Perpetual Traveller Overseas

www.perpetualtravelleroverseas.com/

The wonder of German Christmas Markets


The Christmas Fairs and Christmas Markets in Germany are unrivaled and unique.

At the German Christmas Markets you find all your Christmas gifts, decorations and treats and enjoy a glass of mulled wine, as well as try on the popular baked apples.

As it is hard to make a choice, which Christmas market to select, Perpetual Traveller recommends the Nuremberg market. The scent of mulled wine, sweet roasted almonds, Nuremberg sausages and gingerbread will remain unforgettable. The Christkindlesmarkt lies right at the heart of the city which is steeped in more than 400 years of tradition, providing an international showcase for all Franconian and German Christmas Markets.

Where: Germany (various cities and towns)

When:  1st December - 24th December 2017

For more information: www.christmasmarkets.com

The paradox of temperatures when travelling

Our crazy world is often upside down and turned-around. Why is it that when one packs for travel to Miami, Manila or Marrakesh in the summer, it's necessary to bring a jumper, long trousers and warm clothes? 

Of course this is because the air-conditioning temperature is so cold indoors, as the thermostat is often set as low as 16 degrees Celsius. I know a sanitation expert in Miami that claims it's best to set the thermostat at such low temperatures, because it kills certain viruses etc. Recently in Manila I was conducting a training course for new Instructors and had to take the class out of the classroom every hour or so to thaw out, due to extremely cold temperatures. Some of my participants even wore wooly hats and Jackets!

At the other end of the scale, when packing for Munich, Manchester or Montreaux at the height of winter, it's necessary to bring shorts, light T. Shirts and Flip Flops as the heat inside most facilities is best described as tropical! Here the thermostat is too often set at 28 degrees Celsius, which is utter madness!

The challenge here is more serious, as temperature extremes (indoors and outdoors) cause all manner of illnesses such as sore throats, influenza, colds, chills, even pneumonia and the list goes on. What's even worse is that the electricity or fuel required to over-cool or over-heat is excessive and besides the unnecessary cost, our poor environment on planet earth continues to suffer, whatever your opinions are about global warming or climate change.

Airports and Airlines seem to suffer from this same industrial disease and sometimes it seems like the management is hell bent on over-heating or over-cooling the indoor environment. This is a really annoying factor for travellers, as we naturally dress according to the season, yet within the airport or plane it's all too often necessary to strip off or load up.

To illustrate the point, I recently flew from Larnaca airport in Cyprus to Athens. The airport was to too warm, so I took my coat off and walked around with a light shirt. Upon arrival to my Aegean plane the heat was over-bearing (otherwise an excellent flight), so I had to put the air vent on and keep popping to the toilet to swill my face with cold water. How absurd is that! I would love to see the calculation of the fuel consumption (for which the passenger ultimately pays) on that Aegean plane.

Normal ideal room temperature should be set at 22-24 degrees Celsius. As an international educator I know all too well that within this temperature range I can expect the best performance and memory recall, which works for virtually all cultures.

Travel rant aside, let this be a pleasant request for all Airports, Airlines and facilities overseas to better regulate temperatures that will improve our travel experience from minimizing illness to taking a more environmentally friendly approach. Not forgetting of course to improve comfort level for us Perpetual Travellers across the planet!

The 2022 World Cup in Qatar is expected to be the most compact ever

 
Aerial view of the World Cup Stadium

The 2022 FIFA World Cup will be contained within a mere 235 square meters, which is equal to less than half the size of Greater London, covering over 670 square meters, making it the most compact World Cup in the history of the game, according to the Qatar Supreme Committee for Delivery and Legacy (SC).

For perspective, the total Tournament Footprint is a little over twice the size of Birmingham and four times the size of Manchester and Liverpool. SC fevealed fascinating stats on the topic using a new bespoke satellite mapping tool that calculates the distances and travel times between the 8 (currently under construction) stadiums set for completion by 2020.

At the time of writing, it's only around 5 years until the kick-off anniversary of the Qatar FIFA World Cup, whereby the first game set to be played at Lusail Stadium in Qatar on November 21, 2022. History will be in the making as it's the first time a Middle Eastern country has hosted the event and moreover the Premiership and all other European leagues will be forced to adjust their match schedules to allow for the World Cup to take place during the winter of the Northern Hemisphere.

Going back to distances, the longest distance between World Cup stadiums in Qatar will be just 55 kilometers (35 miles), which is equivalent to traveling from Manchester United's Old Trafford to Liverpool's Anfield. As well as the distance between the Al Bayt and AlKhor stadiums, organizers said the shortest distance will be just 4.5 km (3 miles) from the Khalifa International to Qatar Foundation stadium. That is approximately the same as that between Arsenal's Emirates home ground and London rivals Tottenham Hotspur's White Hart Lane.

