Tag Archives: Europe

Cruising for young(ish) people, by a first-timer

imageNatalie Paris boards a cruise for the first time, as part of a multi-generational family holiday in the Mediterranean.

We lined the upper deck, clinging to the railings and waving farewell to the shrinking tower of St Mark’s basilica. The chorus from Time to Say Goodbye blared cheesily from loudspeakers behind us. Below, on canal-side terraces, tourists squinted up from their Bellinis as all 93,330 tons of us slid by, rudely blotting out the sun. Our Mediterranean cruise had finally begun, with a showy sail along the Grand Canal in Venice. Even for this apprehensive first-timer, it was a pretty exciting moment.

In common with most independent people in their twenties or thirties, I wouldn’t have chosen a cruise for myself. Holidays for me are about the freedom to get out and explore. And once I’m out, I tend to want to stay out. Late. But this trip was not solely about me. Our party consisted of three generations of my boyfriend’s family, all avid cruisers. One was celebrating a significant birthday and so those of us unaccustomed to itineraries and fixed mealtimes had agreed to be open-minded. What the occasion required was easy sightseeing at a reasonable price, with plenty of opportunities for ballroom dancing. "We don’t have to spend every minute together," the cruising regulars assured us, "just don’t be late back or the ship will leave without you."

Skiing in Switzerland: Allison Pearson learns to cross-country ski in Pontresina

imageIf you don’t learn to ski in your youth, every year it gets harder to take the plunge, says Allison Pearson. But the self-proclaimed ‘scaredy-cat Mum’ found her ski legs in the Swiss resort of Pontresina.

To be honest, I was not the most promising candidate for midlife skiing lessons. “But, darling, you’re scared of heights and you hate falling over,” Himself pointed out when I suggested we spend last February half-term in Switzerland. He had a point, but I was not going to be deterred by anything as irritating as male common sense.

A friend had told me that the Grand Hotel Kronenhof in Pontresina was heaven on earth. I was emerging from a rather tenacious depression and I hoped that skiing could clear my head. I craved the grandeur and the stillness of the mountains. I wanted that silver air in my lungs. I had visions of myself as Audrey Hepburn in Charade, swathed in sable and sipping a hot chocolate in a café on the glittering slopes waiting for Cary Grant. Clearly, I felt a powerful attraction towards the après part of après-ski. All I needed now was to figure out the ski part. And not fall over.

Rights Gone Wrong?, BBC Two, review

imageDid Andrew Neil prove that human rights laws are failing us? James Walton reviews BBC Two’s timely documentary.

Just in case he wasn’t unpopular enough already, Rights Gone Wrong? (BBC Two) suggested that Adolf Hitler is also responsible for our inability to get rid of Abu Qatada. As the programme explained, the European Convention on Human Rights – which has prevented Qatada’s deportation — was drawn up in 1950 to ensure that no European nation ever went the way of Nazi Germany again. Any citizens who thought their governments were behaving unjustly could now appeal to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg.

Mr Money: the real Car of the Year

imageTelegraph Motoring’s Mr Money, Mike Rutherford, considers the finalists for the World Car of the Year.

There’s been all sorts of fun and games in Geneva over the last few days concerning what can loosely be described as the best on-sale cars on the planet. Just to be clear, unlike much of the futuristic mental concept metal you’ll see on the pages of Motoring this week, I’m talking here about the models that are actually in the showrooms already, available and ready to be bought and driven away by real-world customers.

Hire and fire’ has destroyed Britain’s jobs economy

imageEurope’s biggest problem now is youth unemployment – we should be looking at the German labour model

These days we tend to talk about the divisions in Europe as one between net creditors and debtors. In reality this is just a sideshow. There is a much more fundamental gulf, hinted at by Angela Merkel in her Davos speech yesterday: between countries with organised industrial training systems such as Germany, the Netherlands, Belgium, Scandinavia, Austria and Switzerland – all currently with jobless rates of between 3% and 7% – and those with much higher rates of unemployment, often in double digits, in peripheral Europe.

