🐈 Eurosong, Emigration, and More in Pipeaway Newsletter #129

Pipeaway travel newsletter #129; AI image by DALL-E/Adobe.

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Hi from Malmö!

A whopping 69% of Sweden is covered in forests. Malmö itself hosts about 64,000 trees. Abubakar Tahiru (29) would have fun for days.

When I called for tree-hugging last week, I had no idea that the forestry student from Ghana would actually break the world record in Alabama. In one hour, Abubakar hugged 1,123 trees, hoping to inspire young people to care for the environment.

Eurovision favorite Baby Lasagna (aka Marko Purišić) will be 29 this year as well. With his catchy song “Rim Tim Tagi Dim”, he’s speaking to young people too, especially those who’ve left their homes in search of something better, maybe like the Ghana student in the USA.

It’s Eurosong week in Malmö, and it’s no surprise that the Croatian act has great betting odds. Besides the song’s energy, the topic of emigration resonates with many. The politics may leave us feeling disheartened (three weeks after the elections, Croatia still doesn’t have a government). But Eurovision unites, and it is more exciting than casting votes for the parliaments.

Nensi Profaca, the same TV author who made my portrait four years ago, created the video that rallied nationwide support for Baby Lasagna. From ballerinas to policemen, the whole of Croatia danced along, as if they were in Malmö themselves.

Besides musicians, meow-sicians have been stealing the spotlight too. Even with no Garfield around, in Baby Lasagna’s world, cats are important, and one-eyed Stipe caught the attention of Eurosong audiences.

In Thailand, another orange cat went viral after spending its days at Suvarnabhumi International Airport. Supposedly, the furry fellow Nurang doesn’t like staying at home, so he rather rides airport escalators. You have to see this.

And if you need more feline-inspired photography, be sure to check out rave.cat project. Its author, Jelena Janković is another talented address-fluid artist from the Balkans who loves to combine tradition and modernity.

There will be more cat reflections in the featured spotlight, but also…

Find this in today’s newsletter:

  • Words: Living the fantasy.
  • Images: Sayonara scenery, bienvenido beaches.
  • Numbers: Order on the carousel, turbulence in tummies.
  • P.S.: A ticket to mom’s heart.

Have a rim-tim-tagi-dim week! Ivan Kralj         Pipeaway.com

Silly Side: What did one hat say to the other? "You stay here, I'll go on ahead!" If you want to stay ahead of the game, click on the stories that caught your attention! That helps us learn what you like.


Cats resting near the beach in Naxos during sunset, photo by Ivan Kralj


Roaming Reboot – Life’s Not a Catwalk

Having a home base to return to after travels in the last decade, lulled me into security. Now that my apartment contract has been canceled, and the Zagreb rental market has gone bananas, I feel freer to go back to longer transformative journeys again. I found nomadism extremely healing seven years ago, so hopefully this occasion will relieve certain burdens too. It’s also a timely reminder that there are no alternatives to our own paths. Unlike cats, we don’t have nine lives.




This Saturday was the Star Wars Day. If you’ve never heard of this para-holiday, does “May the 4th be with you” sound familiar? George Lucas created an entire universe, and if you want to embrace it like a travel itinerary, you’ll have to crisscross the planet from Croatia to Bolivia, from California to Australia. Recharge your lightsabers at these Star Wars-themed hotels.


Willy’s Chocolate Experience in Glasgow was a disaster of galactic proportions. But, like a phoenix rising from the cocoa-dusted ashes, an Unknown organizer in Los Angeles has recreated the event, now with an upgraded version of ChatGPT, and three additional jelly beans per visitor.


Airbnb is giving away golden tickets too. Now you can stay in a floating house (for free!), lifted by 8,000 balloons, just like in the iconic “Up” adventure movie. If you don’t trust hanging your life on a crane but still feel adventurous with helium balloons, reach for the stratosphere with Halo Space, for $150,000 per ticket. And then, if you prefer to stay grounded, you can always admire – ceilings.




In March, Japan’s tourist tally hit the stratosphere, with over 3 million visitors. While the numbers break records, some foreigners are breaking common courtesy. After Kyoto took measures against geisha harassment, the town of Fujikawaguchiko is now setting up a screen to hide Mount Fuji from tourists leaving chaos and litter.


European Best Destinations have crowned the continent’s finest beaches. Malta’s Ghajn Tuffieha Bay Beach claims the top spot, while Greece, Spain, Portugal, and Turkey are beach-bumming right behind. For more inspiration, consider recommendations by The Guardian readers, or bare it all in Santorini, Mykonos, and the rest of Cyclades.


Remember the viral image of the so-called Scotrail Northern Line cliff I shared in the article about Facebook being flooded with AI images? The rumor investigators from Snopes have fact-checked it.




The number of bags Kansai International Airport lost since it first opened in 1994. Airline companies mishandled an average of 7.6 pieces of baggage per 1,000 passengers in 2022, but the Japanese airport has been impeccable for three decades. In 2023, the airport efficiently handled 10 million bags. To put it in perspective, an average airport would lose 76,000 bags. But not Kansai.


The staggering number of minutes a plane in South China was delayed because a passenger refused to sit upright for takeoff. Despite the police intervention, she held her ground and insisted on lying flat for almost three hours. Does that qualify for that Montenegro Olympics?


The amount Singapore Airlines should pay an Indian couple whose seats did not recline automatically, but manually. That’s $1,600 for the ticket refund and $800 for “mental agony and physical suffering”. If Condor Airlines were to get a similar verdict, it could be costly. On the flight from Mauritius to Frankfurt, 70 out of 290 passengers started vomiting. The food poisoning record is still held by the 1975 Japan Airlines flight when 197 people experienced vomiting and diarrhea midflight.

Tiqets logo.


 Mom’s Day Out – A Global Tour of Treats

This Mother’s Day, Tiqets is rolling out the red carpet for all the marvelous moms out there. If in London, take her to one of the world’s largest botanical gardens. When in Budapest, pamper her with a spa day and a side of fine Hungarian brandy. While in Barcelona, yoga and brunch on the open sea could be a perfect sailing trip. In Paris, a myriad of wine and cheese pairings await. But no matter where you are, there are great ways to celebrate your mother. The promo code LOVEMOM24 unlocks a 5% discount until May 12th at midnight here.


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This is the archived version of our free weekly newsletter. To start receiving it in your mailbox on the send-out day, join the newsletter list!

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Ivan Kralj


Award-winning journalist and editor from Croatia

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the whistling signal for the ship about to
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Pipeaway is a travel blog mapping extraordinary people, places and passions.
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