Grown-up Travel Guide News Update – 19.10.2012

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

UK full of doorstep challenges, says guide

The Independent

Tracking mountain gorillas in Uganda, swimming with whale sharks and cycling across the beautiful Himalayan mountains: all these make for once-in-a-lifetime holiday experiences.

But just as thrilling is a day spent rowing on England’s most famous river, according to a new Lonely Planet guidebook.

The traveller’s bible has compiled a new book of the world’s great adventures, and among them are six sites in the UK. Rowing or even kayaking along the Thames is described as “like sitting on a conveyor belt watching living history pass you by on both banks… a gallery of architectural evolution, meandering majestically through rural and city life”.

Ambling along England’s south-west coast is also recommended, as the “cliffs are immense and varied, ranging from outcrops steeped in Arthurian legend to Jurassic remnants thick with fossils”.

Further north, adventurers might enjoy mountain biking in Coed-y-Brenin in Wales. This was described as a “foliage-knitted landscape, with mountain-top views that make your heart skip, crashing waterfalls and a rugged topography carved out by glaciers”.

The rest of the natural attractions listed sound even more adventurous. The Three Peaks Challenge is in the new guide, and involves climbing Britain’s highest peaks in one day: Ben Nevis in Scotland, Scafell Pike in England, and Snowdon in Wales.

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Vatican exhibit chronicles papal transport

Toronto Sun

Whether they rode in litters carried by men in livery, in ornate horse-drawn carriages, or later in cars, popes have always travelled in style.

Papal vehicles from 1825 to the present day are now on display at a new, updated exhibition at the Vatican Museums that spans nearly two centuries of papal travel.

The most extravagant on display is the Berlina di Gran Gala, built in 1826 for Pope Leo XII. It is essentially a mobile throne-room made of wood with inlays painted in gold leaf.

As ornate was it was, apparently it was not ornate enough for Pope Gregory XVI, who in 1841 added gold-colored angels and statues of two children holding up a tiara and keys — symbols of papal power.

It was pulled through the streets of 19th century Rome by six horses, each bearing riders dressed in fine livery with papal stems stitched on by golden thread.

“These vehicles from the first ones still in the times of horses to the last ones, the modern cars, show that the pope is a man who lives in the midst of his people, Cardinal Giuseppe Bertello, the governor of Vatican City, said at the opening on Tuesday.

The first car entered the Vatican in 1909 but the pope at the time, Pius X, refused to use it.

It was an Itala 20/30 given to him as a gift by the archbishop of New York. But Pius, who was later made a saint, thought it was too noisy for the Vatican gardens so he kept using the papal horse and buggy to take some air.

During the 1920s, cars such as the Bianchi Tipo 15, Bianchi Tipo 20, the Fiat 525, the Graham Paige 837, the Citroen C6 Lictoria Sex and the Mercedes 460 Nurburg limousine entered the Vatican for use by popes.

Horse-drawn carriages officially became past history in 1931 when the tiny city-state started its own registry of motor vehicles with the license plate SCV.

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Arab prince charged over drunken rant in cockpit

The Telegraph

An Arab prince was marched off a passenger jet at Heathrow by police officers armed with Taser guns after he drunkenly stormed the cockpit to complain about the poor service.

Mubarak Hamad, 29, a Bahraini billionaire prince who lives in London, has been charged with being drunk on an aircraft and is due to appear in court later this month.

Shortly after boarding the British Airways Boeing 777 to Doha in Qatar via Bahrain, it is understood that the prince began shouting and complaining about the service.

Members of the crew were allegedly forced to call the police after he made his way into the cockpit and refused to go back to his seat.

Mr Hamad was then dragged off the plane by officers armed with stun guns and taken to a police station where his DNA, mugshot and fingerprints were taken.

He was bailed, but was told he was being formally charged when he answered his bail on Wednesday. He is due to appear before magistrates in London later this month.

Mr Hamad, who is believed to be a close relation of Bahrain’s King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, lives in Eaton Square, Belgravia. Past and present residents of the square include Sir Sean Connery, Sir Roger Moore and José Mourinho, the former Chelsea football manager.

A Scotland Yard spokesman said: “Mubarak Hamad, 29, of Eaton Square, Belgravia, was charged on October 17 with being drunk on an aircraft and has been bailed to appear at Uxbridge magistrates’ court.”

Human rights campaigners have in the past criticised King Hamad, whose regime has been accused of violently repressing pro-democracy activists.

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From Dorothy to Darth Vader, London museum dresses up

Dorothy’s blue and white dress and her sparkling ruby slippers have travelled from Oz to London’s Victoria and Albert museum, where more than 130 of cinema’s iconic costumes star in a new exhibition.

The show, which opens to the public Saturday, examines the role of costume design in a century of cinema storytelling, from Charlie Chaplin to the recent remake of Anna Karenina, with a journey through hits from Hollywood’s Golden Age.

It includes Judy Garland’s gingham dress that saw Dorothy home in The Wizard of Oz; the green velvet gown that Vivien Leigh wore in Gone with the Wind; and the floor-length black dress for Audrey Hepburn in Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

But the exhibition is far more than a fashion show: it highlights a distinctive type of design that guest curator Christopher Frayling said people often failed to understand.

“It’s got to work at a particular moment, worn by a particular person, under particular lights, in a particular story, directed by a particular person,” he told AFP.

“At that moment it has to be photographed and the costume has to work.”

As Meryl Streep said in an interview featured in the exhibition, next to her costumes from films such as Mamma Mia! and The Iron Lady, “on every film, the clothes are half the battle in creating the character”.

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