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Durant and Cheryl Imboden
Editor and publisher of Europeforvisitors.com and EFVblog.com.
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ABOVE: A surfer catches a wave at MUC. For the fourth summer in a row, Munich International Airport (MUC) will wow spectators and thrill participants at its "Surf & Style" event from July 30 through August 24. Pumps will create a standing wave 10 meters (33 feet) wide and 1.5 meters (5 feet) high in an outdoor basin at Munich Airport Center, a short walk from the passenger terminals. The surfing attraction will be open daily from 3 p.m. to 8:15 p.m., and admission is free. Up to 10 people at a time will be allowed into the basin, with... Continue reading
Posted Jul 25, 2014 at Europe for Visitors Blog
The last time we checked, the tram was due to enter service in December. (ACTV has been doing test runs, however, so you might see it operating before then if you're in the Piazzale Roma.)
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ABOVE: Look for the tiny yellow Venice Luggage Deposit logo at the entrance on Calle Larga Malvasia, which is only a few minutes on foot from the Piazza San Marco or the Rialto Bridge. (The building number is Castello 5496.) Venice has a good supply of left-luggage offices, with locations at Marco Polo airport, at the Santa Lucia and Mestre train stations, in the Piazzale Roma (the city's bus and taxi gateway), and the cruise port. Until recently, however, finding a place to dump your bags in the heart of the historic center wasn't easy, unless you were checking in... Continue reading
Posted Jul 11, 2014 at Venice Travel Blog
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ABOVE: Tourists and locals mingle amid the flowers on Tulip Island, Amsterdam. Tiny Tim would have loved Amsterdam's newest tourist attraction: "Tulip Island," on the tiny islet of Muziekkoepel opposite the Blue Teahouse in the city's Vondelpark. As you follow the late singer's exhortation to tiptoe through the tulips, you can pick your own bouquet while learning about the cultivation and history of Holland's most famous flower. As a bonus, you'll meet other harvesters, and you'll have the opportunity to sell or trade your pickings in front of the traditional auction clock. The Tulip Experience Foundation, which runs the island,... Continue reading
Posted Jul 10, 2014 at Europe for Visitors Blog
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ABOVE: From Venezia Mestre railroad station, it's only a 10- to 15-minute trip into Venice's historic center.er. We'd never advocate spending only one day in Venice (we'd suggest a week to a month), but we'll concede that one day is better than none. If you're pressed for time, this e-mail that we received from Harri Vainio of Finland may be helpful: "Because of your site we were able to squeeze in a day in Venice in our week-long visit to Garda. I know lots of folks say that Venice cannot be visited by car in a day, but with some... Continue reading
Posted Jun 29, 2014 at Venice Travel Blog
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ABOVE: A Delta Air Lines 767flies over the Venetian Lagoon on its approach to Venice Marco Polo Airport. Not long ago, a reader e-mailed us with the question, "How can I get from Marco Polo Airport to the Venice train station?" The answer was more complicated than you might guess, because there's no road access to Venice's Santa Lucia Railroad Station. Instead, the easiest way to reach the station is to take a bus or taxi from the airport to Piazzale Roma (at the edge of Venice's historic center) and walk across a bridge to the station. Total travel time,... Continue reading
Posted Jun 1, 2014 at Venice Travel Blog
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ABOVE: In June, this dog (plus another dog, eight cats, and three tortoises) will welcome a housesitter in Ayvalik, Turkey. In a new Europe for Visitors Blog post, we describe a great travel opportunity for pet lovers with time to spare: House-sitting in Europe with TrustedHouseSitters.com. The concept is simple: You take care of a house or apartment (including pets and plants) while the homeowners are out of town. In return, you get a free place to stay for anywhere from a week or two to several months. Opportunities range from London townhouses to French farmhouses to villas on the... Continue reading
Posted May 26, 2014 at Maggie in Venice
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ABOVE: Have you ever wanted to spend the summer with a herd of alpacas? TrustedHouseSitters.com can match you up with an apartment and alpaca farm in Umbria, Italy. INSET BELOW: A friendly dog at a home in Ayvalik, Turkey, where the sitters will watch eight cats, two dogs, and three tortoises for two weeks in June. When we travel, we often rent apartments for a week or two, but now we've discovered something even better--at least for certain types of trips--thanks to TrustedHouseSitters.com. TrustedHouseSitters.com is the brainchild of Andy Peck, who created the site four years ago. James Cave tells... Continue reading
Posted May 26, 2014 at Europe for Visitors Blog
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We've just finished a major overhaul of our Venice Hotel Directions at Venice for Visitors, which provide step-by-step walking directions and location maps for more than 130 hotels, inns, and B&Bs in Venice's historic center. The biggest change is in maps on individual hotel pages: In the past, our custom mapping service limited us to 100 maps, which meant that (1) we couldn't use dedicated hotel markers, and (2) we couldn't tweak the neighborhood maps for each hotel. We recently upgraded to a more expensive map plan, which has allowed us to create 130+ new maps, with each being optimized... Continue reading
