Travel Desk: views in Florence and card carrying in Vegas

 

CARRY THE CARD IN VEGAS 

Irish visitors to Las Vegas have been urged carry the new credit card-sized driving licence as proof of ID. Honorary Consul of Ireland for Nevada Theresa Murphy cautions that the older-style pink paper ones “are not acceptable as ID in bars”. Las Vegas, like the rest of the US, has a strict ID policy and will refuse entry to anyone who cannot prove they are over 21; for Irish visitors, this usually means having to carry their passports, which Murphy also advises against as they’re easily lost. The bulk of her consular work, she says, is taken up by efforts to replace lost or stolen passports.

 

FIVE MEMORABLE VIEWS IN FLORENCE
 
This year marks the 30th anniversary of A Room With a View, Merchant-Ivory’s film adaptation of EM Forster’s 1906 novel, the first part of which is set in Florence. The most visited – and famous – viewpoint is Piazzale Michelangelo; here are five others that would make Miss Lucy Honeychurch swoon. 
Basilica di San Miniato al Monte (Via Monte alle Croce). A five-minute walk up the hill from Piazzale Michelangelo is this beautiful 11th-century church, from where the views are just as stunning as those below, but with only a fraction of the crowds and none of the annoying hawkers. 
Giardino Bardini (Costa di San Giorgio 2; admission €10). The views from the manicured gardens of this villa set in the hills above the city are as rewarding as any you’ll find anywhere . There’s also the added bonus of an haute-couture museum (Museum Roberto Capucci) and a romantic summer café (April – September) in a stone loggia. 
La Terrazza at La Rinascente (Piazza della Repubblica €3-5). Go to the top floor of La Rinascente department store to find its al fresco terrace café and perfect views of the Duomo, Palazzo Vecchio and the magnificent 19th-century arch of Piazza della Repubblica. 
Reggia degli Etruschi (Via San Francesco, Fiesole; lareggiadeglietruschi.com; meals about ¤30). The views of the city and the Tuscan hills from this terraced restaurant in Fiesole (7km from the city) are worth the effort to get here (take the number seven bus from Piazza San Marco), as is the food. 
Torre d’Arnolfo, Palazzo Vecchio (Piazza della Signoria; €10). Hike your way up the 418 steps to the top of the tower for the ultimate Florence photo op. 
 
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GET AWAY AT HOME
 
Natural Retreats Castlemartyr in Cork (naturalretreats.ie),(above) is offering seven nights for the price of five in a two-bedroom lodge that sleeps up to four for ¤1,052, checking-in on April 2nd; alternatively, there’s a five-for-four deal for €900 that includes five nights in a three-bed mews that sleeps six, from April 6th. 
Sheen Falls Lodge ( sheenfallslodge.ie) in Kenmare, Co Kerry has a two-night family Easter break for two adults and two children in a family room for €650; also included is dinner on one night for the adults and kids’ tea and access to the kids’ club on both nights.
Meanwhile, Brooks Hotel ( manorhousehotels.com) in Dublin is marking Unesco’s One City, One Book initiative in April with a one-night B&B package with a copy of this year’s book, Roddy Doyle’s Barrytown Trilogy, from €74.50 per person sharing
 
NEW FLIGHTS TO LUTON, BIRMINGHAM & NANTES
 
Flights on the Waterford-Luton route are set to resume on April 27th with Belgian-based VLM Airlines (flyvlm.com) operating 12 weekly flights in each direction. They’re filling the gap left by Flybe, who announced last December they were axing their service from March 20th; Aer Lingus regional had discontinued its service on the route in January 2013. Bookings can already be made for the twice-daily weekday flights and one each on Saturday and Sunday, on a Fokker 50 aircraft that can carry up to 50 passengers. 
VLM will also operate a four-times a week service from Waterford to Birmingham. 
Meanwhile, Aer Lingus announced details of its new summer service between Dublin and Nantes. The airline’s eighth French getaway will operate three times weekly (Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday) from May 6th to September 9th on an A319 aircraft. Flights will leave Dublin at 1.45pm and arrive at 4.20pm; the return departs Nantes at 4.55pm and lands in Dublin at 5.35pm
 
POP-UP POMPIDOU
 
Today marks the official opening of the Pompidou Malaga, the first time the famous Parisian gallery has opened an annex outside of France. 
Housed in a large glass cube on the Spanish city’s quays, the pop-up Pompidou will host a permanent exhibition of around 90 works of modern art from the main collection, including Bacon, Ernst, Chagall, Giacometti, Magritte and Picasso, as well as temporary exhibitions. The gallery will remain in situ until 2020. Admission €9; see centrepompidou.es
 
GET YOUR KICKS
 
Of course you can do Route 66 in an air-conditioned 2015 Camaro with power-steering and cruise control or, for a bit of retro authenticity, you can do the 2,448 miles of the Mother Road in an American classic, from a 1955 Chevy Bel Air to a 1965 Mustang Fastback GT. 
These are just a couple of the options offered by Southampton-based Bon Voyage, whose 14-day itineraries cost from £4,395 (€6,116) and include return flights from the UK, accommodation, transfers, insurance and a sat nav in case you take the wrong turn. See bon-voyage.co.uk
 
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MICRO-GUIDE: REIMS
YOUR 60-SECOND CITY GUIDE
 
STAY Les Telliers (18 rue des Telliers; telliers.fr; rooms from €84) High-ceilinged, art-deco style B&B just down the road from the cathedral.
EAT L’Éveil des Sens (8 rue Colbert; eveildessens-reims.com; three-course menu €38) Sophisticated bistro with sensational cuisin.
DO Mumm Champagne Tour (34 rue du Champ de Mars; ghmumm.com; tours from €15) The one-hour tasting tour takes you through the cellars replete with 25 million bottles of bubbly
 
€2,749  AMAZON TO ANDES: 12-day guided tour including Inca trail to Machu Picchu, Sacred Valley in Peru and wildlife spotting. Price based on two sharing. Departs June 15th; see fahytravel.ie
€1,429 CENTRAL EUROPE: Ten-day all-inclusive guided tour of Bratislava, Budapest, Prague, Vienna, Munich and Salzburg. Includes flights, transfers, meals and tours. Departs June 5th; see corribtravel.ie
€1,065  NORTHERN THAILAND: 8-day guided tour of the hilltribes and villages of the north. Includes flights, tour of Bangkok and Chiang Mai, treks, bamboo rafting and all transfers. Departs April 28th; see travalue.ie