Travellers ‘fleeced’ by hotel Wi-Fi charges

imageAround two thirds of hotels worldwide are still charging guests for Wi-Fi access – with rates as high as £8.50 per hour and £20 per day – research by Telegraph Travel has shown.

With a large number of bars, cafés, and even branches of McDonald’s and Starbucks now offering free Wi-Fi to customers, hotels are facing growing criticism over the high charges that many continue to impose.

Telegraph Travel analysed Wi-Fi charges at more than 30 different hotel chains, and at dozens of individual hotels, to uncover those that levy the highest fees and those that offer the service free of charge.

Out of more than 70 different hotel groups and individual properties contacted in the survey, just 24 do not impose Wi-Fi charges.

Luxury hotels in London were the worst offenders, with several charging £20 for 24-hour Wi-Fi access. These included Grosvenor House and the Firmdale Hotels group – which owns six upmarket properties in London, such as The Haymarket and Number Sixteen. At The Dorchester, the only option is a charge of £19.50 per day.

W Hotel charges guests at its Leicester Square property £5.95 an hour or £17 a day, while its Istanbul, Barcelona and Hong Kong hotels charge €15 (£12.50), €19 (£16) and HK$115 (£9.50) per day respectively, although free access is available in some public areas.

Hotels in the Holiday Inn chain charge guests up to £15 a day in Britain and up to €24 (£20) a day in Europe, although in the majority of its hotels in the United States, Wi-Fi access is complimentary.

The highest hourly rate uncovered was €10 (£8.50), a charge imposed by several Marriott hotels, including the A C Hotel in Florence and the J W Marriott in Cannes.

Towards the lower end of the market, Travelodge charges guests £5 an hour or £10 a day, while guests at Barceló Hotels must pay £6.50 an hour, or £15 a day.

TalkTalk, the internet service provider, estimated that the cost to a business, such as a hotel, of providing broadband, would range from £10 a month for a small property to £300 a month for a 100-room property, or £700 a month for a larger, 300-room property.

At the 195-room Dorchester, for example, where room rates start at around £300 a night, the monthly cost of providing Wi-Fi to the entire hotel is likely to be covered by two bookings, or around 30 people purchasing a day’s Wi-Fi access.

Not all of the capital’s luxury hotels levy such high charges. The Maybourne Group, which owns Claridge’s, The Connaught and The Berkeley, doesn’t charge for Wi-Fi access, and neither does 45 Park Lane, nor The Halkin, The Metropolitan or One Aldwych.

Among hotel chains offering free Wi-Fi are Best Western, Malmaison, De Vere, Radisson Edwardian, and Brittania. Premier Inns charge guests just £3 a day, and offer them 30 minutes’ free daily access.

A number of other hotels have adopted a dual policy, where guests can log on to a slower network free of charge or pay extra for high-speed access. The Langham, where the high-speed access costs £20 per day, and the Sofitel chain, where it costs £15, are two examples.

The falling cost of broadband services in recent years has highlighted the issue of high hotel charges for Wi-Fi access; travellers now increasingly expect the service to be including in their room rate.

At last year’s Abta Travel Convention, David Rowan, the editor of Wired UK, the technology magazine, called for travellers to boycott hotels that charge for Wi-Fi.

Skiing in Switzerland: Allison Pearson learns to cross-country ski in Pontresina

imageIf you don’t learn to ski in your youth, every year it gets harder to take the plunge, says Allison Pearson. But the self-proclaimed ‘scaredy-cat Mum’ found her ski legs in the Swiss resort of Pontresina.

To be honest, I was not the most promising candidate for midlife skiing lessons. “But, darling, you’re scared of heights and you hate falling over,” Himself pointed out when I suggested we spend last February half-term in Switzerland. He had a point, but I was not going to be deterred by anything as irritating as male common sense.

