Ever wanted to own your own train?

Toot Toot! All aboard the G-Train!

No, we’re not talking about the famous footballer, get lost is referring to Frenchman Thierry Gaugain’s extraordinary concept, which is being called the ‘Palace on Wheels’ – a kind of modern take on the world famous Orient Express. 

Gaugain is a super-yacht designer, and he is now bringing that level of luxury to tracks. The train will feature sleeping space for 18 guests, a party carriage, and several carriages with all-glass exteriors (we hope they don’t go through any rough neighbourhoods).

The thing that is amazing about the G-Train is that it is being sold as a private train – imagine owning your own train!

Gaugain is looking for buyers – so if you’ve got a cool AU $486 million to spare, get in touch.

Turn the lights off in an Icelandic volcano

Some countries have a couple of beautiful natural attractions and then you have Iceland, which seems to have one around every corner. The best thing is that the extraordinary Nordic country last week threw open its doors to travellers, meaning we can all take in these unbelievable experiences once again.

Iceland experiences frequent volcanic activity, due to its location both on the Mid-Atlantic Ridge. One of these is Thrihnukagigur, which last erupted around 4,000 years ago. Phewph! Wipe the sweat from your brow – that was a close one.

The underground volcano was only discovered in 1974, and has only more recently been open for travellers to walk/scale down its depths.

Harnessed in though you are, travelling  120 metres down a colourful magma chamber is as much epic as it is disconcerting. It is not the height or the crazily coloured rock formations that are lit up from a man-made lighting system that is most striking, but the sheer depth of the cavern that exists on the inside – big enough easily fit the Statue of Liberty inside. If you’ve ever felt slightly insignificant when looking at the size of the Indian Ocean, Thrihnukagigur will give you the same feeling.

Perhaps most unnerving is when guides turn the lights – all of them – off, to leave you a hundred or so metres deep inside a volcano without any shred of light.

*Editor’s note: Although get lost have been to this site, we are still none the wiser on how to pronounce Thrihnukagigur. Best to consult an Icelander here. 

Summer Skiing in Norway

Skiing in the middle of summer? No problem, if you’re in Norway.

And while most think of snow and northern lights when it comes to Norway, its a great place to be at anytime of the year, not least the warmer months. The Nordic country recently announced it was re-opening its borders to the rest of the world too, just in time for the European summer.

Stryn is a municipality in central-west Norway, blessed with majestic mountains and typically dramatic Norwegian fjords. Take the unbelievably epic Loen Skylift up to the top of Mt. Hoven, a five minute trip which is surely the best way to spend five minutes outside of a bed or a disco.

From there, fly down the slopes to your hearts content – with the sun not setting until around 11.30pm, there’s plenty of time to make the most of the 12km of lightly-dusted groomers.

A Swiss Cube in the Stars

Cube Aletsch bills itself as a ‘million star hotel’, and both points  are fairly straight to the point: It is a cube, and the million stars it refers to are in the sky, rather than referring to thread count (even if there is a hot tub).

The cube is 2,800 metres in the air, so you’re pretty close to the stars it refers to. This height also gives you breathtaking views of mountains (in true Swiss style) and the famous Aletsch Glacier from which it derives its name.

Watching the sun snake it’s way from the gigantic valley below up the surrounding mountains, from the timber patio, with a bottle of wine and probably some Swiss cheese for good measure, is as good as travelling gets.

The cube itself is a humbly furnished living container, but that’s all it needs to be, with access via a cable car. The Aletsch Glacier is one of Switzerland’s most beautiful (which is saying something in a country full of epic mountains) but it’s losing ice at a rapid rate, with scientists predicting it will have vanished by the year 2100, so see it now before it diminishes.

Berlin Toilet Burger

When you exit the U-Bahn at Schlesisches Tor station, in Berlin’s uber-cool Kreuzberg area (they’re all uber-cool, right?) and walk across the road, you will find a fairly elementary looking public toilet.

And if it is between the hours of 11am and midnight, any day of the week, you will find a queue of around 50 people lining up at this public toilet.

No, the people of Kreuzberg are not particularly weak-bladdered people, nor is this some sort of secret Berlin nightclub (the latter easily the more likely of the two).

This is Burgermeister, an institution for travellers and Berliners alike since 2006. And I shit you not: The best burger I have ever (and I mean ever) eaten came from this toilet.

According to the original Burgermeister-er, he found the toilet in 2003, disused for several decades, and saw something special in it. I can genuinely say I have never felt the same way about a loo, but then this is why I am an ordinary man, and not the burger magician that the Burgermeister-er is.

This is no gimmick: the long lines are not there purely to capitalise on some sort of deliberately perverse tourism opportunity, to say that they ordered a burger from a toilet. They are there because the burgers are god-damn delicious.

The toilet people make their own buns, make their own meat patties, and produce their own fries – all fresh. This is unusual in itself for a fast-food restaurant, a trait they clearly aren’t scared of.

After a particularly big couple of nights that may well have been a week, a friend and I queued at Burgermeister for what seemed like another week, looking for sustenance and keen to see if this famous burger was worth the hype.

Long story short: it was.

Is Ireland is the new love capital?

