Travel: Check In

A train

"The most outlandish train in Europe" is an uncharacteristic piece of editorialising by the compilers of the Thomas Cook European Timetable. Every Saturday at 5.15pm, the Saratov sets off from Berlin to travel 3,450 miles east to Novosibirsk - exactly the same distance as from London to New York. It first calls at Warsaw, but then bypasses almost everywhere of interest during its five-day journey to link up with the Trans-Siberian railway. Both ends of the line, but thankfully not the train itself, will appear in the new-look travel pages of The Independent next Saturday.

A plane

Next month, Britain gets reconnected with Colorado. Continental Airlines dropped its Gatwick-Denver service a few years back, but British Airways (0345 222111) is now stepping in with a daily Boeing 777 from 1 September. To launch the link, BA is selling a World Offer return of pounds 299.

A room

A cottage in a World Heritage Site costs pounds 300 or pounds 400 for a week this summer, and as little as pounds 175 in the autumn. The Waterhouses at New Lanark are converted cotton-workers' cottages, on the bank of the Clyde river south-east of Glasgow. Because this is the first season that the properties have been up for grabs, availability is good, even in August; call 01555 667200.

A meal

Chile is a tasty sort of place, according to the new edition of Wanderlust magazine (pounds 2.80 from newsagents and travel bookshops, or on subscription from 01753 620426). "Chileans traditionally have four meal-times a day: breakfast around eight, lunch around two, onces around five and evening meal around 9-10pm. Onces is more of a mid-afternoon snack ... literally meaning 'elevenses', the term supposedly derives from the 11 letters of the spirit aguardiente and was workers' code for 'drink break'." The magazine also launches a travel-writing competition, to be judged by Bill Bryson, with the prize of an assignment to Chile.

A drink

"Wimbledon has an interesting Temperance history," says David Harrison, whose evening tour of the Pubs and Ghosts of Wimbledon Village has been extended by popular demand through August and into September.

The non-Temperance tours of London SW19 take place each Tuesday, starting at the Dog and Fox at 7.30pm and lasting about two hours.

The cost is pounds 2, and the final tour of the year is on 8 September. Call 0181-946 3219 for more details.

A week from now...

... the annual Elvis Presley memorial event reaches its climax in Memphis, Tennessee. The singer died 21 years ago at his home in the city.

Despite heavy bookings across the Atlantic, the flight consolidator Bon Voyage (01703 330332) has seats available to the city on Delta via Cincinatti for pounds 598 return.

A year from now...

... Cornwall could be in the middle of its busiest weekend ever, in the build-up to the last total eclipse of the Millennium, which sweeps across the south-west of the county on 11 August 1999.

The best source of information is the Royal Greenwich Observatory's Guide to the 1999 Total Eclipse of the Sun (available from Tor Mark, 01209 822101, pounds 5.99 plus pounds 1 postage). The book includes a Mylar eclipse viewer.

Roads in the county could be choked at the time of the event, so the railways are likely to provide the most sensible alternative. Unfortunately, Great Western Trains is refusing to take bookings this far in advance. But Explorers Tours (01753 681999) is already selling seats on chartered trains from Preston, Manchester, Birmingham, Coventry, London, Reading and Bristol, so you can reserve your place out of the sun. They will travel overnight to Penzance, and return in late afternoon. Fares are between pounds 65 and pounds 69.

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