Swan Hellenic’s ship Minerva upgraded

imageMinerva, Swan Hellenic’s solitary cruise ship, which was saved from extinction by Telegraph readers, has returned to service after a three-month overhaul.

Passengers on board the 350-berth vessel can now expect refurbished en-suite bathrooms, a newly installed promenade deck, a lounge bar with 360 degree views, and an improved internet area.

The ship will be sailing in Europe this spring, offering cruises to the Canary Islands, the Mediterranean and the Black Sea.

Britain pledges jobs, protection

imageBritain is promising to help create more than 10 000 jobs and protect dozens of communities from crime as it increases its development commitment to the Caribbean over the next four years, the United Kingdom Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell has said.

Mitchell has ended a brief visit to several Caribbean countries and according to a statement from the British High Commission in Barbados, London is promising Jamaica that UK assistance will target 50 of the most volatile inner-city areas.

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Looking for a long-term fix

imageMaria Fitzpatrick asks five experts for their home improvement advice

What’s in a name? Not much if you are Volkswagen, which trades model names like Top Trumps. As from this year, the 39-year-old Passat name graces the rumps of two entirely separate models, the first in Europe, the second in North America and the Far East. The larger American Passat is built at VW’s new Chattanooga plant in Tennessee, whereas European Passats continue to be built in Emden, Germany.

Going, going, gone for a song

imageThe salerooms are booming and new records are being set – no wonder Lord Coleridge was aggrieved that his Tudor chain of office was sold for a fraction of its worth.

Two years ago, a couple from Pinner found a Chinese vase in a dusty recess of their parents’ house and took it to an auctioneer in Ruislip. Everyone was astounded when it was knocked down for £53 million. It was, as headline writers noted at the time, the ultimate cash in the attic.

Skiing holiday advice: how to save money

imageNick Trend offers advice on where and when to get the most for your money this season.

As Peter Hardy points out in his report, it looks as though it will be a classic season for snow – most skiers will want to bag a week if they possibly can. But which week will offer the best prices, the best snow and the quietest pistes? I’ve talked to some leading ski operators and tried to predict how the rest of the season is likely to pan out, to offer a strategy for finding the best value.

Swiss Alps Adventure

imageA holiday with kids on the Swiss Alps evoked a lot of thoughts – excitement, apprehension (since it was to be their first experience with snow) and ultimately adventure with luxury.

Jungfraujoch (Top of Europe) and Mount Titlis were really a sight to behold with the snow, the mountain ranges, the thin rarefied air, the snow mobiles and the expanse of white all around.

Fiat Panda review

imageThere’s a lot riding on Fiat’s new Panda, not least a battle of the tiddlers against the VW Up and Kia Picanto.

The phrase “Small cars, small profits” is the blunt retort credited to Edsel Ford when presented with the first proposals for the Fiesta. In the even more Lilliputian world of sub-B cars such as the Panda, or its new rivals Volkswagen’s Up or Kia’s Picanto, you need to get the production right or you can lose money on every car you sell.

Cruising Tips

imageEvery year more and more people discover why cruises are the ideal vacation. A cruise ship is basically your giant buffet of wonderful experiences, with a wide selection of cuisines and cultures, activities in the sun and spas to pamper your every indulgence, destinations to exotic locales and a million ways to relax. You can do it all or do absolutely nothing – the choice is yours!

Chart Your Course! Pick the Cruise That’s Right for You
Your first choice is the most enjoyable, for it allows your mind to wander around the globe and back again, revisiting every destination your dreams have ever taken you to. Where in the world do you want to go and for how long?

Top cars of 2012

imageThe next 12 months will see a battle of the city cars, more safety measures introduced and plenty of historic motorsport action.

