Volcanic Ash and Air Travel – Again!

May 24, 2011 on 9:38 am | In Scotland travel, UK Travel, United Kingdom, Wales Travel, air travel, air travel security, travel news, travel warnings | 8 Comments

Ash from the erupting Grimsvotn Volcano in Iceland may cause problems in the air space over the United Kingdom by the end of the week. See this article from the BBC for details.

If you are planning on flying to Scotland or England later this week, check with your airlines to see if the flights might be delayed or cancelled. Depending on upper atmosphere wind patterns, the Icelandic volcano may cause problems for air traffic in Europe during the eruption cycle.

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Cold and Snow Continues in the UK and Europe

December 19, 2010 on 9:39 am | In France Travel, Germany travel, Ireland travel, London travel, Scotland travel, UK Travel, air travel, international travel, things travelers need to know, travel weather warning | Comments Off

The weather-related travel misery we noted yesterday continues today in the United Kingdom and Europe. It now looks as if planes might start flying on Monday, but even that is not a sure thing at this point.

See these articles by CNN and Bloomberg for more information. The CNN article has a slide show of winter scenes across Europe that might help you judge the snowfall and how cold it is in some of these locations.

We note that this has been a unique storm in the annals of weather history, but are equally sure that this is no comfort to those stuck because of it.

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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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Castles In England, Scotland and Wales

March 29, 2010 on 1:27 pm | In Scotland travel, ThereArePlaces.com, United Kingdom, Wales Travel, england travel, history and travel, things travelers need to know | Comments Off

When we were kids at play or just daydreaming castles seemed to occupy our thoughts, as did knights, princes, princesses and all things medieval. For years we thought that the castles at Disneyland and Disney World were authentic. (By the way, why is Disneyland one word and Disney World two words?)

Later in life we had the opportunity to visit our first real castles when we toured England, Scotland and Wales. It was a surprise to find out that the term castles encompasses palaces and fortified manor homes, as well as the defensive bastions that, to us, were the “real stuff” of castles.

Caerphilly Castle in Caerphilly, Wales is a brute of a fortress

The castles of Great Britain are enchanting and always well worth a visit. We generally took a tour to find out the “historic” details of the castle, although most of our time was spent exploring every nook and cranny we could enter. Our legs were aching by the end of the day, as climbing stairways is the only way to see the top section of these historic castles. We would reach the top of the towers and peer out across the countryside, checking the visibility profiles and estimating how hard it would be to attack and conquer the castle.

Castles were a good defensive bet, at least until the development of gunpowder and cannons. Until then, most defensive fortresses appropriately engineered with thick walls could withstand sieges, unless they were done in by treachery – which was often the case.

Bodiam Castle is a beauty, but was built for show and not for defense.

You get the picture. We like castles. So, if you do too, you might be interested to the ThereArePlaces Guide to the Best Castles in England, Scotland and Wales. If you happen to be planning a trip to Great Britain, take a look. Even if this area is not on your travel agenda, why not take a look at our castle guide and begin remembering the pleasures of pretending to be “In the days of old…”.

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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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