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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G8 Summit In L’Aquila, Italy This Week

July 7, 2009 on 8:13 am | In Italy travel, ThereArePlaces.com, things travelers need to know, travel warnings | 1 Comment

If you are going to be traveling in Italy this week, you should be aware that the G8 Economic Summit is being held in the earthquake devastated town of L’Aquila in central Italy. Some are not fond of the G8 Summits and consider the countries involved to be responsible for numerous economic problems and globalization, which they despise. Most G8 Summits are accompanied by some degree of civil unrest and there has already been a demonstration in Rome and minor police action in L’Aquila.

The Summit will run from Wednesday through Friday. Our advice is to avoid L’Aquila (it is, by the way, still having earthquakes). In addition, if you will be traveling in central Italy, be prepared for traffic problems as well security inspections (approximately 15,000 police will be on duty in and around L’Aquila).

Our advice – avoid central Italy for the rest of this week.

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New ThereArePlaces Guide to Rome, Italy

June 16, 2009 on 11:07 pm | In Europe travel, Italy, Italy travel, ThereArePlaces.com, things travelers need to know, travel, travel news | Comments Off

The famous Pantheon in Rome, Italy
 
We’ve just published our new, Rome Guide and hope you like it. We have new photographs, new attractions, new maps and a new design.

We have provided several themes for exploring the Eternal City that include: Ancient Rome, Rome’s Glorious Piazzas, Rome’s Museums, Rome’s Churches, Rome’s Vatican City, Touring Tactics, Shopping and DayTrips.

To make it easier for those of you who want to learn more about specific attractions, we have created an index to all of the attractions that we cover in Rome.

We’ve added several new maps in addition to our best places to visit in Rome map. Now included are the following maps – Roman Forums, Rome’s Museums, Rome’s Churches, Shopping and Day Trips.

A small section of our Rome Shopping Map

For the most popular attractions we have created detailed coverage in the form of one-page, illustrated guides that provide additional information on the spectacular sights at the locations in this category. Take our new Rome Guide for a spin, we think you will find it helpful in planning your trip to Rome.

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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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Big Earthquake In Central Italy

April 5, 2009 on 11:30 pm | In Italy, Italy travel, ThereArePlaces.com, personal travel, things travelers need to know, travel warnings | Comments Off

The small city of L’Aquila, about 60 miles/90 km east by northeast of Rome, was struck by a 6.3 magnitude earthquake in the early morning hours on Monday.  It was reported that at least twenty people have died and thousands of houses have collapsed in the town, which is located in the Abruzzo region of Italy.  Although Rome was rocked by the Quake, no damage was reported.  For more information see this article by the BBC

Travelers should avoid the area damaged by the quake for the next several weeks.

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Venice Goes Good With Coca Cola?

February 23, 2009 on 6:42 pm | In Europe travel, Italy travel, Venice, things travelers need to know, travel news, vacation travel | Comments Off

In a rather disquieting story that hit the wires today, the BBC has reported that the city fathers of Venice, Italy have accepted a two-million Euro sponsorship deal with soft drink beverage king Coca Cola.  Apparently, the deal allows Coke to place over 60 vending machines around the city, possibly in Saint Mark’s Square (even though tourists are not allowed to picnic there). 

In defense of the city, over twenty-million tourists visited in 2008 and the city claims that the Italian govenment is not doing enough to help repair and refurbish the city – hence the commercial agreements with Coke and others to help offset some of these costs.  The full story can be found here.

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