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12 DAY SCANDINAVIA & RUSSIA CRUISE

Carnival Legend

Departure date: 25.07.2021
Sailing duration, days: 12
Cruise heading: EUROPE
Other Dates: 15.08.2021
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Day Date Port, Country Arrival Departure
1 day 25.07.2021 Sunday 17:00
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LONDON (DOVER)

Located 76 miles (122 kilometers) to the east of London, Dover is a major passenger cruise port (as much for cruise ferries as it is for conventional ships) that's considered England's gateway to Europe.

Dover is best known for its stunning white cliffs (remember the World War II song "White Cliffs of Dover"?) that perch over the English Channel. It's also got a quite-spectacular castle. Once, in the mid-19th century, it was a popular seaside resort, though it was repeatedly bombed during World War II. Dover's city center hasn't yet fully regained its footing.

Dover is most commonly a port of embarkation and/or debarkation (itineraries can vary, from those that head to the Baltics and Northern Europe to those cruising south, to the Mediterranean), and most cruise passengers who want extra time in England will use London as their base instead. London is about a 1 1/2-hour train ride or two-hour drive away. Dover's proximity to some major southeast England towns and villages means there are alternatives to big city touring as well: Rye, a 1 1/4-hour drive south, is a charming medieval village and the city of Canterbury is noted for its awesome cathedral, among other sites. For day trips, Sissinghurst, Vita Sackville-West's famous gardens, are near enough to tuck into an "on the way to the port" sightseeing jaunt, as is Leeds Castle.
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GREAT BRITAIN

General information

Capital: London
Government: Constitutional Monarchy and Parliamentary Democracy
Currency: Pound Sterling (£)
Area total: 243,610 km²
water: 1,680 km²
land: 241,930 km²
Population: 63,181,775 (2010 est.)
Language: English, Welsh (about 26% of the population of Wales), Scots (mostly spoken in the Lowlands of Scotland) Scottish Gaelic (about 60,000 in Scotland), Ulster-Scots (various parts of Northern Ireland) and some speakers of Irish in Northern Ireland
Religion: Anglican and Roman Catholic 40 million (66%)- Roman Catholics are about 10% of the population and rising, Muslim 1.5 million (2.5%), Presbyterian 800,000 (1.3%), Methodist 760,000 (1.3%), Sikh 336,000 (0.6%), Hindu 559,000 (0.9%), Jewish 267,000 (0.4%), Buddhist 152,000 (0.25%), no religion 9,104,000 (15%)
Electricity: 230V, 50 Hz
Country code: +44
Internet TLD: .uk
Time Zone: summer: UTC +1, winter: UTC
Emergencies: dial 999

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the United Kingdom or the UK) is a constitutional monarchy comprising much of the British Isles.

This Union is more than 300 years old and comprises four constituent nations: England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. It occupies all of the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern portion of the island of Ireland and most of the remaining British Isles.

It's important to remember that the Republic of Ireland is a completely separate state from the United Kingdom, seceding from the Union and gaining its independence in 1922. The Isle of Man and the various Channel Islands are "crown dependencies", possessing their own legislative bodies for domestic legislation with the assent of the Crown. They are not part of the United Kingdom, nor of the EU, but are not sovereign states in their own right either. The UK has Ireland, France, Belgium and the Netherlands as its nearest neighbours.

The 'Great' in Great Britain (Britannia Major in Roman times; Grande-Bretagne in French) is to distinguish it from the other, smaller "Britain": Brittany (Britannia Minor; Bretagne) in northwestern France.

The UK today is a diverse patchwork of native and immigrant cultures, possessing a fascinating history and dynamic modern culture, both of which remain hugely influential in the wider world. Although Britannia no longer rules the waves, the UK is still a popular destination for many travellers. The capital and largest city of the United Kingdom is London.

Home nations

"Great Britain" ("GB") for a geographer refers just to the single largest island in the British Isles that has most of the land area of Scotland, England and Wales. In normal usage it is a collective term for all those three nations together. Great Britain became part of the United Kingdom when the Irish and British parliaments merged in 1801 to form the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland". This was changed to "... and Northern Ireland" when all but the six Northern Irish counties seceded from the Union in 1922 after a treaty granting Irish home rule. "Britain" is simply another name for the United Kingdom, and does include Northern Ireland, despite common misconceptions otherwise.

The flag of the United Kingdom is popularly known as the Union Jack or, more properly, Union Flag. It comprises the flags of St. George of England, St. Andrew of Scotland and the St. Patrick's Cross of Ireland superimposed on each other. Within England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, the flags of each nation are commonly used. The St. Patrick's Cross flag is often seen on St. Patrick's Day in Northern Ireland. Since the Republic of Ireland split from the UK though, St. Patrick's Saltire is not used for Northern Ireland, as it represented the whole of the island of Ireland. A flag (known as the "Ulster Banner") was designed for Northern Ireland in the 1920s, which was based on the flag of Ulster (similar in appearance to the St. George's Cross flag of England) and includes a Red Hand of Ulster and a crown. Although the flag's official status ended with the dissolving of the province's devolved government in the early 1970s, it can still be seen in Northern Ireland, particularly among the Protestant community and on sporting occasions. As Wales was politically integrated into the English kingdom hundreds of years ago, its flag was not incorporated into the Union Jack. The flag features a Red Dragon on a green field.

Crown Dependencies

The Isle of Man and the Channel Islands are not strictly part of the UK, but rather are 'Crown Dependencies: they have their own democratic governments, laws and courts and are not part of the EU. They are not entirely sovereign either, falling under the British Crown which chooses to have its UK Government manage some of the islands' affairs. The people are British Citizens, but unless they have direct ties with the UK, through a parent, or have lived there for at least 5 years, they are not able to take up work or residence elsewhere in the European Union.

Overseas Territories & The Commonwealth

Again, these are not constitutionally part of the United Kingdom, but are largely former colonies of the British Empire which are to varying degrees, self-governing entities that still recognise the British Monarch as their head of state. The key difference is residents of Overseas Territories still possess British citizenship, whereas those of Commonwealth nations do not, and are subject to the same entry and immigration rules as non-EU citizens.

Referring to nationality

Most residents of The United Kingdom, Crown Dependencies and British Overseas Territories are legally British, and referring to any as such will usually not cause offence.

Don't describe citizens of the United Kingdom as "English". The Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish do not identify themselves as being from "England". If you need to refer to someone's nationality, you can use the most precise term, 'English', 'Northern Irish', 'Welsh' or 'Scottish'. To play safe, you can ask someone from which part of the UK they are from, as this covers every corner of the isles - including Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland and Scotland can be particularly problematic, and 'Scottish', 'Northern Irish', 'Irish', or 'British' can all be appropriate according to the political persuasion of the individual. Irish nationalists may avoid referring to Northern Ireland at all, referring instead to 'The Six Counties' or 'The North', or talk about 'Ireland' as a whole. 'Northern Irish' is less likely to offend, whereas referring to someone from Northern Ireland as 'British' or as 'Irish' can cause offence depending on a person's political ideology.

It is also worth noting that, while technically a county of England, the issue of identity in Cornwall is very sensitive amongst some people. It is best to refer to anyone you meet in Cornwall as Cornish, unless they have already explicitly stated their identity as English.

As a visitor from outside the UK, you are unlikely to cause serious offence. At worst, you will incur a minor rebuff and reaffirmation of their nationality, as in "I'm not English. I'm Scottish".

Government

The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy with the Queen as the nominal head of state. It has a bicameral parliament: The lower house, known as the House of Commons, is popularly elected by the people and is responsible for proposing new laws. The upper house, known as the House of Lords, primarily scrutinises and amends bills proposed by the lower house. The House of Lords is not elected and consists of Hereditary Peers, whose membership is guaranteed by birth right, Life Peers, who are appointed to it by the Queen, and the Lords Spiritual, who are bishops of the Church of England. The Head of Government is the Prime Minister, who is usually the leader of the majority party in the House of Commons. It has a first-past-the post system divided into local constituencies. In practice, the Prime Minister wields the most authority in government, with the Queen being pretty much a figurehead, though all bills that have been passed in both houses of parliament require the Queen to grant royal assent before they become law.

Additionally, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have their own elected bodies (the Northern Ireland Assembly, Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly). These devolved governments have a First Minister and varying degrees of power over matters internal to that constituent country, including the passing of laws. For example, the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh exercises power and passes laws over almost every matter internal to Scotland. In the areas over which it has power, the UK government plays no role. As a result, institutions and systems can be radically different between the four constituent countries in the UK. England has no similar body of its own, with all government coming from Westminster. The exception to this is London, which owing to its huge size and population has partial devolved government in the form of an elected Mayor and assembly, which exercises a range of powers previously controlled by both central and local governments.

There are also local government authorities responsible for services at a local level. Each constituency votes for a local MP (Member of Parliament) who then goes to sit in Parliament and debate and vote - whether they do or not is another matter.

Using maps and postcodes

Most basic mapping in the United Kingdom is undertaken by the Ordnance Survey of Great Britain and the Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland. The maps found in bookshops may be published directly by those organisations, or by private map publishers drawing on basic Ordnance Survey data.

One consequence of this for the traveller is the widespread use of Ordnance Survey grid references in guide books and other information sources. These are usually presented [xx999999] (e.g. [SU921206]) and form a quick way of finding any location on a map. If using a GPS be sure to set it to the British National Grid (BNG) and the OSGB datum.

Alternatively, every postal address has a postcode, either a unique one or one shared with its immediate neighbours. British postcodes take the form (XXYY ZZZ), where XX is a 2 or 1 character alphabetic code representing the town, city or geographic area, a 1 or 2 digit number YY representing the area of that town or city, followed by a 3 digit alphanumeric code ZZZ which denotes the road and a specific section or house on that road. Therefore, a postcode will identify a location to within a few tens of metres in urban locations; and adding a house number and street will identify a property uniquely (at road junctions two houses with the same number may share the same postcode). Most internet mapping services enable locations to be found by postcode. Owing to London's huge size and population it has its own distinct variation of the postcode system where the town code XX is replaced by an area code indicating the geographic part of the city - e.g N-North, WC-West Central, EC-East Central, SW-South West; and so on.

The Ordnance Survey's 1:50000 or 1:25000 scale maps are astonishingly detailed and show contour lines, public rights of way, and access land. For pursuits such as walking, they are practically indispensable, and in rural areas show individual farm buildings and (on the larger scale) field boundaries.

Climate

The UK has a benign humid-temperate climate moderated by the North Atlantic current and the country's proximity to the sea. Warm, damp summers and mild winters provide temperatures pleasant enough to engage in outdoor activities all year round. Having said that, the weather in the UK can be changeable and conditions are often windy and wet. British rain is world renowned, but in practice it rarely rains more than two or three hours at a time and often parts of the country stay dry for many weeks at a time, especially in the East. More common are overcast or partly cloudy skies. It is a good idea to be prepared for a change of weather when going out; a jumper and a raincoat usually suffice when it is not winter. In summer temperatures can reach 30ºC (86ºF) in parts and in winter temperatures may be mild, eg: 10?C (50?F) in southern Britain and -2?C (28.4?)in Scotland.

Because the UK stretches nearly a thousand km from end to end, temperatures can vary quite considerably between north and south. Differences in rainfall are also pronounced between the drier east and wetter west. Scotland and north-western England (particularly the Lake District) are often rainy and cold. Alpine conditions with heavy snowfall are common in the mountains of northern Scotland during the winter. The north-east and Midlands are also cool, though with less rainfall. The south-east and east Anglia are generally warm and dry, and the south-west warm but often wet. Wales and Northern Ireland tend to experience cool to mild temperatures and moderate rainfall, while the hills of Wales occasionally experience heavy snowfall. Even though the highest land in the UK rarely reaches more than 1,100 m, the effect of height on rainfall and temperature is great.

Stay safe

In any emergency call 999 or 112 (free of charge from any phone, including mobiles) and ask for Ambulance, Fire and Rescue Service, Police, Coast Guard or Mountain And Cave Rescue when connected. The United Kingdom has this one,unified number for all the different emergency services.

British cities and towns can be dangerous in some parts at night as you can find rowdy groups of drunk people on the street, usually in night life and clubbing areas. Drinking alcohol in public (except outside a bar or pub) is not permitted in some towns and areas of cities. Crime rates in areas such as homocide are broadly in line with the European average (though there can be significant variations between different parts of the UK) and crime in general have been falling in recent years.

The police have fairly wide ranging powers to fine or arrest people who are causing a disturbance, and although they can be heavier-handed in major cities they are generally tolerant. If you are stopped by the police, avoid arguing and be sure to appear respectful. Do not try to reason with them, and above all, do not swear, because although it has been ruled that swearing is not a crime, police will often arrest people who swear at them.

Jay walking is not illegal except on motorways, but always try and cross at designated pedestrian crossings. Most operate a "Push the button and wait for the green man" system, but Zebra Crossings are also widespread, particularly outside of city centres - identified by white stripes on the road and yellow flashing spherical lights - pedestrians have right of way but it is advisable to make eye contact with the driver before stepping into the road. Unlike in many other countries British drivers tend to be very respectful of the laws around zebra crossings.

If you are bringing or hiring a car, be sure to lock the doors if you leave your car, and always park in a busy, well-lit area. Don't leave valuables on display in a parked car - satellite navigation systems are a particular target.

The age of both heterosexual and homosexual consent is 16 throughout the United Kingdom. The law supports LGBT rights and are some of the most progressive in the world. You cannot be discriminated against in any area of the UK for your sexuality. Recently, a gay couple won their case for discrimination after a hotel turned them away saying they only took married couples and same sex marriage was legalised in July 2013.

British society is generally not homophobic and attitudes have changes beyond recognition in the past 20 years. There are some areas where you may want to not be overtly showing your sexuality (very remote villages, 'tough' places such as football matches) but even these in these environments attitudes have changed. Being homophobic is now the taboo in the UK where being homosexual used to be.

Racism is not common in the UK, and racially motivated violence is very rare. Most Britons are strongly opposed to racism. The main concern for Britons isn't racism; the government strongly encourages the notion of a multi-cultural society, but recent high levels of immigration have been of debate. However, the UK is generally regarded by its own immigrant population as being amongst the most liberal and tolerant of European countries in this respect, but obviously there will be some people who are exceptions. Most Britons will go out of their way to make tourists and immigrants feel welcome and it's not uncommon for police to impose harsh punishments on any form racial abuse - physical or verbal.

All in all though, the UK is generally a very safe country to visit and the vast majority of tourists will run into no problems.

Police

On the whole, British police officers tend to be professional and polite, and are generally less aggressive than law enforcement agencies in other developed nations (however, this does not mean they are lenient). The vast majority of British police officers do not carry firearms on standard patrol, and the only time one would usually see a "Bobby" with a weapon is at ports or when there is a suspicion they will meet armed offenders. The exception to this is Northern Ireland, where all Police are armed. Most officers will only speak English and you will be made to speak to an interpreter over police radio or will do so at a police station if you cannot communicate in English. You have the legal right to remain silent during and after arrest - but police in England and Wales will warn you that "You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence".

Stay healthy

The local emergency telephone number is 999; however, the EU-wide 112 can also be used. For advice on non-emergency medical problems, you can ring the 24-hour NHS Direct [102] service on 0845 4647 (NHS 24 in Scotland on 08454 242424)

Emergencies can be dealt with under the NHS (National Health Service) at any hospital with a Casualty or A & E (Accident & Emergency) department. At A&E be prepared to wait for up to 4 hours to be seen to if the medical complaint is not serious, depending on the time of day/night. The longest waiting times usually occur on Friday and Saturday nights. Emergencies will be dealt with immediately and before any question of remuneration is even contemplated. Walk-in centres also provide treatment for less urgent conditions on a first come first served basis. They are open to residents and foreign nationals.

All treatment at an NHS hospital or doctor is free to residents of the UK. All emergency treatment is free, regardless of citizenship or immigration status. As a result, an EHIC card is infact not necessary (though advised for EU travel in general), as the UK is possibly one of the only countries to provide free emergency treatment without question or identity verification. This also applies to tourists, both from the EU and outside.

For advice on minor ailments and medicines, you can ask a pharmacist (there are many high-street chemists, and to practise legally all pharmacists must be registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) which involves a university degree and other exams and training). Notable pharmacy chains include Boots and Lloyds, and many supermarkets also have pharmacists. It is worth noting that the medicine trade is strictly controlled and many medicines available to purchase from a pharmacy in other countries eg: antibiotics can only be provided on production of a prescription written by an authorised medical professional.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases are spreading between young people, so make sure you practise safe sex. There are around 50,000 HIV victims living in the UK. Chlamydia is common enough to warrant public health screening of young people. Condoms are available in toilets, pharmacies, and supermarkets. They are also available free from some NHS sexual health clinics (known as GUM clinics), which also provide free STI testing and treatment, even if you are not eligible for other NHS services.

Tap water is safe to drink everywhere, unless otherwise stated.

Respect

It's acceptable to address someone by their first name in most social situations. First names are sometimes avoided among strangers to avoid seeming overly familiar. In very formal or business situations first names are not commonly used until people are better acquainted. The best strategy is to use what they introduced themselves with. Officials, however, (like policemen or doctors) will invaribly call you by your title and surname, for example "Mr Smith".

The British can be extremely indirect when requesting things from people they do not know. It is common for Britons to "ask around" questions when requesting something: for example, one would be more likely to say something along the lines of "Where can I find the changing room?" when in a clothes shop, rather than "Where's the changing room?". Although asking questions directly is quite common, it can sometimes be seen as overly abrupt or even rude.

Similarly, saying 'What?' when not understanding something can be considered rude around authority figures or people you don't know, so 'Pardon?' is more appropriate to use in situations with a stranger or a superior. British people apologise a lot, even when there is absolutely no need to do so. For example, if someone trod on someone else's toe by accident, both people would normally apologise. This is just a British thing to do, and dwelling on it (eg: "What are you sorry about?") will mark you out as a foreigner. Often a British person will request something or start a conversation with 'sorry', e.g. "Sorry, do you know where the nearest toilets are?" In this situation, "sorry" means the same as "excuse me", and again shouldn't be treated as an apology.

Allow some personal space between you and others in queues and elsewhere. You will usually find this in such places as cinemas. Generally, unless people know each other, you will find they will usually choose to fill up every row of seating and keep as much distance of possible until there is a requirement to sit directly next to each other. Exceptions are in very crowded situations where this is impossible, like on the Tube.

British people do not normally make conversation with strangers in the street or on public transport, especially in cities. If you do strike up a conversation with a stranger, they will be polite but somewhat distant. Make sure you have something in common to talk about with the stranger. In small communities and villages, this kind of conversation-making is more accepted.

Greetings are dependent upon the situation. In anything but a business situation, a verbal greeting (such as 'hello (name)!') will suffice. Younger people will usually say 'Hi,' 'Hiya,' or 'Hey' though the latter is also used to attract attention and should not be used to address a stranger as it would be considered impolite. Another British greeting (frequently used by younger people) is 'You all right?' or 'All right?' (sometimes abbreviated to "A'right" in northern England), which basically is a combination of 'Hello' and 'How are you?'. This term can be confusing to foreigners, but it can be easily replied to with either a greeting back (which is far more common) or stating how you feel (usually something short like 'I'm fine, you?'). Note that the person using this greeting isn't really asking if you're all right, and is expecting you to say at most "I'm all right, you?". To a foreigner the question can often be misinterpreted as a genuine display of concern; but the person asking is not expecting you to tell them why you are or are not all right, and may be somewhat annoyed if you do.

