In which we present a regular round-up of news from the world of Grown-up Travel
London 2012 Olympics: flagship cable car breaks down in searing heat
Dozens of passengers were left dangling up to 300 feet in the air yesterday after a multi-million pound cable car linking key Olympic venues broke down in the searing heat.
The £44 million Emirates Air Line, which crosses the River Thames in east London, suddenly stopped working after suffering a “technical fault” less than a month after opening.
More than 60 passengers, including young children, the elderly and tourists, were left suspended mid-air after Britain’s first urban cable car system broke down in the midday sun.
As outside temperatures neared 88F (31C), frightened tourists were left dangling inside 30 air-conditioned cars for nearly 40 minutes, before officials managed to get the service working.
Witnesses told The Daily Telegraph that many passengers exited looking “shattered” as those on board the service described it as a “horrible experience”. A normal journey takes about five minutes.
While some passengers refused to board again amid fears another incident could occur, others demanded a refund for their £16 entry fee.
Last night, Transport for London launched an investigation to establish what caused the fault but denied witness claims that it had broken down because of the heat.
While some workers claimed a key generator had overheated, apologetic officials said the earlier inquiries suggested the “technical fault” was down to a faulty sensor.
Camping without stress? You’ve got to be kidding
Why on earth would anyone think a camping holiday could be better than a hotel-based one, argues a confirmed comfort-seeker.
To the greater number of respondents to a recent survey who averred that camping holidays within these septic isles are less stressful than hotel-based holidays abroad: you are wrong. You could not be more wrong. It’s not that trips abroad are relaxing. They’re not. They’re awful. There are 32m things to arrange before you go, eight billion things that can and will go wrong once you’re there, and another six trillion going wrong back home, as you will discover on your return.
The problem is: all this is true of camping too but with the additional burden of having to camp. Which is to say, two of the eight billion things that will go wrong now include basic sanitary arrangements and the weather. Plus, you will be sharing your bed – your bed! – with creepy crawlies. It makes no rational sense to look at the basic concept of a holiday and then think to yourself: “OK, that sounds like a hellish set up. Let’s remove the element of solid accommodation, add some spiders and see how that goes instead.”
Tales from Tate Modern’s huge Turbine Hall
Visitors to London’s Tate Modern gallery this Summer may find themselves holding a conversation with a complete stranger in a cavernous hall as part of a piece of art.
They could perhaps be invited to listen to someone’s holiday experiences or be encouraged to join in a running or singing game.
By doing so, the visitors will become part of the gallery’s live art exhibition “These Associations” by British-German artist Tino Sehgal.
The exhibition, which runs until October 28, is part of the Unilever Series hosted at the Tate Modern each year which has seen artists like Olafur Eliasson, Rachel Whiteread and Carsten Höller create huge pieces of art that have filled the Turbine Hall and drawn millions of visitors to the gallery each year.
Sehgal said the idea for this work was influenced by the vast space at the Tate Modern and the idea of being an individual in a collective.
“It’s a place that is made for visitors or audiences to gather which is very unusual, for a museum space,” he told Reuters.
“Normally, you’re supposed to not gather but walk around and look at the art politely.”
The 70 or so participants engage in a variety of sequences to create movement, sound and conversation including singing, or running full speed down the hall, as well as speaking to the public.
Curator Jessica Morgan said the public response has been positive so far.
Hotel replaces Bible with novel Fifty Shades of Grey
A hotel boss is unrepentant after placing copies of the steamy novel Fifty Shades of Grey in room nightstands instead of the Bible.
Jonathan Denby, owner of the Damson Dene Hotel in the Lake District, UK, believes the steamy novel is more fitting for the hotel guest of today than the Bible.
“In this secular age it seems distinctly odd that anyone would expect to find a religious book in a hotel bedroom,” Mr Denby said on his blog, Slow Life.
“Tonight millions of women will be curling up in bed with a good book and you can bet your life it won’t be the Bible.
“More likely than not it will be Fifty Shades of Grey.”
Ironically, the hotel was purchased from a Methodist group 10 years ago, and the Bible-swapping move has infuriated a local vicar.