices jump $5, regardless of whether it's for a vehicl...

Bad News for the Arizona Memorial in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 05/28/2018, 8:45 AM

Pearl Harbor's world-famous memorial (pictured above) that straddles the submerged wreck of the USS Arizona has been closed indefinitely. The trouble began May 6, when cracks were discovered in its structure at a point where it meets the loading ramp from its boat dock. Repairs were carried out, but hours after the platform reopened on May 23, the fissures were seen again, which indicated a more s...

New Ferry Links Spain with Ireland, Thanks to Brexit

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 05/22/2018, 5:00 PM

Something brand-new happened this month: A new ferry service between Ireland and Spain was inaugurated. Why? Because as the United Kingdom proceeds with Brexit, its half-baked plan to secede from the European Union, the border between the UK and the Republic of Ireland, which remains in the EU, will become much harder to cross. The new ferry service allows Irish and Spanish people to pass easily b...

Hello Kitty Bullet Train to Make Japan Even More Adorable

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 05/22/2018, 12:00 AM

We're just going to leave this right here. On June 30, 2018, a brand-new bullet shinkansen service will make its debut in Japan: a Hello Kitty train.  The Hello Kitty Express, as we're calling it, will link Osaka and Fukuoka, two cities that are about 400km (250 miles) apart, but as of today, are at the center of our hearts. Everything will be pinker than a debutante, washed in the blush tones o...

Thanks (and No Thanks) for the Memories, Bob Hope

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 05/21/2018, 12:00 AM

The National World War II Museum in New Orleans—truly one of the best, most thorough, and well-funded historic museums in the United States, and deeply underrated—is adding a special new exhibition through the end of 2018 and into early 2019. It's all about Bob Hope, the comic megastar whose association with the USO was a defining feature of both that war and his career. The exhibition, So Ready f...

Another Airline to Sell Transatlantic Fares from $200: What's the Deal?

By Jason Cochran

Posted on 05/14/2018, 12:00 AM

You've heard of Norwegian, XL, and WOW—three low-cost, Europe-based airlines that have made their fame by selling affordable, no-nonsense transatlantic flights from the United States. In what's undoubtedly good news for people looking for yet another affordable way to get over the ocean, one more European low-cost carrier is joining the fray. It's 15-year-old Primera Air, and as of this month, its...

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