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Sure, we love all the speed and comfort of modern travel, but it didn't that way overnight. Every Thursday, we're going to take a look back at travel the way it used to be, whether that's decades or centuries ago. This is Throwback Thursday, travel edition.
Millions of travel blogs exist online. Actually the number is more likely in the billions, a staggering amount considering civilization has only had the ability to create weblogs since the early 1990s. Prior to this, travelers sent a steady stream of letters home, or *gasp* wrote entire books of their journeys. These handwritten journals or published, typed tomes often sit forgotten in an attic, in the stacks of suburban libraries, or rotting under heaps of trash sifted away from the jewelry and other hockable bits of estates.
Recently we got our hands on one such book, saved from the last fate as it turned up in an auction, forgotten in the bottom of a box.
Brand new airplanes sure have been the talk of the last couple years, what with the debut (and un-debut) of the Boeing 787, the introduction of the massive Boeing 747-8 and the very recent unveil of the Bombardier CSeries.
Even if you couldn't give a damn what airplane you're flying so long as you get where you're going, there are a few aircraft from movies and TV that could make your ride even smoother. Though these will likely never roll off an assembly line, we can't stop from wishing...
Five Airplanes We Wish Were Real But Totally Aren't:
5. Snoop Dogg's "Soul Plane"
Confession: we went to see this movie on opening night in the theaters. Why? Umm, because Snoop Dogg is the pilot of a stubby, Barney-purple 747 and surely that would be hilarious. Wrong. It was a seriously disappointing movie, and they didn't show the plane itself (rather, the CGI of it) nearly enough. Still, we can't help loving a plane with spinners on its landing gear and flight attendants sporting retro-inspired short skirts.
To celebrate the 200th anniversary of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, Cunard World Club is offering Austen-themed tours on select Queen Mary 2 Transatlantic Crossings.
The tours include a visit to the Winchester Cathedral with a focus on the Life & Times of Jane Austen, a trip to the Jane Austen Museum and Chawton House Library, and a day trip to Stonehenge and the Salisbury Cathedral, one of the filming locations in 1995's Sense & Sensibility.
Tours start at $850 and take place in July, August, October, and November. To see the full schedule, visit cunard.com.
It's a little too late to make any holiday wish lists, but the new photo book 800 Views of Airports belongs on your coffee table if you're reading this.
It's a glossy tome of 408 pages, all presenting the photography work of Swiss duo Peter Fischli & David Weiss who, for more than 25 years, snapped photos of the airports wrapped up in their travels. Plane spotters before "plane spotters" was a term, Fischli & Weiss often focus on the long-haul aircraft but also turn their lens towards the tarmac activities of ground support vehicles and orange-vested airport employees.
The official publisher description gets a bit flowery: "Whether presenting a Lufthansa airplane sitting idle in a yellowy light, a Swiss Air plane waiting in a neon-haunted dusk or an Air France plane getting its belly filled in the dead of night, Fischli and Weiss's images present the evanescence of any national identity when reduced to a symbol on a vertical stabilizer."
It's not often that an airline comes out with its own book; actually, it's been damned rare since Pan Am ended production of their regional and world guidebooks. Still, it does happen and one such instance is now, with Finnair's publication of Airborne: Tales from A Thousand and One Flights [in Finnish, the title is Taivas mikä työpaikka].
The book, a 256-page collection of flight crew stories, was conceived of and written by Finnair's own people. The stories themselves are short and often with a quip, making for light and quick reading. Here's one such story we nipped off its site:
Today marks the 50th anniversary of cinema's most famous spy, James Bond. To celebrate, special events have been planned all over the world.
L.A.'s Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is celebrating James Bond Day by paying homage to the memorable title songs and scores that shaped all 23 movies. The Music of Bond: The First Fifty Years begins at 7:30 p.m. at the Samuel Goldwyn Theater, 8949 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills. General admission tickets are $5.
Today, October 4, 2012, is recognized as National Poetry Day. Typically we don't go in for these secondary holidays, but since writing and travel have always gone hand-in-hand, today we bring you one of our own personal favorite poems.
The simply titled "Travel," is by American poet Edna St. Vincent Millay. She didn't do much traveling outside the east coast in her lifetime, but the desire was there. Tip: replace the train imagery with that of airplanes, and it's instantly applicable to today.
Travel Edna St. Vincent Millay
Heading to the US' Emerald City need not mean packing all flannel and topping up your Starbucks card. Seattle's got plenty other stuff going on and, all this week, Lilit Marcus will be proving this right.
Until this month, public transit rides within the center of Seattle were free. The free rides may be gone, but there are still plenty of free attractions worth checking out in the city. These are a few of our favorites:
For J.R.R. Tolkien fans tomorrow will probably be better than Christmas, their birthday, and the release of the new Hobbit movie all rolled up in one.
Saturday, September 22 is Hobbit Day, which celebrates the 75th anniversary of the publication of The Hobbit novel and the birthdays of Bilbo and Frodo Baggins. To mark the big day, Hobbit fans around the world will throw parties and feasts, and some will even have journeyed to New Zealand to visit the filming locations.
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A pre-production replica BMW Z8 Roadster made for 'The World Is Not Enough'
Update: the catalog for both online and live auctions is up! Check it out right here.
Right after you finish that mid-day vodka martini (shaken, not stirred), take some time to daydream over this fact: Christie's will be auctioning off a slew of James Bond goodies as part of the celebration of 50 Years of James Bond. The auction takes place online from September 28-October 8, and live in London on October 5 (the anniversary of the first screening of Dr. No).
There's trinkets from past Bond movies, such as the bullet belt worn by Scaramanga in The Man With the Golden Gun and a model of the shuttle from Moonraker, as well as the newest Bond memorabilia from the as-yet-unreleased Skyfall. We're eyeing that blue velvet Tom Ford dinner suit like whoah.
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Mark your calendars! The New Yorker has announced its annual festival will take place in New York City from October 5-7. The annual event brings together New Yorker writers and leading cultural figures on stage.
The festival will once again feature a diverse lineup of authors, musicians, actors, thinkers, filmmakers and politicians. Last year's talks included Chris Colfer, William H. Macy, Amy Poehler, Zach Galifianakis, Owen Wilson, and a reunion of the cast of Arrested Development.
The full schedule for The New Yorker Festival 2012 will be announced September 10th and tickets go on sale September 14th.
Bestselling book series Fifty Shades of Grey has turned the publishing world on its head and started a national campaign to cast Hollywood stars in the lead roles for the movie version. The books are set in the Seattle area, so now hotels throughout the Pacific Northwest are trying to cash in on the phenomenon by offering themed tourist packages.
For example, Seattle's Hotel Max is offering up a chauffeured town car, a helicopter tour of the city and a private sail in Puget Sound "with a bottle of Bollinger Grande Annee Rose 1999 Champagne, a favorite of Mr. Grey himself.