traveling to UK and maybe Europe, need advice.

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by epicstruggle, Oct 24, 2003.

  1. horvendile

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    And also as an incentive to keep traffic (and thus exhausts) down.
     
  2. Legion

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    sounds more like explotation to me.
     
  3. Mariner

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    A Californian business associate of ours who visits the UK quite frequently won't drive here as he found it a bit too intimidating after he drove on his first visit. If I remember correctly, his main problem was that each of our traffic lanes is about half the size of those in the States and he felt 'hemmed in' and he particularly disliked driving on the motorways.

    If you are confident driver you shouldn't have too many worries, however, but you certainly don't want to be driving around London if you can avoid it!

    As for Petrol prices (from the Latin, Petroleum i.e. 'Stone Oil' :wink:), I think you'll find that they are much higher throughout Europe than in the US although the UK probably does have some of the highest taxes around! We've also got a much denser road infrastructure in proportion to the size of the country than most places so, in theory, high fuel taxes are there to try and reduce congestion and, I assume to help pay for repairs. The main problem is that, despite being a small country, our public transport systems are very poor indeed.

    FYI, it costs about £35 for me to fill up my car (approximately US $ 60) and I'd expect to do around 350 miles on a full tank.
     
  4. Bouncing Zabaglione Bros.

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    It's just another tax on those that have to use their cars. These are cars that have already been taxed with VAT, road tax, and paid for with earnings that have been taxed. 83 percent tax on something like this is extortion, and of course the people who are affected the least are the ones with so much money it doesn't make any difference to them.

    Let me give you an example. A few years back the UK government gave tax breaks to those using diesel in their cars. However it was too successful, so the fuel tax on diesel cars was raised in line with the petrol tax

    Now for company cars, diesel engines in company cars are taxed more because they give off more particulate matter, and therefore supposedly pollute more. However, this doesn't take into account the fact that a deisel car is far more efficient, and often burns half as much fuel as a petrol car. The government is now looking to extend this to domestic cars, thus penalising those who try to use fuels that have a lower impact on the environment, all while claiming to be "green", and yet not investing in public transport.

    In fact, when I was driving a company car, I drove it *everywhere* because of the taxation policy. I (and all my colleagues) were taxed so heavily that we had no choice but to use our cars all the time in order to get a return on the money that we payed out because out jobs required us to drive cars. Why pay for a train ticket when I've already paid £40 per week for the privalege of driving a car for my company and they are picking up the fuel bill?

    The same thing happened a few years ago when Honda tried to introduce lean-burn engines. Extremely efficient, extremely clean, but because the EU was lobbied by the car manufacturers and petrol companies, the technology was scrapped.

    Instead we are stuck with cars that burn lots of fuel messily and then use a catalyst made from precious metals that damaged the enviroment while they were mined and are not as efficient and are easily ruined in order to try and fix the mess we made.

    If the UK government were serious about reducing emmisions, there are much better ways of doing it than just jacking up fuel prices into the sky. I know what they are doing doesn't work because I've seen traffic levels going up in and around London for the last twenty five years. Raising fuel tax is just a way of making money, not a way of dissuading car usage.

    You might as well try cutting down on heat emissions and try to make house more eco-friendly by raising taxes on gas and electricity in the home in the hope it will stop people wanting to live in warm rooms. :roll:
     
  5. Simon F

    Simon F Tea maker
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    Having recently driven over 3000km in California & Nevada, I don't think that that the lanes on Motorways/Freeways are significantly different.
     
  6. davefb

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    lean-burn was bad... why ? coz it needs the petrol to be very-clean.. though this might not be a problem NOW, what happened when some engines came out was that they just got clogged up with crud in the fuel... i-i-r-c some oil companies have used it as a bargaining tool,,, ie 'if you want us to produce cleaner fuel, pay us to build new refineries"

    vauxhall had a load of problems ( including being on watchdog) because of this.

    oh and w-r-t- fuel,, well YES THEY DID!!! vat was put onto fuel in order to try to get people to actually stop using as much!! but since we all can't be asrsed about saving electricity, nobody cares.

    -dave-

    btw, w.r.t visiting the UK, i'm biased here, but if you can , i recommend trying to see some of either the Roman or (more unique) industrial history.. sadly though i'd also recommend you did this at another time of year unless you mind getting wet ;)
     
  7. horvendile

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    Hey, I didn't say it's working. (I know it does, to some extent, for me, but that might not be universal.) Nor did I say that it's a good idea - in fact, I try to stay away from political arguments here. How about returning to topic?

    I could give some recommendations for Sweden, but frankly - if you're from USA and only have two weeks in the winter to spend in Europe, I'd be hard pressed to argue that Sweden would be a better choice than e.g. Paris or Rome. It might not be totally impossible, but it would be hard! :)
     
  8. Mariner

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    Although there is a 3% surcharge for Diesel engines, the CO2 emissions on them are so low, they are still in much a lower tax band than most Petrol engines. I seem to remember reading somewhere that new Diesel engines which adhere to the Euro IV standards for emissions will not have this surcharge applied - most new engines being released during the next year or so should adhere to this standard. In fact, I think the latest Audi/VW ones already do.
     
