I'm travelling to France and the way I read the rules of entry, I'm going to need to also complete a statutory declaration regarding my COVID status. Can you clarify? P. Ross, West Ryde NSW
Australia has been designated an "orange" country by France, that is, one with active circulation of the coronavirus. Anyone vaccinated in Australia is required to show proof of their vaccination status, with the most recent dose administered within nine months prior to their visit. They must also show a sworn statement confirming the absence of COVID-19 symptoms. The sworn statement can be found at the Interior Ministry website (interieur.gouv.fr). In addition, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website (diplomatie.gouv.fr), "You may be asked to fill two forms before boarding for France." One is the EU-PLF form, the other is the Eos electronic form. Links to both these forms can be found at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website. None of these documents are difficult to complete. The entry rules can change at short notice so stay up to date by checking the websites of both ministries.
My flight to London arrives at Heathrow at 6:55 am but I can't check in to my accommodation until 3pm. Any suggestions for hotels available by the hour? L. Anderson, Prahran Vic
I wish such a service existed! Particularly in European cities, where flights from Australia often arrive at the crack of dawn. However hotels charge by the day, full rate, and to get a room before check-in time you need to book in the day before. The perfect solution for you is the Aerotel located in Heathrow's Terminal 3 (myaerotel.com), which you can also access from the international arrivals halls at Terminals 2 and 5. Instead of a day rate you pay according to the number of hours spent, which is perfect for your needs. Rooms are plain and simple, but quiet and comfortable which is all you need for a few hours rest and refreshment. Some airlines offer their own arrival lounges where travellers can freshen up with a shower, have a meal and even a snooze in some cases. For example London's Heathrow Terminal 5 British Airways Arrivals Lounge, but access is only available to those flying business or first class with BA.
Following a business trip in London I want to visit my son in Luxembourg. At the moment Australians are not able to travel to Luxembourg but I thought it may be possible from another European country. I'm also a keen walker and was thinking the Black Forest in Germany. P. Meyer, Narrabeen NSW
Australia's vaccination certificate is not recognised by the Luxembourg Government, and therefore most Australians are not allowed to enter, even coming from another European country. That might change by the time of your visit, keep checking the official website (covid19.public.lu/en.html). In the Black Forest, the town of Sasbachwalden would be a good choice for a base. Located just south of Baden-Baden, Sasbachwalden is popular with walkers and has several hotels, restaurants and cafes. Some walks are documented on the Komoot website (komoot.com). UK specialist publisher Cicerone (cicerone.co.uk) has a guidebook on the region, Hiking and Cycling in the Black Forest. One of the finest walks is the Schnapsbrunnenweg, an 11-kilometre loop trail which connects 10 schnapps fountains where hikers can refresh themselves with alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, chilled with spring water. Another possibility is the Ballons des Vosges Regional Nature Park, just across the Rhine River in France, also popular with hikers. The AllTrails website (alltrails.com) has more information.
Our European cruise ends in Marseilles in late September and we're looking to spend another month visiting less touristy regions, about a week each. B. Holmes, Carlton Vic
You're past the peak tourist season and that's a great time to be visiting Europe. In France, a personal favourite is the central Auvergne region which incorporates the country's two largest national parks, lakes, gorges and mountain peaks where chamois and wild sheep graze on the slopes and where some of the most famous rivers of France including the Loire, the Lot, the Tarn and the Dordogne are born. Auvergne sits atop the largest volcanic system in all of Europe and the region's superheated natural spring water gives rise to a thriving spa industry in Belle Epoque towns such as Vichy and Royat-Chamalieres. If you want something warmer, Sicily and the Aeolian Islands could keep you fully occupied for two weeks. For regions truly off the beaten track a journey through Montenegro, Albania and into Greece would deliver plenty of adventure, with the tantalising possibility of time on Corfu at the end of the trip.
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