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Free ferries scheme to explore Norway’s remote islands

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One of many remote islands in Norway
This year, many have benefitted from a pilot scheme which has seen all ferries to Norway’s least visited islands made free for everyone.
Despite being a notoriously expensive country, Norway is a major hotspot for roadtrippers looking to explore its beauty. This year, many have benefitted from a pilot scheme which has seen all ferries to Norway’s least visited islands made free for everyone. The plan can save tourists money – as well as hours of driving – while also allowing them to see the country’s most remote locations.

Norway has long been a must-see country for tourists. Its sweeping mountains, dense forests, expansive fjords, extreme seasons, and dramatic coastline have all made it a go-to place for adventurers.

This is particularly the case for those travelling by campervan and car. Norway’s ‘right to roam’ law – which allows people to pitch a tent or park a van anywhere that isn’t within 150m of a residence – sees thousands flock to its remotest areas in campervans each year.

Now, a new Norwegian plan that was introduced in the summer 2022 has made all ferries that had less than 100,000 passengers in 2019 free to Norwegians and tourists alike.

According to the country’s main ferry service AutoPass, this has meant that ferry journeys to more than 60 Norwegian islands are now completely free.

Will it help me if I’m travelling on a budget?

Yes! The scheme is a massive win for those looking to travel through the country on a budget – and I have personally benefitted from taking several of these ferries, saving over €100 (or over 400km of driving).

Norway is notoriously expensive, with everything from accommodation to groceries to fuel costing that extra bit more. The recent cost of living crisis hasn’t helped keep prices down much either!

The country’s geography – extensive fjords, impassable glaciers, and sprawling mountains – also means that driving from Point A to Point B can often be time-consuming and heavy on fuel.

However, the new scheme is helping road-trippers better navigate their way through the length of the country, simply by doing a spot of ferry-hopping.

Where can I make the biggest saving?

The scheme will be of particular interest to those who plan on travelling to Lofoten, Norway’s 400km-long peninsula in the north of the country.

Lofoten is one of Norway’s most popular locations for campervanners and road-trippers, due to its jaw-dropping beaches, ambitious hikes, picturesque towns and villages, and the fact that you can see the midnight sun in the summer, as well as the northern lights in autumn and winter.

Many who take road trips to Lofoten take the ferry from the mainland city of Bodø to the small village of Moskenes – on the far west of Lofoten – then drive up along the peninsula.

The ferry journey is priced at 800 Norwegian krona (approximately €80).

However, this summer has seen many travellers take a ferry from Bodø to the remote (and stunning) island of Vaerøy for the day, before taking a ferry from Vaerøy to Moskenes.

I took these ferries myself to test how the scheme might apply and managed to save myself €80 in the process (as well as avoiding having to do an extra drive retracing my way out of the 400km-long Lofoten peninsula).

Not only has the scheme helped travellers like me in terms of saving money, but it has also allowed them to explore some of Norway’s most remote, and least visited, locations. Vaerøy alone has some incredible mountains, pristine beaches, and even an untouched abandoned village that is only accessible by boat.

The Bodø-Vaerøy-Moskenes crossing is just one of a number that has been made free throughout the country. For travellers interested in visiting these islands, a full list can be found here.

Freelance journalist, travel writer, and copywriter from Belfast, Northern Ireland, Peter McGoran has worked as a staff writer for Hot Press Magazine and Belfast Live, and he has been published in the Daily Mirror NI, the Manchester Evening News, and the Daily Express.

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Mango teams up with Victoria Beckham for new capsule collection

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Mango teams up with Victoria Beckham for new capsule collection
The collaboration is part of Mango’s new 2024-26 Strategic Plan Elevate lever

Mango, one of Europe’s leading fashion industry groups, is teaming up with Victoria Beckham to launch a new capsule collection.

Victoria Beckham x Mango has been designed by the former Spice Girls member and reflects the essence of the designer’s eponymous label, considered the perfect blend of classic British luxury with a subtle contemporary twist, as well as the shared values of both fashion brands, such as quality and femininity.

The new collection, which coincides with Mango’s 40th anniversary, is the latest in a series of collaborations with other brands, artists and talents including French Writer and Influencer Camille Charrière, and influencer and stylist Pernille Teisbaek.

