In which we present a regular round-up of news from the world of Grown-up Travel
Germany: games and pastimes
Slacklining through the trees, digging the allotment or slapping down cards in a game of skat – some free-time amusements.
While snap, poker and bridge are the card games favoured in the UK, Germans prefer the trick-taking “brain game” skat. Played for more than 200 years, this 32-card game got its first official mention in 1813 and is now a national institution.
“It is a game that everyone can play,” said the president of the German Skat Association, Peter Tripmaker. “There is a real cross-section of society, from those collecting Hartz IV [jobseekers’ allowance] to the professor.”
Skat is a game for three players, using cards from a traditional 52-card pack with cards below seven removed.
A dealer and two opposing players are each dealt 10 cards, with two skat cards left to the side, from which dealers can exchange their two worst as well as having the choice of trump suit. Each card is given a value and to win the dealer must make 61 points or the opposing players 60.
The history of this popular pastime dates to the early 1800s when Napoleonic soldiers and Saxony students created it as a common-ground game between them in the German town of Altenburg.
While there are about 26,000 members of the national skat association, about a quarter of Germany’s population plays with friends and family.
But in recent years skat has faced an existential crisis, with clubs struggling to attract the young.
“We are fighting to get young people playing skat and come into clubs,” said Tripmaker. “It is the young people who are mostly playing on computers, but we are starting in the early years. We have children of eight playing cards already and if you see this, you get tears in your eyes seeing how excited they are about playing the game.”
Egypt minister seeks to reassure over beach tourism
The Muslim Brotherhood’s success in Egypt’s presidential elections this year will not affect the country’s beach tourism, a minister for the Islamic-led administration has said.
Hisham Zaazou, the country’s tourism minister, has said the current government will look to safeguard the established resorts on the Red Sea, such as Sharm el-Sheikh.
“It will not be changed. Nothing will affect beach tourism. We are building on, increasing even, the capacities and the services rendered for our clients coming to our beaches,” he told Reuters.
Zaazou, who became minister for tourism last month, gave one of the clearest indications so far that the new Egyptian government is seeking to restore previous high levels of beach tourism.
“The current government, the current president is backing tourism at large. Everybody is aware that beach tourism constitutes 70 percent of the traffic coming to Egypt. It will continue to do so,” the minister said.
“If there is investment in special kinds of beach tourism for, let’s say, Arab investors or Islamic investors as mentioned before, we are welcoming that on top, not in replacement of, the current beach tourism.”
Tourism accounted for an estimated 10 per cent of the Egypt’s economy, before the unrest that led to the end of Hosni Mubarak’s rule caused a sharp downturn.
Soundtracks of iconic destinations
There are a handful of iconic places in the world that should be visited at least once in a lifetime. They have always had a particular draw, attracting waves of visitors every year. They have inspired novels, poems, songs and films, and become icons. Relaxnews has compiled a playlist of music that is quintessential to each of these iconic destinations.
1. Berlin, Germany: Berlin is a haven for artists, exhibitionists and creative types. Its thriving music scene embraces everything from punk cabaret to minimal electro. The city has also served as an inspiration for artists around the world and within Germany throughout its history.
Iconic track: Kamikaze Queens’ “Voluptuous Panic” (2009). Berlin’s eclectic and vibrant music scene is introduced here by punk cabaret group Kamikaze Queens. Comprising members across a range of nationalities, the Berlin-based group released its debut album, also titled ‘Voluptuous Panic,’ in 2009.
2. Rio de Janeiro, Brazil: The city of Rio de Janeiro is most famous for its breathtaking white beaches and beautiful mountains. Natives from Rio de Janeiro are called Cariocas, meaning energetic, exuberant people in love with life.
Iconic track: Amy Winehouse’s “The Girl from Ipanema” (2011). Taken from the posthumously released album ‘Lioness: Hidden Treasures,’ British singer Amy Winehouse gives a fresh and soulful take on this classic hit.
3. India: A good way to discover this rich country is by driving from Mumbai to Delhi. The route allows you to explore much of the country’s rich and varied culture. Among other things, you will pass Buddhist caves and traditional Hindu architecture, taste the spicy delights of Indian cuisine, experience the overwhelming bustle of Delhi and take in the Hindu traditions of Mumbai.
Iconic track: M.I.A.’s Paper Planes (2008). M.I.A’s “Paper Planes” featured in the hit film ‘Slumdog Millionaire,’ an adaption of the novel Q&A by Indian author and diplomat Vikas Swarup.
Are these the worst airline meals ever?
It’s been hours since you boarded your long-haul flight. You’re exhausted from the airport chaos and your stomach is flip-flopping from the turbulence. So the last thing you want is to be served a disgusting airline meal.
But that’s exactly what’s happened to thousands of passengers around the world, who’ve united to post images and ratings of their mile-high gastronomic nightmares onto the website airlinemeals.net, which is dedicated to showcasing the best, worst and the purely wacky of airline food.
From unidentifiable pieces of meat to tasteless desserts and dishes that have a slimy consistency, passengers fed-up with not being fed well have flooded the site with over 26,000 photos from more than 6000 airlines.
Website creator Marco t’ Hart says his site is pushing airline catering companies to do their best.
“Airlines and crew use the site as a tool to educate their people and to read responses from travellers,” he said.
Hart says he began the site 10 years ago while in a long-distance relationship that saw him flying every six to eight weeks, where he took pictures of his food to share with his curious family.