On This Day in 1997, Linda Finch Completed Her Round-the-World Flight

John G. Mabanglo // AFP // Getty Images
John G. Mabanglo // AFP // Getty Images

On May 28, 1997, pilot Linda Finch concluded her flight retracing Amelia Earhart's round-the-world attempt. Finch landed at the Oakland, California airport—where Earhart had intended to finish her globe-spanning flight 60 years prior. Finch's flight took two and a half months.

The last leg of the trip was the longest. It was a 2,000-mile slog from Honolulu to Oakland. Finch flew the same model of plane Earhart used, an Electra 10E built in the 1930s. It cruised at just 90 mph, yet it was enough to circumnavigate the Earth. She used a modern navigation/communication system (including weather radar) to make the journey less perilous. Cheering crowds greeted her in person, and others followed along online, reading text updates. Vice President Al Gore called her after the landing with a message of congratulations.

During her journey, Finch posted updates online and answered emails from kids. She called the project "World Flight 1997," and lots of kids "flew with Linda" in school. Her classic World Flight 1997 website is still accessible thanks to The Internet Archive.

Here's a snippet from Finch's final dispatch before landing, written from the plane (which could, incidentally, send and receive faxes, among other cool 1997 things!):

May 28 - En Route to Oakland

It is 6:30 am Oakland time. We will be landing at 9:30 as planned. The sun has come up and there is a beautiful layer of clouds below. We flew through some rain showers for about an hour, and it was a little bumpy. The morning is beautiful.

I will soon be going to the back of the plane to put on a clean flight suit for the arrival. It will be great to be home. I can't wait to be able to hug my children. I have gotten hugs from many children all around the world, but they have not replaced the ones I have missed. I have lots of family and close friends that will meet me at the plane.

It is hard to believe that we have almost finished the entire flight. We have been all of the way around the world. As I have told you before, the world is much smaller for me now - and I hope it is for you also. The people we met are just like the people at home.

Here's a delightful 1990s video on Finch and her flight:

Looking to Downsize? You Can Buy a 5-Room DIY Cabin on Amazon for Less Than $33,000

Five rooms of one's own.
Five rooms of one's own.
Allwood/Amazon

If you’ve already mastered DIY houses for birds and dogs, maybe it’s time you built one for yourself.

As Simplemost reports, there are a number of house kits that you can order on Amazon, and the Allwood Avalon Cabin Kit is one of the quaintest—and, at $32,990, most affordable—options. The 540-square-foot structure has enough space for a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom, and a sitting room—and there’s an additional 218-square-foot loft with the potential to be the coziest reading nook of all time.

You can opt for three larger rooms if you're willing to skip the kitchen and bathroom.Allwood/Amazon

The construction process might not be a great idea for someone who’s never picked up a hammer, but you don’t need an architectural degree to tackle it. Step-by-step instructions and all materials are included, so it’s a little like a high-level IKEA project. According to the Amazon listing, it takes two adults about a week to complete. Since the Nordic wood walls are reinforced with steel rods, the house can withstand winds up to 120 mph, and you can pay an extra $1000 to upgrade from double-glass windows and doors to triple-glass for added fortification.

Sadly, the cool ceiling lamp is not included.Allwood/Amazon

Though everything you need for the shell of the house comes in the kit, you will need to purchase whatever goes inside it: toilet, shower, sink, stove, insulation, and all other furnishings. You can also customize the blueprint to fit your own plans for the space; maybe, for example, you’re going to use the house as a small event venue, and you’d rather have two or three large, airy rooms and no kitchen or bedroom.

Intrigued? Find out more here.

[h/t Simplemost]

This article contains affiliate links to products selected by our editors. Mental Floss may receive a commission for purchases made through these links.

Florence’s Plague-Era Wine Windows Are Back in Business

A wine window in Florence's Via Santo Spirito.
A wine window in Florence's Via Santo Spirito.

Many bars and restaurants have started selling takeout cocktails and other alcoholic beverages to stay in business—and keep customers safe—during the coronavirus pandemic. Meanwhile, 17th-century Florentines are surely applauding from their front-row seats in the afterlife.

As Insider reports, a number of buildings in Florence had been constructed with small “wine windows,” or buchette del vino, through which vendors sold wine directly to less affluent customers. When the city suffered an outbreak of plague in the 1630s, business owners recognized the value of these windows as a way to serve people without spreading germs. They even exchanged money on a metal tray that was sanitized with vinegar.

Wine not?sailko, Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

Things eventually went back to normal, and the windows slowly fell out of fashion altogether as commerce laws evolved. This year, however, they’ve made a comeback. According to Food & Wine, there are currently at least four in operation around Florence. Osteria delle Brache in Piazza Peruzzi is using its window to deliver wine and cocktails, for example, and the Vivoli ice cream shop, a go-to dessert spot since 1929, is handing out sweet scoops and coffee through its formerly dormant aperture.

Apart from the recent resurgence of interest, the wine windows often go unnoticed by tourists drawn to the grandeur of attractions like the Uffizi Gallery and the Florence Cathedral. So in 2015, locals Matteo Faglia, Diletta Corsini, and Mary Christine Forrest established the Wine Window Association to generate some buzz. In addition to researching the history of the windows, they also keep a running list of all the ones they know of. Florence has roughly 150, and there are another 100 or so in other parts of Tuscany.

They’re hoping to affix a plaque near each window to promote their stories and discourage people from defacing them. And if you want to support their work, you can even become a member of the organization for €25 (about $29).

[h/t Insider]