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Travel news: Wild weather, clifftop hotels and all eyes on the UK

<i>Figurniy Sergey/Adobe Stock</i><br/>Pictured are Big Ben
Sergii Figurnyi - stock.adobe.co
Figurniy Sergey/Adobe Stock
Pictured are Big Ben

By Maureen O’Hare, CNN

In our travel roundup this week, we bring you lightning strikes, rainbow ice caves, clifftop hotels and tales of romance.

And in the United Kingdom, ceremonial events are set to lead up to Queen Elizabeth II’s state funeral. Are you traveling to Britain to witness the historic events? Or is a previously scheduled trip overlapping with this period? Please tell us about your plans via email (unlockingtheworld@cnn.com).

Wild world

It’s been another year of extreme weather, and experts believe that climate change could also affect air travel, too. The most severe and sudden type of turbulence, “clear-air turbulence,” is expected to increase in coming decades. Here’s why.

As the name suggests, clear-air turbulence can’t be seen, but the Weather Photographer of the Year 2022 competition showcases the finest images of phenomena that are visible — from frozen landscapes to sublime sunsets. The short list has now been revealed.

And in a beautiful video captured recently in Washington state ice caves, a rare rainbow is caught dancing along the cave walls and ceiling. Watch the gorgeous footage here. Rainbows also appeared Thursday in Britain after the Queen’s death was announced.

Lightning strikes look very pretty on camera, but you definitely don’t want to get struck. Here are our tips for avoiding a lightning strike.

Spectacular hotels

Design and architecture magazine Dezeen this week revealed its awards short list for 2022. Here are some of the most stylishly designed hotels and spas to be honored this year.

Of course, a truly incredible hotel is about more than just the building. The location needs to be five-star, too. A high perch never hurts. Here’s our roundup of the world’s best clifftop hotels.

For a luxurious vacation at best-value prices, Vietnam is one of Asia’s top destinations. Arrival rules for international travelers have been relaxed, so it’s a good time to plan a visit. Here are eight of the country’s top new hotels.

Love is all you need

Ida Skibenes and Hanna Aardal were coworkers and best friends. But when the Norwegian pals were coincidentally assigned a hotel room together on a company retreat, their relationship blossomed into romance.

And in another travel love story, American Libby Green and German-born Marcel Gnauk met on a promenade in the French city of Nice. Now they’ve made a career of journeying around the world and recording the sounds they encounter.

Frankfurt couple Robin Lachhein and Judith Schneider’s thing is skipping around the globe to recreate famous movie scenes, including moments from “Thelma and Louise,” “Forrest Gump” and “La La Land.”

Sadly, one location they can’t visit anymore is the real-life inspiration for the resort in “Dirty Dancing.” The legendary Grossinger’s Catskill Resort Hotel burned down last month.

Eat, drink, be merry

How far would you travel for a truly delicious pastry? How about 870 miles, by bike? That’s what one Belgian food-lover did when he went on a two-week odyssey to Nice to try a very special buttery treat.

Fans of the Netflix hit “Stranger Things” might also be tempted to make a pilgrimage to Tokyo’s Shibuya district to try out a pop-up cafe dedicated to the show. It closes at the end of the year, so act fast before the gate closes.

If sci-fi is more your thing, a new legion of smart robots are busy serving up coffees and acting as bellhops in Hong Kong. Here’s why they might be the future of hospitality.

And YouTube star Mr. Beast caused chaos in a New Jersey mall when huge crowds flooded into the building for the opening of his first brick-and-mortar burger joint. Watch here.

Lesser-known Italy

If you want to beat the crowds in Rome and Venice, try heading to some of Italy’s beautiful, lesser-known villages. Here are 8 glorious spots to explore.

In case you missed it

The Himalayan kingdom of Bhutan will reopen to tourists on September 23.

Anthony Bourdain visited the Buddhist country in 2018 with the film director Darren Aronofsky. Relive their trip with the “Parts Unknown” podcast.

More than 200,000 flights take off and land around the world on an average day.

And the Flightradar24 website tracks all of them in real-time. Here’s how plane-spotting became one of the internet’s hottest hobbies.

Stunning new 8K video footage shows the Titanic as you’ve never seen it before.

New details and color are revealed through the highest screen resolution possible. Look here.

Getting back to the daily grind is tough after returning from a trip away.

Here are our tips for dealing with the post-vacation blues.

Collapsible luggage

Suitcases are useful about 10% of the year and then the rest of the time they’re closet space-hogging Goliaths. What if, you know, they could just squoosh down a little?

Our partners at CNN Underscored, a product reviews and recommendations guide owned by CNN, tried out some collapsible luggage that claims to be the world’s slimmest. Here’s their review.

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