UK News

Insights from the UK and beyond

Ash-stranded 2,000 kilometres from home – Tuesday update

Photo
-

* 1600 euros the quoted fare for taxi from Barcelona to Perpignan

* Train from Perpignan cancelled, but we blag our way on to Paris-bound service

* Chaos in Calais

Original post: “We’ve gone on holiday by mistake!”

That quote from “Withnail and I” has been rattling around my brain for the last few days as I’ve looked for a way to complete the 2,000 kilometres (1,243 miles) or so from the small town I’ve been staying in south of Valencia, Spain, and my home in London.

I’ve spent most of the last 72 hours on the internet, searching in vain for reasonably priced car hire, bus, train and ferry tickets.

After giving up on our original flight from Alicante, and the replacement one from Valencia due to leave tonight, we took the train up to Barcelona and a friend is giving us a lift up over the border to Perpignan, France. From there it’ll either be a train, if the strike that prevented us buying through-tickets in Spain allows, or a hire car up to Calais, and a ferry on Wednesday morning.

We’re lucky. I was based in Spain for a long time and I know the train routes and travel websites inside out. We have friends and family to stay with and I can do at least some of my work remotely.

from Global News Journal:

Should Norway bail out Iceland?

icesaveWhile not exactly pocket change, Iceland’s $5.5 billion Icesave debt to Britain and the Netherlands amounts to just 1.2 percent of the value of Norway’s offshore wealth fund. For Iceland, it's more than $15,000 per citizen.

Given the two countries’ close historic links -- Norwegian Vikings discovered the Atlantic island where people still speak a version of “old Norwegian” -- speculation about Oslo coming to the rescue has Reykjavik licking its lips.

from Global Investing:

Who gets the last laugh?

Public critisicm may be heating up against banking executives being rewarded with huge bonuses despite taking too much risk (especially ex Merill Lynch head John Thain who requested a bonus and spent $1,405 on a garbage pail during a $1.22 million renovation of his office).

However, there are smaller fish who are being rewarded after doing something similar -- taking too much risk and choosing the wrong bank in which to put their deposit. We're talking about those who deposited in the collapsed Icelandic bank Landsbanki.

from Global Investing:

And the next Iceland is…

If there's one thing you don't want to be, it's the next Iceland.

Since its currency, colossally indebted banking sector and economy collapsed in spectacular fashion in October, the country has become a byword for an economy that has truly hit the rocks.

Within weeks, banking problems and currency falls meant Hungary was being hyped as a "second Iceland", at least until a joint International Monetary Fund and European Union rescue package restored some stability.

  •