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Archive for February, 2013

Travel Tips to European Countries: Germany

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 German, 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 hurch 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.

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. Tourist over 17 years of age can carry alcohol and tobacco with them within permissible limits.



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Travel Tips to European Countries: Cyprus

About the Country

Cyprus is an island located in the Mediterranean Sea. It is inhabited with mountains on the north and south and the south coast is covered with plains. The temperatures are really hot indicating Mediterranean climate. Winters are cooler. Nicosia is the capital city of Cyprus. The currency used here is Cypriot Pound.

Culture

Greek, English and Turkish are the languages spoken here. There is a mixed culture of Greek and Middle East. The locals are very friendly and welcome outsiders with an open heart and make them feel at home by offering them with something to drink. To greet someone a handshake will do. It is customary to offer the guest a small gift when invited for dinner. One can dress casually, but the swimsuits must be confined to the beaches only. Social functions call for formal dressing.

Site Seeing

The country is full of vineyards, 12th century buildings, orchards and monasteries. Be careful when photographing outside. It is forbidden in military areas and special permission must be taken for taking pictures in places like museums and art galleries. Most of them do not allow flash photography. Taxis can be hired to move around the big towns in Cyprus, which charge according the government regulated meters. Tipping the drivers is customary.

Electricity

240 V, 50 Hz

Getting There

Port of Famagusta at Ammochostos and Port of Kyrenia, and airport of Ercan, have been declared as illegal ?ports of entry?, so check it out while planning to get there.

The national airline is Cyprus Airways. It connects most of the major cities of Europe. Other forty airlines, too, serve at the airport of Larnaca, which are 5 km away from Larnaka and 50km away from Nicosia. Taxis can be hired to reach any destination from there as there is lack of buses and trains services at the airport. The other services that are offered at this airport is duty-free shops, bank, tourism and hotels information, restaurants, car hire, post office and reservation office. The other airport, Pafos, is 15km away from the city and it takes about 35 minutes to reach the city from the airport. It provides the same facilities like the Larnaca airport.

The major ports of Cyprus are the Limassol port and Larnaca port which connect other ports of Middle East and Greek. Not only ferry services are provided here, even cruise services are provided here.

Cyprus Island is not connected by roads to other countries, but roads run across Cyprus connecting all the cities and villages. Buses run on roads except on Sunday but they run late in the mid-night during summers. Tourists can get on to rural buses to surf through the remote villages, but they are very slow. If planning to hire car, advanced booking is recommended, especially in summer as the booking is full most of the times. Do remember to carry a National driving license or International driving permit.

Duty Free Items

1. 200 cigarettes or 50 cigars or 250g of tobacco
2. 1l of spirits (over 22 per cent volume) or 2l of fortified wine or sparkling wine
3. 2l of still wine; 50g of perfume and 250ml of eau de toilette
4. 800 cigarettes or 200 cigars or 1kg of tobacco
5. 10l of spirits, 20l of fortified wine, 90l wine, 110l beer

Most of the food items and items relating to agriculture are prohibited. Explosives and fire arms are a strict no-no.



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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 till your heart is content, 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.



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