Something to declare: Travelling along the Tay; Boulogne; Minneapolis - via Canada; typhoid in Fiji
Saturday 26 June 2010
Tip of the week: Tay attention
ScotRail has published a leaflet called Travelling along the Tay to highlight the range of wildlife visible from the rail line from Perth to Dundee and onwards along the coast to Montrose. Seals swim as far upstream as Perth. In addition, the Tay estuary (which includes Britain's largest expanse of reeds) and the cliffs of Angus provide habitat for a wide array of birds, including peregrine falcons, fulmars, kittiwakes and puffins. Download the leaflet at www.bit.ly/9H7mg0 .
Bargain of the week: Boulogne and beyond
LD Lines has stepped up its ferry frequency from Dover to the French port of Boulogne, and is selling space on the additional services at bargain prices – so long as you book by Wednesday, 30 June.
The new sailings, aboard the Norman Trader, are at 5am, 11am and 5.15pm from Dover, returning from Boulogne at 9am, 3pm and 9.15pm. The shipping line (0844 576 8836; ldlines.com) is offering fares as low as £24 each way for a car and up to nine passengers, which is remarkable value for travel in July.
LD Lines' planned link across the Bay of Biscay between St-Nazaire in western France (close to Nantes) to Gijon in the centre of Spain's north coast is now not likely to begin until September. The new route is part of the European Union's "Motorways of the Seas" project, and has been held up by disputes over funding.
Destination of the week: Minneapolis – via Canada
Stansted wins back a transatlantic route this summer, thanks to the low-cost US carrier Sun Country Airlines (0800 014 8434; suncountry.com ). Sun Country has launched a link from the Essex airport to its home at Minneapolis-St Paul, providing a gateway to the northern Midwest.
The plane is a Boeing 737, a short- and medium-haul jet, which cannot make the trip non-stop. So it lands to refuel at Gander, a Nato base in the Canadian province of Newfoundland.
The flight departs once a week. The outbound departure from Stansted is at noon on Sundays, arriving just before 5pm local time after a journey of almost 11 hours. The inbound trip departs on Friday afternoons, takes 9 hours 30 minutes, and arrives on Saturday morning.
Test bookings suggest it is not going to be cheap: a return fare of $935 (£624) seems the norm, with extra fees for baggage. This compares with the lowest August fares of about £657 on Delta for its non-stop daily flight from Heathrow, though availability on this service is patchy.
If you aim no further than the beautiful island of Newfoundland, consider the new daily link from Heathrow to St John's on Air Canada (0871 220 1111; aircanada.ca ) – the shortest (2,319 miles) and fastest (5 hours) transatlantic route from Britain. A typical return flight in July costs £750.
Warning of the week: Typhoid in Fiji
A typhoid outbreak in Keiyasi, on the main Fijian island of Viti Levu, below, has led the Ministry of Health to impose a state of public health emergency in the country. To contain any further spread, social gatherings and the sale of pre-cooked food have been banned until further notice in affected areas.
The Foreign Office urges travellers "to pay particular attention to personal hygiene and food safety ... use only boiled or bottled water and avoid ice in drinks".
The US embassy in the capital, Suva, has issued a warning about kava-drinking ceremonies (involving sharing a vile local brew): "Tourists should avoid taking part in kava-drinking ceremonies unless tour operators can provide assurances Fiji Ministry of Health guidelines are being observed."
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