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By James Pond
The COVID-19 Virus put most international travel on hold. Now, however, some countries are once again opening their borders to tourists. This newfound confidence comes after several lockdowns that attempted to isolate and eradicate the virus. These measures have resulted in fewer reported cases, hospitalizations, and deaths, and thanks to a vigorous vaccination effort on both sides of the Atlantic, the EU is craving American travelers’ cash.
Not every EU country is allowing US citizens in yet, so your European vacation might have to start in lesser-known, but equally fascinating nations before landing in the more popular destinations that will open to Americans in June. Here are four places you can travel to make up for all the time you had to stay at home.
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This Baltic nation was once part of the Soviet Union but now welcomes tourists to explore its capital of Tallinn, many islands, and enchanted forests. Tallinn’s old city is so magnificent that is a UNESCO world heritage site. Wander through its cobblestone streets until you’ve worked up an appetite and then indulge in a snack of pickles, smoked fish, and rye bread. You may have never considered visiting Estonia, but the country is truly one of the hidden gems of Europe. Be sure to look for cruise deals.
Another of the less well-known European nations that you should visit is Croatia. This Balkan country has only existed in its current state since winning its war of independence against the former Yugoslavia in 1995. Although Croatia was once dangerous for tourists, the country is now perfectly safe.
The cosmopolitan beach town of Dubrovnik sits on the Adriatic coast waiting for you to visit. So go for a swim and then walk the walls of the old town. If you’re a Game of Thrones fan, you may recognize Fort Lovrijenac from the TV series where it was the Red Keep in King’s Landing. End your day at a cliffside bar with a cool, refreshing drink while the sunsets.
The Greeks are credited with founding Western Civilization, and studying their philosophers is still mandatory at most universities. Therefore, you should definitely spend a few days in Athens taking in history. However, Greece is also a lot of fun, and you should hop on a ferry to visit the Greek Isles.
Mykonos is a perennial favorite among the young party crowd, with gorgeous beaches by day and wild parties every night. For a more laid-back scene, visit Santorini where you can sample the delicious local assyrtiko wine paired with freshly caught grilled fish, dressed in lemon and olive oil. For a more contemplative experience, stop off at Patmos to see where St. John The Theologian wrote the Book of Revelations.
The French fought a hard battle against COVID-19, but they have won and plan to open their country to US travelers in June. France is the most visited country in the world for good reason. From the chic capital of Paris to the sunny Riviera, there is so much to see, do and eat.
For wine lovers, consider taking a tour of the celebrated vineyards of Burgundy. Start in Dijon and work your way down to Lyon through the Cote D’Or where you can sample some of the finest pinot noir and chardonnay produced anywhere in the world.
If you chat with the winemakers, they will tell you that the land itself is responsible for the sublime wines grown there and that the winemaker’s role is just to coax out the masterpiece that was already in the grapes and soil.
ALSO READ: Tips For Safe Air Travel Amid Pandemic
After you’ve quenched your thirst with the local wines, go to the nearest bistro and eat two French culinary stalwarts: boeuf bourguignonne and coq au vin. Both of these dishes are made with wine and will satisfy even the most discriminating palate.
The coronavirus has made travel impossible for the past year and a half. Fortunately, due to the incredible effort of doctors, nurses, and scientists as well as the compliance of the general public, travel has once again become a reality. Don’t take the privilege of traveling for granted. Go now and see the world!
(Disclaimer: The article is sponsored and hence promotes some commercial links.)
By Muskan Bhatnagar
Frane Selak, an elderly Croatian music teacher, is known for his brushes with death, which also made him gain the title of ‘world’s most unlucky luckiest man’.
90-year-old Frane Selak has cheated death 7 times on different occasions throughout his life. He has experienced everything from a car accident to a plane crash and has been lucky enough to survive all the incidents. Or maybe unlucky enough to face 7 near-death experiences?
Born on 14th June 1929 in Croatia, Frane Selak’s unbelievable series of death escapes began from the year 1962, when he was 32 years old.
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It was January, Frane was going from Sarajevo to Dubrovni on a cold winter day, when suddenly the train in which he was traveling, derailed because of a fault with the line. This made the train crash into an icy river, killing 17 passengers. Luckily, Frane was pulled out by someone. Although, he suffered a broken arm and hypothermia. This was nothing but just one incident, out of the many incidents from Frane’s story.
However, Frane at that time had no clue that this incident marked the beginning of the offbeat and puzzling series of events that would take place in his life later on.