After last year’s roller coaster of politics and economics, previewing 2012 is going to be about as effective as lighting a match in a gale, although there are some things I am looking forward to. Chief amongst these is the forthcoming battle of the tiddlers between Volkswagen and Fiat over their new Up and Panda models. There’s little love lost between both chief executives, Martin Winterkorn and Sergio Marchionne respectively, and the fight between the two has already got quite dirty so watch out for fireworks.

Little Feat are still kicking up a storm

imageThe band that Lowell George founded are thriving after 40 years – and have a new album, 40 Feat, which celebrates some hidden treasures from of one of America’s most original rock acts.

Little Feat made some of the finest, original rock music of the 1970s and they have endured and thrived despite losing their founder member and talisman Lowell George at the horribly young age of 34.

The musicians who have played with Little Feat, or recorded their music, would resemble a who’s who of music.

Their fans are passionate and among the Little Feat believers is author and TV maestro David Simon, of Homicide, The Wire and Treme fame.

The Basics of Saving Money While Studying Abroad

imageTraveling is a luxury many of us cannot afford. Obviously, that’s what student loans are for, however much we may ache in repaying them in the days after graduation.

The following are tips to save money while traveling abroad so you have less to worry about later. Don’t worry; your experience abroad won’t be stunted by your savings.

Before you go

1. When you’re still in the planning stages of where you want to study abroad, look outside of Europe. Yes, Florence is the most beautiful city I’ve set eyes upon, but it was also expensive. Much of Europe is (especially the British Isles). Many areas of South and Central America, Africa, and Asia (excluding the likes of Tokyo, of course) offer incredible cultural experiences for less money.

John Martin: Apocalypse, at Tate Britain, Seven magazine review

imageJohn Martin exposed the Victorians’ darkest fears – with devastating effect

To say the art of John Martin divided 19th-century critical opinion would be an understatement. Edward Bulwer Lytton declared him to be “the greatest, the most lofty, the most original genius of the age”. But Samuel Taylor Coleridge thought he was “a poor creature” who “looked at Nature through bits of stained glass, and was never satisfied with any appearance that was not prodigious”.

John Martin: Apocalypse, the most extensive exhibition of the painter’s work since his death in 1854, is an opportunity to see what all the fuss was about. On this evidence, his genius is open to question but he was certainly a thunderously entertaining painter of death, destruction and doom.

A guide to finding cruise deals

imageEven today, when travel is becoming increasingly affordable, cruises are still somewhat surrounded by an air of luxury and unattainability. Magazine pictures of the rich and/or famous lounging on the decks of cruise ships sailing through aquamarine water with a tropical sun shining down on them often seem out of the league of the regular traveler, but nothing could be further from the truth. If you are not well-versed in deal finding, going on a cruise might seem a bit improbable to you, but luckily there are ways to get cruise tickets for cut-rate prices. Here is a short guide to finding cruise deals that are too irresistible to pass up.

Rothko in Britain: a timeline

 

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A new show at the Whitechapel Gallery celebrates a landmark exhibition which would seal a special bond between the American painter Mark Rothko and his British contemporaries.

1959

• Rothko sailed to Britain – he never flew – for a holiday with his wife and daughter Kate. It was his third time in Europe.

• He stayed with his close friend and painter William Scott – whom he had met in New York in 1953 – and his family in their cottage in Somerset.

• At lunch with British abstract painters Peter Lanyon and Terry Frost, Rothko expressed his frustration with his work being misunderstood. He said: “You think my paintings are calm, like windows in some cathedral? You should look again. I’m the most violent of all the American painters. Behind those colours there hides the final cataclysm.”

Mysterious Ukraine: top 5 travel destinations

imageEastern Europe is becoming a more and more popular tourist destination, and although the Balkans are now attracting a steady stream of tourists, there are parts of Europe that haven’t had yet a share in the limelight. Ukraine, the ‘borderland’ as its name says, is slowly shifting into something completely different, with improving economy and a more carefree attitude. Ukraine is a cultural and historical patchwork , whose Slavic heritage is peppered with Scythian gold stuffed into museums, cave monasteries, Byzantine murals and Tatar stories. There are countless reasons for visiting this country, and here’s a taste of what awaits you in mysterious Ukraine: top 5 travel destinations.

