Welcome to The Check-In, our weekend feature focusing on all things travel.
It's now easier for 'The Last of Us' fans to check out filming locations in Alberta
There's a way to follow in the footsteps of Joel and Ellie, without having to worry about the infected, FEDRA, or hunters on your tail.
The HBO hit The Last of Us, based on the popular video game, was shot entirely in Alberta, Canada, between July 2021 and June 2022. Travel Alberta says this was the largest film production in the province's history — and one of the biggest in Canada — with scenes shot everywhere from downtown Calgary to the Legislature Building in Edmonton to Fort Macleod.
Travel Alberta has put together an interactive map showing the different filming locations, and is updating it with new spots as the episodes air. There's also an accompanying episode guide that dives deeper into the neighborhoods, buildings, and stores that appear in the show. This makes it easy for The Last of Us fans to take a self-guided tour, and while sadly, it's unlikely you'll run across Pedro Pascal during your adventure, at least you can see what these locations look like without a post-apocalyptic sheen.
United Airlines flight falls to just 800 feet above the Pacific
In "maybe we should reconsider this whole flying thing" news, it was reported this week that back in December, a United Airlines flight en route from Maui to San Francisco suddenly plunged, falling to 800 feet above the Pacific Ocean.
The incident occurred on Dec. 18, right after United Flight 1722, a Boeing 777-200, reached 2,200 feet. The Air Current reports that the plane began "a steep dive that ... reached a descent rate of nearly 8,600 feet per minute." The aircraft was below 775 feet when it recovered. The flight continued without incident, and upon landing, the two pilots — who have about 25,000 flying hours between them — filed a safety report. United told NBC News an investigation was conducted, which "ultimately resulted in the pilots receiving additional training. Safety remains our highest priority."
What goes into making a hotel sustainable?
At 1 Hotel San Francisco, a lemon isn't just a lemon.
It's an ingredient in several dishes at the on-property restaurant Terrene, a garnish, a zest, and even part of the salt that goes around the rim of the ZW (Zero Waste) Cocktail. With sustainability driving the hotel's mission, a team tasked with finding ways to take an ingredient "from A to Z" learned that a lemon can go the distance — after being juiced, they're roasted in the wood-fired oven, which makes them produce more juice. From there, this shell of a lemon is "basically turned into a charred ash, but it's a lemon ash, and we're able to capture that and mix it with a little salt and it becomes a garnish," Joel Costa, director of sales and marketing at 1 Hotel San Francisco, told The Week. "No part of it is ever left."
Before it opened in June 2022, the 1 Hotel San Francisco underwent an extensive, sustainability-focused renovation. To reduce waste and minimize carbon emissions, locally-sourced and repurposed materials were used for everything from the floors to the elevator walls, and the interior was gutted, with new energy-efficient lighting and plumbing systems installed. Five-minute timers are in every shower, to remind people of the drought and the importance of conserving water, and there are no single-use plastic cups, bottles, or straws on the property. "Every choice we make is very thoughtful — it's a very 360-degree thought process," Costa said.
The same research went into key room details, like the sheets, and Costa said there was a learning curve. "Originally, when we were searching for organic cotton sheets, it was brought to our attention through various vendors that organic cotton is actually more harmful to the planet than regular cotton because of the water use," he explained. "Now, we sustainably source our linens, which makes better sense for the planet because we're not encouraging the growth process of organic, which ends up costing more in soil and water and other resources. That was an interesting topic for me to wrap my head around."
The fun part of sustainability is thinking big, and dreaming up ways to enhance the guest experience while still being eco-friendly. There are hits — like letting people borrow bicycles made from recycled Nespresso pods — and misses, as 1 Hotel San Francisco learned when it first gave travelers who forgot toothpaste a charcoal product. "It didn't go over well, because when brushing teeth, it's black," Costa said. "Of course it rinses out, but it sort of turned people off. We subsequently changed to offering little chewable tablets, which are not wasteful."
This goes along with 1 Hotel San Francisco's goal of minimizing waste, especially in the kitchen. "We strove to incorporate as much hyper-locality as possible right off the bat, once we had an executive chef on board," Costa said. "Before we opened, we started visiting local farmers and making relationships come to fruition so we could get unique ingredients for our menus that are coming in from less than 50 miles, or 100 miles at the most. ... We're fortunate in Northern California this is possible."
When there isn't a lot of travel time, produce stays fresh and doesn't go bad before it makes it to the dining room — and if a few sprigs of an herb or some micro greens are needed, there's a chef's garden growing on the hotel's rooftop, alongside bee hives producing honey for drinks and desserts. Costa said that as of December, the kitchen diverts about 71 percent of its waste out of landfills through composting and recycling, and "we're very proud of that. Seventy-one percent and only six months old is a really good number."
Catherine Garcia was a guest at 1 Hotel San Francisco.
Plan accordingly: Upcoming events to add to your calendar
Now in its 26th year, the New York International Children's Film Festival — running March 3-19 — will present a lengthy slate of thoughtful and smart live-action and animated movies. The goal of the festival is to use film to help young people better understand themselves and those around them, while showcasing diverse storytellers. The films are screened in theaters across New York City, and attendees can also participate in events like Q&As with filmmakers. For 2023, there will be new movies shown from France, Mexico, and Japan, as well as the international premiere of Ernest & Celestine: A Trip to Giberritia.
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