The next year, in 1963, Frane got to know that his mother was ill, creating an emergency for him to fly from Zagreb to Rijeka. It was his first airplane ride. Even though the flight was fully booked, he somehow persuaded the airline to allow him to sit in the rear of the plane along with the flight attendants. Midway, both engines of the airplane stopped working and the cabin pressure dropped. Frane was blown out of a broken door while the plane crashed and 19 people on board were killed.
Frane, when sucked out of the plane without a parachute, almost believed that death was just some inches away. But, by God’s grace, he had miraculously landed on a haystack, which saved his life with some minor injuries. This was the last time he traveled by airplane.
Just in case you thought that this is the worst incident that could’ve taken place in his life, then you’re wrong. Let’s discuss what happened in his life next.
Three years after the plane crash, in 1966, Frane was riding a bus that skidded off the road and crashed into a river, drowning 4 passengers. Frane, however, swam to the shore and survived with some minor bruises.
Want to read more in Hindi? Checkout: प्रवासी भारतीय यूएई से 20 साल बाद स्वदेश के लिए उड़ान भरेगा
After having a bad experience with public transport, Frane decided to travel mostly by his car, However, even that didn’t work out in his case.
In 1970, his car caught fire while he was driving. Frane was able to jump off the moving vehicle, seconds before the fuel tank exploded in front of his eyes.
In 1973, three years after the previous deadly car accident, another driving incident took place. The fuel pump of his car broke, causing engine fire to shoot out of the air vents. While his hair was completely fried off in this incident, but he survived another near-death accident, unharmed.
In another incident, in 1995, Frane claims to have been survived being hit by a bus with some minor injuries while walking in Zagreb.
And in 1996, to avoid a head-on collision with a United Nations truck while driving in the Croatian mountains, his car crashed into the guardrail and fell off the mountain 300 feet down. He somehow managed to jump out and hang onto a tree, living to tell the tale.
This was the last deadly accident of his life and thankfully he hasn’t been involved in any such incidents since then.
After dodging death for 7 times, Frane won a lottery in 2003, at the age of 73. The amount was a whopping $1,110,000! He bought two houses and a boat with the lottery amount and eventually in 2010, he decided to give away most of his winnings to his relatives and friends after he decided to live a frugal lifestyle.
Europe used to be a pleasurable destination for most tourists but that has changed recently all thanks to the pandemic. Just coming out of the lockdown, the traveling, tourism, and transport industry is beginning to pick up. Now you can successfully plan your journey by engaging sites like firebirdtours.com. And wouldn’t it be awesome to know that the scheduled travel programs are COVID 19 compliant?
Organizing tours to Europe was fun until Corona-virus happened. Then people began to realize that health and safety matters above anything else. Governments in order to forestall the threat of the plague on the lives of their citizens installed safety measures. Such safety measures included border closures, quarantine measures, and social distancing. Understandably, these helped to curb the spread of the pandemic worldwide and dispel fears.
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Well, you can agree that the Travelling and Tourism Industry is the worst hit due to the pandemic. On the other hand, the pandemic made tourist firms set up applications to facilitate traveling and tourism. To plan and organize a European vacation now does not require a physical presence. Actually it is sufficient and convenient that you log onto a travel agency website, purchase tickets online, and make your reservations. What makes this attractive is the fact that you could plan your itinerary with accurate information about your destination.
So while you are gearing up to hit the road to begin your explorations, one thing is certain. You always have to bear in mind that most EU countries still have some form of COVID 19 policies. Countries like Georgia, Croatia, and Portugal do not require quarantine. But while Austria requires a health certificate Greece insists on a conditional quarantine. However, most European countries are free from Coronavirus.
To begin with, you have to take due diligence to ensure that you are not a carrier of coronavirus. In order to fulfill these you have to take the following measures:
Ensure that you do not overlook any symptoms or signs of flu or the common cold. Really, it is common sense that you schedule a test appointment with your doctor if you ever feel blue. Please ensure that you do not hit the road if you have any of these symptoms.
Endeavor to Pack your Essentials
At all times have with you, your hand sanitizer, alcohol wipes, gloves, toothpicks, and any other material. All these are useful in combating and preventing the spread of coronavirus. Therefore at some point in your journey, you may find these handy.
Get a Medical History Certificate
Suffice to say that no one desires to be ill on a journey, yet you have to be prepared. And you can’t be overly prepared without a medical history certificate. Having this certificate explains your medical condition when undergoing medical consultations with the doctor.
