Rhodope roadtrip; Vienna Summit; popular Piraeus

Daily newslog. Last updated 18:00.

TRAVEL/WEATHER:

18:00 new amber – severe – weather warning for torrential rain in eastern France.

P&O Hull-Zeebrugge tomorrow. @POferriesupdate: ** SAILING UPDATE**  Please be advised due to tidal restrictions the Hull – Zeebrugge sailing for 03.05.13  will be sailing ONE HOUR EARLIER.

LD Lines/ Transmanche Dieppe-Newhaven-Dieppe tomorrow still to be confirmed: ‘The next crossing from Dieppe will be on Friday 3rd May 2013 at 18h00. The next crossing from Newhaven will be on Friday 3rd May 2013 at 23h00. For further information please call 0800 917 1201 ( free phone).’

No other Channel operators currently reporting any problems.

Amber severe weather warning for high winds central Norway, also storms in east Austria, west Hungary, west Slovakia and north west Serbia. And high temperatures in Montenegro.

European Weather: ‘Heavy showers in central and southern Europe, but fair to the north

From Dover Port 16:00 – ‘The ferry terminal is operating normally, sea conditions are slight, with a N breeze, force 5 and the visibility is good.’

English Channel weekly weather from Condor Ferries: ‘The current forecast indicates slight sea conditions for this week.’

P&O Dover-Calais: not suffering any knock on effects from earlier tech hitch.  ‘Please be advised that due to a technical problem the Dover – Calais 10h15 sailing today has been cancelled.’

Condor Ferries this morning: ‘We are currently experiencing high call volumes due to a promotion launch. Please bear with us at this time & we apologise for any inconvenience.’ (It’s a day trip special offer for Jersey and Guernsey residents).

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NOTES:

Portsmouth – the A34 northbound will be closed between the junctions with the A303 & the A343, from 10pm – 6am between 29 April – 3 May (via @BrittanyFerries).

Italy/Switzerland – Lake Maggiore, concerns over water level, and other lakes in Ticino, southern Switzerland. Continuing to increase albeit at reduced rate. Click here for latest.

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NEWS & PHOTOS:

There’s a chance to get a grip on the entire infrastructure plan for the whole Balkan region, and their way of doing business, at The Balkan Infrastructure & Construction Summit in Vienna at the end of the month. Ministers from the six former Yugoslav countries will make presentations, plus the European Commission, World Bank, etc. Of the two days, starting 29 May, only the first includes road building, specifically Bosnia’s construction of the express road Corridor 5C, transportation developments in Serbia and the tender for Montenegro’s road building programme. Price €1,645. Not that this should make a difference but the venue is the impressive Palais Leitenberger SAS Radisson hotel on the ring road around the city centre. Rooms from €194.

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Rhodope Roadtrip, Bulgaria

What car is this do you reckon? Land Rover Discovery?

What car is this? We’re betting Land Rover Discovery.

Jon O’Shaughnessy, Consul at the British Embassy in Sofia, is on the road today (click for the route). The drive started in Asenovgrad (pop.55k), 12 miles south east of Bulgaria’s second city Plovdiv, at the foot of the Rhodope Mountains. Popular tourist destination with Asenova Krepost (Asen’s Fortress) on a rocky outcrop and Bachkovo Monastery, one of 78 religious buildings. The Rhodopes are 150 miles long and 75 miles wide lying east-west across southern Bulgaria and just over the border with Greece. The terrain is Karst, limestone rock worn away by ground water into steep gorges, massive caves and naturally formed ‘bridges’. Between the ski resorts of Cepolare and Smolyan the road passes Golyam Perelik, the highest peak at 7,200ft. The final stop for now is Rudozem, six miles from the Greek border, to see some ‘industry in the mountains’.

– follow the trip at @HMCinBulgaria

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Greece – passenger vehicle traffic at Piraeus, Athens’ port, also the biggest in Greece, is up 40% over last year. Ferries go to 38 different Greek islands from Piraeus though not all are car ferries. Nearly 11,000 cars departed for the Aegean islands alone over the holiday weekend.

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Serco ‘Nazi’ logo

nazi ferry

Northern isles ferry operator Serco-Northlink is in trouble over its ‘Nazi’ logo (above). It’s not the raised arm that’s causing offence but the heroic Viking image, apparently similar to that used in Nazi propaganda. Surely you’d have to be a Nazi fanatic anyway to know that?

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Smart machinery on display at SMMT Test Day

It's the annual SMMT Test Day at the Millbrook Testing Ground in Bedfordshire today, when real motoring journalists get to drive the full range of cars available to buy in the UK - yes, even McLarens as seen here. But it‘s the truck that catches our eye: the New Actros from Mercedes-Benz which develops 625bhp and 2,200lb/ft of torque from its 15.6 litre six cylinder engine.

It’s the annual SMMT Test Day at the Millbrook Testing Ground in Bedfordshire today, when real motoring journalists get to drive the full range of cars available to buy in the UK – yes, even McLarens as seen here. But it‘s the truck that catches our eye: the New Actros from Mercedes-Benz which develops 625bhp and 2,200lb/ft of torque from its 15.6 litre six cylinder engine.

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