Ouch – Travel Troubles Everywhere

October 16, 2011 on 6:57 pm | In Egypt travel, Europe travel, France Travel, Greece Travel, Italy travel, London travel, Mexico travel, Paris Travel, Spain Travel, Travel Safety, UK Travel, air travel, england travel, international travel, new york travel, personal travel, rome travel, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know, travel alert, travel alert Greece, travel new york city, travel warnings | 2 Comments

Where to start?

Two of the largest labor unions in Greece have announced a 48 hour nationwide strike for October 19 and 20. Currently, lawyers are on strike, as are customs officers who are on a ten-day strike. See the Belfast Telegraph for details.

The “Occupy Wall Street has gone international with demonstrations in London, Toronto, Mexico City, Madrid, Rome and other locations. Unfortunately, the demonstrations turned violent in Rome. See this article from CNN for a top level overview of the demonstrations.

In Egypt, reform leaders are criticizing Egypt’s Military leadership, while the friction between the Copts (Christians) and some sects of believers in Islam, continues.

All in all, not a good week for travelers, at least those in the centers of major cities around the world. We are unsure what lies ahead for the demonstrations in Europe and the United States, but urge you to search local news sources to see if the activity might interfere with any travel you have planned. Other hotspots such as Greece and Egypt look to be long term problems that might just wind up with you taking these potential travel destinations off your bucket list, at least for a while.

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More Air Travel Woes in France

December 24, 2010 on 8:53 am | In Europe travel, France Travel, Germany travel, Ireland travel, Paris Travel, ThereArePlaces.com, air travel, england travel, things travelers need to know, travel weather warning | 1 Comment

Winter in Europe seems to be the gift that keeps on giving and one that does not want to go away. Today’s weather-related focus is Paris, where Charles de Gaulle Airport is dealing with two problems. First, heavy snow accumulations on the roof of one of the airport’s terminals has caused its evacuation. Second, the airport is running out of deicing fluid and has asked airlines to cancel flights because of the problem.

Over half of the flights scheduled to arrive or depart from Charles de Gaulle Airport have been canceled with more cancellations expected tomorrow. By the way, Orly, the other Paris airport has enough deicer and has not canceled any flights, so this may be an option for some. Information on the deicing problem at de Gaulle Airport and conditions at several other European airports are described in this article from Bloomberg.

To all of our readers, we wish you a Happy Holiday Season filled with rest, relaxation and good times. May the next year be your best ever.

Thanks for reading our blog and visiting our website ThereArePlaces.com.

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Paris – Snowbound

December 8, 2010 on 11:25 am | In Europe travel, France, France Travel, Paris Travel, air travel, travel warnings, travel weather warning | Comments Off

Paris, the City of Light, has been hit by white. Heavy snow closed the Charles de Gaulle airport and the Eiffel Tower. France has issued a weather alert forecasting snow through Thursday. If you are planning to travel to Paris or central France be prepared for travel delays and lots of white stuff. See this article from CNN for more details.

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France Travel – Ouch

October 19, 2010 on 11:05 am | In Europe travel, France Travel, Paris Travel, ThereArePlaces.com, strikes, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know, travel warnings | 1 Comment

We expect that you have noticed that the strikes in France, mentioned in our last few blogs, have intensified and do not appear to be letting up. Indeed, a BBC reporter has indicated that he sensed a change in the atmosphere of the strikes and felt that it is possible the demonstrations will turn “angry”. See this report by the BBC for more details.

To show you how bad things are in France, recently a Celebrity Cruise ship on day one of 12-night Mediterranean Cruise was found to have a damaged rudder when docked at Nice, France. The cruise was canceled, but rail services is now so unpredictable in France that the passengers were offered only a 10 hour bus ride to Barcelona, rather than a seat on a high-speed TGV to Paris for a return home.

Our recommendation is that you cancel immediate plans for travel to France. Wait until the strikes and petrol shortage are resolved and, only then, consider returning to the country. We understand the emotions of the strikers and the establishment, but note that the situation is a great loss for tourists and those who depend on them for income, as this is a particularly delightful and popular time of the year to explore the wonders of France.

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Strikes in France Continue to Impact Travelers

October 15, 2010 on 10:44 am | In France Travel, Normandy, Paris Travel, ThereArePlaces.com, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know, travel news, travel warnings | 1 Comment

Well, the French strikers continue to hold their position and the government continues not to budge.

The strikes in Paris and around the country will extend into next week with a major strike planned for October 19, the eve of the French Senate vote on the retirement age bill. See this article from Bloomberg for more details.

One of the related aspects of the strikes and unrest in France over the pension issue is that the country’s petrol refineries have been blockaded by strikers, as have the ports that receive oil from abroad. In short, the country is in danger of running out of fuel over the next ten days, if there is not some change in the situation.

Today, the fuel supply to de Gaulle and Orly airports, which serve Paris, were shut off as the company that operates the pipelines to these airports reported that they had no supplies of fuel. See the BBC for a detailed report on the fuel shortage throughout the country.

If you are planning on traveling in France over the next week, we recommend that you consider changing your plans. It is unlikely that you will find fuel for your car and even if you plan to rely on public transportation, you will likely find cutbacks and abbreviated schedules.

In short, this is not the week to travel France, unless you are planning on walking, bicycling or riding a horse! Even so, the impact of a sustained fuel shortage could have a serious consequences for the the integrity of the infrastructure of France, including the availability of food and basic services.

