Travelogue September 2014…
Travelogue September 2014…
with Bob Nicolaides
The world’s largest solar-powered boat arrives in Greece
The world’s largest solar-powered boat has arrived in southern Greece to participate in an ambitious underwater survey that will seek traces of what could be one of the oldest human settlements in Europe.
The Swiss-Greek project starts now and archaeologists hope it will shed new light on how the first farming communities spread through the continent.
Working near a major prehistoric site, they will investigate a bay aptly called Kiladha — Greek for valley.
The area was once dry land and archaeologists operating off the MS Turanor PlanetSolar hope it may contain sunken remains of buildings from Neolithic times, when farming started, about 9,000 years ago.
Mission leader Julien Beck, from the University of Geneva, said the team picked Kiladha Bay because it laps on Greece’s oldest and most important Neolithic site, the Franchthi Cave.
The cave was inhabited on and off for about 35,000 years — from 40,000 years ago when the first anatomically modern humans appeared, until mankind started using metal tools.
Ten stupid things tourists have done in Italy
Tourists have a habit of misbehaving in Italy, judging from recent headlines. From the Australian caught jumping into the Trevi Fountain to the Frenchman having an orgy in the Pompeii brothel, we’ve singled out ten of the most stupid things tourists have done.
Misbehaving tourists have become something of an occupational hazard for authorities in Italy of late.
Hardly a week goes by without reports of yet another reckless holidaymaker wreaking havoc in one of Italy’s top tourist destinations. So for your amusement and – we hope – future reference, here is a list of ten of the most stupid things tourists have done in Italy:
It’s said to be a common fantasy: having sex in Pompeii’s former red-light district, which is decorated with explicit frescoes.
This week, a Frenchman and two Italian women were caught in mid-orgy in the Roman town and subsequently arrested. “They don’t understand the cultural value of the frescoes at all,” a tour guide complained to The Local.
It goes without saying that carrying a dangerous weapon isn’t the norm in Italy.
But this was news to a 62-year-old German tourist (not the man in the photo) who was caught with a Samurai sword near a popular Catholic shrine in Naples. He told police he was carrying the weapon to protect himself.
Last year, an American tourist got into trouble after he accidentally snapped a finger off a 600-year-old statue in Florence’s Galleria dell’ Opera di Santa Maria del Fiore by 14th- and 15th-century sculptor Giovanni d’ Ambrogio. Ironically – or perhaps worryingly – the man turned out to be a surgeon.
An eternal reminder of a visit to one of Rome’s most iconic monuments – or reckless vandalism?
In case you were wondering, carving your name into the 2000-year-old Colosseum is against the law in Italy, as this hapless Dutchman and German woman (not the people pictured) discovered this week.
In January, an Australian father was charged with vandalism and his 12-year-old son reported to the public prosecutor of a juvenile court for the same offence.
Not only have tourists been caught carving their names into the priceless monument, but they have also been known to steal pieces of it.
In March, a Canadian teenager tried to stow a brick in her backpack during a school trip. She was spotted by another visitor who took a photo and told the site staff, who in turn called the police. The brick was confiscated.
Dining al fresco may not seem like a crime but in October 2012, the Mayor of Rome made it illegal to consume snacks and junk food on or around the city’s monuments.
Anyone caught doing so may now face a fine of between €25 to €500 ($32 to $650). One Italian police officer told NBC News that he once caught a group of tourists who had set up a table on the Spanish Steps, complete with tablecloth and cutlery.
Tourists trying to recreate the famous Trevi Fountain scene in La Dolce Vita are not uncommon in Rome.
In May, an Australian tourist was fined €180 after he jumped into the 250-year-old Baroque fountain. An onlooker even posted a video of it on YouTube.
An American girl angered residents in Florence when she was caught urinating at a taxi rank in the heart of the city.
Taxi drivers and people sitting in Piazza Santa Croce looked on with dismay as she crouched between two cars to relieve herself. The scene was caught on camera by a taxi driver.
Some tourists just can’t resist the temptation to add a personal touch to some of Italy’s finest works of architecture, it would seem. Last year, a woman from Turkey was fined €160 for vandalism and told to clean the Ponte Vecchio bridge in Florence after attempting to scrawl names on it with nail polish.
That same month, a German tourist was also ordered to clean the famous bridge and pay a €160 fine after his daughter drew on it with felt-tip pen.
In 2012 two young foreigners, believed to be under the influence of drugs and alcohol, were photographed having sex beneath the statue of medieval poet Dante Alighieri in Piazza Santa Croce, Florence. The incident sparked outrage in Florence and prompted city councilor Mario Razzanelli to complain that the area had become an “open-air brothel”.
Exclusive Collection from TUI
Thomson and First Choice have launched a range of exclusive excursions, bookable online and in store.
The ‘Collection’ is a set of excursions designed to help customers get a true taste of the destination they’re visiting.
According to parent TUI, each one has also gone through a checklist to guarantee that they include sustainability principles and have no commercial stops.
All excursions must have at least three of the six features that have been put in place to set them apart from excursions offered by other tour operators.
