The Advertiser - SA Weekend - - ESCAPE - BY AN­THONY DEN­NIS

QAQEXPERT WEEKLY TRAVEL AD­VICE ON YOUR TRAVEL DILEMMAS. EMAIL US AT com­pany who could ar­range a tour in this par­tic­u­lar time frame? Un­for­tu­nately th­ese sit­u­a­tions do arise, ac­cord­ing to East­ern Europe spe­cial­ists Beyond Travel’s (be­yond­travel.com.au) Bryce Cramp­ton. His com­pany re­ceives last-minute re­quests due to tour can­cel­la­tions ev­ery year around this time and is usu­ally able to of­fer quick al­ter­na­tives. He adds if you book with a li­censed Aus­tralian agent or com­pany you have the ad­di­tional pro­tec­tion of Aus­tralian con­sumer law. Self-drive in Poland is cer­tainly a fea­si­ble al­ter­na­tive. “Poland is a rather large coun­try by Euro­pean stan­dards, with fewer mo­tor­ways than say Ger­many, so expect some long drives,” says Cramp­ton. “Although road con­di­tions vary greatly they are gen­er­ally of rea­son­able stan­dard. How­ever, the sig­nage or the lack of it can prove frus­trat­ing. Broadly speak­ing, road rules are sim­i­lar to Aus­tralia although the lo­cals have a rep­u­ta­tion for some ag­gres­sive driv­ing and of­ten break speed lim­its and over­tak­ing rules. In the main cities English is widely spo­ken, and Ger­man is also com­mon. In re­gional towns, English and Ger­man will be harder to come by. Al­ter­na­tively, a cus­tomised rail pack­age could work for you with Poland pos­sess­ing a good rail net­work.” We have booked a win­try week at a ho­tel near Paris Dis­ney­land in early Jan­uary. What shuts down in Paris at this time? Will touristy things like a boat on the Seine or an Eif­fel Tower climb be avail­able? In par­tic­u­lar, will ma­jor art mu­se­ums, such as Musee d’Or­say and the Lou­vre, be open? The Doc, co­in­ci­dently, vis­ited Paris in early Jan­uary last year, and found it an ex­cel­lent time to visit as it of­fered an op­por­tu­nity to ex­pe­ri­ence the City of Light in a, well, en­tirely dif­fer­ent light. What’s more, there were fewer tourists at this time. I re­call that the top view­ing plat­form of the Eif­fel Tower was closed but that ev­ery­thing else was ac­ces­si­ble, in­clud­ing the small ice-rink on the sec­ond level as well as the restaurant­s. How­ever, cruises on the Seine were af­fected by un­usu­ally high wa­ter lev­els. As for mu­se­ums, it’s a mat­ter of sim­ply vis­it­ing their web­sites to check on opening times but as a gen­eral rule the Lou­vre Mu­seum (lou­vre.fr) is open ev­ery day ex­cept Tues­day and the French pub­lic hol­i­days of De­cem­ber 25, Jan­uary 1, and May 1. Musée d’Or­say (musee-or­say.fr/en) is also closed on those pub­lic hol­i­days and on Mon­days. We have booked a 12-day tour of Poland with a Pol­ish tour com­pany and paid a de­posit. Now two months be­fore the tour is to be­gin the com­pany has ad­vised us that the tour could be can­celled. We’ve al­ready booked and paid for our flight from Frank­furt to War­saw and Krakow to Prague, as well as a ho­tel. We’re con­tem­plat­ing al­ter­nate ar­range­ments such as a pri­vate tour of Poland or hir­ing a car and do­ing the tour our­selves. Can you ad­vise on a tour


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