Etiquette for a hug is somewhat complicated, so the best advice is to accept a hug (regardless of the gender offering it) if it is offered, otherwise a handshake is appropriate. In a formal situation or an initial greeting between two strangers, a handshake is the done thing, this should be of a appropriate firmness (generally moderate firmness).

It is not uncommon for people in the service industry (eg: cab drivers and hair-dressers), to make small-talk with you while they are serving you. A couple of good conversation topics are the weather (a British favourite) and sport (particularly with men). Regarding the latter, most British people will have at least a passing knowledge of football, cricket, rugby, or tennis. If you find you share tastes, then music, films, and books are also fairly universal subjects.

For more details on unwritten rules concerning greetings, addressing others, small-talk etc, read Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour by Kate Fox.

The Scottish are Scottish, the Welsh are Welsh, and the English are English. Referring to all of them as "English" will probably offend. It's a potential minefield but "British" will always be safer than "English". Anyone who doesn't wish to be referred to as British will understand that you didn't mean any offence and will politely correct you ("I prefer to be called Scottish".) However calling a Scottish, Welsh, or Irish person English will at best make you come across as ignorant and at worst actively offend. Your safest bet is to ask them what part of the UK they're from before referring to their nationality. Remember, too, most Northern Ireland Unionists would not want to be called Irish. (In contrast, most of the Nationalists in Northern Ireland will identify as Irish and register accordingly as Irish citizens and carry Irish passports, which all people born in Northern Ireland are entitled to do if they wish). You may also find that, even though all the people of the United Kingdom are legally classed as British, peoples preferences are based upon which country in the United Kingdom they were born in, rather than using the collective term British. It is also common to meet someone who might say "I am half Welsh, half-English" or "my parents are Scottish and I am English".

Never refer to the Falklands as being Argentinian: over 250 British soldiers died fighting to defend these islands from Argentinian invasion and occupation in the early 1980s. The Falklands remain a British Overseas Territory to this day. The same goes for Gibraltar; despite the Spanish claim, UN supervised plebiscites register more than 98% local support for remaining British. Do the V sign with the palm facing outward to indicate either "peace" or "victory"; do the reverse with the palm facing inward if you wish to be extremely offensive.

Emergency services

Information Services: 142
Fire brigade, police and ambulance: 999 or 112
Road Emergency Service: (0800) 822-87-82
2 day 26.07.2021 Monday
FUN DAY AT SEA
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3 day 27.07.2021 Tuesday 7:00 16:00
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GOTHENBURG, SWEDEN
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4 day 28.07.2021 Wednesday 6:30 23:00
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BERLIN (WARNEMUNDE), GERMANY
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GERMANY

General information

Capital: Berlin
Government: Federal Republic
Currency: Euro (€)
Area total: 357,022 km² water: 8,350 km² land: 348,672 km²
Population: 81,799,600 (2010 estimate)
Language: German
Country code: +49
Internet TLD: .de
Time Zone: UTC +1
Emergencies: dial 112

Germany, (officially: the Federal Republic of Germany), (German: Bundesrepublik Deutschland) is the largest country in Central Europe. It is bordered to the north by Denmark, to the east by Poland and the Czech Republic, to the south by Austria and Switzerland, and to the west by France, Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands. Germany is a federation of 16 states, roughly corresponding to regions with their own distinct and unique cultures.

Germany is one of the most influential European nations culturally, and one of the world's main economic powers. Known around the world for its precision engineering and high-tech products, it is equally admired by visitors for its old-world charm and "Gemütlichkeit" (cosiness). If you have perceptions of Germany as simply homogeneous, it will surprise you with its many historical regions and local diversity.

Economy

Germany is an economic powerhouse boasting the largest economy of Europe, and is in spite of its relatively small population the second largest country of the world in terms of exports.

The financial centre of Germany and continental Europe is Frankfurt am Main, and it can also be considered one of the most important air traffic hubs in Europe, with Germany's flag carrier Lufthansa known for being not just a carrier, but rather a prestigious brand, though its glamour has faded somewhat during recent years. Frankfurt features an impressive skyline with many high-rise buildings, quite unusual for Central Europe; this circumstance has led to the city being nicknamed "Mainhattan". It is also the home of the European Central Bank (ECB), making it the centre of the Euro, the supra-national currency used throughout the European Union. Frankfurt Rhein-Main International Airport is the largest airport of the country, while the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (FSE) is the most important stock exchange in Germany.

Politics

Germany is a federal republic, consisting of 16 states or German Federal Lands (Bundeslander). The federal parliament (Bundestag) is elected every four years in a fairly complicated system, involving both direct and proportional representation. A party will be represented in Parliament if it can gather at least 5% of all votes or at least 3 directly won seats. The parliament elects the Federal Chancellor (Bundeskanzler, currently Angela Merkel) in its first session, who serves as the head of the government. There is no restriction regarding re-election. The 'Bundeslander' are represented at the federal level through the Federal Council (Bundesrat). Many federal laws have to be approved by the council. This can lead to situations where Council and Parliament are blocking each other if they are dominated by different parties. On the other hand, if both are dominated by the same party with strong party discipline (which is usually the case), its leader has the opportunity to rule rather heavy handedly, the only federal power being allowed to intervene being the Federal Constitutional Court (Bundesverfassungsgericht).

The formal head of state is the Federal President (Bundesprasident), who is not involved in day-to-day politics and has mainly ceremonial and representative duties. He can also suspend the parliament, but all executive power is vested with the chancellor and the Federal Cabinet (Bundesregierung). The President of Germany is elected every 5 years by a specially convened national assembly, and is restricted to serving a maximum of two five year terms.

The two largest parties are centre-right CDU ('Christlich Demokratische Union', Christian Democratic Party) and centre-left SPD ('Sozialdemokratische Partei Deutschlands', Social Democratic Party). Due to the proportional voting system, smaller parties are also represented in parliament. Medium-sized parties of importance are centre-right CSU ('Christlich Soziale Union', Christian Social Party, the most important party in Bavaria which collaborates at the federal level with the CDU), liberal FDP ('Freie Demokratische Partei', Free Democratic Party), the Green party ('Bundnis 90/Die Grunen'), the new Left Party ('Die Linke', a socialist party with significant strength in East Germany), and very recently, the Pirates' Party ('Piratenpartei', a civil rights and liberties movement). There have been some attempts by extreme right-wing parties (NPD - National Democratic Party / REP - Republicans) to get into parliament, but so far they have failed the 5% requirement (except in some East German state parliaments, currently Saxony and in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania); extreme left-wing parties (MLPD - Marxist-Leninist Party / DKP - German Communist Party) virtually only have minimal influence on administrative levels below state parliaments.

Culture

Being a federal republic, Germany is very much a decentralised country, which embraces the cultural differences between the regions. Most travellers will perhaps only think of beer, Lederhosen and Oktoberfest when Germany comes to mind, but Germany's famous alpine and beer culture is mostly centered around Bavaria and Munich. Here the beer is traditionally served in 1 litre mugs (normally not in pubs and restaurants, though). The annual Oktoberfest is Europe's most visited festival and the world's largest fair. Germany's south-western regions, however, are well known for their wine growing areas (e.g. Rheinhessen and Palatinate) and Bad Durkheim on the 'German Wine Route' (Deutsche Weinstra?e) organises the biggest wine festival worldwide with over 600,000 visitors annually.

The fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 and the subsequent German Reunification are the main events of recent German history. Today most Germans as well as their neighbours support the idea of a peaceful reunified Germany and while the eastern regions still suffer from higher unemployment and of brain drain, the reunification process is overall seen as a success. October 3rd is celebrated as "German Unification Day".

Cars are a symbol of national pride and social status. Certainly manufacturers such as Audi, BMW, Mercedes, Porsche and Volkswagen (VW) are world famous for their quality, safety and style. This quality is matched by Germany's excellent network of roadways including the renowned Autobahn network, which has many sections without speed limits that attract speed hungry drivers. There are actually speed tourists who come to Germany just to rent an exotic sports car and fly down the autobahn. Amazingly for its size Germany is home to the third largest freeway/motorway network in the world. Germany also features an extensive network of high speed trains - the InterCityExpress (ICE).

Most cities have a vibrant gay and lesbian scene, especially Berlin and Cologne. The Berlin tourism agency and other tourism organisations have started campaigns to attract gay and lesbian travellers to their cities. In fact, some politicians (e.g. the mayor of Berlin and the German federal foreign minister) and stars in Germany are homo- or bisexuals.

Germans are generally friendly, although the stereotype that they can be stern and cold is sometimes true. Just be polite and proper and you'll be fine.

Germany was the host of the FIFA World Cup 2006.

Entry requirements

Germany is a member of the Schengen Agreement.

There are no border controls between countries that have signed and implemented this treaty - the European Union (except Bulgaria, Croatia, Cyprus, Ireland, Romania and the United Kingdom), Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. Likewise, a visa granted for any Schengen member is valid in all other countries that have signed and implemented the treaty. But be careful: not all EU members have signed the Schengen treaty, and not all Schengen members are part of the European Union. This means that there may be spot customs checks but no immigration checks (travelling within Schengen but to/from a non-EU country) or you may have to clear immigration but not customs (travelling within the EU but to/from a non-Schengen country).

Airports in Europe are thus divided into "Schengen" and "non-Schengen" sections, which effectively act like "domestic" and "international" sections elsewhere. If you are flying from outside Europe into one Schengen country and continuing to another, you will clear Immigration, but not Customs, at the first country and then continue to your destination where your baggage will have customs checks but there will be no further immigration controls. Travel between a Schengen member and a non-Schengen country will result in the normal border checks. Regardless of whether you are travelling within the Schengen area or not, many airlines will still insist on seeing your ID card or passport.

Nationals of EEA countries (EU and Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) together with Switzerland only need a valid national identity card or passport for entry - in no case will they need a visa for a stay of any length.

Nationals of non-EEA countries will generally need a passport for entry to a Schengen country and most will need a visa. Please see the article Travel in the Schengen Zone for more information.

Only the nationals of the following non-EEA countries do not need a visa for entry into the Schengen Area: Albania*, Andorra, Antigua and Barbuda, Argentina, Australia, Bahamas, Barbados, Bosnia and Herzegovina*, Brazil, Brunei, Canada, Chile, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Israel, Japan, Macedonia*, Malaysia, Mauritius, Mexico, Monaco, Montenegro*, New Zealand, Nicaragua, Panama, Paraguay, Saint Kitts and Nevis, San Marino, Serbia*/**, Seychelles, Singapore, South Korea, Switzerland, Taiwan*** (Republic of China), United States, Uruguay, Vatican City, Venezuela, additionally persons holding British National (Overseas), Hong Kong SAR or Macau SAR passports.

These non-EU/EFTA visa-free visitors may not stay more than 90 days in a 180 day period in the Schengen Area as a whole and, in general, may not work during their stay (although some Schengen countries do allow certain nationalities to work - see below). The counter begins once you enter any country in the Schengen Area and is not reset by leaving a specific Schengen country for another Schengen country, or vice-versa. However, New Zealand citizens may be able to stay for more than 90 days if they only visit particular Schengen countries - see the New Zealand Government's explanation.

If you are a non-EU/EFTA national (even if you are visa-exempt, unless you are Andorran, Monegasque or San Marinese), make sure that your passport is stamped both when you enter and leave the Schengen Area. Without an entry stamp, you may be treated as an overstayer when you try to leave the Schengen Area; without an exit stamp, you may be denied entry the next time you seek to enter the Schengen Area as you may be deemed to have overstayed on your previous visit. If you cannot obtain a passport stamp, make sure that you retain documents such as boarding passes, transport tickets and ATM slips which may help to convince border inspection staff that you have stayed in the Schengen Area legally.

Note that

  • while British subjects with the right of abode in the United Kingdom and British Overseas Territories citizens connected to Gibraltar are considered "United Kingdom nationals for European Union purposes" and therefore eligible for unlimited access to the Schengen Area,
  • British Overseas Territories citizens without the right of abode in the United Kingdom and British subjects without the right of abode in the United Kingdom as well as British Overseas citizens and British protected persons in general do require visas.

However, all British Overseas Territories citizens except those solely connected to the Cyprus Sovereign Base Areas are eligible for British citizenship and thereafter unlimited access to the Schengen Area.

Further note that

(*) nationals of Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia need a biometric passport to enjoy visa-free travel,
(**) Serbian nationals with passports issued by the Serbian Coordination Directorate (residents of Kosovo with Serbian passports) do need a visa and
(***) Taiwan nationals need their ID number to be stipulated in their passport to enjoy visa-free travel.

Recognised refugees and stateless persons in possession of a valid travel document issued by the government of any one of the above countries/territories (eg, Canada) are exempt from obtaining a visa for Germany (but not for any other Schengen country, except Hungary and, for refugees, Slovakia) for a maximum stay of 90 days in a 180 day period).

Citizens of Australia, Canada, Israel, Japan, New Zealand, South Korea and the United States of America are eligible to obtain a residence permit, or Aufenthaltstitel (authorising a stay of more than 90 days and permission to work), upon arrival in Germany, but before the end of the initial 90 day period of visa-free entry. Before obtaining such title, they are not allowed to work, with the exception some specific occupations (like artists, etc.). Honduran, Monegasque and Sanmarinese nationals can also obtain such a permit, but only if they will not work on the residence permit. Other nationals will need to obtain a visa before if they intend to stay in Germany for longer than the 90 days period, even if they are visa-free for that period for a stay in the Schengen area, or if they intend to work.

Authorized members of the British and US military need to possess only a copy of their duty orders (NATO Travel Order) and their ID card to be authorized entry into Germany. The passport requirement, though, applies to spouses and dependants of military personnel, and they must obtain a stamp in their passports to show that they are sponsored by a person in Germany under the Status of Forces Agreement.

There are no land border controls, making travel between Germany and other Schengen states easier with the accession of Switzerland to the Schengen area in 2008. However, the German border police is known to have plain-clothes officers ask travellers for their ID especially on the border between Bavaria and Austria and and Bavaria and the Czech Republic.

There are a number of ways to get into Germany. From neighbouring European countries, a drive with the car or a train ride are feasible; visitors from further away will probably be using air travel.

Talk

The official language of Germany is German. The standard register of German is called "Hochdeutsch" (High German). This can be understood by all mother-tongue speakers of German and spoken by almost all when necessary. However, every region has its own dialect, which might pose a challenge sometimes to those who speak even good German and even to native speakers as well. This is usually noticeable only in the south and rural areas of the north and east. Thus, when travelling in Bavaria, Saxony and Baden, you are stepping foot in places where dialect remains a strong part of the local identity. The general rule is that south of the Main River divides north Germany from the south in both language and local culture.

If you intend address the person you're speaking to in German, refer to the person as "Sie" if you aren't acquainted with that person yet. "Du" can be used if both of you are already close (the form of the verbs will also change).

All Germans learn English at school, so you should be able to get by with English in most places especially in the former West Germany. Many people--especially in the tourism industry and higher educated persons--also speak French, Russian or Spanish, but if you can't speak German, English remains your best bet. Even if one member of the staff doesn't speak English, you are likely to find someone who does and is more than willing to help you. In the southeastern part of that area, a small Slavic community of 50,000 also speak the Sorbian language, the least spoken modern Slavic language today, but widely protected from near-extinction since 1945.

If you address a German with English, always first ask "Do you speak English?" or even better its German translation, "Sprechen Sie Englisch?" as that is considered a sign of politeness.

Germans are less fluent in the English language and often answer questions very briefly (one or two words) because they feel uncertain how to create a complete English sentence. This might sometimes appear impolite but is not at all meant this way. Germans less fluent in English also often say "become" instead of "get" because the German word "bekommen" ("get") is phonetically so close to "become". Since it's polite to reply "Bitte" if someone thanks you, Germans may literally translate this with "please" instead of "here you are" or "you're welcome". Another source of confusion is that Germans call mobile or cellular phones a "Handy" and many of them regard this as an English word.

Germans (considering themselves) fluent in the English language will often offer to speak English with you if you try to speak German with them. It's considered by most as a sign of politeness even though it might be annoying for people who want to practice German. Pointing out that you'll want to try in German is perfectly fine and most people will react very positive (or apologize) if you do.

It is worth noting that English is in the same language family as the German language. Hence when you read German signs, there are a good number of words that may resemble their English counterparts.

While Germany uses the 24 hour format for written times, people very often use 12 hour times in conversations. There is no real suffix like "AM/PM", though you can add "vormittags" (before noon) and "nachmittags" (after noon) when it's not clear from the context. Another difference is that when saying the time is 07:30, English speakers would say "half (past) seven" whereas Germans say "halb acht" ("half eight") in most regions. In addition, Germans say two-digit numbers "backwards": instead of "twenty-two" they say "two and twenty." Numbers below 20 are said the same way as in English. This becomes especially important when you inquire for prices, although most who speak English with you should use the correct form. It is still better to double-check what is really meant.

Cultural and historical attractions

When thinking of Germany, beer, lederhosen and Alpine hats quickly come to mind, but these stereotypes mostly relate to Bavarian culture and do not represent Germany as a whole. Germany is a vast and diverse country with 16 culturally unique states that only form a political union since 1871.

If you're still looking for the cliches, the Romantic Road is a famous scenic route along romantic castles and picturesque villages. With its fairy tale appearance, the Neuschwanstein Castle could be considered the most iconic of German castles. The walled city of Rothenburg ob der Tauber has a beautiful mediaeval centre that seems untouched by the passage of time. Similar typical German towns can be found elsewhere in the country, like Gorlitz, Bamberg, Celle, Heidelberg, Erfurt, and Quedlinburg. Your picture postcard visit to Germany will be complete with a visit to the beer halls of Munich and a peek of the Alps at Garmisch-Partenkirchen.

Germany is a modern industrial nation, and the Wirtschaftswunder is best represented by the industrial heritage of the Ruhr. Hamburg is another economic powerhouse with the second busiest port of the continent. Frankfurt is the financial centre of Germany, and of Europe as a whole, as it is the base of the European Central Bank. Its skyline comes close to those found at the other side of the Atlantic. The fashion city of Dusseldorf, media industry of Cologne, and car companies in Stuttgart each represent a flourishing sector of the German economic miracle.

A completely different experience can be found in Berlin, a city unlikely to be found anywhere else on the planet. While architecturally an odd mismatch of sterilised apartment blocks, post-modernist glass and steel structures, and some historic left-overs, it has a laid-back atmosphere and a culture of internationalism that accepts everyone as a "Berliner". Its turbulent history gave rise to an enormous wealth of historical attractions, among them the Berlin Wall, Brandenburger Tor, Bundestag, Checkpoint Charlie, Fernsehturm, Holocaust Memorial, Rotes Rathaus, and the DDR Museum. But do not miss out the Prenzlauer Berg neighbourhood if you want to feel like a true Berliner.

The Schoningen Spears are 8 wooden throwing spears from the Palaeolithic Age, that were found between 1994 and 1998 in the open-cast lignite mine, Schoningen, county Helmstedt, Germany, together with approx. 16,000 animal bones. More than 300,000 years old they are the oldest completely preserved hunting weapons in the world and they are regarded as the first evidence of the active hunt by Homo heidelbergensis. These discoveries have permanently changed the picture of the cultural and social development of early man.

Natural attractions

Due to its size and location in Central Europe, Germany boasts a large variety of different landscapes. In the north, Germany has an extensive coastline along the North Sea and the Baltic Seas in a vast area known as the North German Plain. The landscape is very flat and the climate is rough with strong winds and mild, chilly temperatures. Due to the south-easterly winds that press water into the German Bight, tidal variations are exceptionally high, creating the Wadden Sea. Vast areas of the seabed are uncovered twice a day, allowing one to walk from one of the numerous islands to another. The East Frisian Islands just off the coast are very picturesque, although mostly visited by the Germans themselves. Favourite white sand resorts along the Baltic Sea include Rugen and Usedom.

