Where readers write back
Saturday 02 February 2013
Our countryside was criss-crossed by the world's original and best rail network for well over a century, to the point of being largely defined by it. People who have priced everyone else out of rural areas and who now find that their houses are going to be right next to one of the busiest railways on Earth deserve nothing but laughter from the rest of us. Railways are British. They are both a product and an expression of our landscape and of our sensibility. We led the world in everything to do with them. We could, should and must do so again.
England is too small to justify having a highspeed line. The more stops you add (to "include" voters) makes it more akin to a standard service. There is not a jot of evidence that this will reduce traffic on the roads, nor a single reason why someone who does not currently use the existing trains frequently would use the new system. We could achieve the same ends with our rail services by running longer trains more frequently. Conversely, if we wish to invest in the rail network and build new lines, then let us improve connections between areas which are currently neglected. HS2 will be afflicted by the same problems as the current system – poor management and cost-cutting aimed at maximising profit while minimising service.
I spent a weekend In Venice for carnival and it was amazing. We stayed at a small hotel near the Rialto, for about the same price as the listed ones. Eating out can be cheap: there are great places to eat just off St Mark's Square, beside the Grand Canal, that are reasonably priced with great views. Try the lamb's liver Venetian-style: dripping in red wine and not at all chewy. I fell in love with Venice and will return.
We spent a week there in June 2009 but had the feeling that we hadn't seen nearly enough. Get a week's ACTV pass which lets you ride on the vaporetti (water buses). We spent a couple of nights at the tiny Al Vagon hotel near the Rialto just to get our bearings, then moved to a family pension 20 minutes' bus ride from the centre, very reasonably priced with a huge breakfast. My tip: take the vaporetto to the island of Burano.
Weathering the storm at T5
Oh Simon, you are a drama queen. We're only talking about a few days of disruption. They had severe disruption at continental airports too. Terminal 5 is known to be a wonderful facility and BA copes very well considering.
US road trips
I joined my son travelling across the US on his gap year. I met him in Chicago and for £220, rented a basic car for 16 days. We headed across to Rapid City in South Dakota, down through Denver, Colorado and looped back along Route 66. Lots of side trips, National Parks, baseball games, micro breweries and a great store of road-trip memories.
Lanzarote flight hikes
Hold your nerve. Not easy if you're trying to nail a family holiday down, but the success rate is high. Soul-destroying to see all prices escalate at once.
Darren Parkin, editor of Canarias Brillante
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
- 1 BBC told new political editor must be 'impartial' with Nick Robinson reportedly stepping down
- 2 Humans of New York image of crying gay teen receives best response yet from Ellen DeGeneres
- 3 Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
- 4 Motorists taunt suicidal woman on bridge and tell her to 'get on with it'
- 5 The map showing the most dangerous tourist destinations in Europe, according to the Foreign Office
Are plastic planes the future of flight? Heathrow expansion reopens debate over aviation's effects on the environment
Inside Travel: Greece 2015 Q&A - should we cancel our Greek holiday? Are our flights safe? And what will we be spending there?
The most powerful passports in the world
The 10 Best lightweight luggage
The 10 Best hiking boots
More Britons believe that multiculturalism makes the country worse - not better, says poll
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture
£15000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: To support their continued grow...
£33000 - £38000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A global player and world leade...
£18000 - £24000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: If you are friendly, sociable, ...
£22300 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This museum group is looking for a Payro...