Saturday snippets: 16th June 2018

By | Category: Travel news

todays shows are more than just about agriculture

The Cumberland Show is on today, the North Yorkshire Show tomorrow and the Royal Cheshire and Lincolnshire shows are on next week. This is a sure sign that summer is virtually open us. Most of the county fairs are scheduled from now to the middle of August and one of the biggest, the Royal Highland Show, also starts next week. These shows are more than traditional; they are a celebration of rural life updated to the 21st century. Take the Lincolnshire Show for example. As well as agricultural exhibits, a big attraction for the 60,000 expected visitors will be the RAF Falcons make flypasts in vintage aircraft along with the spectacle of the Red Arrows.

The World Cup has started if you didn’t already know. There have been news stories about how pleasant and welcoming both locals and the newly formed Russian tourist police have been. Reporting this with surprise in their voices, journalists might have taken the view foreigners wouldn’t have been welcomed as much as they have. That would seem to have borne out a survey from PartyCasino which surveyed over 2,000 people across the UK and discovered that 71% of Brits think the World Cup is a dangerous place and 42% of those interviewed said they wouldn’t travel due to the threat of violence. How about violence at home as one partner is watching football on TV and the other wants something else?

Tintagel © English Heritage

Tintagel Castle in Cornwall may seem more visitors over the coming weeks because of the publicity given to a recently found piece of slate. The slate has writing on it dating from the seventh century, experts say, making it one of the earliest pieces of writing from the period that used to be known as the Dark ages. Used as a window ledge, the slate is on display in the castle whilst experts puzzle out its significance.

At the Brazilian Embassy in London there is an art exhibition running for a very short space of time – it ends on the 22nd of June. Called ‘The Art of Diplomacy: Brazilian Modernism Painted for War’, it reveals the hidden story of Brazilian artists’ contribution to the British war effort during WW2. With pieces from twenty of Brazil’s finest including, Candido Portinari, Emiliano Di Cavalcanti, Lasar Segall, Milton Dacosta and Roberto Burle-Marx, the display commemorates the story of the collaboration between the UK and Brazil during WW2 when 25,000 Brazilian troops joined the Allies to fight the war, and a group of 70 artists donated their work for the first ever Brazilian exhibition in Britain at the Royal Academy of Arts.

Yesterday, the first flight (Flybe) took place linking Doncaster Sheffield Airport (it used to be called Robin Hood Airport Doncaster Sheffield) with Belfast City. The significance is that Doncaster Sheffield (claimed to be the fastest growing UK airport) is looking more and more to me as the future airport of choice for Yorkshire. Not only does it serve forty destinations with more being added, it has one of the longest runways in England at just under 9,500 feet making it possible for the biggest airlines to land there. Yesterday was also the day that phase two of the Great Yorkshire Way opened which links the airport directly with the M18.  With plans for a station on the East Coast mainline and even more destinations on the way, the plan propounded by the airport owners looks rather pessimistic in its forecasts. I can see Leeds-Bradford and Humberside having to look to their laurels. All it needs is for an easyJet, Ryanair or even BA to make it a base and the passenger numbers will leap.

image of Taj Mahal

The Taj Mahal. Image © Frederic de Poligny

It appears that an Indian MP wants to have the Taj Mahal renamed after one of the many Hindu deities. Why? It appears that disagreements between Hindus and Moslems have led to the MP wanting a Hindu name rather than the Moslem one. Some not understanding the deeply-ingrained disagreements between the two religious groups might consider it petty that a tourist attraction for generations should be renamed making it probably meaningless to millions of potential overseas visitors.Some even want the biggest tourist attraction torn down!

New Zealand is the latest country to try and squeeze more money out of tourists. Yesterday, the government began a one-month consultation period to assess a tourist tax. The purpose of the tax(es) would be to “ease the cost burden on communities and ratepayers for tourism-related infrastructure.” A tax of NZ$25-NZ$35 (about £13-£16) would be imposed on international visitors from the middle of next year but exclude visitors from Australia and most pacific island forum countries. The country has just raised price rises on international visitors who want to trek on “New Zealand’s Great Walks” so this will be a doble blow if the taxes take effect in 2019 as the government is hoping.

the bustling market in Douz

The UK Foreign Office has altered its views on where you should travel in Tunisia. Previously it recommended not to travel to the south of the country but now it has lifted its advice on only essential travel to Jendouba, and some areas of southern Tunisia, including the towns of Médenine, Tataouine and Douz . It still says that only essential travel to the Biq region (west of Ghardimaou) in Jendouba governorates should be considered. For those who haven’t been to Douz (called the gateway to the Sahara) I recommend it. It is a very different Tunisia from the resort areas usually visited and the desert has some wonderful natural formations.  

Finally, there are all sorts of reasons why flights are late but surely passengers at Orlando International Airport must have wondered whether they were hearing properly when and if they were told of a delay owing to an alligator on the runway! It seems to have affected just two flights as it sauntered across the runway to an adjacent pool. Airports have manuals and training on how to deal with the prevention of bird strikes. Is there a similar one for wayward gators?

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