ANYONE planning to visit the Hay Festival, which this year is sponsored by the Independent, can take advantage of two special Festival Weekend breaks. The festival runs from 20 to 30 May (Bank Holiday Monday), and among those appearing are the writers Toni Morrison, Joanna Trollope, John Mortimer, Joseph Heller, Vikram Seth, Doris Lessing, Andrew Davies, Carlos Fuentes, Derek Walcott, Edmund White, and Naomi Wolf, the impressionist Rory Bremner and the Comedy Store Players. The debates, readings, cabarets and concerts take place in 15 marquees (the largest holding about 1,000). Tickets cost pounds 3- pounds 9.
The first package, for the weekend of 21-22 May, costs pounds 65. The price includes one night's bed and breakfast and return coach travel (departing at 8am Saturday and returning by 11pm Sunday). Coaches will depart from London, Birmingham and Manchester, subject to demand and availability. Transport from hotel to the festival will also be provided.
The second weekend package, 28-30 May, costs pounds 95, including two nights' bed and breakfast and return coach travel (departing 8am Saturday, returning by 11pm Monday).
For booking details and a free festival brochure, please write, enclosing a 22cm by 11cm s a e, to: The Independent Festival Weekend Offer, The Hay Festival, Hay- on-Wye HR3 5BX (0497 821299).
FOLLOWING our feature (Independent Traveller, 19 March) on the phasing out of unlimited travel airpasses in the United States, Northwest Airlines (0293 561000) is to reprieve its 30-day stand-by airpass, which was to have been dropped at the end of March.
The pass, which must be bought in the UK before departure, costs dollars 549 ( pounds 375) and allows unlimited stand-by travel on the Northwest network - covering almost 200 cities in the United States and Canada. Travellers can fly to the United States with any transatlantic carrier.
MERIDIAN Travel Company (071-431 5322) has announced that, because of 'the deteriorating political situation', it is postponing plans to run inclusive tours to North Korea (Independent Traveller, 26 March).
'Hopefully, the situation will be resolved quickly and our programme will then be reintroduced,' says Ian Woolgar, Meridian's managing director.
DURING June, July and August, Sherpa Expeditions (081-577 2717) is running 15- day walking holidays through Romania's Transylvanian Alps, with nights spent in mountain hostels, shepherds' huts and the homes of local families.
The package, which begins in Bucharest with sightseeing, costs pounds 627, including return flights from Heathrow, accommodation, internal transport, all meals on the walk and the services of the group guide.
CRICKET fans who want to see England play the West Indies in the Antigua Test later this month are being offered a nine-night package by Caribbean Connection (0244 329556).
The price for the holiday, which is from 14 to 23 April, is pounds 1,152 per person, including return flights from Gatwick. Match tickets and transport to and from the ground cost an extra pounds 90 per person.
NORWAY is the most expensive country in Europe for unleaded petrol, according to an AA survey of fuel prices, charging an average price of 67.77p per litre. The next most expensive country is the Netherlands (66.55p), followed by Italy (64.98p). The cheapest country in the survey is Turkey (20.01p), followed by Germany (35.01p) and Luxembourg (42.83p). The average UK price is 50.95p.
Norway is also the most expensive country for diesel, at 55.86p per litre; Turkey is again the cheapest, at 12.65p.
UNTIL 10 April Air UK (0345 666777) has a Saver return of pounds 99 on its new route between Stansted and Copenhagen. The stay must include a Saturday night.Reuse content