The central half of Germany is a patchwork of the Central Uplands, hilly rural areas where fields and forests intermix with larger cities. Many of these hill ranges are tourist destinations, like the Bavarian Forest, the Black Forest, the Harz, the Ore Mountains, and Saxon Switzerland. The Rhine Valley has a very mild, amenable climate and fertile grounds, making it the country's most important area for wine and fruit growing.

In the extreme south, bordering Austria, Germany contains a small portion of the Alps, Central Europe's highest elevation, rising as high as 4,000 m (12,000 ft) above sea level, with the highest summit in Germany being the Zugspitze at 2962 m (9,717 ft). While only a small part of the Alps lie in Germany, they are famous for their beauty and the unique Bavarian culture. Along the country's southwestern border with Switzerland and Austria lies Lake Constance, Germany's largest fresh-water lake.

Itineraries

Bertha Benz Memorial Route — follows the tracks of the world's first long-distance journey by automobile
Romantic Road — the most famous scenic route in Germany that starts in Wurzburg and ends in Fussen

Stay safe

Germany is a very safe country. Crimes rates are low and the rule of law is strictly enforced.

Violent crimes (homicide, robberies, rape, assault) are very rare compared to most countries. For instance, 2010 homicide rates were with 0.86 cases per 100,000 inhabitants significantly lower than in the UK (1.17), Australia (1.20), France (1.31), Canada (1.81) and the US (5.0) - and they continue to decline. Pickpockets may sometimes be an issue in large cities or at events with large crowds. Panhandling is not uncommon in some larger cities, but not to a greater extent than in most other major cities and you will rarely experience aggressive panhandling.

Staying in Berlin and Hamburg (Schanzenviertel) around first of May, Tag der Arbeit expect demonstrations that frequently evolve into clashes between the police and a minority of the demonstrators.

Take the usual precautions (such as do not walk in parks alone at 3AM, do not leave your camera unattended, and do not flash around a big fat wallet) and you will most likely not encounter any crime at all while staying in Germany.

Emergencies

The nationwide emergency number for the police, fire and rescue services is 112 (same as in all EU countries). This number can be dialed toll-free from any phone, including phone booths and mobile phones (SIM-card required). If you are reporting an emergency, the usual guidelines apply: stay calm and state your exact location, the type of emergency and the number of persons involved. Do not hang up until the operator has received all required information and ends the call.

There are orange emergency telephones interspersed along the main motorways. You can find the closest SOS-phone by following arrows on the reflection posts at the side of the road.

Ambulances (Rettungswagen) can be summoned via the national toll-free emergency number 112 and will help you regardless of insurance issues. All hospitals (Krankenhauser) except for the smallest private ones have 24-hour emergency rooms able to cope with all kinds of medical problems.

Racism

The overwhelming majority of foreign visitors will never deal with issues of open racial discrimination or racism in Germany. Large cities in Germany are very cosmopolitan and multiethnic with large communities of people from all continents and religions. German government officials and at least quite a few organizations exercise a very strict no-tolerance policy against any people known to have a Nazi / Nationalist ideology. Many Germans still feel at least quite aware if not even ashamed of the historical burden of the Nazi era and are usually open-minded and tolerant in contacts with foreigners. Non-white visitors may get an occasional wary look (particularly in Eastern Germany), but not to a greater extent than in other countries with a predominantly white population.

The situation may be different in some predominantly rural parts of Eastern Germany (including the outskirts of East Berlin). The feeling of being left alone with widespread underemployment and unemployment and the desperation caused thereby can lead some people to xenophobia ("they are stealing our jobs"). As a result there are more incidences of racist behavior than in the West with a few incidents of violence. Most of these happen at night when groups of drunken "Neo-Nazis" look for trouble (and solitary victims) downtown or near public transport stations. The anger of these groups is directed against anything which is different. Hence, it might not only affect foreign visitors, but also homeless persons, West Germans and people with alternative looks such as Punks, Goths, etc.

Public displays of overt anti-semitism are strictly forbidden by laws that are very much enforced. The Hitler salute and the swastika are banned, as well as the public denial of the Holocaust. Violations of these laws against racism are not taken lightly by the authorities. There is no such tolerance for things like "I was only joking about the matter", and it is considered very rude and tasteless behaviour by most Germans.

Police

German Police officers (Polizei) are trained to be always helpful, professional and trustworthy, but tend to be rather strict in enforcing the law, which means that one should not expect that exceptions are made for tourists. When dealing with police you should remain calm, courteous and avoid getting into confrontations since you may be fined for insulting police officers. Most police officers should speak/understand at least basic English or at least have colleagues who do so. The younger they are, the better the chance to catch one who speaks good English. The level of English varies but all have a pretty good understanding. Otherwise some do speak French, Spanish or their parents' languages like Turkish, Polish, Russian and so on.

Police uniforms and cars are green or blue. Green used to be the standard, but most states and the federal police have transitioned to blue uniforms and cars to comply with the EU standard.

Police officers are employed by the states except in airports, train stations, border crossings etc. which are controlled by the federal police (Bundespolizei). In mid-sized towns and big cities, local police (called Stadtpolizei, kommunale Polizeibehorde or Ordnungsamt) have some limited law enforcement rights and are in general responsible for traffic issues.

If you get arrested, you have the right to have an attorney. Foreign nationals also have the right to contact their respective embassy for assistance. You are never obliged to make a statement that would incriminate yourself and you have the right to remain silent. Wait until your lawyer arrives and talk to your lawyer first. If you do not have a lawyer, call your embassy (or someone else who can hire one for you) else the local justice official will appoint a lawyer for you.

If you are a victim of crime (for example robbery, assault or theft in public) and wave an oncoming patrol car or officer, it is not uncommon that the officers will (sometimes rather abbruptly: "Einsteigen") command you to enter the back seat of the police cruiser. This is an action to start an instant manhunt to identify and arrest the suspect. In this case remember that you are not under arrest but to help the officers to enforce the law and maybe get back your property.

German Police do have ranks but are not that keen about them. Do not count the stars on the officers shoulders to choose the officer you will address. Such behaviour is seen as impolite and a disrespect to lower rank officers. Talk to any officer and they will answer your questions or redirect you (if needed) to the officer in charge.

Drugs

Alcohol may be purchased by persons 16 years and older. However, distilled beverages and mixed drinks with those (including the popular 'Alcopops') are available only at 18. It is not technically illegal for younger people to drink, but it is illegal to allow them to drink on premises. If the police notices underage drinking, they may pick the person up, confiscate the drinks and send the person home in the presence of an officer. In many public transport systems, such as the subways and buses in Hamburg or Nurnberg and increasingly many other cities, as well as on private local train operators such as Metronom in Lower Saxony, the consumption of alcoholic beverages is prohibited. (Therefore you will see lots of beer and brandy bottles on interchanging station like Uelzen)

Smoking is allowed starting at age 18. Vending machines for cigarettes require a valid "proof of age", which in practice means that you need a German bank card or a (European) driving license to use them.

The situation on marijuana can be confusing. The Constitutional Court ruled that possession for "personal use", though still illegal, should not be prosecuted. Germany is a federal state therefore the interpretation of this ruling is up to the state authorities. In fact charges are sometimes pressed even for tiny amounts, which will cause you a lot of trouble regardless of the outcome. As a general rule the northern states tend to be more liberal while in the south (especially Bavaria), even negligible amounts are considered illegal. The customs officials are also aware of the fact that you can legally buy marijuana in the Netherlands and therefore set up regular border controls (also inside trains) as the import is strictly prohibited.

Even if you get off the charges, the authorities may cause different problems, like revoking your drivers license and if you have more than a few grams, you will be prosecuted in any case. Also, the drugs will be confiscated in all cases.

All other recreational drugs (like ecstasy) are illegal and possession will lead to prosecution and at least a police record.

Weapons

Some types of knives are illegal in Germany: this concerns mostly some types of spring knives, "butterfly" knives, knuckle knives and the like. These knives are illegal and owning them is an offense. Knives that are intended as weapons are restricted to persons over 18.

It is illegal to carry any type of "dangerous knife" on your person in public unless you have a valid reason to do so. For example, if you are out fishing you are still entitled to carry a fishing knife. "Dangerous" knives are generally those with a blade length exceeding 12 cm and "one-handed" folding knives.

Carrying any knife (except a Swiss Army knife in some cases) without any professional reasons (carpenter, etc.) is seen as very rude and unacceptable in Germany. Germans consider any non-professional used knives as signs of aggression and do not accept this behaviour. Flashing a knife (even folded) may cause bystanders to call the police, who will be very serious in handling the upcoming situation.

Firearms are strictly controlled. It is practically impossible to legally carry a gun in public unless you are a law enforcement officer. "Fake" firearms may not be carried in public if they resemble real guns. CO2 and air guns are relatively easy to acquire. If the police find any kind of weapon or firearm on you, you will appear highly suspicious.

Fireworks

Avoid bringing any fireworks into Germany, especially from outside the EU. Even bringing those can be an offence. Fireworks are traditionally used on New Year's Eve. Most "proper" fireworks (marked as "Klasse II") will be available at only the end of the year; they may be used by persons only over 18 on December 31 and January 1. Really small items (marked as "Klasse I") may be used around the year by anyone.

Fishing

Fishing laws differ a lot from state to state. Obtaining a fishing license for Germans and foreigners has become a highly bureaucratic process due to animal protection laws.

Stay healthy

Sanitary and medical facilities in Germany are excellent. The phone book lists telephone numbers for various medical services, many hotlines and services exist that are open during "off hours". See the section Medical Emergencies above if you are in an emergency

Health care

If you have an non-urgent medical problem, you may choose from any local doctor. The German health system allows specialists to run their own surgery so you usually will be able to find every discipline from Dentistry to Neurology on duty within reasonable reach. In remote regions finding a doctor might require a ride to the next town but the German infrastructure allows fast connections. GPs/family doctors will usually describe themselves as "Allgemeinmediziner" - meaning "general practitioner".

Pharmacies are called "Apotheke" and are marked by a big, red "A" symbol. At least one pharmacy in the area will be open at all times (usually a different one every day), and all pharmacies will post the name and address of the pharmacy-on-duty in the window. Some medication that is sometimes freely available in other countries (e.g. antibiotics and the "morning-after pill") needs a prescription in Germany, so you may want to check before your journey. The staff of an Apotheke have specially trained personnel, as it is mandatory to have a university degree in pharmaceutics to run an Apotheke in Germany. A German pharmacist is able to offer advice on medications.

In Germany pharmaceuticals tend to be expensive, so it might be wise to ask the pharmacist for "Generika" (generic drugs): A "Generikum" is virtually the same produce, often even produced by the same pharmaceutical trust, just lacking the well-known brand name and being considerably cheaper.

Health insurance

EU citizens that are members of any public health insurance can get a European Health Insurance Card. The card is issued by your insurance provider and lets you use the public health care system in any EU country, including Germany.

If you're from outside the EU, or if you have a private health insurance, check if your insurance is valid in Germany. If not, get a travel health insurance for the trip - German health care is expensive.

Foreign insurance, even if it covers travel abroad, may not be accepted by local hospitals.

Drinking water

Tap water has a good quality, is very strict controlled and can be freely used for consumption. Exceptions have to be labelled ("Kein Trinkwasser" = not drinking water), usually found on fountains and in trains.

Swimming

Many lakes and rivers, as well as both the North Sea and Baltic Sea are generally safe for swimming. Nevertheless, while there may be no life-threatening pollutants in most bodies of water, you would do very well to inform yourself about local regulations. If you intend to swim in a large river, at best do so only on official bathing locations. Keep away from structures (power plants might cause streams you don't see from the surface) in the river or reaching from the shore into the river, also keep out of the path of ships. Both structures and ships, even if they look harmless or far away, may create major sucks underwater. Take particular care of children.

If you intend to swim in the North Sea you should inform yourselves about the tide schedules and weather conditions - getting caught in a tide can be fatal, getting lost in the mist, too. Hiking in the Wattenmeer without a local guide is extremely dangerous, so keep out if you do not really know your way around. There are no tides in the Baltic Sea.

Diseases

You should be aware of rabies (Tollwut) which has been a problem in some areas in the past, even if forestry officials combat it very seriously. If you want to go to Germany for hiking or camping you should inform yourself about the situation at your destination and take appropriate precautions. Normally, you won't have to worry about it because the main transmitting animal is the fox.

The biggest risks hikers and camper face are two diseases transmitted by ticks. In some parts of Germany there is a (low) risk of contracting tick-borne encephalitis; vaccination is advised if you plan out-door activities in high-risk areas. The risk of Lyme disease is higher and vaccination is not available. Therefore you should try to prevent tick-bites by wearing long trousers and appropriate shoes. Chemical repellents can also be effective. You should also check for ticks afterwards since the risk of transmission is lower if the tick is removed early. The safest way to remove a tick is by using a credit card sized device called a "Zeckenkarte" (tick card), wich you can get at most pharmacies. Other methods (fingers, using glue, etc.) might lead to the tick injecting even more infectious material into the wound. If in any doubt consult a doctor.

Natural danger

Today, wild animals, although they abound, are mostly very shy, so you might not get to see many. While a few wolves in Saxony and a bear in Bavaria have been sighted, their immigration from Eastern Europe caused quite a stir. In the course of events, "Bruno" (the bear) was shot, and while the wolves are under heavy protection local hunters have been suspected of killing them illegally. The most dangerous animal in Germany's forests is by far the wild boar; in particular, sows leading young are nothing to joke about. Wild boar are used to humans, since they often plunder trash cans in villages and suburbs, and their teeth can rip big wounds. If you see one, do not approach it, and back away cautiously.

Culture

Especially in the English-speaking countries, Germany and the Germans have earned themselves a reputation for being stiff and strict with rules but also hard working and efficient. If you are caught breaking the rules, this will be pointed out to you by a fellow citizen. The two exceptions to rules in Germany seem to be queues and speed limits. The sound of the German language varies depending on the particular region you are in.

More important, the German sense of "politeness" differs significantly from the Anglo-American concept of courteous remarks, small talk and political correctness. Germans highly value honesty, straight talking, being able to cope with criticism and generally not wasting other people's time. Consequently, business meetings tend to lack the introductory chit-chat. The Germans tend to be very formal people (especially in business) and titles rule the roost. Any titles (such as Dr., Prof. etc.) are used recursively, e.g. Herr Prof. Dr. Muller. Some colleagues that have worked together for many years still call each by their title and surname. When a German introduces himself to you, he/she will often simply state their surname, prompting you to call them "Mr/Mrs...". Using first names immediately may be seen as derogatory.

There is also a strong desire to achieve mutual agreement and compromise. As for the infamous efficiency: Germans are the world's leading recreationists (at an average of 30 days of paid leave per year, not counting public holidays), while maintaining one of the highest productivity rates on earth. A late-running train is considered a sign of the degradation of society.

Despite popular belief, the Germans do have a sense of humour. It is not true that Germans have no sense of irony and sarcasm. Although, it might be good to know when and how to be ironic or sarcastic. If you are around people you know well, sarcasm and irony are very common kinds of humour. Nevertheless, being ironic or sarcastic with your boss or professor is considered very inappropriate, even if he or she is.

Punctuality

General rule of thumb: be on time!

In official contexts (when conducting business) punctuality is seen not as a courtesy but as precondition for future relations. Most Germans arrive 5-10 min early and take this for granted from everyone. Arriving more than 2 min late to a meeting is seen as rude and will be tolerated only with unknowing strangers, unless you can give good reason in your defense (i.e. being stuck in heavy traffic). It is seen as a courtesy to call the other participants if you seem to be running late. Regular delays are seen as disrespect for the other participants.

For personal relations, importance attached to punctuality may differ from individual to individual. It is still always safer to be punctual than late, but the subject may be a negotiable matter: if unsure just ask 'is punctuality important to you?'. Punctuality also depends on the milieu, in a collegiate environment, for example, it is taken much less seriously. For private invitations to a home, it may even be considered more polite to be 5-15 min late as to not embarrass the host in case not everything has been prepared.

Behaving in public

Germany, especially urban Germany, is a rather tolerant society, and your common sense should be sufficient to keep yourself out of trouble.

Drinking in public is not forbidden and is even a common sight in the far west (Cologne and the Rhine-Ruhr Area). In some larger cities (such as Cologne) there are local laws that in theory make drinking alcohol in public a misdemeanor punishable with a fine of tens of euros; these laws are rarely enforced against tourists, except in cases when drinking leads to rowdy behavior (such laws have also been successfully challenged in court in several places). Behaving aggressively or disturbing the peace will earn you a conversation with German police officers and possibly a fine. Behave respectfully in places of worship and places that carry the dignity of the state (like the numerous war and holocaust memorials, parliaments and other historical sites).

Insults against other people are prohibited by German law and, if prosecuted for it, can result in jail time and a heavy fine. It is unknown how often charges are brought, but exercise common sense in all cases.

On German beaches, it's in general okay for women to bathe topless. Full nudity is tolerated everywhere though not a frequent sight outside of the numerous nudist areas (labeled "FKK" -- "Freikorperkultur", literally free body culture). These are especially common at the east German Baltic coastline, due to the high popularity of nudism in the former GDR. It's also possible to spot nudists in Berlin's public parks and in Munich's "English Garden". In most saunas nudity is compulsory and mixed sessions are common practice. One day of the week is usually only for women.

Know the locals

The general rule of thumb is that wealth rises towards the south: Baden-Wurttemberg and Bavaria are the two richest states, competing with Switzerland and Austria for quality of life. A more liberal atmosphere is dominant as the traveler goes northward: Hamburg and Berlin have had homosexual mayors, bars and clubs are open all night and the density of young artists in Berlin Friedrichshain easily surpasses that of London, Paris or Manhattan. Northern Germany is in the same cultural sphere as the Netherlands and Scandinavia with even the food and architecture more pragmatic, simple and unrefined than in the traditionally Catholic south. Contrary to the general trend, Hamburg is the richest city in Germany (and one of the ten richest regions in Europe) even outpacing trendy Munich.

The Nazi era

In the late 19th Century, Germany was arguably the most enlightened society in the world. As a mental exercise, try to think of five famous physicists, philosophers, composers or poets without mentioning a German name. This dignity and prestige faced a severe setback during the period of National Socialist rule under Hitler. Since then, the Third Reich has been a permanent scar on the German national identity, and is considered a blot on Germany's national honour and will remain so for a very long time. Every German pupil has to deal with it at about 5 different times during his or her schooling and most classes visit a concentration camp (most of these sites have been transformed into memorials). Not a single day passes without educational programmes on television and radio dealing with this period of time. Growing up in Germany, whether in the GDR or West Germany, meant and still means growing up with this bitter heritage, and every German has developed her or his own way of dealing with the public guilt. For the traveler, this can mean confusion. You might come across people (especially young ones) eager to talk to you about Germany's troubled history, feeling the urge to convince you Germany has come a long way since then. Choose adequate places to talk about the issue and be polite about it. If you are visiting friends in Berlin, you might find it hard to keep them from constantly dragging you into one of the abundant memorials.

Humour, even made innocently, is absolutely the wrong way of approaching the matter and is insulting. Even worse, what might sound funny abroad may earn you jail time (up to 3 years) and a hefty fine in Germany. All Nazi-era slogans, symbols, and gestures are forbidden (except for artistic or educational purposes, and even these are strongly regulated), and displaying them in public is illegal. Foreigners are not exempted from these laws. Do not even think about jokingly giving a stiff arm Nazi (roman) salute! For example: a German court recently had to decide if it is legal to wear a crossed out swastika (to show one's opposing the ideas of national-socialism), since it still contains a forbidden symbol!

