Travel: Travel Briefs

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The Independent Online
A plane

Virgin has vowed to undercut Go, British Airways' low-cost offshoot, on flights to Italy and other destinations from London Stansted. Richard Branson signalled a fares war when he told The Independent that Virgin Express would offer connections via Brussels from the Essex airport at lower fares than the new no-frills carrier: "We wouldn't take on BA and not give them a run for their money. It'll be much cheaper to go on Virgin Express."

Go (0845 60 54321) begins non-stop flights to Milan on 22 May, and starts flying to Rome the following day. Tickets to both destinations cost pounds 100 return. Virgin Express (0800 891199) is currently selling flights to Milan in May for pounds 95 return.

A boat

QE2's season of transatlantic crossings between New York and Southampton starts on Thursday with a departure from Manhattan. The first westbound voyage is on 29 May, and sailings continue monthly until 14 December. Call Cunard on 01703 634166.

A train

The first Reader's Page in the Thomas Cook Overseas Timetable has proved intriguing. On Sudan Railways, reports Jean-Philippe Wispelaere, "The train conveys 20 carriages' worth of 1st, 2nd and 3rd class seating and a homicidal dining car. The 713-km journey takes an unbelievable three or four days, depending on how many carriages detach themselves half-way, and whether the driver decides to turn back and collect them."

Mr Wispelaere also counsels agains tackling the Sudan-Egypt frontier: "The entire border is sealed and should only be crossed by those capable of outrunning rocket-propelled grenades."

The May/June edition of the timetable is just out, and costs pounds 8.40.

A room

The Club PuntaGrande, on the Canary Island of El Hierro, is said to be the smallest hotel in the world. Just four rooms have been created from what was originally a coastal fort. Corona Holidays (0181-530 3747), which makes the claim, sells a twin room for pounds 42 per night, including breakfast, during most of the coming winter. Readers may wish to get in touch if they believe they have found a smaller hotel.

A meal

While in the Canaries, sample some viejas (parrot fish) and gofio (bread made with wheat, maize or chick-pea flour) - that's the recommendation of Get By in Spanish, an all-in-one language and travel guide published by BBC Worldwide. The book also warns: "Restaurants have relatively strict opening times, and it is almost impossible to find one that will serve you outside these times." The guide costs pounds 9.99 with an audiotape, pounds 4.99 without.

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