Traveller Letters: Here's what to do to avoid vaccine certificate problems in Italy

SHOW AND TELL

In reply to Anne Moorhouse (Traveller Letters, January 15), there is some reason for concern about travel to Italy but it shouldn't stop you. We arrived in Rome a few days before Christmas from Sydney for a stay of three months. The Australian International Vaccine Certificate worked fine for getting into Italy with a quick exit in fact at Rome airport. But that's where it ended. The QR code could not be read at the hotel nor at any venue such as restaurants and cafes. However, in all cases we were able to show the two dates of vaccination written on the certificate and eventually were accepted.

However for trains and, I expect, internal flights, the certificate is simply not accepted and we had to get a negative test to travel by train from Rome to our final destination in Umbria. It was available in the chemist at Rome Termini. Costing €15, it took about an hour to queue and get tested and after a further hour later we had the results via email. This gave us a Green Pass for 48 hours and allowed us to get to our destination.

We found out then that you can get your details entered into the Italian Health System by a GP at certain area health centres (ASL or Azienda Sanitaria Locale). It is free and you just need your vaccination certificate and passport. We were lucky to have a local help us but it is possible on your own. We lined up at one for about an hour on Christmas Eve morning and it took another 15 mins or so for the doctor to enter our details. We received an email about an hour later with a code to login and download our Green Pass. This one lasts for nine months.

Wendy Cleary, Cremorne NSW

EXIT STRATEGIES

In response to Lis Haddy's suggestions of disembarking row-by-row on flights after landing (Traveller Letters, December 31), we recently attended a performance at the Lyric Theatre in Sydney. At the conclusion, an announcement was made that in an effort to maintain social distancing, audience members remain seated until instructed to exit row-by-row. It worked perfectly, and as far as we could tell, no-one grumbled about having to wait their turn to join what would normally be a stampede to the exit.

Amanda L'Estrange, Double Bay, NSW

LETTER OF THE WEEK

PYJAMA GAME

No doubt domestic travellers in NSW would have seen the sign on the back of the hotel or motel door, drawing attention to the Innkeepers Act 1968 and, more importantly, the fire safety notice. Yet I wonder if many who seek lodgings bother to read these? It was Monday, January 3, en route to Victoria to see family for the first time since February 2021, when at 11.44pm guests at the Atura Hotel, Albury, were woken from their sleep by the piercing sound of the fire alarm. Eventually the repeated words of the automated voice issued the directive "evacuate as directed". An orderly evacuation ensued with the guests spilling out onto the forecourt before the still night air was punctuated by a short siren burst as the local NSW Fire+Rescue truck's flashing lights illuminated the dimly lit Dean Street. Some 30 minutes later the all clear was given and the foyer filled with mainly night attired guests to return to their slumber. For us it was our first such alarming experience, however, in these days of COVID, perhaps the fire safety notice should be amended to include the words: "Remember to take your mask." (Yes, we forgot ours).

Allan Gibson, Cherrybrook, NSW

EDITOR'S NOTE We're interested to learn of our readers' domestic travel experiences, both good and bad though preferably good (in consideration of the times), over the challenging 2021-22 summer holiday season.

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RED AND WHITE TAPE

Qantas changed my flight departure so many times it didn't suit anymore. As such, I asked for a refund. Qantas said yes. This was August 2021. Five months, 12 phone calls (and over 30 hours on hold), I still haven't received the funds. I paid by PoliPay, to avoid credit card surcharge fees. Qantas now advises that my issue is sitting in its finance department and PoliPay refunds "aren't processing at the moment". The last six agents I have spoken to have said finance will call me to discuss. You guessed it - no call.

Shaun Minehan, Brunswick East, VIC

FAMINE AND FEAST

I recently flew to Adelaide on my first flight since COVID came into our lives. I wasn't expecting much by way of a snack but a hot ciabatta roll filled with an egg mix and bacon came with a drink. I was thinking I'd be lucky to get a piece of fruit and a snack bar. Good on you Qantas. I'm glad to be back.

Judith Rostron, Killarney Heights, NSW

CAPITAL GAINS

Neither Queensland nor Western Australia had the first premier/chief minister (Traveller Letters, January 8). In fact, the ACT elected Rosemary Follett on March 4, 1989 (at the first election for the Australian Capital Territory). Chief Minister Follett was sworn in at the inaugural sitting of the Legislative Assembly on 11 May 1989. Like a good many other things, Canberra has led the way.

Helen M. Goddard, Turner, ACT

POLL POSITION

I beg to differ with the editor's note (Traveller Letters, January 8) regarding Australia's first female premier. Contrary to popular opinion, in Australia we do not elect the prime minister or premiers. Only the constituents in their electorates elect them to parliament in the first place and as government leader they are then appointed to the relevant position.

Elizabeth Morris, Kennington, VIC

EXTRA NICE

After seeing readers' poor experiences with obtaining refunds, I wanted to give some praise to NSW Trainlink. I recently travelled from Canberra to Sydney by train. I bought an extra ticket to reduce my risk of sitting next to someone who may have COVID. When on the train, the conductor noticed that I had paid for an extra seat. She said that wasn't necessary as they always provide space between passengers. She suggested I ask for a refund. So the next day, I sent a simple email to NSW Trainlink. I received a full refund within 24 hours, no questions asked.

Kate Astle Wilson, Rydalmere, NSW

WIN A SET OF THREE HARDIE GRANT TRAVEL BOOKS

The Letter of the Week writer wins Hardie Grant travel books worth more than $100, including Undiscovered Tasmania by Rochelle & Wally Dare; Emma Shaw's Ultimate Weekends Australia; and Vantastic by Kate Ulman.

See hardiegrant.com 

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