Why Choose A European River Cruise Vacation?

imageAnyone that wants to take a luxury vacation, you should consider a European cruise.

If you are interested in traveling though Europe, one of the best ways to see the historic and magnificent sites throughout the continents is aboard a luxury cruise boat. Simply fly to your chosen departure destination, board the ship, unpack your bags, and get ready for an unforgettable journey.

One of the most popular types of cruises is a European river cruise. Nearly all the major rivers of Europe have luxury cruise packages available. When cruising on one of these magnificent boats on the mighty rivers, travelers enjoy some of the most incredible scenery, not to mention history. When you take a river cruise, you can expect to visit a different city, town, or village every day.

Travel view of the week: September 3 to 9, 2011

imageLisbon offers a mild and temperate climate, with short winters and long hot summers with a maximum temperature of approximately 28º Celsius (84º F). Although temperatures may fall somewhat in the autumn and winter months, sunshine is almost always a constant feature. Temperatures rarely fall to freezing point, even during the coldest months of December and January. Due to its proximity to the sea, mist and drizzly rain can sometimes make Lisbon feel cooler than inland Portugal.

Cruise passengers take legal action over illness

More than 130 British holidaymakers are taking legal action against Fred Olsen after allegedly falling ill on board one of its ships.

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The cruise line was this week accused of “repeatedly failing to protect the health of tourists” on the MV Boudicca following several outbreaks of sickness.

Irwin Mitchell, a British law firm that specialises in travel-related cases, is representing 138 people who claim they suffered severe gastric illness on the ship, which sails to the Canary Islands, Europe and west Africa, between 2009-2011. Some of those passengers have blamed poor hygiene.

Fred Olsen accepts that illness has occurred on the ship, but says the symptoms suffered by passengers were indicative of norovirus – a common cause of infectious gastroenteritis that it says is beyond its control.

Top 5 things to do in Iceland

imageIceland is a queer fish, an island country in the middle of the Atlantic that’s still considered to be part of Europe, and one whose name couldn’t be more misleading. Iceland is nowhere near a piece of South Pole like ice sheet, and only a very little part of the island is covered in ice. The rest of it is lush and verdant and has a surprisingly mild climate, with vast desolate landscapes that are absolutely stunning. Iceland is a great country for all sorts of activities, indoors and outdoors, and if you don’t mind quiet places with not much population, you will instantly fall in love with this otherworldly island. So here are the top 5 things to do in Iceland, for those who decide to visit it.

Transatlantic cruises: The Queen and I

Even after more than 150 crossings, Douglas Ward feels a thrill of anticipation as he boards the Queen Mary 2 for a voyage to New York. But can the largest ocean liner ever built match the style and glamour of its majestic predecessor?

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It was July 1965 when I boarded the original Queen Elizabeth as the fresh-faced leader of a jazz band for my first transatlantic crossing. Some 46 years may have passed, but as my wife and I drove to Southampton’s Ocean Terminal last month for my 157th crossing, I still felt the same thrill at the prospect of embarking on an ocean liner – and sailing in grand style. The journey may now be a more leisurely seven nights rather than the five of yesteryear to save on fuel, but the voyage from the Old World to the New remains special.

Food and wine: guide to good eating abroad

Heading to the Continent on holiday? You are probably looking forward to some delicious food. But how do you find it? Andrew Purvis has some tips.

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Eating well is one of the great pleasures of travel. Often, it is emotive and sensuous – the thing we remember most about a holiday: a delicious breakfast of fresh cornetto and cappuccino in Tuscany; a fragrant lunch of red tomatoes, chalk-white cheese, black olives, cucumber and a boiled egg on a sunny terrace in Bodrum; the briny indulgence of ozone-fresh fruits de mer eaten at a beachfront table in Nice with the setting sun in your eyes, salt in the air and a chilled glass in your hand. We like to feel that we are relishing a cuisine which is rooted into a different landscape, climate and tradition.

