In which we present a regular round-up of news from the world of Grown-up Travel
Details emerge of Daniel Craig’s 007 entrance at the London Olympics
It has been long rumoured, and often dismissed by cynical fans (not helped by the fact that the press coverage peaked on April 1st), but it appears that Daniel Craig may very well be part of the London Olympics opening ceremony – just 50 days away.
According to the Mirror, Craig will be in costume as 007 when “three choppers will swoop down the Thames and under London Bridge before heading to the Olympic Park in East London. To the strains of the James Bond theme, Craig will drop into the stadium on a rope ladder as a billion people watch on worldwide.”
The live action will be preceded by a short film directed by Danny Boyle, who is also the artistic director of the opening ceremony on July 27th.
According to the paper, “in the short film, called The Arrival, Bond visits Buckingham Palace by Royal Appointment to be told his latest mission is to launch the Games. The Queen personally invited Craig to take part and is rumoured to make a cameo appearance. Boyle was given unprecedented access to the Queen’s private rooms to make the film backin March. But te Palace has kept details under tight wraps.”
A source told Metro: “Daniel Craig is determined to open the ceremony with a bang and he and the BBC producers have pulled out all the stops. The world will be watching and they are happy to go to any length to make sure the stunts are as thrilling as possible.
London most expensive city for night out
London has replaced Paris as the most expensive city in the world for a night out, according to a survey by TripAdvisor. The cost an evening out in London – comprising one night’s stay in a four-star hotel, a two-course dinner, cocktails, a bottle of wine and a four-mile return taxi journey – is £330, according to the travel website.
This compares to £320 in Oslo, the second most expensive city. In a similar survey last year, Paris was named as the most expensive city in the world.
The French capital was ranked fourth this year, with Zurich taking the number three slot. New York was placed sixth in the survey.
According to TripAdvisor, the cheapest city was found to be Hanoi in Vietnam, where the same night out costs just under £90.
The travel website tracked the cost of nights out in over 20 key tourist cities in the world. Seven of the ten most expensive cities it looked at were in Europe. Meanwhile four cities in Southeast Asia where in the cheapest ten. These were Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur, Jakarta and Hanoi. The cheapest European city was Budapest in Hungary, where a night out costs £123.
A TripAdvisor spokesman said: “Some cities traditionally considered expensive – like London, Paris and New York – actually cost three times more than the cheaper cities in the list for an evening out.”
The spokesman said that all prices in the survey were converted into British pounds prior to the results being compiled. This means that the survey reflects the price that British travellers would pay for the trips.
Delta Project an engineering marvel
Some have called it the eighth wonder of the world. The huge storm surge barrier in Zeeland province, known as the Delta Project, was designed to prevent another major flood like the one that occurred in 1953, in which 1,835 people died. But this unique hydraulic engineering project, that took 13 years to build at a whopping cost of 3.6 billion euros, is also a major tourist attraction.
Visitors can actually walk inside the structure, one of the largest of its kind, or see it by boat. Particularly awe-inspiring is the 30-minute film Delta Finale, all about the construction project, which tested the limits of contemporary engineering. Not only were ships designed and built especially for the construction of the barrier (models of them are on display), but a range of new building techniques were devised setting benchmarks that attracted international attention.
Men in particular, it seems, are drawn to amazing feats of engineering, which would make the Delta Works an ideal outing for Father’s Day, coming up on Sunday.
There’s a lot to do there and much of it is family oriented. After a guided tour, you can explore the various exhibits, such as the “Delta Expo” or the “Exhibition 1953 Flood,” which details the human toll, through dramatic photographs, text, and audio clips. Aside from the loss of nearly 2,000 human lives, the disaster also claimed 35,000 head of cattle, displaced 72,000 people and flooded 200,000 hectares of land.
The completion of the Delta Project in 1986 ensured the region and its inhabitants would be protected against flooding for at least the next 200 years. Now, whenever high water levels coincide with severe storms, the barrier, with its huge 62 steel gates is closed — a process that takes one hour — and something that only occurs about once every few years.
The storm surge barrier has changed the landscape in more ways than one. When construction began, workers uncovered, among other things, thousands of fossil bones of prehistoric animals. One of them belonged to a huge bull mammoth (on display in the visitor centre) about 4 metres tall and 5 metres long. It’s estimated Max, as he’s called, was about 55 years old when he died between 30 and 50 thousand years ago.
The Delta Project also resulted in the creation of new nature reserves and recreational areas, while the construction of a road atop the storm barrier itself now connects the long isolated Zeeland islands to the mainland.
Deltapark Neeltje Jans
Piers for the storm surge barrier were assembled on this man-made island, which is now home to exhibits, attractions and recreational activities: Visitors can:
— Experience a storm in the Hurricane Simulator.
From the archive, 13 June 1987: ‘Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall!’
Reagan calls on Gorbachev to pull down Berlin Wall. Russians denounce ‘war-mongering’ speech.
President Reagan yesterday challenged the Soviet leader, Mr Mikhail Gorbachev, to prove his commitment to freedoms by tearing down theBerlin Wall. He made his appeal from a podium only 50 yards from the Wall at the Brandenburg Gate.
‘Mr Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall,’ Mr Reagan said.
The Kremlin has objected to the American takeover of Berlin’s 750th birthday celebrations and in particular to President Reagan’s decision to speak a few hundred yards from a Soviet war memorial. His call, broadcast across the Wall to Eastern Europe, produced a loud cheer from a partisan crowd on the western side.
Tass, the Soviet news agency denounced President Reagan’s speech as war-mongering that ignored the reasons behind its construction. ‘Reagan delivered an openly provocative, war-mongering speech, in the spirit of the times of the Cold War,’ Tass said. It said he ignored the fact that it was necessary to build the wall because of hostile activities from West Berlin against East Germany.
As President Reagan spoke, West Berlin was effectively an armed fortress. The nearby Tiergarten, a favourite picnic spot, was criss-crossed with coiled barbed wire and those wishing to gain a glimpse of the leader of the free world had to circumnavigate at least four barriers manned by armed guards and plainclothes policemen.
‘If you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe – if you seek liberalisation, come here to this gate,’ the President told Mr Gorbachev. He told reporters later: ‘Jericho didn’t last forever. ‘
Thousands of Americans, mainly the families of servicemen armed with small Stars and Stripes, had been bussed in to cheer the President. They mingled with plain-clothes members of Berlin’s police academy brought in to pack the audience.
Even the slogan’s daubed wall had been cleaned up. It now read ‘welcome President Reagan 87’ in a slightly wavering hand.
More than 20 rioters were arrested before President Reagan’s arrival after then had had looted shops and set cars on fire.