Something To Declare: Norway's Art Nouveau capital; Montenegro; East Coast Main Line
Saturday 19 May 2007
Destination of the week:Norway's Art Nouveau capital
In 1904, a fire swept through the Norwegian port of Alesund. The whole town centre was rebuilt in Art Nouveau style with a local twist, and makes for the most architecturally interesting location in Scandinavia. From 1 June, SAS (0845 607 2772; www.flysas.com) will fly twice a week from Gatwick to Alesund.
Because of the town's position on the Hurtigruten (coastal ferry) route, travellers can construct an "open-jaw" itinerary, for example flying out to Bergen on SAS (from Gatwick) or Norwegian.no (from Stansted) and flying home from Alesund.
Another Nordic destination, Rovaniemi in Finnish Lapland, is more accessible this summer thanks to a new link from Amsterdam on KLM (08705 074 074; www.klm.com), with connections from a wide range of UK airports.
Warning of the week: Montenegro
Europe's newest country - following the split with Serbia - is a tempting destination, with a beautiful coastline and low prices. But this week the Foreign Office issued travel advice that is remarkably hard-hitting.
First, UK visitors are advised to register their presence with the British Embassy in Podgorica. According to the Foreign Office: "It is essential that you register with local police in the town/city where you are staying within 24 hours of your arrival in Montenegro, unless you are staying in a hotel or official tourist accommodation, where you will be registered automatically on checking-in. If you do not register, you may be fined, detained or face a court appearance."
As for getting around: "Public transport (including the rail network) is outdated and overcrowded." If you prefer to rent a car, be warned: "Many roads are under construction, so there are often delays and detours. A particularly notorious road is the two-lane Moraca Canyon in Montenegro, which is often made dangerous by bad conditions and overcrowding."
If you happen to lose your passport, the Embassy can help you out with an Emergency Passport, but this is valid for only a week and for a one-way journey to the UK. "Applications for full passports can be accepted at the British Embassy in Podgorica, who will make arrangements for the application to be transferred to the British Embassy in Vienna for production," the Foreign Office says. "The waiting period will be approximately four to six weeks."
Finally, beware counterfeit cash: "In 2006 police in Montenegro seized large amounts of forged euros. More counterfeit notes may still be in circulation, so you should take care to ensure that notes you receive from sources other than banks and legitimate Bureaux de Change are genuine."
Bargain of the week: East Coast Main Line
GNER, the train operator between London and Edinburgh, has emulated the low-cost airlines in offering its best fares online only. At www.gner.co.uk you can get return fares of £19 between Leeds and London, £20 between Newcastle and London, and £25 between Edinburgh and London.
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