Grown-up Travel Guide News Update – 21.05.2012

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

British Library explores UK landscape

Toronto Sun

“When you are once out upon its bosom you have left all traces of modern England behind you, but, on the other hand, you are conscious everywhere of the homes and the work of the prehistoric people.”

Watson’s note to Sherlock Holmes describing the hauntingly barren Dartmoor in “The Hound of the Baskervilles” (1902) is included in a new British Library exhibition on how landscape permeates some of the best British writing, and how writers have responded to space and place.

The 150 works chosen to represent more than 1,000 years of British literature in “Writing Britain: Wastelands to Wonderlands” also throw up some unlikely comparisons.

Where else would you see the original manuscript for “Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone” together with the six-centuries-older “Sir Gawain and the Green Knight”, the earliest surviving manuscript of the medieval romance poem?

Curator Jamie Andrews, head of English and Drama at the British Library, selected thematic snapshots of different types of places for the exhibition, which he describes as “choose your own adventure” in style.

The hope is that visitors will navigate their own way through and find their own connections in sections which range from “wild places” and “rural dreams” to “dark satanic mills” via “Cockney visions”, “beyond the city” and “waterlands”.

Andrews told Reuters that one of his aims was to “compare similar spaces but through different periods and the way writers have seen them; it’s very clear that what writers bring to a description of space is their own background, memories and hopes for a space.”

“In one sense there is no such thing as a single space; it’s just an accumulation of writers’ creative responses. On the other hand, there are certain continuities.”

London, for example, has been well covered from Chaucer’s pilgrims to Dickens, William Blake and present-day writers like Will Self and Iain Sinclair. All of whom are documented here.

Biographic light is also shone on some of the country’s best-loved works. Daphne du Maurier, we discover, started her Cornish-coast novel “Rebecca” (1938) in North Africa. Virginia Woolf mined her own memories of childhood holiday in the Outer Hebrides in Scotland for “To the Lighthouse” (1927).

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Off the tourist track: Kungsholmen, Stockholm

Visit Stockholm Blog

Besides the world-famous City Hall and the boats to Drottningholm and the other islands in Lake Mälaren, the island of Kungsholmen relatively unknown to visitors. The island is a popular neighborhood among the people of Stockholm and features local restaurants, bars and shops. Here is one of Stockholm’s most expensive residential addresses, Norrmälarstrand, functionalist architecture, one of the most popular parks and parts that are characterized by having been an industrial island.

City Hall – One of Stockholms most famous silhouettes and home of the Nobel Prize Banquet in december. Must sees are ofcourse the Blue Hall and the Golden Hall. Don’t miss the City Hall tower which offers amazing views and the lovely garden. Where: Ragnar Östbergs Plan 1

World heritages by boat – Strömma offers several day trips from the quay on Kungsholmen. Among them to two of Stockholms World heritages; The Drottningholm Palace (home of the King and Queen) and the former viking village Birka. Strömma also offers a shorter boat sightseeing around the island named Historical Canal Tour.

Rålambshovsparken – Picnic, swimming at Smedsuddsbadet, beach volleyball, theatre performances, outdoor movies or rent a canoe. Rålambshovsparken is one of the most popular places a warm sunny day. Where: Norrmälarstrand.

Grandpa Kungsholmen – The sister to Grandpa in SoFo, Södermalm offers the essence of Kungsholmen style. Vintage and new in a eclectic selection of its own. Where: Fridhemsgatan 43.

Västermalmsgallerian – a smaller shopping mall in the middle of Kungsholmen island. Where: Cross St Eriksgatan/Flemminggatan.

59 Vintage Store – Glamorous, feminine fashions from the 60s and 70s. Where: Hantverkargatan 59.

Camilla Norrback – Camilla, one of the leading sustainable designers, have just opened a Concept store on Kungsholmen. Camillas trade mark is EcoLuxury. Where: Flemminggatan 15.

Food & drinks
Trattorian (former Kungsholmen)- The popular Kungsholmen restaurant is being refurbished and will open May 16 under the new name: Trattorian. The bar next door – Orangeriet offers a cosy atmosphere and superb drinks. Where: Norr Mälarstrand, Kajplats 464.

