Safety Tips in Europe

  • Slippery when wet!
    Slippery when wet!
    by suvanki
  • ZTL sign in Gubbio (Via Savelli)
    ZTL sign in Gubbio (Via Savelli)
    by Trekki
  • Green Peace chuggers at Sheffield Station 07/08/12
    Green Peace chuggers at Sheffield...
    by suvanki

Most Viewed Warnings and Dangers in Europe

  • globetrott's Profile Photo

    NO need to reserve trains & Cablecars

    by globetrott Updated Apr 24, 2011

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    When I follow the discussions in the VT-forum I see that many tourists have the feeling it is the best to reserve a seat for mountain-trains etc. a long time in advance.
    The only one who will be happy about that is your travel-agent, who takes a lot of extra money and you will have to take that train at a certain date and time, no matter how the weather is or how sick you are feeling...
    In trains like Jungfraubahn you will always catch a seat, especially when you take the first train in the morning. And for the last train down they always have a 2nd train at the same time, because it is their task and interest not to leave anybody behind in the empty station, where the only hotel will be Moenchshuette in a walking distance of more than 1 hour.
    Once that you have made a reservation it will be hard to change the date of the ticket, even when maybe the weather would be a lot better tomorrow, but you booked in advance a long time ago for today...
    In case that you feel better that way:
    Make your reservations after arrival!

    Cablecar to Schilthorn Jungfraubahn at Kleine Scheidegg Brienzer Rothornbahn Brienzer Rothornbahn cruising Brienzersee
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  • Maryimelda's Profile Photo

    It's a sad fact of life.....

    by Maryimelda Updated Nov 28, 2010

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    I remember vividly the first time I went to Paris and was so excited about finally seeing the Eiffel Tower "in person" so to speak. Imagine my disappointment when I found this French icon swathed in green netting right around its middle where there were some repairs and maintenance being carried out. There went all hope of the perfect picture of me and the Eiffel Tower!
    Four European trips later, I can say to anyone making their first trip to the Continent, that all of these wonderful historic sites have only survived through hundreds and in many cases thousands of years, because they have been well maintained on a regular basis. The other side of the story is the many castles, churches and bridges etc, which have been allowed to fall into delapidation and decay and have ultimately become ruins. Of course in many instances, these fine old buildings have been bombed or have burnt down etc, but there are still a lot which have quite simply been left to rot.
    Don't be upset when you see a cathedral, palace, bridge etc partially covered by scaffolding. Rather be thankful that the proper measures are being taken for its survival for generations to come.
    Similarly, please understand that many of these historic sites have to charge an admission fee for no other reason than to keep up the maintenance.

    Freiburg Muenster exterior renovations. Freiburg Muenster interior renovations. St Mark's Basilica, Venice St Jakob's in Rothenburg Ob der Tauber Liebfrauenkirche Trier closed for repairs.
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  • globetrott's Profile Photo

    No place to show you latest fashion-shoes !

    by globetrott Updated Apr 24, 2011

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    When taking the cablecars or cog-wheel-trains to the mountains of Switzerland take good hiking-shoes instead of your Manolo Blahniks,then you will be able to smile for some of the funny "trafic-signs" like the one on my main picture: Many of the paths are slippery sometimes, you will have to step through alpine pastures, solid rocks and loose gravel - all of that is not really a good place to show your latest fashion-shoes...
    Be careful, when hiking at glaciers in wintertime : For some people it is not always easy to understand, why you would not be allowed to leave the marked paths on top of Jungfraujoch. You may see great crevasses there nearby and plenty of foot-prints of other tourists leading there as well...
    I made my pics in a large distance !
    Please keep in my mind, that any rescue-activities have to be payed by the incautious tourists, and most of the insurances will not pay anything, when you had left the ordinary mountain-paths !!
    Some chocolate and an extra bottle of water makes always sense, because when hiking you never know how long you will have to wait for help in case of an emergency or when you are forced to get shelter in an empty mountain-hut because it is that foggy or raining outside that you cannot see, where you are going.
    Bottles of the light PET-material are the best - you will not feel them, when they are empty, and you may re-fill them at many natural fountains on your way - the quality of the mountain-water is always excellent in Switzerland and the cheapest mineral water you may buy in a vending-machine is 2 sfr., mostly it is even more expensive.