Posted May 8, 2014 at Venice Travel Blog
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ABOVE: Maggie demonstrates her close-range DNA sniffing skills. Now that residents of Venice and the Veneto have voted unofficially to secede from Italy, regional authorities are looking for ways to identify true Venetians so that Italian loyalists from out of town won't be able to rig the results of any legally-binding referendum on secession and reinstitution of the Venetian Republic. So far, the most popular proposal has been to train volunteer "sniffer dogs" in DNA detection through nasal scanning. In the photo above, Maggie shows how the process will work: When a referendum voter attempts to enter a polling place,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 31, 2014 at Maggie in Venice
Sorry, but Cheryl didn't buy that busker's CD. She was too busy taking pictures of the dogs. :-) - Durant
Toggle Commented Mar 28, 2014 on Busking with Rover at Maggie in Venice
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ABOVE: The Jewish Museum in Munich opened in 2007. (The museum is on the right; the building on the left is Munich's new main synagogue.) The German National Tourist Board (GNTB) has published a new e-brochure titled Germany for the Jewish Traveler. The English-language brochure contains travel tips and information about Jewish life, culture, and places of interest in 64 German cities. It also features interactive maps and Web links. According to the GNTB, Germany is home to the third-largest Jewish community in Western Europe--and the only one that is growing, not shrinking. In 2013, the GNTB reported an increase... Continue reading
Posted Mar 21, 2014 at Europe for Visitors Blog
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In "Taking a coffin to a Venice undertaker," we showed one aspect of death in Venice. With this post, we'll show what happens after the coffin has an occupant. Below, you can see a funeral boat or water hearse on the Grand Canal. (On the left is the Ferrovia waterbus stop, next to Venice's Santa Lucia Railroad Station.) We're guessing that this funeral boat is headed for the Piazzale Roma or the Tronchetto parking island, where a four-wheeled hearse will transfer the deceased to a cemetery on the mainland. Not all dead Venetians are taken away to terraferma. Venice has... Continue reading
Posted Mar 20, 2014 at Venice Travel Blog
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ABOVE: Walkers gather for a group photo by the Iron Bridge at Ironbridge Gorge, a UNESCO World Heritage site where the Industrial Revolution began in the early 1700s. England's Ironbridge Gorge Walking Festival, now in its ninth year, will offer more than 50 free walks from Saturday, May 3 through Sunday, May 11. All walks are in and around the Ironbridge Gorge World Heritage Site in Telford, Shropshire, about 50 km northwest of Birmingham. Walks range from short informative walks and family trails (one designed especially for pushchair and wheelchair users) to a 15-mile circular hike over the Wrekin, with... Continue reading
Posted Mar 18, 2014 at Europe for Visitors Blog
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ABOVE: Antibes, on the French Riviera, is home to the Villa Les Mimosas, a "no car required" villa within walking distance of the beach. Not long ago, we received an e-mail from Peter Horrocks of Villas du Monde (a.k.a. Villas of the World) that appealed to our anti-traffic instincts. Mr. Horrocks wrote: "We're seeing an interesting trend in the number of holidaymakers who want a villa holiday where no car is required." Mr. Horrocks went on to describe an example, the Villa Les Mimosas in the resort of Antibes on France's Cote d'Azur. The villa sleeps up to eight people,... Continue reading
Posted Mar 6, 2014 at Europe for Visitors Blog
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Aspiring expats and students--and, in some cases, prospective visitors---normally require visas to enter Europe's Schengen Area. (The Schengen Area consists of 22 EU member states and four EFTA countries that allow free movement across international borders within the zone.) What are the Schengen countries, what are their individual visa requirements. and how can you apply for a Schengen visa from a country within the Schengen Area? For answers, go to Schengenvisainfo.com. The site covers the basics (especially in regard to student and transit visas), and--just as important--it includes links to embassy sites with visa requirements for 15 of the 26... Continue reading
Posted Mar 4, 2014 at Europe for Visitors Blog
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Croatia may not directly related to Maggie (or to Venice, for that matter), but we can't resist telling you about Doggycheckin.com, an attractive and easy-to-use Web site with the theme "We make it easier to travel to Croatia with the dog!" Here's what the Croatian National Tourist Board has to say about Doggiecheckin.com: "If dogs could speak, they would tell you that we are best friends and that we should never part. And best friends go on holiday together! Croatia is a country where both you and your dog are welcome, so pack your bags and take your dog to... Continue reading
Posted Feb 26, 2014 at Maggie in Venice
