New York Travel News – The 9/11 Memorial and The Statue of Liberty

August 23, 2011 on 7:35 pm | In ThereArePlaces.com, air travel, new york travel, things travelers need to know, travel alert, travel new york city, travel news | 2 Comments

Our team has been on assignment this summer and we regret that we have not been able to publish new articles in our blog as often as we would like. Last week we were passing through New York and stopped in to check on the progress of the 9/11 Memorial, as well as the renovations planned for the interior of the Statue of Liberty.

The Grand Opening of the 9/11 Memorial is scheduled, quite fittingly, for dedication on September 11, 2011 and will be open to public visitors, who have reserved advanced passes, starting on September 12. We were able to get a view from a neighboring building and were stunned by the beauty and power of the Memorial. The footprints of the North and South Towers have been excavated and lined with black marble to create reflecting pools which are highlighted by water cascading down four walls. The names of the fallen are inscribed on bronze panels near the lip of each tower’s footprint and these monuments are surrounded by grass, trees and other plantings. The Museum features a large pavilion and a glass atrium. Below is a photograph taken from the upper stories of a building adjacent to the Memorial site.

The 9/11 Memorial taken in mid-August 2011

If you are planning a trip to New York, be sure to make reservations as far in advance as you can. See the official 9/11 Memorial website for details on the Memorial, as well as reserving tickets. Even though the location is not yet open to the public, the area is a virtual magnet for tourists wanting to pay their respect to those who lost their lives on September 11, 2001. Below is an architectural model of the Memorial as it will look when completed.

The architectural model of the 9/11 Memorial

As one monument opens in New York, another will experience reduced access. Just so you know, all interior spaces of the Statue of Liberty will be closed for approximately one-year starting October 29, 2011, just a day after Lady Liberty celebrates her 125th anniversary. Both Liberty and Ellis Island will remain open during this period. Most visitors do not climb to the crown and the National Park Services feels that the closure, which is necessary to improve the safety of visitors to the interior, will not have a significant influence on visitors since most do not climb the stairway to the crown. However, if this ascent is one of your goals, you may want to postpone your visit until late 2012.

During our short visit to New York, we dined three times in the East Village and now have a new bevy of favorite restaurants. New York’s culinary scene seems to continually add fabulous restaurants whose menus include noteworthy feasts.

If you are thinking about a visit to New York City, see our detailed New York travel guide for our recommendations on the best places to visit in New York.

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Rioting Continues in London, Spreads Across Country

August 9, 2011 on 3:53 pm | In London, London travel, ThereArePlaces.com, Travel Safety, UK Travel, United Kingdom, air travel, england travel, things travelers need to know, travel alert, travel warnings | 2 Comments

The rioting that beset London over the weekend has expanded far beyond the capital. New problem areas have been reported in London, as well as in Nottingham, Birmingham, Liverpool, Manchester and other cities. For a map showing the location of the riots across England see this article in The Telegraph online. For the Guardian Live News Blog on the riots, see this link.

16,000 police will be on the streets of London tonight. It has been reported that the city’s jails are already full and that those arrested are being taken to jails in outlying locations.

It is our recommendation that tourists avoid London or consider postponing their trip if they have not yet departed for England. If you are already in the country and you cannot avoid the areas of rioting, pay attention to local media for up-to-date information on local circumstances and avoid the streets at night. While some think the riots in London and the rest of the country may be on the wane, we do not see any credible indications that this is so. If you are determined to be in England this week, it will likely be risky and we recommend that you change your itinerary for safety’s sake.

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Riots in London

August 7, 2011 on 10:11 pm | In ThereArePlaces.com, Travel Safety, UK Travel, United Kingdom, air travel, england travel, things travelers need to know, travel alert, travel warnings | 2 Comments

In London, Saturday night’s riots in Tottenham were followed on Sunday by more riots across the city. While most of the new rioting was limited in size and labelled “copycat”, it has spread across London, even to the area of Oxford Circus in central London. See this article from Sky News and this one from CNN for more details. It is possible these “pockets” of rioting will continue, so check the local news if you are traveling in London or other areas of England.

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Taxi Drivers in Greece Continue Strike

July 26, 2011 on 9:33 am | In Greece Travel, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know, travel alert, travel alert Greece | 3 Comments

Taxi drivers in Greece have now taken their strike into a second week and no end to the action is in sight. See this article from Reuters for details.

While there are options to the striking drivers in Athens, such as the underground and other public transportation, there is little help to be found in many of the smaller towns in Greece. Travel in Greece will continue to be difficult while this strike lasts.

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Sweden Train Disruption

July 26, 2011 on 9:26 am | In ThereArePlaces.com, sweden travel, things travelers need to know, train travel in europe, travel alert | Comments Off

Train travel in Sweden may be challenging for the remainder of the week. Torrential rains have had a significant effect on the country’s train transportation system. Disruptions in the network will continue until Friday, July 29, 2011. See this note in The Local for more details on the lines impacted.

