Lines with a view
Simon Calder must have been asleep if he thinks a journey up the East Coast Main Line isn't interesting until County Durham. Before that, there are the lovely views across the Vale of York towards the North York Moors and the Pennine Dales. Later comes the magnificent sight of Durham cathedral and castle on the hill above the city. My eyes go moist each time I see it.
I nominate London's Gospel Oak to Barking line. Goes from Michael Palin's home territory east over the River Lea, and on over the rooftops, roads and railways to Barking.
We visited Cuba and thoroughly enjoyed our stays in Havana, Viñales, Cienfuegos and Trinidad. It was interesting to compare it with the other Caribbean islands, which may well have more freedom, but also worse education, healthcare and crime.
The idea of Steve Turner's Existentialist Paris was good, but it helps to get facts right. When we were there a few weeks ago, the cost of a carnet was €13.30, not €12.70. Also, unless there has been a revolution, the island behind the Ile de la Cité is the Ile St-Louis, not the Ile-St-Denis.
You highlighted the new Loco2.com website, which at last allows travellers to book "proper" connecting tickets under the Convention Internationale pour le transport des Voyageurs. "CIV" tickets are very valuable in the event of disruption. If you book from a British station to the Continent via St Pancras, and the train to London is delayed, Eurostar is obliged to look after you.
What about Stelios's new venture in Africa? FastJet from Tanzania to South Africa. A great opportunity in an untapped continent.