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Uber no longer available in Barcelona

Faced with new regulations that require car services to wait at least 15 minutes before picking up passengers, Uber has suspended service in Barcelona. MyTaxi remains my go-to app for getting around in European cities with real, licensed taxis, while still having the advantages of Uber-like features (license number of the taxi on the way, a map to track its progress, and payment via credit card).

If you don't like the way I drive, stay off the sidewalk

A surprising number of drivers in Paris have confused Métro stairways for parking garage ramps.

The Champs-Elysées, a broad shopping avenue that cuts through the heart of Paris, from the Louvre to the Arc de Triomphe, is lined with underground access points. Some of them are ramps, leading to underground parking garages. Some of them are stairways leading subway stations. And some, like this one, lead to an underpass that will take you under the busy street to reach the other side without having to cut through traffic.

Apparently some drivers in Paris find this confusing and have tried to drive down a stairway, thinking it was access to a garage. So if you're out strolling along the Champs-Elysées, be sure to keep an eye out for errant drivers.

Travel Thought for the Week

“Travel makes you modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.”
– Gustave Flaubert (1821 - 1880), French Novelist

Church and state fight over Trevi coins

Tradition says that a coin tossed into the Trevi Fountain will guarantee your return to Rome. It seems to work for me, as I faithfully toss a coin in each and every time I visit.

Tossing coins in the fountain is extremely popular – in fact so many tourists gather around the fountain at all hours of day and night, that there have even been fights over the best location to stand. Each year the City of Rome collects more than $1.7 million worth of coins from the fountain.

Well, now the city government is in a dispute over what happens to all that money. In the past the money has been donated to Caritas, which provides aid to the poor around the world. The Rome city council recently decided to grab the money for itself, supposedly to be used to repair the city's crumbling infrastructure. Given the history of Rome's finances – and government use of money in general – this sounds like a lose-lose proposition.

Luther book by Eric Metaxas on sale

The Kindle edition of Eric Metaxas's biography of Martin Luther, the man who launched the Protestant Reformation, is on sale for $1.99 right now. This is a must read for anyone planning a trip to Germany, or anyone just generally interested in the history of the 15th and 16th century. Normally priced at around $20, I don't know how long this will last, so grab it quickly.

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