By Maureen O’Hare, CNN
It’s Labor Day weekend in the United States and Canada and just plain old September everywhere else. CNN Travel is back with another weekly roundup of news from planes, trains, the great outdoors and the ocean depths.
Life at sea
A new underwater expedition will set out September 4 to explore the uncharted mysteries of the Maldives. There’s a lot to discover: The tiny Asian island nation is 99% ocean and just 1% land.
And in Iceland, tourism officials were outraged this summer over the resumption of whale hunting after a four-year hiatus. The hunting season ends this month and may well be Iceland’s last.
New designs have been unveiled for a volcano-inspired superyacht and futuristic floating homes, but for one man in Nebraska, a hollowed-out pumpkin was his vessel of choice when paddling 38 miles down the Missouri River.
News from the air
This follows the news that air traveler complaints in the US in June were up a huge 270% from pre-pandemic levels. Here’s our guide on what to do if your luggage is delayed, lost or damaged: You might want to bookmark this.
A bald eagle surprised fliers at Charlotte, North Carolina’s airport after it passed through the regular security line at the end of August. And an 11-year-old Vizsla-Labrador mix named Eebbers has won the US Transportation Security Administration’s Cutest Canine Contest: Take a look at him here.
Our animal friends
Fort Worth Zoo has a baby elephant that loves to play with bubbles — watch him here, having the time of his life with a bubble maker — while a San Diego penguin has been fitted with special orthopedic shoes to help with his bumblefoot.
Asia’s largest bird park is set to close after more than 50 years of hosting our feathered friends, and last month Indonesian tourism workers were striking over a massive hike on ticket prices to see the country’s famous Komodo dragons — access now costs $250.
And finally, Thailand’s Chiang Mai Zoo has an unusual drill to prepare for animal escapes: A staff member capers around in a giant ostrich costume.
Canada might be getting a 1,000 kph vacuum-tube train. Its makers hope FluxJet will be in service by 2035. And Hong Kong’s much-loved Peak Tram has reopened with a new look after being closed for more than a year.
Some sad news: Germany’s summer offer of unlimited regional travel for 9 euros a month ended on August 31. It was a huge success: Here’s what it was like to travel through the scheme.
And some good news: bereft Germans can still get their railway fix by going to Hamburg to visit the world’s largest model airport and railway. It’s open 365 days a year.
European hilltop towns
You know you’re living the high life when the horizon stretches on for days. Europe has hundreds of picturesque towns and villages perched on lush hilltops and rocky promontories. Here are 14 of the most stunning.
In case you missed it
On August 31, La Tomatina, the “world’s largest food fight,” saw thousands of revelers pelt each other with ripe tomatoes. Watch here.
But days earlier, a truck on a California highway beat them to it, causing a huge crushed tomato spillage that took transportation workers hours to clear. See what happened.
Capital cities often have a unique energy, quite different from the rest of the country.
Hip, creative Berlin is no exception. Here’s what Anthony Bourdain made of it when he visited in 2018.
70 years ago, they fought to defend South Korea.
Now these foreign veterans are choosing to be buried there.
England’s beaches have a sewage problem.
And the situation is getting worse.
Best crossbody bags
Why do savvy travelers love crossbody bags so much? Perhaps it’s the hands-free practicality. Maybe it’s the well-spread weight distribution. Or it could be the security benefits that make them so much harder to pickpocket than backpacks. Whatever it is, our partners at CNN Underscored, a product reviews and recommendations guide owned by CNN, have rounded up 20 of their favorite crossbody bags that are perfect for travel.
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