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Orcas and crocodiles and even deer – oh my!

<i>Silvana Flores/AFP/Getty Images via CNN Newsource</i><br/>Chef Arturo Rivera Martinez prepares tacos at Taquería El Califa de León restaurant in Mexico City on May 15.
Silvana Flores/AFP/Getty Images via CNN Newsource
Chef Arturo Rivera Martinez prepares tacos at Taquería El Califa de León restaurant in Mexico City on May 15.

By Forrest Brown, CNN

(CNN) — In travel news this week: When wild animals encounter people on the go, Europe’s best long-distance hiking and a dramatic emergency plane landing.

Animals in the news

It’s bad enough when travelers must deal with misbehaving crowds and unruly passengers. But at times, it seems like even the animal kingdom has it out for folks on the go.

We’ll start off in the ocean: Early this week, an unknown number of orcas sank a sailing yacht after ramming it in Moroccan waters in the Strait of Gibraltar. The vessel toyed with by the orcas was no tiny boat either – it measured 15 meters (49 feet) in length. And this isn’t the first ramming incident in the area.

And on to rivers: British traveler Georgia Laurie was recently awarded the King’s Gallantry Medal for bravery after helping her twin sister fight off a crocodile attack in a river in Mexico a few years ago. Crocodile attacks on people worldwide are much more common than attacks by alligators in the United States. However, just in case, here’s some sage advice if you happen upon a gator.

Finally, a land-based concern: Bears get a lot of attention when encounters with people go poorly, but it’s actually deer-vehicle collisions for which road-trippers need to be on guard. Find out what you can do to avoid being an accidental victim of Bambi.

Watch out for wildfires and weaponry

Continuing with the theme of safety a bit longer, Canadian wildfires are back in the news. Canada is a huge country, and the situation can change quickly. Travelers who have plans in potential fire zones – particularly in hard-hit British Columbia and Alberta – can get the latest info from Destination Canada. And for a worst-case scenario, it wouldn’t hurt to brush up on CNN Travel’s wildfire safety tips.

It also pays for travelers crossing international borders to bone up on local laws before they depart. For instance, the tropical Atlantic getaway of Turks and Caicos strictly enforces its laws against bringing firearms and ammunition to the islands. Five US tourists have been arrested on ammo charges in recent months. If convicted, they could face years in jail abroad.

It also pays to stay abreast of gun laws – and to check your carry-ons carefully – in the United States, too.  The Atlanta Police Department said this week it will arrest people caught with loaded guns in their bags at Hartsfield-Jackson International, the world’s busiest airport, after years of letting many walk away without being arrested, according to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.

Destination inspiration

Now let’s turn to the happier, escapist side of travel with a dollop of dreamy destinations.

First up is Mexico’s Cancun. It has a primo, pumped-up beach-party rep for good reason. But it’s also a prime destination if you’re seeking culture, history, delicious food and gorgeous natural scenery.

Next is Italy. It boasts the likes of Lake Como, which comes complete with mass tourism. But did you know Italy has dozens of secret smaller lakes (equally bellissimo) where locals get together on day trips and enjoy picnics? Here’s where to find them.

Finally, we’ve got a roundup of Europe’s best long-distance hiking trails – from the well-trodden pilgrimage that’s the Camino Frances in France and Spain to Scotland’s coast-to-coast John Muir Way.

Wherever you choose to hike, you’ll want to be sure you have the best pants around. Our partners at CNN Underscored, a product reviews and recommendations guide owned by CNN, have got you covered, so to speak, with 20 of their top suggestions.

It’s a treat to eat

Who doesn’t love fabulous food on a trip? And who doesn’t love a bargain? Travelers to Mexico City can get both. A tiny, no-frills taco stand in the San Rafael neighborhood – with just four items on its menu – has been awarded a coveted star by the Michelin Guide.

In Thailand, Varee Jeensuwan, the undeniable queen of mango sticky rice in Bangkok, tells CNN Travel why the sweet sensation is the best dessert in summertime.

And if you want to make getting there half the fun, here’s a look at a remote restaurant on Turkey’s Mediterranean coast that is serving some of the nation’s most exciting food. Savory éclair with shrimp cream, anyone?

In case you missed it

How she met her Boo.

The spirit moved her, so Amelia Showalter asked a stranger to join her on a ghost tour.

Emergency landing in Australia!

See dramatic footage of a small plane forced to land without wheels.

An airplane passenger was spotted in an overhead bin.

Here’s why that’s a terrible idea.

For US Civil War history buffs, an intriguing offer.

The National Park Service is leasing two historic houses on the Gettysburg battlefield for overnight stays.

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