Buddhist, Jain and Hindu visitors should note that even though the swastika is not banned as a religious symbol, which is actually the reverse of the Nazi version (the head of the religious swastika points leftward rather than to the right), you might get some strange looks from the people living there if you wear the symbol, as many Germans are not aware that the swastika is also a religious symbol. You could also end up having to explain your religious situation to the German police.

Probably the best way to deal with the issue to stay relaxed about it. If your company likes to talk about German history, use the opportunity for a sincere, maybe even very personal conversation. If you want to steer clear of awkward moments, don't bring up the matter.

However, this is not the case when you ask them about the division of Germany into East and West. Communist symbols, GDR songs and other East-German related regalia are circulated freely and many are nostalgic about the country, hence the artistic and commercial movement "Ostalgie" (nostalgia for the East). Just avoid bringing up the topic of the Berlin Wall impulsively, as it is still a very divisive issue.

Emergency services

Police - 110
Ambulance and fire service - 112
Reference Bureau in Russian - (190) 87-22-50
5 day 29.07.2021 Thursday
FUN DAY AT SEA
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6 day 30.07.2021 Friday 8:00 17:00
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HELSINKI

For those interested, a visit to the monuments of Helsinki carries on to Porvoo, the second oldest city in Finland, or to Tuusula and Järvenpää, where you can see the homes of the painter Halonen and the composer Sibelius. The morning and afternoon boat trips show just how important seafaring is to the Finnish capital: the port, the archipelago and the island of Suomenlinna.

General administration of the port Helsinki:
Olympiaranta 3, P.O. Box 800, Helsinki FIN-00099, Finland
tel.: (+358-9) 173-331; fax: (+358-9) 173-332-32

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FINLAND

General information

Capital: Helsinki (moved from Turku in 1812 and Vaasa in 1918)
Government: republic
Currency: euro (EUR)
Area: 337,030 sq km
Population: 5,427,000 (2012 est.)
Language: Finnish 90.67% (official), Swedish 5.43% (official), small Sámi- and Russian-speaking minorities
Religion: Evangelical Lutheran 76.4%, Finnish Orthodox 1.1%, other 1.4%, none 21.0%
Electricity: 230V/50Hz (European plug)
Country code: +358
Internet TLD: .fi
Time Zone: UTC +2

Finland (Finnish: Suomi, Swedish: Finland) [2] is in Northern Europe and has borders with Russia to the east, Norway to the north, and Sweden to the west.

The country is a thoroughly modern welfare state with well-planned and comfortable small towns and cities, but still offers vast areas of unspoiled nature. Finland has approximately 188,000 lakes (about 10% of the country) and a similar number of islands. In the northernmost part of the country the Northern Lights can be seen in the winter and midnight sun in the summer. Finns also claim the mythical mountain of Korvatunturi as the home of Santa Claus, and a burgeoning tourist industry in Lapland caters to Santa fans.

Despite living in one of the most technologically developed countries in the world, Finns love to head to their summer cottages in the warmer months to enjoy all manner of relaxing pastimes including sauna, swimming, fishing and barbecuing. Today, Finland has a distinctive language and culture that sets it apart from the rest of Nordic Europe.

Geography

Unlike craggy Norway and Sweden, Finland consists mostly of low, flat to rolling plains interspersed with lakes and low hills, with mountains (of a sort) only in the extreme north, while Finland's highest point, Mount Halti, rises only to a modest 1,328 meters. Finland has 187,888 lakes according to the Geological Survey of Finland, making the moniker Land of a Thousand Lakes actually an underestimation. Along the coast and in the lakes are—according to another estimate—179,584 islands, making the country an excellent boating destination as well.

Finland is not located on the Scandinavian peninsula, so despite many cultural and historical links, it is technically not a part of Scandinavia. Even Finns rarely bother to make the distinction, but a more correct term that includes Finland is the "Nordic countries" (Pohjoismaat). Still, the capital, Helsinki, has a lot of Scandinavian features, especially when it comes to the architecture of the downtown, and another Scandinavian language, Swedish, is one of the two official languages of the country.

Climate

Finland has a cold but temperate climate, which is actually comparatively mild for the latitude because of the moderating influence of the Gulf Stream. Winter, however, is just as dark as everywhere in these latitudes, and temperatures can (very rarely) reach -30°C in the south and even dip below -40°C in the north. The brief Finnish summer is considerably more pleasant, with temperatures around +20°C-+30°C (on occasion up to +35°C), and is generally the best time of year to visit. July is the warmest month. Early spring (March-April) is when the snow starts to melt and Finns like to head north for skiing and winter sports, while the transition from fall to winter in October-December — wet and dark— is the least pleasant time to visit. The southern coast where Helsinki and Turku are located is not really a winter destination, because there is no guarantee of snow even in January or February.

Due to the extreme latitude, northern parts of Finland experiences the famous Midnight Sun near the summer solstice, when (if above the Arctic Circle) the sun never sets during the night and even in southern Finland it never really gets dark. The flip side of the coin is the Arctic Night (kaamos) in the winter, when the sun never comes up at all in the North. In the South, daylight is limited to a few pitiful hours with the sun just barely climbing over the trees before it heads down again.

Culture

Väinämöinen defending the Sampo, by Akseli Gallen-Kallela (1896)

Buffeted by its neighbours for centuries and absorbing influences from west, east and south, Finnish culture as a distinct identity was only born in the 19th century: "we are not Swedes, and we do not wish to become Russian, so let us be Finns."

The Finnish founding myth and national epic is the Kalevala, a collection of old Karelian stories and poems collated in 1835 that recounts the creation of the world and the adventures of Väinämöinen, a shamanistic hero with magical powers. Kalevalan themes such as the Sampo, a mythical cornucopia, have been a major inspiration for Finnish artists, and figures, scenes, and concepts from the epic continue to colour their works.

While Finland's state religion is Lutheranism, a version of Protestant Christianity, the country has full freedom of religion and for the great majority everyday observance is lax or non-existent. Still, Luther's teachings of strong work ethic and a belief in equality remain strong, both in the good (women's rights, non-existent corruption) and the bad (conformity, high rates of depression and suicide). The Finnish character is often summed up with the word sisu, a mixture of admirable perseverance and pig-headed stubbornness in the face of adversity.

Finnish music is best known for classical composer Jean Sibelius, whose symphonies continue to grace concert halls around the world. Finnish pop, on the other hand, has only rarely ventured beyond the borders, but heavy metal bands like Nightwish and HIM have garnered some acclaim and latex monsters Lordi hit an exceedingly unlikely jackpot by taking home the Eurovision Song Contest in 2006.

In the other arts, Finland has produced noted architect and designer Alvar Aalto, authors Mika Waltari (The Egyptian) and Väinö Linna (The Unknown Soldier), and painter Akseli Gallen-Kallela, known for his Kalevala illustrations.

Stay safe

Risks in Finland
Crime/violence: Low
Most violence is alcohol-related and/or domestic – walking in the street is usually safe even in the night
Authorities/corruption: Low
The police are generally courteous and speak some English, offering bribes will get you into serious trouble.
Transportation: Low to Moderate
Icy roads and sidewalks in the winter, mooses and other animals occasionally crossing the roads
Health: Low
Tick and mosquito bites
Nature: Low to Moderate
Blizzards in the winter, getting lost when hiking in the forests

Crime

Finland enjoys a comparatively low crime rate and is, generally, a very safe place to travel. Use common sense at night, particularly on Friday and Saturday when the youth of Finland hit the streets to get drunk and in some unfortunate cases look for trouble. The easiest way to get beaten is to pay a visit at a grill kiosk after bars and pubs have closed and start arguing with drunken people. It is, anyway statistically more likely that your home country is less safe than Finland, so heed whatever warnings you would do in your own country and you will have no worries. If you yourself run in with the law, remember that Finland is one of the world's least corrupt countries and you will not be able to buy yourself out of trouble. Finnish police never requires a cash payment of fines which it gives. Do not ever give money to person who presents him/herself as a police officer. An obvious way to stay out of most kinds of trouble is to stay sober and act businesslike, when dealing with police, security or the like.

Racism is a generally of minor concern, especially in the cosmopolitan major cities, but there have been a few rare but highly publicized incidents of black, romani & Arab people getting beaten up, attacks against immigrants and group fights with native Finns & immigrants. Sometimes there might be group fights where immigrants do their part as well, but that's very uncommon. The average visitor, though, is highly unlikely to encounter any problems.

Pickpockets are rare, but not unheard of, especially in the busy tourist months in the summer and almost always done by foreigners. Most Finns carry their wallets in their pockets or purses and feel quite safe while doing it. Parents often leave their sleeping babies in a baby carriage on the street while visiting a shop, and in the countryside cars and house doors are often left unlocked. On the other hand, you have to be careful if you buy or rent a bicycle. Bicycle thieves are everywhere, never leave your bike unlocked even for a minute.

In case of emergency

112 is the national phone number for all emergency services, including police, and it does not require an area code, regardless of what kind of phone you're using. The number works on any mobile phone, whether it is keylocked or not, and with or without a SIM card. If a cellphone challenges you with a PIN code, you can simply type in 112 as a PIN code - most phones will give a choice to call the number. This is not possible with all phones!

For inquiries about poisons or toxins (from mushrooms, plants, medicine or other chemicals) call the national Toxin Information Office at (09) 471 977.

Stay healthy

You're unlikely to have stomach troubles in Finland, since tap water is always drinkable (and generally quite tasty as well), and hygiene standards in restaurants are strict. If you have any sort of allergies, many restaurants often display in the menu the most common ingredients that people typically are allergic to. Examples: (L) = Lactose free, (VL) = Low Lactose, (G) = Gluten free, if you are unsure just ask the waitress or restaurant staff.

There are few serious health risks in Finland. Your primary enemy especially in wintertime will be the cold, particularly if trekking in Lapland. Finland is a sparsely populated country and, if heading out into the wilderness, it is imperative that you register your travel plans with somebody who can inform rescue services if you fail to return. Always keep your mobile phone with you if you run into trouble. Dress warmly in layers and bring along a good pair of sunglasses to prevent snow blindness, especially in the spring and if you plan to spend whole days outdoors. Always keep a map, a compass and preferably a GPS with you while trekking in the wilderness. Take extra precautions in Lapland, where it can be several days' hike to the nearest house or road. Weather can change rapidly, and even though the sun is shining now, you can have a medium sized blizzard on your hands (no joke!) an hour or two later.

If out on the lakes and sea, remember that wind and water will cool you faster than cold air, and keeping dry means keeping warm. A person that falls into cold water (close to zero °C) can die in a few minutes. Safety in small boats: Don't drink alcohol, wear a life vest at all times, if your boat capsizes - keep clothes on to stay warm, cling to the boat if possible (swim only if shore is a few hundred meters away, never try to swim in cold water below 20°C).

Finland hosts a number of irritating insects, but if you are planning to stay in the centres of major cities, you are unlikely to encounter them. A serious nuisance in summer are mosquitoes (hyttynen), hordes of which inhabit Finland (particularly Lapland) in summer, especially after rains. While they carry no malaria or other nasty diseases, many species of Finnish mosquitoes make a distinctive (and highly irritating) whining sound while tracking their prey, and their bites are very itchy. As usual, mosquitoes are most active around dawn and sunset — which, in the land of the Midnight Sun, may mean most of the night in summer. There are many different types of mosquito repellants available which can be bought from almost any shop. Another summer nuisance are gadflies (paarma), whose bites can leave a mark lasting for days, even for month. A more recent introduction to Finnish summers are deer keds (hirvikarpanen), that can be particularly nasty if they manage to shed their wings and burrow into hair (although they rarely bite as humans are not their intended targets, and mainly exist in deep forests). Use repellent, ensure your tent has good mosquito netting and consider prophylaxis with cetirizine (brand names include Zyrtec, Heinix, Cetirizin Ratiopharm), an anti-allergen that (if taken in advance!) will neutralize your reaction to any bites. Topical anti-allergens in the form of gels and creams are also available as over-the-counter medication. A flea comb can be useful for removing deer keds. As in other European countries, mites can become a major annoyance, if walking bare-footed. As a remedy, Permethrin creme is available from pharmacies without prescription.

In southern Finland, especially Aland, the Lappeenranta-Parikkala-Imatra-axis and areas near Turku's coast, there are ticks (punkki) which appear on summertime and can transmit Lyme's disease (borreliosis) and viral encephalitis through a bite. Although these incidents are relatively rare and not all ticks carry the disease, it's advisable to wear dark trousers rather than shorts if you plan to walk through dense and/or tall grass areas (the usual habitat for ticks). You can buy special tick tweezers from the pharmacy (punkkipihdit) which can be used to remove a tick safely if you happen to get bitten. You should remove the tick from your skin as quickly as possible and preferably with the tick tweezers to reduce the risks of getting an infection. If the tick bite starts to form red rings on the skin around it or if you experience other symptoms relating to the bite, you should visit a doctor as soon as possible.

The only poisonous insects in Finland are wasps (ampiainen), bees (mehilainen) and bumblebees (kimalainen). Their stings can be painful, but are not dangerous, unless you receive several stings or if you are allergic to it.

There's only one type of poisonous snake in Finland, the European adder (kyy or kyykaarme), which has a distinct zig-zag type of figure on its back, although some of them are almost completely black. The snake occurs across Finland all the way from the south to up north in Lapland. Although their bites are extremely rarely fatal (except for small children and allergic persons), one should be careful in the summertime especially when walking in the forests or on open fields at the countryside. Walk so that you make the ground vibrate and snakes will go away, they attack people only when somebody frightens them. If you are bitten by a snake, always get medical assistance. If you are planning to travel in the nature on summertime, it's advisable to buy a kyypakkaus ("Adder pack", a medicine set which contains a couple of hydrocortisone pills). It can be bought from any Finnish pharmacy. It is used to reduce the reactions after an adder bite, however it's still advisable to see a doctor even after you've taken the hydrocortisone pills. The kyypakkaus can also be used to relieve the pain, swelling and other allergic reactions caused by bee stings. If you see an ant nest, ants have quite likely taken care of all snakes nearby.

As for other dangerous wildlife, there's not much more than a few extremely rare encounters with brown bears (karhu) and wolves (susi) in the wilderness. Both of these animals are listed as endangered species. Contrary to popular belief abroad, there are no polar bears in Finland, let alone polar bears walking on the city streets. The brown bear, which occurs across Finland, has been spotted on a few very exceptional occasions even in the edges of the largest Finnish cities, but normally bears try to avoid humans whenever possible. The brown bear hibernates during the winter. In the least densely populated areas near the Russian border, there has been some rare incidents of wolf attacks - mainly lone, hungry wolves attacking domestic animals and pets. During the past 100 years there has been one recorded case of a human killed by a large predator. In general, there's no need to worry about dangerous encounters with wild beasts in Finland, other than traffic accidents.

In winter, lakes and the sea are frozen. Walking, skating or even driving a car on the ice is commonly seen, but fatal accidents aren't unheard of either, so ask and heed local advice. If the ice fails, it is difficult to get back out of the water, as the ice will be slippery. Small ice picks are sold as safety equipment (a pair of steel needles with bright plastic grips, connected with a safety line).

Given the size of the Finnish population, a surprisingly high number of people drown in the lakes every year in summer. As pointed out by an annual public awareness campaign (partly Finnish black humor, partly the truth), the stereotypical accident involves an intoxicated fisherman who capsizes his boat while standing up to pee.

Respect

Fishing Finnish style
It was a beautiful summer day, and Virtanen and Lahtinen were in a little rowboat in the middle of a lake, fishing. Two hours passed, both men sitting quietly, and then Lahtinen said "Nice weather today." Virtanen grunted and stared intently at his fishing rod.

Two more hours passed. Lahtinen said, "Gee, the fish aren't biting today." Virtanen shot back: "That's because you talk too much."

Drinking Finnish style
Virtanen and Lahtinen decided to go drinking at their lakeside cottage. For a couple hours, both men sat silently and emptied their bottles. After a few more hours, Lahtinen decided to break the ice: "Isn't it nice to have some quality time?" Virtanen glared at Lahtinen and answered: "Are we here to drink or talk?"

Finns generally have a relaxed attitude towards manners and dressing up, and a visitor is unlikely to offend them by accident. Common sense is quite enough in most situations, but there are a couple of things that one should keep in mind:

Finns are a famously taciturn people who have little time for small talk or social niceties, so don't expect to hear phrases like "thank you" or "you're welcome" too often. The Finnish language lacks a specific word for "please" so Finns sometimes forget to use it when speaking English, even when they don't mean to be rude. Also lacking in Finnish is the distinction between "he" and "she", which may lead to confusing errors. Loud speaking and loud laughing is not normal in Finland and may irritate some Finns. Occasional silence is considered a part of the conversation, not a sign of hostility or irritation.

All that said, Finns are generally helpful and polite, and glad to help confused tourists if asked. The lack of niceties has more to do with the fact that in Finnish culture, honesty is highly regarded and that one should open one's mouth only to mean what one is about to say. Do not say "maybe later" when there is no later time to be expected. A visitor is unlikely to receive many compliments from Finns, but can be fairly sure that the compliments received are genuine. Especially younger Finns speak usually excellent English due to the policy of subtitling foreign language movies and TV series instead of dubbing them.

Another highly regarded virtue in Finland is punctuality. A visitor should apologize even for being a few minutes late. Being late for longer usually requires a short explanation. 10 min is usually considered the threshold between being "acceptably" late and very late. Some will leave arranged meeting points after 15 min. With the advent of mobile phones, sending a text message even if you are only a few minutes late is nowadays a norm. Being late for a business meeting, even by 1 or 2 min, is considered rude.

The standard greeting is a handshake. Hugs are only exchanged between family members and close friends in some situations, kisses, even on the cheek, practically never.

If you are invited to a Finnish home, the only bad mistake visitors can make is not to remove their shoes. For much of the year, shoes will carry a lot of snow or mud. Therefore, it is customary to remove them, even during the summer. During the wet season you can ask to put your shoes somewhere to dry during your stay. Very formal occasions at private homes, such as baptisms (often conducted at home in Finland) or somebody's 50th birthday party, are exceptions to these rules. In the wintertime, this sometimes means that the guests bring separate clean shoes and put them on while leaving outdoor shoes to the hall. Bringing gifts such as pastry, wine, or flowers to the host is appreciated, but not required.

In Finland, there is little in the way of a dress code. The general attire is casual and even in business meetings the attire is somewhat more relaxed than in some other countries. Topless sunbathing is accepted but not very common on beaches in the summer, while going au naturel is common in lakeside saunas and dedicated nudist beaches.

Emergency services

Ambulance, fire, police - 112
Police - 10022
Address Referral Service (phone numbers, addresses) - 118
Lost and Found - 189-3180
7 day 31.07.2021 Saturday 7:00
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ST. PETERSBURG

Visits to St. Petersburg take you through famous streets, and well-known buildings and cathedrals: from Peter and Paul Fortress to the Winter Palace and the river Neva such as the Smolny Institute and the Hermitage. You can visit the home of Peter the Great and Catherine's Palace in Pushkin. A boat trip will take you along the canals, after visiting the Yussopov Palace. Classical ballet performances and folk dancing

General administration of the port St. Petersburg:
10 Gapsalskaya Str., St. Petersburg 198035, Russia
tel.: (+7-812) 718-89-51; fax: (+7-812) 327-40-20

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RUSSIA

General information

Capital: Moscow Government: Republic
Currency: Russian Ruble (Pуб.)
Area total: 17,098,242 km2
water: 720,500 km2
land: 16,377,742 km2
Population: 143,200,000 (2012 estimate)
Language: Russian
Religion: Russian Orthodox 46.5%, Muslim 6.5%, Spiritual 25.1%, Atheist 12.9, Others 9%.
Electricity: 220V/50Hz (European plug)
Country code: +7
Internet TLD: .ru
Time Zone: UTC +3 to UTC +12

Russia (Russian: Россия) is by far the largest country in the world, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area, spanning Eastern Europe and northern Asia, sharing land borders with Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, by administering the Kaliningrad Oblast exclave on the Baltic coast, Belarus, and Ukraine to the west, Georgia (including the disputed regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia) and Azerbaijan to the southwest, and Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, North Korea to the east and much of the south. While geographically mostly in Asia, the bulk of Russia's population is concentrated in the European part, and culturally, Russia is unmistakably European.

