Travel tips to European Countries: UK

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The United Kingdom also called as England or Great Britain is the country which once ruled nearly the entire world a century ago. The glory might have been lost but people are still proud of their country and heritage. It has come a long way from a colonial empire to a member of the EU. The country comprises mainly of England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The country is full of scenic locales and energetic cities. Also the county is home to nearly two million heritage points. The capital city of UK is London. A city beyond comparison, representing itself as an icon of diversity with people from different races, creeds and all walks of life blended into its culture. It is also home to many architectural marvels and one of them is the London Bridge. While York and Durham manifests the bygone era of country, Liverpool and Newcastle are modern industrial marvels. Not to forget the scenic Lake District and Edinburg still attract people from all over the world.

Population & Languages

The population is around 61 million and the official language is English. Other regional languages spoke are Welsh, Scottish Gaelic, and Irish etc.

Electricity

The voltage is 230-240 V and the frequency is 50 Hz. The type of plug used is rectangular blade.

Geographic Location

It is located in Western Europe and consists of islands including the northern one-sixth of the Ireland. It is 22 miles from the France border and linked by a under sea tunnel. The terrain is mostly rolling lowlands and low mountains.

Climate

It has a moderate climate but lots of rain with around half of the years being overcast. The lowest temperatures never go below −15 °C (5 °F) and in summer the average maximum is 34 °C (93.2 °F). It also gets snow in winter and early spring.

Local Customs

The handshake is customary when you are meeting somebody for the first time. When visiting someone’s house a small gift like flowers or chocolates is customary. Waiting till everyone is served before eating is also one of the etiquettes. Tipping is usually 10-15% in hotels, restaurants and taxis. Smoking and non-smoking areas are clearly designated and thus should be taken care of.

Places to see

London – Buckingham Palace, Hampton Court Palace, Kensington Palace, Whitehall Palace and the Tower of London
Scotland – The Bannockburn Heritage Centre and Ben Lawers Mountains
Wales – Aberdulais Falls, King Arthur’s Labyrinth, Dolaucothi Gold Mines, Great Orme Mines, Portmeirion Village, Rhossili Visitor Centre, Taff Valley Activity Centre and TechinQuest

Travel

By Air – The domestic airlines is British Airways which also connects almost all major world destinations. Almost all airlines connect UK through London which is hub for all international flights between east to west and west to east. Heathrow and Gatwick are international airports of London.

By Sea – Since UK is surrounded by water from almost all sides it has many ports. There are many ferry services operating between Europe and UK.

By Rail – Trains connect Ferries at Dover, Folkestone, Newhaven, Portsmouth and Weymouth, sailing for Belgium, France, Germany and Spain (you need to board at Victoria Station in London); and at Harwich, sailing for Germany, The Netherlands and Scandinavia (you need to board at Liverpool Street). Eurostar train connects London with Brussels and Paris through channel tunnel.

By Road – The vehicles can enter UK through channel tunnel. Cars and motorcycles, coaches, minibuses, caravans, campervans and other vehicles over 1.85m (6.07ft) can also use channel tunnel. Bicycles are also provided for. Thanks for reading!

Travel Tips To European Countries: Spain

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Spain is famous world wide for its flamenco dancers and bullfights. The architecture reflects the Moroccan style. Cave paintings, renaissance cathedrals, Moorish palaces prove the diversity of the country. Spring, fall and early summer are very pleasant here, though summers are hot.

Culture

Spanish is the regional language of Spain. English is also widely spoken here. Over the period of time, Spanish people have become modern in order to gel with the changing times and are no longer conservative. But that hasn’t changed the values, traditions, manners and customs of the locals. People here have two surnames; the first surname can be used to refer to the person. To greet someone, a handshake will do the job. Take a small gift along when visiting someone’s house. Save the flowers for special occasions. Dinner is generally taken very late in the night. People wear casuals most of the time. Men are expected to wear jackets at some restaurants. Swimsuits should be confined to the pools and beaches. Recently a ban has been applied on smoking in public places.

Shopping

Shops open quite early in the morning and stay open late in the evening. In the afternoon, they are closed for lunch or siesta. Porcelain and leather goods are famous and they will be good gifts for friends and family members back home. Bills are to be paid along with the service charges, so tipping is a matter of gratitude.

Electricity

Voltage is 220 volts and frequency is 50 Hz

Getting There

IBERIA is the national airline of Spain. Many other low-cost airlines offer services in the country. There are nearly thirty international airports in Spain, out of which Madrid, Barcelona, Valencia, Alicante and Malaga are famous.
Madrid located at 13km away from the city has a good bus service every fifteen minutes. Underground service also works to transport passengers to their destinations. Other facilities offered at this airport are duty free shops, bank, restaurant, tourism information, and hotel reservations.

Barcelona is very close to the city, situated at a distance of 3 km only. Buses are available every 15 minutes and trains are available every 20 minutes. Taxis are available throughout the day. Duty free shops, restaurants, bank, car hire and tourism information are available here.

There is a good network of roads connecting Spain north to south. Toll booths are installed in some parts of the country. Carrying few Euros will help smooth sailing at the toll booths. If driving one’s private car, it would be better if the travel insurance covers medical costs too. Carrying a medical kit can prove to be of some help.

