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Archive for the ‘Europe’ Category

Shoestring-Jun2009 This month’s desktop calendar preview at left.

As usual, the image and download instructions can be found under the “For Your Desktop” tab.

Enjoy!

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Shoestring Calendar May 2009This month’s image comes from Granada, Spain.  Preview here:

If you’d like to download, grab the image and follow the instructions in the “For Your Desktop” tab.

Enjoy!

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Once a year, Ben and Jerry’s gives away ice cream at its scoop shops free.

fcdheader2TODAY’S THE DAY!

In the U.S. and Canada, find your nearest scoop shop here.

Overseas, give one of these two links a try:  1, 2.  (You’ve got a chance if you’re in Aruba, Belgium, Cyprus, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Iceland, Ireland, Israel, Malta, Mexico, Netherlands, Portugal, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Thailand, Turkey, or the UK.)

Enjoy!

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What’s going on at the blog? Inquiring minds want to know!

There are lots of good changes coming soon — check out the beta version of the new site here.  How do you like the new look?  Something broken in your browser?  Leave a message in the comments.

For the next couple of weeks, continue to check this page while everything gets sorted out at the new domain.  When it’s time to change your bookmarks and your rss feeds, I’ll let you know.

shoestring-mar2009Since I was hoping to launch at the beginning of March, I’ve been sitting on this month’s desktop calendar.  No longer!  Download a piece of spring for your computer by clicking on the “For Your Desktop” tab above.

Finally, I will be at the ITB here in Berlin for the next five days, making contacts with fellow travel bloggers and travel professionals.  If you’ll be there, do send me a message via the contact tab.  Let’s network!

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A new “express” bus service now links Südkreuz train station in Berlin with Schönefeld Airport.  Price:  6 euros, 4 euros with any BVG ticket, 3 euros with a weekly or monthly ticket.  For those flying into Berlin, the ticket remains valid for further transit on public transportation in Berlin ABC.

This bus represents no monetary savings to Shoestring travelers.

  • Berliners with a regular AB ticket need only purchase an “Anschlussticket” for 1.40 euros to take the RE train, the S-Bahn or a BVG bus to the airport.
  • Visitors coming into town for a few days will most certainly be better off purchasing a 2-, 3- or 5-day tourist card or a weekly ticket and traveling by one of the aforementioned methods.
  • If you’re still weighing your options, a single Berlin ABC ticket will get you into town and beyond for just 2.80 euros!

I’m posting about the service nevertheless, as you may find that it will save you transit time, depending on where you are staying/living.  For less than 2 euros more (with my monthly ticket), I may cut up to 30 minutes off my route to the airport — and that’s something worth writing about!

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I love capitols — can’t get enough of their marble halls, gilded domes, dark wood paneling and hundreds of tiny desks (at least they always *look* tiny from the viewing gallery) with multicolored voting buttons.  They capture a regal era removed from our own with a permanence found rarely in modern architecture.

While in DC at the beginning of January, my destination of choice was the new visitors’ center at the U.S. Capitol.  On the way, I passed the inauguration grounds with stage building in progress, pictured on Tuesday.  (Where did you spend your inauguration day? Share your stories in the comments.)

In sheer contrast to the classical American dome is that of the German Reichstag, whose glass dome by Sir Norman Foster was added to the building after reunification.  The overarching theme of Germany’s new governmental architecture is transparency, with buildings and offices as visible as possible.  From the visitors’ area of the dome, it is possible to look down into the plenary room below, as pictured here.

Reichstag, inside view

A visit to the Reichstag is fun and free — check all the details for making yours a smooth one in this previous post.

Follow other Photo Friday participants here.

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Some friends of mine made an unhappy discovery when departing the Czech Republic with a long-sought bottle of wine (or two):  their duty-free purchase was confiscated when making a connection in another EU airport.

As much as I complain about the security theater Americans abbreviate TSA, there is one upside to the system:  once you’re in (and don’t connect in a stupid airport [ahem, JFK] where you have to exit and reenter secured areas when changing flights), you and your liquids are in.  Put that chapstick back in your pocket, enjoy a long swig from your refilled water bottle — no one will bug you about those items again.

Unfortunately, if you are connecting onward through a European airport, you will be subject to repeated searches — necessitating the return of your chapstick to your 1L ziploc, the dumping of your secure-area beverages and, for the unlucky, the confisciation of your duty-free liquids, creams and gels.

How do you avoid this expensive dilemma?  Find out after the jump.

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