BC: Estonia | June 11, 2010-June 14, 2010 | Description: Estonia is a stable democracy with an economy that experienced rapid growth for much of the last decade, although the economy has contracted sharply in the last few years as the effects of the global crisis are felt. Tourist facilities in the capital, Tallinn, are comparable to those found in western European cities, but some amenities may be lacking in rural areas. In Tallinn, as well as in other locations frequented by tourists, many people can communicate in English. Population: 1,291,170 (July 2010 est.) Location and Climate: Eastern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and Gulf of Finland, between Latvia and Russia. Maritime; wet, moderate winters, cool summers. Official Language(s): Estonian (official) 67.3%, Russian 29.7%, other 2.3%, unknown 0.7% (2000 census). Major Religions: Evangelical Lutheran 13.6%, Orthodox 12.8%, other Christian (including Methodist, Seventh-Day Adventist, Roman Catholic, Pentecostal) 1.4%, unaffiliated 34.1%, other and unspecified 32%, none 6.1% (2000 census). Major Cities: Tallinn, Tartu. Current Events: Glenn Beck: Finland vs. Estonia. Locations and Sites Visited: Alexander Nevsky Cathedral,Oleviste Church,Town Hall, Tallinn City Museum etc. | Entry/Exit Requirements:As a U.S. citizen, you may enter Estonia for up to 90-days for tourist or business purposes without a visa during any 180-day period. Please be sure that your U.S. passport is valid at least three months beyond your expected period of stay. Because Estonia is a party of the Schengen Agreement,your passport will be stamped (and the 90 days will begin) at your first stop in the Schengen Zone. Thus, for example, if you arrive in Estonia via a flight that first stops in Copenhagen (Denmark is also a Schengen country), your passport will be stamped (and the 90-day period will begin) by immigration officials at Copenhagen airport. The period of stay does not end until you completely depart the Schengen Zone, at which point your passport will again be stamped. Most countries in Western and Central Europe, including most of Estonia’s neighboring countries (e.g., Lithuania, Latvia, Finland, Sweden, etc.) are members of the Schengen Zone as well.
FC: By: Matt Rupple | Travel Journal
1: May 14, 2010-May 16, 2010 | IceLand | Description: Iceland is a mountainous island nation in the north Atlantic Ocean, located between Europe and North America. Though not part of the continental mainland, the country is considered European. The name of the country, Iceland, may not be that appropriate, although 10% of Iceland is covered by glaciers, it has a surprisingly mild climate. Population: 318,006 (July, 2010). Location and Climate: European Island country in the North Atlantic Ocean. The climate is sub polar Oceanic. The south coast is warmer then most the country. Official Language(s): Icelandic, Faroese, Norwegian, Danish, and Swedish etc. Major Religions: Christian, , Baptist, Catholic, Jehovah's Witness, Bahá'í, neopagan, Mormon, Muslim. Major Cities: Reykjavík, Kópavogur, Hafnarfjrur. Entry/Exit Requirements: Iceland has open borders. U.S. citizens may enter Iceland for up to 90 days for tourist or business purposes without a visa. Your passport should be valid for at least three months beyond the period of stay. You also need to show that you have sufficient funds and a return airline ticket. Current Events: Iceland’s Eyjafjallajkull Volcano was stirring underground for several months before it erupted last spring. Researchers are reviewing earthquake and deformation data in an effort to understand the volcano and be better able to predict future eruptions. Locations and Sites Visited: Blue Lagoon, Mount Esja, Festival of Light etc.
2: Sweden | May 17, 2010-May 19, 2010 | Description: Sweden is a highly developed, stable democracy with a modern economy. Population: 9,074,055 (July 2010 est.) Location and Climate: Northern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea, Gulf of Bothnia, Kattegat, and Skagerrak, between Finland and Norway. Temperate in south with cold, cloudy winters and cool, partly cloudy summers; subarctic in north. Official Language(s): Swedish (official), small Sami- and Finnish-speaking minorities. Major Religions: Lutheran 87%, other (includes Roman Catholic, Orthodox, Baptist, Muslim, Jewish, and Buddhist) 13%. Major Cities: Stockholm, Goteborg, Malmo. Entry/Exit Requirements: Sweden is a party to the Schengen Agreement. This means that U.S. citizens may enter Sweden for up to 90 days for tourist or business purposes without a visa. Your passport should be valid for at least three months beyond the period of stay. You need sufficient funds and a return airline ticket. Current Events: British Prime Minister David Cameron, exits his official residence at 10 Downing Street in central London, to greet Sweden's Prime Minister Frank Reinfeldt, not seen, prior to their meeting. Locations and Sites Visited: Gotland, Lake Siljan, Abisko National Park etc.