Where possible they will also include wi-fi on the excursion, point out local gems that only a tour guide with detailed local knowledge will find and be all-inclusive.
At present, excursions are available in Majorca, Cyprus, Corfu, Crete, Tenerife, Dominican Republic (Puerto Plata and Punta Cana) and Turkey (Dalaman).
“We’re very conscious about the impact of our holidays on the environment and local community and are always looking at ways of reducing this, and including our excursions in this is the next step for us,” said Jane Ashton, group director of sustainable development.
India: Houseboat industry under scanner for sex tourism
ALAPPUZHA: The district administration has initiated steps for monitoring the houseboat industry following reports of sex tourism and possibility of extremist elements using the facilities.
The move follows an alert from additional director general of police (intelligence) A Hemachandran.
District collector N Padmakumar has sought reports from the district police chief and the port officer— who is responsible for issuing licences to houseboats—in this regard.
“The ADGP alerted us that there is no efficient monitoring of the houseboat industry. He wanted us to take action against sex tourism and check details of those renting these houseboats. He even warned us that houseboats could turn a safe haven for extremists,” Padmakumar said.
He said the district administration would soon form squads in association with port department and police and start raiding houseboats in September. People associated with the industry confirmed reports of sex tourism.
“We have arranged sex workers for some guests who demanded such services. However, we try to avoid such guests,” said Akhil, a houseboat employee from Muhamma.
Anu Renjith, district manager of state AIDS control society’s ‘Suraksha’ project, said 800 of 1,528 sex workers in Alappuzha worked in association with the industry.
She said only 20 houseboat operators had allowed the society to install condom boxes in their boats as part of its safe-sex initiative.
District tourism promotion council secretary C Pradeep also said not all houseboat operators followed its directives.
“Only 637 of the 1,000-1,200 houseboats operating in the district have completed the registration process. We had stopped giving permission for new houseboats last year but new houseboats are still being launched.”
He said all houseboat operators were instructed to keep a clients’ register following the houseboat accident in Punnamada Lake on January 26 last year, which claimed four lives.
“They were also directed to submit the register to the DTPC for inspection but they protested against it, We don’t have a clear picture about tourists hiring houseboats.”
He said around 2,59,000 domestic tourists and 58,000 foreign tourists had visited the district last year, as per the records from hotels and resorts.
R R Joshiraj, a major houseboat operator, said the industry never encouraged sex tourism. “Such instances could be there. But the majority are ready to cooperate with the government in cracking down such illegal practices,” he added.
Killer beach in Cyprus gets 15th victim
PAPHOS beaches head is pressing for permanent measures to be undertaken at a deadly stretch of coastline which claimed its 15th victim.
A 60 year old Russian tourist drowned in the deadly seas off the Chlorakas coastline, in front of his wife and ten-year-old son. Attempts were made to resuscitate the man but police said he was pronounced dead at Paphos general hospital.
He was the 15th victim to lose his life in the deadly waters in the last ten years. There have also been hundreds of reported near-drownings, most of these victims were guests staying at hotels and tourist apartments in the area.
Head of the Paphos municipality beaches committee Andreas Chrysanthou told the Cyprus Mail: “This is a tragic loss of life but sadly this is human behavior. People often don’t consider the risk and are confident that they are good swimmers and can handle any situation. But this isn’t the case.”
Chrysanthou added that Paphos municipality had taken every possible measure to warn the public of the dangers of swimming in the area and to ensure their safety. “There are huge signs in place all along the shoreline in Greek, English, Russian, French and German informing people of the dangerous rip currents, as well as red flags.”
There is no designated lifeguard on duty because the area has been officially declared as unsuitable for swimming and extremely dangerous.
However, Chrysanthou noted that a nearby hotel had employed a member of staff to warn people not to swim at this beach.
The deadly stretch of coast – with its rip currents and high waves – runs for about five kilometers from Chlorokas to Kissonerga in a popular tourist area.
The beaches’ head said the council were presented with a detailed study of that area last Thursday, which they are now pressing to implement by the end of the year. “We are determined to find a solution to the problems in the area once and for all.”
The study found that it will cost around €1 million to complete all of the necessary structural work at the beach, which will include wave breakers.
The councilor said that the public works department has assured the municipality that although the state is broke, they would endeavor to obtain the money for the structural fund from the EU- hopefully by the end of the year.
“We are pressuring the government to implement this study quickly. The local hotel owners were also present at the meeting and agreed with the study.”
According to Chrysanthou, the structural drawings are ready, and in early September the technical school of Athens will make a 3D model to predict how the rip current will behave after the study has been implemented, with 90 per cent accuracy. “We will then proceed with the tender process and seek the necessary funding,” he said.
The mayor of Paphos Savvas Vergas is meeting with the minister of communications and works to try and speed up the process, which has the backing of the beaches committee, the municipality and local businesses, he noted.
“I believe the only solution for this area is create these wave breakers. And €1 million is nothing compared with a human life and the negative impact for tourism in Paphos,” said Chrystanthou.