Grown-up Travel Guide News Update – 09.05.2012

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

Anger, embarrassment on delay to new Berlin airport

USA Today

Berlin’s highly anticipated new international airport will miss its targeted June 3 opening date, German officials announced today.

Reuters says “the opening of Berlin’s new airport will be delayed by up to three months due to fire safety problems, … dealing an embarrassing blow to the German capital’s flagship project less than a month before its planned launch.”

The new Berlin-Brandenburg International Airport (airport code BER) is a major aviation project — one that likely will shape European air travel for decades to come by bringing a modern, high-capacity airport online in the capital of Europe’s biggest economy

BER has been designed to combine and consolidate air traffic from Berlin’s two existing airports – Tegel and Schönefeld.

But it’s also an iconic project that takes on extra meaning in Germany. On that point, Reuters writes:

Nearly a quarter of a century after the Berlin Wall came down and 13 years after the government moved back to Berlin as the unified capital, Germany is still struggling to open an international airport to replace two from its Cold War past.

German website The Local says news of the delay left German “politicians fuming with anger and embarrassment.” The publication adds “the delay was confirmed on Tuesday in an excruciating press conference – and no new date in sight.”

Germany’s two biggest airlines also lashed out at the delay, warning that it would wreak havoc on their summer flight schedules and operations.

Both Lufthansa – Germany’s biggest carrier – and No. 2 Air Berlin had announced upgraded flight schedules that can be accommodated by the new state-of-the-art Brandenburg airport.

But now that it’s opening is delayed, the airlines will have to continue operating from Berlin’s existing Tegel and Schönefeld airports. It’s unlikely that Tegel will be able to accommodate at least two month’s worth of the enhanced schedules Lufthansa and Air Berlin had planned for Brandenburg.

Already, Luthansa says it’s now seeking additional landing slots at Tegel.

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Wales gets tough over green travel

The Guardian

White paper proposes making it compulsory for local authorities to provide safe and integrated routes for walking and cycling.

Wales is set to become the first country in the world to make it compulsory for local authorities to provide safe and integrated routes for walking and cycling as part of an ambitious plan to boost green traveland end the hegemony of the car.

A white paper launched on Wednesday morning by the Labour-led government in Cardiff will oblige Welsh councils and other authorities to identify, plan and implement walking and cycling routes, and how they can be integrated. The hope is that creating a network of safe routes will tempt people out of their vehicles.

Councils will be obliged to consider how to improve walking and cycling when planning any new road schemes.

Such greener travel options have for some time been the official ambition of ministers in Westminster and elsewhere, but campaigners say little has been achieved, in no small part because many councils show little enthusiasm for such projects, and sometimes downright hostility.

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Hotel installs bicycle-powered television

The Telegraph

An eco-friendly b&b in the New Forest has unveiled its newest energy-saving initiative – a bicycle-powered television.

Guests in the “Standing Hat” room at Cottage Lodge in the village of Brockenhurst, can now keep fit, watch their favourite programmes, and do their bit for the environment using the novel device.

The room also features low-energy lighting, solar panels and a wood-burning stove to produce hot water, and a low-flow toilet and shower to reduce water use. The publicity also boasts that environmentally-friends paints and low-impact building materials were used throughout, while the room’s bed, bedside table, dressing table, wardrobe and mirror were crafted by a local tree surgeon from a single beech tree which fell in the village.

Christina Simons, the hotel’s owner, has spent nearly eight years turning it into a green retreat, but explained how the 360-year-old property has recycling in its heritage.

“The building dates back to 1650, and was actually constructed from a reclaimed ship,” she said.

“I also wanted to show that being green can also be exciting and fun, and guests love cycling on the bike.”

The hotel has won several prizes for its eco-friendly initiatives, including awards from Visit Britain and the AA.

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Plan to build ‘hashtag’ skyscraper in South Korea

Just how quirky can a skyscraper get?

We’ve already seen tall towers shaped like elephants and robots, but now a company is pushing the limits with another strange shape – a “hashtag” skyscraper.

Exclamation mark!

The Cross Hash Tower will be built by Danish architects BIG in Seoul, South Korea as a gateway to the new Yongsan business district

The 21,000sqm cross-hatched interlocking skyscraper is designed in a gravity-defying tic-tac-toe shape.

One tower will be 214m high and the other 204m and will be connected by three public bridges at different levels underground, at street level and in the sky.

The project includes the development of 600 residences and amenities such as a library and gallery in the hopes it will encourage people to socialise.

The top of the towers will be covered in gardens that will be accessible to residents.

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Andy Higgs
Andy Higgs

Not meaning to brag, but here goes. I can say I’m a travel expert and have spoken at multiple travel conferences and trade shows.

I enjoy travelling all over the world but my big passion is Africa.

I also own and run The Grown-up Travel Company as a travel designer creating personalised African itineraries for experienced adventurers

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