Open Jaw: 'Flying to Canada via NYC saved me £200'

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The Independent Travel

City beach heckles

You refer to Las Palmas, Gran Canaria, as "the only big city in the Canaries". You have forgotten Santa Cruz de Tenerife, which, with its twin city of La Laguna (to which it is conveniently connected by tram), has a population of 350,000.

Five or 6km away by bus is a small, cosy beach frequented mainly by locals. It has white sand (imported from the Sahara), not black, as elsewhere in Tenerife. My wife and I spent a pleasant week staying in the centre of Santa Cruz last February and recommend it to those who like cities.

You might also have mentioned Hartlepool's urban beach.

C J Woods, Hartlepool

There's no way that Glenelg [a suburb of Adelaide] is better than Sydney. Even Melbourne has more beach.

Ian Grails Moss

Venice as Europe's richest city culturally speaking? Ooh, not sure about that. Richer than London or Paris? Maybe we mean relative to its size, so ignore Rome, Vienna, etc – all surely culturally richer than Venice.

Move down to non-capital European cities. Isn't Seville, for example, with its Moorish past, its cathedral, its history as the link for at least a century between Europe and America at least as interesting?

Venice's primary attraction is its Renaissance architecture, but just down the road there is the exquisite Vicenza (isn't the whole city a World Heritage Site?) which is the real epicentre of Palladio's villas and other gems. I don't wish to belittle Venice, but maybe we over-sentimentalise that strange little place.

Ian Craine

Air fares to eastern Canada

Thanks for highlighting the problems flying to this lovely part of Canada.I have family in St John's and the fares are dreadful for what is quite a short flight. Two years ago my daughter and I saved nearly £200 each by flying to St John's from Edinburgh via Belfast and New York. A long journey – but worth it.

Elaine Higgins

The Inca World

To reach Peru, flying Iberia via Madrid to Lima is pretty Third World and flights via Miami should not be touched with a bargepole. The best, by far, is KLM with a stop in Schipol.

"Bristol Ed"

Mick Webb's story was exceptionally informative. A minor footnote: Augusto Berns was a 19th-century scamp who launched two treasure-hunting companies that could more accurately be described as stock frauds. There's no evidence he ever set foot in Machu Picchu or found any treasure, anywhere.

The 1876 Peruvian census, by the way, counted a quarter of a million inhabitants in the Cuzco department and more than 17,000 in the Urubamba province, where Machu Picchu is located. Who knows how many people over the centuries might have passed by or through the ruins without giving them a second glance?

Bingham was the first person to say "Eureka!"He cleared, photographed, and studied the ruins and made them known to the world for the first time.

Dan Buck

Mick Webb responds: "Interesting point, Dan. I think Paolo Greer's discoveries of documents and maps are evidence of Berns' mining activities in the area well before Bingham's arrival. However, I was careful to use the word 'suggests' rather than 'proves' that Berns set foot in Machu Picchu. I think Borges would have enjoyed the debate."