Something to Declare: More for less in Dublin; ferry to Belgium; Greece strikes again; across Scotland by rail
Saturday 25 June 2011
Destination of the week: More for less in Dublin
The Irish capital has launched a unique scheme to lure back overseas visitors: a meet-and-greet initiative with a twist. The "City of a Thousand Welcomes" notion borrows from long-established citizen-tourist initiatives such as New York Greeters: enthusiastic locals offer their services free to meet visitors and introduce them to the city's highlights. But the Dublin difference is that the city will buy you a drink – at your choice of the Merrion Hotel, Bewley's Oriental Café or the Porterhouse pub. See www.bit.ly/1000welcomes to book your person, and your pint.
On Friday next week, the high-power chain of European hostels, Generator, opens a property in Dublin. The summer deal is a bed for €10 a night throughout July, August and September, if you book online at generatorhostels.com.
Bargain of the week: Ferry to Belgium
Transeuropa Ferries, which sails between Ramsgate and Ostend, has ended its commercial link with LD Lines, writes Richard Madge. So you can once again book direct at www.transeuropa ferries.com. Fares seem to have fallen since the break. Spend less than 52 hours on the Continent, and the return fare for a car plus two people is the same as a one-way: £79.
Warning of the week: Greece strikes again
"There is a possibility of a 48-hour general strike on 28 and 29 June," warns the latest Foreign Office travel advice bulletin for Greece.
"Strikes and demonstrations are sometimes called at short notice and can cause disruption to public transport in and out of Greece (including air travel and ports)." The Foreign Office also says visitors should "exercise extreme caution around public demonstrations and protests in major urban centres. Violent incidents have occurred at and in the margins of such protests. Tear gas can be used. Observe instructions and advice given by local security authorities."
The US Embassy in Athens has urged its staff and their families to avoid parts of Greek cities "where demonstrators frequently congregate, such as the Polytechnic University area, Exarchia, Omonia, and Syntagma Squares in Athens, and Aristotle Square in Thessaloniki".
Tip of the week: Across Scotland by rail
If the prospect of 48 hours in Edinburgh tempts you, you could combine the Scots capital with the West Highlands. Tomorrow, Oban gets reconnected with Edinburgh as the summer Sunday series of direct trains begins. The trip begins at Waverley station at 8.10am, taking four hours to reach Oban and allowing five hours in the port before the return train at 5.04pm. A day return costs £36, includng a pack of postcards. The last run of the summer is on 28 August; 0845 755 0033 or scotrail.co.uk.
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