Europe – Not This Week

December 19, 2009 on 9:39 pm | In France Travel, Spain Travel, things travelers need to know, travel warnings, travel weather warning | Comments Off

Weather in Europe caused difficulties for travelers last week and the next week does not seem more promising. Due to extremely cold and wet weather in France, the Eurostar has been shut down and remain closed for another day or two. It appears that trains entering the Chunnel from France have had their wheels mysteriously lose traction shortly after entering the Chunnel. The “Official” explanation is that this was the result of the cold weather on the outside and the warm temperatures on the inside of the Chunnel. Not sure we understand the physics of the explanation, but several trains were stuck and in one case the passengers were delayed in arriving in London for over 14 hours. See this article from the BBCfor more details.

Europe is being hit by cold weather and impressive amounts of snow. Air France cancelled flight into Paris and the French authorities shut several of the ports serving the English Channel, claiming that the roads from the ports were too treacherous to drive. For more information on the weather in Europe see this report. As we write this note, it is -10C in Vienna (feels like -20C with the windchill) and snowing). London is -2C and Paris is 0C – seems to be warming up.

By the way, in case you missed it, the planned BAA Cabin Crew strike at Christmas has been cancelled by the courts who ruled it illegal. We are sure that the cabin crews for BAA flying during this period will be in good holiday cheer.

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ETA Bombs Mallorca (Majorca) Again

August 9, 2009 on 11:02 am | In Spain Travel, things travelers need to know, travel news, travel warnings | Comments Off

The ETA was resonsible for three bombings in Mallorca today. Unlike recent ETA targets, the three Mallorcan locations were in places often visited by tourists, although there were no injuries reported. The bombs were pre-announced by the ETA, perhaps to avoid casualities, but still show the public that their demands for a Basque homeland must be considered.

Two bombs were placed in restaurants and the third was detonated (in a controlled detonation by the police) in Plaza Mayor, the popular central square in Palma. Three of the Balearic Islands, (Mallorca, Menorca and Ibiza) are very popular tourist destinations with Europeans and the ETA may be trying to show its strength by damaging Spain’s lucrative travel industry.

The ETA is apparently flexing its power during August, the 50th anniversary of its founding. During the last year a number of the terrorist organization’s senior operatives have been arrested and it is thought that a new, brasher group of young basques are responsible for the latest attacks.

Here is a detailed article on the bombings from the New York Times and another from the BBC.

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ETA Bombs Tranquil Mallorca

July 30, 2009 on 8:33 am | In Spain Travel, things travelers need to know, travel warnings | 1 Comment

Perhaps in advance of its 50th annniversary this Friday, the ETA exploded a car bomb in the town of Palma Nova on the idyllic Balearic Island of Mallorca. Mallorca is part of Spain and located off the Mediterranean coast near Barcelona. As opposed to yesterday’s bombing of a civil defense barracks in Burgos, Spain, this attack took the lives of two police officers.

Mallorca is especially popular with British tourists and is a staple of the cruise line industry, whose ships usually port in Palma, the capital of the island, for a day of fun and adventure. However, due to the bombing both the airport and the sea port were closed for a short period of time, presumably in an attempt to apprehend the terrorists. Travel to the area has been disrupted, so check with your transportation provider about schedules. See this report from the Times Online of the UK for more information.

We suggest that all visitors to Spain exercise caution, but especially over the next five days, since the ETA may be attempting to capitalize on its anniverary by making a statement about its ability to attack anywhere in Spain at any time. The Spanish Tourist Office has indicated that Mallorca and Spain remain safe locations for tourism, noting that the targets of the ETA have been associated with the Guardia Civil (Civil Guard) of Spain and not areas of interest to tourists.

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Bombing in Burgos, Spain

July 28, 2009 on 9:57 pm | In Spain Travel, things travelers need to know, travel warnings | Comments Off

The ETA, a terrorist group of the Basque separtist movement is thought behind an explosion at a Civil Guard barracks in Burgos, Spain. Although there were no deaths, there were approximately 50 injured (mainly by flying glass from the windows broken in the explosion). See the BBC for details. Last month, the ETA was responsible for an bombing in Bilbao where there was a fatality.

Travelers in Spain, in general, and in northern Spain in particular, should exercise caution and avoid government buildings during their travels.

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Wildfires In Italy, Greece, Spain and France

July 24, 2009 on 11:39 am | In France Travel, Germany travel, Italy travel, Spain Travel, things travelers need to know, travel warnings | 2 Comments

If you are planning to travel in eastern Spain, Corisca, Sardina, Sicily or near Marseilles or Athens over the next few days, you might want to read this article and browse the BBC’s map of the alarming spread of wildfires in southern Europe. Wildfires are common in southern Europe at this time of year, but the season appears off to an extremely widespread start.

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The European Union’s 112 Emergency Hotline

February 12, 2009 on 8:59 am | In Europe travel, France Travel, Germany travel, Spain Travel, country travel information, travel news | Comments Off

In 1991, the European Union insituted a 112 emergency telephone helpline, but it has had a rocky history.  Service seems to be shaping up.  A current review of the system and some of its remaining problems has been published in DW-World.  The article might be of interest to you if you plan to travel in Europe, especially if you plan to drive in Europe.

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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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