You will need a Travel History Certificate
This certificate will enable the officials of these EU countries, the itinerary of these tourists. To ascertain whether or not you are a carrier especially if you are coming from a Coronavirus prone region of the world.
Always Remember to Maintain Safety Measures
It wouldn’t hurt to keep your face mask on in seemingly crowded areas. It wouldn’t hurt also to maintain the two meters of social distancing. And at the risk of overemphasizing these safety measures, don’t forget to sanitize your hands!
Going forward, tours to Europe may be organized by road (rail or bus) or by air. Using public transport or a public area requires that you follow a few guidelines outlined below.
Buy your tickets and make your reservations online.
Travelers are always advised to make ticket purchases and reservations online. This is to dispense with a physical presence and curtail the spread of Coronavirus
Ensure your obey safety regulations in a public place
Social distancing and wearing of face masks cannot be overstated here. Again wherever you are, try to obey the terminal’s safety regulations.
Most EU countries are safe from the scourge of coronavirus. But in order not to be careless with one’s health, you are required to always be responsible. This is certainly the best way to kick start your European getaway in the post COVID world !
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While some health experts warn of what they call a second wave of COVID-19 this fall, others say the United States — and some other parts of the world — are not over the first wave.
“When you have 20,000-plus infections per day, how can you talk about a second wave?” said Dr. Anthony Fauci, the country’s top infectious disease expert.
Much of the U.S. is easing restrictions implemented to halt the spread of the coronavirus, even as the number of cases has started rising in some states, especially in the South and West.
Some of the experts, including Caitlin Rivers, a disease researcher at Johns Hopkins University’s Center for Health Security, say they don’t even want to use the words “second wave” because they say that gives people a false sense of believing the worst is over.
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U.S. President Donald Trump has said he believes the high number of reported coronavirus cases is because of testing.
“When you do testing to that extent, you’re going to find more cases. So, I said to my people, ‘Slow the testing down.’ They test and they test,” Trump told the crowd at Saturday night’s rally in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
The White House later said the president was just joking.
But the director of the Harvard Global Health Institute, Dr. Ashish Jha, says there’s nothing funny about COVID-19.
“This is incredibly frustrating for the millions of Americans who have gotten sick and have not been able to get tests. … This is unfortunately not a joke,” Jha told CNN Sunday.
Many viruses, such as the flu, get worse in the winter when more people stay indoors and the weather is not as warm. But since COVID-19 is a new coronavirus, scientists say they are still not sure what they are dealing with and how the change of seasons will affect it.
World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said last week that the pandemic is accelerating.
“We are in a new and dangerous phase,” Tedros said, adding that lockdown measures are still needed to halt the spread of the virus even while such measures are being eased around the world.
In Germany, authorities say the coronavirus reproduction rate is rising to a level higher than what experts say is needed for long-term containment of the virus.
The authorities reported a 2.88 reproduction rate Sunday – meaning for every 100 people who get COVID-19, an additional 288 people will become infected.
The reproduction rate was 1.79 Saturday, and experts say a number of 1 or less is necessary to consider the outbreak contained.
Germany has started easing coronavirus-related lockdowns and other restrictions after what it had regarded as success in fighting COVID-19.
Authorities blame the surge in German cases on outbreaks inside such places as nursing homes, hospitals and facilities housing refugees and asylum-seekers.
On Sunday, the thousands of worshippers who usually flock to Stonehenge to watch the sun rise on the first day of summer made their pilgrimage a virtual one this year.
The body that oversees Stonehenge, English Heritage, said more than 3.6 million people tuned in as the sun broke Sunday morning.
Britain has a ban on large gatherings to curb the spread of the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, but a small group of druids, those who say they are descended from the ancient religion, gathered in a nearby field to watch in person.
Also Sunday, Bulgarian tennis star Grigor Dimitrov announced he is ill with the coronavirus, the highest-profile tennis player to come down with the disease so far.
“I want to reach out and let my fans and friends know that I tested positive back in Monaco for COVID-19,” Dimitrov wrote on Instagram. “I want to make sure anyone who has been in contact with me during these past days gets tested and takes the necessary precautions.”
He says he is home and recovering and apologized for any harm he might have caused.
Dimitrov pulled out of the Adria Tour match in Zadar, Croatia, Saturday, saying he felt sick. The finals of the Zadar leg of the tour have also been canceled. (VOA)