3: Brazil | May 20, 2010-May22, 2010 | Description: Brazil is a federation of states with an advanced developing economy. Tourist facilities are excellent in major cities, but vary in quality in remote areas. Population: 201,103,330 Location and Climate: Eastern South America, bordering the Atlantic Ocean. mostly tropical, but temperate in south. Official Languages: Portuguese (official and most widely spoken language); note - less common languages include Spanish (border areas and schools), German, Italian, Japanese, English, and a large number of minor Amerindian languages. Major Religions: Roman Catholic (nominal) 73.6%, Protestant 15.4%, Spiritualist 1.3%, Bantu/voodoo 0.3%, other 1.8%, unspecified 0.2%, none 7.4% (2000 census). Major Cities: Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Brasília. Entry/Exit Requirements: Brazil requires U.S. citizens to carry a valid U.S. passport and a visa when traveling to Brazil for any purpose. You must obtain your Brazilian visa in advance from the Brazilian Embassy or consulate nearest to your place of residence. There are no "airport visas" and immigration authorities will refuse entry to Brazil to anyone not possessing a valid visa. The U.S. Government cannot assist travelers who arrive in Brazil without proper documentation. Current Events: Brazil to create disaster prevention system. | Locations and Sites Visited: Rio de Janeiro, Foz do Iguau or the Iguau Falls, So Paulo etc.
4: Greece | May 23, 2010-May25, 2010 | Description: Greece is a developed and stable democracy with a modern economy. Tourist facilities are widely available. Population: 10,749,943 (July 2010 est.) Location and Climate: Southern Europe, bordering the Aegean Sea, Ionian Sea, and the Mediterranean Sea, between Albania and Turkey. Temperate; mild, wet winters; hot, dry summers. Official Language(s): Greek 99% (official), other 1% (includes English and French). Major Religions: Greek Orthodox 98%, Muslim 1.3%, other 0.7%. Major Cities: Athens, Thessaloniki, Patrai, Iraklion, Larissa. Entry/Exit Requirements: Greece is a party to the Schengen Agreement. As such, you may enter Greece for up to 90 days for tourist or business purposes without a visa. Your passport should be valid for at least three months beyond the period of your stay. You may also need to demonstrate that you have sufficient funds for your trip and that you have a return airline ticket. Current Events: Greece deserves better interest rates: finance minister. Greece seeking better rates on rescue loans. Locations and Sites Visited: Athens, Acropolis, Syntagma Square etc.
5: Nigeria | May 26, 2010-June 28, 2010 | Description: Nigeria is a developing country in western Africa that has experienced periods of political instability. It has the largest population on the continent, estimated at 149 million people, and its infrastructure is not fully functional or well maintained. Population: 152,217,341 Location and Climate: Western Africa, bordering the Gulf of Guinea, between Benin and Cameroon. Varies; equatorial in south, tropical in center, arid in north. Official Language(s): English (official), Hausa, Yoruba, Igbo (Ibo), Fulani. Major Religions: Muslim 50%, Christian 40%, indigenous beliefs 10%. Major Cities: Lagos, Ibadan, Kano, Pot Harcourt, Benin city, Zaria, Maiduguri. Entry/Exit Requirements: A passport and visa are required. The visa must be obtained in advance from a Nigerian Embassy or Consulate. Visas cannot be obtained on arrival at the airport. Promises of entry into Nigeria without a visa are credible indicators of fraudulent commercial schemes in which the perpetrators seek to exploit the foreign traveler's illegal presence in Nigeria through threats of extortion or bodily harm. U.S. citizens cannot legally depart Nigeria unless they can prove, by presenting their entry visas, that they entered Nigeria legally. Current Events: airBaltic and Turkish Airlines to offer destinations in Middle East, Asia and Africa. Pirate hijackings at record high. Locations and Sites Visited: Abuja, Ibadan etc.
