Category Archives: TOURING

Ryanair at it again?

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Are Ryanair at it again – squeezing extras out of their passengers after they have paid their fares? Their latest trick seems to be separating couples who check in when the window opens for free seating. I fly with them a lot and recent experience seems to suggest they are.

On our flight in May, my wife and I were seated12 rows apart in D aisle seats. As we boarded the plane we luckily met a mother and her young son who had been split up with C seats in the same rows and we were able to swop so that we sat together.

We were flying again on July 7 so we decided to pay for seats but, lo and behold, there were different prices for different seats. There were no four euro seats and seats in the front of the plane seemed double the prices in less popular parts of the plane.

Ryanair offer a great service at great prices and they make big profits so it’s a shame they are appearing less than friendly again in this way.

I wrote a limerick about them that was shortlisted in an Irish limerick competition. Here it is again with a couple of changes:

There was an airline named Ryan

which made a good business of flying

At thirty thousand feet

They’d screw you for your seat

Your case, and your excessive wining

There’s another take on this new problem involving randomly allocated seats here:

 

http://www.independent.co.uk/travel/news-and-advice/ryanair-seat-assignments-five-year-old-allocated-place-away-from-family-seating-policy-pay-reserve-a7785726.html

Have car will travel – on the trail of the Romans

Roman temple Milreu

Remains of a Roman temple at Milreu

 

 

 

Much remains of the Romans in Europe

I’m on the road in southern Europe heading slowly north so I thought I would try and visit some of the best of the many Roman sites a traveller can experience.

I was starting off from Faro on the Algarve, Portugal, so the first stop was just 10 kilometres up the N2 at the lovely village of Estoi. Here, at the Milreu site, are the lovingly preserved remains of a Roman community which once thrived there in the second and third centuries AD.

There is a lot of excavated stonework to show how the Romans harnessed water to enjoy cold and hot baths and how they created courtyards and gardens, fountains and places of worship and burial.

But the highlight of the site is a 19th century country house which was built upon the foundations of a Roman villa many centuries later.

Inside the house, at subsoil level, the remains of a winery with a tank and grape-press and other original Roman rooms excavated by archaeologists are on display.

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It’s been a gorgeous day for travelling and the landscape has been beautiful, vibrant green with bright blue skies.

 

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Merry Christmas to all Globe Wanderer viewers

Images of Christmas on a journey from southern England to Scotland

CHRISTMAS always seems to start earlier and last longer in Britain than it does in many other countries – maybe it’s our way of dealing with the short and dark days of this part of the year.

Here’s a selection of photographs I took while travelling from the south coast of England up to the Scottish Borders.

There has been no snow so far in these areas and the weather has been amazingly mild. Will it last? Who knows?

berwick town hall at christmas

Berwick Town Hall, Northumberland, a favourite of the artist L.S. Lowry

christmas horse riders

No reindeer here…so let’s enjoy a horse ride

Moonlit night

Moonlit night in the Scottish Borders

Country inn christmas

Country inn dining in County Durham

Chichester

Cathedral city of Chichester, southern England

Fenwicks store Christmas display, Newcastle-upon-Tyne

Christmas window display at Fenwicks store, Newcastle-upon-Tyne – always a must for families

Stranded in Spain by Booking.com

Booking.com boobs and I’m the victim

IT’S a traveller’s nightmare. You arrive in a foreign town. It’s dark and cold. You don’t speak the language and the hotel you thought you had booked is closed.

This happened to me this week in Tordesillas, northern Spain, at the hands of Booking.com

They had confirmed my reservation at  the Hostal-Restaurante San Antolín but the picture below (taken in daylight the following day) shows you what I got. It says closed for a week’s holiday.

Booking.com laves man stranded in Spain

I was driving from the Algarve, Portugal, to the Spanish port of Santander to catch a ferry to Portsmouth and decided to break the journey of more than 600 miles with a sleep stopover.

I chose the little town of Tordesillas near the city of Valladolid, because it looked like an interesting place to stay. I found this small hotel on the Booking.com website which seemed to fit the bill perfectly. It was right in the historic central square of Tordesillas and it was cheap.

Having selected the hotel and booked it, I received the usual confirmation from Booking.com and set off on my journey.

I wanted to complete the major part of the trip on the first day and, after driving for around 500 miles, arrived in Tordesillas at around 7pm in the evening feeling tired and hungry.

The centre of Tordesillas is a warren of tiny streets, a bit like a mini version of old Nice, so I found a parking space for my car and set off to find the hotel on foot with my case.

It felt quite cold, after the Algarve, and I was looking forward to a warm room and food. What I got, after tramping around for half an hour trying to find the hotel,  was a sign on the front of the hotel saying, in Spanish, that it was closed for a week’s holiday.