  9. Bouncing Zabaglione Bros.

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    IIRC, the diesel surcharge was supposed to go up every year for the first three years. I've not had a company car for the last two years, so I've not kept track of the charges - have they changed the diesel surcharge?
     
  10. Mariner

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    I'm pretty sure that it is just a set 3% surcharge per year - not cumulative.

    The tax rate has been going up year on year depending on the level of emissions. This is obviously to try and provide some impetus to buy new leaner engines:

    http://www.smmt.co.uk/co2/co2intro.cfm

    If you can be bothered with the hassle, LPG is a much better alternative but I can't think of anyone I know who is seriously interested in converting! I suppose I'll just have to wait until those new-fangled fuel cells start to enter production. :)
     
  11. epicstruggle

    epicstruggle Passenger on Serenity
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    Holy zombie thread resurrection!

    It only took 9 years and 3 tries at going to Europe, but we are finally getting there. In about a day, I'll be pissing most France/UK/Italy with my American ways. :)

    Starting with a couple of days in Paris followed by a few more in London. Have barely any plans and just going to take the wife and myself across the continent.

    Anyone know of anything that is must do in Paris (20-23) or London (23-28)? After that we fly to Marseilles and drive from there to Venice over 5 days, before heading to Zurich for 3 days and then back home. Like I said, last minute and hardly any plans. :)

    thanks for any input.
     
  12. Grall

    Grall Invisible Member
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    MUST do in Paris? Go up the Eiffel tower, of course! :lol: It's terribly touristy and cliche, but it's such an experience, for realz! Oh, and visit the Notre Dame cathedral. Just think that that monumental structure was built in the 1200s! It also survived WWII...

    Also, make sure to experience the local food. Especially in Italy. Best friggin' cuisine...anywhere! :)
     
  13. epicstruggle

    epicstruggle Passenger on Serenity
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    Those are on the the wife's list of things to do. As to the food, we might be screwed as vegetarians. Blogs talk about restaurants being slightly loose with their definition of vegetarian. :razz:
     
  14. Mariner

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    If you're visiting London, you may want to take a ride on the London Eye - fantastic views over the city.

    I'd recommend a visit to Tate Modern for a bit of modern art and the various Museums are worth a trip - the Natural History Museum is good, the Science Museum is OK and I'm told that the Victoria & Albert Museum is very good though I've never been there myself.

    There are plenty of good shows/musicals in the West End which you should be able to get tickets for without too many problems.

    I'm sure some London locals will be able to give further advice.
     
  15. liolio

    liolio Aquoiboniste
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    In Paris if you have a night without much to do you can go on the "quais de la Seine", IF the weather is nice there are usually people partying/dancing/playing music over there. Nice for a break, you can do a pick nick. And we are free to drink outside / don't be too surprised if you see puffs of thick smoke coming out of some groups every once in a while lol..

    I would try to stay close to Notre Dame as it's really beautiful by night.
    Walking in the area by night is really nice, you will see that the river is tiny a quiet and reflect the builind and lights around. Ligths has a somehow golden shade to them. I love.

    I remember coming back from Roma (which I love) I took a bus from the airport to the center of Paris. At this time it was ~ 20/25minutes away from my place, I walked home. I really loved Roma, but back there I did understand why people like Paris. Walks along the Seine by night can be a romantic experience.

    The musee d'Orsay is a beutifull and interesting place (doable in the morning) Nice then you are close to "les Champs Elysees" on your way from Orsay you cross the grand and petit Palais then you can go up the champs Elysees to the "L'arc de triomphe". I'm not that fond of the Champs Elysees even though I worked over there (though the street is full of hotties). But it's definitely something to do, and you have a nice sight from the l'arc cde triumph to la grande Arche and Le Louvre.

    If I were you I would spend sometime in the historic part of Paris close to l"hotel de Ville (le Marais +/- ) and then go to the Louvre (that usually takes a while, some spend their day but it's tough to do in less than 3/4 hours).

    You could spend some time sur la Rive gauche> Head to the pantheon (that's where I grew and went to high school) go down to the Luxembourg (garden and Palais, usually there are free exposition (painting next to it, rue vaugirard), then head to St Sulpice. You should then be next to St germain des pres :) from there you can head to Notres Dames.

    If you can you may want to jump by le Sacre Coeur Mont Martre by night. Nice view of the city.
    You can go around in the end of the afternoon in the tiny surrounding street take at glass a dusk and then go for the sacre Coeur. No need to spend hours over there. From there Pigalles, is not far, but beware the area is not that safe at night.

