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Archive for January, 2010

Old Charm in Crete

By Linda Tancs

Rethymno, one of the four provinces of Crete, is its third largest city, offering views of the White Mountains in the West and Mount Psiloritis in the East.   There’s more to this metropolis than meets the eye, however.  In fact, there’s plenty of retro in this metro.  Consider the postcard-perfect harbor with its wooden boats.  Or the cobbled streets.  Or the fortress in the old town section, built by the Turks to protect against invaders.  Not to mention the Venetian-style mansions.  All this and great beaches, too.  Festival season starts later this month, so start packing.  Ferries depart daily from Athens.

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 The author has not received any compensation for writing this content and has no material connection to the brands, topics, products and/or services that are mentioned herein.

Consumer Reports for Travelers

By Linda Tancs

Anyone who has ever been stranded on an airplane for multiple hours may appreciate the new regulations to take effect requiring airlines to limit tarmac delays and provide basic necessities onboard.  These regulations, however, won’t require airlines to post complaint data on their Web sites.  For that you should check the monthly Air Travel Consumer Report.  There you’ll find a host of information concerning flight delays, mishandled baggage, oversales, consumer complaints related to disability or discrimination, customer service reports to the Transportation Security Administration, and reports related to the loss, injury or death of animals.  Check out the Bureau of Transportation Statistics, too, for more information.

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 The author has not received any compensation for writing this content and has no material connection to the brands, topics, products and/or services that are mentioned herein.

Body Scans at Airports Cause Consternation

By Linda Tancs

In light of recent terror threats against the U.S., the Government has renewed interest in the full body scanners deployed in limited release among U.S. airports as previously reported in this blog.  Moreover, the Government has requested that international airports around the world adopt the devices as well.  London Heathrow will reportedly begin using the machines.  Reports from France indicate that the machines will also be in use in some of their airports, initially to search U.S.-bound travelers.  Contrary to fears, officials report that the machines do not emit harmful radiation and are safe for pregnant women and those with cancer in their health profile.  Of course, health is only one concern; the prospect of one’s contours being up for public inspection has private advocates reeling.  Are you ready for your close-up?  Let’s hear the views–pro and con.

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 The author has not received any compensation for writing this content and has no material connection to the brands, topics, products and/or services that are mentioned herein.

Traffic Tickets Across Borders

By Linda Tancs

As many international travelers know, vehicular traffic is controlled or limited in many areas.  Woe to the international driver who unwittingly enters a restricted zone.  In some countries, such as Italy, a traffic citation could appear in your mailbox as much as two years after your journey!  That’s because the 360-day notice period there doesn’t run until the car rental company notifies the police of the driver’s identity.  And that notification could take some time.  You can thank those roadside cameras for giving you up to the authorities.  So you better learn to read those signs (like “zona traffico limitato”).  Forewarned is forearmed.

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 The author has not received any compensation for writing this content and has no material connection to the brands, topics, products and/or services that are mentioned herein.

The Cross Toss in Bulgaria

By Linda Tancs

Today marks the Feast of the Epiphany, popularly celebrated as the twelfth day following Christmas when the three kings visited with baby Jesus.  In Sofia, Bulgaria, the event is marked with a dive into an icy cold lake to retrieve a cross thrown by an Eastern Orthodox priest.  The winning recipient risks a little momentary hypothermia for the promise of a blessing of good health throughout the year.  The losers had better take their vitamins.

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 The author has not received any compensation for writing this content and has no material connection to the brands, topics, products and/or services that are mentioned herein.

Tallest Building in the World

By Linda Tancs

In the UAE’s most populous city, Dubai, a phoenix has risen.  That would be Burj, the world’s tallest building.  Rising to an astounding 2717 feet, let’s hope that the glass and metal behemoth does not become a white elephant in this tropical climate suffering from a different sort of meltdown–that is to say, financial.  Architectural gem or monument to the excesses of a golden era?  You decide.

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 The author has not received any compensation for writing this content and has no material connection to the brands, topics, products and/or services that are mentioned herein.

Culture Capital Marks 25th Year

By Linda Tancs

Happy New Year, readers!  2010 marks the 25th anniversary of Europe’s Capital of Culture program.  Sharing the spotlight this year will be Germany’s Essen, Hungary’s Pécs and Turkey’s Istanbul. Emphasizing a spirit of cooperation among this year’s honorees, an opening ceremony in Pécs at Széchenyi Square will take place on 10 January. In Turkey, university theatre groups from Europe and Turkey will convene during the year to showcase Istanbul’s standing in the arts community. And in Essen the cultural kudos kick off with the grand opening of RUHR.2010 and Ruhr Museum on World Heritage Site Zeche Zollverein. Amidst the celebrations the European Commission will likewise commemorate its silver anniversary of cultural diversity recognition with a celebratory event and strategic conference on 23 and 24 March in Brussels to mark the event, to look back at the achievements of the past 25 years, and to reflect strategically on its legacy and impact.

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 The author has not received any compensation for writing this content and has no material connection to the brands, topics, products and/or services that are mentioned herein.

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