Living the high life: homes in skyscrapers

Cities around the world are capitalising on people’s desire for a home in the sky. Graham Norwood looks at an elevating trend

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Traditionally the British have seen towers as rather undesirable places to live. High-rise buildings are often associated with council housing or brutalistic modern architecture.

But that’s changing. More and more Britons are choosing to reach for the skies, and towers are getting ever taller to accommodate them.

The finishing touches are being put on The Heron, a 36-storey tower near Liverpool Street in the City of London. Meanwhile, in Vauxhall, south-west London, building is under way on The Tower at St George Wharf. At 49 storeys, it will be London’s tallest residential building when completed in 2013.

“Until recently, it was difficult to secure a mortgage on a flat in a building with more than six or seven storeys,” says Robert Bailey, who runs his eponymous buying agency for some of the world’s richest purchasers wanting homes in the capital.

Georgia: Blessed in a big-hearted country

Lisa Grainger gets a surprising welcome in a former Soviet republic that may be economically poor but has many other riches.

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Within five minutes of arrival I knew Georgia was unlike any other place I had visited. On the London-Tbilisi flight, there had been only a handful of passengers, and one I had been watching with particular interest.

A dead ringer for Rasputin – tall, dressed in black and exotically handsome, with a grey bushy beard and hair bundled into a bun – he had bounded up to the plane door as soon as the wheels touched down, a little Harrods bag clutched aloft, like a Wise Man arriving to give Jesus gold.

Travel money saving tips for your summer holiday

This is the second in a series of three posts offering advice to holidaymakers heading off on holiday this summer. In this post I have added some useful tips that will save you money in the hope that you will spend less time worrying about money, and more time enjoying your holiday.

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I have also included the answers to two questions that I am asked a lot; how much spending money should I take on holiday? Where are the best places to exchange currency? I explain how you can still enjoy expensive destinations like Venice, by changing your spending behaviour while on holiday.

Here is my list of travel money saving tips.

Stick to a daily budget

Before I travel I look at what I want to do. I look at the cost for entrance to tourist attractions that I want to visit. I research what public transport ticket options I can purchase and how much it will cost to get around. Then add in the cost of food, drink, and money for gifts etc.

Crew member missing after jumping into English Channel

A cruise ship crew member is missing after jumping from the vessel into the English channel, a travel company confirmed today.
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The ship, owned by Celebrity Cruises, was eight miles north of Cherbourg, France, when the incident happened.

Crew immediately turned the vessel around and headed back towards the spot where their colleague had jumped. They alerted the French coastguard but no trace of the man was found in an overnight search.

Emergency workers called off the search and rescue mission this morning.

A spokeswoman for Celebrity Cruises said: ”Celebrity Cruises’ Care Team is providing support to the crew member’s family, as well as his friends and colleagues onboard, and our thoughts and prayers are with them.”

Georgia: Blessed in a big-hearted country

imageLisa Grainger gets a surprising welcome in a former Soviet republic that may be economically poor but has many other riches.

Within five minutes of arrival I knew Georgia was unlike any other place I had visited. On the London-Tbilisi flight, there had been only a handful of passengers, and one I had been watching with particular interest.

A dead ringer for Rasputin – tall, dressed in black and exotically handsome, with a grey bushy beard and hair bundled into a bun – he had bounded up to the plane door as soon as the wheels touched down, a little Harrods bag clutched aloft, like a Wise Man arriving to give Jesus gold.

Eurovision 2011: Live Blog

imageJoin in my live Eurovision Song Contest blog by commenting below, emailing me at neil.midgley@telegraph.co.uk, or finding me on Twitter – @neilmidgley.

