Dover Ferry Halted by French Fishing Fleet Strike

April 15, 2009 on 7:32 am | In Europe travel, France, France Travel, London travel, Normandy, UK Travel, strikes and travel | Comments Off

The P&O ferry from Dover to Calais, a popular route between the UK and  Europe, has cancelled its scheduled runs due a blockade by French fishing boats at the port of Calais.   In addition, the strike has now closed the ports of Boulogne and Dunkirk. The French fishermen are locked in a dispute with the EU over fishing quotas, which have been implemented to prevent overfishing.  The strikers have announced their intention to block the Eurostar and Channel Tunnel (Chunnel) on Thursday of this week.

The backup on trucks trying to reach Dover and the continent from the UK side has been so massive that sections of the M20 (Motorway) in southeast England have been closed.

It is unclear how long the French fishermen will keep at this action.  For detailed information, see this article at the BBC.  For additional information, read this AFP article at Google News.

Neither Dover nor Calais are places that a traveler wants to be stuck for any length of time.  If you are considering a Channel crossing, flying might be the best bet during the strike by the French fishermen.  The Chunnel is another alternative, but as noted above, the fishermen seem to have targetted it, as well.

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Normandy Invasion Battlefield Guide

February 16, 2009 on 12:01 pm | In Europe travel, France, France Travel, Normandy, World War II travel, travel books, travel news | 2 Comments

Recenly we received an email from Major Tonie Holt complimenting our site and noting that  due to our  interest in Normandy, France and the World War II Invasion Beaches, we might might benefit from reading his works on the topic.  Well, we ordered a copy of Major and Mrs. Holt’s Normandy Landing Beaches (2006, 5th edition. rerpinted by LEO COOPER, a division of Pen & Sword Books Ltd). 

The book is a soft cover and ships with a companion folding map (Major and Mrs. Holt’s Battle Map of the Normandy D-Day Landing Beaches) that is highly detailed and an excellent reference to the area’s extensive invasion and battlefield sites.

Major and Mrs. Holt have clearly spent a great deal of time investigating the Normandy Invasion and touring this complex area.  Their book is not a description of the strategy behind each and every battle, although the book does provide an excellent historical background to the invasion.  Instead, the work is a detailed, comprehensive guide to the battlefields, monuments, markers, cemetaries, and just about any notable person, unit, action or object that was part of the the Normady Invasion.

Although we had toured Normandy previously, we found new places to visit and a renewed interest in touring the area again as a result of reading this guide.  The Holt’s book is a masterful, though sometimes dry, accounting of what there is to see, where the sites are located, how to get there and why you might be interested in visiting a particular destination.  The book is lavisly illustrated with photographs and detailed maps showing the locations of battles, the units involved and additional information that will help you understand the complexity and boldness of the Allied Invasion.

If you plan on touring the Normandy Beaches, you should consider reading this book to plan your trip.  Be sure to take it with you when you travel, as it will be your most useful field resource.  In addition, you will find the included map to be of great value in understanding the Normandy Invasion.  It shows the locations of battlefields, the position of the forces at the end of June 6, where they had planned to be at the end of the first day of the invasion, the memorials, monuments, bunkers/blockhouses, cemeteries and more, all overlaid on a detailed road map of the area.

At first, you might find the book a bit slow, but as you continue to read, you will come to appreciate the detail and the mix of contributions from soldiers who were on the ground at these epic battlefields.  We plan on carrying our Holt’s Guide to Normandy on our next trip to the area.

The current edition of the book can be ordered from its distributor in the UK, although the shipping expense can be significant, depending on your location.  However, you can request a signed copy for free and you will receive your choice of  a free, second battlefield map from the Holt’s collection of Battlefield Maps.

The Holt’s book on the Normandy Invasion (as well as other battlefield studies) is available from Amazon, although the edition they are currently advertising does not appear to be the most current.   Note, Amazon also indicates that there will be a new Holt’s Pocket Battlefield Guide to Normandy published later this year and you might choose to wait for that if you prefer to tote smaller books.  Click on  Maj and Mrs. Holt’s /Normandy   to  order from Amazon or to see other reviewers’ thoughts on this book.

 

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Storms In Paris, Snow In The UK, Fires In Australia – Travelers In The Breach

February 9, 2009 on 12:12 pm | In Australia Travel, France, France Travel, Paris Travel, UK Travel, Uncategorized, United Kingdom, Wales Travel, travel news | Comments Off

It continues to be a hard-weather winter in Europe.  Both de Gaulle and Orly airports have closed for the evening due to expected high winds of up to 120kph (75mph) and are scheduled to reopen on Tuesday morning  at 0700,  De Gaulle is one of the busiest airports in Europe, so the closure will play havoc with travel throughout the continent.

Across the Channel, rain, snow and flooding are plaguing the United Kingdom in the south and west after the most largest snowfall in the last 18 years.  Blizzard conditions are expected in Wales tonight and tomorrow.  Throughout the country roads and bridges are icy and many municipalities are running short of road salt to melt the ice.  Expect difficult travel conditions if you are traveling in the UK by car during the next week. If you are interested in recreation you should know that the skiing is Scotland has benefitted the large snowfall.

