The battle to provide the best rail deal in Britain this summer continues. Anglia Railways weighs in with the freedom of Norfolk and Suffolk for pounds 7.50 a day. You can travel any time at weekends or after 8.45am during the week in the area bounded by Sheringham, Thetford, Great Yarmouth, Felixstowe, Ipswich and Bury St Edmunds. Accompanying children travel for pounds 1 each. Unlike many of these special deals, there are discounts for railcard holders.
The ferry service between Dover and Ostend has been re-established by Hoverspeed Fast Ferries (0990 595522). The journey is twice as quick as conventional ferries, taking just over two hours each way. Until the end of June, the company is offering a two-for-one day return, costing pounds 4 per person during the week, pounds 5 on Saturdays.
Seats across the Atlantic may be scarce this summer, so a new Belgian airline could prove handy. City Bird Airlines (00 322 752 5211) flies from Brussels to Miami, Orlando, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Las Vegas, at fares well below the usual full-fare rates on other airlines. On the weekly service from the Belgian capital to Las Vegas, for example, you pay around pounds 180 each way. Besides the fast ferry to Ostend (see left) Brussels airport is easily accessible from several UK airports, or by Eurostar with a change at Brussels Midi.
With prices at many Parisian hotels increasing significantly during the World Cup, one of the cheaper places to stay in Paris could be a hotel in the middle of Charles de Gaulle airport.
The Ibis (00 33 1 49 19 19 19) has a rate of 545F (about pounds 57) for three people sharing a room. Two people pay rather more (670F/pounds 70), but this includes breakfast. The Stade de France is 20 minutes away by RER train.
After 13 July, room rates fall to 415F (pounds 43) for up to three people, with a weekend special rate of 320F (pounds 33).
Tequila jelly is one of the items on the menu when Mardi Gras arrives in Bristol next Saturday. The travel specialist Trips Worldwide (0117- 987 2626) is staging a Latin America fair at Ashton Court Manor House next Saturday, 13 June. It takes place from noon to 5pm, costs pounds 1 to get in, and includes talks on the region plus salsa and merengue instruction at a Latin dance workshop. You can use your new-found skills later that evening at a Mardi Gras ball, at the same location from 8pm to 4am. Tickets, price pounds 30, must be booked in advance; the best costume wins a free flight to Cartagena in Colombia.
Colombian or otherwise, a taste for coffee could win you a trip to one of the great cafe capitals of Europe. For each of the next four weeks the travel pages of The Independent, in association with the new guide Cafe Creme Cafes of Europe Guide 1998, will be offering a weekend for two in Venice, Vienna, Paris and Madrid.
Full details of the competition will appear next Saturday; meanwhile, you may wish to begin to reflect on the tastiest coffee, dreamiest cake, best ambience, and most romantic cafe experience.
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