Restaurang AG – One of Stockholms raising stars mainly for meat lovers. They offer the best porterhouse, clubsteak, entrecôte and such in Sweden, hand picked by Fällmans Meat, Royal Purveyors. The bar and the nightclub is also very popular. Where: Kronobergsgatan 37.

Restaurang Jonas – Opened in October 2011 and has already gained recognition from Guide Michelin and the swedish White Guide. The restaurant offers tasting menues based on the season. Where: Flemminggatan 39.

Lemon Bar – A popular but small bar has a good atmosphere and a mix of locals every day of the week. Where: Scheelegatan 8.

Vurma – popular and cosy café. Where: Polhemsgatan 15.

Mälarpaviljongen – a popular bar and restaurant located on a pier on Riddarfjärden Lake offering a stunning view. Gay-friendly. Where: Norr Mälarstrand 64.

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Budget airline Ryanair unveils record profits

The Independent

Ryanair boss Michael O’Leary unveiled record profits for the airline today but admitted it is unlikely there will be a repeat performance this year.

The Dublin-based carrier flew 75.8 million passengers in the year to March 31, an increase of 5% on a year earlier and helping it to lift net profits by 25% to 502.6 million euro (£405 million).

A 30% jump in fuel costs was offset by a 16% rise in average fares, partly due to the grounding of 80 aircraft over the winter, while ancillary revenues such as in-flight sales surged 11% to 886.2 million euro (£714.7 million).

Ryanair expects passenger numbers to rise by another 5% this year but with its fuel bill increasing by another 320 million euro (£258 million) it has warned profits this year were likely to be in the range of 400 million euro (£323 million) and 440 million euro (£355 million).

Mr O’Leary said the combination of rising oil prices and EU-wide recession would continue to hurt the sector following the failures over the last year of Malev in Hungary, Spanair and Cimber Sterling in Denmark.

He added: “We expect more European failures in 2012, as higher oil prices and recession continues to expose failed airline models as well as subscale or peripheral carriers.”

Mr O’Leary said that despite the rising number of airline failures, many of Europe’s governments continued to treat the sector and airline passengers as a “cash cow” to fund their taxation.

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Duel for Deadwood: Ghost town or gambling haven?

USA Today

The store signs of this Old West village are drawn with a typeface reminiscent of “Wanted: Dead or Alive” posters. The streets are paved with bricks that evoke the dusty 1800s.

But don’t be fooled. The streets are new. So are the signs. And that quaint trolley that just rolled down Main Street? Yep, that’s new, too.

Deadwood, a town of 1,300 born in a gold rush, has more in common these days with modern Las Vegasthan with the famous historical figures who lived and died here, such as Wild Bill Hickok and Calamity Jane. The giveaway is inside the buildings, where gamblers gather around shiny slot machines and felt-covered poker tables.

Now Deadwood is confronting another challenge: How to keep its rough-and-tumble aesthetics while still offering the comfort, convenience and profitability of a 21st century gambling spot that draws 2 million tourists each year.

Gambling “was always meant to benefit historic preservation here. From the get-go, that was the No. 1 goal,” said Kevin Kuchenbecker, Deadwood’s historic preservation officer. “Preservation is never-ending. It’s ongoing. Deadwood was a dying community, and gaming brought it back.”

Larry Eliason, executive secretary for the South DakotaCommission on Gaming, said Deadwood has to look vintage from the outside in keeping with the city’s historic past. But inside, all bets are off.

“In a licensed casino, the managers want to have the most modern gambling equipment they can afford to buy,” Eliason said.

Less than a quarter-century ago, this place was on the verge of becoming a ghost town. The buildings were old and falling apart, and the city had too few residents to raise the tax money needed for repairs. Then gambling returned. Today’s Deadwood is part Vegas, part Tombstone, Ariz. It only pretends to be old, like a pair of designer jeans with holes already in them.

State officials want to ensure that the town’s popularity doesn’t wane, so they are increasing gambling limits from $100 to $1,000. It’s only the second time the limit has been increased since gambling was re-legalized in 1989. The change takes effect July 1.

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