Oslo Bombing and Youth Camp Attack

July 22, 2011 on 10:43 am | In Oslo travel, Terrorism and travel, ThereArePlaces.com, Travel Safety, air travel, norway travel, things travelers need to know, travel alert, travel news, travel warnings | 1 Comment

Terrorism has struck Oslo, Norway. It has been reported by several sources that a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device was exploded outside of a main government office in the heart of Oslo. A second bomb was confirmed, but the location has not been revealed. In addition, a youth camp on Utoya Island, approximately 25 miles outside of Oslo, was attacked by a gun carrying individual disguised as a police officer. At last report nearly 90 fatalities and hundreds of injuries have resulted from the combined actions.

Central Oslo has been evacuated and is closed to the public until further notice. The authorities are examining the possibility that there may be additional explosive devices in the area or, possibly in the surrounding areas. It appears that this attack was staged by a Norwegian citizen with right-wing beliefs.

Travelers are advised to avoid Oslo over the next few weeks, as the clean-up and ongoing investigation of this incident will likely make tourism around the Capital difficult, if not untenable.

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Taxi Strike in Greece Causes Havoc for Cruisers

July 21, 2011 on 8:54 am | In Greece Travel, ThereArePlaces.com, air travel, cruise travel, strikes, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know, travel alert, travel news, vacation travel | 2 Comments

The taxi driver strike in Greece that we reported on Monday has been extended and is causing chaos for travelers, especially those on cruise ships.

The Belfast Telegraph reports that taxi drivers have blockaded the port at Corfu and will not allow tour buses through to take the cruisers on their tour of the island. The same appears to have happened at Iraklio on Crete. Those travelers who have paid thousands of dollars for the “cruise of a lifetime” must not be too happy with the striking drivers. Finally, another set of taxi drivers have blocked major roads out of the city of Thessaloniki and similar actions are happening around the country.

Revenues from tourism have been one of the relative strengths in the economy of Greece, but the civil unrest this summer is causing a precipitous decline in these monies. Greece can be a wonderful vacation spot, but it appears that summer of 2011 may not be quite the right time for a visit.
The taxi strike must appear as a crushing blow to the many hotel chains, restaurants and tour companies that had been hoping that 2011 would be a comeback year for tourism in Greece. Unfortunately, it appears that goal will not be realized. We can only hope that 2012 is better for the country, its travel industry and for the millions of our fellow tourists interested in visiting this sometimes enchanting country.

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Strikes in Greece – Again

July 18, 2011 on 1:11 pm | In Greece Travel, ThereArePlaces.com, air travel, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know | 2 Comments

The Belfast Telegraph, among others, has reported on the ongoing strike by taxi drivers in Greece. The Taxi operators in Athens have blocked the highway to the airport as well as the road connected to the cruise ship terminals in Piraeus. Unfortunately, the strike will continue at least into tomorrow.

The Telegraph reports that authorities in Athens are advising travelers to take the shuttle trains from the airport to the city. Of course, they may be on strike next, but let’s hope not.

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UK Air Travel Disruption This Thursday

June 28, 2011 on 7:33 am | In ThereArePlaces.com, UK Travel, United Kingdom, air travel, air travel security, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know, travel alert, travel news, travel warnings | 2 Comments

The Guardian has reported that the United Kingdom Border Agency has informed airlines to expect delays this Thursday due to a strike by UK-based airport immigration officials. It is expected that the work action may cause havoc at airports across the UK. Travelers are advised to avoid flying into or out of the UK this Thursday, if possible.

The strike is one of the continuing actions in the UK and elsewhere in Europe that are responses to national governments reducing the benefits associated with retirement, health and other systems and public services. It appears that the 2011 vacation season in the UK and Europe will be one of the most strike-prone ever.

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LGBT Parade in Warsaw on June 11, 2011

June 11, 2011 on 3:52 pm | In Poland travel, ThereArePlaces.com, parades and travel, things travelers need to know, travel alert, travel news | Comments Off

If you plan on visiting Warsaw, Poland on June 11th, you should know that the annual Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender (LGBT) Equality parade is scheduled to start at 1:00 p.m. Authorities expect marchers from all over Poland to attend. Law enforcement will close some streets along the parade route and will increase the number of officers to prevent any violence. Polish police anticipate counter-demonstrations and possible clashes as other groups may attempt to disrupt the march, possibly through violent means. The police are prepared to respond quickly with tear gas and arrests.

The parade route will begin in front of the Polish Parliament (Sejm), go across ulica Matejki and ulica Piękna, up ulica Krucza, across Aleje Jerozolimskie, and up ulica Marszałkowska to finish at Plac Bankowy. Many streets along this route will be closed to accommodate the movement of the participants and will reopen once the parade has passed. Here is a map showing the planned parade route.

