In which we present a regular round-up of news from the world of Grown-up Travel
Options for London airport expansion
Building a new airport on the Thames estuary is one of a number of options for tackling the capacity shortage in south east England.
Pro: An embryonic scheme, designed by Douglas Oakervee, who oversaw the construction of Hong Kong airport. It would see a new airport being built on an artificial island on the Shivering Sands area, north east of Whitstable, Kent. Starting from scratch in a sparsely populated area should enable an airport to be built which would be capable of coping with the anticipated expansion in demand for aviation. Any airport built to the east of London would mean that millions of people would no longer suffer the problems of aircraft noise. It would also avoid the risks entailed of flying an aircraft over a major city. A large airport could end many of the delays faced by passengers flying to Heathrow, where stacking is a daily problem as planes wait for a landing slot at Heathrow. Building a state of the art airport should prevent London’s decline as an airport hub and enable the UK to compete with continental rivals, who are already offering far more flights to emerging markets such as China. Initial estimates suggest 100,000 jobs could be created at a new hub airport.
Cons: Doubts have been raised over the viability of building an airport on a man-made island although this was done at Hong Kong. The plans are sketchy . Critics also believe that it could take 20 years to deliver the project, although this is disputed by Boris Johnson. There is the issue of bird-strike and the threat posed by the SS Richard Montgomery, an American wartime ship packed with unexploded bombs and shells. The project has run into strong opposition from environmental groups who have voiced fears that it willthreaten sensitive wildlife areas for winter breeding birds, which are protected under European law, including the avocet and the redshank
Self-taught photographer captures amazing Uluru storm
It was a spectacular moment, showing the fury and the beauty of Mother Nature over Australia’s most famous landmarks.
Self-taught photographer Damien Hill captured this image of a lightning storm over Uluru in the Northern Territory last month, with the exposure open for six minutes.
“It was really spectacular to watch,” he said.
“Believe it or not above me it was stars and blue skies.
“It’s one of Australia’s icons… it’s pretty rare to get a shot like that.
“I have gone out there a few times to try to shoot lightning storms over Uluru but it’s very hard to get.
“Usually it’s a downpour of rain and you can’t see the rock at all.”
Mr Hill, who is originally from Adelaide, said he picked up his first camera just over a year ago and learned most of what he knows from the internet.
Preview: Exclusive Townhouse-Hotel opens in Stockholm
Visit Stockholm Blog
With only 12 rooms housed in a former town house – a brick building built in 1910 in the exclusive Lärkstan district – will offer an intimate hotel focusing on intimacy, discretion and luxury service. Ett Hem Stockholm opens in May 2012.
“Ett Hem Stockholm (A Home)” will be a hotel where you are staying in the entire house, not just a hotel guest in a room. This is the first hotel of its kind in Stockholm”, says Jeanette Mix, owner of the hotel.
The hotel is situated in the calm and beautiful town-house area Lärkstan in the Östermalm district. You will dine in the former kitchen and enjoy the private garden and orangery designed by internationally renowned Ulf Nordfjell.
The British designer Ilse Crawford, the woman behind Stockholms’ two michelin star restaurant Mathias Dahlgren Matsalen in Stockholm, has been in charge of the interior. Wooden floors, relaxing grey-brown colour palette, marble bathrooms, woodburning stoves and individually vintage furnitures and with stunning views of Lärkstan rooftops.
Zoo plans bronze statue of polar bear Knut
Knut the polar bear, whose death last March broke the hearts of fans around the world who had watched him being hand-reared by zookeepers, will be immortalized in bronze by a Ukrainian sculptor, Berlin Zoo said on Tuesday.
“Knut — The Dreamer”, created by Josef Tabachnyk, beat more than 40 other entries in a competition for a monument for the zoo’s star attraction, who died suddenly from an epileptic fit at four years old — an early age for a polar bear in captivity.
“This entry was something quite different and very naturalistic,” Bernhard Blaszkiewitz, director of Berlin Zoo and Tierpark and judging panelist, told reporters gathered outside the polar bear enclosure.
Knut captured hearts in Germany and abroad after his mother rejected him as a newborn and he was hand-reared by zookeepers. The fluffy white bear cub was soon drawing thousands of new visitors to the zoo to watch him frolic with his keeper.
Tabachnyk’s 15,000 euro bronze monument, funded entirely by donations, will recall Knut’s days as a cub and show him stretching out dreamily on a rock.
“He is dreaming of how he can conquer the hearts of people with his charm,” Tabachnyk said.
But not all visitors to the zoo have such fond memories of Knut. Guiding her toddler around the deserted zoo on a cold January morning, Julia Zychlinsky, 40, said the crowds drawn by Knut meant it was difficult to see him.
“I think we only saw him the once because we didn’t want to stand around in a queue all day,” she told Reuters. “I think the whole thing is a bit over the top to be honest.”