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Travel Tips to European Countries:Germany

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About the country

The Federal republic of Germany is the most influential country of Europe. It has witnessed the most controversial facts of history like Nazism, Holy Roman Empire and the building and demolition of the Berlin wall. With many magnificent castles it has wealth of art and culture. German is the widely spoken language in Germany, but outsiders can find many English speaking locals especially in the common tourist destinations.

Weather

The weather here is very unpredictable as there is a possibility of rain almost all months, so carry clothes accordingly. April and May are the months of spring which brings in full bloom of fruits and flowers. Months from May to September have very fine weather with sunny skies and offers the best time for traveling and site-seeing. People who have a passion for sports like swimming, hiking, and cycling can have the best time here during these months. Winter sports can be enjoyed at the resorts in the months from November to early March. The temperatures are below freezing and the days are too short (comprise of only six to eight months) in winter.

Local Customs

Locals greet each other by handshaking and saying Guten Tag. To say goodbye, people use Auf Wiedersehen. Guests are expected to bring uncovered and odd number of flowers, especially roses, when visiting someone’s home. The guests are welcomed with either food or refreshments. At the table, hosts say ‘Guten Appetit’ to which the guests should reply with ‘Ebenfalls’. Smoking should be better avoided in public areas. Locals dress informally but certain occasions like opera, theatre, certain restaurants and social functions call for formal wear.

Electricity

220 V, 50 Hz

Moving Around

The best way to get around is to buy the Welcome cards or the city passes which allows the customer to access unlimited bus facility in many cities of Germany. It also gives special offer on certain tourist attractions. For flexibility one can rent-a-car or go for chauffer driven cars. Along with the rent, VAT of 16% is payable. Car insurance should be available before hand in case of any accident. The speed limit within the cities is mostly 50kph and 100kph on the highways.
Nine stars

The nine stars of Southwest Germany comprise of Baden-Baden, Freiburg, Heidelberg, Karlsruhe, Heilbronn, Mannheim, Pforzheim Stuttgart, and Ulm. They are considered to be some of the beautiful cities of Europe. Each of the cities play a vital role in the culture of Germany. Baden-Baden has few of the finest resorts and also has Europe’s second largest opera and concert hall. Freiburg is known as the historic city center and is famous for cobblestone mosiacs, open streams and ancient alleys. Heidelberg has world famous castles and Germany’s oldest university. Karlsruhe has the famous museum Center for Art and Media. Look out for various amusements along the Nectar river of Heilbronn. Pforzheim is the capital for watches and jewelry. Stuttgart is famous for theatres and opera. Ulm is the birth place of Albert Einstein and is also house to the world’s tallest church spire.

Travel

The national airline that serves Germany is Lufthansa. Bwelin-Tegel airport is situated at 8 km away from the city and it takes about 20 minutes to reach there. There is a provision of duty free shops, banks, post office, eateries, conference hall, and car hire and tourism information for the passengers.anastasia-dulgier-uNi0epfnc4c-unsplash

Another busy airport is the Frankfurt airport which is located at 13km away from the city. Buses take about 20 minutes to get there. Taxis are available at any time. The Intercity railway network at the airport also provides international services to Hungary, Switzerland and Austria. The facilities provided here are duty free shops, left luggage, restaurants, banks, conference halls, post office, car hire and tourism information. No departure tax is levied on the passengers.

Those wishing to travel by sea can avail the ferry connections to Finland, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Latvia, and Norway.

Eurostar provides railway service to and from Belgium, France and the UK. Booking can be made by telephone. The Inter-Rail offers unlimited second class train travel within 29 European countries. The Eurailpass offers unlimited first class train travel within 17 European countries.
EuroCity and InterCity trains have a restaurant on board, providing food and drinks. InterCity Express target the business class and provides services such as fully equipped office, conference compartments, etc.

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Travel Tips To European Countries: Italy

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About the county

Italy, the birthplace of pasta and pizza provides a wide range of choices for artwork lovers to experience. A temperate climate exists here with very hot summers and not so cold winters. The weather is the best in spring and autumn with pleasant temperatures and scenic views. At that time of the year, the place isn’t crowded much and things can be enjoyed in leisure. Incase of emergency call 112. For fire call 115 and for ambulance call 118.eaters-collective-132772-unsplash

Culture

Italian is widely spoken and is the official language. English isn’t very familiar to the locals. Family ties are of utmost importance here and hence social courtesies mean a lot to the locals. There is a great impact of the Roman Catholic Church on the culture here. There is a high content of chlorine in tap waters, so bottled water is recommended for staying fit during the trip. Since Italian is spoken on a wide scale, it is highly recommended to learn few common Italian phrases which can be of great use. Social gatherings call for formal wear, but one can dress in casuals otherwise. At some religious places, sleeveless shirt and shorts are frowned upon. So they are better avoided. Purses and wallets should be well guarded and in case of any theft, police should be informed about the incident.