If you will be visiting Warsaw on the June 11 and are not interested in attending the parade, we suggest avoiding areas associated with the planned parade route.

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New Round of London Tube Strikes?

June 9, 2011 on 8:06 am | In London, London travel, ThereArePlaces.com, UK Travel, United Kingdom, air travel, strikes, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know, travel news, vacation travel | 2 Comments

Tube drivers plan to strike the London Underground System on June 19, 27, 29 and July 1. The work stoppages will occur at various times on each of these days, although not for a complete day on any of the dates. The disruptions in Tube service are certain to bring chaos to transportation in London. See this article in the Guardian for details on the times of the strikes and the reason behind the action.

On the strike dates, travelers who rely on the Underground for travel connecting to Heathrow terminals or to trains that connect to Heathrow terminals may need to make other arrangements and should plan accordingly.

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Now It’s The Sprouts – Not Lettuce, Tomatoes or Cucumbers

June 5, 2011 on 11:22 am | In Germany, Germany travel, ThereArePlaces.com, Travel Safety, air travel, things travelers need to know, travel, travel and health, travel news, travel warnings | 6 Comments

According to CNN sprouts grown and packaged in Germany are likely to be the source of the deadly E.coli outbreak in that country. Fatalities have reached 22 and the number of infected has exceeded 2,300 spread across 9 countries in Europe and several other countries outside of Europe.

Our recommendation is to add sprouts to the “avoid” list of tomatoes, cucumbers and lettuce when traveling in Germany – at least until the authorities issue a final determination on the source of the infections.

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More Trouble For Tourism in Greece

June 4, 2011 on 12:31 pm | In Greece Travel, ThereArePlaces.com, air travel, personal travel, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know, travel alert, travel warnings | 7 Comments

On Friday, protestors took over the headquarters building of the Greek Finance Ministry in Athens in response to the austerity cuts in the budget of the government of Greece (more privatization, higher taxes, lower benefits, etc.). See this article from the Belfast Telegraph for details on the takeover of the Finance Building. In a related story appearing on Euronews it was revealed that the government of Greece had agreed to make even deeper austerity cuts in order to bring its deficit into line with the requirements of the loan bailout that will be required to keep the country’s financial house from collapsing. Unfortunately, the Greek people are unwilling to accept these mandatory cuts and we expect a summer filled with strikes and demonstrations in Athens and across Greece.

Travelers planning to visit Greece should avoid demonstrations, as these may become more violent as the summer progresses. Strikes are, also, a difficult issue because they may effect the country’s transportation network. Our recommendation is to keep you eye on the local news and be prepared to alter you schedule if a strike does happen to occur.

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New Charges for Second Bag to Europe

June 3, 2011 on 10:41 am | In ThereArePlaces.com, air travel, luggage and packing, things travelers need to know, travel, travel industry, travel news | 6 Comments

USA Today has reported that United/Continental and Delta Airlines are increasing the cost of checking a second bag on some international flights. Greed, apparently, has no limits!

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E. Coli Outbreak in Germany

June 3, 2011 on 10:24 am | In Germany, Germany travel, ThereArePlaces.com, Travel Safety, air travel, things travelers need to know, travel, travel alert, travel and health, travel immunizations, travel warnings | 1 Comment

An E.coli outbreak in Germany continues to wreak havoc, as the number of infected has reached thousands and the fatalities have reached at least 18. See this article from Bloomberg Businessweek for more details.

It appears that this is a new strain (or variation) of E.coli that has not been seen before and may be the precursor to other outbreaks of this sort. See this article from the Belfast Telegraph for more details. The mutation appears to cause kidney failure and death in some and kidney damage in others infected with the bacteria

Public health authorities in Germany and elsewhere in Europe are currently suggesting that people in these areas avoid eating uncooked salad greens, tomatoes and cucumbers. Vegetable washing is highly recommended before consuming any other vegetables and hand washing is a must before food preparation.

The geographical origin of the the problem remains unclear, but to this point it appears that the infection is centered in northern Germany, especially around Hamburg. Although cucumbers from Spain were initially singled out as a potential source of the bacteria, it is now clear that cucumbers from Spain were not the source of the health problem.

We recommend that travelers to Germany should avoid consuming salad, cucumbers and tomatoes. At present nine other countries in Europe are on alert and have recommended avoiding these vegetables. At this time, all of those infected with the bacteria appear to have been infected as the result of consuming salad, cucumber or fresh tomatoes in meals prepared in northern Germany.

Note, there is a possibility that the bacteria was introduced to the produce during packing, shipping or preparation. The types of vegetables in question have been shipped from Germany to other countries, so you might want to consider avoiding salad, tomatoes and cucumbers anywhere in Europe during this crisis. Check with local authorities on the recommendations for the areas in which you will be traveling, as conditions related to infections like E.coli can change with alarming speed.

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