Open Jaw: Where readers write back


Southend to Newquay flights

The service will be great for people wanting to get to Newquay and north Cornwall, but don’t try to kid us that it opens up Torbay.


The drive from Newquay to Torquay in the summer months is so abysmal you’d be better off just driving from Southend.

David Trant

Two hours minimum at any time of day or night, any time of year. Usually longer, nearer three if you’re trying to negotiate Plymouth and/or Totnes in the rush hour (and in Totnes the “rush hour” extends between 3.30 and 6pm!). Plus you have to pay the Tamar Bridge toll to get out of Cornwall!  Richard Armstrong

Is the destination of  the return flight being promoted as the  Essex Riviera?


Frozen assets  Zurich is a very expensive place. People earn a lot here, but everything costs twice as much, especially everyday things, like a drink of any kind. My recommendation for food is Bodega tapas restaurant on the Niederdorf – which is the best value for money dinner in Zurich. For a great view, go to the top of the tower bar at Brasserie Lipp.

Andy Connell

Visa-free Beijing

Beijing has a lot of work to do before it can be welcoming to tourists. The Forbidden City should be a world-class draw, but touring it mostly consists of elbowing to the front of crowds to take pictures of unlit rooms (most of which have been stripped of interesting artefacts because of the bombardment of flash photography). Dozens of rooms inside the palace walls have been converted to gift shops, too. Imagine touring Versailles and finding a kiosk selling plastic Eiffel Towers in the throne room.


“Short-stay visas typically cost around £100 and take a couple of weeks to be processed.” Actually it costs £66 (£30 for Visa, £36 for processing) and it only takes four days.

S M Bains

On a lighter note ...

Just back from Laos. Had a wallet full of 50,000 kip notes. Worth about £4 each. Still had trouble getting them accepted.

David Whitley

Contrary to what Simon Calder writes, the largest British banknote is not £50 but £100, issued by banks in Northern Ireland and Scotland.


Avalanche awareness

Avalanche warnings are in place every day of the ski-season  irrespective of the risk level. These are given by flags next to pisteurs’ huts or rescue stations in increasing order of danger: yellow is level 1, black/yellow check is level 2/3, black is level 4/5. They are also given on the resort weather-forecast.

David Andrews

Map magic in Central America

I used my Android phone to navigate from Cancun in Mexico to and around Guatemala, without an internet connection, by downloading Google Maps. The satnav function has not yet been implemented for Guatemala, so although I couldn’t type in a destination and get directions, I could use the app like a paper map and it used the phone’s GPS to highlight my position with a blue dot.