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In Venice, most goods are delivered or taken away in boats. That rule also applies to caskets and human bodies, not just to souvenirs, soda pop, or cornflakes. One day, when we were walking along the Fondamente Nove, we saw a delivery boat pulling in toward shore: As the boat landed and one of the men on board leaped onto the fondamenta with a mooring line, we noticed a pair of coffins on board: The boatmen unloaded one of the coffins: Next, they picked up the casket... ...and delivered it to an undertaker's unmarked storeroom: For the boatmen, the delivery... Continue reading
Posted Feb 22, 2014 at Venice Travel Blog
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In late January, we launched a new travel-planning site called QuickVenice.com. The new site is built around the theme of "All the basics for shorter trips," and it has a mobile-friendly responsive layout for quick loading and optimum display on computers, tablets, and smartphones. In the "Tips & warnings" section, QuickVenice has a page about pet travel in Venice. The page, which talks mostly about dogs, covers such topics as hotels, restaurants and bars, shopping, and what you need to know before taking your pet on public water buses, Alilaguna airport boats, and water taxis. To read the page, go... Continue reading
Posted Feb 10, 2014 at Maggie in Venice
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ABOVE: This view of the Campo San Simeon Grande was taken from room 303 of the Hotel Ai Due Fanali (see below). The wooden structure at upper right is an altana, or roof terrace, where hotel guests can have breakfast on warm and sunny days. One of our favorite squares in Venice is the pretty and peaceful Campo San Simeon Grande--or the Campo San Simeon Profeta, depending on which map you're using. The Campo San Simeon Grande is tucked away in the sestiere or district of Santa Croce, less than 10 minutes on foot from the Santa Lucia Railroad Station... Continue reading
Posted Feb 8, 2014 at Venice Travel Blog
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ABOVE: Two 150-liter barrels of single-malt Scotch whisky await loading on MS Fram. INSET BELOW: Enjoy a wee dram from the Fram. You may have heard about the Norwegian tradition of shipping acquavit to the Southern Hemispherre and back before bottling. That spiritous seafaring tradition is still observed, but Hurtigruten--the Tromsø-based Norwegian coastal-ferry and cruise line--has just added a twist (and no, we're not talking about a twist of lemon): This year, Hurtigruten's expedition ship, MS Fram, will carry two 150-liter barrels of single-malt Scotch whisky across the northern and southern polar circles, the zero meridian, and the equator for... Continue reading
Posted Feb 7, 2014 at Europe for Visitors Blog
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ABOVE: QuickVenice has a "mobile first" responsive layout that adapts to computer monitors, tablets, and smartphones for optimum display and quick page loading. By Durant Imboden Ever since 1997, Venice for Visitors has been what PC Magazine calls "the premier visitors' site for Venice, Italy." The site has provided in-depth information about Venice to millions of travelers over the years. Recently, though, we realized--after 17 years--that some travelers don't want in-depth information: Maybe they're staying in Venice for only a day or two and just want to know the basics. Maybe they're browsing the Web with smartphones and need a... Continue reading
Posted Jan 26, 2014 at Venice Travel Blog
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ABOVE: Passengers wait for a People Mover tram at the Piazzale Roma station. Venice's People Mover has wildly successful since it entered service in 2010, and with good reason: The elevated tramway whisks passengers between Piazzale Roma (the gateway to Venice's historic center), Marittima (the main cruise port), and Tronchetto (the city's artificial parking island) in less than three minutes. Until recently, the fare was only one euro, making a trip by People Mover one-seventh the cost of a local vaporetto ride. The fare has just risen up to €1,30, but that's still less than the cost of using Venice's... Continue reading
Posted Jan 8, 2014 at Venice Travel Blog
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ABOVE: An ACTV motoscafo water bus passes the Generator Hostel Venice, a.k.a. the Ostello Venezia, as it cruises down the Giudecca Canal. (The hostel is the light-brown brick building in the center of the photo.) The Ostello Venezia, or Venice Youth Hostel, has a new name and a new interior. It's now the Generator Hostel Venice, joining the Generator group's roster of stylish design-themed hostels in Barcelona, Berlin, Copenhagen, Dublin, Hamburg, and London. In preparation for the rebranding and relaunch, Generator hired Anwar Mekhayech of The Design Agency to overhaul the building. The company's PR agency writes: "Under the supervision... Continue reading
Posted Nov 30, 2013 at Venice Travel Blog
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ABOVE: Don't look down--instead, check the local floodwater level with the Venice tides app for iPhone. Acqua alta, or tidal flooding, is an increasingly frequent annoyance in Venice from late October through early spring. (We cover the phenomenon--and how to prepare for it--in an illustrated article at Veniceforvisitors.com.) Fortunately, the local government authorities offer plenty of advance warning via a Web site and alarm sirens most of the time, making it relatively easy to avoid low-lying areas that are likely to get covered with water when an unusually high tide pours into the Venetian Lagoon. But if you've got an... Continue reading
Posted Nov 27, 2013 at Venice Travel Blog