It’s Time For A Visit To The United Kingdom!

March 15, 2009 on 11:27 am | In Europe travel, London travel, Scotland travel, UK Travel, United Kingdom, Wales Travel, country travel information | Comments Off

One of the world’s most interesting travel destinations is the …United Kingdom.  Yes, that’s right.  Unfortunately, it seems as if the UK has fallen out of favor with some travelers, but we find it a delightful place that is full of unique attractions, interesting cultures and beautiful landscapes.  What’s more, for many visitors the language is relatively easy to understand (remember we mentioned the language, not the accents).

If you have not been to the UK, you should take a look at our Guide to its best places to visit. We even have a separate guide that explores the wonders of Scotland.  In addition, we recently added a new piece on the Best Castles to Visit in Wales, England and Scotland.

     Caerphilly Castle in Wales

We have to admit that we always look forward to the time we can grab in London, as we never tire of its museums, galleries, pubs, shopping and assorted things to do.  It is a great city for walking and wandering and you every time we visit we find something new.  As many times as we have been in London, you would think that we would not be candidates for taking one  of the many “walking” tours offered, but we always find a new topic of interest to us and the guides are usually very informative and uniquely comical.

Outside of London, we find ourselves drawn to the beautiful Cotswolds, Bath and its Roman heritage, the Lake Country, York and its unique Viking heritage.  For some unexplained reason we are almost magnetically attracted to the many archaeological sites along Hadrian’s Wall.  In addition, Wales, its castles and unique coastal villages also seem to send us a beguiling message to visit as soon as we can. 

As for Scotland, well visiting Scotland is a reward in itself.  The sights, the culture, its painful, self-destructive history (including the story of Mary Queen of Scots), all intertwine to make a most interesting visit.  However, we usually spend as much time hiking around the Scottish countryside as we do anything else. In spring, summer and fall, Scotland can be a glorious place to visit.

Maybe it is time for you to think about visiting the UK?  We think it would be well worth your time to visit this dynamic collection of nations.  If you have kids, the UK is one of the easier places to tour, it offers a great deal of information about things and places they have likely heard in school and it is a kid-friendly destination.  Of course, it will give your kids a great deal of ammunition to ping you about concerning their adventures while you were driving on “the wrong side of the road”! If that worries you, we even have advice for “driving on the left“.

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Cheap Drinks With Ice In Europe – What A Treat!

February 28, 2009 on 9:10 am | In Europe travel, ThereArePlaces.com, UK Travel, things travelers need to know, vacation travel | Comments Off

We created ThereArePlaces to help convey to you the “ins and outs” of how to travel with comfort and convenience when you are away from home.  In the “travel well” context, you may wonder why we mention U.S. fast food eateries.  The answer is simple:  sometimes they are good places to seek respite when you are traveling internationally.

When you think about world travel, you generally do not visualize touring a world famous attraction and, then, stopping off at McDonalds or Burger King for a snack.  Conversely, our experience tells us that sometime during your trip abroad, you will run across “good old American fast food” and we recommend that you take advantage of the opportunity.

One of the customs you will need to get used to in the UK and Europe is that drinks are usually served without ice.  If you ask for ice, you will either be met with a blank stare or provided one or two of the smallest ice cubes that you have ever seen.  We are sure that some of the cubes we have been offered in Europe were frozen during the last Ice Age (and taste like it).  If you like ice with your soft drink, the easiest way to find this treat while traveling in Europe is to head for the Golden Arches or Burger Whopper.

Next, consider that the most reasonably priced soft drinks that you can find in Europe will be served at McDonald’s or Burger King.  Be prepared to pay more than you do in the U.S., but less than you will pay down the street at a local eatery.

In addition, consider having breakfast at either Mickey Ds or BK, if one is near your hotel.  During a recent trip to Germany, the hotel we were at was charging 26 Euros per person for breakfast.  We motored over to McDonalds and had a good breakfast for two for less than seven Euros.  Make no mistake, it did not include all the yummy things we could have had at the hotel’s breakfast buffet, but on that day, the switch was worth it.

While we are at it, an additional, attractive aspect of McDonalds and Burger King Restaurants in Europe and the UK, that is relatively rare in other shops in these areas, is air conditioning.  If you are overheated from touring during those hot European summers, head for the American junk food oases. 

During a trip to Milan last summer, we were boiling in the afternoon heat and had quite a distance to go before the next stop on our itinerary.  (We like to walk cities, so we can see as much as possible.)  It was a miserably hot and humid afternoon and we were dragging.  Just then, we saw a Burger King on the next corner.  Not only did their soft drink with ice pep us up, but the air conditioning was just the refresher we needed to revive us for a few more stops in glamorous Milan.
 
Note: in many countries, the pricing is different for food or drinks you take-away from food shop and food you consume in the shop.  If you pay for take-away (less than eating-in), don’t try to eat the food in the shop, as you may be asked to leave.  The difference in price has to do with the Value Added Tax being applied to food eaten at the restaurant but not on “take away” food.

For more Things Travelers Need to Know, visit  our section on Travel Advice at There ArePlaces.

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Wild Weather Continues in Europe

February 10, 2009 on 11:04 am | In France Travel, Spain Travel, UK Travel, country travel information, travel news | Comments Off

Yesterday, we reported on the storms expected to hit the UK and Europe and they appear to have been doozies, influencing air travel, land travel, ferries and most other conveyances that would be used by tourists.  Read this article from Bloomberg for all the details.

 

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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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