Paris, the French – a Retrospective by a BBC Reporter

June 28, 2007 on 2:06 pm | In Uncategorized, country travel information, personal travel, travel | Comments Off

I just finished reading an article from BBC news written by Caroline Wyatt,  the BBC’s French Food and Wine who was departing her assignment in Paris.  Her view of Paris, France, the French and the challenges the country faces are insightful and a pleasure to read.  If you want to get to know the French or read the notes of someone with a keen eye and a social sense who lived in Paris for several years, read this article in the BBC  news. 

Air Travel in South America – Is It Safe?

June 27, 2007 on 11:44 am | In country travel information, personal travel, travel, travel news, travel warnings | Comments Off

Yowie – we have just read Bill Cormier’s article “Is Flying Safe in South America”!  If you are planning on traveling to South America by air, we highly recommend you read it.  It is  by the Associated Press in Yahoo News 

More Flooding the United Kingdom

June 27, 2007 on 11:34 am | In country travel information, personal travel, travel warnings | Comments Off

England and Wales have again been hit with severe flooding.  Approximately two dozen flood warnings are in effect across the UK and South Yorkshire appears to have been hit very hard by torrential rains.  While the worst of the precipitation appears over, there are fears that soggy ground may cause landslides or dam failures.

If you are traveling or planning to travel in England or Wales over  the next few days , the BBC has more information at

Heat Wave in Greece

June 20, 2007 on 8:11 am | In country travel information, personal travel, travel, travel news, travel warnings | Comments Off

Tempreatures in Athens have reached 100 F and may go much higher in the week ahead.  Unfortunately, the heat wave has placed increased demands on the country’s electrical grid, which may not be able to support the load.  For more information, read this article in the International Herald Tribune. 

Flooding in the United Kingdom

June 20, 2007 on 8:05 am | In country travel information, personal travel, travel, travel warnings | Comments Off

Since last weekend there have been torrential rains in Britain.  The Midlands have been hit especially hard in Herfordshire and Worcestershire.  Kent also suffered flooding, while the airport in Bristol lost power.  For complete details, see this article by the BBC.

Train Strike in Italy

June 20, 2007 on 7:58 am | In country travel information, personal travel, travel, travel news, travel warnings | Comments Off

Starting Thursday evening at 9, trains workers in Italy will initiate a 24 hour strike.  Trenitalia indicated that services some services would be interrupted.  Inquire locally if you will be traveling in Italy.

New Rail Tunnel Opens in Switzerland

June 15, 2007 on 3:59 pm | In country travel information, travel, travel news | Comments Off

A new Swiss tunnel (the Loetschberg base tunnel) opens this weekend.  Connecting Frutigen, Berne, Raron and Valais, the tunnel was built to reduce heavy, truck traffic through the Alps. 

The Loetschberg Tunnel (21.5 miles long) is part of a complex, rail-tunnel system  designed to reduce travel time between Germany to Italy from 3.5 to 2 hours.  The tunnel will be in full operation in December of this year. 

A even longer sister tunnel (the Gotthard Tunnel at 35.4 miles long)) is planned to open in the 2015 to 2017 period 

For more information, see this article by the BBC.

Oops – It Seems the State Department Forgot Some Details

June 13, 2007 on 10:22 pm | In country travel information, personal travel, travel, travel news | Comments Off

A few days ago, we wrote a blog that ended with a video supplied by the State Department in which their spokesperson indicated that they were relaxing the rules of the Western Hemisphere Travel Initiative until the end of September.

As you may know, the implementation of the Initiative required that all U.S. citizens traveling by air to Mexico or the Caribbean would be required to have passports to re-enter the United States.  Due to  monumental delays in processing the large increase in passport applications, the State Department decided to relax the rules and announced that all you would need to travel in the areas covered by the Initiative would be evidence that you had applied for a U.S. passport and had  an official government-issued identification.

Those documents may have been all that the State Department required for you to re-enter the U.S., but the Government of  Mexico requires that you have a certified birth certificate to enter their country, if you do not have a valid passport.  This last weekend, a large number of potential passengers to Mexico and destinations in the Caribbean were denied boarding on flights to these destinations because they did not have the proper papers. 

