Photo of the Day (11.08.10)

My earliest travel memories are of my first trip to Disney World. I remember waking up before sunrise to go to the airport. I remember sharing a hotel room with my sister and thinking that we were very cool for doing so. And I remember the breakfast buffet at the hotel. Breakfast at my house as a kid consisted of cereal, bagels, eggs and, on special occasions, pancakes with bacon. I’ve loved bacon from an early age. My mother, being a caring parent, made sure to limit how much bacon her children ate to avoid us developing poor eating habits. However, on that first trip to Disney World, upon seeing the tray of bacon at the breakfast buffet, all of my mother’s attempts at making me a responsible eater were undermined by one plate that I filled entirely with bacon.

I was reminded of that story when I saw this photo by Flickr user JasonBechtel. You see, I still tend to graze when I travel. Sure, I eat proper meals, But, I also eat unorthodox meals such as pre-breakfast, second breakfast, linner, dunch, second dinner, late night snack, etc. Travel allows us to convince ourselves that eating is about far more than just fuel. It’s about culture. Passing up a chance to eat something is not an option. We don’t want to be closed-minded. So, we indulge. We gorge. We fill up those plates with bacon.

Sorry, mom. At least I’m cultured.

Have a picture of yourself grazing a buffet? Or maybe just some great travel photos? Submit your images to Gadling’s Flickr group and we might use one for a future Photo of the Day.

Ecotourism’s next evolution: Rent a cow in Switzerland

Need to get away from it all? How about a month or season on a picturesque Swiss farm? Thanks to to enterprising Swiss farmers, professionals can now contribute to the local economy and “participate physically in the life of a medium-size mountain farm and to acquire at a preferential price genuine goods produced on the estate.

Sure… but what does that mean? According to bmi Voyager, the concept was launched by herder and farm owner Michael Izor, who allows people to rent his cows in western Switzerland, just outzide of Zurich. “The animals are very calming and we hope it gives people a little perspective,” said Izor.

For £180 (one month) to £380 (a four-month season), one gets their choice of a specific cow, a preferential rate on local cheese, and access to the farm itself. The landowner then agrees to offer a tour of the estate and a meet and greet with the staff and your cow.

You’re also promised a light welcome meat – we’re hoping one that isn’t beef based! You’ll also receive a certificate of sponsorship and a picture of your cow, as well as a preferential rate on mountain pasture cheese at the price of CHF 16 per kilo.

Seasonal sponsorships include the above, but also require a commitment of four hours of mountain work, According to the website, “this work will consist of looking after the pastures and enclosures, preparing the fire wood, participating actively in the raking of the hay, etc. There’s nothing like work to fit in and get a better understanding [of the land].” A season-long contract also requires a minimum purchase of at least 10 kilos of cheese.

This surely brings new meaning to the term working vacation!

Image via Flickr user Artnow314.

Photo of the Day (11-11-09)

On the other end of the badass animal spectrum that Annie described on Monday for is the cow. The happy guy in this bucolic scene was snapped by Bernard-SD in Big Sur, California. If cows in Ohio, where I live, could see where this one munches, they’d be jealous. What a view!

If you have a shot to share, send it our way at Gadling’s Flickr photo pool. It might be picked as a Photo of the Day.

Do you annoy people with your travel tales?

It’s not uncommon for people who live overseas to complain about people back home who don’t want to hear about their journeys. They recount the eye rolls and vacant looks. A woman I know once lamented that she just couldn’t get excited hearing about one of her relative’s new deck or window treatments whenever she returned to the U.S. After all, she’d just been on a run past cows in the streets of New Delhi. How could a new deck compete with that?

Maybe a new deck can’t compete with a cow, unless you’re the person thrilled with the deck. Or that those drafty windows are long gone. And, perhaps the idea of running past cows milling through garbage isn’t all that alluring. Isn’t there the idea that one person’s junk might be another person’s treasure?

In Brave New Traveler, there’s a food for thought article by Christine Gavin that looks at the communication pitfalls when it comes to talking about ones experiences–whether you’re talking with another world traveler, or to your relative who is serving you dinner on that brand new deck. She calls it a “holier than thou” attitude.

From what she says, and I concur, it’s not that people don’t want to hear travel tales, it’s just that they want you to be interested in what they have been up to as well. People aren’t fond of braggarts—particularly those who feel they are at the top of the pack of people worthy of attention. Then again, maybe they just aren’t that interested. In that case, it doesn’t hurt to say, “Nice deck.”

Six weird plane emergency landing stories

One couldn’t argue that the US Airways emergency crash landing on the Hudson River due to birds flying into the engines is probably one of the most spectacular emergency landing stories.

There are, however, other stories that give one pause. They are not as splashy, but they sure are interesting, odd, and even downright weird. I went on an emergency landing hunt and this is what I found so far.

1. Back in December 2006, one American Airlines pilot had to divert a plane because of flatulence. One passenger who was passing gas, not the crop dusting, odorless kind that flight attendants sometimes do (ask Heather), but that foul kind you can’t quite get away from. The passenger who was passing gas lit matches to cover up the smell. When other passengers complained of a burnt sulfur smell, the pilot diverted the plane to Nashville where all passengers and all luggage was searched until the unnamed woman fessed-up. [Dallas/Ft. Worth Local News]

What about the plane VS the cow?

2. In August 2008, a Ryanair plane going from Budapest to Dublin had to land in Frankfurt after a man’s neck started to swell from an allergic reaction. Nope, it wasn’t peanuts. Turns out that a passenger had put a jar of mushrooms in the over head bin. The mushrooms leaked and got into the plane’s air conditioner system, thus out into the cabin which caused the medical woe. []

3. In December 2008, a Cirrus plane landed on the northbound lane of Highway 61 after there was engine trouble. The pilot and his passenger were able to push the plane to the side of the road out of the way until it was loaded onto a flatbed truck and removed. Can you imagine what it would have been like driving down the highway minding your own business when that baby came closer and closer to where you were driving? [10/13 ABC]

4. This odd story didn’t cause the emergency landing, but it is something that happened as a result. In December 2008, a World War II-era Tiger Moth in Britain hit a cow when it was making an emergency landing because of engine trouble. The cow had wandered out onto the runway. The cow was knocked down, but OK. My uncle hit a cow with his car. It wasn’t pleasant. Last summer while driving through North Dakota, we hit a few pheasants with our car. That wasn’t pleasant either. []

5. Here’s what one hopes would never, ever, ever, happen when flying. The plane door flies off. That’s what happened in March of 2008 when the door fell off a Bombardier Challenger CL-60 in Grand Junction, Colorado. No one was hurt, and the pilot was able to land the plane safely. A bit windy and startling, I would guess. I was riding in the passenger seat of a car once when the hood flew up and cracked the windshield. That was startling. []

6. Here is a joke about an incident that almost ended up in an emergency landing. The story is thought to be true and was posted in The Australian. One plane almost made an emergency landing due to extreme vibrations. When the pilot put on the fasten the seat belt sign, the vibrations stopped. A person came out of the bathroom and said that he had been jogging in place. The story sounds a bit bogus to me, but I’ll believe about anything. []