6: DenMark | May 29, 2010-May 31, 2010 | Description: The Kingdom of Denmark is a highly developed, stable democracy with a modern economy. Greenland is a self-governing part of the Kingdom of Denmark, and the Faroe Islands have home rule within the Kingdom of Denmark. Population: 5,515,575 (July 2010 est.) Location and Climate: Northern Europe, bordering the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, on a peninsula north of Germany (Jutland); also includes two major islands (Sjaelland and Fyn). Temperate; humid and overcast; mild, windy winters and cool summers. Official Language(s): Danish, Faroese, Greenlandic (an Inuit dialect), German (small minority) note: English is the predominant second language. Major Religions: Evangelical Lutheran 95%, other Christian (includes Protestant and Roman Catholic) 3%, Muslim 2%. Major Cities: Greater Copenhagen, Arhus Odense, Aalborg. Entry/Exit Requirements: Denmark is a party to the Schengen agreement, meaning U.S. citizens may enter the country for up to 90 days on their U.S. passport for tourist or business purposes without a visa. Your passport should be valid for at least three months beyond your period of stay. | Current Events: DENMARK SIGNS CLIMATE AGREEMENT WITH ROMANIA, WORKING ON ONE WITH UKRAINE AND OTHER COUNTRIES. Locations and Sites Visited: Tivoli, Dyrehavsbakken Legoland, Zoo Copenhagen
7: Madagascar | June 1, 2010- June 3, 2010 | Description: Madagascar is a developing island nation off the east coast of Africa. The primary languages are French and Malagasy. French is less spoken outside of major cities. Facilities for tourism are available, but vary in quality. Travelers seeking high-end accommodations should make reservations in advance. Population: 21,281,844 (July 2010 est.) Location and Climate: Southern Africa, island in the Indian Ocean, east of Mozambique. Tropical along coast, temperate inland, arid in south. Official Language(s): French (official), Malagasy (official), English. Major Religions: Indigenous beliefs 52%, Christian 41%, Muslim 7%. Major Cities: Antananarivo, Toamasina, Antsirabe. Entry/Exit Requirements: A passport and visa are required. Visas are available at all airports servicing international flights, but travelers who opt to obtain a visa at an airport should expect delays upon arrival. Visas obtained at the airport cannot be extended. All U.S. citizens must have at least one blank page and 6 months validity in their passport to gain admittance to Madagascar. Visa fees can be paid in US dollars, Euros or Madagascar Ariary. Credit cards are not accepted. Most international flights arrive in Antananarivo, but there are some limited international flights to/from the nearby islands of Comoros, Mayotte and Reunion from airports in Mahajanga, Toamasina (Tamatave), Nosy Be, Tolagnaro (Ft. Dauphin) and Antsiranana (Diego Suarez). There are also direct flights between Italy and Nosy Be. | Current Events: Archbishop Agostino Marchetto resigned from the office of Secretary. Locations and Sites Visited: Antananarivo, Andasibe-Mantadia National Park, Antsirabe etc.
8: Romania | June 4, 2010- June 6, 2010 | Description: Romania is a republic and a member of both NATO and the European Union. The country has a market-oriented economy with developed tourist facilities in the capital, Bucharest, and facilities of varying quality throughout the rest of the country. Population: 21,959,278 (July 2010 est.) Location and Climate: Southeastern Europe, bordering the Black Sea, between Bulgaria and Ukraine. Temperate; cold, cloudy winters with frequent snow and fog; sunny summers with frequent showers and thunderstorms. Official Language(s): Romanian 91% (official), Hungarian 6.7%, Romany (Gypsy) 1.1%, other 1.2%. Major Religions: Eastern Orthodox (including all sub-denominations) 86.8%, Protestant (various denominations including Reformate and Pentecostal) 7.5%, Roman Catholic 4.7%, other (mostly Muslim) and unspecified 0.9%, none 0.1% (2002 census). Major Cities: Bucuresti, Iasi, Galati, Timisoara. Entry/Exit Requirements: You must have a valid passport to enter Romania. U.S. citizen visitors are granted 90 days of stay without a visa within a given six-month period. For stays longer than 90 days, you must obtain an extension of stay from the Romanian Immigration Office in the area of your residence. If you stay too long you will need an exit visa. We do not recommend the practice of attempting to “extend” the 90-day period by traveling to another country for a short period and then returning to Romania. More people are being denied re-entry to Romania because the Romanian Government is enforcing visa regulations more vigorously than in the past. | Current Events: Romanians celebrate their ancient heritage, changing seasons, religious holidays and life-cycle events. Locations and Sites Visited: Peles Castle, Danube Delta,Bran Castle, Clock Tower.
9: Slovakia | June 7, 2010- June 10, 2010 | Description: Slovakia is a rapidly developing European nation. Tourist facilities are not as developed as those found in Western Europe, particularly outside the major cities, and some goods and services common in other European countries are occasionally unavailable in Slovakia. Population: 5,470,306 (July 2010 est.) Location and Climate: Central Europe, south of Poland. Temperate; cool summers; cold, cloudy, humid winters. Official Language(s): Slovak (official) 83.9%, Hungarian 10.7%, Roma 1.8%, Ukrainian 1%, other or unspecified 2.6% (2001 census). Major Religions: Roman Catholic 68.9%, Protestant 10.8%, Greek Catholic 4.1%, other or unspecified 3.2%, none 13% (2001 census) Major Cities: Bratislava, Koice, Preov. Entry/Exit Requirements: You need a valid passport to enter Slovakia. Your passport should be valid for at least three months beyond the day you planto finish your trip. You may visit Slovakia for up to 90 days for tourism or business without a visa. Slovakia is part of the Schengen Agreement along with 23 other European countries. The maximum stay for tourism or business in the Schengen zone is 90 days. Current Events:International dancing sport competition. The place of the event: PKO Bratislava Locations and Sites Visited: Thermal Park Beeová, Slovak Philharmonic etc.