Terrain

The terrain consists of broad plains with low hills west of the Urals; vast coniferous forest and tundra in Siberia; uplands and mountains along southern border regions; mountainous and volcanic throughout much of the Russian Far East.

Climate

Russia is a cold country, but there are always shades in the grey. The contrast of tundra's permafrost, which occupies 65% of Russian land and exotic Black sea coast has in between the continental climate, which is the most inhabited zone of European Russia, southern regions of Siberia and the Russian Far East. Its summers are always warm with a good portion of hot days enabling outdoor swimming in many of rivers, lakes and the seas.

Measurement units

Russian system of measurement is metric, the same as European one. Expect to encounter Centigrades, kilometers, kilogrammes, litres and so on. The archaic units for distance are versta and vershok, for weight — pud.

Talk

Russian is the lingua franca: across Russia, you'll find people who speak it. Russians are proud of their culturally diverse language. The language is a member of the Slavic language family, with the minor exception being that it is further sub-classified into the East Slavic family, thus being closely related to Ukrainian and Belarusian. Although related to other Slavic languages such as Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, to name a few, they are not mutually intelligible, but still share a slight similarity. Russian is considered one of the most difficult languages for an English speaker to learn, mostly because of a very complicated grammar. However, it is less difficult to learn than its other language neighbors, Ukrainian and Belarusian. You will not learn the language in a short time; concentrate on learning some key "courtesy" phrases, and the Cyrillic alphabet (e.g. "ресторан" spells "restoran" in the Roman alphabet, which means "restaurant") so you have a chance to recognize street names, labels and public signs.

Learning Russian is quite hard going, despite Russian sharing an ancestral Indo-European root language with English. The script, Cyrillic, uses many letters of the Latin alphabet but assigns many of them different sounds. The language employs three grammatical genders (masculine, feminine and neuter), six grammatical cases, and free-fall stress, all of which conspire to make it a difficult prospect for the native English speaker.

English is becoming a requirement in the business world, and many younger Russians in the largest cities (such as Moscow or St. Petersburg) know enough English to communicate. Outside these areas English is generally nonexistent, so take a phrase book and be prepared for slow communication with a lot of interpretive gestures.

Russia has hundreds of languages and claims to support most of them. Soviet linguists documented them in the first few decades of the USSR and made sure they were given Cyrillic writing systems (except Karelian, Veps, Ingrian, Votic and Ter Sami). Some were made local co-official languages. Southern Russia is lined with Turkic, Mongolian, and Tungusic language; the northern with Finnic and Samoyed tounges. The southwest corner has a variety of Caucasian languages; the northeast has a few Chukotko-Kamchatkan languages. However, a smattering of Russian is will greatly aid travellers no matter where they are. The Russian Orthodox religion is one of the oldest branches of Christianity in the world and continues to have a very large following, despite having been repressed during the communist period. The language spoken in Russian Orthodox church services is Old Church Slavonic, which differs considerably from modern Russian.

Russia hosts several cultural and educational centers of German, French, English, Spanish, Japanese and other foreign languages.

    French centers belong to Alliance Francaise and are located in Yekaterinburg, Irkutsk, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Novosibirsk, Perm, Rostov-on-Don, Samara, Saratov, Tolyatti, Vladivostok.
  • German is taught at Sprachlernzentern in Barnaul, Yaroslavl, Yekaterinburg, Kaliningrad, Kemerovo, Krasnoyarsk, Nizhny Novgorod, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Samara, Sergiev Posad, Tolyatti, Tomsk, Vladimir, Volgograd, Volzhsky.
  • IELTS schools are numerous and one can find them in all big and small cities, the number of accredited exams centers, however is shorter but enough.
  • The official centers of Japanese language include Khabarovsk, Vladivostok, Nizhny Novgorod, Saint Petersburg, Moscow.
  • Institute of Cervantes is open in Moscow.

Cultural sights

Russia has several of the world's greatest museums, particularly in the field of the visual arts. The Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg is the true star, with an enormous collection amassed first by the wealthy tsars (particularly by its founder, Catherine the Great) and later by the Soviets and the Red Army (which seized enormous treasure from the Nazis, who in turn had seized their bounty from their wars around the globe). Equally impressive is the edifice housing the collection on display, the magnificent Winter Palace of the Romanov Dynasty. Saint Petersburg's often overlooked Russian Museum should also be a priority, as it has the country's second best collection of purely Russian art, from icons of the tenth century on through the modern movements, in all of which revolutionary Russia led the charge ahead of the rest of the world. Moscow's art museums, only slightly less well known, include the Tretyakov Gallery (the premiere collection of Russian art) and the Pushkin Museum of Western Art.

Other museum exhibitions certainly worth seeking out are the collections of antiquities in Saint Petersburg and Moscow, particularly at the Hermitage Museum, and the Armory in the Moscow Kremlin. For military buffs, Russian military museums are often fantastic, truly best-in-the-world, regardless of whether you are at one of the main ones in the Moscow—the Central Armed Forces Museum, Kubinka Tank Museum, Central Air Force Museum, Museum of the Great Patriotic War (WWII), or way off in the provinces. The other category in which Russian museums outshine the rest of the world would be within the literary and musical spheres. Nary a town visited, if only for a day, by Alexander Pushkin is without some small museum dedicated to his life and works. The best of the big city museums include the Bulgakov Museum in Moscow and the Anna Akhmatova, Pushkin, and Dostoevsky museums in Saint Petersburg. Great adventures await in quieter parts of the country, at Dostoevsky's summer house in Staraya Russa, Tolstoy's "inaccessible literary stronghold" at Yasnaya Polyana, Chekhov's country estate at Melikhovo, Tchaikovsky's house in Klin or remote hometown of Votkinsk in Udmurtia, Rakhmaninov's summer home in Ivanovka, Pushkin's estate at Pushkinskie Gory, or Turgenev's country estate at Spasskoe-Lutovinovo near Mtsensk. The best museums are in the countryside. For classical music lovers, the apartment museums of various nineteenth and century composers in Saint Petersburg are worth more than just nostalgic wanderings—they often have small performances by incredible musicians.

Kazan's Kul-Sharif Mosque, largest in Europe

All tourists in Russia find themselves looking at a lot of churches. Ecclesiastical architecture is a significant source of pride among Russians, and the onion dome is without question a preeminent national symbol. The twentieth century, sadly, saw cultural vandalism in the destruction of said architecture on an unprecedented scale. But the immense number of beautiful old monasteries and churches ensured that an enormous collection remains. The best known, as usual, are in Saint Petersburg and Moscow, in particular the old baroque Church on the Spilled Blood, Alexander Nevsky Lavra, and the monumental Kazan and Saint Isaac's Cathedrals in the former, and Saint Basil's Cathedral and the massive Church of the Annunciation in the latter. The spiritual home of the Russian Orthodox Church is to be found at the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius in Sergiev Posad on the Golden Ring circuit (lavra is the designation given to the most important monasteries, of which there are only two in the country), although the physical headquarters of the Church is at Danilov Monastery in Moscow. Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery in Vologda Oblast is often considered Russia's second most important (and is a neat way to get off the beaten track). Other particularly famous churches and monasteries are to be found at Saint Sophia's Cathedral in Novgorod, the Cathedral of the Assumption in Vladimir, the fascinating Old Cathedral of Königsberg (home to Immanuel Kant's tomb) in Kaliningrad, Novodevichy Convent in Moscow, Optina Putsin (the basis for Father Zossima's monastery in The Brothers Karamazov), and Volokolamsk Monastery in West MOscow Oblast. Kizhi Pogost on Lake Onega and Valaam Monastery on Lake Ladoga are also popular sites, especially with those cruising between Saint Petersburg and Moscow.

Ecclesiastical architecture does not, however, end with the Russian Orthodox Church—Russia also has a wealth of Islamic and Buddhist architecture. The nation's most important mosques are the Qolsärif Mosque in Kazan (the largest mosque in Europe) and the Blue Mosque in Saint Petersburg (originally the largest mosque in Europe!). Notably absent from that list is the Moscow Cathedral Mosque, which was formerly considered the principal mosque in the country, but was very controversially demolished in 2011. Russia's most prominent Buddhist temples are in both Kalmykia—Europe's lone Buddhist republic, and the areas closer to Mongolia, especially around Ulan Ude in Buryatia and Kyzyl, Tuva.

Natural attractions

While the distances are great between them, Russia's natural wonders are impressive and worth seeking out for nature lovers. The best known destinations are far to the east in Siberia, with Lake Baikal known as its "jewel." At the extreme eastern end of Russia, nearly all the way to Japan and Alaska, is wild Kamchatka, where you will find the Valley of the Geisers, lakes of acid, volcanoes, and grizzlies galore.

Yugyd Va National Park, in the Komi Virgin Forests

Other highlights of the Far East include the idyllic (if kind of cold) Kuril Islands to the south of Kamchatka, whale watching off the coast of arctic Wrangel Island, the remote Sikhote-Alin mountain range, home to the Amur Tiger, and beautiful Sakhalin. The nature reserves throughout these parts are spectacular as well, but all will require permits in advance and specialized tours.

The northern half of Russia stretching thousands of miles from the Komi Republic through Kamchatka is basically empty wilderness, mostly mountainous, and always beautiful. Getting to these areas is problematic, as most are not served by any roads, infrastructure, or really anything else. Russia's great north-south rivers are the main arteries for anyone moving through the area: the Pechora, Ob, Yenisey, Lena, and Kolyma. Beyond that, expect to be in canoes, helicopters, and military issue jeeps will be the only way of getting around, and you'll likely want to go with a guide.

Russia's other mountainous territory is in its extreme south, in the Northern Caucasus. There you will find Europe's tallest mountains, which tower in height over the Alps, including mighty Elbrus. Favorite Russian resorts in the area include those at Sochi (which will host the next Winter Olympic Games) and Dombai. As you go further east in the North Caucasus, the landscapes become ever more dramatic, from the lush forested gorges and snow capped peaks of Chechnya to the stark desert mountains of Dagestan, sloping downwards to the Caspian Sea.

Throughout the entire country, there are over a hundred National Parks and Nature Reserves (zapovedniki). The former are open to the public, and considerably more wild and undeveloped than you would find in, say, the United States. The latter are preserved principally for scientific research and are often not possible to visit. Permits are issued for certain reserves, but only through licensed tour operators. If you have the opportunity, though, take it! Some of the most spectacular parks are in the aforementioned Kamchatka, but also in the Urals, particularly in the Altai Mountains (Altai Republic and Altai Krai).

Stay safe

Largely because of the transition from state socialism to market capitalism, Russia did experience a rise in criminal activity during the 1990s. As those who controlled capital through the state had to reconfigure their business operations towards a free enterprise rationality, profiteering and scams have increased. The truth is that crime was greatly exaggerated in the media, and for the average tourist Moscow, Saint Petersburg and the rest of Russia are actually just as safe as most major European cities.

You should be noted that Russia is a pioneer country in fighting against narcotics. Russia has a well-developed anti-narcotics enforcement system as well as a set of regulations against uses and carrying of narcotics as tough as Hong Kong and Singapore, drug-trafficking into Russia can be brought a sentence of at least several decades.

Stay healthy

Medical facilities in general vary. A majority of hospitals are extremely well equipped, clean, and possess all of the latest technologies, while there are some that are well below western standards, with shortages in medication and neglected equipment.

Ensure that all of your vaccinations are up to date, and you have sufficient amounts of any prescription medicine you may be taking. Pharmacies are common in major cities and carry quality western medications.

Quality of tap water varies around the country, and may even be variable within cities. In old buildings tap water can be non-potable. In the big cities of European Russia, the water is clean of biological contaminants, but often suffers from the presence of heavy metals, due to outdated city plumbing. If you can't buy bottled water, boil water before drinking, or better yet use a special filter for tap water, which you could buy in any supermarket. Bottled water costs only about 20-30 rubles ($0.8-$1.1 USD) for 2 liters, but watch out for refilled bottles being sold.

Besides local doctors (generally good quality but often working in poor facilities) there are several Western-run medical centers in major Russian cities. These all have different policies for payment (some take credit cards, some require payment in cash up front, even if you have insurance) so make sure you know what you are paying for (and when and how) before you agree to any services.

Be careful not to buy fake vodka, which can be dangerous (seriously here, 'dangerous' doesn't mean 'strong'; it can contain methanol). Only buy vodka in large stores or specialized ones like Aromatnyi Mir [82] in Moscow, with the sticker over the cap and/or the region's barcode on the side.

Significant number of food stores, including some food/goods chains, standalone food shops, kiosks and food markets are rumourously famous for selling food of bad quality, including out-of-date or even out-of-date with expire date reprinted with a later date. Although most of them are quite good. When possible, check the quality of the food with visual observation, don't especially trust expire date labels, that are added in a replaceable way. Also you can take note of what others are buying, sometimes you can even ask other buyers which product is better, it's considered normal. That could help you make a good choice. Examples of usually bad quality food sold are most of fish products, including smoked and spicy salted (be especially care), pre-made salads, fresh vegetables and fruits, when you can't handpick them (at markets check them after shop-women picked them for you, you can usually change those you don't like, at shops they usually don't allow to change, and use to add some bad ones into bag), vegetables conservatives sold with discount (and with older production date usually), cheaper dairy products, though less consistent, checking what others buy may help you here. Cheaper juices often come diluted with water, the rule of thumb is buying those with "Сад" (Sad/Garden) word in the name. If you are unsure, don't buy it, or if already bought, just throw it away.

The country's HIV prevalence is steadily rising, mainly for prostitutes, young adults and drug users. Be safe.

Respect

Russians are well-mannered people. They are usually reserved with strangers, but once gained acquaintance, especially while drinking, they become very frank and sincere.

Emergency services (landlines)

01 - firefighting and lifeguard services.
02 - police.
03 - emergency medical aid.
04 - emergency service of gas supply system.

Emergency services (mobile phone)

First dial 112 and after hearing the voice dial the extra number:
1 - firefighting and lifeguard services.
2 - police.
3 - emergency medical aid.
4 - emergency service of gas supply system.
8 day 01.08.2021 Sunday 18:00
X
ST. PETERSBURG

Visits to St. Petersburg take you through famous streets, and well-known buildings and cathedrals: from Peter and Paul Fortress to the Winter Palace and the river Neva such as the Smolny Institute and the Hermitage. You can visit the home of Peter the Great and Catherine's Palace in Pushkin. A boat trip will take you along the canals, after visiting the Yussopov Palace. Classical ballet performances and folk dancing

General administration of the port St. Petersburg:
10 Gapsalskaya Str., St. Petersburg 198035, Russia
tel.: (+7-812) 718-89-51; fax: (+7-812) 327-40-20

X
RUSSIA

General information

Capital: Moscow Government: Republic
Currency: Russian Ruble (Pуб.)
Area total: 17,098,242 km2
water: 720,500 km2
land: 16,377,742 km2
Population: 143,200,000 (2012 estimate)
Language: Russian
Religion: Russian Orthodox 46.5%, Muslim 6.5%, Spiritual 25.1%, Atheist 12.9, Others 9%.
Electricity: 220V/50Hz (European plug)
Country code: +7
Internet TLD: .ru
Time Zone: UTC +3 to UTC +12

Russia (Russian: Россия) is by far the largest country in the world, covering more than one-eighth of the Earth's inhabited land area, spanning Eastern Europe and northern Asia, sharing land borders with Norway, Finland, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, by administering the Kaliningrad Oblast exclave on the Baltic coast, Belarus, and Ukraine to the west, Georgia (including the disputed regions of Abkhazia and South Ossetia) and Azerbaijan to the southwest, and Kazakhstan, China, Mongolia, North Korea to the east and much of the south. While geographically mostly in Asia, the bulk of Russia's population is concentrated in the European part, and culturally, Russia is unmistakably European.

Terrain

The terrain consists of broad plains with low hills west of the Urals; vast coniferous forest and tundra in Siberia; uplands and mountains along southern border regions; mountainous and volcanic throughout much of the Russian Far East.

Climate

Russia is a cold country, but there are always shades in the grey. The contrast of tundra's permafrost, which occupies 65% of Russian land and exotic Black sea coast has in between the continental climate, which is the most inhabited zone of European Russia, southern regions of Siberia and the Russian Far East. Its summers are always warm with a good portion of hot days enabling outdoor swimming in many of rivers, lakes and the seas.

Measurement units

Russian system of measurement is metric, the same as European one. Expect to encounter Centigrades, kilometers, kilogrammes, litres and so on. The archaic units for distance are versta and vershok, for weight — pud.

Talk

Russian is the lingua franca: across Russia, you'll find people who speak it. Russians are proud of their culturally diverse language. The language is a member of the Slavic language family, with the minor exception being that it is further sub-classified into the East Slavic family, thus being closely related to Ukrainian and Belarusian. Although related to other Slavic languages such as Bulgarian, Croatian, Czech, to name a few, they are not mutually intelligible, but still share a slight similarity. Russian is considered one of the most difficult languages for an English speaker to learn, mostly because of a very complicated grammar. However, it is less difficult to learn than its other language neighbors, Ukrainian and Belarusian. You will not learn the language in a short time; concentrate on learning some key "courtesy" phrases, and the Cyrillic alphabet (e.g. "ресторан" spells "restoran" in the Roman alphabet, which means "restaurant") so you have a chance to recognize street names, labels and public signs.

Learning Russian is quite hard going, despite Russian sharing an ancestral Indo-European root language with English. The script, Cyrillic, uses many letters of the Latin alphabet but assigns many of them different sounds. The language employs three grammatical genders (masculine, feminine and neuter), six grammatical cases, and free-fall stress, all of which conspire to make it a difficult prospect for the native English speaker.

English is becoming a requirement in the business world, and many younger Russians in the largest cities (such as Moscow or St. Petersburg) know enough English to communicate. Outside these areas English is generally nonexistent, so take a phrase book and be prepared for slow communication with a lot of interpretive gestures.

Russia has hundreds of languages and claims to support most of them. Soviet linguists documented them in the first few decades of the USSR and made sure they were given Cyrillic writing systems (except Karelian, Veps, Ingrian, Votic and Ter Sami). Some were made local co-official languages. Southern Russia is lined with Turkic, Mongolian, and Tungusic language; the northern with Finnic and Samoyed tounges. The southwest corner has a variety of Caucasian languages; the northeast has a few Chukotko-Kamchatkan languages. However, a smattering of Russian is will greatly aid travellers no matter where they are. The Russian Orthodox religion is one of the oldest branches of Christianity in the world and continues to have a very large following, despite having been repressed during the communist period. The language spoken in Russian Orthodox church services is Old Church Slavonic, which differs considerably from modern Russian.

Russia hosts several cultural and educational centers of German, French, English, Spanish, Japanese and other foreign languages.