    The Eiffel Tower must be seen by night! Like plenty of stuffs in Paris. Too bad I'm no longer there I would have driven you around. I loved driving around by night in Paris :(

    As a side note, Parisians are not that helping, more people than you would think doesn't speak English. The subway is easy and there is no place you can't reach walking 10 minutes from a subway station, it's cheap too.
    Beware waiters and waitresses suck badly vs their american counter parts (no tips are needed but it's welcome if the guy/girl does his job), if you go to Roma you will be thankful to how professional parisian waiters were... lol

    Enjoy London, it's cool but definitely more expansive than Paris, sadly I ven't been over there in ages :( I like the area surounding Holland park, with portobello etc. May not be a must see but I like it, having a walk is definitely nice.
     
    #35 liolio, Aug 19, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 19, 2012
  16. liolio

    liolio Aquoiboniste
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    F**K!!!!!!!!!! I miss Paris so badly. I feel like an orphan... that's pathetic how dumb I feel to have left :(
     
  17. Blazkowicz

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    Paris-Marseilles can be done in 3 hours by train. plane is significantly cheaper but going to a parisian airport that smells like piss, wainting etc. will be boring. (I don't know how much costs transportation from and to airports, either)

    ah, some people insist fish is not meat, sometimes :razz:
    I answer such person that I'm very puzzled.

    if you can deal with cheese (i.e. your body takes it and it's vegetarian enough) then it's very worth it.

    else you still can get some bad ass bread from a bakery at least, and a scary vegan preparation from a bio (organic) store.

    likewise with italy cheese, cream and eggs help a lot, it's very easy or even typical to not eat meat in an italian restaurant unless you want carpaccio or some of the pizza toppings.
    if vegan you're screwed, unless there's a fallback (besides salads, italian should be better than french as you can get a "low end" spaghetti or pizza meal, essentially vegan. a thing I'd like to do is eating a nice pizza with not much else than tomato on it, in southern italy)
     
  18. liolio

    liolio Aquoiboniste
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    There are restaurants for vegetarians in Paris. I'm not interested into that but google should do the tricks (either way plenty of Asian food can come without meat).

    Paris CGV is ~9 euros I don't know for Massilia :) I don't think that he's going to have time to jump by though.
    Marseillais?
    EDIT
    There are also Mediterranean food, Turkish and Lebanese, foods that offer nice option with quiet some meal based on vegetables :)

    EDIT
    As for visiting the south east of France, pretty much like doing la vallee de la Dordogne (jusqu'au Cantal) you need quiet sometime and renting a car (not all Americans states have an agreement with France it can be problematic wrt the driving license). For a few days sticking to Paris ain't bad.

    EDIT
    Either way wrt to food, if you are slut for deserts you can feed on pakery alone lol. I miss our cakes and viennoiseries so bad :(

    Les putains de croissants aux amendes sa mere...
     
    #38 liolio, Aug 19, 2012
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 19, 2012
  19. Blazkowicz

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    lol, did you just make up a word that combines "pastry" and "bakery"? :)

    you've made me want a falafel sandwich, this can easily be found at least in large towns. nice lebanese/med vegetarian stuff.

    it is true you will find any kind of restaurant (one I got to was a "franco-haitian" one, plenty of vegetable, hot pepper and rum. but due to the dual nature you can order duck and other meaty things instead)

    I was addressing the worst case situation. even then there's awareness of vegetarianism (but I don't remember ever seeing a macdonalds veggie burger)
     
  20. Arwin

    Arwin Now Officially a Top 10 Poster
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    Paris is great just to walk around in, walking along the Seine etc. There are also lots of really old, charming cemeteries to visit, where you can find the graves of lots of famous people, as well as lots of cats. ;) Of course walking from the Eiffel tower to the Notre Dame is a nice walk, and I've also been on the Eiffel tower, definitely worth it as because there is nothing else really high in Paris, the feeling of being extremely high up is quite unlike anything else (except going in a hot air balloon, probably).

    Last time I went there I also took a small trip to Versailles, which is definitely worth seeing. I od'd on museums during my childhood so haven't visited much. Travelling in trains in France including to London is definitely something to consider, but you probably already have booked all that.

    I went to the Dordogne several times as a child, and again two years ago, and definitely a beautiful place to drive, and it has a lot of wonderful sights to see.

    I can imagine you want to go to Venice, but I wonder if it is worth it this time of year. It will be extremely crowded and if you're out of luck unpleasantly hot as well, so if you must, aim for a Monday or Tuesday perhaps to see that city (others may have better advice, haven't been there a while, but my colleagues have given me the impression not much has changed). I'd rather make sure that if I started in Marseille, I'd drive downwards along the coast and then take in as much of Tuscany as I could get.
    http://www.italia.it/en/discover-italy/tuscany.html

    If you're driving to Zurich from Italy, you may consider not driving through one of the tunnels but take a pass high up instead. Those tunnels can be a traffic nightmare, with customs checks as well (many of my colleagues go on holiday in Italy practically every year), and if you're not in a hurry the pass may be more enjoyable (Alps are beautiful). If you've got sensitive ears for varying airpressure, may want to bring some saline nose spray, as you'll be up close to 4km if I remember correctly.

    I was in Zurich quite recently for work, and it's quite a nice city, with the lake and everything, even though I didn't get a chance to see much. Are you flying back from there?
     
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