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'[OT:] Travelling to Europe'
2004\06\21@223052 by Alex Harford

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I'm heading to Europe for my honeymoon this August, and I was
wondering if I could get some advice from residents and fellow
travellers.

1) Is it better to get Euros or native currency?  We'll be in Paris
for a few days, then down to Malaga, Spain and Estoril, Portugal.

2) What is the typical dress code for young people (24-25 yrs old)
during the summer?  For going to restaurants or clubs, will they be
mostly formal?  I'm a jeans and t-shirt guy mostly.

3) Has anyone been successful with booking hotels online?
http://www.hotelclub.com looked good but I'm a bit nervous about booking
something this important over the net, especially with the language
barrier.  My French is ok, but my Spanish and Portuguese are very
poor.

4) Would it be more economical to get flights on local carriers for
getting around Europe, or taking the train?  And any recommendations
on booking tickets over the net?

5) Are web cafes with the ability to upload pictures taken on our
digital camera available and cheap?  I'm worried that our 256mb card
won't last the two weeks.  I'll probably buy another 512mb card closer
to when we leave, but I'd still like to have the option of dumping
them onto my FTP server just in case.

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2004\06\21@230957 by Russell McMahon

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I can give only partial answers:

> 1) Is it better to get Euros or native currency?  We'll be in Paris
> for a few days, then down to Malaga, Spain and Estoril, Portugal.

In France Euros ARE the local currency. Any euros work in any EU country,
regardless of which country issued them.

> 3) Has anyone been successful with booking hotels online?
> http://www.hotelclub.com looked good but I'm a bit nervous about booking
> something this important over the net, especially with the language
> barrier.  My French is ok, but my Spanish and Portuguese are very
> poor.

If you want CHEAP (and you may not) then I can recommend the "Hotel Premiere
Class", and I assume that their somewhat upmarket ?"Campanile" version is
equally good. They are often co-located. The HPC are in many places
throughout France. You can book ahead by phone or web. They are superb value
for money. If rooms are available you can auto-check in anytime without a
booking day or night with a credit card.  I can tell you more offlist if
interested. HPC are budget, despite the name, but give bed(s)  & small desk
in a single room, plus adjacent combined toilet, shower, washroom. Cost
about E30/day for the room. Breakfast available.

> 5) Are web cafes with the ability to upload pictures taken on our
> digital camera available and cheap?

Not easily available in France BUT I imagine there would be shops that would
burn a CD for you.
Web cafes are plentiful and not overly dear but, as almost everywhere in
Europe, getting beyond keyboard input and eyes or printer for output is
often difficult or impossible.


> I'm worried that our 256mb card
> won't last the two weeks.

Shame on you !!! :-)
It certainly won't. These are memories of a lifetime.
(I found that up to 1 GB/day was needed at 5MP, but that may be seen as a
little perverse :-) ).

> I'll probably buy another 512mb card closer
> to when we leave, but I'd still like to have the option of dumping
> them onto my FTP server just in case.

An increasingly cheaper option (but still not cheap) is to get a flash-card
to hard disk portable unit that gives 20 to 60 GB of hard disk store. Now
THAT should be enough for a honeymoon's worth of photos. You can buy 20 GB
units here for $US300 or so, so should be less in USA. Not cheap, but very
useful.


       RM

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2004\06\22@044925 by Alan B. Pearce

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>I'm heading to Europe for my honeymoon this August, and I was
>wondering if I could get some advice from residents and fellow
>travellers.

Congratulations. Have a great time while in Europe. Advice? sure, see below.

>1) Is it better to get Euros or native currency?  We'll be in Paris
>for a few days, then down to Malaga, Spain and Estoril, Portugal.

If a country is using Euros, then the only currency it will have is the
Euro. Other countries still use their native currency, like great Britain
and Switzerland (to name only two) France, Spain, Portugal and Germany use
Euros. This is not an extensive list !! Your bank should be able to provide
you with a list of countries that use the Euro, but from what you list this
will be enough, unless you go to Gibraltar. As it is a UK protectorate it
may be using GBP, but if you try to get there from Spain you may have
problems, as the Spanish are trying to get it back, and do make things
difficult at the border I believe.

>2) What is the typical dress code for young people (24-25 yrs old)
>during the summer?  For going to restaurants or clubs, will they be
>mostly formal?  I'm a jeans and t-shirt guy mostly.

