Entries Tagged as 'Britain'

English Channel hit by earthquake


The English Channel experienced its strongest earthquake in a few hundred years today, the British Geological Survey (BGS) said.

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The quake struck at around 8am, and had a magnitude of 3.9. Its epicentre was just south of Portsmouth, according to the BGS. Local residents said they could feel buildings shake for a few seconds, but no major incidents have been reported.

David Kerridge from the BGS said it was the largest earthquake in the English Channel area for almost 300 years. “This is the largest earthquake in this area since a magnitude 4.5 event in 1734”, Kerridge said.

“Historically, there have been two other significant events nearby a magnitude 5.0 earthquake in 1878 and a magnitude 4.3 earthquake in 1750.”

(Via the BBC)

Image credit: Avia Venefica

Cycling in France and Europe


bike trip

With the Tour de France now under way you may be getting the urge to do some touring of your own. With P&O Ferries, the cycle paths of Europe are open to you for just £29 per passenger. You and your trusty steed can cross the channel and pedal your way through the cities and countryside of France and then on to rest of Europe.

A cycle holiday is great way to explore France at your leisure. Riverside routes (blueways) will take you through some major cities so you can sample some urban living, while scenic country roads (greenways) are superbly signposted so you can pick up a good pace without having to stop and check a map at every turn. Some of the old expressways in France have now been converted in to cycle paths so there’s no need to dread the dangers of speeding cars and trucks, these roads are maintained exclusively for cyclists.

The blueways link some of the larger towns and cities together so you can cross open country and stop in a different hotel for the night to rest up, before hitting the road the next day. Major rivers like the Rhône and the Seine each have ‘bike only’ roads that you can follow to the sea and relax on the beaches of Southern France If you link your journey with greenways all of Europe is open to you. For example, the Eurovélo project connects France to its bordering countries so if you feel like braving the Pyrenees you can cut right through wine country and stop for some tasting on your way down to Spain.

Alternatively when booking your Dover-Calais ferry you could plan your return by a different route, and cycle along the North Sea returning to England via Holland or Belgium. Using these cyclepaths you’ll be able to loop south into Europe and head as east as you fancy; the Eurovélo project also has preplanned routes for you to cycle safely and get the best out of your tour of Europe.

Image credit: sayamindu

P&O ferry’s Dover-Calais service runs multiple times a day, get an early ferry and really get some miles under your belt before the first pitstop on your bike tour of Europe.

P&O Ferries: Netherlands MotoGP 2011 Assen


AssamMangalam
This June motorcycle enthusiasts will be flocking to Assen in the Netherlands to see the MotoGP 2011, Karim Beerahee gets the scoop.

The MotoGP bike races in the Netherlands is just a week away (24-27 June), drawing masses of people to see the Road Racing World Championship. The Assen track in Holland was first used in 1925 it has since been replaced, but the Dutch TT has continued on the road circuit through de Haar Hooghalen and a couple of other places.

If you intend to take a trip to the Netherlands to see the Assen MotoGP then transport on to the continent with your bike can be done at minimum cost with P&O ferries. The frequent passage between Dover and Calais opens up a great opportunity for a roadtrip, cross a couple of borders and arrive at Assen’s TT Circuit in time for the start of the race. This tour can be done quickly pulling in at Bruge, Ghent and Antwerp or you can take a coastal road and hop across some of the islands between Calais and Rotterdam before cutting through Utrecht on your way up to Assen.

The MotoGP attracts such a large viewing audience that hotels set up local packages that include roaming passes and invitations to street parties as well as special deals with local facilities. The ‘Night of Assen’ takes place on the Friday before a weekend of racing, the town turns in to one large fair with stalls, bars, bands and rides.

Image credit: adriaan4
P&O ferries can get you and your bike across the channel so you can get a taste of the open road and burn across northern Europe for the motorcycle Championships

P&O ferries: Remembrance of the D-Day landings


DDay

Today marks the 67th anniversary of the D-Day landings on the 6th June 1944, when over 160,000 allied troops were landed in one of history’s greatest seaborne invasions, along the beaches of Normandy. As time progresses fewer veterans are able to get to Normandy to pay their respects at the long silent battlefields of the early 20th Century. Historians, families of soldiers and those wishing to educate their children in the history of this continent still pilgrimage to the beaches of northern France and keep the memory of those soldiers alive.

D-day was one of the most remarkable feats of military organisation in history with international armies cooperating to simultaneously launch naval and airborne personnel along a 50 mile stretch of coast to invade Nazi occupied France.

The operation is not likely to ever be forgotten with the coast of Normandy still sporting the names of the beaches used in the military strategy: Sword, Juno, Gold, Omaha, Pointe Du Hoc and Utah Beach. Gravestones mark in military precision the colossal figures of the dead in several huge cemeteries across Normandy, and a lot of the street names in Normandy honour the units that served to liberate specific areas.

There are re-enactments to mark one of the greatest feats of the war, as well as huge firework displays to honour the sacrifice and celebrate the victory of the operation. Special showcases, tours and museum exhibits are all available to visitors. This year sees special guest speaker Congressman Robert Hurt a surviving veteran and Medal of Honour recipient for actions in WW2. A reunion tent is set up and food provided, the public are welcome to see the guest speakers and tour along the beaches of Normandy to see the landscape of a decisive Allied victory.

Image credit: The U.S. Army

P&O ferries run 46 sailings a day between Dover and Calais, if you wish to pay your respects in Normandy over the coming years

P&O Ferries: Battle of Waterloo


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A bit of 19th century history comes to life with the re-enactment of the defeat of military genius Napoleon at the battle of Waterloo in 1815.

