Saturday snippets: 16th December 2017

By | Category: Travel news

The Arches of Oman. Image ©

A work of art which it is claimed will become an conic symbol has opened at the Royal Opera House in Muscat, Oman. Called “The Arches of Oman” it is a twelve metre high water and steel sculpture by Giles Rayner, it includes purpose built gardens, a purpose built pool, 70 water jets, a subterranean plant room and 2km of hydraulic hoses. The sculpture’s jets provide four distinct patterns of water that project out of the piece and into the pool below.

Next year, the original LEGOLAND near Aarhus in Denmark will celebrate its 50th anniversary in 2018. Older readers will remember that before Lego was Meccano but there never was a Meccano-land!) There will be lots of new attractions and events during the year including a new ‘Flying Eagle’ rollercoaster, a totally revamped ‘LEGOREDO’ Wild West town, and a huge red LEGO dinosaur to greet guests. What else do children need but a welcoming dinosaur? Particularly if it is red!

Noma – one of the current dishes – “Orange food”

Many readers will have heard of the Danish restaurant, Noma, which has been consistently in the top few restaurants in the world. For those of you lucky enough to be able to get a booking you should know that it is relocating from the beginning of next year. In the new location it will have an urban farm from which it will gain much of its produce. reservations for May 2018 will open on January 18th and DKK 2,250 (the cost of the meal) per person is required in advance. That is about £266 each. At the new location there will be essentially three menus a year; the first being seafood, the one in the middle of the year being based on vegetables and the autumn- January menu being based on game.

To get a panoramic view of the Spanish city of Valencia, you can go to the Ateneo Mercantil building. At the top of the building a new mirador (a bit like a turret) has opened which gives you a 360 degree view over the city.  Called Ateneo’s Viewpoint, it stays open until 20.30 so you can see a night view of the city as well as a daytime one.

Walking around parts of London of travelling on the tube you are bound to come across London’s buskers. Some of them are better than performers you see in theatres or pubs. One of the more unusual spots to catch some of the best buskers is aboard the MBNA Thames Clippper services along the river last year they invited buskers on board their late (leaving Embankment at 21.30) trips and, so successful was it, that they are doing the same on the 19th and 20th of this month. Each “show” will last an hour and include carols and popular festival hits. On the 19th, Mark Mathews will be playing festive funk, indie and rock n roll and on the 20th, there will be Phillipa Leigh, singer/songwriter and Christmas carol ukulele player. The cost is included in the regular ticket price and MBNA have even thrown in complementary mince pies!

© Flaine Tourist Office

Early snow storms in the Alps are being thought of as the reason for an increase in ski bookings according to the tour operator, Ski Solutions. Nothing to do with the snow we have had in the UK over the last week then?  The biggest increase in bookings has come from the Midlands and the Home Counties which happens to be where snow fell. Apparently Courcheval and Flaine have been the most popular for bookings. Another metre of snow is forecast for the Alps. Already Courchevel and Flaine in France have more snow than this time last year and the same applies to Ishgl in Austria and Klosters in Switzerland.

The Greek Tourism Confederation says that initial signs for 2018 are encouraging with a 4% increase in the number of airline seats available. For 2017, it said that tourism revenue is expected to reach 14.5 billion euros. It looks as though there won’t be that many bargains at the beginning of the season for holidaymakers if bookings live up to the confederation’s expectations.

After the effects of the hurricane two months ago, Puerto Rico has said that it is open for tourism business again. The Christmas holiday season is quite important to it as this is when mainland Americans travel down to the Caribbean for a short break. The airports have re-opened, 4,000 restaurants are back in business as are about 100 hotels. Power has been restored to most of the island and the attractions are up and running. For those on this side of the pond, flights from the UK and Germany are still flying regular services after a brief few disruptive days.

Lake Geneva

Geneva – a panoramic view from Lake Geneva easyJet now flies to the city from Southampton

On Thursday, easyJet, launched its first ever flight from Southampton to Geneva, It will only run three days a week but does this herald the beginning of further expansion at the airport by EasyJet. A few years ago it had no flights from Southend. Now it has twenty destinations that its serves either already or planned for 2018. Will Southampton be as successful with the airline?

From another airline, Norwegian has bought another 28 take-off and landing slots at Gatwick. These will be used for more long-haul flights meaning that passengers should see reduced prices on flights when they decide to where they will fly. If they compete with other airlines then the prices other airlines charge may drop as well. They have already announced new routes to Argentina, Chicago and Austin in 2018 and they already fly to Singapore the airline could pick anywhere. Will they try for a route to Australia perhaps?

Longleat light display in a previous year

Aberdeen has suffered during the oil slump but it appears that more people are visiting the area. .Passenger numbers at Aberdeen Airport have risen for the seventh consecutive month, with 250,000 using the airport in November. At Edinburgh Airport, just over 936,000 passengers used the airport making it the busiest ever November. Glasgow Airport also had record figures for November with more than 682,800 passengers travelling. Apparently Manchester Airport saw greater growth than any other UK airport this past summer. It carried 1.27 million more passengers than during summer 2016 whereas Gatwick and Heathrow each carried 1.25 million more passengers from April to September than in the previous year.

Don’t forget the light display at Longleat. yesterday BBC Breakfast gave a tour around some of the illuminations as they gave the weather forecast. It will be on until the first week of the new year. It is very popular so expect some transport delays in getting there.

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