Saturday snippets: 26th May 2018

By | Category: Travel news

Party time in Eswatini

At the fiftieth anniversary celebrations of Swaziland independence last month, King Mswati III said that the country would change its name to Eswatini. Why a name change? The King said, “As we are aware, the name Swaziland was inherited from the British. If we are to give true meaning to our independence, time has come to give our country a name of its people. It must be said that this process is long overdue…. Therefore, I have the pleasure to present to you, on this historic day, a new name for the kingdom. Our country will now be called Kingdom of Eswatini”. The name means theplace of the Swati people” and Eswatini reverts to the siSwati language name for the Kingdom.

The Design Museum in London has been named the winner of the European Museum of the Year Award (Emya) 2018. Based now at the former Commonwealth Institute building in Kensington two years ago, the museum was praised as an “inspiring, socially-aware museum” and that it had made “a significant social impact on the community”.  A number of other European museums also won awards. The Estonian National Museum in Tartu was named the winner of the Kenneth Hudson Award, which recognises “the most unusual and daring achievement that challenges common perceptions of the role of museums in society”. The Betina Museum of Wooden Shipbuilding in Croatia won the Silletto Prize for excellence in working with the local community and volunteers.

Being terrible with languages (even English) anything to make learning another language a little easier is worth trying.  The UK’s largest language company, u-Talk has teamed up with the airlines, Emirates and easyJet to offer “Learn-as-you-Fly.” Videos and taster demos are being installed in hundreds of planes, with passengers being given free access to uTalk’s language learning facilities on screens installed in the headrest in front of them. Travellerson selected easyJet flights across Europe, will be able to learn a language while they fly using the airline’ss inflight entertainment system, which allows passengers to access any of uTalk’s 136 languages from an on-board server to learn the language’s basics on your own phone, tablet or computer.

St Lucia

Almost three months ago we reported that the Caribbean island of St Lucia had enjoyed a successful 2017. That success has continued into 2018. Stay over arrivals increased by 9.5% in the first quarter compared to the same period last year, with March 2018 registering a 17.8% increase over March 2017. But it is with cruise passengers that the main growth has happened. So far this year 355,821 cruise passengers have arrived, an increase of 13.5% . Partly this is due to the expansion of the cruise arrival terminal to cater for larger ships. Just ten days ago, the Freedom of the Seas  docked and she carries 6000 people.

For those holidaying in the Spanish city of Barcelona or any Catalonian area on the 9th and 10th of June, your holiday will coincide with “Welcome to the Farm.” During the two days, more than 200 farms, 240 restaurants, and 280 hotels and guest houses across the region of Catalonia join forces to allow visitors to discover the region through its natural larder. Visitors can pick strawberries, learn how the region’s famous cheeses are made, and visit the coastal areas where mussels and oysters are farmed.  From a small family-owned goat farm in Valencia producing bio-goat cheeses, to a herb garden growing more than 100 different varieties of aromatic and medicinal plants, there should be enjoy for everyone and that is before the tastings begin!

the old Coronation St set when it was at Granada

At the end of this month, Coronation Street‘s set at MediaCityUK in Salford will open its doors to the public for the first time. Tours will offer the chance to explore many of the locations seen on the show including houses and shops and, it goes without saying, the Rovers Return plus the newest addition, Victoria Street.  The sets for the long-running soap moved her three years ago from Granada Studios and there have no mainstream tours since that Granada era.

As readers will be aware, a number of overseas cities such as Palma in Mallorca and Valencia in mainland Spain have banned the use of flats as short lets such as those marketed by Airbnb. Lady Gardner of Parkes asked the UK government if there were any plans to ban in the UK. She was told in an unusually straightforward reply that there were no plans.

It isn’t only the UK that has issues with parents taking their children out of school in term-time. But we don’t go as far as German police did last week when they carried out spot checks at one airport and discovered several school-aged children from ten families travelling. In Germany parents are legally obliged to send their children to school yetthe families were allowed to continue their holidays. On their return, however, those families could face fines of up to €1,000. Once again the question is whether the same holiday outside of term-time would have cost them more!

A report by World Animal Protection that covers 26 wildlife venues on the Indonesian holiday island of Bali, one on Lombok and another on Gili Trawangan says that 100% of those with captive wild elephants, tigers, dolphins or civet cats, and 80% of those with captive wild primates did not meet even the basic needs of captive wild animals. It says that at one of the dolphin entertainment venues, dolphins have had their teeth filed down or removed entirely, to ensure that they are unable to inflict serious bites on swimmers. Whilst many people might not regard the taking of “selfies” with wild creatures to be unacceptable other features that the report highlights such as keeping animals chained would be anathema to most. In fairness to some of the venues, for example, three out of the four centres involved with turtles provide for the rescue and rehabilitation of injured turtles, the gathering of eggs from vulnerable beaches and the hatching and release back into the wild.

Most of the Hawaiian Islands are untouched by the volcanic eruption

Should you holiday in Hawaii at the moment? The state governor says yes. Some tourist organisations say that potential visitors are voting with their feet and going elsewhere. Despite the volcanic eruption being on just one island and one part of that island, bookings to Hawaii are down by 50% in some areas. That could be because there have been health warnings for those with asthma and other breathing ailments who might find the air on Big Island might give breathing difficulties. Or a time earlier this week, that also produced breathing problems for some on the island of Maui. Generally though most of the Hawaiian islands present no problems even to those with breathing issues.

Finally, congratulations to Charlotte Knowlson a pilot flying with easyJet for a response she gave to two male passengers who were on a flight with her. One joked that he wouldn’t have flown if he knew she was piloting the aircraft and the other joked that he wouldn’t make any jokes about female drivers! Knowlson – who tweets as @pilotcharlotte  – mentioned this in a tweet ending with the line, “Fact is, I can fly an £80m jet, you can’t.” Apparently the tweet has gone viral. And so it should!


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