09 July 2007

Nothing Shall Stand in Our Way

We're starting to get ready for our big trip to Politica's Ancestral Homeland and Another Large European Country (ALEC! what a pseudonymous acronym) and I am mightily amused by the various websites (some commercial, others by ALEC's tourist board, that say things like
  • Nothing gets now in the way of romping at the jungle gym or on the slide and of hiding in the small tunnel. Nothing, I say, nothing shall stand between me and fun on the playground. That web translator clearly has Curious Girl's number when it comes to playground fun. One of the things I enjoy most about travelling with CG is the way I end up spending time in, say, playgrounds when we travel, rather than museums. I expect on this trip I'll miss a few of the museums, but I'll get a better feel for some ordinary moments in ALEC. And that will be good.
  • All fans of spook must pass through a labyrinth, to elude scary physiques, or to go across a weirdly cemetery. I am so not a fan of spook. And I am not a fan of the weirdly, really. But the syntax here amuses me.
It's really not fair to poke fun at web translators when I can say maybe five phrases in ALEC's native language. Web translating is what I'd turn to if I had to explain my hometown to someone who didn't speak English. Still....

A piece of practical advice for any readers venturing to Europe anytime soon: access to money has totally changed since last Politica and I were in western Europe. Credit cards are now levying transaction fees for transactions abroad, and those fees vary widely (C@pit@l 1 cards have no such fee; one of Politica's cards charges 3% (or a minimum of $10) while my main card is only 2%. It pays to research the details in advance. I was dimly aware of this but didn't know how much variation there was between banks. Knowledge is power.

7 comments:

Magpie said...

All fans of spook! Have a nice trip.

landismom said...

Hey, thanks for that helpful advice about credit cards--we are about to go out of the country, I better check on my rates. Have a great time!

susan said...

Using ATMs seems to be the way to go in terms of accessing local currency in other countries: there will be, probably, a flat fee for using another bank's machine (for us, it's $1.50 per transaction) but other than that, no additional fees. We'll probably take some travelers' cheques just for insurance and only use them if we need to, and we will use a credit card sparingly if needed--but at least now we know which card to leave home. (Not that we have tons of credit cards, actually, but Politica and I each have separate credit cards, using only one, but we each have a backup card that we don't really use. But turns out it's the back up cards that have better rates for foreign transactions.)

Landismom, happy travels!

S. said...

A. speaks and reads a language I don't and I have sometimes bought books for her in this language--and yes, relying on web translations is both puzzling and hilarious! I wish I remembered some gems to swap you for the advice on eluding scary physiques.

Last time we traveled in Europe we got stuck in a remote place at a time when the bank was closed and the single ATM didn't recognize our card--so if you're traveling away from major cities, don't be too reliant on machines for cash.

Travel safe!!

Mamacita said...

We spent a lot of time on Italian playgrounds. It really does get you away from the tourists and get a feel for the average people, who want to just hang out and push their kid on the swing. It doesn't hurt that there is a 12th century castle in your view....

Coffee-Drinking Woman said...

I second your ATM thought. We were abroad last summer, and ATMs were both convenient and easy. Also the exchange rate was favorable. (I'm retreating back into lurkville now...)

virago18 said...

When we went to Montreal a few years back, some of my favorite memories are of hanging out on the playgrounds. Kids are so quick to make new friends, and it's fun to watch them negotiate that in a new culture. And I think grown ups are more relaxed and friendly too. I had very pleasant conversations with the moms and dads of J's brand new best friends-of-the-moment.