Something to Declare: The Dolomites; On the road in France; medical kits for travellers
Where to go, how to save, what to avoid
Saturday 18 July 2009
Destination of the week: The Dolomites
Between now and the end of August, the Dolomites of north-east Italy and Slovenia are known for the spectacular enrosadira, when calcium carbonate and manganese contained in the cliffs turn bright red at sunset. (For more information see altabadia.org, or valgardena.it.) The main airport for the mountain range is Trieste in Italy, served by Ryanair from Birmingham, Bristol and Stansted. From the last, fares of around £85 return are widely available in August.
Accommodation is easy to find in ski resorts such as Madonna di Campiglio. This town is also the base station for visitors tackling a via ferrata – climbing routes with fixed cables and ladders – such as the Sentiero Bocchette Alte and the Via delle Bocchette Centrali.
Warning of the week: On the road in France
Today is a "red" day for driving south through France. The official traffic calendar is now available in English, online at tiny.cc/t4MDD.
It predicts conditions in which "traffic is very heavy and traffic flow is very difficult," as British motorists heading for their holiday accommodation jostle for road space with Parisians aiming for the Mediterranean.
The warning is repeated for next Saturday, and the following Friday (31 July). But next month begins especially badly, with a "black" day on Saturday 1 August, with the prediction of "extremely heavy" traffic and "exceptionally difficult" flow over the whole road network.
Returning home, every Saturday in August is rated "red" between 6am and 6pm for motorists travelling north through the Rhone Valley, the main route from the Med. And Friday 14 August is highlighted as a fraught day for drivers coming home from south-west France.
That assumes, of course, that you can get across the Channel. The Foreign Office warns of "continuing discontent among fisherman in the French Channel ports" and the risk of "further blockades affecting cross-Channel transport services".
Bargain of the week: medical kits for travellers
Whether you're heading off to a far-flung corner of the globe or simply planning a family holiday closer to home, it is worth investing in a travel first-aid kit.
What The Independent Traveller wanted to discover is: can you put one together buying items separately on the high street, or should you buy a specialist pre-prepared kit? Perhaps surprisingly, the answer is definitely the latter.
We looked at the "world traveller" kit from Lifesystems (lifesystems.co.uk). This contains everything from dressings and basic medicines to a thermometer and even a scalpel. It can be found in retailers such as Trailfinders, Cotswold and Blacks. Prices are around £35; they are slightly lower online. The kit includes handy information leaflets and a bag.
How does this compare with buying the ingredients? Pricing items individually at Boots amounted to £50.20 – and this does not include hypodermic needles, syringes and scalpels, which are not sold over the counter.
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