Site Seeing

The first thing to check out is the leaning tower of Pisa, where Olympics originated. At places like museums and art galleries, photography, especially flash photography is restricted. Check out the ticket counter for more information. Italy should be majorly discovered on foot for a thorough viewing of all the beautiful buildings and monuments. Coaches and trains are a good option to get to a tourist spot.

Shopping

Shops here are open from 9am to 8pm, closed for lunch. Quality of goods is great although the prices are very less. Items like crystals, lacework, leather good, and jewelry can be bought at the stores. Remember to hold on to the receipt. Tipping of 10% is customary along with the service tax levied on the bill. Italy is famous for top designers of the world, so do buy clothes and accessories to update your wardrobe. Cruises have formal gatherings in the evening, so ensure to buy a cocktail dress or some formal wear, though casuals can be worn at other times.

Electricity

The voltage used is 220 volts and 50 Hz frequency.

Getting there

Alitalia is the national airline of Italy. Many other flights connect to Italy from USA, Canada and Australia and there is big competition to attract passengers giving a wide range of offers to travelers. Rome airport is located 26 km away from the city and it takes 45 minutes to get there from the airport. Trains connect directly to Termini Station from where one can take taxi to get to their destination. Duty free shops, bank, car hire and restaurants are the other services provided at this airport. Milan has another famous airport here, which is at a distance of 45km away from the city.

Brindisi, Ancona, Naples and Venice are the major seaports of Italy. Italian State Railways connects many European cities. But, Eurostar provides the fastest train service.

If choosing to drive, don’t forget to carry international driving license and international insurance certificate. Roads connect Italy to France, Austria and Switzerland. Many coach services are provided from the neighboring countries.

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Travel Tips To European Countries: France

Travel Tips to European Countries: France

About the city

The crowd is attracted to sparkling ski slopes of the Alps, sunlit vineyards and sun-baked beaches of this beautiful country. France is a country which draws more tourists than any other country. It is easy to see why this is the case given France’s great reputation for fine wines, good food, high fashion and relaxed lifestyle. But while France is undoubtedly a place to eat and drink, there’s much more to this fascinating country than only cutting-edge cuisines.

Spring is the best time to be here, and those interested in winter sports can drop at the Alps and Pyrenees with some polar gear. The summers are very hot and winters are moderate. An all-weather coat and pair of comfortable shoes are a must. Women, especially, should carry cocktail dresses as some of the restaurants ask for it. When visiting any religious site, refrain from wearing sleeveless shirt and shorts, as they are disliked at such places.

Culture

English is widely spoken here, although French is the official language. Handshaking is
customary greeting and women should be kissed on both cheeks and should be addressed
as Monsieur or Madame. French people are popularly known for their like for stylish sportswear
and of course perfumes. Nudism is allowed on some beaches only. Social functions, fine
restaurants, and clubs call for more formal dressing. When at a formal dinner, wait till the host
gestures to start the dinner. Smoking is banned in public places.

Site Seeing

Paris, the city of love, is a massive city with many attractions in reachable distance thanks to the
highly efficient public transport system. It boasts of more than 80 museums and 200 arts
galleries. A trip to Disney land and the magnificent Eiffel tower will make the trip worthwhile.
The attractive tourists spots are the Arc de triomphe which spans over the tomb of an
unknown soldier, the forbidding gothic architecture of the Notre Dame cathedral, the picturesque
Sacre Coeur, to Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, the Moulin Rouge and boat tours along the
Seine. Get the Carte Musees-Monuments pass, which gives access to 70 monuments and
museums.

Shopping

Although service tax is included in the bill, a humble tip won’t cost much. An extra dollar can be given as tip to the waiter. A tip of $2 can be left for the bus drivers.
Electricity

220-volt, 50-cycle AC current.
Getting There

The national airline that operates here is Air France. Many low-cost airlines, too, provide services from UK. Paris-Charles de Gaulle also known as Roissy-Charles de Gaulle is the major airport of France, which is 23km away from the city. Coaches, taxis, limousines services are provided at the airport. The railway facility provided by the airport, claims to reach all the terminals within eight minutes. These trains run 24 hours. The other airports that offer flight services are Paris-Orly, Marseille, Bordeaux, Nice, Lyon and Toulouse.

Ferry and cruise trips can be made from ports such as Atlantic, North Sea, Mediterranean, and Havre.

Duty Free Items

1. 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 100 cigarillos or 250g of tobacco
2. 1liter of spirits over 22 per cent or 2liter of alcoholic beverage up to 22 per cent
3. 2liter of wine
4. 50g of perfume and 250ml of eau de toilette
5. 500g of coffee or 200g of coffee extract
6. 100g of tea or 40g of tea extract

Food and agricultural products should be avoided.

SUCCESS

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Someone once told me that I’m solely responsible for my success and failure. There are people who are born in horrible conditions but, they never stop believing in themselves. When things are not how we want them to be, we tend to blame others for the reason we aren’t where we desire to be.  If you want to go somewhere in life friends, you’ve got to stop blaming others. For I have learned that “People who succeed have momentum. The more they succeed, the more they want to succeed, and the more they find a way to succeed. Similarly, when someone is failing, the tendency is to get on a downward spiral that can even become a self-fulfilling prophecy.” Tony Robbins

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