VOLUME 1, ISSUE 6             JULY 28, 2002
MILITARY AND VETS TRAVEL SITE MAP

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EURO AND US DOLLAR EXCHANGE RATES
 
FROM THE EDITOR:

Ed Prifogle 

This edition is dedicated to Liz and her family.. My sympathy goes out to Liz who lost her husband and her children who lost their father of a heart attack at Mildenhall England. The military staff at Mildenhall are to commended for their caring assistance during Liz 's painful ordeal

For Jack Doshier who will be going to Singapore and Thailand shortly. This information: will give him something to do while he waits for his flight to Thailand.
Free Singapore Sights

If you are waiting in Singapore's Changi airport for a connecting flight and have time to spare, sign up for a free tour of the city. The tour lasts 2 hours and includes a 20 minute ride by traditional bumboat on the Singapore River. The tours start every hour from 10am to 7pm Monday through to Sunday. The service is given on a first come first served basis so get your name down as soon as you arrive.

This issue contains the following:

  • The Story of the Euro vs the US Dollar
  • A Proposed "Newbie Guide"
  • Crete and Greece PART 1-A Life Rewarding Experience
  • Joe B's Italy and Aviano Trip Report

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Original Newsletter
Space A Outing
Battlefield Tours
Cheap Airfares/ European Art Museums
European Trains/Discount Airlines
Ed Prifogle 

THE STORY OF THE EURO vs THE DOLLAR

Traveling to Europe has just become more expensive. The value of the US Dollar vs, the Euro has equalized over the past few months with the dollar decreasing in value by greater than 10%. Now the Euro and the US Dollar almost have equal value. Using the new Euro has made travelling in the 12 European countries a lot easier and now you will be able to keep any change left over for a holiday in a number of other countries which have adopted the currency.

Andorra, Kosovo, Monaco, San Marino, Montenegro and the Vatican now use the euro. Some former French territories have also adopted the currency such as French Guiana, Guadeloupe in the Caribbean, La Reunion in the Indian Ocean and Spain's Ceuta and Melillia in North Africa. Britain, Denmark and Sweden are the only European Union countries who have kept their own currency.

Click below to check the current Euro/Dollar Exchange rate. Exchange Rates
"NEWBIE INFORMATION"

Space A Newcomers who visit Dirk's board for the first time need some guidance. We recommend that they click on John D's FAQ's and Roy Buckman's link on the top of the page. I am working on a "newbie " guide to assist them. It includes John and Roy's info plus other useful information. Newbie Guide

Email me your comments and suggestions

CRETE and GREECE-PART 1
A LIFE REWARDING EXPERIENCE



Military Space A Travelers have many destination options. Departing from Norfolk NAS and going to Souda Bay NAS on the island of Crete is a special treat in that exploring Crete, the Greecian Islands ((Corfu), and the country of Greece are excellent options. The City of Athens is considered a tourist mecca because of its rich historical significance. Not many people know that Crete has a longer history and in some ways is more interesting. The best times to visit Crete is in the Fall, Winter and Spring. The island temperature can be unbearable in the summer. Travelers can get to Greece and the Greek islands either by air or ferry service from Hania.

I have visited Crete many times through legends and epic poems. Several historians consider Crete as the birth place of western civilization. As a young college student, I studied Greek Mythology. and learned about Cronus and Rhea, and their son Zeus, the King of Gods. The cave at Diktean Andron that Rhea gave birth to Zeus is located on Crete. I read the Odyssey by Homer and marveled about the adventures of Ulysses.

In the "60s, I read Marie Renault's wonderful book "The King Must Die" about Thesseus, the bull dancers, Knossos, the Minataur, half bull and half man, and King Minos. I also viewed Anthony Quinn's greatest movie role as Zorba the Greek" and Alan Bates his conservative companion, filmed on the Island of Crete.

Crete has one of the oldest civilizations in the world. it has existed for over 6000 years. Temples, palaces, and icons of this ancient civilization are being discovered daily. The reconstructed vast Royal Minoan Palace at Knossos located 3 miles from Iraklio, the capital, is one of the greatest archealogical sites on this planet. Arthur Evans , an English Archeologist spent most of his adult life reconstructing the palace in the late 19th and early 20th century..

Historically, Crete has been settled by many other world cultures including the Romans, Phoenicians, and in relative modern times by the Venetians, the Turks, and the Greeks. In World War II, the Germans occupied Crete and because of fierce Cretian partisan activities literally destroyed the beautiful ancient city of Hania. However, the Venetians walls, built to protect the city from the invading Turks in the 17th century, are still standing.