Mango’s collaboration with Victoria Beckham is part of the new Strategic Plan 2024-26, which aims to generate total turnover of more than 4 billion euros by 2026 through a differentiated value proposition, strong expansion drive, and improving sales in existing stores and online channels, as presented by the company last March. The new collection will go on sale internationally on April 23th, 2024.

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Official Selection of the 77th Festival de Cannes unveiled

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Actress Zoe Saldana who stars in ‘Emilia Perez’, directed by Jacques Audiard, inside a car
Actress Zoe Saldana stars in ‘Emilia Perez’, directed by Jacques Audiard, one of the films competing for a Palme d’Or in Cannes next month | Photo: Saint-Laurent Productions

The countdown for Cannes 2024 has started. The annual film festival is scheduled to open on May 14 with the out-of-competition world premiere of the French comedy ‘The Second Act,’ directed by Quentin Dupieux and starring Léa Seydoux.

Today, Iris Knobloch, who is now in her second year as president, and Thierry Frémaux, General Delegate of the event, announced the official selection of films competing for a Palme d’Or at the 77th Festival de Cannes. The official lineup features 19 movies and includes some well-known filmmakers who have previously debuted productions in Cannes. Among them is British film director Andrea Arnold (‘American Honey’), who is debuting her sixth feature, ‘Bird,’ and Francis Ford Coppola, who won a Palme d’Or at Cannes 45 years ago for ‘Apocalypse Now.’ His new production, ‘Megalopolis,’ starring Adam Driver, is a $120 million self-funded sci-fi epic that has been in development since 1983, when Coppola wrote the first version of the screenplay.

Greek director Yorgos Lanthimos will return to Cannes for the world premiere of ‘Kinds of Kindness,’ his latest collaboration with Emma Stone. Lanthimos is a familiar face at the festival, having won the Un Certain Regard prize at the Cannes Film Festival for the psychological drama film ‘Dogtooth’ (2009), and scooping a Best Screenplay prize after competing with his ‘The Killing of a Sacred Deer’ at the 70th Festival de Cannes in 2017.

Ainouz: filmmaker directs Erotic Thriller ‘Motel Destino,’ shot in Northeast Brazil | Photo: reproduction Instagram/karimainouz

Brazilian filmmaker Karim Ainouz will bring his eighth fiction feature, ‘Motel Destino,’ to Cannes after shooting his first English-language production, ‘Firebrand,’ starring Alicia Vikander and Jude Law, which played in competition at the Cannes Film Festival last year. Aïnouz won the Un Certain Regard prize at Cannes in 2019 for ‘Invisible Life.’

Among the other films playing in competition are new works by David Cronenberg, Paul Schrader, Jia Zhangke, Miguel Gomes, Paolo Sorrentino, and Coralie Fargeat.

Although last year marked a difficult one in Hollywood, with strikes by actors and writers forcing filming and post-production work to shut down for months – leaving significant gaps in 2024’s movie schedules and studios’ pockets – it will be a busy two weeks for the Festival de Cannes, with American filmmaker George Lucas set to receive an honorary Palme d’Or, and Sony’s Columbia Pictures also celebrating its 100th anniversary during the event.

The 77th Cannes Film Festival will run in the French Riviera from May 14-25, 2024. This year’s jury will be overseen by Barbie director and co-writer Greta Gerwig.

Official Selection 2024

Competition

  • The Apprentice, Ali Abbasi
  • Motel Destino, Karim Ainouz
  • Bird, Andrea Arnold
  • Emilia Perez, Jacques Audiard
  • Anora, Sean Baker
  • Megalopolis, Francis Ford Coppola
  • The Shrouds, David Cronenberg
  • The Substance, Coralie Fargeat
  • Grand Tour, Miguel Gomes
  • Marcello Mio, Christophe Honoré
  • Caught By The Tides, Jia Zhang-Ke
  • All We Imagine As Light, Payal Kapadia
  • Kinds Of Kindness, Yórgos Lánthimos
  • L’amour Ouf, Gilles Lellouche
  • Wild Diamond, Agathe Riedinger
  • Oh Canada, Paul Schrader
  • Limonov – The Ballad, Kirill Serebrennikov
  • Parthenope, Paolo Sorrentino
  • The Girl With The Needle, Magnus Von Horn

