Traveller letters: Virgin's frequent flyer fee like being charged 79 per cent interest

TERMINAL VELOCITY

I have had a Velocity Frequent Flyer card for quite a few years and an associated Velocity Global Wallet account. I thought my money in this account would be safe and ready to be used for a trip with my favourite airline, Virgin Australia. After all, it also had the imprint of VISA on the card. However, unbeknown to me, terms and conditions for the use of the Global Wallet were changed in February and April 2021 and, adding insult to injury, since August 1 the Global Wallet card is no longer valid.

Meanwhile my original deposit of $1104 has been reduced to $804 by exorbitant fees: the current weekly inactivity fee is equivalent to an annual interest rate of 79 per cent. All this happened without any personal notifications. Be quick to transfer any remaining money out of your global wallet but be prepared for at least a 10- day wait and a redemption fee of $15.

Patricia Hausmann, Allambie Heights, NSW

LETTER OF THE WEEK

DEAR DIARY

When will we ever be able to travel overseas again? Will it be late this year or some time in 2022, and will it be safe to do so? Recently, I was prompted to re-read all of my 12 travel journals. I worked my way from the first to the last, but limited myself to just one a day. I started with a six-week trip to China in 1977 organised by Monash University. This was in winter and, amazingly, cost only $1800, including the air fares, all accommodation and food. I had not read this journal for decades but, because I had forgotten so many details, it was a real joy to relive it and to do so with fresh eyes. I encourage others to maintain travel journals because they take only 15 minutes or so to update each day and are fun to read, especially when travel, like now, is problematic or when old age must eventually make this impossible.

Stephen Doyle, Hepburn Springs, VIC

FRISKY FOR FRISCO

We are excited about getting out and about and rediscovering what we have missed for close to two years. But wait, I flip through your pages and cannot find one mention of projected flight costs and travel insurance. Fully vaccinated, fit and healthy at 77 and 74, we're eager to visit family in San Francisco and are sounding out the prospects of overseas travel. Information on these issues would be appreciated.

Robin Martin, Coburg, VIC

SONGS SUNG TRUE BLUE

While reading the letter from Maggie Grounds in relation to hearing AC/DC while in Italy (Traveller Letters, September 11) I was reminded of my own Aussie music moment. Once in Ranomafana, Madagascar, while sitting under the verandah of my hotel's restaurant, one of the waiters was inside singing Especially For You by Kylie Minogue and Jason Donovan at the top of his lungs.

Kellie Whittam, New Gisborne, Victoria

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After doing a stirring rendition of Somewhere Over the Rainbow (the popular version by the Hawaiian singer, Israel Kamakawio'ole), the bar singer at Waikiki worked out that there were a bunch of Aussies in the audience. So he gave us a great version of Men at Work's Down Under. It was one of the highlights of the afternoon's festivities.

Ian Hallett, Orange, NSW

In 2008, at the small bar in our Buenos Aires hotel, there was a group of Irishmen in their 60s on a golfing holiday with one of them singing Irish ballads. He may have realised we were Australian as he started to sing Eric Bogle's The Band played Waltzing Matilda. in his beautiful dulcet tones. We had only been away from home about two weeks so I wasn't homesick but it is such a sad song that I started to weep uncontrollably.

Carolyn Crowe, Port Fairy, VIC

It was 1974, on a three-month European sojourn in a VW camper van purchased behind the Australian Embassy in The Strand, London with another young Aussie couple met earlier on the ship sailing from Melbourne to Southampton. In the middle of our nine-hour ferry ride from Brindisi, Italy to Igoumenitsa, Greece when I heard some familiar music. It was the theme to the TV show Skippy, dubbed in Italian and being shown on the ship's TV system. Brilliant.

David Parker, Geelong West, VIC

In 2015, while visiting the tiny village of Collepino in Umbria, I had the surreal experience of discussing the relative merits of the Hoodoo Gurus, Cold Chisel and Midnight Oil with the owner of Bar La Locanda. The guy was an Aussie music expert.

Michael Hayen, Kingston Beach, Tasmania

EDITOR'S NOTE Correspondence on this topic is now closed. Thanks to our readers for the large volume of letters received to the Traveller inbox which space precludes us from publishing.

SURPRISE PACKAGES

In response to your story on destinations we never thought we'd fall in love with (Traveller, September 11), in 1982 I visited India for the first time - on a "sampler trip" that took in the usual spots - Agra, Delhi, Jaipur, back then Kashmir, and some place I'd never heard of called Ladakh. Ladakh blew me away. Amazing mountain scenery, excellent trekking, friendly people, Buddhist culture with wonderful monasteries and palaces, and diverse wildlife. I have been many times now in the subsequent 40 years and yearn for one more visit when I can.

Sylvia Ransom, Armidale, NSW

Skipping a lengthy day trip to the Moorish extravaganza of Seville while on a cruise around Spain seemed lunacy. But, my friend and I did just that, opting to stay in the port city of Cádiz, where the ship had moored. Expecting to find a rundown, noisy, dirty place, Cádiz took our breath away. The air was clean and crisp, aided by sea breezes from the Atlantic Ocean, and the winding medieval marble streets glistened in the sun. There were large and lavish plazas, filled with cafes - tables covered with mouth-watering seafood dishes and cold beers. Henry Moore sculptures and tall thin palm trees dotted the streets while the Sunday church procession filled this beautiful city with music, onlookers, and overwhelming gaiety.

Denise Hunter, North Sydney, NSW

From the charming rockpool and historic Jezzine Park at the North Ward end of the coastal walk that runs alongside The Strand, to the imposing escarpment rising majestically from the centre of town called Castle Hill from which 360-degree views can be had, Townsville, Queensland, is a real sleeper that's not to be snoozed at.

David Beins, Cooks Hill, NSW

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