(TMU) — For some of us who are stuck at home, dreaming about what we’ll do once lockdown measures are relaxed has become almost a new past time.
Whether we’re reading about exotic lands or watching YouTube street food tours by excited travel bloggers, nothing sounds more appealing than a wonderful vacation abroad.
And while many countries are imposing new controls on the flow of foreign visitors, an Italian island is already planning how it can revive its tourism in the wake of the pandemic.
Sicily has announced that it plans to cover a major portion of the costs of visitors’ vacation as a way to lure tourists back.
The Italian island says that it will subsidize half of the flight costs and a third of the hotel expenses for those travelers who visit, reported The Times.
Free tickets will also be provided to many of its world-class museums and archaeological sites.
Sunset on #Etna looks like this , being overclouds does offer an extra energy boost ! Fireplace, sausage and trekking weekend on #Sicily YES possible ! This is all just 20 km from @CTAairport . Visit #Sicily pic.twitter.com/IaOfNwBTDg
— Alex (@GuyThatFly) January 17, 2020
With tourism making up 13% of Italy’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP), Sicily alone has suffered losses of more than €1 billion ($1.09 billion) in revenue related to the tourism industry, especially after Italy became the European epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic.
The proposed plan will cost the island roughly 50 million euros (about $55 million USD), but local authorities hope that an influx of bargain-hunting, quarantine-weary vacationers will help the region refill its war chest in due time.
🇬🇧 Someone said that #Pozzallo is a place where you never grow old. Maybe it's because it is a sort of terrace facing the Mediterranean Sea from where you can look at the vastness of sky and sea?
— Visit Sicily (@VisitSicilyOP) April 30, 2020
Those who are interested in visiting Sicily’s numerous attractions—ranging from the lunar landscape of the majestic volcano, Mt. Etna, to the Caribbean-style beaches of Messina and the island’s world-famous cuisine—are encouraged to keep an eye on the Visit Sicily website, where vouchers will be available as soon as the country opens its borders.
We can’t endorse Sicily enough as a travel destination. After all, where else can you enjoy a “Brioche con Gelato”—literally an ice cream sandwich inside a buttery soft roll—for breakfast? The country’s brilliant seafood dishes, famous pastas and countless other rich foods show show why the island, with its multicultural past, is celebrated as the gateway of the Mediterranean Sea.
CALTAGIRONE, A STAIRWAY TO HEAVEN
Brimming with cultural vigor, strength and resilience, Caltagirone is the heart of the authentic, wild southeastern Sicily.https://t.co/9G0Oywh4nW#Sicilia #Sicily #travel #italy #beautyfromitaly pic.twitter.com/RXGhOWp7M6
— BEAUTY FROM ITALY (@BeautyfromItaly) April 29, 2020
However, it remains unclear when the deal will come into effect, especially as access to air travel remains difficult across the world while many people remain under strict quarantine measures that prevent them from leaving their homes, let alone their countries for a nice spring or summer vacation.
It would seem that setting your sights on autumn for your Sicilian vacation is the best bet.
The Italian government declared a state of emergency on March 10 that included major travel restrictions, the imposition of shelter-at-home measures, and a ban on public gatherings. Italy has been one of the hardest-hit countries by the pandemic with a total death toll now standing at 27,967, second only to the United States, and one of the longest coronavirus lockdowns worldwide.
However, Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte plans to proceed with a cautious lifting of restrictions beginning May 4, when many parks, factories and construction sites throughout the country will open. Shops will remain closed until May 18, while bars, restaurants and hairdressers remain closed until June 1.
Keanu Reeves Praised As Video of Him Offering Seat to Lady in Subway Resurfaces
Keanu Reeves is an actor who has long been loved by audiences —and not necessarily due to his acting skills, but due to how nice the John Wick star is.
And now, Reeves is once again earning praise as a “true gentleman” after resurfaced video footage shows Reeves giving up his seat on the subway.
The clip was shared by Instagram film fan account Cinemonkeys where it has since earned nearly 45,000 likes.
The video footage dates back to 2011, when it was shared on YouTube by a user of the video-sharing platform.
