The Column That Gives The Global Picture

Bargain of the week: Worms and beyond

Bargain of the week: Worms and beyond

This historic German city is now much more cheaply and easily accessible from Britain, thanks to a thrice-daily direct bus link from Hahn airport. The fare for the 90-minute journey is €11 (£7.50); the same bus continues to Mannheim (€14/£9.50) and Heidelberg (€16/£11). The airport, served by Ryanair (0871 246 0000, from Bournemouth, Prestwick and Stansted, also has four daily buses direct to Koblenz, where the Mosel and Rhine converge, and 10 a day to Mainz. And a new three-times-a-day link has opened to Trier, the birthplace of Karl Marx, continuing to Luxembourg.

Warning of the week: Cairo

The Association of British Travel Agents stages its annual convention in the Egyptian capital next weekend. In the past, terrorists have targeted tourists; the last massacre, in Luxor in 1997, was timed to coincide with the start of the World Travel Market in London.

The US State Department warns: "Effective police operations in the past few years and the heightened security posture throughout Egypt, particularly since September 11, have made it more difficult for extremist groups to conduct terrorist operations. However, the threat has not been eliminated."

The statement also says that: "Unescorted women are vulnerable to sexual harassment and verbal abuse", that "Traffic regulations are routinely ignored" and that "Sidewalks and pedestrian crossings are non-existent in many areas, and drivers do not yield the right-of-way to pedestrians."

Simon Calder

Destination of the week: Belgium

"Announcing a good reason to go to Belgium," says United Airlines. "Earn United Mileage Plus miles when you fly in Europe with BMI." In a new advertisement, the world's second-biggest airline has picked on the tired old target of Belgium, implying that the best reason to go there is to accrue a few frequent-flyer points. For better motives, I talked to the Belgian tourist offices in London (one for Flemish-speaking Flanders, the other for French-speaking Wallonia).

Ilse Van Steen of Tourism Flanders-Brussels (020-7867 0311, recommends the beer, food (Brussels has more Michelin-Star restaurants per capita than anywhere else in Europe) and shopping. There is a flea market in the Marolles district of Brussels, and an outdoor antiques market in Brussels' Sablon district. In Antwerp, you can visit haute couture Belgian designers such as Dries Van Noten.

Sue Heady of the Belgian Tourist Office – Brussels and Wallonia (020-7531 0390, recommends the town of Spa, where you can sit in copper baths as gently heated fizzy water sparkles around you. There is a new spa in Chaudfontaine just outside Liege, and a Champney's at the Conrad Hotel in Brussels.

BMI (0870 60 70 555, offers a weekend return fare to Brussels from Heathrow for £67.30, which will earn you 500 Mileage Plus miles each way. You would need to make 20 return journeys to get a free roundtrip on BMI in the UK.

Gerson Nason