Something To Declare: Dover-Calais; scams in China; Norway by sledge; East Anglia by train
Friday 17 February 2012
Bargain of the week: Dover-Calais
Despite the demise of SeaFrance, the main ferry link between Britain and continental Europe has plenty of capacity – the giant Spirit of France, pictured, entered service on the route with P&O Ferries last week. Yet the competition on the Dover Strait is about to get more intense.
Starting this weekend, DFDS (0871 574 7235; dfdsseaways.co.uk) is sailing three times a day each way, increasing soon to six. Given the need to get bookings going quickly, the company is offering very low fares – as little as £29 each way for a car and four people in low season (outside Easter and summer school holidays, and the first two weeks of June), and £39 in the peak.
Warning of the week: Scams in China
The new Rough Guide to Southwest China (£15.99) warns about a common scam: "A sweet-looking young couple, a pair of girls or perhaps a kindly old man will ask to practise their English. Having befriended you, they will suggest some refreshment, and lead you to a teahouse. After eating or drinking, you will be presented with a bill for thousands of yuan, your new 'friends' will vanish and some large gentlemen will appear."
Destination of the week: Norway by sledge
Two weeks today, one of the world's toughest races gets under way: the Iditarod Trail Sled Dog Race across 1,049 miles of Alaska, from Anchorage to Nome.
To sample the techniques, you can start closer to home. The snow at the leading Norwegian winter-sports resort of Trysil is still thick on the ground at Easter, but the days are longer and the temperatures relatively mild – an excellent time for husky-sledging, a demanding but rewarding experience.
You can get a taste of it as part of an Easter holiday package with SkiNorway (020-7199 6010; ski-norway .co.uk) that costs £3,156 for a family of four. (That's £789 per person.) It includes SAS flights from Heathrow to Oslo on 8 April, transfers to Trysil, and a week's self-catering at the Mountain Resort Trysil. Simon Calder's latest film is on husky-sledging in Norway.
Tip of the week: East Anglia by train
The East Anglian train franchise, held until this month by National Express, has been taken over by Dutch Railways' Abellio subsidiary and renamed "Greater Anglia". The opening offer is 25 per cent off most tickets – though not Anytime fares, which effectively rules out the Stansted Express.
Register at bit.ly/grang, and buy by 5 March, and you can begin journeys up to 28 April. With off-peak returns, the latest return date is 28 May. All railcards are eligible. The offer cuts the lowest priced Advance return between London and Norwich to £12 (£19.50 in first class).
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