At the time, Reeves was already a superstar riding on the fame he earned from the Matrix, Speed, and a number of other blockbuster hits.
When Reeves notices a woman carrying a heavy bag, he quickly points to his seat and asks if she would like to sit. The woman accepts and Reeves gets up without hesitating to let her take his seat.
Reeves, ever the model citizen, then stands and holds onto a subway pole while carrying his bag.
The video has since been watched over 27 million times and was even cited in a 2019 Time magazine profile of the actor describing Reeves as the “soul mate” of the internet.
The resurfacing of the clip on Instagram once again impressed users of the platform.
“This human being’s soul honestly shines so bright,” wrote one user.
“OMG I love him in every single way,” another person commented.
“His kindness knows no bounds,” commented someone else.
Keanu is set to reprise his role as Neo in the upcoming fourth Matrix film directed and written by Lana Wachowski, who co-directed the earlier trilogy with her sister Lilly. He will also return to the silver screen in John Wick: Chapter 4, which will be released in 2022.
Drunk Man Rescues Injured Baby Bird By Sending It To Animal Shelter… In An Uber
An injured baby bird received a new lease on life after a young man who was inebriated had the good sense to send the little creature to an animal shelter because he and his friends were too drunk to drive.
In the Summer of 2019, a small lesser goldfinch suddenly appeared by itself at the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah. The center’s chairman, Buz Marthaler, was notified by a volunteer who sent him a photo.
“It was a picture of this bird, and it had come by Uber,” Marthaler told FOX13. “It was just crazy.”
As it turns out, the tiny bird – which was only two weeks old – indeed rolled up to the site by its lonesome, the sole passenger in an Uber vehicle called by concerned citizens who found the injured creature.
Among those good Samaritans was Tim Crowley, who had been “day drinking” on that Saturday before he and his buddies witnessed the little bird fall from the sky.
“Impromptu, sitting in some camp chairs, hanging out, having a few drinks when we had a visitor fall out of the sky,” he explained.
Crowley then snapped a photo of the bird and sent it to the WRCNU, which instructed him to immediately bring the bird in. However, the group obviously couldn’t drive since they had been guzzling booze all day.
So Crowley decided he’d hail a cab for the creature.
“At first it was a joke, like, ‘Hey, maybe we should just call Uber!’” he said. “Then we were like, ‘No, really. Why not? We’re paying them.’”
As it turns out, the bird – since named “Petey Uber” by staff at the rescue center – likely would have perished if not for Crowley’s quick thinking.
Marthaler remains impressed by Crowley’s move and shared the news on its Facebook page.
“While we feel we’ve seen it all and can’t be amazed by anything, there is always someone out there to prove us wrong,” the shelter’s post read. “Thank you to the rescuer who helped this little one get the care it needed in a timely manner and thank you for keeping yourself safe and others on the road safe as well.”
Binx the Cat, Who Survived Florida Condo Collapse, Found and Reunited With Family
Amid the tragedy of last month’s collapse of a South Florida condo building, there was a tiny bit of good news when a cat named Binx, who lived on the ninth floor of the Surfside building, was found safe and returned to his family.
“I’m glad that this small miracle could bring some light into the lives of a hurting family today and provide a bright spot for our whole community in the midst of this terrible tragedy,” said Miami-Dade County Mayor Daniella Levine Cava in a Friday press conference, reports NPR.
Levine Cava explained that a volunteer who feeds street cats in the area recognized the cat near the building before bringing him to an animal shelter, where it was then identified.
Gina Nicole Vlasek, the co-founder of the The Kitty Campus rescue group, posted on Facebook that a black cat had been found near the rubble of the group before it was brought to the shelter on Thursday night.
“We are so grateful to be able to help in any small way,” Vlasek said.
“All we needed was a ray of hope in this tragedy,” she continued. “Today was one of the most amazing days.. one of the survivors came to see the cat and to determine if it was her families cat and IT WAS!”
The mayor said that animal control workers are continuing to work to recover any pets that may have survived the horrible collapse.
The 12-story Surfside condo collapsed on June 24. At least 79 people have been confirmed dead, with 61 additional residents remaining unaccounted for.