    French centers belong to Alliance Francaise and are located in Yekaterinburg, Irkutsk, Kazan, Nizhny Novgorod, Novosibirsk, Perm, Rostov-on-Don, Samara, Saratov, Tolyatti, Vladivostok.
  • German is taught at Sprachlernzentern in Barnaul, Yaroslavl, Yekaterinburg, Kaliningrad, Kemerovo, Krasnoyarsk, Nizhny Novgorod, Novosibirsk, Omsk, Samara, Sergiev Posad, Tolyatti, Tomsk, Vladimir, Volgograd, Volzhsky.
  • IELTS schools are numerous and one can find them in all big and small cities, the number of accredited exams centers, however is shorter but enough.
  • The official centers of Japanese language include Khabarovsk, Vladivostok, Nizhny Novgorod, Saint Petersburg, Moscow.
  • Institute of Cervantes is open in Moscow.

Cultural sights

Russia has several of the world's greatest museums, particularly in the field of the visual arts. The Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg is the true star, with an enormous collection amassed first by the wealthy tsars (particularly by its founder, Catherine the Great) and later by the Soviets and the Red Army (which seized enormous treasure from the Nazis, who in turn had seized their bounty from their wars around the globe). Equally impressive is the edifice housing the collection on display, the magnificent Winter Palace of the Romanov Dynasty. Saint Petersburg's often overlooked Russian Museum should also be a priority, as it has the country's second best collection of purely Russian art, from icons of the tenth century on through the modern movements, in all of which revolutionary Russia led the charge ahead of the rest of the world. Moscow's art museums, only slightly less well known, include the Tretyakov Gallery (the premiere collection of Russian art) and the Pushkin Museum of Western Art.

Other museum exhibitions certainly worth seeking out are the collections of antiquities in Saint Petersburg and Moscow, particularly at the Hermitage Museum, and the Armory in the Moscow Kremlin. For military buffs, Russian military museums are often fantastic, truly best-in-the-world, regardless of whether you are at one of the main ones in the Moscow—the Central Armed Forces Museum, Kubinka Tank Museum, Central Air Force Museum, Museum of the Great Patriotic War (WWII), or way off in the provinces. The other category in which Russian museums outshine the rest of the world would be within the literary and musical spheres. Nary a town visited, if only for a day, by Alexander Pushkin is without some small museum dedicated to his life and works. The best of the big city museums include the Bulgakov Museum in Moscow and the Anna Akhmatova, Pushkin, and Dostoevsky museums in Saint Petersburg. Great adventures await in quieter parts of the country, at Dostoevsky's summer house in Staraya Russa, Tolstoy's "inaccessible literary stronghold" at Yasnaya Polyana, Chekhov's country estate at Melikhovo, Tchaikovsky's house in Klin or remote hometown of Votkinsk in Udmurtia, Rakhmaninov's summer home in Ivanovka, Pushkin's estate at Pushkinskie Gory, or Turgenev's country estate at Spasskoe-Lutovinovo near Mtsensk. The best museums are in the countryside. For classical music lovers, the apartment museums of various nineteenth and century composers in Saint Petersburg are worth more than just nostalgic wanderings—they often have small performances by incredible musicians.

Kazan's Kul-Sharif Mosque, largest in Europe

All tourists in Russia find themselves looking at a lot of churches. Ecclesiastical architecture is a significant source of pride among Russians, and the onion dome is without question a preeminent national symbol. The twentieth century, sadly, saw cultural vandalism in the destruction of said architecture on an unprecedented scale. But the immense number of beautiful old monasteries and churches ensured that an enormous collection remains. The best known, as usual, are in Saint Petersburg and Moscow, in particular the old baroque Church on the Spilled Blood, Alexander Nevsky Lavra, and the monumental Kazan and Saint Isaac's Cathedrals in the former, and Saint Basil's Cathedral and the massive Church of the Annunciation in the latter. The spiritual home of the Russian Orthodox Church is to be found at the Trinity Lavra of St. Sergius in Sergiev Posad on the Golden Ring circuit (lavra is the designation given to the most important monasteries, of which there are only two in the country), although the physical headquarters of the Church is at Danilov Monastery in Moscow. Kirillo-Belozersky Monastery in Vologda Oblast is often considered Russia's second most important (and is a neat way to get off the beaten track). Other particularly famous churches and monasteries are to be found at Saint Sophia's Cathedral in Novgorod, the Cathedral of the Assumption in Vladimir, the fascinating Old Cathedral of Königsberg (home to Immanuel Kant's tomb) in Kaliningrad, Novodevichy Convent in Moscow, Optina Putsin (the basis for Father Zossima's monastery in The Brothers Karamazov), and Volokolamsk Monastery in West MOscow Oblast. Kizhi Pogost on Lake Onega and Valaam Monastery on Lake Ladoga are also popular sites, especially with those cruising between Saint Petersburg and Moscow.

Ecclesiastical architecture does not, however, end with the Russian Orthodox Church—Russia also has a wealth of Islamic and Buddhist architecture. The nation's most important mosques are the Qolsärif Mosque in Kazan (the largest mosque in Europe) and the Blue Mosque in Saint Petersburg (originally the largest mosque in Europe!). Notably absent from that list is the Moscow Cathedral Mosque, which was formerly considered the principal mosque in the country, but was very controversially demolished in 2011. Russia's most prominent Buddhist temples are in both Kalmykia—Europe's lone Buddhist republic, and the areas closer to Mongolia, especially around Ulan Ude in Buryatia and Kyzyl, Tuva.

Natural attractions

While the distances are great between them, Russia's natural wonders are impressive and worth seeking out for nature lovers. The best known destinations are far to the east in Siberia, with Lake Baikal known as its "jewel." At the extreme eastern end of Russia, nearly all the way to Japan and Alaska, is wild Kamchatka, where you will find the Valley of the Geisers, lakes of acid, volcanoes, and grizzlies galore.

Yugyd Va National Park, in the Komi Virgin Forests

Other highlights of the Far East include the idyllic (if kind of cold) Kuril Islands to the south of Kamchatka, whale watching off the coast of arctic Wrangel Island, the remote Sikhote-Alin mountain range, home to the Amur Tiger, and beautiful Sakhalin. The nature reserves throughout these parts are spectacular as well, but all will require permits in advance and specialized tours.

The northern half of Russia stretching thousands of miles from the Komi Republic through Kamchatka is basically empty wilderness, mostly mountainous, and always beautiful. Getting to these areas is problematic, as most are not served by any roads, infrastructure, or really anything else. Russia's great north-south rivers are the main arteries for anyone moving through the area: the Pechora, Ob, Yenisey, Lena, and Kolyma. Beyond that, expect to be in canoes, helicopters, and military issue jeeps will be the only way of getting around, and you'll likely want to go with a guide.

Russia's other mountainous territory is in its extreme south, in the Northern Caucasus. There you will find Europe's tallest mountains, which tower in height over the Alps, including mighty Elbrus. Favorite Russian resorts in the area include those at Sochi (which will host the next Winter Olympic Games) and Dombai. As you go further east in the North Caucasus, the landscapes become ever more dramatic, from the lush forested gorges and snow capped peaks of Chechnya to the stark desert mountains of Dagestan, sloping downwards to the Caspian Sea.

Throughout the entire country, there are over a hundred National Parks and Nature Reserves (zapovedniki). The former are open to the public, and considerably more wild and undeveloped than you would find in, say, the United States. The latter are preserved principally for scientific research and are often not possible to visit. Permits are issued for certain reserves, but only through licensed tour operators. If you have the opportunity, though, take it! Some of the most spectacular parks are in the aforementioned Kamchatka, but also in the Urals, particularly in the Altai Mountains (Altai Republic and Altai Krai).

Stay safe

Largely because of the transition from state socialism to market capitalism, Russia did experience a rise in criminal activity during the 1990s. As those who controlled capital through the state had to reconfigure their business operations towards a free enterprise rationality, profiteering and scams have increased. The truth is that crime was greatly exaggerated in the media, and for the average tourist Moscow, Saint Petersburg and the rest of Russia are actually just as safe as most major European cities.

You should be noted that Russia is a pioneer country in fighting against narcotics. Russia has a well-developed anti-narcotics enforcement system as well as a set of regulations against uses and carrying of narcotics as tough as Hong Kong and Singapore, drug-trafficking into Russia can be brought a sentence of at least several decades.

Stay healthy

Medical facilities in general vary. A majority of hospitals are extremely well equipped, clean, and possess all of the latest technologies, while there are some that are well below western standards, with shortages in medication and neglected equipment.

Ensure that all of your vaccinations are up to date, and you have sufficient amounts of any prescription medicine you may be taking. Pharmacies are common in major cities and carry quality western medications.

Quality of tap water varies around the country, and may even be variable within cities. In old buildings tap water can be non-potable. In the big cities of European Russia, the water is clean of biological contaminants, but often suffers from the presence of heavy metals, due to outdated city plumbing. If you can't buy bottled water, boil water before drinking, or better yet use a special filter for tap water, which you could buy in any supermarket. Bottled water costs only about 20-30 rubles ($0.8-$1.1 USD) for 2 liters, but watch out for refilled bottles being sold.

Besides local doctors (generally good quality but often working in poor facilities) there are several Western-run medical centers in major Russian cities. These all have different policies for payment (some take credit cards, some require payment in cash up front, even if you have insurance) so make sure you know what you are paying for (and when and how) before you agree to any services.

Be careful not to buy fake vodka, which can be dangerous (seriously here, 'dangerous' doesn't mean 'strong'; it can contain methanol). Only buy vodka in large stores or specialized ones like Aromatnyi Mir [82] in Moscow, with the sticker over the cap and/or the region's barcode on the side.

Significant number of food stores, including some food/goods chains, standalone food shops, kiosks and food markets are rumourously famous for selling food of bad quality, including out-of-date or even out-of-date with expire date reprinted with a later date. Although most of them are quite good. When possible, check the quality of the food with visual observation, don't especially trust expire date labels, that are added in a replaceable way. Also you can take note of what others are buying, sometimes you can even ask other buyers which product is better, it's considered normal. That could help you make a good choice. Examples of usually bad quality food sold are most of fish products, including smoked and spicy salted (be especially care), pre-made salads, fresh vegetables and fruits, when you can't handpick them (at markets check them after shop-women picked them for you, you can usually change those you don't like, at shops they usually don't allow to change, and use to add some bad ones into bag), vegetables conservatives sold with discount (and with older production date usually), cheaper dairy products, though less consistent, checking what others buy may help you here. Cheaper juices often come diluted with water, the rule of thumb is buying those with "Сад" (Sad/Garden) word in the name. If you are unsure, don't buy it, or if already bought, just throw it away.

The country's HIV prevalence is steadily rising, mainly for prostitutes, young adults and drug users. Be safe.

Respect

Russians are well-mannered people. They are usually reserved with strangers, but once gained acquaintance, especially while drinking, they become very frank and sincere.

Emergency services (landlines)

01 - firefighting and lifeguard services.
02 - police.
03 - emergency medical aid.
04 - emergency service of gas supply system.

Emergency services (mobile phone)

First dial 112 and after hearing the voice dial the extra number:
1 - firefighting and lifeguard services.
2 - police.
3 - emergency medical aid.
4 - emergency service of gas supply system.
9 day 02.08.2021 Monday 7:00 16:00
X
Tallinn

Tallinn is the capital and largest city of Estonia. It occupies an area of 159.2 km2 (61.5 sq mi) with a population of 430,106.[2] It is situated on the northern coast of the country, on the shore of the Gulf of Finland, 80 km (50 mi) south of Helsinki, east of Stockholm and west of Saint Petersburg. Tallinn's Old Town is in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It is ranked as a global city and has been listed among the top 10 digital cities in the world.The city was a European Capital of Culture for 2011, along with Turku in Finland.

Tallinn is the oldest capital city in Northern Europe. The city was known as Reval from the 13th century until 1917 and again during the Nazi invasion of Estonia from 1941 to 1944.

Port of Tallinn is the biggest port authority in Estonia and as far as both cargo and passenger traffic are taken into account, the biggest port on the shores of the Baltic Sea.

In order to fit effectively into the competitive environment, Port of Tallinn underwent a complete restructuring process in the mid 1990s by developing from a service port into a port of landlord type. In 1999, the last cargo handling operations were finally given into the hands of private companies.

Today, Port of Tallinn operates as a landlord type of port with no cargo handling operations of its own. It is maintaining and developing the infrastructure of the port and leasing territories to terminal operators through building titles giving the operators an incentive to invest into superstructure and technology.

X
ESTONIA

General information

Capital: Tallinn
Government: Parliamentary republic
Currency: Euro
Area total: 45,226 sq km
Population: 1,340,000 (1 October 2010.)
Language: Estonian (official) Russian (widely spoken)
Religion: Evangelical Lutheran, Estonian Traditional/Native Belief, Russian Orthodox, Estonian Orthodox
Electricity: 230V/50Hz (European plug)
Country code: +372
Internet TLD: .ee?
Time Zone: UTC+2

Estonia is a Baltic state in eastern Europe. It has land borders with Latvia and Russia. Estonia's coastline lies on the Baltic sea and Gulf of Finland.

Estonia is a Baltic gem offering visitors the chance to see a tiny dynamic land on the shores of the Baltic Sea. Glorious beaches pepper the extensive coastline, although the swimming season is short. After all, the Baltics are not renowned for warm weather - something that any visitor to Estonia must be aware of — the summer is short and the winter is severe. Tallinn's medieval old town was built by the German crusaders in the Late Middle Ages and is in magnificent condition, with the medieval city walls and towers almost completely intact and it rates as one of Europe's best medieval old towns. Visitors can also experience an ex-Soviet occupied country that is now part of the European Union. Traces of the Soviet era are still there to be seen — e.g. Paldiski, a deserted Soviet army base that was once off-limits to Estonians themselves, can easily be visited on a day trip from the capital, Tallinn.

History

After 7 centuries of German, Danish, Swedish, Polish and Russian rule, Estonia attained independence in 1918. Annexed into the USSR in 1940, it re-gained independence in 1991 through its Singing Revolution [2], a non-violent revolution that overthrew an initially violent occupation. Since the last Russian troops left in 1994, Estonia moved to promote economic and political ties with Western Europe. It is now one of the more-prosperous former Communist states, enjoying a high-tech environment, an open and liberal economy and a transparent government system. On the other hand, it is faced with a fairly low (but growing) GDP per capita (in a European Union context), as well as a very low birth rate, which is creating a population decline. Between 1991-2007, the country saw rapid economic expansion, leading it to be among one of the wealthiest and the most developed of the former Soviet Republics. However, its economy was badly damaged during the ongoing global recession, although more recently, it has been recovering quickly. In 2011, the Euro was adopted as the official currency.

Since accession to the EU, Estonia is becoming one of the most popular destinations in North-Eastern Europe with (EU highest) 30% growth in the number of visitors in 2004, according to Eurostat.

Geography

Climate
maritime, wet, moderate winters, cool summers

Terrain
marshy, lowlands; flat in the north, hilly in the south

Elevation extremes
lowest point: Baltic Sea 0 m
highest point: Suur Munamägi 318 m (in the south east of Estonia, 20km north of the main highway that runs from Riga to Russia close to the borders of Estonia with both countries).

Geography - note
the mainland terrain is flat, boggy, and partly wooded; offshore lie more than 1,500 islands and islets

Nature
World War II and the subsequent occupation were devastating on humans, but the destruction and the closure of large areas for military use actually increased Estonia's forest coverage from about 25% before the war to more than 50% by 1991. Wolves, bears, lynx, elks, deers as well as some rare bird and plant species are abundant in Estonia. The wild animals from Estonia are exported to some EU countries for forest repopulation programmes. Most animals can be hunted - according to yearly quotas.

Stay safe

The published crime rate increased dramatically in 1991-1994 after democratic freedoms were introduced. In a large part, this is due to the fact that crime was a taboo subject before 1991, as Soviet propaganda needed to show how safe and otherwise good it was. However, it is still a significant problem in Estonia. The murder rate per 100,000 inhabitants, as of 2000, was some 4-5 times higher than in Sweden and Finland, although still significantly lower than in its biggest neighbour, Russia.

Today, the official sources claim that the country has achieved a considerable reduction in crime in the recent years. According to Overseas Security Advisory Council crime rate in 2007 was quite comparable to the other European states including Scandinavia. Criminal activities are distributed unevenly across the territory with almost no crime in the island areas and a considerable rate of drug dealing in the predominantly Russian-speaking industrial area of North-East. In Tallinn, petty crime is a problem and there are some incidents involving tourists, mainly pickpocketing (especially in the markets). Tallinn Old City and other main tourist attractions are closely watched by local police and private security companies.

Many Estonians drive carelessly, with about 80-110 people killed and 1300 people injured per year. Number of deaths in traffic related accidents per 100 000 people are similar to South-European countries like Portugal or Italy. Estonia has strict drink-driving laws with a policy of zero tolerance, but accidents involving intoxicated drivers are nevertheless a major problem. Estonian traffic laws requires headlight use at all times while driving and use of a seatbelts by all passengers is mandatory.

Recently, Estonia enforced a new law requiring pedestrians to wear small reflectors, which people generally pin to their coats or handbags. Although this law is rarely enforced in cities, reflectors are very important in rural areas where it may be difficult for motorists to see pedestrians, especially in winter months. Violators of this law may be subject to a fine of around €30-50, or a higher fine up to around €400-500 if the pedestrian is under the influence of alcohol. Reflectors are inexpensive and you should be able to find them at many supermarkets, kiosks, and other shops.

The Estonian police are very effective and they are not corrupt as opposed to neighboring Russia or Latvia.

The main advice to anyone worried about personal security is to stay reasonably sober despite tempting alcohol prices. When driving, make sure you have had absolutely no alcohol beforehand.

For police, dial 110; for other emergencies like fires and the like, call 112.

It has been mentioned that ordinary Estonians are unlikely to approach a complete stranger or a tourist on their own. If somebody suddenly turns to you in the street (with questions or matters of small business) keeping a cautious eye on your belongings would be wise.

Open homosexuality may be met with stares, although violence is very unlikely.

Stay healthy

For an Estonian, it is considered "mauvais ton" not to criticize the Estonian healthcare system. Recent EU studies showed, however, that Estonia occupies a healthy 4th place in the block by the basic public health service indicators, on the same level as Sweden. In fact, around 1998-2000, the Estonian healthcare system was remodeled from the obsolete USSR model, directed to coping with disastrous consequences of large-scale war and made more up-to-date by the experts from Sweden. Estonia has harmonized its rules on travelers' health insurance with EU requirements.

For fast aid or rescue, dial 112.

Estonia has Europe's second highest rate of adult HIV/AIDS infections, currently over 1.3% or 1 in 77 adults. Generally, the rate is much higher in Russian-speaking regions like Narva or Sillamäe. Don't make the situation worse by not protecting yourself and others. Information about health care in Estonia is provided by the government agency Eesti Haigekassa.

Respect

Estonians in general, when meeting a stranger, are in the beginning remarkably reserved. Don't expect them to deliver too many social niceties or small talk, they only say what`s seasonable. Once you have broken the ice, you will find them open and candid. Estonians tend to keep physical distance. The most common way of greeting is to shake hands. If there is a "long time - no see" situation, then a hug may be suitable.

Do not raise your voice in a conversation. A decent silent conversation is the Estonian way of doing business and is much appreciated.

Estonians are usually very proud of their nation and their country. As a small nation they have managed to gain independence and survived all the rough times that centuries filled with wars have served them.

Contemporary history may be a sensitive subject. Any positive talk of USSR around Estonians will be anything but a good idea although they will tell you all about it if you only ask.

It might be tempting to practise your Russian as around 25% of Estonia's population is Russian speaking. A foreigner starting a conversation in Russian in the first place is, however, seen as extremely rude by Estonians. Always try to start conversation in any other language than Russian and then you might ask whether the person you turned to speaks Russian or not. In Tallinn and North-East Estonia there is actually quite big chance that you meet a native Russian speaker for example as a barman or a bank teller.

