Lonely Planet Writer

The best of this week's fascinating revelations and wacky news!

The first week back to work for most was a difficult one, what with an Arctic snap and the January blues getting into full swing. And yet it was an eventful one, from Orthodox Christmas, to animal selfies. Here’s our week in travel news:

Allan with an albino kangaroo in Australia
Allan with an albino kangaroo in Australia Image by Allan Dixon/Instagram

An Irishman on Instagram is being hailed as the Animal Whisperer or Dr Dolittle because of his innate ability to get animals to take selfies with him. Allan Dixon (29) began taking selfies with animals in Australia  just for the fun of it. Now with 192,000 followers on Instagram he’s close to starting a trend of taking selfies with animals.

Read more: here

The Force Awakens co-writer, director and producer J.J. Abrams on Skellig Michael.
The Force Awakens co-writer, director and producer J.J. Abrams on Skellig Michael. Image by Tourism Ireland YouTube

A behind-the-scene Star Wars video focuses on the Irish coastal island that has become a star following the release of the latest instalment of the Star Wars franchise. Tourism Ireland has recently released a behind-the-scenes video showing some of the shoot on Skellig Michael as visitor numbers to the historic island are expected to surge. Visitors can only land on the island, 12km from the Kerry coast, with a designated guide.

Read more: here

Men celebrate Orthodox Christmas
Men celebrate Orthodox Christmas

The Eastern Orthodox Church runs according to the Julian Calendar and 13 days behind the Gregorian calendar, meaning that 6 and 7 January mark Orthodox Christmas. According to tradition, a priest throws a cross into water in order to bless it, while worshippers attempt to retrieve it. In Istanbul the tradition is for men to jump into the Bosphorus to retrieve it. In Russia, Bulgaria, Ukraine, and Greece, the tradition is also particularly strong, with men vying for the cross in the sea.

Read more: here

"On March 4, 2009, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Terra satellite captured this image of ship tracks over the Pacific. Ship emissions contain small particles that cause the clouds to form."
“On March 4, 2009, the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS) on the Terra satellite captured this image of ship tracks over the Pacific. Ship emissions contain small particles that cause the clouds to form.” Image by NASA

We’ve all heard of something being “written in the stars”, but what about written on the Earth? A new collection of images compiles a complete set of the Roman alphabet captured in images from NASA satellites and astronaut photography. A NASA staffer, Adam Voiland, posted the results of his search for letters found in satellite images on the organisation’s Earth Observatory website, which hosts galleries of images that are available to the public.

Read more: here

Black pudding on a breakfast plate.
Black pudding on a breakfast plate. Image by Alex Brown / CC BY 2.0

The British and Irish breakfast staple black pudding has had a profile boost after it was hailed as a ‘superfood’. The blood sausage, which is also popular in Spain, is rich in protein, potassium, calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc and low in carbohydrates. Some shops are already reporting a rise in the dish’s popularity

Read more: here

New York is launching the largest and fastest free wifi network in the world
New York is launching the largest and fastest free wifi network in the world Image by LinkNYC on Facebook

The affliction of every traveller is trying to get Wi-Fi without turning your journey into a series of cafe pitstops for a free service . But now one city is sorting that problem out for good. New York is set to roll out what will be the largest and fastest municipal Wi-Fi system via a network of public kiosks.

Read more: here