Something to Declare
Saturday 02 September 2000
Warning of the week:
Warning of the week:
The American government has stepped up its warning about crimes against tourists in Italy. The latest State Department bulletin says, "Petty crimes such as pickpocketing, theft from parked cars, and purse snatching, are serious problems." Main railway stations - notably those in Rome, Milan, Florence and Naples - are particularly popular with villains.
"Thieves in Italy often work in groups or pairs," says the State Department. "In most cases, one thief distracts a victim while an accomplice performs the robbery. Groups of street urchins are known to poke tourists with newspapers or pieces of cardboard to divert their attention so that another street urchin can pickpocket them." More seriously, "Elderly tourists who have tried to resist petty thieves on motor scooters have suffered broken armsand collarbones."
You should also beware while driving: "Theft of small items such as radios, luggage, cameras, briefcases, and even cigarettes from parked cars is a major problem. Robbers in southern Italy take items from cars at gas stations (often by smashing car windows). In the Naples area, thefts have also been reported from occupied vehicles waiting in traffic or stopped at traffic lights. Drivers should keep their car doors locked, windows rolled up, and valuables out of sight."
Motorists hoping to reach Italy through the Mont Blanc tunnel will have to choose another route: repairs following the catastrophic fire in the tunnel are taking much longer than anticipated. The re-opening scheduled for this autumn has been postponed to March 2001. More information: www.equipement. gouv.fr; click on Bison FutÃ© for details in English, although yesterday this facility was not working.
Bargain of the week: Britain to Bangkok
British Airways and Qantas yesterday launched a new joint fare to Bangkok from five UK airports . The fare to the Thai capital, through discount agents such as Quest Travel (020-8547 3322), is just £360 - but to qualify for this you have to travel to Thailand (above) via Frankfurt. The deal is intended to fill empty seats on the Qantas flight from Frankfurt to the Thai capital. The price includes a connection on BA from Birmingham, Edinburgh, Gatwick, Heathrow and Manchester. It is valid for travel up to 28 October. One condition of the ticket is that you must also buy a minimum of four nights accommodation.
A cheaper and less restrictive ticket to Bangkok is offered from Heathrow on SriLankan Airlines, for £327 through discount agents, but the connections are not ideal and you might have to stay overnight in the Sri Lankan capital, Colombo.
Destination of the week: Dunkerque
After Thursday's blockade of Calais, and yesterday's temporary closure of the Channel Tunnel, the Foreign Office's assertion that "most visits to France are problem-free" looks questionable, at least for travellers who use thetunnel or sail to France's main Channel port.
A cut-price alternative to blockage-prone Calais has just emerged: a new entrant has revived the old Sealink route between Dover and Dunkerque. The ferry used, Northern Merchant, is claimed to be the most modern on the Channel.
The operator, Norfolkline (01304 225151, www.norfolkline.com) is offering an introductory fare of £99 return for a car and five passengers, until 27 September, on off-peak sailings from Mondays to Thursday. A second ferry is due to enter service in October. Norfolkline is predominantly a freight carrier, and neither coaches nor foot passengers are allowed.
The Independent travel offers: Discover a world of inspiring destinations
The 50 Best spas
Iceland volcano: Travel agency has 'Volcano hotline' for dare-devil tourists who want to visit Bardarbunga if it erupts
Luton airport voted worst in Britain for second time running
Contactless payment donkey rides are a thing now
August Bank Holiday 2014: Five ways to make the most of it
- 1 Jeremy Clarkson 'sees no problem' with his racist language on Top Gear, says BBC
- 2 'Alien thigh bone' on Mars: Excitement from alien hunters at 'evidence' of extraterrestrial life
- 4 London restaurant 34 creates champagne glass modelled on Kate Moss’ left breast
- 5 ALS ice bucket challenge co-founder Corey Griffin drowns, aged 27
Richard Dawkins on babies with Down Syndrome: 'Abort it and try again – it would be immoral to bring it into the world'
Scottish independence: English people overwhelmingly want Scotland to stay in the UK
Isis threat: Cameron wants an alliance with Iran
Michael Brown shooting: Chaos erupts on the streets of Ferguson after autopsy shows teenager was shot six times – twice in the head
Bin bag full of cats' heads discovered near Manchester's Curry Mile
Disgusting, frustrating, but intriguing: how the country really feels about its politicians
£6000 - £50000 per annum + Bonus+Benefits+Package: Harrington Starr: Oracle 11...
£17K OTE £30K: Charter Selection: Highly successful and innovative specialist...
£45000 - £55000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Working with an exciting ...
£23,000: Sauce Recruitment: A global leader in sports and entertainment is now...