Saturday snippets: 23th April 2016

By | Category: Travel news

static1.squarespace.comIt’s St George’s Day and the 400th anniversary of the death of Shakespeare. Even in Shakespeare’s day, his fame was widely known as a letter in the National Library of Wales shows. Two of his contemporaries are praised for having presented the public with treasure greater than the gold of Mexico in the Bard’s Comedies, Histories, & Tragedies of 1623. I mentioned last week the main celebrations in the UK today. Apparently, the only other purpose buil theatre in Shakespeare’s day outside London was in the Lancashire town of Prescot. It has been announced that they will build a 350 seat Shakespearean theatre there.

Continuing the historic theme, it is only three weeks until The Tweed Run, an oddish British eccentric pastime where a bicycle ride through London’s historic streets occurs. The rule is that cyclists wear their best tweed 1920s and 30s cycling attire. Sharply dressed individuals in plus-fours, Harris Tweed jackets and bow ties will saunter on two wheels alongside stylishly shod cyclists sporting Merino wool team jerseys, silk cravats and flat caps. From pennyfarthings to customized vintage two-wheelers and contemporary pedal-powered contraptions, the event begins in London’s Clerkenwell.

You might have noticed that on Thursday, the Olympic torch was lit at Olympus in Greece and now wends its way to Rio for this year’s Olympic Games. If you are in Greece, you have until next Wednesday to see it before it leaves the country. In Brazil, 10,000 torch bearers are lined up to take it through all of the Brazilian states before it arrives in Rio de Janeiro.

Those visiting San Francisco next month will see big changes at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.  Founded in 1935 it has more than 30,000 works but displaying them has been a problem, On May 14th, it will reopen with nearly three times the previous capacity The approximately 235,000-square-foot expansion will seamlessly join the existing building.  Part of the new area will display some of the Doris and Donald Fisher Collection, one of the greatest private collections of contemporary art in the world.  There is also the new Pritzker Center for Photography which will be the largest space in an American art museum dedicated to photography and an outdoor sculpture terrace will include the biggest public living wall of native plants in San Francisco, with 16,000 native plants in a vertical garden.  Entrance is free.

If music attracts you then consider visiting the American city of Memphis next month. The Beale Street Music Festival (29th April – 1st May) is the first to kick-off the month and then it is followed by an International Festival celebrating Canada from the 2nd to the 9th of May. You can there see how you stack up as a barbecue virtuoso by stooping off at the World Championship Barbecue Cooking contest which takes place from the 12-14th of May.(12 – 14th May. As a side trip, a visit to the Orlando region of Florida will take you to the Invictus Games at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex which are on from the 8th – 12th of May. The idea behind the games is to inspire recovery, support rehabilitation and generate a wider understanding and respect for wounded, injured and sick Servicemen and women. And it would be a pity no to enjoy the attractions of Orlando and Kissimmee since you are in the area!

The US state of Maine will once again have a ferry link to Canada which will save travellers a lot of time over a road journey. Bay Ferries has said that it will launch a high-speed ferry service between Maine and Nova Scotia in mid-June. The high-speed ferry, which will take just 5½ hours to sail between Portland in Maine and Yarmouth in, Nova Scotia, can hold up to 282 vehicles and 866 passengers. Plans are that it will depart from Yarmouth at 8 a.m. daily, with a return service from Portland at 2:30 p.m., with the ferry arriving back in Nova Scotia by 9 p.m.

Corfu - will tht television series increase our already big interest in holidaying there?

Corfu – will tht television series increase our already big interest in holidaying there?

More of us are turning– or returning – to Greece for holidays. In the first three months of the year, 5.7 million passengers pass through Greek airports, an increase of 16.9 per cent compared to the same period in 2015. And where are we going? According to data from the Civil Aviation Authority, Athens, Thessaloniki, Heraklion, Chania and Rhodes received the most passengers. You will notice that Kos isn’t in the top five. That may change. Why? Because Kos has started a new promotion campaign called  ‘Kos Made of Summer’ to entice more of us to visit the island. With a coastline of over 290km, Kos has any number of  beaches including the white sands of Mylos Beach but it isn’t just a beach destination. Like almost anywhere else in Greece it has heritage sites and in the case of Kos, the ruins of Asklepieion are a major attraction. Expect to see posters in you local travel agent soon. The other area not in that top five is Corfu but that might change not because of a promotion but a TV series, Sunday night’s ITV The Durrells.

In just seven years, the Machynlleth Comedy Festival has established itself as probably the comedy festival in Wales and one of the top ones in the UK. With acts appearing like Nina Conti, Issy Suete, John Shuttleworth, Josh Widdecombe, Aisling Bea, Stewart Lee, Rachel Parris and David O’Docherty to name just eight, Mid Wales Tourism must be delighted with the number of extra visitors it brings to the town that was once the capital city and where the old Welsh parliament met.

There was a debate in the House of Commons this week about aircraft noise and Tom Tugendhat, the MP who introduced the debate, pointed out that the people who were disturbed by flight noise were very often those that flew. Another MP, Jim Shannon, said that 4.2 million people in the UK were exposed to noise levels above 65decibels by road traffic noise, 200,000 by railway noise and just 70,000 by aircraft noise. Put into that perspective, you do wonder whether airport protestors achieve more publicity for themselves than is warranted. You can’t ban planes, you just have to manage their intrusion just as you manage the opportunities they bring. The noisiest (ie those that affect the most people)  airports in the UK are Heathrow, Manchester and Birmingham with Belfast City likely to join the noise club’s top five if expansion as currently planned goes ahead.

NorwegianFinally, amongst airline news this week, Wizz Air is to launch its first flights from Gatwick in June. The budget carrier, which currently operates from eight UK airports will start flying daily to Bucharest from Gatwick on June 28. Norwegian Airlines has launched a new flight from Gatwick to Chania in Crete. Jet 2 has announced its winter 2016/2017 schedule. From Edinburgh there will be a new service to Turin; from Glasgow, new services to Geneva and Grenoble; from East Midlands, new services to Grenoble and Salzburg; from Manchester a new service to Sofia and Newcastle will also have a service to Grenoble as well. Royal Brunei, has standardised its baggage allowances for its long haul flights to 30kg per passenger for economy class passengers and 40kg for business class. Passengers on short haul routes will also enjoy 40kg for business class and up to 30kg for economy.

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