Deadly Flash Floods in Central Europe

August 9, 2010 on 7:03 pm | In Czech Republic travel, Germany travel, Lithuania travel, Poland travel, ThereArePlaces.com, things travelers need to know, travel news, travel weather warning | Comments Off

Central Europe has been feeling the brunt of summer storms and savage flash-flooding. Deaths due to flash floods have occurred this month western Poland, eastern Germany, the Czech Republic and Lithuania. Read about the severe weather in this article from the BBC. You may remember that this same area suffered from flooding earlier this summer.

Avoid holiday travel in the area over the next few weeks, as more rain is expected and rescue operations are ongoing.

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Flooding in Poland and Eastern Germany

May 26, 2010 on 10:01 am | In Germany travel, Poland travel, ThereArePlaces.com, things travelers need to know, travel news, travel warnings, travel weather warning | 1 Comment

Poland and Germany (Brandenburg State) have been battling flooding over the past week and more trouble seems on the way. If you are planning travel for either area in the immediate future, be sure to read the following news stories from DW-World for more information on the flooding in Poland
and Brandenburg State (the German state surrounding but not including Berlin). The article on flooding in Germany includes a map that will help you to visualize the areas and river basins impacted by the flooding.

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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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Strikes In France And Germany

October 21, 2009 on 6:35 am | In France, France Travel, Germany, Germany travel, things travelers need to know, travel news, travel warnings | Comments Off

France was hit by a 24-hour rail strike that has influenced system wide capacity, although the strike has not affected international traffic. See this source for more information if you will be travelling by train in France today.

On another front, unionized janitors in Germany have gone on strike for higher wages and airports are one of the targets. See this report for more details.

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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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TripAdvisor Poll Has It Wrong

May 5, 2009 on 3:27 pm | In Copenhagen travel, Europe travel, France Travel, Germany travel, Ireland travel, Italy travel, London travel, Paris Travel, ThereArePlaces.com, TripAdvisor, Uncategorized, things travelers need to know | Comments Off

Today, we saw the results of a poll by the website TripAdvisor representing the sentiments of their members on travel in Europe. (We have attached links to each city mentioned here in case you want to take a look at our recommendations on these destinations.) 

According to the 2,376 people surveyed, London is the most expensive, has the worst-dressed citizens and is the dirtiest city in Europe.  The headline of the article claimed that London had the worst cuisine in Europe, but in the poll it was voted second behind Paris (by one percentage point), and ahead of Rome (by four percentage points). How London could be the worst, when it was not voted the worst seems like editorial malpractice.    Somewhat curiously, in a poll by TripAdvisor held on March 13, 2008, London was voted as the best European city to visit, although it was cited as being the most expensive and the dirtiestParis was evaluated as overrated and expensive. 

Brussels and Zurich were rated as among the most boring European cities, while Venice was crowned the most romantic, although also very expensive. 

Apparently there is a silver lining to every dark cloud as the voters loved London for its numerous free attractions (most of its major museums for instance), while Paris was cited for having the best food and best-dressed people.  Dublin fared well as a friendly place, as did Amsterdam and Prague (the best bargain). Copenhagen was voted as Europe’s cleanest city.  Barcelona was rated as having the best architecture, while Warsaw was rated as having the ugliest.

We don’t know about you, but if we had the chance to hop on a flight today for any of these cities, we would happily do so.   In large part, the quality of your travel experience depends on your doing the research to find the place that is right for you.  If you do not like art, fashion, history and great food, or the French, you will hate Paris.  Most of us find it a joy to visit the City of Light and would recommend it to others.  London, too, is a fantastic place to visit and we have never had a bad time while exploring the complex entity that is London.  We have found that street food in London is greasy and poorly prepared.  However, if you are willing to pay the price, London has some of the best restaurants in Europe. 

One final observation – we tend to fill out review forms when we have had a bad experience.  If the restuarant’s service was poor, we let them know.  If the flight was delayed and the service was cruddy, we let them know.  Conversely, when things go well we also let them know, but would likely not fill out a form to tell that that our experience was just as it should have been.  In other words, we take polls for what they are worth – very little.  But, they do make life interesting. As does travel.

Pasted below is the data from the TripAdvisor Poll, in case you do not want to read the release.

    Best Free  
    Attractions:             1. London (35%)    2. Rome (9%)       3. Barcelona (9%)
 
    Most Over-Rated:     1. Paris (25%)     2. London (12%)    3. Dublin (6%)
 
    Most Under-Rated:   1. Krakow (7%)     2. Bruges (6%)     3. Edinburgh (5%)
 
    Friendliest
    Locals:                     1. Dublin (15%)    2. Amsterdam (14%) 3. Edinburgh (8%)
 
    Least Friendly:          1. Paris (36%)     2. London (17%)    3. Moscow (6%)
  
    Most Boring:            1. Brussels (14%)  2. Zurich (9%)     3. Dublin (6%)
 
    Most Tourist   
    Traps:                     1. London (30%)    2. Paris (15%)     3. Rome (10%)
 
    Most Romantic:        1. Venice (29%)    2. Paris (21%)     3. Rome (11%)
 
    Most Expensive:       1. London (23%)    2. Paris (19%)     3. Venice (8%)
 
    Best Bargain:           1. Prague (16%)    2. Amsterdam (9%)  3. Istanbul (8%)
 
    Best Nightlife:          1. London (27%)    2. Amsterdam (17%) 3. Barcelona(11%)
 
    Cleanest:                 1. Copenhagen (9%) 2. Zurich (8%)     3. Stockholm (7%)
 
    Dirtiest:                   1. London (36%)    2. Paris (9%)      3. Athens (7%)
 
    Best cuisine:            1. Paris (18%)     2. London (17%)    3. Rome (13%)
 
    Worst cuisine:          1. London (10%)    2. Moscow (7%)     3. Warsaw (6%)
 
    Best         
    Architecture:            1. Barcelona (15%) 2. Rome (14%)      3. London (12%)
 
    Ugliest      
    Architecture:            1. Warsaw (8%)     2. Berlin (7%)     3. Brussels (6%)
 
    Best Public 
    Parks:                     1. London (50%)    2. Paris (7%)      3. Barcelona (6%)
 
    Best Dressed:          1. Paris (26%)     2. Rome (23%)      3. Madrid (8%)
 
    Worst Dressed:       1. London (20%)    2. Dublin (6%)     3. Moscow (6%)

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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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