In Uccle, Belgium, this June 18-20th the annual memorial of the climax of the Napoleonic wars is staged with well over a thousand participants in full period costume and fully armed repeating the footsteps of the soldiers who fought in the well remembered battle of Waterloo.

The grand opening of the event brings a peaceful demonstration of soldiering under Napoleon, and, as night falls, a spectacular light and sound show is put on across what is to be a battlefield the following day.

A village of realistic Napoleon-era shelters is set up for guests to wander through to try and capture the day-in-the-life feel of a soldier in the 1800s pre and post battle.

A visit to Uccle will offer you the chance to see the battle of Hougomont and Plancenoit collectively known as the battle of Waterloo on the final day, after the last stand the retreat to Hameu du Lion makes a great procession for you to catch a glimpse of the soldiers in post-war glory.

Finally, the arrival of authentic Napoleonic Ambulance crews with of-the-time equipment to treat the injured. A market is also installed for the purchase of any gear that takes your fancy.

P&O ferries can get you to the re-enactment of one of histories greatest battles, a ferry from Hull will take you Zeebrugge port putting you just a short drive from an epic victory.
Image credit: jf1234

P&O ferries Crayfish Month


Crayfish

For those of you who have a taste for crayfish, the season to get the freshest and best recipes is coming up. In the European principality of Luxembourg, on the borders of Belgium and France, the small yet perfectly formed city of Durbuy gets crayfish fever over the summer months. Rivers in Luxembourg, Belgium and France swell with the crayfish, mating season having just passed.

Dozens of different crayfish dishes are served in the medieval city of Durbuy. it’s small population of just over 10,000 have sweet-water crayfish as a local delicacy and have been working on the tastiest and most inventive ways to serve it

If you’re travelling near this region over the coming months we highly recommend you give it a try. Belgian crayfish are exported globally, but you can’t beat trying them fresh at their source. Towns in Belgium and Luxembourg host competitions to find the best and most inventive Crayfish recipes, so travel about a bit and see which town has the best to offer. Durbuy hosts an annual crayfish festival with stalls, music and competitions, there’s even a crayfish rally. Pick up a passport and get to try 5 crayfish specialities, not recommended for those allergic to shellfish.

To get to Durbuy catch a P&O ferry to Calais or Zeebrugge and your just a short drive from all the crayfish you can eat.

Image credit: lindaaslund

P&O Ferries: Brits expatriating to France


Expat

Thinking of emigrating? Want to find a place to stop off for a chat in your mother tongue whilst in France? We’ve done a bit of research and found some areas you may wish to visit to recreate a bit of home whilst you’re in France.

If you are an expatriate, we can’t stress strongly enough the importance of integration and the benefits you’ll find from making friends with the local French. This post is really just a brief list to point you towards certain areas where the language barrier won’t be so much of an issue, if you’re new to the country or a bit homesick.

France is referred to as a melting pot; you’ll find people from all over Europe so you won’t be alone. The rules of being a stranger in a strange land should always be heeded. My apologies for being didactic but, efforts with your new neighbours should be made (particularly with language), respect for local custom and traditions etc. will not steer you wrong. As you’ll find in most countries, the native population only really take exception to immigrants when expats establish communities to the exclusion of nationals.

British expats tend to gather in the south of France, for a hotter climate, its close proximity to Spain, another country heavy on British expats, as well as open countryside that’s ideal for retirees to relax. Areas such as Provence and Languedoc-Roussillon have moderately sized British communities, generally because the environment is so pleasant. As a somewhat countrified location it is stereotypically a rather sleepy part of France, but you’ll notice the division once an international football or rugby match is playing.

The expats are not secluded in the south of France, you can find them all over the country, and one that stands out is Dordogne. This is a favoured destination for British immigrants with more than 20,000 moving in 2006. It is site to over 1500 castles and the famous caves of Lascaux.

If you prefer a more urban setting there is a large expat community in Paris and Lyon. There are plenty of meetup expat groups online. You’ll be far more likely to make a large group of friends in one of the cities than in a rural setting. There’s been a downturn in businesses run by British people in France but there are still locations for English pubs and B&Bs the further north you are, particularly the tourist spots in Normandy and Brittany.

If you are planning on a move to France you can fill the car with the items you won’t trust to the movers and take the family for a road trip to your new home at minimal expense.

P&O ferries: Dunkirk Memorial in May


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The 71st anniversary of the Dunkirk evacuation or ‘Operation Dynamo’ approaches. Last year’s 70th anniversary saw the recreation of the Dunkirk ‘little ships’ voyage from Ramsgate in Kent to France. Not quite such a grand scale celebration is in order for 71 years, but the evacuation of allied forces from the beaches Dunkirk is one of the most famous military migrations of the conflict , and late May is the time to pay homage.

Allied troops saw heavy fighting in the Battle of France, but eventually fell back to a perimeter secured around Dunkirk to mobilise a mass exodus off of the beaches and harbour in Northern France. The hastily assembled fleet rescued around 338 thousand soldiers in total, after the order from the War Office to evacuate British forces was passed on the 25th of May.

A rallying call of support, famoulsy referred to now as the ‘Dunkirk Spirit’, took over the country in May 1940, whereby countrymen and women offered mass prayers and a tremendous effort was launched to recover the soldiers who were outnumbered and surrounded on the beaches of Dunkirk

On June 3rd the last of the British army had left Dunkirk, but a recovery effort for the French soldiers defending the British evacuation was made, and though much of the rearguard was not saved, 26,000 French soldiers made it to safety.

The endeavour is still remembered today as a great achievement in trying times, and stands as a monument to the spirit of cooperation in times of adversity.

P&O Ferries Spirit of Britain crosses the channel to France five times a day, giving you the chance to visit Dunkirk for your own private act of rememberance.

Image credit: wikicommons

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