Rome, Italy – Photo by:Dario Veronesi

The Flight Deck

Our weekly travel dispatch from the Internet Wasteland


Tehran Tales: “Hotel chains, including Melia and Accor, unveiled properties in the Islamic Republic, while UK-based EasyHotel signed an agreement to open 500 rooms in the country. Tour operators who had grown used to taking only a handful of people to the Islamic Republic were now inundated. Bolstered with optimism, the Iranian tourism ministry set a target of welcoming more than 20 million visitors by 2025.

Now, the fledgling industry, which accounts for more than 550,000 jobs, is threatened once again by political ill will. Officials say threats made by President Donald Trump have already impacted the year’s tourism numbers, with a 15 per cent fall in arrivals anticipated for 2018.” Politics and tourism blend in an unfortunate consequence to increased international tensions: How tourism in Iran blossomed after the nuclear deal – and what the future holds for the fragile industry. (The world makes it hard on itself some days doesn’t it?)

Paradise Found: “To me, the best type of dumpling is the MOMO—round palm-sized dough wrappers filled with seasoned meat (vegetables, too, but mostly meat), neatly folded into half-moon-like purses or knotted, round pockets and then steamed. But that’s just half of what makes momo the best dumpling. Once steamed, they are served with a side of chutney or a thick, soupy sauce made with tomatoes, chili peppers, and cilantro. Heaven.

Nepalis like to say momos are from Nepal. The delicious, popular version is. But momos originated in Tibet and made its way into Nepal with the merchants of Kathmandu, the capital, who regularly traveled to Lhasa for business during the 19th and early 20th centuries. After the uprising of 1959, tens of thousands of Tibetans migrated into Nepal as refugees—and with them, they brought their special treat. Newars, the traders from Kathmandu, replaced the yak meat from the original Tibetan recipe with the more readily available water buffalo meat, a local delicacy. Nepalis who didn’t eat buffalo started making them with chicken and goat. Those who didn’t eat any meat at all stuffed their momos with cabbage and potatoes.” Roads and Kingdoms with the hot take: Momos: The Best Dumplings in the World

Eternal Again: “Sprawled out on the slopes of the Palatino, the horti were first commissioned in 1550 by Cardinal Farnese and have gone down in landscape history as the first private botanical gardens in Europe. In its heyday, the gardens flaunted frescoed aviaries, a nymphaeum, underground passageways, ancient sculptures, and fountains, while rare and exotic birds graced its grounds. A villa converted from the ruins of a Roman palace also loomed. According to director of the Colosseum archaeological park Alfonsina Russo, the location of the Horti amongst ancient imperial ruins was strategic, emphasizing the Farnese family’s power and influence.

By the 1700s the gardens’ former glory had all but vanished, and eventually fell victim to archaeologists digging for imperial ruins.” Another day, another restoration. This one in particular has us excited: Rome’s stunning secret garden reopens after three decades


The Business of Travel

Hate It or Love It: “This week Instagram unveiled a new action button, making it easier for its 800 million users to book tickets and holidays through the app.

Love it or hate it, the photo-sharing app has become a primary source of travel inspiration (or #travelinspo, in Instagram parlance), and this move is set to close the gap between simply ‘liking’ a photo and actually transporting the user to the destination.

The Facebook-owned company has partnered with a number of businesses, including Eventbrite, OpenTable, SevenRooms and Yelp Reservations, with more set to join the party.” As most of the travel industry already anticipated, the F and G in FANG (Facebook Apple Netflix and Google) want in on your trip plans: Would you book your next holiday on Instagram or Whatsapp? (Queue the “relevant” Facebook ads…)

Yada Yada Driverless Cars: The series continues! First it was blockchain. Then it was “Big” Data. Now….. we present…. driverless cars: There’s a Secret Way to Try Out Driverless Cars at Heathrow Airport


Ready. Set. Listen.

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