Saturday snippets: 7th June 2014

By | Category: Travel news
Robert the Bruce

Robert the Bruce

A museum dedicated to telling the story of the Normandy landings is set to receive a £4.1m grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).Portsmouth’s D-Day Museum is currently marking the 70th anniversary of the invasion which was a turning point for the Allies during World War Two. The money will be used to “renew” it in time for the 75th anniversary in 2019.

The Beacon Museum in Whitehaven  which only opened 18 years ago, was earmarked for closure by Copeland Borough Council in 2012, but was saved when nuclear company Sellafield agreed to run it jointly with the council. the council in Cumbria  said then that it faced closing museums, axing services and cutting up to 40 jobs in an effort to shave 25% from its annual spending. Does this provide a blueprint for other museums faced with cuts or closure – getting support, sponsorship or even ownership by large local companies?

Apologies to all our readers. I had forgotten to record that First Scot Rail have re-introduced their Club 55 promotion. From 1 May to 30 June you can make a return trip between any of over 345 stations across Scotland for just £19 return – from the wilds of Wick in the north to Stranraer in the south. It is also valid for return trips to Carlisle and Berwick-Upon-Tweed too.

The  annual,  International Air Transport Association (IATA) has called upon governments and industry to work to effectively deter and manage the significant problem of unruly air passenger behaviour. Such behaviour includes committing physical assault, disturbing good order on board or failing to follow lawful crew instructions. Is this because assaults on airline staff are mounting? This wasn’t made clear. Since a person an already be removed from a plane it seems that more attention should be paid to the passenger at the airport before they board.

India’s southern state of Andhra Pradesh has formally split in two. The northern part has been made a state and called Telangana. It officially came into existence earlier this week and becomes the country’s 29th state. With a population of 35 million, it comprises 10 former districts of Andhra Pradesh and the city of Hyderabad which it will share as capital for the next 10 years with Andhra Pradesh.

Malaysia Airlines’ passengers can now check-in a maximum of two pieces of baggage regardless of whether you fly in Economy, Business and First class.. These revisions apply to all tickets for travel from 28 May 2014 onwards on all Malaysia Airlines international and domestic flights. It also applies to passengers with domestic connections on MASwings. It does not cover code-share flights operated on other airlines. Note however that the overall weight allowance has not gone up.

Its only about two weeks to the longest day. But in Sweden the length of daylight is even longer than ours and they celebrate it more. You can take part in a very Swedish tradition by marking the arrival of summer on midsummer eve. Maypoles are raised everywhere – in villages, in cities and at famous landmarks, such as Läckö Castle,  (about 100 miles north of Gothenburg) which sees thousands of visitors gather on its lawns every Midsummer Eve. At each celebration throughout the country, everyone tucks into a traditional Midsummer feast, including pickled herring, boiled new potatoes with fresh dill, soured cream and red onion – as well as fresh strawberries and a great deal of schnapps! Another tradition sees girls putting flowers in their hair and placing seven different flowers under their pillow, in the hope that they’ll dream about their future spouse.

I was intrigued to see that in the US – or at least in the state of  Alabama – that each elected congressman and senator can dole out small funds to help fund festivals. Each congressman can hand out up to five $1,000 grants and a senator, 10. How would that go down in the UK? Your local MP would at least know better than a centralised civil servant where it should be most needed. But then the MP could antagonise all those who didn’t get a grant. Worth a go here?

Coming up is the 700th anniversary of the Battle of Bannockburn where Robert the Bruce defeated the English. Clanranald, the world’s leading battle performance group are preparing to go into battle at Bannockburn Live on Saturday 28and Sunday 29 June. The battle performances will take place as part of a two day festival that will immerse visitors in history and culture. As well as watching the battle performances, visitors will be able to enjoy Scottish folk music, food and drinks. It will be held at the Battle of Bannockburn heritage site, two miles from Stirling.

Thorpe Park which came in at eleventh

Thorpe Park which came in at eleventh

Which is the most popular theme park in Europe? Disneyland in Paris is the answer. Second comes Europa in Germany. Where do UK theme parks come in the pecking order? According to the annual TEA/AECOM Theme Index and Museum Index for 2013, Alton Towers is 9th,  Legoland is 10th and Thorpe Park is 11th.  Chessington World of Adventures comes in at 17th.

Heathrow’s new Terminal 2 has welcomed its first passengers, with the airport insisting it has learned lessons from the opening of Terminal 5. It has better given the absolute chaos last time. Still Terminal 2 is not going to be receiving flights immediately from all the 25 airlines which will use it. Transfering the flights from other terminals will spread over a longish period of time in the hope that everything will go smoothly!

Every summer, a grand renaissance procession called the Ommegang winds its way through the historical streets of Brussels. The pageant, first held in 1549 in honor of Emperor Charles V, begins at the Sablon Church and ends with a spectacle at the Grand Place. An entire Medieval village takes over the square in front of the church. And over 1,400 performers take part in the pageant – knights, musicians, falconers, performers, singers, members of the court – proceeding on foot and on horse. This year’s event runs from July 1st – 3rd (the Grand Place celebration is on the 1st and the 3rd only). Entry to the Medieval village is free. The cost for tickets to the festival varies by seating location.




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