The reason it took so long for me to find it was that it was in darkness, locked and gated up. I walked past it twice without realising it was a hotel. Needless to say, this was a nasty shock to the system and I can’t believe that an organisation like Booking.com can, in this day and age, let this happen.

My mobile phone battery had run down earlier in the day and I didn’t bother to recharge it because I had 100 per cent confidence (misplaced, in hindsight) in Booking.com as I have used them before quite often.

So I was unable to make a phone call about it. I found a café to replenish my energy with something to eat and then trundled my case around town for an hour until I found other accommodation.

I have travelled all over the world from California to Tokyo and always had confidence in hotels. I can only ever recall one other occasion in which I suffered a bad experience and this also involved a small, independent hotel.

I think, in future, I might be a bit wary about booking a small independent hotel through Booking.com

I have received an apology from Booking.com which I find unacceptable. It refers to an “overbooking situation’’. Clearly, there is more to it than that and it needs investigating by an appropriate authority and sorting out.

*Tordesillas is historic and famous because of the Treaty of Tordesillas signed there on June 7,  1494.

It laid the foundation stones of Spanish and Portuguese colonisation of the new worlds being discovered outside Europe, setting a line of demarcationfor the two competing empires to adhere to.

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The Knock – a recommended read for your travels

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WORLD’S BEST STORY COMPETITION

 Please vote for my book, The Knock, in the World’s Best Story competition. It’s a slice of fiction about the adventures and misadventures of a bunch of highly competitive tabloid newspaper reporters. The book has made it to the last 100 and round two of the competition – staged in the U.S., Britain, the Republic of Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, and Canada.

 They are choosing the final ten this month and the winner will be unveiled at Canada’s Toronto International Book Fair in November. The judges are looking for a blockbuster and there are prizes for the readers who vote in the competition as well as the winning authors

To vote go on to the website

  http://worldsbeststory.com/en/

Register your details. It’s very simple, just an email address and a password. You will be sent an email with a link to click to confirm registration. Then you can log in with your email and password. The site doesn’t seem to like ipads and iphones so it’s best to use a laptop or desktop PC.

At top of home page click on stories. To find my story click on general fiction. You will spot it there by the book cover I have displayed abovee. You might have to go down the list of books a bit. Click on the book and you will get a series of barometer style settings. Put what you think and hit the save button and vote.

Some of the readers will be winning shopping vouchers. So good luck to you as well!

Also information on facebook:

https://www.facebook.com/WorldsBestStory

Here is a previous piece I wrote about my book:

 

A traveller’s tale

Holiday checklist – camera, toothbrush, sunglasses, beachwear……..oh, and a good book!

A book is often an essential companion for many travellers as they endure long airplane, train and car journeys or simply languish on a beach.

So this blog post is devoted to recommending a really good, unusual book which I hope you will read and enjoy. It’s called The Knock and it’s by Peter Taylor. Yes, that’s me.

As well as travel writing, I also write fiction and this novel is about a fictional tabloid newspaper in northern England and about the adventures and misadventures of its super competitive news reporters when they are out on the street doorstepping to get stories.

Some of the characters in my book are slick city tabloid reporters who have developed the technique of doorstepping into an art form. The central character has not yet developed the hard skin that news reporters need to carry out their work on a daily basis and is asking questions about how far doorstepping on people, in all kinds of different circumstances, should be allowed to go in the constant pursuit of information.

Phone hacking and press intrusion

I started writing my book when the phone hacking trial was taking place in Britain. This has been one of the longest and most expensive trials in British criminal history. It was all about intrusion on private lives by hacking in to telephone lines.

Phone hacking was a technique used to listen to people’s mobile voicemail. People in the news – celebrities, politicians and even crime victims – were targeted so journalists could find angles on stories that would get them ahead of the competition.

They would listen to private messages left on voicemail, make a recording of them, and use the information to help write stories.

This was criminal activity which had to be stamped out and it showed just how far a few unscrupulous individuals were prepared to go in the pursuit of a story. On another level, it also highlighted press intrusion as a central issue in society.

 I started writing my book while all this was going on because I wanted to write about the ways in which reporters are always faced with the issue of intrusion in to private lives on an almost daily basis. I know quite a bit about this after a long career spent as a reporter/writer working in regional and local newspapers.

Small time journalists – big time ambitions

It’s about the kind of situations young reporters can be faced with when they are starting off their careers on smaller newspapers and how they are expected to toughen up, and maybe encouraged by their managers to do so, if they want to go on to bigger things.

The book exaggerates and is almost satirical at times. Fiction allows the writer to exaggerate in order to develop his story and make it an interesting read but this book was, without doubt, extrapolated from the reality of the modern day newsroom.

http://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=The%20Knock%20by%20Peter%20Taylor

http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=The%20Knock%20by%20Peter%20Taylor

http://www.petertaylorbooks.com/the-knock-fiction-novel/

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