Travel Articles

The UK seems to be full of people. The crowds are so large in London, on public transport, in all the shops and cafes, it's hard to imagine how people cope. I see this morning on the news that the London orbital ring motorway is blocked in two places and 'traffic queues are building rapidly'. I'll just bet.

Yet, despite this the British government are set upon building more houses in and around London. Worse yet the plan is to 'release' Green Belt, the green field reserves around the capital. You can only conclude that the government is looking for an increased population to fuel more economic growth.

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Read more: Crowds in the UK

The sign outside claims that they are build a world class airport at London Heathrow's Terminal 3. I've been traveling through Terminal 3 since they built it and it's done nothing except get worse.

The present ruin is (or should be) an embarrassment to the BAA and the Government alike and is only fit for bulldozing. The traveling public will find it hard to avoid making comparisons with places like Kuala Lumpur and Singapore which, over the same period as Terminal 3 has stood, have gone from sweaty, fly blown, sheds to fabulous world class facilities.

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Read more: Heathrow - Gateway to the UK!

The British seem intent on blaming Europe for the ills of the UK yet, to the outside observer, the blame seems misplaced. In a recent trip I have seen three examples which may not be right but here goes:

First immigration into the UK is apparently huge. Everyone says so. It seems as if every service industry is dominated by Eastern Europeans, Poles, Czechs, Lithuanians whatever. Trouble is if it were not for these people who would be doing this work?

The UK has a long history of immigration. the time for discussion of whether this is a 'good thing' was long ago, probably in the 1960's when it first came to the publics attention. Now it's far, far too late, moreover the country seems to depend on immigrant labour to keep it running.

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Read more: Living in the Past

The Staples to Naples banger rally turned out to much more of a test of stamina than we had expected.

The rally was more or less ably run by Street Safari in the UK. Cars have to cost less than £100 but have a valid MOT and insurance and at least £500 had to be raised for charity.

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Read more: Across Europe in a £100 Banger

This company UK Car Rental Limited have caused me nothing but trouble. 

The biggest hassle by far was them changing the car rental supplier from Alamo to Europcar with out letting me know. Hence we arrived at Heathrow airport, after 24 hours on a plane, to find no car at Alamo and no knowledge of one.

The emergency phone goes directly to voice mail. Their regular phone costs heaps, has a minutes worth of advert and is not answered promptly.

They were so bad I even wrote a letter of complaint and guess what? No reply

The final straw is that they have billed me for the insurance waiver already paid to Europcar. Despite many weeks I was not managed to get them to reverse this and had to get the Visa people to do it.

The sole redeeming feature was that the buggers were cheap.  I'd suggest you try www.autoeurope.com who served us very well this year.

You have been warned!

 

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Ramming speedThe British canals. People of my generation are likely to remember them as stagnant and unpleasant backwaters in the industrial and derelict part of town. Images of Victorian factories and submerged supermarket trundlers are the types of picture that spring to mind.

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Read more: Narrow boating in the UK

On the river bankOur original plan was to rent a cottage in France for two weeks but a brief look through the cottages and villas available offered a bewildering array of options in virtually any location and at any conceivable price. It all sounded idyllic but what if we got the cottage next door to the sewage disposal plant, or the one with the ‘neighbours who party’? Two weeks could be a very long time.

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Read more: Boating in France

One of the first things you are confronted within the developing world is beggars. They come in all shapes and sizes from women with children, old people and even the toddlers. Many will try to befriend you and then come to money for their ageing parents, starving children, crippled wife or whatever once they have established a rapport.

It's one of the things that is in your face from the moment you step from the plane and in fact, the first time you go to the third world, you wonder how such poverty can exist and why somebody doesn't do something about it. Add a comment

Read more: What about the Beggars

Giza, EgyptThis was an excellent experience and overall we'd certainly recommend Nile Melody Travel and their staff. The local guides were first rate and spoke good English, the tour covered all the points we would have wished and in particular the Lake Nasser cruise and accommodation in Luxor were fantastic.

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Read more: Egypt with Nile Melody Travel

The last few trips we have organised have been quite an eye opener for us as we have avoided holiday packages and gone in search of somewhat more customised experiences.

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Read more: Get More for Less