Grown-up Travel Guide News Update – 14.08.2012

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

Foreign Office warning over Spanish forest fires

The Telegraph

The Foreign Office has issued a warning to British travellers in the Canary Islands after fresh forest fires forced thousands of residents to evacuate their homes.

About 2,500 people have fled from 13 villages in southern La Gomera, while officials say the fires have destroyed part of the Garajonay National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

On neighbouring Tenerife, a favoured destination for British holidaymakers, road links and power lines have been cut, and around 200 hectares of land destroyed. A spokesperson for the island’s tourist board said two roads, the TF-82 (Icod de Los Vinos, Santiago del Teide from 17.5km to 21.5km) and the FT-436 (Buenavista del Norte-Santiago del Teide from kilometre 10.3), are still closed.

And on the Spanish mainland, villages in Ourense, a district of Galicia, have also been evacuated.

“There are reports of forest fires on the island of La Gomera around the areas of Las Hayas, El Contadero, El Cruce de las Hayas, Los Manantiales, Chipude, Arure, Banda Las Rosas, Valle Gran rey and El Cercado,” says the Foreign Office on its website. “There are also reports of forest fires on the island of Tenerife around the area of El Tanque, Ruigomez, San Jose de los Llanos, El Palmar, Teno Alto, Lagunetas, Valle de Arriba, Erjos, Masca and Las Portelas.”

It warns the roads may be closed to allow access to emergency services, and advises travellers to monitor the situation closely.

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Cat lovers unpopular travel buddies for Canadians

Toronto Sun

Travelling with another person is a true test of a friendship, relationship or family bond. Being together in close quarters for a week away, in sometimes stressful transit situations, can either bond a pair or expose already existing cracks in a relationship.

In a new survey, asked their users across Canada what they most look for in a travel buddy – and what drives them absolutely nuts.

It’s always important to pack a sense of humour when navigating the sometimes crazy world of travel, so it’s no surprise that humour is the top trait Canadians look for in a travel partner. Another vital characteristic in a travel buddy, trustworthiness, came in second, while similar lifestyle values – those who go to bed early won’t want to be woken by a rowdy travel buddy who comes home from the club at 3 a.m. – rounded out the top three.

Canadians also told that Canadian actor and all-around good guy Ryan Gosling was the one person they’d most like to share a hotel room with.

Traits Canadians dislike most in their travel buddies include smoking, a selfish nature – obviously travelling with someone who hogs the bathroom won’t do – and, strangely, people who love cats. No reason as to why Canadians dislike cat lovers so much was given, but it was the third most chosen pet peeve from a list of 20.

Canadians named Lady Gaga as the least desirable person to share a hotel room with. No doubt she travels with a lot of luggage to carry all those costumes, perhaps the reason why Canadians wouldn’t chose to travel with the eccentric singer.

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Adventure travel on film – the dangers and delights

The Guardian

In the run-up to the Adventure Travel Film Festival in Dorset, Kevin Rushby, Guardian Travel’s Explorer, picks out the highlights of the festival, and explains how making a film can make travelling that little bit more difficult …

You might think that the revolution in technology that has brought film-making within the reach of everyone should mean travel film-making is in its heyday. But there is one tremendous stumbling block: an experience filmed may not be one fully experienced. Worse still, a real full throttle adventure would not be that, arguably, if the participant was able to handle a camera. Anyone who has tried to film while travelling knows the problem. At best it is that great moment when you simply cannot disappear behind a lens. At worst it is when an entire sequence of events has to be reproduced – the actuality having been completely missed.

That dilemna has been there in adventure filming ever since the genre kicked off. Fortunately there are those adventurers who will just not give up. Determined to bring home the thrills and spills, they set out to prove that film and adventure can co-exist, even thrive in each other’s company. And they have been doing so ever since film started. Take Grass (1925), one of the films to be shown at the Adventure Travel Film Festival (17-20 August) in Sherborne, Dorset. The brain-child of Merian Cooper and Ernest B. Schoedsack who went on to co-direct the original King Kong movie in 1933, Grass is the story of two travellers who accompany the Bakhtiari tribe on an epic nomadic journey across Iran.

Despite being occasionally stagey and contrived, Grass is a stirring evocation of a way-of-life that, unbeknown to its participants and the film crew, was soon about to embark on a long and melancholy decline. Watching it a few years ago, after a trip to Iran where I’d come across a few nomadic shepherds mourning their lost culture, I appreciated how those limitations of film can fall away and be forgiven in the greater picture of historical importance.

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More pyramids uncovered by Google Earth search

Step aside Indiana Jones. Google Earth – and a young woman sitting at her computer – have archaeology covered.

But it wasn’t a simple task.

While no whips, snakes or gunfights were involved – researcher Angela Micol took 10 years of studying Google Earth to pinpoint two areas on the Nile basin as likely contenders to be lost pyramid sites.

One of the suspiciously angular formations is a 190m-wide triangular plateau, almost three times bigger than the largest known pyramid – the Great Pyramid of Giza.

Other, smaller, triangular mounds range in size from 80m to 100m.

Archaeologists are yet to visit the sites to confirm whether or not they are natural formations or decayed constructions.

But Ms Micol, of North Carolina, is confident of her finds.

“The images speak for themselves,” she said. “It’s very obvious what the sites may contain, but field research is needed to verify they are, in fact, pyramids.”

Almost all known pyramids are near modern-day Cairo on the Giza Plateau. These are much further south.

The first site is about 20km from the Egyptian city of Abu Sidhum. The second is about 200km further north.

“My dream is to work with archaeologists to release sites that I have identified over the past ten years of research. This research is the frontier of discovery and it’s just beginning to advance views of our ancient past”, Ms Micol said.

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