Fires, some natural and some set, have killed over 170 in south eastern Austrlia, north and east of Melbourne.  The effect of the fires has been influenced by high temperatures and drought conditions that have plagued parts of Australia over the last several years

A good overview of all of these stories can be found at the BBC or by searching a news aggregator.

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More Strikes in France Next Week

December 7, 2007 on 7:31 am | In France, strikes, travel warnings | Comments Off

 

A 36-hour strike conducted by several rail unions will start Tuesday evening  next week (December 11, 2007). On Wednesday bus and subway workers in Paris plan to join the strike. 

Although no on is sure how many will join the strike, it is expected to hinder rail traffic througout the country.  The action by the Paris bus and subway workers will paralyze traffic in the City of Light on Wednesday.

The Strikes in France Ebb and Flow

November 20, 2007 on 3:37 pm | In France, Uncategorized, country travel information, personal travel, strikes, travel warnings | Comments Off

The rail strike in France worsened this week, but negotiations begin tomorrow and that  may lead to the end of the rail problem.  Unfortunately, many of the French civil service workers went on strike today and this group included air traffic controllers.  Numerous flights have been cancelled in both of airports serving Paris. 

Bad news continues for air travelers as the main pilots union in France has called from a strike from Saturday through Tuesday.  For tourists, it continues to be a difficult time to travel in France.  See this article in the Herald Tribune for all the messy details.

Rail Strike Continues in France

November 18, 2007 on 1:54 pm | In France, Uncategorized, country travel information, personal travel, strikes, travel news, travel warnings | Comments Off


Well, it is not pleasant but fairly predictable that the transportation unions in France decided to extend their strike to Monday, November 19th and perhaps beyond.  There is a negotiation session scheduled for Wednesday and some hope has been extended that the strike will end before then.

As it now stands, there is little rail traffiic, the Paris Metro has some closed lines and around half of the buses in the city are running.  Officials hope to have half of the TGV lines running Monday, but you should call ahead to determine which lines and their schedule.

 

France Strike-Bound

November 14, 2007 on 9:41 am | In France, strikes, travel news, travel warnings | Comments Off


The strikes we described in our last blog are now rolling out.  Rail services and energy production were severely disrupted in France today and it is possible that the panoply of strikes will continue through tomorrow and, perhaps, Friday.

Less than 25% of the country’s trains were running today, although more TGVs are operating than any other service (helping out the tourist a bit).  For more information see this article from the BBC.

November is shaping up as strike time in France

November 2, 2007 on 9:16 am | In France, Uncategorized, country travel information, personal travel, strikes, travel news, travel warnings | 7 Comments

President Nicholas Sarkozy of France has been trying to invigorate the country’s economy by changing the country’s generous pension programs.  His actions, however, have been met by adverse reactions, including strikes.  More are coming this month in the rail and energy areas.  If you are planning November travel in France see this article in Expatica for more information.

Transit Strike in France This Week

October 16, 2007 on 8:35 pm | In France, Uncategorized, country travel information, personal travel, strikes, travel news | Comments Off

French authorities are concerned that a country-wide transit strike will wreak havoc on the country’s transportation infrastructure this week.   See this article in the Herald Tribune .

New update on U.S. Passports

October 11, 2007 on 9:40 pm | In France, US Department of State, Uncategorized, passports, personal travel | Comments Off

 The Department of State issued this press release today regarding passports and passport processing time.  If you plan to travel abroad next spring and do not yet have your passport APPLY NOW.

Here is the text of the document from the Department of State

In January 2007, the air phase of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative came into effect.  Americans complied in record-breaking unanticipated numbers, and our delivery system was unable to guarantee the same level of service we previously had maintained.  In order to process the extraordinary demand, the State Department temporarily detailed close to 500 additional employees to the effort and simultaneously began a robust hiring program.  Four hundred new employees have come on board since last May, and we are committed to continue to hire staff as needed.

Passport applications are currently taking between four and six weeks for routine service, and three weeks for expedited service.  Fall is traditionally our low demand season, so we urge prospective applicants to apply now.  January historically marks the beginning of our busy season, and demand may cause us to amend our website to reflect a possibly longer processing time.  Readers are urged to check http://travel.state.gov (TSG) regularly, or apply now if contemplating international travel.
Should you have additional questions after visiting TSG, please contact the National Passport Information Center at 1-877-4USA-PPT (1-877-487-2778).
PASSPORT FACTS: WHAT YOU NEED TO TRAVEL

All persons traveling by air between the United States and Canada, Mexico, Bermuda and the Caribbean region are now required to present one of the following documents to enter or re-enter the United States:
·        A valid passport;

·        DHS-issued (SENTRI, NEXUS, FAST); OR

·        A U.S. Coast Guard Mariner Document.
For U.S. Armed Forces on active duty, traveling on official orders, no passport is required.
See http://travel.state.gov for full details. 

Further information on port of entry procedures and requirements is available www.dhs.gov
Get Your Passport NOW!
·        If planning or even considering international trips, don’t wait – apply for a passport NOW!

·        Historically, we receive fewer passport applications during the fall – making it the best time to apply.

·        We are currently processing routine applications within four to six weeks.

For the latest information on obtaining a U.S. passport, we urge you to regularly visit our web site:  http://travel.state.gov

 

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