    Related to:
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    • Mountain Climbing
    • Hiking and Walking

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  • globetrott's Profile Photo

    Dont count too much on the shelter-huts

    by globetrott Updated Apr 24, 2011

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    On your hiking maps you might find plenty of shelter-huts in the mountains, BUT don't count on them too much ! Most of them might be good for a short break in nasty weather, BUT as a place to spend the night they will mostly be totally out of question :
    1) the interior is made in a way that makes sleeping there almost impossible : narrow, rough and simple benches will make it impossible to spend the night there.
    2)Most of these huts will also be used as toilets by sheep and cows and there is a terrible smell inside
    3)You never know, how many hikers had the same idea to rest inside the hut you are heading to
    I saw various such shelter-huts and only close to bachalpsee there were a few that had a door-system that would no animals enable to walk inside of them.
    The hut on my main picture had a perfect view - see my other picture - BUT it was totally open at the other side and used as toilet not only by cows...

    a shelterhut with a great view, but quite windy the same hut from inside the simple interior looks nice from this side another shelter-hut
    Related to:
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  • Trekki's Profile Photo

    European „liquid“ harrassment when flying

    by Trekki Updated Aug 4, 2011

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    I'll double this one and also place it under "transport". Be fair to the system and if, only rate it once.

    A very serious word for travellers who fly into Europe from a non-EU country and change planes in a European country; e.g. coming from Singapore, change planes in Frankfurt to go to anywhere (EU and non-EU).

    Since November 2006, Europe is hysterial about the liquids which are being carried in hand luggage. Well, this is the case in other countries are as well, but Europe topped it with a speciality about the real liquids, like alcohol and also perfumes etc.

    Apart from the max. 50 ml of liquids like tootpaste, cream etc, which should be packed into a sealable transparent bag (e.g. the bags we use for freezing), you are not allowed to take any liquid past security.
    This includes water.
    You cannot take water, even not a 1 l sealed water bottle, across security.
    You can buy a water bottle at any shop past security, but the shop will pack it into their special sealable bags.
    You can open the bag between security and entering the plane, if you are thirsty – BUT – you cannot take the opened bag on the plane then.
    This is the easy part. You only might loose the 2-3 Euro you have to pay for a simple water bottle.

    The difficult part, however, is that you cannot bring alcohol, perfumes, creams, etc from Duty Free shops outside of the EU and change planes at any EU airport. This, since the non-EU Duty Free shops might not be able to pack your booze into these special sealable bags.
    You take a plane in Singapore, go to Duty Free and buy some bottles of alcohol and perfume. They put it in any bag. You happily fly into Frankfurt, get off the plane and into transit. Security will surly find whatever liquid you bought and confiscate it = take it away from you and will give you no refund.
    There is nothing you can do, well, except boycott flying in general.

    Photo 1 and 2 are of the water bottle in this special bag, with the bill inside. Photo 3 of the security label and photo 4 of the liquid-security-laws, which I found printed in Sweden’s Arlanda Airport.

    © Ingrid D., January 2007, text revamp August 2011.

    Security bag for liquids, bought at Duty Free Security bag for liquids, bought at Duty Free Special security label EU laws for liquids, here at Sweden airport
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  • sourbugger's Profile Photo

    O if for overpriced taxis in Prague

    by sourbugger Updated Feb 3, 2005

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    All the usual advice applies to using taxis in Eastern Europe.

    But in Prague, especially, don't be fooled by the nice car and "I'll use the meter" line - they can set it at whatever rate they like.

    The only way around this is to work out the distance you will be covering, get a rough price from the hotel and/or a local and set a price with a driver before you get into his cab.

    Further tips :

    1) Always ring for a taxi if you can (e.g from AAA cabs). Avoid the heavily touristed areas and the main railway station.

    2) Only use taxis that have their rates posted on the outside of the cab

    3) Discuss the price of the trip (or max cost if using the meter) with the driver before actually getting into his cab.

    4) When you get in - learn the name of the driver and write it down on a a notepad with the car reg. If he objects to this he will be dodgy. Get out and walk away.

    5) Watch the meter is set right - its not too difficult to estimate a kilometer. If it's flying by then demand to stop and get out - paying only what is already on the meter.

    6) Follow the route on a map so he dosn't follow the 'scenic route'.

    7) If the price seems high ask for a reciept with the amount, taxi registration and drivers name written on it.

    Europe A-Z

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  • sourbugger's Profile Photo

    Z is for zzzzz...the end of the night.......

    by sourbugger Updated Feb 3, 2005

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    and the danger of the London minicabbers

    Beware of the magic tree.

    There are about 50,000 minicabs in London, apparantly. The government are beginning to bring in regulations, but it is likely to remain the preserve of some very dodgy characters for some time to come.

    Fares are cheaper than Black cabs at about 6 quid for a couple of miles and a couple of quid a mile thereafter. If you know a reputable firm & ring for them then it will probably be fine. If you are in a restaurant or similar there may well be adverts or cards available - or just ask.

