How can we go green when sustainable travel has a bad reputation?
Chalkmarks: Funchal, Madeira, Portugal, December 2023

Good morning. This is what happened in the world of travel this week: Friday 1st December 2023

HERE it is! Get on your festive jumper, put up the tree, play Fairytale of New York (RIP Shane McGowan) and eat mince pies everyday for the next 24 days. Yay, mince meat is back. Mulled wine anyone? These delicacies shouldn’t just be for Christmas. Few things keep us warmer on these winter nights, except a blanket and a hot water bottle. Talking of feeling cold, we’re ill. Awwwww (sad face). We’re sick of work and have caught the travel bug. Shhhhh, don’t tell anyone. Yesterday we were in the office and today we’re on a plane. We are in row seven on a Ryanair flight ready for a lie down. Doh, the chair doesn’t recline! We’re flying four-hours away to a small island in the Atlantic that’s not far off Tenerife (see above for a clue). “Cabin crew to cross-check,” our favourite words. We feel better already. It’s good to have you here… and it’s good not to be there. Falalalalaaaar zzzz zzzz. Here’s this week’s travel headlines.

Travel all the way!

Not getting home: From June, for six months, there will be no train service from Amsterdam and Rotterdam to London – but you can still catch a train from London to Amsterdam, you just can’t come back that way. Although you can, but you have to get off at Brussels and do the Eurostar check-in from there. It’ll be very confusing. This is all because Amsterdam Centraal is getting spruced up. Services are to resume as normal by the end of 2024 or January 2025. Simon Calder explains it better.

What next for planes: On Tuesday, Virgin Atlantic took off from London to New York in a world-first flight fuelled on 100 per cent “chip fat” oil aka sustainable aviation fuel (saf). Virgin boss Richard Branson was on board. He said: “The world will always assume something can’t be done, until you do it.” But Cait Hewitt from campaign group for the Aviation Environment Federation (AEF) was not happy. She said: “The idea that this flight somehow gets us closer to guilt-free flying is a joke… for now, the only way to cut CO2 from aviation is to fly less.” PA Media has the story.

Have you seen our pictures: Our fantastic travel photos, which capture some of our favourite destinations around the world, are now available for sale on Alamy. Woohoo!

Lovely Lisbon: Holding our pint-sized cocktails high, we carefully make our way on to the cobbles where the night is getting well and truly underway. There are hundreds of revellers who have crowded into a nook of Lisbon to let their hair down and get their groove on. Yet despite the never-ending number of bars in the heart of Portugal’s capital city, the real party is in the street… down the road and around the corner. The alfresco scene just goes on and on. Nobody really shouts about this westernmost corner of Europe compared to the Algarve known for its beaches and energetic party scene.  But Lisbon boasts a year-round Mediterranean climate, has its own stunning coastline and offers a nightlife that can be surprisingly sweaty, noisy and crowded. See here for the full experience

Feastern Europe: Slovenia maybe one of the smallest countries in the world but it ticks all the holiday boxes. It’s mountainous, covered in forest with lots of protected landscapes, and Unesco-listed spas and castles. It touches the snowcapped Alps in the northwest and the shores of the Adriatic Sea in the southwest. Ljubljana is its capital, Maribor is renowned for wine making and Lake Bled in the Julian Alps is its number one tourist pull. Slovenia was named Europe’s culinary capital in 2021 – the first country, as opposed to region, to get the title. If you don’t know where to start, click here and here.

This time last year: We’re dreaming of a strike-free Christmas… hopes for truce on the trains to halt festive shutdown The humble French baguette earned a place on the Unesco world heritage list as Intangible Cultural Heritage… In 2020 Chalkmarks reported how Unesco had added Singapore’s hawker culture to its list… Unesco also wants to put Australia’s Great Barrier Reef on its “in danger” list to protect it from climate change… Travel expert Simon Calder tweeted about a new rail route from London to southwest Wales in 2024… The Cornish seaside town St Ives known for its picture-postcard harbour, beaches, surfing and art galleries, was named the happiest place to live in the UK… One of the largest dinosaurs to ever walk the earth would be on show in London from March… The  titanosaur – aka Patagotitan mayorum – with a neck as long as three London buses would be at the Natural History Museum… The UK’s biggest music festival Glastonbury announced it would be back in 2023 with Elton John headlining… The lights on the Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square gifted by Norway were switched on starting the countdown to the big day.

In case you don’t follow us on social media you really should. Here we are, here too and over here. Say hola muchacha! 

In a good place!

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