Open Jaw: Simon Calder was much braver than us that day!

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The Independent Travel


On the day Simon Calder visited Prince Olav Harbour in South Georgia, there were at least three more people on his "patch of the planet" – but he probably didn't realise we were there. I was a member of a scientific party from the British Antarctic Survey, which was taking sediment cores from a lake in the bay. Looking at his picture of the whaling station in a blizzard in Prince Olav Harbour, I think it must have been his ship we watched from our camp overlooking the entrance to the bay. He was much braver than us that day! We stayed inside the tent during the snowstorm, eating boil-in-the-bag dinners and occasionally poking our heads out of tent to see how the flotilla of launches ferried the passengers back and forth to the disused whaling station.

Dr Stephen Roberts, British Antarctic Survey


You wrote about flights from Istanbul to Gatwick in 1989. I used the route in August that year on Toros Air . The "lounge" resembled a war zone. Two flights were scheduled but all the passengers had the same flight number. With no seat allocations, the scramble when the doors opened was horrific. My seat had no belt and was not securely fastened to the floor. The second plane did not leave, we later learned, because Toros Air went bankrupt while we were in the air.

John Walton


Holland Art Cities 2009, which you mention in Travel Agenda, is of minor significance compared with the fact that, for the first time for 11 years, the canals and lakes in Holland are frozen over. Millions of Dutch people are holding their breath in the hope that the cold continues so that they can hold the Elfstedentocht (11 towns race), a marathon on ice. Excitement grips the whole country when about 15,000 professional and competent skaters set off on a 200km course. Half the population turn up to watch and there is a real carnival atmosphere. For more details see

John Ashton


Flights to Linz have not ended. Ryanair flies from Stansted four times a week. And Linz has much more to offer than a Hitler exhibition.

Johanna Walach