Sunday musings: Naked hot springs, unruly passengers, Google street view at airports

Strawberry Park Hot Springs
Strawberry Park Hot Springs

This Sunday we take a dip into clothing-optional hot springs in Colorado. These steaming pools in the midst of piles of snow with the majesty of the Rocky Mountains surrounding are magnificent. We hear about in-flight passenger behavior far worse than chatting on cell phones. And, we take a walk through some airports and train stations courtesy of Google Street View.

Favorite winter hot springs provides a list of favorite natural hot springs where visitors can warm up au natural. As they put it, when the weather outside is freezing, “If you’re going to warm up the natural way, you might as well go au naturel.” Their list includes two hot springs that I have had a chance to enjoy over the years while traipsing from ski resort to ski resort in Colorado — Strawberry Park, outside of Steamboat Springs, and Orvis Hot Springs near Ouray, Colorado. We used to ski down the backside of Telluride Resort to these hot springs for a wonderful au natural hot springs warm up. The last recommended hot spring is the Valley View Hot Springs in Alamosa.

It’s been cold. And we mean really cold. Eyelids cemented shut by frozen tears cold. Record high on former planet Pluto cold. Han Solo in carbonite cold. So there’s no better time for a roundup of our favorite winter hot springs.

When selecting these winter favorites, our criteria were simple: destinations needed to be accessible, affordable, and amenable to naked bathing.

Airlines seek new rules on unruly passengers

As the US Congress faces a new bill submitted to ban cell phones and the Department of Transportation starts to look at rules banning voice communication on planes, it turns out that the international airline association has bigger problems than too many Chatty Cathy types on plane. There are some vile passengers that seem to be getting away with actions that would result in jail time in many cases. The problem with prosecuting these miscreants is jurisdiction. The International Air Transport Association is discussing what to do about this behavior and how to rein it in.

Fighting soccer fans, fashion models screaming obscenities and a French film star relieving himself in the gangway are just a few examples of what airlines say is a growing trend of abusive passengers on planes.

Briefing journalists this week, the International Air Transport Association (IATA) said it aims to use a conference in Montreal next March to seek agreement on the rights of captains and crew to do whatever is necessary to subdue offenders.

“Unruly passenger behavior … is on the increase,” Tim Colehan of IATA told reporters. “It is a problem which our crews and other travelers face every day.”

Google Indoor Street View extended to 16 airports and 50 train and subway stations


Google Street View has been expanding. Now it is expanding inside to provide views of airports, train and subway stations. The detail is amazing and will allow passengers to walk through the airport or the train station before arriving. This should help with navigation once they have to visit the transport hub.

Following the lead of Gatwick Airport, which adopted the service last month, the likes of Madrid-Barajas, Tokyo Haneda and Eindhoven airports are now included on the service.

Google Indoor Street View makes use of thousands of stitched images, which together create a panoramic map of the inside of the terminal. Passengers can use these images to plan their journey through the facility.

Announcing the new services, Ulf Spitzer, Google Street View Program Manager, said: “Now, in addition to scoping out your destination, Street View can help you cut down on the stress of travelling by giving you a preview of the journey, too. Our first efforts to map global transit locations include 16 international airports, over 50 train and subway stations, and even a cable car station in Hong Kong.”