In which we present a regular round-up of news from the world of Grown-up Travel
Drunken grandma told to pay Qantas $18,000
A woman who caused a New Zealand-bound Qantas flight to turn back to Melbourne with an alleged outburst of drunken violence and foul language has been ordered to pay the airline $18,000 for the disruption.
Frances Lillian Macaskill, 58, was heavily intoxicated when she began punching seats and yelling profanities at passengers and crew on board the Qantas flight that left Melbourne Airport on Saturday morning, the Melbourne Magistrates Court heard.
She then punched a male passenger in the face with a closed fist, causing a 6cm abrasion to the right side of his face and heavy bleeding.
The NZ national, who lives in Western Australia and was travelling to Wellington to see her children, was handcuffed and restrained across the shoulders as she continued to headbutt the seat in front of her.
Macaskill pleaded guilty to assaulting the passenger and behaving in an offensive and disorderly manner on the flight.
Sentencing Macaskill today, Magistrate Luisa Bazzani said she inflicted her behaviour on passengers who had no way of escaping.
“Those passengers affected by your appalling behaviour were unable to remove themselves from the situation,” she said.
“That the plane had to be re-routed and returned to Melbourne because of your behaviour is in itself illustrative of the level of disruption that you caused.
“The assault by you of a fellow passenger without any provocation is particularly concerning.”
Macaskill, a disability pensioner, was given a four-month jail term, wholly suspended, for the charge of offensive behaviour and was convicted and fined $3500 for the assault.
She was also ordered to pay Qantas’ costs of returning the flight back to Melbourne, of $18,245.
Euro 2012 travel guide: Poznan
Where to eat
Make Poznan’s main square (Stary Rynek) your first stop for food and drink, with Brovaria bar easily the most popular choice. Don’t be surprised to see a queue for a spot in the garden, which is well worth the wait. The bar snacks pair perfectly with Brovaria’s in-house brewed beer (order the beer feast for piles of meat and seafood to share).
Traditional Polish fare can be found at nearby Ratuszova, which also sits on the square and has a garden filled with punters tucking into meat-stuffed pierogis (dumplings) and bowls of borsch. Outside the square seek out Vine Bridge, which calls itself the smallest restaurant in Poland(just three tables) and is certainly one of the most creative. The menu includes dishes you’re unlikely to have seen before – meat in clay, anyone? – which are a throwback to the food made hundreds of years ago in Ostrowek, the area where the restaurant is located.
Where to drink
Again, Brovaria is the bustling beer centre of the square, a guaranteed good time with fellow fans. Those venturing further afield will be rewarded, especially if you stumble upon KontenerART. This is one of Poznan’s most original venues – created by stacking a few shipping containers and filling them with art installations and a bar, KontenerART changes location each summer and is worth the hunt. Another local favourite is Kriek Belgian Pub & Cafe, which boasts 170 Belgian beers and the gregarious owner, Slawek, who is happy to discuss the merits of each one. Lastly, it’s hard to knock 4zl beers on the square (hiked to 5zl for the tournament; still just €1 per beer), and Piwko Naprzeciwko is usually packed thanks to its budget prices and menu of snacks and appetisers that pair well (and cheaply) with half-litre beers.
The Poznan fan zone
Located on Wolnosci Square (Pl. Wolnosci), a two-minute walk from the main square, the fan zone will host up to 30,000 fans watching the games on outdoor screens.
What to see and do
Summer is the ideal time to explore Citadel Park, which is filled with historical sites. Your first stop here should be the Commonwealth graveyard, which is the final resting place for several of the serviceman who escaped from Stalag Luft III, and were captured and shot, during the second world war – the mass breakout that spawned the film The Great Escape.
Nearby the remains of a fortress built by the Prussians is home to the fascinating Museum of Armaments, which has an open-air display of military equipment and indoor exhibits of Polish military history. Keep the history theme going by visiting the June 1956 monument near the city’s main train station. The two steel crosses commemorate the first rebellion against Soviet control in Poland, where dozens of workers were killed in demonstrations demanded better conditions. A less grim outing can be had at Ostrow Tumski (Cathedral Island), a small slice of land in the city that holds the immense Poznan Cathedral. It was here that Mieszko, Poland’s first monarch, ushered the country into Catholicism in the 10th century, and the cathedral crypt holds his remains and those of some of Poland’s other early rulers.
Greece’s problems equal tourism profits?
British tour operator Thomas Cook expects a surge in bookings to Greece if it leaves the euro zone as holidays to the Mediterranean nation would become better value for hard-pressed travellers.
“If Greece exits (the euro), for the tourism industry it could be very profitable,” interim chief executive Sam Weihagen said after the company posted a steep first-half loss on Thursday.
“Most probably holidays to Greece will be more profitable for holidaymakers than they are today and places like Spain could lose competitiveness,” he told reporters.
The 171-year-old travel group said summer bookings to Greece from Germany were down around 20% year-on-year but that bookings from elsewhere to the crisis-hit nation had held up.
Tourism is a vital source of income for Greece, accounting for about a fifth of gross domestic product. The outcome of an election next month will likely decide whether Greece remains in the euro.
Thomas Cook has been hit hard by tough trading conditions, especially in Britain where its core customer base of families with young children has been particularly affected by the economic downturn. It has also been hit by unrest in popular destinations such as Egypt, Tunisia and Morocco.
The world’s oldest travel group continues to expect this year to be challenging given the economic backdrop and difficult trading environment, particularly in North America and France. It said its full-year performance would be dependent on how well it performs in the late bookings market.
Thomas Cook said year-on-year U.K. bookings were up 5% over the last four weeks but that demand from British corporate clients for Olympics packages had been weaker than expected.
Which city serves the best burgers?
It’s Providence, R.I., according to readers of Travel + Leisure magazine.
The magazine says the city offers both “classic and creative burgers, with an emphasis on locally sourced ingredients … At Harry’s Bar and Burger, you can wash down your 100-percent-Hereford-beef sliders with spiked milkshakes, such as the Caramel Twinkie, made with ice cream, vanilla vodka, and snack cakes.”
The “America’s Best Burger Cities” survey encompassed 35 U.S. metropolitan areas, TL say, and ranked 20.
Texas was the state winner, with three cities in the top 20; Tennessee and California had two.
Here’s how the cities stacked up:
5. San Juan (Huh? I love the city and its food, but cannot recall having a great burger there.)
6. San Diego
7. Minneapolis/St. Paul
8. Kansas City, Mo.
9. New York City
10. Los Angeles (Go In-N-Out — even served at Vanity Fair‘s post-Oscar party — and Fatburger!)
14. Memphis (Dyer’s famously greasy patties!)
16. Las Vegas (Choices here — from ritzy to budget — keep expanding. I had my first blue-cheese “Stripburger” last year. Messy goodness).