Love is all around in the Emerald Isle.

From movies and literature to the music and myths, it’s not particularly difficult to find. But if you need a bit of extra help, on the eve of Valentines Day weekend, we’ve come up with five reasons why Ireland is arguably the new love capital of the world (most of these double as pretty good date ideas).

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The Kissing Gate

Local myth and legend suggests that couples who canoodle over the Kissing Gate at Tannaghmore Gardens in Armagh, Northern Ireland, will marry within the year, so take your other half along if you have marriage on your mind. If you are that significant other, maybe avoid this place.

Moher than just friends

We’re not sure where the most proposals take place in Ireland. But if we had to hazard a guess, the Cliffs of Moher would be right up there. One of the most extraordinary landscapes on earth, the Cliffs never fail to take the breath away.

Wild Atlantic Love

Sally Rooney’s smash-hit novel Normal People was adapted to a Netflix TV series in 2020, and main characters Connell and Marianne (played by Paul Mescal and Daisy Edgar-Jone) were always destined to become heartthrobs. But what really stole the show was Ireland’s Wild Atlantic Way, dramatic and gorgeous landscapes stealing the couple’s thunder, as well as the hearts of viewers the world over.

Pay homage to the man himself in Dublin

O.K, this would be a pretty weird date, we admit. But the Shrine of St. Valentine, Mr. Love himself, is based in Carmelite Church on Whitefriar Street in Dublin, and everyone from young lovers to the Pope have been known to pay homage on the 14th of February each year.

Get off Tinder, and get to the pub

If you haven’t found the one yet, it might just be that you haven’t been to a pub in Ireland. If you’re doing it right, a session will start with a pint next to a warm fire, and a few tall stories.

Soon there’ll be music playing and before long you’ll be dancing a proper jig with someone possessing a ridiculously spelt name like Caihome or Padraig or Aoife…and the rest is history.

A 700-year old Italian masterpiece

In the 700 years between the 14th century and now, a fair bit has taken place in Italy: the birth of Leonardo Da Vinci, the invention of the piano, the unification of the country and four soccer world cups, to name a few.

But stepping into Rastrello Boutique Hotel is like stepping 700 years back in time before all that took place, just with modern comforts of 2021.

The hotel is based in Umbria, central Italy – not far from Tuscany. Olive trees fill the fields and line the roads, making for a very Italian scene on the approach and as you look out from your balcony.

Rastrello is a palazzo restored with a lot of care, so much so that the old stone walls will make you feel like a King or Queen that you are…

Bella!

The Flying Bum is on its way

All aboard The Flying Bum.

The Airlander 10 has been given that nickname after images of a prototype were released, and comparisons to a gigantic rear end were made.

Much more than just a giant, white, airborne booty, the Airlander 10 airship is potentially the future of travel. Relying on a giant balloon of helium to get it up and into the sky means far less emissions than your regular plane, making an airship a much greener option.

The world’s largest aircraft can also go quite low and slow, and quietly too, making the opportunities for the Airship endless: imagine a safari cruising right above giraffes, elephants and the like without spooking them.

In fact, it’s probably a lot quieter than a lot of other Gluteus Maximus’ we’ve come across, and it comes with a bar and bedrooms and a James Bond-like lounge.

Limited flights may be available in the coming years, but it isn’t expected to be in regular service until 2025. But when it is, it could potentially revolutionise short-haul travel. Watch this space.

Game of Thrones Studio Tour

Winter The Game of Thrones Studio Tour is coming.

Fans of the realm will be more excited than Tyrone Lannister when he was named Hand of the Queen at the news a tour of the Linen Mill Studios in Banbridge, Northern Ireland is on it’s way in early-2022.

And not just any tour – HBO have poured $45 million into the tour, promising to transport fans into the very heart of Westeros’, promising to bring ‘visitors closer to the Seven Kingdoms than ever before’.

Theres 110,000-square-feet worth of interactive experience which will allow fans to explore a vast array of original sets, costumes, props and set pieces, with the aim of bringing visitors closer to the Seven Kingdoms than ever before.

Fans can step inside the iconic Great Hall at Winterfell where Jon Snow was proclaimed the “King in the North,”

It doesn’t open until February-2022, and there’s not a heap of info available. But you can bet we’ll be going.

Wes Anderson designed a train carriage

Filmmaker Wes Anderson is the man. When the man designs a luxury train carriage, there’s only one thing to do: buy a ticket on that train, wherever it’s headed.

The train appears to have come straight from the set of The Grand Budapest Hotel. Pastel pink and emerald green dominate the colour scheme, with intricate marquetry, art nouveau-style wooden panels and trippy geometric furnishings giving the carriage an elaborate crossover style that sits somewhere between Art Deco and stoner.

It’s the famous Belmond British Pullman train, the luxury chugga-chugga-chugga-chugga which operates out of London’s Victoria Station. Day trip tickets start at around £400 per person.

Texan Anderson doesn’t fly, preferring to catch the train where he can. Combined with his other skills, it means there probably isn’t anyone on earth more perfect man to design the interior of a train.

The train, for what it’s worth, travels from London to the Kent countryside, and back again. Not that that’s important.