Every Friday, we help you navigate the week’s most important and interesting travel news stories.

Breaking travel news for travellers.

As feared, the United States Congress and the president brought a partial shutdown to the US federal government this week. For travellers that means popular destinations such as the Smithsonian museums and the National Zoo in Washington DC and New York’s Statue of Liberty are closed. There may be delays or closures in certain government offices, such as with the issuing of passports and visas, but flights and shipping are not likely to be affected. There's no sign of an end to the bitter deadlock yet – the last such shutdown, nearly 20 years ago, lasted for a total of 28 days.  [Washington Post, CBS ]

Better news across the Atlantic, as train company Eurostar signed an agreement to bring high-speed train service between London and Amsterdam via the Chunnel, a trip that's expected to take less than four hours. Service won't begin until 2016, though, so you'll have to continue to transfer in Brussels until then. [Travel Industry Digest]

Amazing things that should happen more often

It can be hard to find good food options at the airport where time's at a premium – but it helps to know what you're in for. You may have suspected that a cinnamon roll at Cinnabon is not a light option, but did you know it comes in at nearly 900 calories? Starbucks's oatmeal with nuts, on the other hand, looks like a champ at just 250 calories. [Independent Traveler.com]

In-flight entertainment
Photos and videos that went viral on the Web this week

Barcelona's Sagrada Família, under construction since 1882, will be the world’s tallest church once it's finished, with basilica’s central tower standing at 172m tall. The untimely death of its creator, Antoni Gaudí, in 1926, when the church was just a quarter done, as well the destruction of models and plans during the Spanish Civil War, contributed to the delay, as did a complicated, organic design that still manages to look rather alien. Now, through the magic of time-lapse animation, you can look ahead to what it will look like when finished, somewhere around 2026. [The Verge]

Hold on folks, we’re in for a rocky ride

It sounds like a joke, but at least one Chinese airline is teaching its cabin crew kung fu moves. It's not a misbegotten attempt to break into action movies; it's to help head off trouble from unruly passengers. There were roughly 25 fights at Chinese airports this summer, many triggered by flight delays. [The Guardian]

Like "In brief"? Talk with us on Twitter @BBC_Travel or with the hashtag #bbcinbrief