Saturday snippets: 31st May 2014

By | Category: Travel news
Tvrdava sv. Ivan, Dubrovnik


In Wales, a new zip line experience will ensure that the already action-packed (my italics) region of Snowdonia becomes the zip line capital of the world when it opens to visitors in June according to the local tourism authority. Zip World Titan will complete the largest zip zone in the world, flying daredevils along eight kilometres of wire at up to 70 miles per hour. Thrill seeking families and friends can even take each other as four zips will be in action at one time on each of the three sections of wire. The attraction will take zip lining to the next level when it joins the original Zip World Velocity at Penryhn Quarry, home to the longest zip line in the Northern Hemisphere with rides over 100 miles per hour.

Hardly a week passes without Croatia managing to appear in the Snippets column. Now Thomson and Thomas Cook have both announced additional flights to the country for next year. In addition, Thomson Cruises’ “cruise and stay” success in Dubrovnik means that the port will become the cruise liners’ home port for next year . In addition, this year, the ferry from Rijeka to Dubrovnik has been introduced. The Liburnija wil link the Kvarner region to southern Croatia giving visitors a, easier way to see Croatia from the Adriatic Sea.  The route begins next month and twice weekly services will run over Summer.

And yes, another story from the country! Zadar’s peninsuar will see canals dug through Foša and Jazine and the reconstruction of historic canals, which will turn the peninsula into an island with three pedestrian bridges connecting it to Zadar town. This will add to the attractions of Zadar  and there are additional plans to develop several bars, cafes, a cinema, museums, concert halls, restaurants and create an amphitheatre along the canal.

The European bison, the continent’s largest wild land mammal, used to roam across Europe until it was hunted to extinction in the wild in 1927. Seventeen European bison have now been now introduced into the Tarcu Mountain Reserve in Romania’s Southern Carpathians, with a further 10 more to be released during this summer. The initiative is a partnership between Rewilding Europe and WWF Romania. Extinct from the area for over 250 years, this new bison population has been brought in from several corners of Europe and within 10 years should see 500 European bison living in total freedom in an area spanning 59,000 hectares of remote mountains, meadows and valleys.

Brits are leaping at holidaying in NZ

Brits are leaping at holidaying in NZ

New Zealand continues to attract us to travel there. Figures from their tourist board say that international visitor arrivals for the year-ending April 2014 went up to more than 2.78 million, up 6.1 per cent year-on-year. The UK was amongst the stand-out performers with a growth of 2.8 per cent for the 12-month period.  The tourist authority says we are attracted by “New Zealand’s premium offering with a number of new boutique lodges and hotels launching in 2013 and 2014, as well as new cycling experiences linked to the newly completed New Zealand Cycle Trail and the continuing impact of the country’s starring role in Sir Peter Jackson’s Hobbit Trilogy.”

Icelandair, announces a scheduled service from Birmingham to Reykjavik from February next year.. The new flights will operate twice weekly, Thursdays and Mondays and provide a usually cheap service into the US via Iceland. In addition to Birmingham, Icelandair also offers year round service from UK to Iceland from Heathrow, Gatwick, Manchester and Glasgow. Flights are on sale now.

Cambridge Airport isn’t an airport much considered by holidaymakers as an airport ti consider but that may change now that CityJet has launched two services from there. One links the city with Dublin, the other with Amsterdam and thus feeds into those two hubs more passengers for world- wide connections. Dublin has the advantage of US flights which enable you to go through US passport control in Ireland whilst Amsterdam offers the KLM-Air France network.

Motorists will have to pay £11.50 a day to drive into central London from next month as Transport for London (TfL) raises the congestion charge. The increase from £10, the first since 2011, will come into effect from 16 June. Since the charge started at £5 to reduce traffic flows the price has doubled yet Sue Terpilowski, Chairman of the London Policy Unit at the Federation of Small Business, says that congestion is back to the levels when the then mayor, Ken Livingstone introduced the charge.  It looks tom me like another policy that hasn’t worked yet has become a useful revenue earner

There is a strong tradition of lace-making in our countries, particularly Nottingham, yet the biggest fare event celebrating the fact is based in Slovenia. From 20 to 22 June the 33rd international festival of world-famous Idrija lace will be held in the historic town of Idrija. The three-hundred-year-old tradition of bobbin lace-making sees a revival in the oldest mining town in Slovenia, which has been placed on UNESCO’s list of world heritage sites. Idrija is 50 kilometres from the capital, Ljubljana which has direct links with Gatwick, Luton, Manchester and Stansted airports.

Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden

Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden

The affectionately named “Boomslang” or Tree Canopy Walkway at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden in South Africa is now open to the public and offers visitors an unusual and unique view from forest floor to treetops – yet another reason to visit the Garden. 130m long and curves between the trees and through the branches.  It is roughly crescent-shaped and joins the forest floor in two different places within the park. It doesn’t cost anything to walk on the walkway although, of course, there is a gardens entrance fee.

Ski-Scotland has announced that,  for the season just ended, there were 235,303 skier days which generated about £23.7m for the Scottish economy.This was down on the previous season due to high winds and – daft as this sounds -too much snow! Apparently ski centre staff were sometimes spending more time digging out runs, tows and chairlifts so that the five resorts could be used by visitors than they were selling tickets.

Staying in Scotland, today is the day that the tram service begins from the airport to the centre of Edinburgh. Is it faster or cheaper than the bus service? No, but it will carry more passengers. Except that I rarely remember a bus ever being full. After 6 years of  disruption, argument, cost-over-runs and cut-backs, it will be interesting to see what locals and passengers think of it in a year or two? White elephant or necessary to help visitors – and locals – get around. 





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