Emergency services

Police - 110
Fire and Rescue Service and Ambulance - 112
10 day 03.08.2021 Tuesday
FUN DAY AT SEA
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11 day 04.08.2021 Wednesday 8:00 16:00
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COPENHAGEN

The city of the Little Mermaid is the capital of the oldest kingdom in the world. Its busy port demonstrates the efficiency and industriousness of the Danish people.

The Little Mermaid, the Town Hall, Amalienborg, the Christiansborg Palace and Nyhavn, and the canal with all its bistros are all stops on a tour around the city in discovery of Copenhagen's most symbolic landmarks. From the sea the Danish capital is even more beautiful, and a trip around the ancient harbor reveals the true heart of the city. For those who like fairytales and Shakespeare a trip to the northern castles is an absolute must.

General administration of the port Copenhagen :
Containervej 9, P.O.Box 900, Copenhagen K DK-2100, Denmark
tel.: (+45) 354-611-11; fax: (+45) 354-611-64

General administration of the port Tuborg:
Valby Langgade 1, Valby 2500, Denmark
tel.: (+ 45) 332-745-73

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DENMARK

General information

Capital: Copenhagen
Government: Constitutional monarchy
Currency: Danish krone (DKK)
Area: 43,094 sq km; note: excludes the Faroe Islands and Greenland
Population: 5,475,791 (January 2008 est.)
Language: Danish
Religion: Evangelical Lutheran 82%, Non-religious 13%, other Protestant and Roman Catholic 3%, Muslim 2%
Electricity: 230V/50Hz (European plug)
Country code: +45
Internet TLD: .dk
Time Zone: UTC+1

Denmark is a country in Scandinavia. The main part of it is Jutland, a peninsula north of Germany, but also with a number of islands, including the two major ones, Zealand and Funen, in Østersøen Sea between Jutland and Sweden. Once the seat of Viking raiders and later a major north European power, Denmark has evolved into a modern, prosperous nation that is participating in the general political and economic integration of Europe. However, the country has opted out of European Union's Maastricht Treaty, the European monetary system (EMU), and issues concerning certain internal affairs.

Denmark is also the birthplace of one of the world's most popular toys, Lego. There is no other better place in the world where one can buy Lego bricks than at the Legoland theme park in Billund.

These days the Danish Vikings have parked their ships in the garage, and put the helmets on the shelves, and along with the other Scandinavian nations, have forged a society that is often seen as a benchmark of civilization; with progressive social policies, a commitment to free speech so strong it put the country at odds with much of the world during the 2006 cartoon crisis, a liberal social-welfare system and, according to The Economist, one the most commercially competitive. Top it off with a rich, well-preserved cultural heritage, and the Danes legendary sense of design and architecture, and you have one intriguing holiday destination.

Terrain

Denmark is home to the 'lowest-highest' point in Europe; but what that exactly entails is somewhat uncertain. Ejer Baunehøj, in the Lake District region south-west of Aarhus, seems to be the highest natural point (171m with a large tower built on top to commemorate the fact), although Yding Skovhøj, some 3km away stands 2m higher owing to an ancient burial mound. Either way, the 213m tall Søsterhøj Transmission Tower (1956), with its top 315m above sea level is technically the highest point in Denmark! --50.200.4.194 11:06, 3 April 2013 (EDT)WillSelton

Culture

Sports are popular in Denmark, with football reigning supreme in popularity and counted as the national sport, followed by Gymnastics, Handball and Golf.

Another trait of Danish culture as any tourist pamphlet will tell you, is "Hygge", translating into cosy or snug. Danes will be quick to point out that this is a unique Danish concept. However true, it does take a more prominent place in the culture compared to other countries. Hygge usually involves low key dinners at home with long conversations over candlelight and red wine in the company of friends and family, but the word is broadly used for social interactions.

Another important aspect of Danish culture, is understatement and modesty, which is not only prominent in the Danish behavioural patterns. It is also very much an important trait in the famous Danish design, which dictates strict minimalism and functionalism over flashiness.

The Danes are a fiercely patriotic bunch, but in a sly, low-key kind of way. They will warmly welcome visitors and show off the country, which they are rightly proud of, but any criticism - however constructive - will not be taken lightly. However, most Danes will happily spend hours to prove you wrong over a Carlsberg beer without becoming hostile. For the same reasons, outsiders on long term stays can be viewed with a certain amount of suspicion, as the homogeneous society is often thought to be the key to Denmark's successes. You will often hear resident foreigners complain about a constant pressure to become ever more Danish and the anti-immigrant Danish Peoples Party have seen increasing popularity over the years, taking 13% of the votes at the latest election which makes it Denmark's 3rd largest political party.

Environment

Denmark is often praised as being one of the greenest countries in the world but apart from the ubiquitous bikes, the individual Danes are surprisingly nonchalant about the environment despite their reputation. As with so many other things, environmentalism is viewed as a collective responsibility. The Social Democratic leadership enacted a series of reforms, mainly green taxation, between 1993-2001, that made Danish society as a whole (especially in industrial production) one of the most energy efficient in the world. As it turned out, it was also good business and green technology has become of the country's largest exports. Examples being thermostats, wind turbines and home insulation. Because of this, green policies enjoy unusually broad support among the people and the entire political spectrum. 20% of energy productions come from renewable energy, mainly wind power. This is made possible by the common Nordic energy market and the massive hydro energy resources in Norway and Sweden, which can easily be regulated up and down to balance the unreliable wind production.

All these green visions do have a few tangible implications for travelers:

  • Plastic bags cost money; DKK 1-5 - non refundable, so bring a bag for shopping groceries.
  • Cans and bottles have DKK 1-3 deposit, refundable everywhere that sells the given product.
  • Many toilets have half and full flush buttons, now - you figure out when to use which.
  • There is a roughly 100% (DKK 4) tax on gasoline, the total price usually hovers between DKK 10-12 per litre. ($7-8 per gallon. Be aware, though, that due to the current oil-crisis, the total price is now hovering between DKK 11-13 per litre.
  • In many counties you need to sort your waste in two separate 'biological' and 'burnable' containers.

Stay safe

Generally: Denmark is a country with almost no risk of natural disasters or animal attacks (there is one rare poisonous snake, the European viper (Hugorm), as well as the fish called "Fj?sing", but its bite is not generally lethal. Its bite, however, is strong enough to be lethal to children and the elderly, so medical treatment is always encouraged). Compared to most other European countries crime is very high. Denmark has the highest number of buglaries of any EU country (7 times the German rate). The number of robberys is second only to Montenegro. So even though having an image as very safe this actually not the case.

On foot in cities Danes drive by the rules, and they have every expectation that pedestrians do the same. Therefore, it is important to obey Walk/Don't Walk signals and avoid jaywalking in cities, simply because cars will not slow down since you're not supposed to be there. Also, take good notice of the dedicated bike lanes when crossing any street to avoid dangerous situations as bikers tend to ride fast and have right of way on these lanes.

On the beach: Don't bathe alone. Don't get too far away from land. Swim along the coast rather than away from it. In some areas undertow is a danger, and kills a number of tourists every year, but will mostly be signed at the beach. On many beaches, flags inform of water quality. A blue flag means excellent water quality, green flag means good water quality, red flag means that bathing is not advised. A sign with the text "Badning forbudt" means that bathing is forbidden. Obey these signs, as it often means that the water is polluted with poisonous algae, bacteria, or chemicals, or that there is a dangerous undertow.

In the city: A few districts in major cities are probably best avoided at night by the unwary - but reverse of the trends in North America, it is often the ghettos in the suburbs that are unsafe, rather than the downtown areas.

In an emergency dial 112 (medical help/fire brigade/police). This is toll free, and will work even from cell phones even if they have no SIM card. For the police in not-emergencies call 114.

Stay healthy

Health services in Denmark are of a high standard, although waiting times at emergency rooms can be quite long for non emergencies, since visitors are prioritized according to their situation. Except for surgical procedures there is no private healthcare system to speak of, all is taken care of by the public healthcare system and general practitioners. All visitors are provided with free emergency care, until you are deemed healthy enough to be transported back to your home country. Citizens from EU countries, Norway, Iceland, Switzerland and certain British dependencies are all entitled to additional basic medical services during their stay, other nationalities should have a valid travel insurance for transportation home and any additional medical care needed after any emergency is dealt with, as this is not provided free of charge. As in the rest of the country, English speakers should not have any trouble communicating with staff in English.

One thing worth noting for several nationalities, is that Danish doctors don't strew out prescriptions or pills out at the rate common in North America, Japan and Southern Europe. There is a general trend of letting the body's own immune system take care of diseases, rather than using medicines. So if you show up at the local GP with minor illnesses like the common flu, expect to be send back to your bed to rest, rather than receiving any treatment, if you are otherwise of good health. Pharmacies (Danish: Apotek) are usually well stocked, but brand names may differ from those in your own country. Staff is highly trained, and major cities usually have one 24 hour pharmacy. Many drugs that are prescription-free in other countries, require prescription in Denmark, which is not trivial to get (see above), and medicines available in supermarkets and drug stores are very limited; i.e. allergy drugs and light painkillers; Paracetamol based (Panodil, Pamol & Pinex), acetylsalicylic based (Treo, Kodimagnyl & Aspirin) and Ibuprofen based (Ipren)

Dentists are only partly covered by the public healthcare system, and everyone, including Danes pay to visit their dentist. Danes and other Nordic citizens have some of the expenses covered by the public healthcare system, while non Scandinavian visitors, should generally be prepared to foot the entire bill themselves, or forward the expenses to their insurance company. Prices are notoriously high compared to the neighbouring countries, so unless it is urgent to see a dentist, it will probably be more economical to wait until you return home, or pass into Germany or Sweden.

Tap water is potable unless indicated. The regulations for tap water in Denmark even exceeds that of bottled water in general, so don't be offended if you notice a waiter filling a can of water at the sink. Restaurants and other places selling food are visited regularly by health inspectors and are awarded points on a 1-4 "smiley scale". [85] The ratings must be prominently displayed, so look out for the happy face when in doubt. While pollution in the major cities can be annoying it doesn't pose any risk to non-residents. Nearly all beaches are fine for bathing - even parts of the Copenhagen harbour recently opened for bathing (read the Stay safe section).

Smoking

As of 15 August 2007 it is not legal to smoke in any indoor public space in Denmark. This includes government buildings with public access (hospitals, universities, etc), all restaurants and bars larger than 40 sq m and all public transport. Also be aware that you have to be at least 18 years old to buy cigarettes in Denmark.

Respect

In a country which has no direct equivalent to please in their vernacular, where the local version of Mr. and Ms. has all but disappeared from common usage, and where the people can hardly muster a sorry if they bump into you on the streets, you could be forgiven to think they are the rudest people on earth, and you can get away with pretty much anything. You'd be wrong. Most of the behaviour many tourists consider appalling can be attributed to either the Danes' blatant - and when you get to understand it, quite sympathetic - disregard for formality, or their unfortunate shyness (see drink section), and there are rules to the madness, way too complex to get into here, but some of the most important ones can be summed up as follows:

  • Though officially Lutheran, Denmark is largely agnostic. Pictured: Osterlars Church, Bornholm
  • It is generally not considered impolite to omit verbal formalities common in other cultures, such as generic compliments or courteous bromides. Likewise, Danes almost never use Sir or Madame to address each other, as it is perceived as distancing oneself. On the contrary, addressing (even a stranger) by first name is considered a friendly gesture.
  • Be punctual, few things can make the Danes more annoyed than showing up later, even by a few minutes, than the agreed time, save social gatherings at people's homes, where the requirement for punctuality is much more relaxed.
  • If there are free seats on a bus or train, it's not customary to seat yourself next to strangers if you can avoid it. It is also a nice gesture to offer your seat for the elderly and the disabled. In many busses, the front seats are usually reserved for them.
  • Be aware that there are marked "quiet zones" on each train: one in the back of the back wagon and one in the front of the front wagon. Don?t talk on the phone there. In fact, don't talk at all. These are for people who want a quiet trip, usually people who need to go far, and may want to sleep, read, or work on their laptop or other things in peace.
  • Danes try to abridge differences between social classes. Modesty is a virtue - bragging, or showing off wealth, is considered rude, as is loud and passionate behaviour. Economic matters are private - don't ask Danes questions like how much they earn or what their car costs. As in Germany, Britain, and the rest of the Nordic countries, weather is a good conversation topic.
  • Greetings between people who know each other (e.g. are good friends, close relatives, etc.) are often in the form of a careful hug. It is rare to see a peck on the cheek as a form of greeting, and it might be taken as way too personal. A handshake is customary for everyone else, including people you aren't close to and people you are being introduced to.
  • When invited by a Dane - to visit their home, join them at their table or engage in an activity - don't hesitate to accept the invitation. Danes generally don't strew invitations out of politeness, and only say it if they mean it. The same goes for compliments. Bring a small gift; chocolate, flowers or wine are the most common, and remember despite their disregard for formality, to practice good table manners while at restaurants or in people's homes.
  • Even though 82% of the population is officially Lutheran, Denmark is by and large an agnostic country. Investigations into people's faith are largely unwelcome, and outside places of worship, displays of your faith should be kept private. Saying grace for example, is likely to be met with bewilderment and silence. Religious attire such as Muslim headscarfs, kippahs or even t-shirts with religious slogans, will - while tolerated - also make many Danes feel uncomfortable. If someone sneezes do not say "Bless you" under any circumstances, instead say "Prosit" or "Gesundheit" ("Prosit" is higly recommended since it's the danish way of saying it) However, words like "Oh my god" are welcome. Going to church is highly unpopular, most parents dislike it as much as their offspring.
  • If in Denmark on business, it's important to note that family nearly without exception takes priority over work. So don't be surprised if Danes excuse themselves from even the most important of meetings by 4PM to pick up kids, a burden equally shared between the sexes.

Emergency services

Police, Fire and Ambulance - 112
Road assistance (in Copenhagen) - 31 (or 142-222)
12 day 05.08.2021 Thursday
FUN DAY AT SEA
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13 day 06.08.2021 Friday 5:00
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LONDON (DOVER)

Located 76 miles (122 kilometers) to the east of London, Dover is a major passenger cruise port (as much for cruise ferries as it is for conventional ships) that's considered England's gateway to Europe.

Dover is best known for its stunning white cliffs (remember the World War II song "White Cliffs of Dover"?) that perch over the English Channel. It's also got a quite-spectacular castle. Once, in the mid-19th century, it was a popular seaside resort, though it was repeatedly bombed during World War II. Dover's city center hasn't yet fully regained its footing.

Dover is most commonly a port of embarkation and/or debarkation (itineraries can vary, from those that head to the Baltics and Northern Europe to those cruising south, to the Mediterranean), and most cruise passengers who want extra time in England will use London as their base instead. London is about a 1 1/2-hour train ride or two-hour drive away. Dover's proximity to some major southeast England towns and villages means there are alternatives to big city touring as well: Rye, a 1 1/4-hour drive south, is a charming medieval village and the city of Canterbury is noted for its awesome cathedral, among other sites. For day trips, Sissinghurst, Vita Sackville-West's famous gardens, are near enough to tuck into an "on the way to the port" sightseeing jaunt, as is Leeds Castle.
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GREAT BRITAIN

General information

Capital: London
Government: Constitutional Monarchy and Parliamentary Democracy
Currency: Pound Sterling (£)
Area total: 243,610 km²
water: 1,680 km²
land: 241,930 km²
Population: 63,181,775 (2010 est.)
Language: English, Welsh (about 26% of the population of Wales), Scots (mostly spoken in the Lowlands of Scotland) Scottish Gaelic (about 60,000 in Scotland), Ulster-Scots (various parts of Northern Ireland) and some speakers of Irish in Northern Ireland
Religion: Anglican and Roman Catholic 40 million (66%)- Roman Catholics are about 10% of the population and rising, Muslim 1.5 million (2.5%), Presbyterian 800,000 (1.3%), Methodist 760,000 (1.3%), Sikh 336,000 (0.6%), Hindu 559,000 (0.9%), Jewish 267,000 (0.4%), Buddhist 152,000 (0.25%), no religion 9,104,000 (15%)
Electricity: 230V, 50 Hz
Country code: +44
Internet TLD: .uk
Time Zone: summer: UTC +1, winter: UTC
Emergencies: dial 999

The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland (the United Kingdom or the UK) is a constitutional monarchy comprising much of the British Isles.

This Union is more than 300 years old and comprises four constituent nations: England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland. It occupies all of the island of Great Britain, the north-eastern portion of the island of Ireland and most of the remaining British Isles.

It's important to remember that the Republic of Ireland is a completely separate state from the United Kingdom, seceding from the Union and gaining its independence in 1922. The Isle of Man and the various Channel Islands are "crown dependencies", possessing their own legislative bodies for domestic legislation with the assent of the Crown. They are not part of the United Kingdom, nor of the EU, but are not sovereign states in their own right either. The UK has Ireland, France, Belgium and the Netherlands as its nearest neighbours.

The 'Great' in Great Britain (Britannia Major in Roman times; Grande-Bretagne in French) is to distinguish it from the other, smaller "Britain": Brittany (Britannia Minor; Bretagne) in northwestern France.

The UK today is a diverse patchwork of native and immigrant cultures, possessing a fascinating history and dynamic modern culture, both of which remain hugely influential in the wider world. Although Britannia no longer rules the waves, the UK is still a popular destination for many travellers. The capital and largest city of the United Kingdom is London.

Home nations

"Great Britain" ("GB") for a geographer refers just to the single largest island in the British Isles that has most of the land area of Scotland, England and Wales. In normal usage it is a collective term for all those three nations together. Great Britain became part of the United Kingdom when the Irish and British parliaments merged in 1801 to form the "United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland". This was changed to "... and Northern Ireland" when all but the six Northern Irish counties seceded from the Union in 1922 after a treaty granting Irish home rule. "Britain" is simply another name for the United Kingdom, and does include Northern Ireland, despite common misconceptions otherwise.

The flag of the United Kingdom is popularly known as the Union Jack or, more properly, Union Flag. It comprises the flags of St. George of England, St. Andrew of Scotland and the St. Patrick's Cross of Ireland superimposed on each other. Within England, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales, the flags of each nation are commonly used. The St. Patrick's Cross flag is often seen on St. Patrick's Day in Northern Ireland. Since the Republic of Ireland split from the UK though, St. Patrick's Saltire is not used for Northern Ireland, as it represented the whole of the island of Ireland. A flag (known as the "Ulster Banner") was designed for Northern Ireland in the 1920s, which was based on the flag of Ulster (similar in appearance to the St. George's Cross flag of England) and includes a Red Hand of Ulster and a crown. Although the flag's official status ended with the dissolving of the province's devolved government in the early 1970s, it can still be seen in Northern Ireland, particularly among the Protestant community and on sporting occasions. As Wales was politically integrated into the English kingdom hundreds of years ago, its flag was not incorporated into the Union Jack. The flag features a Red Dragon on a green field.

Crown Dependencies

The Isle of Man and the Channel Islands are not strictly part of the UK, but rather are 'Crown Dependencies: they have their own democratic governments, laws and courts and are not part of the EU. They are not entirely sovereign either, falling under the British Crown which chooses to have its UK Government manage some of the islands' affairs. The people are British Citizens, but unless they have direct ties with the UK, through a parent, or have lived there for at least 5 years, they are not able to take up work or residence elsewhere in the European Union.