By contrast and to give historical perspective, the longest distance in Brazil between venues was more than 3,140 km, and the shortest almost 340 km, according to official figures. As well as being held in a relatively small country with short distances between venues, there could be as many as 4 games played each day at the beginning of the tournament. This is because the event will take place over 28 days, some 4 fewer days than normal.

For expert convenience, every single stadium used during the tournament will be connected by Qatar’s new state-of-the-art Metro (to be launched in 2019), as well as a range of supporting public transport options such as buses and water taxis.

For the teams competing, it will also be a huge advantage, as due to the short distances involved, it's only necessary be based at one location for the entire tournament and players will also be in one consistent climate throughout and experience with the absolute minimum of travel between matches.

The 2022 World Cup will kick off on November 21 at the still-to-be-built Lusail Stadium, which will also host the final. Sespite much advance international criticism of awarding Qatari with the responsibility of becoming the host nation, there are many advantages to the set up in 2022 and as players will be performing mid-European season, they are likely to be sharper than at the end of a grueling season, which could transpire to a most entertaining set of games.

What do Perpetual Travellers dislike most about Airports?


Well, there is a lot to dislike about airports when you really think about it; for example, there’s the pre-travel arrangements for a start, getting to the airport, especially a Budget airport and if that isn’t bad enough we then have the pleasure of actually arriving to the airport itself, not knowing what we may find when we get there!

Depending upon which airport you find yourself in, the service, attitude and facilities can vary dramatically often lacking consistency when it comes to Rules and Regulations; by this I also refer to Security. It’s difficult to find 2 airports who operate by exactly the same system and layout.

What we need is a team of independent international “Airport Inspectors” representing consumers to check and regulate Airport facilities, in order to ensure that the Perpetual Traveller out there has at least some fundamental comforts concerning communications, toilet related conveniences, clean water, soap and somewhere to eat and adequate public seating. I’m also surprised how few airports provide quality services to meet the number of passengers they process.

When it comes to travel in the 21st Century in the era of downgraded Budget services, its not always an easy or pleasant experience, so it pays to pack for all eventualities, yet still try to travel with hand luggage only, to avoid the increasing problem of lost and delayed luggage.

As the “Airport Issue” is generating more moans than ever from travelers these days, especially security, we decided to create our own POLL. We asked a simple question “What do you dislike most about Airports”.

The below results demonstrate that since the introduction of the liquid rules, the security process is the resounding winner in this hotly contested airport complaint contest. Of course even if we dared to mention this to the authorities it would fall on deaf ears, as they and we will reply with the same old rhetoric about terrorists and the important need for security, even if poorly executed. We understand this to a degree, although security is still lax in many airports and there are surely better ways to deal with this issue. The main point is that security officials are often rude and queues in some airports are still unacceptably long.

In joint second place is unfriendly check-in staff (cannot blame terrorism for that) and long check-in queues even for online baggage drop-off, which was supposed to cut queues. This comes as a result of Airports in collaboration with Airlines seeking to find cost efficiencies by reducing staff levels and by employment of lower quality staff with less training. Check-in staff are under more pressure with new security rules, electronic demands, luggage restrictions and related charges in addition to dealing with passengers already arriving angry to the desk due to long queues. They tend to receive on average less and less customer service training, which is why we perceive them as unfriendly.

Expensive food is another sore point, as clearly most airports around the world with a captive audience hike prices. There are a few exceptions however.

Parking has always traditionally been high at airports as space is limited, coupled with the fact that the Airport authorities take advantage wherever they can.

WiFi costs are usually a rip off too, but that is one area which is getting better, as some proactive airports actually offer free WiFi for a period.

For frequent travelers, we recommend signing up to a BOINGO account. Boingo boast 100,000+ Hot Spots and its reasonable if you are a regular user. See www.boingo.com/ for details.

Moving back to the survey, check out the below responses, as they seem reflective of the current status all things considered of Airports on a global scale.

TOP 10 THINGS WE DISLIKE ABOUT AIRPORTS
  1. The Security process - 24%
  2. Unfriendly check-in staff - 20%
  3. Long check-in queues - 20%
  4. Expensive food and drink costs - 14%
  5. Expensive Parking - 8%
  6. Expensive WiFi costs - 4%
  7. Immigration check - 4%
  8. Customs control - 2%
  9. Repetitive Duty Free Shops - 1%
  10. Lack of comfortable seating - 1%
So who’s doing it right? On the bright side there are some spectacular passenger friendly Airports out there. Clearly the Arabs and Asians have mastered how to structure and operate an Airport. It's fascinating to note that except Terminal 5 at Heathrow, no US or UK airport is featured in the top 10 of Global Airports and just a few European Airports all of which are in the North of Europe.

One other point worthy of mention is that I am sure Middle Eastern Airports such as the new terminal in Dubai, that of Abu Dhabi and now perhaps Doha Airport in Qataris now the real winner!

Updated 27.5.17


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