Grown-up Travel Guide News Update – 18.12.2012

In which we present a regular round-up of news from the world of Grown-up Travel

Banks call time on Harry’s Bar owners

The Guardian

Family behind legendary bar in Venice favoured by likes of Humphrey Bogart and Orson Welles forced to step aside.

Arrigo Cipriani, the proprietor of the legendary Harry’s Bar in Venice, has for more than 60 years been meeting the demands of exacting drinkers, from Humphrey Bogart to Orson Welles and Truman Capote. But with turnover down by 20-30% in the past four years and deadlock over a deal to reduce the staff’s cut of the profits, he has been forced to step aside from managing the bar’s affairs.

In return for a moratorium on the €6m (£4.9m) debts of his family’s holding firm, the banks have insisted on sidelining Cipriani in favour of executives put in by the investment fund that partners the Cipriani family. The bar – famous for its smooth Bellini (white peach juice and prosecco) cocktails, succulent beef Carpaccio and challenging prices – has no less than 70 employees to ensure super-attentive service.

“That is our philosophy,” Cipriani told the Guardian. “But their salaries are becoming very high. The cost of our staff is 55% of turnover, compared with 33% [at Harry’s Bar] in London.” Cipriani said he had tried to get his waiters and cooks to accept a pay cut.

“Everything would be easy elsewhere. But when you come to do it in Italy, you have to deal with the unions,” he said.


10 great places to walk in the shadow of Bigfoot

USA Today

The search is on for a legendary character with plenty of bulk and facial hair, and we’re not talking Santa. Matthew Moneymaker, co-host of Animal Planet’s Finding Bigfoot, says the creatures have been seen in every state but Hawaii, “in places where there are enough deer to feed on.” The Bigfoot Field Research Organization president is used to skeptics but believes Bigfoot is a descendant of an Asian relative of the orangutan. He shares with Larry Bleiberg for USA TODAY some spots where the hominids may live.

Jedediah Smith

Redwoods State Park, Calif.

With its towering redwoods and thick forest, it’s hard to beat the atmosphere at this Northern California park. “It’s ancient looking, kind of a holdout from the Ice Age,” Moneymaker says. He recommends taking a walk along the Smith River on Howland Hill Road. “We hear of lots of different sightings and sounds in there,” he says. “I’ve found tracks crossing that road.” 707-465-7335;

Salmon-Huckleberry Wilderness, Ore.

You don’t have to go far to find Bigfoot. This area 20 miles east of Portland in the Mount Hood National Forest is prime spotting territory, Moneymaker says. Bigfoot apparently has a sweet tooth and goes ape for huckleberries, which grow in the area. Scores of campers have been scared off by noises and have had rocks thrown at them. The creatures, Moneymaker says, “do things to make you feel very uncomfortable.” 503-668-1700;

Michaux State Forest, Pa.

Nearby Gettysburg may have Civil War fame, but among Bigfoot aficionados, this state forest is a big deal, too. The area’s apple orchards keep the deer population healthy, and that, in turn, attracts sasquatch-like creatures, Moneymaker says. On one expedition, researchers used a parabolic microphone to detect a mysterious crunching through fallen leaves. 717-352-2211

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48 hours in wintry Helsinki

Toronto Sun

Don’t let sub-zero temperatures and darkness put you off visiting Finland’s capital city in the winter, when its Art Nouveau and modernist buildings are covered in a layer of snow.

Finns know how to make the best of wintry weather, keeping warm with saunas and strong drinks or enjoying music and art indoors when they are not out cross-country skiing.

Reuters correspondents with local knowledge help you to get the most out of a two-day stay in Helsinki during the winter.


6 p.m. – Drop off your luggage and head to fashionable Liberty or Death for an inventive cocktail and an introduction to Finns’ quirky sense of humor.

The menu, which changes monthly, includes “This isn’t the drink you were looking for” — a drink based on Finlandia vodka mixed with tomato, coriander, beer and chili. The bar describes it as a “cocktail nobody will probably like, ever.”

8 p.m. – For more traditional Finnish fare, have dinner at restaurant Sea Horse in Ullanlinna. National favorites such as fried herring and Vorschmack are served in a dining room that looks little changed from the 1930s.


9 a.m. – Head for Senaatintori square and have breakfast at Cafe Engel, located in one of the oldest houses in Helsinki. Window-side seats offer breathtaking views of the Helsinki Cathedral’s green dome.

10 a.m.- Take tram 7B to the Hakaniemi market in the working-class but increasingly gentrified Kallio neighborhood. The two-storey indoor market offers everything from reindeer rugs to vintage Finnish glass by Kaj Franck and Tapio Wirkkala.

12 p.m. – The market’s soup restaurant is popular for its delicious bouillabaisse, but can get crowded. For an alternative, try Weeruska, a restaurant near the Linnanmaki amusement park serving goatcheese-beetroot patties and reindeer stew.

1 p.m. – No visit to Finland is complete without a visit to a sauna.

Sweat it out at Kotiharju, one of the last remaining public saunas with a real, wood-burning stove. There are separate saunas for men and women.

The uppermost benches are the hottest, so try the lower rungs if you prefer gentler steam.

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Which airline has the rudest flight attendants?

Have you ever been underwhelmed by the service you’ve received on a flight?

Well you’re not alone, a poll by travel website Skyscanner claims to have revealed the US airlines with the rudest employees.

American Airlines was voted the worst airline in terms of sky-high manners at 25 per cent, followed by United Airlines at 21 per cent and Delta Air Lines at 18 per cent.

Of course, this doesn’t mean all employees are rude. The airlines may have been tainted by the minority. Plus the poll was of 1000 travellers.

Meanwhile, the airlines that scored the lowest in the survey, and were therefore the least rude, were ironically budget airlines Alaska Airlines, Fronteir and JetBlue, all at 2 per cent.

We can’t help but wonder how Australian airlines would have rated in this list.

Your say: Which airline do you think has the rudest staff? Tell us below

The full list polled in alphabetical order:
AirTran 4 per cent
Alaska 2 per cent
Allegiant 3 per cent
American 25 per cent
Delta 18 per cent

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