Out Of Competition

  • The Second Act, Quentin Dupieux (opening film)
  • Furiosa: A Mad Max Saga, George Miller
  • Horizon, An American Saga, Kevin Costner
  • She’s Got No Name, Peter Chan
  • Rumours, Evan Johnson, Galen Johnson, Guy Maddin

Midnight Screenings

  • Twilight Of The Warrior Walled In, Soi Cheang
  • I, The Executioner, Seung Wan Ryoo
  • The Surfer, Lorcan Finnegan
  • The Balconettes, Noémie Merlant

Cannes Premiere

  • Miséricorde, Alain Guiraudie
  • C’est Pas Moi, Leos Carax
  • Everybody Loves Touda, Nabil Ayouch
  • The Matching Bang, Emmanuel Courcol
  • Rendez-Vous Avec Pol Pot, Rithy Panh
  • Le Roman de Jim, Arnaud Larrieu, Jean-Marie Larrieu 

Special Screenings

  • Le Belle De Gaza, Yolande Zauberman
  • Apprendre, Claire Simon
  • The Invasion, Sergei Loznitsa
  • Ernest Cole, Lost And Found, Raoul Peck
  • Le Fil, Daniel Auteuil

Un Certain Regard

  • Norah, Tawfik Alzaidi
  • The Shameless, Konstantin Bojanov
  • Le Royaume, Julien Colonna
  • Vingt Dieux!, Louise Courvoisier
  • Who Let The Dog Bite?, Lætitia Dosch
  • Black Dog, Guan Hu
  • The Village Next To Paradise, Mo Harawe
  • September Says, Ariane Labed
  • L’histoire De Souleymane, Boris Lojkine
  • The Damned, Roberto Minervini
  • On Becoming A Guinea Fowl, Rungano Nyoni
  • My Sunshine, Hiroshi Okuyama
  • Santosh, Sandhya Suri
  • Viet And Nam, Truong Minh Quý
  • Armand, Halfdan Ullmann Tøndel

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Bus drivers and dogs strike a pose for National Pet Day in the UK

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Bus drivers and dogs strike a pose for National Pet Day in the UK
Bus stop: Christopher and Chester, Kim and Misty, and Mark and Pongo celebrating National Pet Day | Photo: Charlotte Graham

A bus operator in the UK is celebrating the National Pet Day on April 11th with snapshots capturing the bond between its bus drivers and their dogs.

The collection titled ‘A Bus Driver’s Best Friend’, released by Go North East, features six drivers from depots across the region, joined by pals: Pongo, Chester, Tasha, Misty, Milo, and Ella.

“Misty just wants everyone to love her. She’s not fazed by much either, we always say she’s totally fearless. Saying that she’s the softest dog at heart, we love spending chilled time together. When I’m watching TV of a night, she’ll jump up onto the back of the sofa and wrap her paws over my shoulders and snooze. That’s her favourite spot… and mine too,” says bus driver Kim Goodwin, from Crookgate.

Mark Gradon and his dalmatian Pongo, from Coxhoe, also had their image captured by award-winning photographer Charlotte Graham.

“Pongo’s just full of character, I call him my not-so-little shadow as he’s always there by my side. He’s getting on a bit now but I just love the fact he’s a puppy at heart. I’ll never forget the day I came home to find him sat down looking up at me all innocent with an empty dog food bag around his neck,” recalls Gradon.

The number of dogs in the UK continues to grow, with an estimated 13 million dogs living in UK households. During the lockdown, dog ownership in the United Kingdom increased from 23% in 2020 to 34% in 2022.

“It’s just such a pure friendship. I was ill a while back and Chester laid by my side until I was well again. I’m in no doubt having him there helped my recovery. It’s such a lift when I see that wagging tail when I get home from work. We’ve got a little ritual, he greets me, I hand him the paper that I buy every day for Amanda my wife, and he then fetches it to her. He’s my boy!,” says bus driver Christopher Walker, from Forest Hall, Newcastle Upon Tyne.

Carly and Tasha, from Washington: 11 years of friendship and trips to the beach | Photo: Charlotte Graham

For bus driver Carly Benson, from Washington, the beach has been the place to spend time together for over a decade.

“Tasha’s my best friend, she’s a very understanding dog with a gentle soul, always there when you need a cuddle. She’s 11 now and I treasure every moment we spend together. By far the best times are those spent down the beach when she becomes a puppy again bouncing across the sand,” says Benson.

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