Holiday Fears Allayed As Spanish Strikes Averted

Posted by admin | Posted in Uncategorized | Posted on 29-03-2011

Talks came to a head on Friday 25th March between union leaders and Spanish Airport Authority AENA on the proposed strike action that would have led to 22 days of walkouts from Spanish airport staff.

Had the talks been unsuccessful, security staff, ground crew and baggage handlers in 47 Spanish airports would have downed tools and in effect ground Spanish tourism to a halt during peak season on select dates designed to coincide with major public holidays from April to August 2011.

With the current political unrest in popular tourist destination Egypt and the Middle East, Spain will be expecting a boost in its number of visitors this year and if the strikes had gone ahead the outcome could have proved disastrous for Spanish tourism.

Relief for Spanish Tourism
The Spanish Ministry for Industry, Tourism and Commerce has released statistics showing that already in the first 2 months of 2011 alone Spain has welcomed 5.5 million foreign tourists to its shores, an increase of 4.5% on 2010. If the strikes were to have gone ahead this number would have dropped dramatically with people avoiding the popular Spanish and Canary Island resorts in favour of Greece and Italy.
Holidaymakers due to fly to Spain or the Canary Islands or even over Spanish air space to Morocco and Portugal around the time of the strikes can now breathe a sigh of relief as after extensive talks, the unions have come to the conclusion they will not go ahead with the industrial action with 70% of their 13,000 employees voting to cancel the strikes.
Their main concerns where that due to the privatisation of AENA there would be job cuts and a decline in the standard of working conditions however guarantees have now been reached on these and various other issues airport staff had concerns about.

Stay Calm
What with airport strikes, natural disasters and political unrest holidaymakers can be excused of late for feeling a little wary when booking their annual trips away. It is important to follow a few simple steps when faced with any complications to your trip to ensure things run as smoothly as possible.
Firstly stay calm, when faced with delays and cancellations people tend to panic, unfortunately this gets you nowhere and no one will be able to help you any sooner than they would if you weren’t shouting the odds. In fact representatives and those giving out the information on what to do and where to go next are more likely to be receptive to you if you are calm and collected.

Secondly be prepared, it is vital that you purchase the correct travel insurance for your needs before you travel, familiarise yourself with the policy and know exactly what you are covered for, take a copy of the documents with you should you be in the situation where you need to refer to it, it pays to be in the know about what you are covered for in these situations and could help to put your mind at rest in a stressful situation.

Finally don’t be afraid to ask your hotel and airline representatives for help, after all its what they are there for and they will have access to a lot more information regarding any delays or cancellations than anyone else. These people are trained to deal with these situations and will more often than not go out of their way to make sure your holiday runs as smoothly as possible.

Photos via Jason Tester and George Benson

The Other Side to Amsterdam’s Nightlife

Posted by admin | Posted in Europe | Posted on 18-03-2011

Amsterdam in the Netherlands has been a centre of European culture for centuries. While its nightly attractions are most commonly associated with the Red Light district and ‘brown cafes’, the city’s nocturnal activities encompass a lot more than that.

Below are some of our favourite forms of evening entertainment for the capital city. For other ideas once you are there, pick up free copies of the English-language Amsterdam Weekly and the magazine NL 20 for current calendars of events.

Take a load off in one of the many cafes where you can enjoy food, drink, and watch the world go by. One of the most popular places to do this is the Cafe Grand on Rembrantsplein.

Check out the Leidseplein theatre district around Ness Street for shows. Classical music is represented by the Concertgebouw Orchestra and by the city’s opera company. Amsterdam also has two ballet companies considered world class in both the classical and modern styles. The Dutch National Ballet performs in the Muziektheater, while the Netherlands Dans Theater, based in The Hague, performs throughout Amsterdam.

Live music can be heard all over the city, with free performances during the summer in Amsterdam’s parks. Visit Amsterdam’s most famous jazz clubs: Bourbon Street Jazz and Blues Club at Eidsekruisstraat 6–8 and Bimhuis at Oude Schans 73–77.

If you’re planning to hang out in the bars and clubs, remember that, in Amsterdam, you must be eighteen or older to buy alcohol. For whisky enthusiasts, try De Stil, Spuistraat 326, with over a hundred different single malt whiskies. Similarly, for beer, go to De Wildman, Kolk 3 Nieuwezijds. And, if you simply have to keep up with your home sports team even while on holiday, go to the Satellite Sports Café, Leidseplein 11, with fifteen television screens showing sporting events from all over the world.

The clubs of Amsterdam open between 10 PM and 11 PM; they close at 4 AM on weeknights and 5 AM on weekends. Dress to impress — no jeans. In the Nieuwezijds Voorburgwal neighborhood, try The Getaway, which is hip, happening, always full of people, and offers great cheap food. Nearby are the trendy Seymour Lounge and the hip Club NL — both host funky DJs for dancing to cutting-edge music.

Try a few clubs in other Amsterdam neighborhoods. Go to the Paradiso, Weteringschans 6–8, for great dancing. The Melkweg, Lijnbaansgracht 234, may seem slow on a weeknight, but the place really hops on weekends. Escape, on Rembrandtplein, has big name DJs, while Club More at Rozengracht 133, is very exclusive.

For a different type of nightlife, visit some of the casinos. There’s one downtown open every day from 1:30 PM to 3 AM near Leidseplein at Max Euweplein 62, and another at Terminal West in the Schiphol Airport that’s open every day from 6 AM to 7:30 PM (!).

Amsterdam is also a very romantic city. Otherwise known as ‘Venice of the North’, sparkling lights and canals will enchant and sweep you and your partner off your feet. This post was written by Nadine Hallak, Travel Expert at leading flights deals website Cheapflights.co.uk where you can find great prices on flights to Amsterdam.

Photo Credits:  Dumbfunk | kareny13 | Ben | fede_gen88