Saturday snippets: September 9th 2017

By | Category: Travel news
Prague's Signal Festival

a display from the Signal Festival

Hurricane Irma has torn through the Caribbean leaving Barbuda, St Martin, Anguilla and Peter Island in the British Virgin Islands badly affected. If you are holidaying there in the next few weeks, check with your travel agency. The hurricane is bearing down on the Turks & Caicos Islands so more concern is likely. A further two hurricanes are increasing in intensity and may bring more damage. To those holidaying there at present and especially those living there, best wishes in your attempts to regain an orderly life.

The Signal Festival of video mapping and light art returns to the Czech capital, Prague in the middle of October. Lasting just four nights, the old historic part of the city will be  the centre of the show with the kampa, the old town square, Hybernia Palace and the Fruit Market being involved. Signal attracts tens of thousands of visitors to see the outdoor lighting installations and video-mapping so if you are thinking of going across then book your accommodation soon.

the keep at Cardiff Castle

Tomorrow, the 10th of September  marks the 70th anniversary of the gift of Cardiff Castle to the city by the 5th Marquess of Bute. Yes, it was only in 1947 that Cardiff Castle came into public hands as up until then it had been privately owned. Being located into the middle of the city it seems that the castle has been an integral part of Cardiff life for centuries. In order to highlight the fact , a day of celebration is planned, packed with nostalgia for this post-war era. Organisers suggest you bring a picnic and enjoy the music of the time, family-themed activities.

The Mexican tourist area of Riviera Nayarit, largely unknown to the British holiday market until about six or seven years ago has become increasingly popular since some of the biggest UK tour operators added it to their scheduled. Now it seems to grow in strength each year since it offers virtually guaranteed sunshine, a range of accommodation and restaurants as well as a beach cum environmental holiday opportunity. From January to July this year there was a total of 1,399,498 compared to the 1,230,704 that was registered for the same period in 2016 – representing an increase of 13.7%. So popular has it become – particularly with American and Canadian holidaymakers that Marc Murphy, director general of the Riviera Nayarit Convention and Visitors Bureau (CVB), claims that the “off-season” no longer exists in the destination as it did 15 years ago; now he says that there are only high and medium seasons.

Taking place throughout the month is Plymouth’s annual Ocean City Festival. The festival is designed to offer a way for locals and visitors to enjoy the city from taking to the water in a kayak and seeing Britain’s marine wildlife to experiencing inspiring art and music and following the exciting film festival – or just to enjoy the sea air and some locally caught scallops! The event also aims to raise awareness, nationally and internationally, of Plymouth’s role as a leading UK marine city, for research, leisure, heritage and local produce.

Plymouth’s annual Seafood Festival  September 16th and 17th) is also on this month and takes place on the Barbican sea-front area. Each year the festival includes a Quayside Market, Cookery Theatre Programme, Catch of the Day and The Little Nippers Crabbing Contest. There are also a number of stalls featuring quality seafood for visitors to sample and buy, as well as a sea-themed crafts and an ocean awareness area.

Cannes means luxury to me which isn’t necessarily completely fair. But I view the two as synonymous. That applies to films, hotels and the Cannes Yachting Festival 2017 which, this year, celebrates its 40th anniversary. As someone who sailed as a youth, I have always been an admirer  of sleek wind powered vessels even if I have no hope of owning one and that particularly applies to one of the biggest,  Codecasa, a 65 metre yacht which will be part of the celebrations. Taking place from 12th to 17th September 2017, the show has gone from strength to strength, last year more than 51,000 visitors came to see the 630 boats on show.

Congratulations to the Dyfi Distellery at Corris near Machynlleth in Mid-wales. Their Pollination gin has been named best gin produced in the UK by the Great British Food Awards 2017. I mention this largely for selfish reasons as I am partial to this very dry gin myself as a result of stopping off and buying a few bottles during the late Spring. Production is limited as the room in which they make the gin isn’t much bigger than some people’s living rooms. The distillery has only been open for a year and a bit but the reputation (including a television episode fronted by Kate Humble) has quickly grown. Pollination Gin is one of the few gins in the world produced from mostly foraged botanical ingredients. In this distillery’s case, the ingredients are gathered within the Dyfi Valley UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. Dyfi Distillery has already won The Independent’s IndyBest Award for the Best New Gin in 2017 for its Hibernation Gin and no less than seven medals at this year’s International Wine and Spirit Competition 

For those considering a holiday in the Philippines, or using Philippine Air Lines then you might want to know that if you fly on the airline they will offer free onward flights to domestic destinations with the Philippines. There are some places to which the offer does not apply including Basco, Busuanga, Laoag, Masbate, Naga, Calabayog and Catarman but it does include many of the likely tourist destinations. The offer applies to those flying between the 10th of September and the 10th of December.

Last January, American Airlines ended its flights from Birmingham to New York. Now United is following suit. It will stop flying the Birmingham route from October the 5th. It also announced that it is suspending its flights from Glasgow and Shannon to New York’s Newark airport for the winter. To all those people who said that Birmingham should be considered as an alternative to Heathrow here is the evidence that Birmingham cannot create enough interest to make one of the major North Atlantic routes viable.

Finally, one company,, has estimated that due to the number of flight cancellations and delays over the summer holiday period that some 5.5 Billion euros is owed to European airline passengers under EU 261 law. The legislation kicks in if a passenger is delayed for more than three hours or if there is overbooking, a cancellation or a missed flight connection.



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