Travel Briefs

Containing more than 10,000 items related to boating, including scale models, navigation equipment and maps and charts as well as works of fine art, Musée Mer Marine, or Museum of the Sea & the Navy (89 rue des Etrangers, Bordeaux; phone +33 5 57 19 77 73,, opened in the former port of Bordeaux, France, on June 21, 2019.

Exhibits have info posted in English. Open 10:30 a.m.-6 p.m. Wed.-Fri. and 10:30-7 Sat. & Sun. Entry, €14 (near $16).


In the city of Nelson on New Zealand’s South Island, a peanut butter factory opened Pic’s Peanut Butter World (49 Saxton Road; phone +64 3 544 8402, on Feb. 23.

On a free 40-minute tour, offered at 10 and 11:45 a.m. and 1:30 p.m., visitors can make their own peanut butter, get samples (including tastes of almond and cashew butters) and buy products found only at the factory. A spot on the tour should be booked in advance.


InterContinental Hotels Group, which owns hotel chains such as Holiday Inn, Crowne Plaza, Kimpton and Regent, announced on July 30 that it will remove mini-toiletries from their hotel rooms and replace them with bulk containers. About a third of the company’s hotels have made the change, with the goal to complete the move by 2021.


In the town of Whanganui, on New Zealand’s North Island, visitors can rent ebikes for up to eight hours from eBikes Wanganui (73 Putiki Dr.; phone +64 6 348 8008,

An ebike uses an electric motor to propel the bike or, on climbs, offer pedaling assistance. The motor can produce speeds up to 32 kph (near 20 mph). Pedaling options are indicated on an LED screen on the handlebars, which also shows distance traveled and speed. An 8-hour rental costs NZD50 (...


The ride-sharing company Uber introduced a submarine-hiring service, scUber, on May 27. A submersible with pilot can be hired for one hour by one or two people using the Uber app (available on iPhone and Android).

A scUber submersible is currently available at two Great Barrier Reef locations: Heron Island, off the coast of Gladstone, and Agincourt Reef, off the coast of Cairns, both in Queensland, Australia.

Hiring a scUber costs US$3,000, which includes pickup and drop-off at...


The US State Department announced on June 1 that passport applications now will take six to eight weeks to be processed, up from the four to six weeks it had taken previously. At press time, it was not known whether this change was temporary or permanent. Expedited service, offering processing in two to three weeks, is still available for an extra $60.

On June 1, China began limiting the number of visitors to the Badaling section of the Great Wall, outside of Beijing, to 65,000 people per day. To help enforce the limit, timed tickets for visiting that section must now be purchased at least seven days in advance.

As of press time, tickets were available only with the assistance of Chinese-speaking travel agents. A ticket costs CNY40 (near $6), April 1-Oct. 31, and CNY35, Nov. 1-March 31.

At the Taj Mahal in Agra, India, a new pricing structure with a time limit was introduced on June 23. Entry to the grounds now costs INR1,000 (near $14.40) for three hours, with entry to the mausoleum costing an additional INR200. Anyone staying even one minute beyond the allotted three hours will be charged INR1,000 for another three hours, with the same condition then applying again upon exiting.

(For example, a person spending six hours and one minute on the grounds will be charged...