Be sure to check with your airlines regarding the documents that you will need when visiting any foreign country.


New Italy Section for ThereArePlaces

June 10, 2007 on 12:50 am | In country travel information, travel news | Comments Off

This morning we “pushed” a new section on Italy to our ThereArePlaces website.  It was quite an undertaking, as the new section totals 45 pages, although that includes 8 pages of maps.  We decided to change formats to allow ourselves more space for additional text and photos. 

We have broken-up our coverage of Italy into The Cities (Rome, Venice, Florence, and Milan) and The Regions (Tuscany, Campania/Capri/Amalfi Coast, Liguria/Cinque Terre, Umbria, the Lake Country, and Sicily).  We also included our section on the Vatican, even though it is an independent state.  We hope to add a new section on Apulia (Puglia) soon.

Our initial jump page for the section ( has been streamlined by using a tab-pictorial format to select destinations of interest.  We hope it works well for you.  Let us know.


The Team at ThereArePlaces


U.S. Department of State Issues Caution on Travel in Turkey

June 9, 2007 on 7:46 am | In Uncategorized, country travel information, personal travel, travel warnings | Comments Off

U.S. Embassy Ankara released the following Warden Message on June 8:

This Warden Message is being sent to alert U.S. citizens to the continuing potential for terrorist actions against civilians in Turkey and notes recent incidents in Ankara and Izmir, as well as the Southeast. U.S. citizens should continue to maintain a high level of vigilance as a matter of routine.

Facilities such as shopping centers, public markets, hotels, clubs, restaurants, places of worship, schools, and outdoor recreation events and resorts are potential targets both for demonstrations and for attacks by terrorist groups. U.S. citizens should remain in a heightened state of personal security awareness when attendance at such locations is unavoidable. Furthermore, U.S. citizens should be vigilant when using public transportation in Turkey, as these networks have been targeted in the past.

The U.S. Embassy also advises U.S. citizens traveling or residing in Turkey to be alert to the potential for violence, to avoid those areas where disturbances have occurred, and to avoid demonstrations and large gatherings. Even demonstrations intended to be peaceful can turn confrontational and possibly escalate into violence. American citizens are therefore urged to avoid the areas of demonstrations if possible, and to exercise caution if within the vicinity of any demonstrations. 

U.S. citizens living or traveling in Turkey are encouraged to register with the Embassy or nearest consulate through the State Department’s travel registration website,, and to obtain updated information on travel and security within Turkey. U.S. citizens without Internet access may register at the Consular Section of the U.S. Embassy in Ankara, at the Consulate General in Istanbul, at the Consulate in Adana, or with the Consular Agent in Izmir to obtain updated information on travel and security in Turkey. Embassy communications with the resident American citizen community, or “Warden Messages,” can be found on the Embassy’s website at 

For the latest security information, Americans living and traveling abroad should regularly monitor the Department’s Bureau of Consular Affairs Internet web site at, where the current Worldwide Cautions, Public Announcements, and Travel Warnings can be found. Travelers should also consult the Department of State’s latest Consular information Sheet for Turkey. Up-to-date information on security can also be obtained by calling 1-888-407-4747 toll free in the U.S. and Canada , or, for callers outside the U.S. and Canada, a regular toll line at 1-202-501-4444. These numbers are available from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, Monday through Friday (except U.S. federal holidays).

Contact information for the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in Turkey:
The U.S. Embassy in Ankara is located at 110 Ataturk Boulevard, tel: (90)(312) 455-5555, fax (90)(312) 468-6131. The Internet address is 

The U.S. Consulate General in Istanbul is located at Kaplicalar Mevkii Sokak No. 2, 34460, Istinye, Sariyer, tel: (90) (212) 335-9000, fax (90) (212) 335-9102. Istanbul-specific information can also be accessed via the Consulate’s web site at 

The U.S. Consulate in Adana is located at Girne Bulvari No. 212, Guzelevler Mahallesi, Yuregir, Adana, Turkey. tel: (90)(322) 346-6262, fax (90)(322) 346-7916, web site: 

The Consular Agent in Izmir can be contacted at (90)(232) 464-8755

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