Something to declare: Tallinn in winter; blockades in Bolivia; cruise through Panama; learn how to 'rap run'
Saturday 05 November 2011
Bargain of the week: Tallinn in winter
"The Estonian capital is medieval and 21st century, with hardly anything in between," says Neil Taylor, author of the Bradt Guide to Estonia (£14.99). "So expect cobblestones, spires and candlelit churches, along with Wi-Fi and cutting-edge bars."
Tallinn is also the focus of a short-term sale this weekend: if you book today or tomorrow, Estonian Air (00 372 6401 162; estonian-air.com) can get you from Gatwick to Tallinn and back for around £110, with frills. The promotion applies for travel from 24 November to 11 March, but availability over Christmas/New Year is likely to be minimal.
You can also fly to Tallinn from Stansted and Liverpool on easyJet; lowest fares from Stansted are around £110 return, but from Liverpool there are seats this winter for £60 return or less.
Warning of the week: Blockades in Bolivia
As today's story on pages 8 and 9 confirms, Bolivia is one of the most beautiful and intriguing nations in South America. But the Foreign Office warns of "a continual risk of public protests and strikes throughout Bolivia", with key highways blocked.
"You will not be able to travel until the blockade is lifted... Never try to cross a blockade due to the risk of violence." The US State Department urges travellers to take extra food, water, and warm clothing. And the US Embassy in the biggest city, La Paz, advises staff "to maintain at least two weeks' supply of drinking water and canned food in case roadblocks affect supplies".
Destination of the week: Cruise through Panama
How to travel from Florida to California? You could choose a train or plane, but a more stylish way to do it is to emulate the Gold Rush pioneers and sail via Central America. In the 19th century, this involved travelling upriver and overland through Nicaragua. But these days you can simply take a cruise ship through the Panama Canal.
Cunard's Queen Victoria has a 6 December departure from Fort Lauderdale (adjacent to Miami) that calls at Aruba before transitting the "Big Ditch" (pictured) from the Caribbeanto the Pacific.
On the Pacific coast, she calls at Puntarenas in Costa Rica, Puerto Quetzal in Guatemala and the Mexican ports of Huatulco, Acapulco and Manzanillo. You will arrive home on 21 December – unless you opt to stay longer in California. The price including flights and transfers is around £1,600.
Tip of the week: Learn how to "rap run"
"The problem with traditional abseiling," according to Weekends to Brag About (Survival Books, £14.95), "is that you go down backwards". For more adrenalin, try rap running – also known as forward-facing abseil. "Whatever it's called, it's absolutely terrifying the first time you do it," says the author, Christopher Nye. If it doesn't appeal, the book suggests 100 other outdoor adventures in the UK that may boost your bragging rights.
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