Pandemic travel news: Norway lifts all restrictions; Canada relaxes rules

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Hop on board. CNN Travel is back with another weekly whistle-stop tour of world news, from Amsterdam’s Covid-struck cannabis cafes to a snake on a Malaysian plane.

Plus, as always, we have the latest updates on global travel restrictions.

There was mayhem at 30,000 feet this week, as an American Airlines flight attendant reportedly used a coffee pot to subdue an unruly passenger, while a snake slithered on board an AirAsia flight in Malaysia.

The UK was gripped by Storm Eunice on Friday, and a plane spotter named Jerry Dyer became a national hero as more than 200,000 people tuned in to watch bumpy aircraft landings on his YouTube live stream from Heathrow Airport.

An aircraft struggles against the crosswinds as it comes in to land at Heathrow Airport on February 18.

Down on ground level, shiny new international train routes are popping up all over Europe – from Vienna to Paris, Brussels to Prague, and more. Here are 19 of the best new routes for 2022.

When it comes to heritage lines, though, you can’t do much better than America’s Coast Starlight. It weaves down the West Coast from Seattle to Los Angeles and offers 35 hours of scenic splendor.

Before Covid came along, the Dutch capital’s biggest problem was overtourism. Amsterdam’s streets were often thronged with hedonistic hordes drawn by the city’s infamous red light district and liberal drug laws.

Dutch cannabis-vending coffee shops were deemed “essential businesses” during Covid and, unlike bars and restaurants, never completely closed. But without the tourists many rely on heavily, how have the capital’s 167 cannabis cafes fared during the pandemic? Here’s where things stand.

France’s Eiffel Tower is arguably the world’s most recognizable landmark, the wrought-iron lines of “La Dame de Fer” (“Iron Lady”) standing tall in our collective consciousness.

But did you know that at the end of the 19th century, construction began on a London rival that would have been 100 feet taller than the Parisian original?

Read the story of the doomed Watkin’s Tower and where its remains can be found today.

It’s all looking good on the reopening front, as more and more countries announce that they’re easing travel restrictions.

There are Mongolia and Papua New Guinea, finally open to vaccinated travelers. Canada, which will relax Covid testing rules from February 28. Austria, which will lift most restrictions by March 5. And Vietnam, which is eyeing a full reopening from March 15. (You can listen to Anthony Bourdain’s “Parts Unknown” podcast from Vietnam here).

Most countries have different rules for jabbed and unjabbed travelers, but not Norway, which has lifted all restrictions for all travelers, and Lithuania, which has free entry for visitors from the EU, the US and selected other destinations.

And while more than half the world’s travel destinations are still classed “very high” for Covid-19 risk by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the agency has at least lowered its risk advisory for cruises from “very high” to “high.”

And at US Disney Resorts, the mask requirement has been lifted for vaccinated guests.

Turning a hobby into a job is the ultimate dream – and airplane photographer Laird Kay managed just that. Here’s the story of how his creative spark makes rivets riveting and exhaust pipes exquisite.

Could your 2022 do with more dolce vita?

Then sign up for CNN Travel’s new Unlocking Italy newsletter and start planning your ultimate Italian vacation.

A railway company put out an ad for women train drivers in Saudi Arabia.

It was amazed by the response.

A “very rare” baby ghost shark has been discovered in New Zealand.

Imagine a teensy prawn crossed with a very cute bat.

Whether you’re hiking the Himalayas or striding down city sidewalks, the one travel essential above all others is a decent pair of shoes. Our partners at CNN Underscored, a product reviews and recommendations guide owned by CNN, have rounded up 20 great pairs of travel shoes that look and feel good.