Something to declare: Going east? Check your watch; Franche-Comté;
Russian time stands still; Go west in BA's posh seats; easyJet's new route to Kefallonia
Saturday 22 October 2011
Warning of the week
Next weekend, the clocks go back across Europe. But not in Russia, Ukraine and Belarus, which have decided permanently to stay on daylight saving time all year. This corresponds to GMT +4 in Moscow, and GMT +3 in Minsk and Kiev.
For passengers flying from Heathrow to Moscow, the four-hour flight will now extend across the whole day, local time: the 9.30am BMI departure arrives in Moscow at 5.30pm, for example. Overnight flights look more attractive, with Aeroflot's 10.30pm departure from Heathrow arriving at 6.30am. In the opposite direction, you can expect to land in the UK at the same hour, local time, as you took off from Moscow.
Anyone crossing by land between Kirkenes in Norway and Murmansk in Russia will find that the time zone jumps by three hours.
Bargain of the week
Go west in BA's posh seats
Want to try Club World on the cheap? Fly to New York between 17 November and 10 January. The full BA business-class fare from Heathrow to Newark is an eye-popping £5,769. But in a short-term premium class sale, America's biggest city can be reached for only £1,499. West coast destinations — San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco and Vancouver – are on sale at a flat £1,999. (Seattle, on which BA has a monopoly, is £2,099.)
BA is also selling Club Europe flights from London City to Iberian destinations, with a flat fare of £279 return to Madrid, Malaga and Faro, for travel any time from 1 November to 30 June. Note that the economy-class service on the new Embraer jets from London City is excellent, which reduces the relative value of the Club Europe offer – and the airport has no BA lounge.
Destination of the week
When the new Rhine-Rhône high-speed rail line opens on 11 December, this remote corner of south-east France will suddenly be much more accessible. The main rail route between Paris and the Swiss cities of Basel and Zurich is being diverted to a more southerly route that runs through Franche-Comté.
Besançon, the capital of the Franche-Comté region, gets a new TGV station 10km north of the city in the village of Auxon – though some trains from Paris Gare de Lyon will run to the central station, Viotte, taking two-and-a-half hours. Services to Belfort take about the same time, making the overall journey from London St Pancras to either community less than six hours, including the change of trains in Paris.
Both locations have much to offer. Belfort is a former Austrian possession with Vauban fortifications; Le Corbusier's modernist church at Ronchamp (pictured above) is nearby. Besançon boasts a citadel, cathedral and lively student area, the Battant Quartier.
Tip of the week
The orange way to Kefallonia
The Ionian island put on the cultural map by Captain Corelli's Mandolin now appears on the easyJet route network. Seats are on sale for flights, which start 28 April and run to late October. The airline will fly three times a week from Gatwick. For the lowest fares, book as early as possible.
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