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Major Demonstration in Madrid On Sunday

July 23, 2011 on 9:06 am | In Spain Travel, ThereArePlaces.com, Travel Safety, parades, things travelers need to know, travel news | 2 Comments

The Spanish political movement called 15M has organized what appears to be a massive demonstration to take place in Madrid this weekend. No violence is expected, but the crowd is forecast to be very large. The 15M demonstrators believe they are not represented by the current political structure in Spain and are asking that attention be paid to their strategies for improving society and the political system in Spain.

Tonight (Saturday) demonstrators will meet in several locations and then start a mass walk to Puero del Sol in preparation for the Sunday demonstration. The demonstrators are expect to gather in the Sol at 9 PM. On Sunday there will be meetings in Retiro Park and other locations followed by a march (at 6PM) from Atocha to Puerto del Sol.

Plans related to this demonstration may change, so be sure to check the local news in Madrid for more details. Vacation travelers should plan on avoiding Puerto del Sol this weekend. In addition, tourists should consider avoiding central Madrid on Saturday night and all day Sunday.

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Oslo Bombing and Youth Camp Attack

July 22, 2011 on 10:43 am | In Oslo travel, Terrorism and travel, ThereArePlaces.com, Travel Safety, air travel, norway travel, things travelers need to know, travel alert, travel news, travel warnings | 1 Comment

Terrorism has struck Oslo, Norway. It has been reported by several sources that a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device was exploded outside of a main government office in the heart of Oslo. A second bomb was confirmed, but the location has not been revealed. In addition, a youth camp on Utoya Island, approximately 25 miles outside of Oslo, was attacked by a gun carrying individual disguised as a police officer. At last report nearly 90 fatalities and hundreds of injuries have resulted from the combined actions.

Central Oslo has been evacuated and is closed to the public until further notice. The authorities are examining the possibility that there may be additional explosive devices in the area or, possibly in the surrounding areas. It appears that this attack was staged by a Norwegian citizen with right-wing beliefs.

Travelers are advised to avoid Oslo over the next few weeks, as the clean-up and ongoing investigation of this incident will likely make tourism around the Capital difficult, if not untenable.

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Taxi Strike in Greece Causes Havoc for Cruisers

July 21, 2011 on 8:54 am | In Greece Travel, ThereArePlaces.com, air travel, cruise travel, strikes, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know, travel alert, travel news, vacation travel | 2 Comments

The taxi driver strike in Greece that we reported on Monday has been extended and is causing chaos for travelers, especially those on cruise ships.

The Belfast Telegraph reports that taxi drivers have blockaded the port at Corfu and will not allow tour buses through to take the cruisers on their tour of the island. The same appears to have happened at Iraklio on Crete. Those travelers who have paid thousands of dollars for the “cruise of a lifetime” must not be too happy with the striking drivers. Finally, another set of taxi drivers have blocked major roads out of the city of Thessaloniki and similar actions are happening around the country.

Revenues from tourism have been one of the relative strengths in the economy of Greece, but the civil unrest this summer is causing a precipitous decline in these monies. Greece can be a wonderful vacation spot, but it appears that summer of 2011 may not be quite the right time for a visit.
The taxi strike must appear as a crushing blow to the many hotel chains, restaurants and tour companies that had been hoping that 2011 would be a comeback year for tourism in Greece. Unfortunately, it appears that goal will not be realized. We can only hope that 2012 is better for the country, its travel industry and for the millions of our fellow tourists interested in visiting this sometimes enchanting country.

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Strikes in Greece – Again

July 18, 2011 on 1:11 pm | In Greece Travel, ThereArePlaces.com, air travel, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know | 2 Comments

The Belfast Telegraph, among others, has reported on the ongoing strike by taxi drivers in Greece. The Taxi operators in Athens have blocked the highway to the airport as well as the road connected to the cruise ship terminals in Piraeus. Unfortunately, the strike will continue at least into tomorrow.

The Telegraph reports that authorities in Athens are advising travelers to take the shuttle trains from the airport to the city. Of course, they may be on strike next, but let’s hope not.

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UK Air Travel Disruption This Thursday

June 28, 2011 on 7:33 am | In ThereArePlaces.com, UK Travel, United Kingdom, air travel, air travel security, strikes and travel, things travelers need to know, travel alert, travel news, travel warnings | 2 Comments

The Guardian has reported that the United Kingdom Border Agency has informed airlines to expect delays this Thursday due to a strike by UK-based airport immigration officials. It is expected that the work action may cause havoc at airports across the UK. Travelers are advised to avoid flying into or out of the UK this Thursday, if possible.

The strike is one of the continuing actions in the UK and elsewhere in Europe that are responses to national governments reducing the benefits associated with retirement, health and other systems and public services. It appears that the 2011 vacation season in the UK and Europe will be one of the most strike-prone ever.

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