23.28 Someone’s just tweeted that there are only 58 hotels listed on TripAdvisor for the whole of Azerbaijan. Eurovision’s just taken on a whole new post-Soviet dimension… Goodnight all!

23.19 Some of the crowd are on the pitch… We’re off to Azerbaijan next year. Good evening Baku!

Crew member missing after jumping into English Channel

A cruise ship crew member is missing after jumping from the vessel into the English channel, a travel company confirmed today.

imageThe 31-year-old Filipino man was seen on CCTV climbing over a railing and jumping from the Celebrity Eclipse at around 10.15pm last night.

The ship, owned by Celebrity Cruises, was eight miles north of Cherbourg, France, when the incident happened.

Crew immediately turned the vessel around and headed back towards the spot where their colleague had jumped. They alerted the French coastguard but no trace of the man was found in an overnight search.

Emergency workers called off the search and rescue mission this morning.

Cultural city breaks: Great art, kept all to yourself

How do you avoid the ever-growing crowds that pack the big European museums? Nick Trend suggests some ways to make the experience more positive.

imageOn a packed London tube train I was contorting my neck, trying to see through the crowd and check which station we had arrived at. The experience reminded me of something, but I couldn’t put my finger on it. Then I remembered – it was visiting the Sistine Chapel and the Raphael rooms in the Vatican Museums.

The same feeling of half-suffocated, frustrated claustrophobia had overwhelmed me a few years ago as I shuffled along with the tide of tourists, waiting for a gap to open so that I could steal a glimpse of Raphael’s frescoes, or find an unencumbered vantage point from which to view Michelangelo’s ceiling. When God created Adam, he surely didn’t imagine quite so many of his progeny crammed into one place at the same time.

The 40-something ski bum: Why heavy ski gear needn’t be a burden

Is there any easy way to carry bulky luggage to the Alps? James Bedding offers tips on travelling to Switzerland with skis, snowboards – and other outsize items.

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Given the trouble Laurel and Hardy had carrying a piano in ‘The Music Box’ (see footage here), you might think twice about attempting to bring one across Europe and up a vertical mile to a ski resort. Perhaps travelling with a traditional upright piano – an instrument that in Stan and Ollie’s hands turned into a weapon of mass destruction – would be ambitious. But what about carrying a modern digital piano?

It can be done, as I found out recently. Heaving the piano onto the luggage rack of Eurostar may have been a challenge, but wheeling it through the streets of Paris was a breeze, and gliding on the TGV through France and on Swiss trains surprisingly hassle-free.

US to hold details of British air passengers for 15 years

British airline passengers flying to the United States face having their personal information, including addresses, phone numbers and credit card details, stored for 15 years under under a proposed agreement between the US and the European Union.

imageDetails of millions of travellers from Europe, including addresses, phone numbers and credit card information, would be kept for the extended period by the US Department of Homeland Security, which also wants airlines to furnish the data up to 96 hours ahead of scheduled flight departures.

Airlines must currently provide passenger name record (PNR) information 72 hours before departure, allowing US Customs to match the data against existing terrorist watch lists and criminal and immigration databases.

The 15-year storage limit for the data was proposed in a draft agreement between the US and the EU.

How can we turn our business into a franchise?

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Peter Fernandes (pic: Brian Williamson)

WE have been running www.virtual360.net for the last 13 years, offering interactive virtual tours for estate agents, hotels, businesses, bars and restaurants.

Republican art rules OK

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The royal wedding will showcase Westminster Abbey, but it is under republics, not monarchies, that artists flourish the most The cultural heritage of the British monarchy is about to go on display all over the world as screens glow with the architectural and sculptural grandeur of Westminster Abbey. Founded in the 10th century, loaded with new marvels down the ages of which the most sublime is surely the chapel of Henry VII with its filigree fan vaulting, this royal abbey church is the best example anyone could ever adduce to support the contention that British culture is profoundly beholden to and involved in the regal tradition.

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