Phaestus, located in south-central Crete, is anoher beautiful royal palace. Some say it is more majestic than Knossos.located on a plateau overlooking a beautiful valley, and surrounded by mountains. An outstanding island attraction is the Samaia Gourge Walk, the longest gourge in Europe.. There are also colorful resort towns such as Agios Nikolaos, Malia, and Elouda. No trip to Crete is complete until you visit the ancient city of Rethymnon. The national drink is ouzo, and the Cretans love to dance and take long walks in the evening.
USEFUL CRETE INFORMATION

Thislinkcontains information about the Souda Bay NAS and a Crete Travel Guide.
A suggestion is to rent a condo from the Armed Forces Vacation Club
Spend a week exploring this culturally endowed island. There are Condos available for $249.00 a week starting in November.
View the following link

JOE'S AVIANO AND ITALY TRIP

Successfully toured Italy during the last two weeks of June. We caught a Space A AF Reserve KC-135 from Tinker direct to Aviano and back. I later found out that Tinker AFB seldom have passengers because of the infrequency of Space A flights.

We toured and traveled by car around Aviano, Lake Barcis, Venice, Padua, Florence, Pisa, Roma, Pompeii. Since I was traveling with 4 dependents it appears to be more cost effective then travel by train. The EUROCAR rental at Aviano airport is about $15-20 more expensive then other car rental places in Aviano. If three folks or less are traveling, use the train.

Our car cost $30 a day, unlimited miles from a company named "Rental Car Company" ph.- 0434 651378.. The folks where extremely helpful, spoke English, and was very accommodating by allowing us drop the car off at the base on the last day without fee. I suspect they would come to pick you upon from base on your arrival. A possible negative is that these folks are a local private rental.and renting a car through a US car rental agencies from state side can be more economical.

If you are able to drive comfortably in New York, Boston or other big cities on the east coast the drivers in Italy can accommodate you. However the lack of good signage was our biggest source of stress and strife. After two days of trying to read Italian road signs printed in size 14 font and without any clue what was the name of the next town in the next bend of the road my stress levels was at it peak. My stress nearly disappeared once we purchased from the BX a $15, one inch thick Road Atlas of Italy. You really need to understand they of land and the location of cities in order to navigate. In town, be prepared for one way roads, snaking roads. The further south you drive the more impatient Italian drivers became with road hindrances. We found nearly all Italians very courteous and helpful off the road.

To travel from Aviano to Pompeii via Autostrada toll roads. Total tolls ran about 40euros one way. A litter of gas was 1.07euro.

Finding readily available and cheap parking is an unlikely event in the big tourist cities. Florence had the most traffic and was our biggest challenge for driving and parking. Downtown parking fee ran .75 to 2euro an hour. Rome was relatively easy to drive and much more spacious then Florence. Parking in Venice cost of 20euro per day at a public parking garage. The parking garage at the hotel next to the Vatican cost $15euro a day.

HOTEL RECOMMENDATION

We found it difficult to keep the cost down. However it was tourist season and we really had no information at the time to work with. Found most of hotel by driving by. However it is very difficult to local hotels driving by. No big signs on the hotels. Even when you follow an information sign you can circle for hours trying locate the hotel in the small cities. Highly recommend trying to establish reservation and directions in advanced.

If you have a car and are staying near Aviano I like to recommend the Pra De Plana Hotel, ph 0434 652552. E-mail pradeplana@libero.it This 3 star hotel/restaurant is about 8km up the mountain from Aviano. Rooms cost about 55euros for a double in 13 June 02. A very beautiful location, quiet, very nice owners, very nice rooms, breakfast included, and very reasonably price dinner. From the terminal call for direction and help.

Visiting Pompei: We stayed in a very nice, 3 star, Lord Nelton Hotel in the town of Scafati. Get to Hotel Nelton s.a.s. via M. Nappi, 92. tel: 081.8592604 - fax: 081.8592604, http://www.hotelnelton.it The hotel is 4km away from Pompii site. The hotel has very nice rooms, nice place to dine, free parking, they even have a swimming pool. The owner/family could barely speak English but that did not stop them from taking great care of us. They were very helpful, thoughtful and courteous. The fastest way to find this hotel may be to call them once you are in town. I suspect they would come get you or personally escort you back to the hotel.

Rome hotels appear to be relatively expensive (180 euro/night for a 3 star booked via USO) if you have 4 dependants. Its about half the price for a double. I would do some internet searching before leaving for Italy if you have time. Florence is also very expensive place to find a hotel. To reduce cost we stayed in the 14th century town of Pistoia about 20km from Florence at "Hotel Firenze" Via Curtatone E Montanara 42, Pistoia. Owner spoke excellent English. This hotel info is available on the Hotel Search Eng
Suggested Links
Italian Insight Info| Aviano Bus Schedule| Ederle Army Lodging, Vicenza IT. Info Hotel Listings

Best of luck and enjoy!
Joe B.