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More Strikes in France

October 11, 2010 on 10:26 am | In France Travel, Paris Travel, ThereArePlaces.com, international travel, personal travel, strikes, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know, travel warnings | 2 Comments

The strike season appears to be turning into a year around phenomenon in France, as a major strike has been called for Tuesday that is expected to grind transportation to a halt countrywide (including air, rail and Metro (in Paris)). Further, the strikers will demonstrate again on Saturday. Another aspect of this strike is that it is an “open strike”, which means that the strike could be renewed daily by a vote of the workers supporting the effort.

Most flights into Orly and Charles de Gaulle airports will be canceled, so if you have plans to fly to, from or within France, you should contact your airlines to see what is possible.

This week’s strike in France is a specific response to the Upper House of the French system of government voting to change the minimum retirement age from 60 to 62 and the age for a full pension from 65 to 67. Read more details about the strike and the issues behind it at Yahoo news.

If you will be traveling in France tomorrow, avoid gatherings associated with the strike. It is expected that the strike will be large (as all unions seem to be supporting it) and disrupt the normal flow of daily life throughout the country.

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France Prepares For More Terrorism

September 21, 2010 on 2:14 pm | In France Travel, Paris Travel, Terrorism and travel, ThereArePlaces.com, Travel Safety, things travelers need to know, travel warnings | Comments Off

An article in today’s BBC news indicated that the government of France has taken additional anti-terrorism preparations after being alerted to a potential terrorism attack. The report was specific and indicated that a female suicide bomber intends to target the country’s transportation system. However, the country has also increased its patrols around national monuments, museums and other tourist attractions (including some shopping areas). DW-World also has good coverage of the terror threat.

Recently, France has been threatened by Islamic militants from the Sahara states of Africa. In addition, France’s recent attack on an al Queda camp in Mali may have contributed to the increased potential for terrorism, as may its recent ban on the headscarves worn by many women who practice Islam.

Travel is not an opportunity that comes without its risks in the modern world and all tourists should be alert for possible dangers whenever and wherever they travel. As a consequence, travelers should weigh the potential dangers of travel when deciding whether or not to travel. If you do travel, pay attention to local news reports at your destination for information on potential problems and always avoid public demonstrations or any other situations that might prove dangerous.

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Strike in France Today

September 6, 2010 on 10:15 pm | In France Travel, Paris Travel, ThereArePlaces.com, air travel, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know | Comments Off

The President of France has proposed raising the retirement age from 60 to 62 and citizens of France seem none too happy about the proposal. There will be a 24 hour strike in France starting Tuesday and it is expected to be significant. See this article in the Telegraph for more details.

Avoid travel in France tomorrow, if possible. If not, stay out of the way of the strikers, as this may be a spirited strike.

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Tragedy, Lust, Murder and the Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris

June 17, 2010 on 1:55 pm | In France Travel, Paris Travel, ThereArePlaces.com, things travelers need to know, travel books | 1 Comment

This week we received a piece of promotional email from Anna Eriksson who has written a guidebook for the Pere Lachaise Cemetery in Paris. Illustrated with superb photography by Mason Bendewald, the guide includes practical information and intriguing stories about 31 of the most famous people interred in the world’s most interesting cemetery, including: Jim Morrison, Oscar Wilde, Chopin, Collette, Heloise and Abelard, Moliere, Edith Piaf, Proust, Isadora Duncan, Sarah Bernhardt and Maria Callas – to name of a few.

When we updated and expanded our Paris Guide this spring, we added a new section on Pere Lachaise and think that you might find Anna Eriksson’s guide to be of interest if you will be traveling to Paris. An iPod audio edition of the guide is also available. See this website for details on the book, the author and the Pere Lachaise Cemetery.

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Europe Held Hostage by a…Volcano!

April 15, 2010 on 8:33 am | In Copenhagen travel, Denmark travel, Europe travel, France Travel, Germany travel, Ireland travel, London travel, Netherlands travel, Paris Travel, Scotland travel, ThereArePlaces.com, Travel Safety, air travel, england travel, international travel, things travelers need to know, travel news, travel warnings, travel weather warning | 1 Comment

The eruption of Iceland’s Eyjafjallajokul volcano (located near the island’s south coast, approximately 149 kilometers (92 miles) southeast of Reykjavik) has the potential to cause much damage to the country and the world’s climate. Today, however, the volcano’s cloud of steam and smoke, spread across Western Europe and the UK by prevailing winds, has become a major hazard to air travel.

Many of the airports in Europe, particularly those along the western coast zone of Europe, have closed in response to the threat that the volcanic cloud poses. Concentrations of volcanic ash and dust can decrease visibility during flights at higher altitudes and damage or cause engine shutdowns in jet-powered aircraft at any altitude.

For detailed information on the event and the response, see this article in the Wall Street Journal.

For some great photos of the volcano and detailed information on the eruption,see this excellent presentation from the Detroit Free Press.

The volcanic eruption in Iceland has created a major problem for all air travelers in Europe, as well as those planning on flying to Europe. The length of the eruption and the wind patterns can vary and there is no easy way to tell when air traffic will resume normal patterns. If you are planning on traveling to or in Europe in the next week, be sure to contact your airline, well in advance, to see what information they can offer. If you are in Europe and trying to return home, this will be a frustrating week, as volcanic eruptions are one of those situations beyond the control of the airlines or anyone else.

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