Overseas Territories & The Commonwealth

Again, these are not constitutionally part of the United Kingdom, but are largely former colonies of the British Empire which are to varying degrees, self-governing entities that still recognise the British Monarch as their head of state. The key difference is residents of Overseas Territories still possess British citizenship, whereas those of Commonwealth nations do not, and are subject to the same entry and immigration rules as non-EU citizens.

Referring to nationality

Most residents of The United Kingdom, Crown Dependencies and British Overseas Territories are legally British, and referring to any as such will usually not cause offence.

Don't describe citizens of the United Kingdom as "English". The Welsh, Scottish and Northern Irish do not identify themselves as being from "England". If you need to refer to someone's nationality, you can use the most precise term, 'English', 'Northern Irish', 'Welsh' or 'Scottish'. To play safe, you can ask someone from which part of the UK they are from, as this covers every corner of the isles - including Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland and Scotland can be particularly problematic, and 'Scottish', 'Northern Irish', 'Irish', or 'British' can all be appropriate according to the political persuasion of the individual. Irish nationalists may avoid referring to Northern Ireland at all, referring instead to 'The Six Counties' or 'The North', or talk about 'Ireland' as a whole. 'Northern Irish' is less likely to offend, whereas referring to someone from Northern Ireland as 'British' or as 'Irish' can cause offence depending on a person's political ideology.

It is also worth noting that, while technically a county of England, the issue of identity in Cornwall is very sensitive amongst some people. It is best to refer to anyone you meet in Cornwall as Cornish, unless they have already explicitly stated their identity as English.

As a visitor from outside the UK, you are unlikely to cause serious offence. At worst, you will incur a minor rebuff and reaffirmation of their nationality, as in "I'm not English. I'm Scottish".

Government

The United Kingdom is a constitutional monarchy with the Queen as the nominal head of state. It has a bicameral parliament: The lower house, known as the House of Commons, is popularly elected by the people and is responsible for proposing new laws. The upper house, known as the House of Lords, primarily scrutinises and amends bills proposed by the lower house. The House of Lords is not elected and consists of Hereditary Peers, whose membership is guaranteed by birth right, Life Peers, who are appointed to it by the Queen, and the Lords Spiritual, who are bishops of the Church of England. The Head of Government is the Prime Minister, who is usually the leader of the majority party in the House of Commons. It has a first-past-the post system divided into local constituencies. In practice, the Prime Minister wields the most authority in government, with the Queen being pretty much a figurehead, though all bills that have been passed in both houses of parliament require the Queen to grant royal assent before they become law.

Additionally, Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have their own elected bodies (the Northern Ireland Assembly, Scottish Parliament and Welsh Assembly). These devolved governments have a First Minister and varying degrees of power over matters internal to that constituent country, including the passing of laws. For example, the Scottish Parliament in Edinburgh exercises power and passes laws over almost every matter internal to Scotland. In the areas over which it has power, the UK government plays no role. As a result, institutions and systems can be radically different between the four constituent countries in the UK. England has no similar body of its own, with all government coming from Westminster. The exception to this is London, which owing to its huge size and population has partial devolved government in the form of an elected Mayor and assembly, which exercises a range of powers previously controlled by both central and local governments.

There are also local government authorities responsible for services at a local level. Each constituency votes for a local MP (Member of Parliament) who then goes to sit in Parliament and debate and vote - whether they do or not is another matter.

Using maps and postcodes

Most basic mapping in the United Kingdom is undertaken by the Ordnance Survey of Great Britain and the Ordnance Survey of Northern Ireland. The maps found in bookshops may be published directly by those organisations, or by private map publishers drawing on basic Ordnance Survey data.

One consequence of this for the traveller is the widespread use of Ordnance Survey grid references in guide books and other information sources. These are usually presented [xx999999] (e.g. [SU921206]) and form a quick way of finding any location on a map. If using a GPS be sure to set it to the British National Grid (BNG) and the OSGB datum.

Alternatively, every postal address has a postcode, either a unique one or one shared with its immediate neighbours. British postcodes take the form (XXYY ZZZ), where XX is a 2 or 1 character alphabetic code representing the town, city or geographic area, a 1 or 2 digit number YY representing the area of that town or city, followed by a 3 digit alphanumeric code ZZZ which denotes the road and a specific section or house on that road. Therefore, a postcode will identify a location to within a few tens of metres in urban locations; and adding a house number and street will identify a property uniquely (at road junctions two houses with the same number may share the same postcode). Most internet mapping services enable locations to be found by postcode. Owing to London's huge size and population it has its own distinct variation of the postcode system where the town code XX is replaced by an area code indicating the geographic part of the city - e.g N-North, WC-West Central, EC-East Central, SW-South West; and so on.

The Ordnance Survey's 1:50000 or 1:25000 scale maps are astonishingly detailed and show contour lines, public rights of way, and access land. For pursuits such as walking, they are practically indispensable, and in rural areas show individual farm buildings and (on the larger scale) field boundaries.

Climate

The UK has a benign humid-temperate climate moderated by the North Atlantic current and the country's proximity to the sea. Warm, damp summers and mild winters provide temperatures pleasant enough to engage in outdoor activities all year round. Having said that, the weather in the UK can be changeable and conditions are often windy and wet. British rain is world renowned, but in practice it rarely rains more than two or three hours at a time and often parts of the country stay dry for many weeks at a time, especially in the East. More common are overcast or partly cloudy skies. It is a good idea to be prepared for a change of weather when going out; a jumper and a raincoat usually suffice when it is not winter. In summer temperatures can reach 30ºC (86ºF) in parts and in winter temperatures may be mild, eg: 10?C (50?F) in southern Britain and -2?C (28.4?)in Scotland.

Because the UK stretches nearly a thousand km from end to end, temperatures can vary quite considerably between north and south. Differences in rainfall are also pronounced between the drier east and wetter west. Scotland and north-western England (particularly the Lake District) are often rainy and cold. Alpine conditions with heavy snowfall are common in the mountains of northern Scotland during the winter. The north-east and Midlands are also cool, though with less rainfall. The south-east and east Anglia are generally warm and dry, and the south-west warm but often wet. Wales and Northern Ireland tend to experience cool to mild temperatures and moderate rainfall, while the hills of Wales occasionally experience heavy snowfall. Even though the highest land in the UK rarely reaches more than 1,100 m, the effect of height on rainfall and temperature is great.

Stay safe

In any emergency call 999 or 112 (free of charge from any phone, including mobiles) and ask for Ambulance, Fire and Rescue Service, Police, Coast Guard or Mountain And Cave Rescue when connected. The United Kingdom has this one,unified number for all the different emergency services.

British cities and towns can be dangerous in some parts at night as you can find rowdy groups of drunk people on the street, usually in night life and clubbing areas. Drinking alcohol in public (except outside a bar or pub) is not permitted in some towns and areas of cities. Crime rates in areas such as homocide are broadly in line with the European average (though there can be significant variations between different parts of the UK) and crime in general have been falling in recent years.

The police have fairly wide ranging powers to fine or arrest people who are causing a disturbance, and although they can be heavier-handed in major cities they are generally tolerant. If you are stopped by the police, avoid arguing and be sure to appear respectful. Do not try to reason with them, and above all, do not swear, because although it has been ruled that swearing is not a crime, police will often arrest people who swear at them.

Jay walking is not illegal except on motorways, but always try and cross at designated pedestrian crossings. Most operate a "Push the button and wait for the green man" system, but Zebra Crossings are also widespread, particularly outside of city centres - identified by white stripes on the road and yellow flashing spherical lights - pedestrians have right of way but it is advisable to make eye contact with the driver before stepping into the road. Unlike in many other countries British drivers tend to be very respectful of the laws around zebra crossings.

If you are bringing or hiring a car, be sure to lock the doors if you leave your car, and always park in a busy, well-lit area. Don't leave valuables on display in a parked car - satellite navigation systems are a particular target.

The age of both heterosexual and homosexual consent is 16 throughout the United Kingdom. The law supports LGBT rights and are some of the most progressive in the world. You cannot be discriminated against in any area of the UK for your sexuality. Recently, a gay couple won their case for discrimination after a hotel turned them away saying they only took married couples and same sex marriage was legalised in July 2013.

British society is generally not homophobic and attitudes have changes beyond recognition in the past 20 years. There are some areas where you may want to not be overtly showing your sexuality (very remote villages, 'tough' places such as football matches) but even these in these environments attitudes have changed. Being homophobic is now the taboo in the UK where being homosexual used to be.

Racism is not common in the UK, and racially motivated violence is very rare. Most Britons are strongly opposed to racism. The main concern for Britons isn't racism; the government strongly encourages the notion of a multi-cultural society, but recent high levels of immigration have been of debate. However, the UK is generally regarded by its own immigrant population as being amongst the most liberal and tolerant of European countries in this respect, but obviously there will be some people who are exceptions. Most Britons will go out of their way to make tourists and immigrants feel welcome and it's not uncommon for police to impose harsh punishments on any form racial abuse - physical or verbal.

All in all though, the UK is generally a very safe country to visit and the vast majority of tourists will run into no problems.

Police

On the whole, British police officers tend to be professional and polite, and are generally less aggressive than law enforcement agencies in other developed nations (however, this does not mean they are lenient). The vast majority of British police officers do not carry firearms on standard patrol, and the only time one would usually see a "Bobby" with a weapon is at ports or when there is a suspicion they will meet armed offenders. The exception to this is Northern Ireland, where all Police are armed. Most officers will only speak English and you will be made to speak to an interpreter over police radio or will do so at a police station if you cannot communicate in English. You have the legal right to remain silent during and after arrest - but police in England and Wales will warn you that "You do not have to say anything, but it may harm your defence if you do not mention when questioned something which you later rely on in court. Anything you do say may be given in evidence".

Stay healthy

The local emergency telephone number is 999; however, the EU-wide 112 can also be used. For advice on non-emergency medical problems, you can ring the 24-hour NHS Direct [102] service on 0845 4647 (NHS 24 in Scotland on 08454 242424)

Emergencies can be dealt with under the NHS (National Health Service) at any hospital with a Casualty or A & E (Accident & Emergency) department. At A&E be prepared to wait for up to 4 hours to be seen to if the medical complaint is not serious, depending on the time of day/night. The longest waiting times usually occur on Friday and Saturday nights. Emergencies will be dealt with immediately and before any question of remuneration is even contemplated. Walk-in centres also provide treatment for less urgent conditions on a first come first served basis. They are open to residents and foreign nationals.

All treatment at an NHS hospital or doctor is free to residents of the UK. All emergency treatment is free, regardless of citizenship or immigration status. As a result, an EHIC card is infact not necessary (though advised for EU travel in general), as the UK is possibly one of the only countries to provide free emergency treatment without question or identity verification. This also applies to tourists, both from the EU and outside.

For advice on minor ailments and medicines, you can ask a pharmacist (there are many high-street chemists, and to practise legally all pharmacists must be registered with the General Pharmaceutical Council (GPhC) which involves a university degree and other exams and training). Notable pharmacy chains include Boots and Lloyds, and many supermarkets also have pharmacists. It is worth noting that the medicine trade is strictly controlled and many medicines available to purchase from a pharmacy in other countries eg: antibiotics can only be provided on production of a prescription written by an authorised medical professional.

Sexually Transmitted Diseases are spreading between young people, so make sure you practise safe sex. There are around 50,000 HIV victims living in the UK. Chlamydia is common enough to warrant public health screening of young people. Condoms are available in toilets, pharmacies, and supermarkets. They are also available free from some NHS sexual health clinics (known as GUM clinics), which also provide free STI testing and treatment, even if you are not eligible for other NHS services.

Tap water is safe to drink everywhere, unless otherwise stated.

Respect

It's acceptable to address someone by their first name in most social situations. First names are sometimes avoided among strangers to avoid seeming overly familiar. In very formal or business situations first names are not commonly used until people are better acquainted. The best strategy is to use what they introduced themselves with. Officials, however, (like policemen or doctors) will invaribly call you by your title and surname, for example "Mr Smith".

The British can be extremely indirect when requesting things from people they do not know. It is common for Britons to "ask around" questions when requesting something: for example, one would be more likely to say something along the lines of "Where can I find the changing room?" when in a clothes shop, rather than "Where's the changing room?". Although asking questions directly is quite common, it can sometimes be seen as overly abrupt or even rude.

Similarly, saying 'What?' when not understanding something can be considered rude around authority figures or people you don't know, so 'Pardon?' is more appropriate to use in situations with a stranger or a superior. British people apologise a lot, even when there is absolutely no need to do so. For example, if someone trod on someone else's toe by accident, both people would normally apologise. This is just a British thing to do, and dwelling on it (eg: "What are you sorry about?") will mark you out as a foreigner. Often a British person will request something or start a conversation with 'sorry', e.g. "Sorry, do you know where the nearest toilets are?" In this situation, "sorry" means the same as "excuse me", and again shouldn't be treated as an apology.

Allow some personal space between you and others in queues and elsewhere. You will usually find this in such places as cinemas. Generally, unless people know each other, you will find they will usually choose to fill up every row of seating and keep as much distance of possible until there is a requirement to sit directly next to each other. Exceptions are in very crowded situations where this is impossible, like on the Tube.

British people do not normally make conversation with strangers in the street or on public transport, especially in cities. If you do strike up a conversation with a stranger, they will be polite but somewhat distant. Make sure you have something in common to talk about with the stranger. In small communities and villages, this kind of conversation-making is more accepted.

Greetings are dependent upon the situation. In anything but a business situation, a verbal greeting (such as 'hello (name)!') will suffice. Younger people will usually say 'Hi,' 'Hiya,' or 'Hey' though the latter is also used to attract attention and should not be used to address a stranger as it would be considered impolite. Another British greeting (frequently used by younger people) is 'You all right?' or 'All right?' (sometimes abbreviated to "A'right" in northern England), which basically is a combination of 'Hello' and 'How are you?'. This term can be confusing to foreigners, but it can be easily replied to with either a greeting back (which is far more common) or stating how you feel (usually something short like 'I'm fine, you?'). Note that the person using this greeting isn't really asking if you're all right, and is expecting you to say at most "I'm all right, you?". To a foreigner the question can often be misinterpreted as a genuine display of concern; but the person asking is not expecting you to tell them why you are or are not all right, and may be somewhat annoyed if you do.

Etiquette for a hug is somewhat complicated, so the best advice is to accept a hug (regardless of the gender offering it) if it is offered, otherwise a handshake is appropriate. In a formal situation or an initial greeting between two strangers, a handshake is the done thing, this should be of a appropriate firmness (generally moderate firmness).

It is not uncommon for people in the service industry (eg: cab drivers and hair-dressers), to make small-talk with you while they are serving you. A couple of good conversation topics are the weather (a British favourite) and sport (particularly with men). Regarding the latter, most British people will have at least a passing knowledge of football, cricket, rugby, or tennis. If you find you share tastes, then music, films, and books are also fairly universal subjects.

For more details on unwritten rules concerning greetings, addressing others, small-talk etc, read Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour by Kate Fox.

The Scottish are Scottish, the Welsh are Welsh, and the English are English. Referring to all of them as "English" will probably offend. It's a potential minefield but "British" will always be safer than "English". Anyone who doesn't wish to be referred to as British will understand that you didn't mean any offence and will politely correct you ("I prefer to be called Scottish".) However calling a Scottish, Welsh, or Irish person English will at best make you come across as ignorant and at worst actively offend. Your safest bet is to ask them what part of the UK they're from before referring to their nationality. Remember, too, most Northern Ireland Unionists would not want to be called Irish. (In contrast, most of the Nationalists in Northern Ireland will identify as Irish and register accordingly as Irish citizens and carry Irish passports, which all people born in Northern Ireland are entitled to do if they wish). You may also find that, even though all the people of the United Kingdom are legally classed as British, peoples preferences are based upon which country in the United Kingdom they were born in, rather than using the collective term British. It is also common to meet someone who might say "I am half Welsh, half-English" or "my parents are Scottish and I am English".

Never refer to the Falklands as being Argentinian: over 250 British soldiers died fighting to defend these islands from Argentinian invasion and occupation in the early 1980s. The Falklands remain a British Overseas Territory to this day. The same goes for Gibraltar; despite the Spanish claim, UN supervised plebiscites register more than 98% local support for remaining British. Do the V sign with the palm facing outward to indicate either "peace" or "victory"; do the reverse with the palm facing inward if you wish to be extremely offensive.

Emergency services

Information Services: 142
Fire brigade, police and ambulance: 999 or 112
Road Emergency Service: (0800) 822-87-82
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Cabine
Cost
The price per passenger based on double occupancy in a cabin for each category cabins.
IS - Внутренняя каюта (Без возможности выбора номера)
from $1,249.00
Внутренняя каюта
from $1,259.00
Внутренняя каюта
from $1,259.00
Внутренняя каюта
from $1,269.00
Внутренняя каюта
from $1,289.00
Внутренняя каюта
from $1,309.00
OV - Каюта с окном (Без возможности выбора номера)
from $1,389.00
Каюта с окном
from $1,399.00
BL - Каюта с балконом (Без возможности выбора номера)
from $1,679.00
Каюта с маленьким балконом
from $1,689.00
Каюта с балконом
from $1,799.00
Каюта с балконом
from $1,809.00
Каюта с балконом
from $1,819.00
Каюта с балконом
from $1,839.00
Каюта с балконом
from $1,859.00
Каюта с балконом
from $1,879.00
Каюта с увеличенным балконом
from $1,899.00
Каюта с увеличенным балконом
from $1,919.00
Каюта с балконом Премиум (с ограниченным видом)
from $2,114.00
Каюта с балконом Премиум
from $2,400.00
Мини-сьют
from $3,219.00
Виста-сьют
from $3,639.00
Гранд сьют
from $3,759.00
Carnival Legend
Year of built: 2002
Year of reconstruction: 2018
Length: 292.6 meters
Width: 32.2 meters
Cruising speed: 22 knots
Gross Tonnage: 88 500 tons
Passenger capacity (double occupancy): 2 124
Passenger capacity (total): 2 549
Onboard crew: 930
Number of cabins: 1 062
Number of passenger decks: 12

* Dear visitors! All descriptions, cabin photographs and ship infrastructure are showed for informational purposes only and may differ from the actual.

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Deck: PROMENADE
Description: Sushi Bar brings more to the table than just sushi, and brings it well. Enjoy good times and great eats in a unique, festive atmosphere.
Deck: PROMENADE
Description: The Private Club Restaurant on the Carnival Legend board is known for its glamor and luxury. This aristocratic and elegant restaurant can always surprise you with a wide selection of incredible and original dishes prepared by masters.
Deck: PROMENADE
Description: Choose Early (6 p.m.), Late (8:15 p.m.) or Your Time (5:45 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.) dining in the Carnival Legend main dining room and feast on culinary pleasures to your heart's delight.
Deck: LIDO
Description: Stroll around the buffet and explore our many international cuisines and made-to-order options at the Carnival Legend Lido restaurant.
Deck: SUN
Description: The intimate ambiance and mouth-watering favorites at the Carnival Legend's Golden Fleece Steakhouse will make this a truly memorable meal.
Description: Hungry, but don’t feel like leaving your stateroom? Relax. Our complimentary room service is available 24 hours a day.
Interior cabin
Interior
Interior cabin
Interior cabin
Interior cabin
Interior with Window (Obstructed View)
Ocean View
Balcony (obstructed views)
Balcony cabin
Balcony cabin
Balcony cabin
Balcony cabin
Balcony cabin
Balcony cabin
Extended Balcony
Extended Balcony
Aft-View Extended Balcony
Aft-View Extended Balcony
Premium Balcony (Obstructed View)
Premium Balcony
Ocean suite
Junior Suite
Vista suite
Grand suite

Cabins

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Interior cabin
Ocean View

Infrastructure

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Firebird Lounge