It must be those adventure travelers … they’re always so high maintenance.
A rock-climbing rope jammed up some of the Qantas baggage equipment at the Melbourne, Australia airport last night, and as many as 400 pieces of luggage are lying around, waiting to be reunited with their passengers. Of course, the Sydney Morning Herald reports, passengers are welcome to “search through the piles” if they are eager to get their bags sooner.
Meanwhile, Qantas has copped to “bag issues” but nothing more so far. The Sydney Morning herald writes that the airline “could not confirm the number of bags that still needed to be returned to passengers.”
I love it when art and hotels come together. I found a pair of gems in Orlando back in March, but what’s coming to Melbourne, Australia over the next two years is even more exciting. Indy luxury hotel group Art Series Hotels is spending $300 million to open six new properties — all focused on art. Each hotel will be inspired by a famous Australian artist in name and design, and each will be unique.
The first opened its doors last week. The Cullen is a boutique hotel in Prahran, Australia. At a cost of $48 million, it offers only 115 rooms and is home to more than 450 pieces by Adam Cullen. An in-house curator attends to the artwork. Two of Cullen’s custom designed cows grace the foyer, welcoming guests to an aesthetic treat. There are traces of Cullen all over the hotel — from the restaurants to the phone messages to the bikes and smart cars that guests can hire. Rates start at $208 a night.
The Olsen, which will be Art Series Hotels’ flagship property, is set to open in February 2010. Honoring painter John Olsen, it will be located on Chapel Street, right in Melbourne‘s shopping district. There will be 239 rooms on 15 storeys and will feature the world’s largest glass-bottomed swimming pool … which will hang over Chapel Street. The third hotel, the Blackman, is scheduled to open in April, with the remaining properties scheduled for 2011.
Two American girls from Florida are about to find themselves pretty far from home. Dara Simkin and Catherine Fleming won the Tasmania leg of the WorldNomads.com Van-Tastic Adventure. This is the first time an American team has won the Australia contest. On December 19, 2009, they’ll fire up the engine and start to drive through Tasmania for six weeks. On January 30, 2010, they’ll arrive in Melbourne, having completed the fourth of seven legs. The seven-part journey begins in Queensland and consists of 10,000 miles of driving in a van named Geoff.
During their journey, Dara and Catherine will report on their experiences kayaking on the Freycinet Peninsula, mountain biking Mt. Wellington and walking through Cradle Moutain. You can keep track of their progress on YouTube or on the Van-Tastic Adventures website.
But, watching might not be enough for some people … there are still three legs open, so you may want to put your application video together.
Halloween is the one day a year we seek fear rather than try to avoid it. We invite the prospect of ghosts, witches and vampires, and even if we concede that they aren’t real, it’s fine to suspend disbelief for a day. To heighten the sensation, consider wrapping your next trip in the Halloween spirit. There are plenty of destinations around the world that will help the hairs on the back of your neck to stand on end.
1. Melbourne’s Haunted Bookshop Ghost-hunter and historian Drew Sinton is waiting for you at The Haunted Bookshop in Melbourne, Australia. If you’re not afraid of the written word, this starting point won’t scare you, but along the way, you’ll hit a number of spots where ghosts have been sighted. Old Melbourne Goal (jail, that is) was home to 135 hangings. One of them, Ned Kelly, is said to have resulted in a ghost that won’t leave the site of his demise. While you’re there, walk the road to the gallows. If this isn’t enough for you, look for nutty ghosts on the Beechworth Ghost Tour at what was once the Mayday Hills Lunatic Asylum.
2. Under the Royal Mile Beneath Edinburgh‘s Royal Mile, you’ll find a warren of hidden “closes” where people once lived, worked … and perished. Mary King’s Close, once abandoned and forgotten, is now open via the Supernatural History Tour. Explore one of Scotland’s most haunted locations, get the scoop on urban myths and hear about sightings that occurred as recently as 2003. A few claim to have felt ghosts brush past on this tour. Will you be one of them?
3. Follow New France’s Great Master Old Montreal‘s cobblestone streets set the scene for any supernatural encounter. The sun goes down; the wind blows off the river. You don’t know what’s gust and what’s ghost! History is the breeding ground of the other-worldly, and the Great Master will take you through the century’s that have contributed to what is now the “New France Ghost Hunt.”
4. The Darker Side of Luxury No, you won’t have to worry about peasant uprisings, but if you’re looking for paranormal trouble, you can find it at a handful of Fairmont hotels. At the Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa (where I suffered through a business trip from hell a decade ago), keep an eye open for Victoria, a now deceased member of one of the founding families of the Sonoma Valley. A former steward, now dead, of course, hangs out in the silver room at the Fairmont Royal York, and a hotel maid who fell to her death in 1908 has yet to leave the Fairmont Empress.
5. The Ghastly Side of Downtown Orlando I’m sure there’s something going on at Disneyworld, but skip it in favor of downtown Orlando (my favorite part of Florida). On the Orlando Ghost Tours, you’ll get two hours to pick up the basics of parapsychology and poke around in locations confirmed to be haunted. You’ll even get to use specialized equipment to conduct your own paranormal investigation. Who you gonna call? After this, probably yourself.