JULY 14, 2017 — Good morning, everybody! Here's the latest from the world's piazzas, national parks, and winter wonderlands.
SPIKE IN PRICE OF LIFETIME NATIONAL PARKS PASS FOR SENIORS (Money.com)
The price of a lifetime national parks pass for U.S. seniors is about to go way up.
Since 1994, Americans aged 62 or older have been able to purchase access for just $10 to more than 2,000 sites managed by the National Park Service—a pass that remains valid for the rest of the purchaser's life.
But on August 28, the fee is jumping to $80.
Even with the steep increase, which was approved by Congress at the end of last year, Park Service officials argue that the pass remains a good deal, considering that admission at many sites is $30 for adults. A senior with a lifetime pass who goes to just three of those parks at any point past the age of 62 has still saved money.
The National Park Service is also introducing a new $20 annual pass for seniors. If you buy four, you can get a lifetime pass for no additional charge.
Also, anybody who holds a $10 lifetime pass before August 28 will be able to continue using it without having to pay extra—so if you're over 62 and don't have one yet, it's time to get a move on.
SUMMER BAN ON LATE-NIGHT PUBLIC DRINKING IN ROME (Condé Nast Traveler)
Late-night drinking on the streets and piazzas of Rome is against the law this summer.
Hoping to curb bad behavior by drunken locals and tourists alike, the city has enacted a new rule banning the public consumption of alcoholic drinks out of glass containers from 10pm to 7am; guzzling booze from any other type of container while you're on the street isn't allowed after midnight.
Violators will be charged a fine of €150 (US$171). And the police aren't messing around—they issued at least 37 tickets last Saturday night.
Warnings about the ban have been posted in four languages throughout the city. The ordinance will stay in effect through October 31.
AN INDOOR SKI RESORT AS BIG AS ALL OUTDOORS (The Telegraph)
A city in China has a new must-visit spot for those who love skiing but could do without the fresh air and mountain scenery.
The Harbin Wanda Indoor Ski and Winter Sports Resort is being billed as the largest facility of its kind, extending across more than 860,000 square feet and six ski runs—all of them inside. There are slopes for winter athletes of all abilities, including beginners, as well as a snow play area and an indoor chairlift.
The main run is 197 feet wide and 1,640 feet long—making it the world's fourth longest indoor ski slope (number one is in Dubai, of course).
The new complex—part of a project that also includes a theme park, shopping center, hotels, and live music venues—is located in the northern Chinese city of Harbin, famous for its very cold, very long winters and its annual International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival, a showcase for enormous frozen castles, monuments, animals, and other elaborate creations.
An adult ticket at the new indoor ski resort costs 488 yuan (US$72) for unlimited use of the slopes.
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