Martians in the Thames and the greatest German word: 10 things we learnt about the world this week

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One week older, one week wiser. Right here are some things we didn’t know final Sunday.

1. Threats and bribes have been the norm in Soviet lodges

For a correct Fawlty Towers expertise, it was onerous to beat a resort keep within the Soviet Union. Marcel Theroux recounted just a few reminiscences for Telegraph Journey. “The phrase ‘na remont’ – closed for restore – was one which even non-Russian-speakers discovered themselves in a position to acknowledge after just a few days within the nation, whereas consuming in resort eating places was an expertise with the darkish absurdity of a play by Ionesco, involving tears, threats, bribes, and broad farce. The menus have been imaginary, the waiters on the take, meals by no means arrived, and each every now and then a raucous Russian marriage ceremony get together would tear unfastened.

“Yes for all that inconvenience – the atmosphere of suspicion, the officiousness at the front desk, the minuscule cakes of soap, abrasive toilet paper and unpredictable showers – I do feel a certain fondness for those times.”

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Soviet lodges have been huge – however not lovely

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2. Britain’s finest airport? It’s Doncaster

Doncaster Sheffield Airport dealt with simply 1.2m passengers final yr, and solely 4 airways supply providers from it. Which could assist clarify why it has simply been named Britain’s finest air journey hub in a Which? survey – forward of far busier rivals like Heathrow, Gatwick and Manchester. Prospects raved about its “small and uncrowded” really feel and “short or non-existent” queues. The “personable and helpful” workers have been additionally praised. The UK’s second finest airport? It’s one other minnow: plucky Southend. 

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three. The German phrase for ‘slug’ is a factor of magnificence

Tough to study and generally onerous on the ears, the German language has a foul rep. However Paul Sullivan, a Berlin resident for over a decade, has nothing however reward for it. “How will you be down on a language with distinctive phrases like ‘kummerspeck’ (‘grief bacon’, the fats gained by consuming consolation meals), and ‘arschgeige’ (‘arse violin’, which is a heavy insult)?

“Then there are the hilariously literal words, especially those for animals: a skunk is a ‘stink animal’ (‘stinktier’); a sloth is a lazy animal (‘faultier’); and a small dog is a foot horn (‘fusshupe’). My favourite, though, is slug, which in German is simply a naked snail (‘nacktschnecke’).”

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four. Downton Abbey has performed humorous issues to the Cotswolds

Most individuals hadn’t heard of Bampton earlier than Downton Abbey aired in 2010 – it was simply one other Cotswold village, outshined by the likes of Burford, Minster Lovell and Bourton-on-the-Water.

Now, nevertheless, you may count on to see coaches stuffed with vacationers and a curious blurring of fiction and actuality. Locals, who’re getting a bit miffed on the inflow of selfie-seekers, say they usually discover folks wandering among the many graves, on the lookout for gravestone of Matthew Crawley – a personality from the present. 

For extra horror tales from the village, learn the complete report by Lottie Gross. 

Not all people loves Downton Abbey

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5. Bordeaux is lower than six hours by practice from London

The elegant French metropolis is 461 miles from London because the crow flies, however simply 5 hours and 27 minutes from St Pancras by practice (with a change in Paris) – so there’s no excuse for flying there. 

For extra cities lower than six hours from London by rail, see our information. 

6. Sarajevo is about to get a bit nearer

A model new airline is coming to Britain this month. Step ahead FlyBosnia, which launched in January 2019 with a deal with spiritual tourism. Its 5 current routes characteristic Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain, but it surely’s now eyeing up the UK market and a twice-weekly service from Luton to Sarajevo is approaching September 24. Remarkably, this would be the first direct flight from Britain to Bosnia. What have travellers been lacking? “With its extraordinary cultural and religious mix and rich Ottoman heritage, Sarajevo really merits a visit,” explains Telegraph Journey’s Adrian Bridge. “Surrounded by green hills and bisected by a river, it is a place of spectacular beauty, and though the scars of war are still evident, Sarajevans display heartening resilience and vitality.” Fares are nonetheless accessible for the inaugural service, from round £100 one-way. 

For extra new winter flight routes, learn the complete story. 

7. In case you don’t lookup, you would possibly miss one thing

There are few issues extra photogenic than a good looking ceiling and a brand new ebook by artwork historian Catherine McCormack, The Artwork of Wanting Up, celebrates a few of the best. Such because the one contained in the 17th-century Debre Berhan Selassie Church in Ethiopia. The faces of 135 angels, every with a barely completely different expression, look down on worshippers. 

See our gallery for 30 ceilings value craning your neck for.

Effectively value a glance

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eight. There are Martians within the Thames Estuary

Impressed by the latest demolition of Didcot Energy Station, our common contributor Chris Moss went in quest of extra bleakly lovely industrial ruins. Amongst his favourites are the Maunsell Sea Forts, constructed within the Thames and Mersey estuaries to guard Britain throughout the Second World Battle. 

“Now rusting, the structures were constructed in 1942 and decommissioned in the early 1950s,” he wrote. “Standing alone and abandoned under the moody skies of our inshore waters, they have an HG Wells-era Martian quality.”

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The seek for extraterrestrial life is over

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9. A disastrous first vacation might be the key to a cheerful marriage

This week a handful of fortunately married members of the Telegraph Journey group recounted their first holidays with their important others. The anecdotes shared one factor in frequent: issues went flawed. 

Wrote one: “If your new girlfriend spends an entire evening listening to you empty both ends into a hotel room toilet – and shows no emotion but sympathy – she must be the one. So goes the old saying.”

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10. There’s nothing like 177 American retirees to alter your thoughts about cruise holidays

“Around 95 percent of my fellow passengers were from the States – a nation so hospitable, they’ll introduce themselves and invite you to stay with them in the same sentence,” defined Gabrielle Sander this week following her first river cruise. “Over the course of the eight-day voyage down the Rhine, my partner and I exchange tales of respective hometowns, family, pets and past cruises with retired teachers, engineers, doctors, and an air hostess, from Atlanta to LA. We got a window into what life is like where they live, and they picked our brains on London, Brexit, and the Royal Family. These interactions became one of the unexpected highlights of the trip which, prior to heading off, was enticing me mostly with the promise of new cities and their edible specialties.” Who wants Cologne and currywurst when there’s American hospitality?

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