Something to declare: Morocco’s Kasbah du Toubkal; partying overseas; London to Scotland for 2p a mile; Rome to Rio de Janeiro
Saturday 11 December 2010
Destination of the week: Morocco's Kasbah du Toubkal, with a cause
The luxurious mountain refuge of Kasbah du Toubkal – close to Marrakech and in shadow of North Africa's highest mountain, Toubkal – is a treat at any time of the year. But on two trips in 2011 its founder, Mike McHugo, is offering it as an element in fund-raising for educational projects.
From 26 March to 2 April, a charity bike ride starts by exploring Marrakech then builds up to some more vigorous cycling routes in the foothills of the High Atlas Mountains. The trip includes lunch on the terrace of the Kasbah.
On the weekend of 4-5 June, a charity climb of Toubkal (4,165m) starts at the Kasbah. Of the €250 price, at least €150 goes to charity. More details from the Kasbah's French office (00 33 4 66 45 83 95), or kasbahdutoubkal.com.
Warning of the week: Party propriety
The Australian government has issued advice about "Partying Overseas", aimed at keeping its citizens safe abroad. Some of the tips are obvious ("Avoid getting into fights"). But given the cultural similarities with many British travellers, it is worth sharing a warning not to order anything in an unfamiliar bar until you have checked the price list: "If you don't, you may find yourself with an unexpectedly large bill which you might be forced to pay under duress before you can leave."
And, in case you hadn't worked it out for yourself, "drinking too much or taking drugs can put you in difficult and often dangerous situations far from home".
Bargain of the week: London to Scotland for 2p a mile
King's Cross to Edinburgh, Glasgow or any other destination on the East Coast main line costs £8 each way with a short-term promotion from East Coast. On the 400-mile journey between the English and Scots capitals, that works out at only 2p a mile. The same Standard-class Advance fare applies between any two points on the line, which include Doncaster, Leeds, York, Durham and Newcastle.
You must book by midnight on Monday (13 December) at eastcoast.co.uk/8 and travel between 5 January and 17 February next year. The train operator has promised at least 250,000 seats will be available, on off-peak and weekend services only.
Tip of the week: Flying down to Rio
Competition to Brazil's biggest tourist draw increases from next June, when Alitalia resumes flying from Rome to Rio de Janeiro. The Italian airline will have to undercut the market (currently around £750 return) to attract passengers; it will also offer deals with its alliance partner, Air France-KLM, so you fly one way via Rome and return via Paris or Amsterdam.
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