Naples, Johannesburg and Lima named world’s top foodie havens!
Chalkmarks: Gallipoli, Puglia, Italy

Good morning. This is what happened in the world of travel this week: Friday 31st May 2024

HATE quizzes cos’ you never know the answers? Us too. Here’s a better one. A quick-fire Q&A with Chalkmarks on how we like to travel. Well, here goes: Home or away? Away, always. New country or somewhere you’ve been before? Somewhere new. Travel agent booking or online? Online. Separate flights and hotel or package? Separate usually. Backpacking hostel or luxury resort? Ummmm, whatever we can afford. Hotel or Airbnb? Hotel. Train or plane? Train. Group tours or solo? Both. Europe or America? Europe. North America or South America? South. Book on the beach or adventure? Adventure. Chocolate ice cream or vanilla? Pistachio. Cluedo or Monopoly? Cluedo. Fridge magnet or t-shirt? Magnet. And this week’s travel headlines? They’re in – here they are!

Travel, she wrote!

Spice of life: Whenever anyone arrives in a new city the first words they utter are … “what we gonna eat then?” Time Out answered that question when it put out its Best Cities for Food guide. Naples, Italy, was crowned No 1 for being the birthplace of pizza. Jo’burg, South Africa, took second place for its huge kota sandwiches, bunny chow and mala mogodu (tripe stew). And third came Lima, Peru  – which, let’s be honest Chalkmarks has always ranked as our favourite place in the world for food. We’ve written about it so much… there’s ceviche, lomo saltado, aji de gallina, adobo, chicharron and causa, anticuchos. Also Chifa, which is Peruvian Chinese food – it’s exceptional. Read about it here and here. Here’s Time Out’s list of 20 on MailOnline, with a short crib note on each city! In the UK, Liverpool came 11th overall but took the No 1 spot in the UK for Scouse. It’s the boss!

Calder’s world: Over on ITV’s This Morning sofa yesterday, travel whisperer Simon Calder was talking once-in-a-lifetime bucket-list trips. From the top he recommended Norway for the Northern Lights, a Californian Road trip starting in San Francisco and heading south to Los Angeles, an African safari in Namibia for its wild landscapes, Tokyo and Kyoto for its cherry blossom and history, the Amalfi Coast, Italy, with easyJet starting flights from Gatwick in July costing around £150 return. And finally, the Australian Outback by train. Back in the UK, Simon suggested the Isle of Harris and Isle of Lewis in Scotland for the best beaches on the planet. He said they’re “beautiful but parky… and you can still watch This Morning”. Oh brother!

A long summer on the beaches! Protesters have threatened to bring Mallorca’s airport to a standstill in their campaign against mass tourism. They warn they’ll storm the beaches and cause traffic gridlock to block access to the airport and the seaport. The threat came after protests on Saturday in Mallorca and Menorca over the rise of tourists on the Balearic islands. Reuters and the Majorcan Daily Bulletin have the coverage on the plans to disrupt holidays. 

Who dunnit? Authorities in the town of Shizuoka, Japan, who put up a fence – only a week ago – to prevent tourists from taking photos of the glorious Mt Fuji have found eye-level holes in the mesh. They say they will replace the fence with a stronger barrier to block views of the volcano. The Japan Times has the scandal. 

No reservations: Hotel rooms in New York have hit $300 (£235) a night due to a shortage of beds. Rates have been pushed up as hotels provide accommodation for migrants. Despite the hike, NYC is expected to see 70 million tourists this year. The Times has the story.

Terminal frustration: French transport minister Patrice Vergriete said he fears there will be problems when the EU’s border checks and visa scheme for British travellers come in on the 6th October. He warned it could “disturb public order”. The introduction of the Entry/Exit System (EES) would cause chaos at airports and ferry ports as UK passengers will have to submit paperwork and biometric data, which could cause long delays. He said: “I cannot say that we are not working hard to ensure that we are as operational as possible… but I fear problems.” MailOnline has more.

Something in the air: En route from Doha to Dublin passengers were severely shaken about in another case of extreme turbulence. This came days after a British man was killed and 40 people hospitalised on board a flight from Heathrow to Singapore when their plane dropped 178 ft (54 metres) in 4.6 seconds, in what’s known as clear-air turbulence. On Sunday a Qatar Airways flight plunged 7,000ft (2,000 metres) as it flew over Turkey. Twelve people were injured and eventually the plane landed safely. Sky News has the story.

Speaking of which: A preliminary report this week found the Singapore Airlines flight had caused such a strong G-force when it lost altitude, passengers were thrown on to the ceiling. Chalkmarks reported on this last week. Putting safety first, the airline said it will stop serving the in-flight meal when the captain puts on the seatbelt sign. It said: “In addition to the suspension of hot beverage service when the seatbelt sign is on, the meal service will also be suspended.” The Guardian has more.

Elsewhere: Greater Bay Airlines went further announcing it would ask all passengers to fasten seatbelts during the whole flight starting this week.

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!

Flight plan: Bank Holiday Friday was the busiest day at UK airports since the pandemic with two flights taking off every single minute. The top destinations were Dublin, Amsterdam, Palma, Alicante (for Benidorm *see below) and Malaga. The Independent had the news.

Cinderella will go to the ball: The fairytale Craigievar Castle, Aberdeenshire, has reopened following much needed restoration after years of rain damage. Said to have inspired Walt Disney’s Cinderella Castle, the pink palace opens today. STV has the news.

Off the ground: The UK’s longest rope bridge has opened in Wareham, Dorset. The 164ft (50 metres) bridge is 33ft (10 metres) above the ground offering a tree-top view of the Blue Pool Nature Reserve below. Bournemouth Echo has more.

This time last year: Fancy a beer on the beach in Benidorm? Chalks away! Let’s go to Benidorm, they said. The weather will be great, they said. Well, it rained! Not the warm welcome we had expected but what an extraordinary trip it was to visit the town they call “Come to Sleep“ – that’s what Benidorm means in Spanish.  It might seem an unlikely place to take a break if you’re not on a package holiday – and it was, as we reported live from the famous Levante beach, where the ITV comedy Benidorm was filmed. For some this is the last resort when it comes to travel… and for us it was too. That’s why we went to see what attracts millions of Britons to Spain’s southeastern Costa Blanca each year. In the caffs, it’s full English served with a pint. Lunch and dinner are pizza followed by ice cream topped with whipped cream. Red wine comes out the fridge. In the pubs, there’s always someone singing – a live singer, karaoke or a spontaneous sing-a-long. And on the streets, at all hours of the day, someone is rolling a suitcase on the cobbled pavements, arriving or leaving. Holidaymakers don’t really come to Benidorm to be in Spain. They come to eat and drink in the sunshine. They also come to spend time with friends and family. And that’s what truly makes an all-inclusive happy holiday.

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Travel first. Staycation second. Always!

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