    The real dodgy geysers are those who hang around outside nightclubs in the small hours touting for business. In these situations you have got to be either really careful or preferably part of the front row of a rugby scrum.

    Main tips to look out for dodgy minicab drivers :

    1) Car in disgusting colour like turd brown or vomit green.

    2) Car is over 10 years old (L reg and earlier)

    3) More than one magic tree on the central mirror hiding a mixture of kebabs, B.O, the great smell of Brut and wet dogs.

    4) The fiction that is the fare - no meters so it's all down to negotiation.

    5) Do not let him take short cut on the pretence that he is learning 'the knowledge' to become a black cab driver -it's merely a ruse to extend the route and thus the fare.

    6) Feel if the rear suspension is very slack - if it is he will have driven it hard over speed bumps to induce vomiting in his passengers and thus triple the fare.

    For an insight into a minicab drivers lot watch the film "All or nothing" with Timothy Spall.

    Europe A-Z

    Make sure they have one of these
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  • Maryimelda's Profile Photo

    Pillow Talk

    by Maryimelda Updated Jan 9, 2011

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    I am a sinus sufferer and need to have my head well and truly elevated when I sleep. In some countries of Europe (Germany, Austria, Switzerland for example) the pillows in the hotel rooms, whilst lovely and fluffy and soft are completely inadequate for someone like me. For quite some time I put up with the situation and just used things like towels, jackets etc to prop up the pillow, till one day I got up the nerve to ask for more.

    Don't be afraid to ask for more pillows if you need them. I have always found the hotel staff only too willing to provide them. It's way better to ask than to suffer.

    Here I had to prop up the only pillow...
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  • sourbugger's Profile Photo

    J is for Jack the ripper tours in London...

    by sourbugger Written Mar 17, 2005

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    Jack the Ripper tours have become big business in London.

    If you have 100 people following you around at five pounds a head, then a tidy sum can be earnt.

    Unfortunately the reputable companies now have to warn clients that 'hustlers' can sometimes get in on the act. They hold up a few leaflets that look authentic, collect a group, and head off into the night.

    If people have paid up front, I presume they then disappear down a dark alley with the loot and the words "I'm Jack and you've been ripped off!".

    The only way to avoid this is to telephone the company you are going to use (see tip in Must see activities) and get the name of that day's tour guide. Be sure you get the right person when you meet at Tower Hill tube (they nearly all start from there).

    P.S I was goung to write a tip along the lines of try not to be a Victorian prostitute and get wasted on Gin - but I though G would pull it.

    Jack on the prowl

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  • globetrott's Profile Photo

    RUSSIA: I found 50.000,- $$ on the Red Square

    by globetrott Updated Apr 24, 2011

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    Believe it or not, it really happened to me, while I visited Russia in 2003:
    I found 50.000,- $ right in the middle of the Red Square, and it fell out of a bag of someone walking in front of me - it actually was a bundele of a fake 50,-$ notes and a lot of paper behind it wrapped up in cellophane and there was another man beside me, who watched the scene and picked up the money, as soon as he saw, that I did not pick it up myseIf.Instead I told him, to give it back to the "looser", but he simply said to me : ' Lets make 50:50 '
    I told him, this is not OK - and I ran after the ' Looser ' and told him, he lost the money, and the other man had it now but the ' looser ' started to shout at me :
    WHERE ARE MY 50000,- $ ?
    YOU HAVE TAKEN MY 50000,-$ !

    Show me YOUR DOLLARS !!!

    THIS was the moment , when I realized it was a trick, just to let me show them , where I hide my Dollars - they would have searched my money and would have taken it away, without me even realizing it

    I simply replied : I HAVE NO DOLLARS AT ALL

    Then I turned around and went away - and when I looked back after 5 seconds - they both were gone

    I guess, I confused them somehow :

    Plenty of people would take the money or at least accept the 50 : 50 deal - and will be finally robbed of their own money, as soon as they search through their portemonaie

    obviously no-one would run after the ' looser ' to tell him, he lost the money

    and most people would show their own Dollars, just to proove to be unguilty and I guess, they still have to improove their trick, as it sounded so ridiculously, hearing them speak english with russian accent with each other - and beeing dressed almost the same way made me finally sure, that they belonged together

    NEVER call for the police in such a situation !!
    In some cases the police will be on the scammers side,
    in any way the police will not understand anything than russian
    and they will start examining YOUR papers first and listen to the version of the story, told by the scammers, who will be able to talk in Russian...
    it is a lot better to walk or run away or simply neglect them.
    start talking kisuaheli and pretend NOT to understand english or what they are talking about !!

