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There's something jarring about partaking in the miracle of heavier-than-air flight, of literally dining in a chair in the sky as you fly across an ocean, and then - upon arriving at your destination in mere hours - having to stand in some horrible airport's interminable passport control line. Really? We can build commercial jets that break the sound barrier but we can't figure out how to efficiently stamp people's passports?
Here's a list of three of the worst wait time offenders. We're hoping that - all other options having been exhausted - maybe sustained public shaming will get through to them. Two are in so-called Alpha++ and Alpha+ global cities, so you'd think they'd try something now and again, and one is in West Africa, because we just can't get over how bad it is.
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Elizabeth Taylor's jewels, clothes, and art are crisscrossing the globe leading up to their auction at Christie's in December
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Comic book nerds (er, enthusiasts), take notice: London's Gagosian Gallery will soon host an show by American artist Mike Kelley, whose Kandors series features "sculptural depictions of Superman's birthplace." If you count yourself a hard core Superman fan, you're well aware of the exhibition title's reference: Kandor is the former capital city of Krypton, Superman's home planet. The Man of Steel sustained and cared for the city with the help of atmospheric tanks after it was miniaturized by the villainous Brainiac. [*Conclude Dorky Rambling*]
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Royal Fever: an ailment categorized by a compulsion to don Union Jack garb, the purchase of Royal Wedding-themed miscellany, and emitting shrieks at the mere mention of WillznKate. Also classified by voracious consumption of tabloid material written about the Royal Family and, in extreme cases, donning fascinators gaudy enough to compete with Princess Beatrice's wedding habit of choice.
As ominous thunderclouds hovered overhead on Friday afternoon, we perched on a damp square of grass just outside of London's All-England Club, the site of the Wimbledon Championships. The queue stretched hundreds long, antsy tennis fans drinking offensive cups of instant coffee while waiting, wishing and hoping to gain admittance onto the club grounds, where champagne, strawberries and cream lay.
Oh, yeah. Tennis, too.
We had the pleasure of watching rising star Andy Murray take on Ivan Ljubicic on Centre Court, the Scotsman eventually taking home a victory for the U.K. If you are blessed with patience and manage to make it to the grounds at a reasonable hour, seeing a match, even without having purchased tickets beforehand, is completely possible. Actually, it's quite easy if you take heed of some of the knowledge we gathered last week. Read our tips, after the jump.
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You had us at "Coffee Festival." When we heard that a three-day event dedicated to all things espresso, latte and so on was coming to London, we booked tickets immediately, anticipating an afternoon amongst the city's best artisanal purveyors and nerve-jittering samples galore.
What we didn't expect was to be met by a sea of high street stalls and a singer musically professing a deep-seated love for her morning cuppa (that's tea, not joe). In short, the London Coffee Festival, held at the Old Truman Brewery just off of Brick Lane from April 8-10, wasn't reflective of the cafe culture we know and love in the city. The imposing, though admittedly unavoidable, presence of Costa and Starbucks overshadowed the few independent purveyors we encountered. Beer and tea abound as well, as you might expect in a country often defined by pub culture and tea time. But what of the coffee we were promised?
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American travelers delayed for two days in the Midwest will be feeling lucky that they're not in Europe. Half the continentand pretty much all of Britainis frozen over, with many travelers expected to not get home until after Christmas. Travel reports are being brought to you by the letters H and O, the number 2, and the words "chaos," "misery" and "havoc."
But beneath all the articles about the weather itself, there's this other theme developing, where travelers are endlessly griping at British airport authorities over the weather. The Associated Press ran the headline "Anger rises as travel havoc snarls Britain, Europe," and relayed quotes from snarky politicians about how airports should have shovels or something.
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We've tipped you off to the travel awesomeness that is London in the new decade, and we've given you some advice on how to avoid common London tourist mistakes. The coming months will even see new AA/BA shuttle service between JFK and LHR, so that there are fewer and fewer excuses every day not to hop on a flight.
Sure there's the whole "their students keep rioting and trying to burn the city down" thing. But if you're going to let a trifle like that get in your way, you might as well just give up, on ever going to Europe again. Plus they're only doing that like every other week. It's easy enough to plan around.
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It's easy to make stupid tourist mistakes in London, England; the city is huge and there is tons to see. But if your first language is English and you've ever been to a big city before, you have no excuse for making a few easily-avoided oopsies. We've covered the five absolute worst mistakes, but we know there are a score more.
So without further ado, here is the Jaunted guide of What Not To Do In London: The Top 5 Tourist Mistakes.
Check them out, after the jump.
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London: A value destination?
We all know how much list-making fanatics love the end of the year. It's prime time for looking back and rounding up "Best Of" lists, and for some, like the folks over at Lonely Planet, making predictions for the year to come.
So, what destinations are sure to be hot in 2010? Per USA Today, LP's picks for the Top 10 countries for travel include El Salvador, Germany, Greece, Morocco, Nepal, New Zealand, Portugal, Malaysia, and Suriname.
"Mind the Gap" t-shirts and color-coded maps of London's famed Underground system are all-too-common souvenirs for tourists who trek to the UK. But few know much about the historic transport network, other than that it's hellishly busy during rush hour.
Insider London is offering Underground-themed tours for train aficionados, or those who've stopped by quintessential city landmarks and are looking to see London through fresh eyes. If its cocktail hour factoids you want, then you'll certainly get them, from learning about the man behind the "Mind the Gap" voice to the Central Line's ghost station.
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The UK's second busiest airport and a perennial frustration for delayed London travelers having to fly in and out on its single runwayGatwick Airport is about to come under new management. BAA, which owns six British airports and is in turn owned by the Spanish firm Ferrovial, has sold the facility to Global Infrastructure Partners. Final price: a lot:
BAA has agreed to sell its 100% interest in Gatwick Airport Limited to an entity controlled by Global Infrastructure Partners for £1.51 billion. Of the sale price, £55 million is conditional on future traffic performance and the buyer's future capital structure... Colin Matthews, BAA's Chief Executive, said... 'BAA is changing and today's announcement marks a new beginning for both Gatwick and BAA. We wish Gatwick well for the future and are confident that the airport will flourish under new ownership.'