Austria offers free rail travel for a year – if you get a tattoo

In travel news this week: tattoos and graffiti cause trouble in Europe, a baby giraffe is born without spots at a Tennessee zoo – plus we want to hear from you if you’re currently chasing your lost luggage with a tracking device.

Think before you ink

You’ve probably heard the adage that “there are no bad ideas.”

But that was before Austria’s climate minister endorsed a campaign to give people a year’s free public transport if they got the rail card logo tattooed on their body.

Backlash was swift, reports Salzburger Nachrichten, after music festival attendees were invited to turn their flesh into a permanent billboard for the Klimaticket (“Climate Ticket”), which usually costs just over 1,000 euros for unlimited rail, bus, tram and metro travel throughout the country. That translates to about $1,080 dollars – or, you know, two to five treatments for laser tattoo removal.

The Italian city of Florence was also struck by foolhardy inking this week. Two German tourists were arrested for spraying Munich soccer-related graffiti on the 460-year-old Vasari Corridor leading up to the Uffizi Galleries. The museum director is calling for “an iron fist of the law.”

Brace yourself

Summer is heaving its final gasps in the Northern Hemisphere, and travelers are hitting the airports to make the most of those precious last rays. Vacationers should prepare themselves for plenty of company come Labor Day weekend, especially if they’re venturing internationally.

Baby animals

An extremely rare baby giraffe was born without spots at Brights Zoo in Tennessee on July 31. The zoo says the as-yet unnamed calf might be the “only solid-colored reticulated giraffe living anywhere on the planet.”

And in Mogo Wildlife Park in Australia, a baby gorilla was close to death before being rescued by a zookeeper who reared him for months like a human newborn. Now the bouncing boy has a new adoptive gorilla mom.

Finally, in Scotland this weekend, Loch Ness monster fans are about to embark on the biggest creature hunt for 50 years. If Nessie is in the famous lake, or indeed a whole Family Ness, the volunteers will be using the latest survey equipment to find it.

Fill your plate

So it’s the weekend, what food are you going to order in?

Perhaps you’re thinking Mexican. But beyond tacos, burritos and salsa, there are more adventurous options to explore, such as spicy birria stew and crunchy chapolines (yes, those are grasshoppers).

Maybe you’re leaning Korean. Our roundup has 39 dishes for your consideration, from chimaek – the god-tier combination of fried chicken and beer – to the meal you might need the next day, a beef-rich “hangover stew.”

Or if you’re feeling like an all-time classic, there’s pizza. It doesn’t all have to be cheese and pepperoni, though. Here are 14 versions of the world’s favorite food to whet your appetite.

The world’s ‘most dangerous’ airport

For climbers of Mount Everest, the hair-raising adventure begins before you even reach base camp. Lukla Airport in Nepal is the closest airfield to the famous mountain and is notoriously treacherous to fly into. A pilot explains why.

In case you missed it

Post-Covid, China is once again letting its citizens join group tours abroad, and the island of Taiwan says it’s ready to allow Chinese visitors

And North Korea has resumed flights to Russia and China.

Camel cloning is big business in Dubai. 

The most prized “beauty queens” have drooping lips and long necks.

Her flight was canceled.

Then she ended up on the doorstep of her future wife.

An aviation-loving kid posed by a plane in 1999.

More than 20 years later, she recreated the photo.

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