Friday, 24 June 2011

Skiing on the longest day

With Wimbledon in full swing - this was skiing on the longest day. Former British Olympic racer and Ski Sunday presenter Martin Bell skied on Monte Rosa in Italy's Aosta Valley. With a photographers and two guides he was dropped by helicopter at 6.15am at Punta Gnifetti, the temperature -25 degrees. The skied over 1200 vertical feet towards the Col du Lys - more than you could manage in some resorts in mid-winter. "We were so lucky to get the most beautiful morning to take on this challenge", said Bell. "Bad weather at the weekend had laid down some fresh snow but strong winds had packed this down into tough, icy ridges. But the views made up for the poor snow. We were actually looking down on the Matterhorn to the north and to the south there was an almost sheer drop all the way down to Alagna - Gressoney's sister resort".

Monday, 13 June 2011

Travel stats - a minefield

Foreign travel is up as Brits tire of staycations, trumpets the Independent. More of us went abroad in the February – April quarter compared with the same three month last year, official figures show. Consumer confidence is returning. Ah what a minefield are travel stats. Remember a little black cloud of volcanic ash? And even if your memory won't stretch that far you might just recall the extra Bank Holiday last month.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011

Don't get caught out on Portugal's motorways

Planning to drive in Portugal? You now need an electronic device loaded with pre-payment on some sections of motorway. Temporary devices are available for €27 and top it up with deposit of €10 payments which expire after 90 days. You can get it at motorway service areas or post offices. If you're renting a car, best check whether it is fitted with such a device already. Alternatively you could just avoid the following stretches:

Norte Litoral - A28: Auto-estrada do Litoral Norte (Littoral North-highway - between Porto and Vilar de Mouros/Caminha)

Grande Porto - - A4: Porto/Amarante-highway (between Matosinhos and Águas Santas); A41: Circular Regional exterior do Porto (Porto Regional Outer Circular); A42: Alfena-Lousada-highway

Centro - A17: Littoral Center-highway (between Mira and Aveiro); A25: only on the sections between Esgueira and Angeja (Aveiro area); A29: Auto-estrada da Costa de Prata (Costa de Prata highway between Estarreja and Vila Nova de Gaia).