During the day you will be fine, and I suspect that many night spots,
especially in holiday venues will also be fine. I did a quick search on
google for "malaga night life" and found this set of photos from one
establishment, which would seem to be fairly representative of what I see on
the TV holiday programs here. http://downtown.spain.com/downtown_photos.htm
Try other combinations for the various places you are thinking of visiting,
and see what you come up with.

>3) Has anyone been successful with booking hotels online?
>http://www.hotelclub.com looked good but I'm a bit nervous about booking
>something this important over the net, especially with the language
>barrier.  My French is ok, but my Spanish and Portuguese are very
>poor.

I don't have a lot of experience in doing this in the areas you mention.
However if the website has a well presented English section then you will
probably be OK. Be aware that the holiday areas you mention have high rates
of UK residents for holidays, so English will be well understood on the
whole. Without knowing what your budget is you may want to look at hotel
chains like Ibis. Have stayed with them in France, and found them to be good
value. You will find that in major hotels and most holiday centres English
is well understood because so many people from the UK holiday on the
continent.

>4) Would it be more economical to get flights on local carriers for
>getting around Europe, or taking the train?  And any recommendations
>on booking tickets over the net?

For trains you may like to look at
http://reiseauskunft.bahn.de/bin/query.exe/en which I believe will handle
international trains through Germany. For Spain and Portugal alone I do not
know. For airlines, most of the cheap ones (Ryanair, easyjet) are doing
reasonable length hops like UK->Spain, UK->Germany, i.e. international. I
suspect you will find that the train service is much better for going short
distances. Also be aware that there are high speed train services over
longer distances, such as the French TGV which does 250-300kph Paris-South
France. Spain has also recently got AVE services using German built ICE
trains which again are over 250kph capable. If my experience in Germany is
anything to go by, English will be well understood by those on the help
desks at airports, stations and tourist info centres.

>5) Are web cafes with the ability to upload pictures taken on our
>digital camera available and cheap?  I'm worried that our 256mb card
>won't last the two weeks.  I'll probably buy another 512mb card closer
>to when we leave, but I'd still like to have the option of dumping
>them onto my FTP server just in case.

cannot help on this one, although I would have thought that doing external
connection to the hardware would be a no-no to try and stop people
introducing viruses. However it may be worth having a USB adapter with you
as that is the most likely connection method. If you want to get another CF
card, I would think you would get it cheaper in the USA than in Europe. Be
aware that the GST type tax is very high in all the countries.

have a happy time. Do remember that Europe is just as bad for crime as
anywhere else though, so take sensible precautions with your valuables. It
is worth having items such as passports and spare cash in a security wallet
under your clothes, around your waist. Your wife should carry her handbag in
a manner that guards against pick pockets and the like.

HTH
Alan

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2004\06\22@051004 by Lee Jones

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>> 5) Are web cafes with the ability to upload pictures taken on our
>> digital camera available and cheap?  I'm worried that our 256mb card
>> won't last the two weeks.  I'll probably buy another 512mb card closer
>> to when we leave, but I'd still like to have the option of dumping
>> them onto my FTP server just in case.

Two weeks?  During a live shoot, 256MB lasts a couple hours.

Transfer time and any per-byte charges might make FTP unapealing.

> An increasingly cheaper option (but still not cheap) is to get a
> flash-card to hard disk portable unit that gives 20 to 60 GB of
> hard disk store. You can buy 20 GB units here for $US300 or so

There are also flash memory card to CD-R writers.  Simple to use,
they directly copy memory card(s) contents to CD-R(s) for archival
storage.  A couple models are:

   Alera Digital Photo Copy Cruiser, $200
   Apacer Disc Steno CP200, $300

Then you could make 2 copies of each memory card before you erase
the original and reuse the card.
                                               Lee Jones

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2004\06\22@051419 by Amaury Jacquot

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Alan B. Pearce wrote:
> have a happy time. Do remember that Europe is just as bad for crime as
> anywhere else though, so take sensible precautions with your valuables. It
> is worth having items such as passports and spare cash in a security wallet
> under your clothes, around your waist. Your wife should carry her handbag in
> a manner that guards against pick pockets and the like.

Also, beware of the ferengis...