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  • globetrott's Profile Photo

    Be carefull, when walking around

    by globetrott Updated Sep 26, 2010

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    Be carefull, when walking around, the floors of buildings decorated by Friedensreich Hundertwasser are never totally flat, but it was always part of Hundertwasser's concepts, that there are waves on the floor and different sorts of stones, tiles etc. were used!
    Just take a look at my photos, it is really not always great fun walking there. Ladies rather should not go there with high heels !

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  • globetrott's Profile Photo

    NORTHERN IRELAND: July 12th is a sensitive date

    by globetrott Updated Apr 21, 2011

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    Things are getting better a lot recently that is what a lot of people say about this warning, and still I am sure it makes sense to avoid certain areas and certain discussions especially around July 12th.

    Local people will know about the specific dangers, BUT tourists will not : there are places of "historic importance" for some people and you might get into a demonstration or protest-march on a major highway and then you are stuck there and a single wrong word to the wrong person...
    I had such a situation, when after a nap on a parking, suddenly the highway to Belfast was completely empty, only police-cars standing on the side, BUT they did not warn me at all, that I was about to drive towards trouble at the next street-crossing....
    I was aware of the date, but had no idea where Dumcree would be, it is too small to be mentioned in a map, BUT in the memories of some weird people it is an important place of history and still has to be defended...
    Northern Ireland with the Giant causeway and many other attractions is not very far from County Donegal and hopping over the border may be done easily and without any controls !!

    Giants causeway in Northern Ireland Giants causeway in Northern Ireland Giants causeway in Northern Ireland
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  • sourbugger's Profile Photo

    N is for Northern Ireland....

    by sourbugger Written Mar 16, 2005

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    Use your common sense .

    Many people have some very strange ideas about personal safety in Northern Ireland - and will not visit out of a sense of misplaced fear. They are missing out on a beautiful land rich with history.

    It is true that there have been disturbances, bombs and shooting in the past, but your chances of being caught up in anything are extremely remote.

    In the centre of cities such as Derry, the Catholics and Protestants mix freely. In surrounding areas (such as the Bogside) the sectarian divides are very obvious as the whole place will be painted Gold, green and white in Catholic areas and Red white and Blue in Protestant ones.

    In such places, any discussion of politics should be avoided and any clothing that could be considered inappropriate : e.g it would be suicidal to wear Union Jack Shorts in a Catholic area or a Green Irish Jersey in a Protestant one.

    In addition, don't repeat Dave Allens joke that the fastest game in the world is played in Belfast pubs : it's called 'pass the parcel'.

    Northern bit is in Green

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  • Maryimelda's Profile Photo

    Mountains under cover

    by Maryimelda Updated Feb 28, 2011

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    When visiting Switzerland in particular, it is wise not to book ahead for trips up the mountains. For the most part, these day trips are prohibitively expensive and you can waste your money if you get to the top and find that there is nothing to be seen through the heavy cloud cover.
    Some say that even if it is cloudy below, that you may be lucky and find that it is not necessarily cloudy at the top. To be sure, you can in many cases, check with your hotel desk and see if they have a weathercam facility. This way, they can show you a live picture from the mountain peak and you can see for yourself what the view would be like.
    You will usually be able to get a last minute booking, so there is really no need to book in advance.

    PS Same applies to the Ring of Kerry when visiting Ireland.

    This is an actual photo of the Matterhorn! Can you find the Jungfrau here? The Ring of Kerry on a cloudy day.
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  • globetrott's Profile Photo

    GERMANY: noisy hotels in the Rhine-Valley !

    by globetrott Written Apr 18, 2011

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    Take a closer look at my photos here and you will see that the trains will run on both banks of the river Rhine and only in a few villages they will go inside a tunnel !
    NEVER book a hotel that you find in the internet for the Rhine-valley, it might be a hotel like the one on my main picture, I took it on the terrace of a hotel and restaurant in Bacharach. When you simply book a hotel in advance in any town along the river Rhine, it could easily be that you will stay in a hotel, where trains pass by in a distance of just a few meters and you will not be able to sleep, because the Rhine-valley has trains all day and night, every 20-30 minutes and especially at night the heavy cargo-trains will have 40 and more wagons !!
    Bacharach for instance has a row of hotels facing the Rhine & the train-line like on my picture. In the back of the village there are places, where the noises are almost gone, simply because a wall of houses makes sure you will not hear any trains. Hotel im Malerwinkel is such a quiet place in Bacharach and the hostel Stahleck inside the castle of course...
    Choose your hotel carefully and always ask for the noise-situation before you book, or - even better - go there and see and listen what happens, when the trains are coming !
    Click on my link below and read about the "noise-situation" of all the hotels along the river Rhine that I have listed there !

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