Saturday snippets: 16th April 2016

By | Category: Travel news
Shakespeares Birthplace

Shakespeare’s Birthplace where celebrations will happen next weekend

You might have thought that Easter has come and gone but not in the Greek Orthodox calendar. They don’t celebrate it until the first week of May so if you are holidaying in Greece, Cyprus, Albania or parts of Turkey the celebration will be in full swing. And if you are in Larnaka on Cyprus next Saturday, you can watch the procession through the town in honour of their saint, St Lazarus, one of the most watched processions on the island. Next Saturday is St George’s Day as well so in England, there will be processions as well. You will just have to look very hard to find any procession at all. And if you do it may be because St George celebrates it with Shakespeare and in this anniversary year, any celebrations are likely to be Shakespearian.

The Globe

The Globe

It is Stratford-upon-Avon and at London’s Globe Teatre that, arguably, the most important Shakespearian celebrations will take place. In Stratford, although the birthday parade through the streets will start at 11.10, there will be events from early morning. Near the Globe, all 37 plays will be performed on film that day. Lest you think that all the plays would occupy more than a day, they have been reduced to ten minutes each – a herculean task if ever there was one! They will be sreened free  and continuouslyalong the South Bank between Westminster Bridge and Tower Bridge all weekend.

Tenerife’s International Street Art Festival, known as Mueca. (The website is only in Spanish.)  From 12th to 15th May 2016, Puerto de la Cruz will have a range of activities including theatrical, circus and musical performances to photographic exhibitions and workshops. Mueca, the most popular street art festival (it will attract some 70,000 people) in the Canary Islands will take over the town  and, in order to meet the demands of the increasing number of visitors, the event has extended its performance hours and added a new ‘stage,’ El Peñón.

Down Street tube station had a short but an important life. On Thursday it opened to the public so that they could see the underground area where Churchill was forced (yes, that’s the correct word since he much preferred to be in the thick of things) to take cover during the war. This is also the place that people operated munitions trains that rolled through and under London as well as maintaining the tube lines. Closed since 1947, it has opened as part of London Transport Museum.

In the week, Just about Travel ran a story about Manchester Airport and the cheese-sniffing dog. It has reminded me that the UK’s largest cheese fair will return for its sixth year when the Artisan Cheese Fair takes place in the Leicestershire town of Melton Mowbray from 30 April to 1 May. Last year, over 8,000 cheese-lovers visited the Cheese Fair and with over 50 cheesemakers showcasing in excess of 250 different products at this year’s event, visitors will have the opportunity to taste and buy some of the UK’s rarest and most popular cheeses as well as discovering new ones they might not have come across before. But will sniffer dogs be on hand?

Urquhart Castle overlooking the loch - and no sign of the "real"Nessie

Urquhart Castle overlooking the loch – and no sign of the “real”Nessie

You will probably be aware that they found the Loch Ness Monster this week. No, not the legendary enormous swimming beastie that attracts tourists and which locals trot out as being seen every year if the visitor numbers look as though they are declining but a model. Used in the 1970 film, The Private Life of Sherlock Holmes, the thirty-foot model has lain on the loch bed for the last 46 years. Disappointment all round? Not on your Nessie. It all generated headlines in newspapers not only in Scotland and the UK but overseas as well. That should encourage a few more visitors to venture up to the highlands.

For some research this week, I have turned to Xpress Money Services. It suggests that up to £390million in unchanged foreign currencies remains tucked in jars and drawers around the country, over 12 months after returning home. The average UK home contains up to five different forms of currency with the average amount per household sitting at around £47.  I have a wallet of the stuff as well.  I don ‘t change it when I know I will be visiting those countries again well over £47 but hardly worth changing given the appalling rates you get at airports. Isn’t that why most of us have cash around? Either that or as souvenirs.

The travel industry attracts a higher than average number of online users. Airlines, train companies and hotel booking agencies have my details stored on their computer systems. This is why I took notice of a report from a cyber security firm, BallGuard. Nearly two thirds of UK adults rely on ‘auto-fill’ to complete the login process for some or all websites and a third login automatically. Cam Le, Chief Marketing Officer at BullGuard. “We save login and payment card details often without a second thought, but with that comes the risk of what could happen should our mobiles or tablets fall into the wrong hands. Using the facility “remember this password” is dangerous even if it removes the need for me to remember it. From now on, I’’ feed a password in each time. And have different passwords for each site on which I store my details for convenient re-booking.

Luton Airport has today plans to construct a mass passenger transit system linking the main terminal building with Luton Airport Parkway railway station. The system will be fully automated and operate 24 hours a day. When complete it will enable passengers to journey between London St Pancras and the airport terminal in less than 30 minutes.

Staying with airports, London Gatwick recorded its busiest ever March in 2016 with more than 3.1 million passengers, a 5.8% increase over the same month in 2014. The increase in travellers has been largely attributed to the performance of long-haul routes with 9.6% growth year-on-year, driven by North Atlantic routes (+19.3%) including Los Angeles (+62.8%), Toronto (+60.3%) and Vancouver (+35.8%). Manchester Airport saw more than 23.5 million passengers in the last financial year, making it the busiest in the UK airport’s 78-year history. In March 2016, there were more than 1.7 million travellers. Glasgow Airport also recorded its busiest March on record after more than 660,000 passengers used it. The airport also exceeded 8.9 million passengers during a rolling 12-month period for the first time ever.

these you probably do not want to holiday with

these you probably do not want to holiday with

Monarch has decided that, with the help of a psychologist, it understands what makes the perfect travel partner. For the ideal holiday, Brits need a travel partner who is 42% considerate, 37% humorous and 21% adventurous. The nation’s nightmare would be spending a holiday with someone who is 37% complaining, 32% inconsiderate and 31% quick tempered. Which are you?

Finally, Summer may be months away yet the first of the big tour operators, Thomas Cook, has launched its Summer 2017 holidays. There are some new destinations in its offerings such as Croatia, Mykonos and a return to the Costa Del Sol. Is it just me that thinks that I don’t even want to think about 2017 until I decide on whether or not I will even holiday this year?

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