Amaury

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2004\06\22@053739 by Jason S

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From: "Lee Jones" <spam_OUTleeTakeThisOuTspamFRUMBLE.CLAREMONT.EDU>
Sent: Tuesday, June 22, 2004 2:14 AM

> > An increasingly cheaper option (but still not cheap) is to get a
> > flash-card to hard disk portable unit that gives 20 to 60 GB of
> > hard disk store. You can buy 20 GB units here for $US300 or so
>
> There are also flash memory card to CD-R writers.  Simple to use,
> they directly copy memory card(s) contents to CD-R(s) for archival
> storage.  A couple models are:
>
>     Alera Digital Photo Copy Cruiser, $200
>     Apacer Disc Steno CP200, $300

Keep in mind there are some really nice 12" notebooks available in the $1000
range that you can use either to dump the images onto a HD or burn to CD.
It also does everything else a notebook can do.  $200-300 puts a big dent in
the price of a notebook.  The only advantage of the dedicated units is
smaller size, but the 12" models aren't that large and are very nice to have
on vacation.

I just bought a 12" powerbook to take with when I travel.  I use it as a
portable DVD,  a place to store my digital pictures, keep up with my email,
and play games.  It's also not very hard to find restaurants or coffee shops
offer free WiFi.

Jason

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2004\06\22@074849 by John J. McDonough

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----- Original Message -----
From: "Alan B. Pearce" <.....A.B.PearceKILLspamspam@spam@RL.AC.UK>
Subject: Re: [OT:] Travelling to Europe


> have a happy time. Do remember that Europe is just as bad for crime as
> anywhere else though, so take sensible precautions with your valuables. It

Violent crime is fairly rare in Europe, but in the cities, property crime is
a LOT worse than in the U.S.   You need to be far more more alert than, say,
New York or Chicago.

--McD

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2004\06\22@092042 by Spehro Pefhany

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At 07:31 PM 6/21/2004 -0700, you wrote:
>I'm heading to Europe for my honeymoon this August, and I was
>wondering if I could get some advice from residents and fellow
>travellers.
>
>1) Is it better to get Euros or native currency?  We'll be in Paris
>for a few days, then down to Malaga, Spain and Estoril, Portugal.

This question has been answered- but check with your bank to see
if they add a surcharge to the interbank rate on ATM withdrawals.
Generally this is the cheapest way of getting local currency,
and very convenient, but some banks have started adding 1-2.5%
onto the interbank rate on top of a service fee per withdrawal.


>2) What is the typical dress code for young people (24-25 yrs old)
>during the summer?  For going to restaurants or clubs, will they be
>mostly formal?  I'm a jeans and t-shirt guy mostly.

I think you'll mostly be okay with Gap type clothes, in tasteful
(muted) colors. Bring a jacket if you want to go to some place
fancier.

>3) Has anyone been successful with booking hotels online?
>http://www.hotelclub.com looked good but I'm a bit nervous about booking
>something this important over the net, especially with the language
>barrier.  My French is ok, but my Spanish and Portuguese are very
>poor.

I book hotels online all the time, however not from that site. Hoteliers
generally have enough English that you don't have a problem, and I've
picked up enough survival language to deal with tiny B&B type places
that don't- "ein dopplezimmer, bitte"! "wo ist das fruhstuckzimmer?"

>4) Would it be more economical to get flights on local carriers for
>getting around Europe, or taking the train?  And any recommendations
>on booking tickets over the net?

I suggest taking the train and public transit just about everywhere.
It's comfortable, relatively inexpensive and very efficient. You can
buy tickets there, usually (always?) with a credit card as well as with cash.

>5) Are web cafes with the ability to upload pictures taken on our
>digital camera available and cheap?  I'm worried that our 256mb card
>won't last the two weeks.  I'll probably buy another 512mb card closer
>to when we leave, but I'd still like to have the option of dumping
>them onto my FTP server just in case.

Probably, but it depends on where you are. Why not burn them to a
CD if you are going to an internet cafe? You could always buy another
card in Europe if you need one, but it might be a bit more expensive
than at home.

P.S. on my honeymoon (15 years ago) we went to Europe.. one of the
highlights for me in Paris was the "égout de Paris" tour- a look into
the sewer system. I also enjoyed the catacombs, which features the
bones of approximately 6,000,000 Frenchmen. The sign at the underground
portal to the remains reads: "Arrete! C'est ici L'Empire de la Morte"

Have a good trip, relish the diversity of our wonderful world & congratulations.

Best regards,

Spehro Pefhany --"it's the network..."            "The Journey is the reward"
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2004\06\23@013016 by Buehler, Martin

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for travelling by train, there is a ticket called interrail, which
allows you to use all trains throughout europe without additional cost
for a certain time.
depending on your age, cost is about 400-650 euros a month, for using
trains all over Europe (there are reduced cost for not using all zones.
I used this offer last time about 15 years ago, but it seems to be still
available. check with the railway company of the country you arrive. tino

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