Weekly travel rail features U.S.'s Dublins, an item on the Blarney Stone, German police dogs wearing blue shoes, travel tips for women and more.


  American Tourist: Dublin   In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, why not head on over to Dublin? One of the U.S. Dublins, that is. Here are several quick-hit facts about America’s biggest Dublins.   Dublin, Calif.   Where: Suburb of the East (San Francisco) Bay region of Alameda County. The nearest major metropolitan area is that of Oakland, about 25 miles to the west-northwest on Interstate 580. The population is 45,000, according to California's 2007 estimates.   Irish connection: Dublin is known for its Saint Patrick's Day Parade. Every year around Saint Patrick's Day, many tourists from all around Alameda County and the Tri-Valley show up to enjoy the festivities. The parade is followed by an all-weekend fair.   More info: www.ci.dublin.ca.us   Dublin, Ga.   Where: A city in Laurens County. The population was 15,857 at the 2000 Census. By 2005, the population is estimated to be 16,924. The city is the county seat of Laurens County and is in the Macon metropolitan area.   Irish connection: Dublin is known for its St Patrick’s festival, which takes place during all of March.   More info: www.cityofdublin.org   Dublin, Ohio   Where: A city in Delaware, Franklin and Union counties. The population was 31,392 at the 2000 Census. In 2006, the population was estimated to be 36,565, and Dublin continues to be one of the fastest-growing suburbs of Columbus.   Irish connection: Annual events include the St. Patrick's Day parade and the Dublin Irish Festival, which is held in August.   More info: www.dublin.oh.us   Source: Wikipedia.org   Blarney Stone Just Blarney?   A new book challenges the authenticity of the famous Blarney Stone in Ireland, saying the stone people now kiss came into use in 1888. Authors Mark Samuel and Kate Hamlyn make the case against the Blarney Stone in “Blarney Castle,” and not surprisingly, Blarney Castle officials discount the ideas presented in the book. Perhaps the only way to really find out is to kiss the stone and see if it gives you the gift of gab. … (Source: www.news.com.au)   Don’t Be Alarmed By the Shoe-Wearing Police Dogs   If you’re traveling to Duesseldorf, Germany, you might think you’ve just stepped into the Twilight Zone – the police dogs there soon will be required to wear shoes. Seriously. According to news reports, all 20 of the force’s dogs will wear plastic blue shoes, and the reason is because the dogs have been injuring their paws on the myriad shards of beer bottles. Seriously.   Good to Know   Baby boomers: Are you tired of travel companies ignoring your needs? Check out www.boomeropia.com, a new travel Web site devoted to baby boomers. The site’s founder, Liz Dahl, told The Associated Press, “I happen to be a baby boomer, and I felt like the fun side of me wasn't being catered to and marketed to. I was getting ads for medication and hearing aids, and no one was appealing to my fun side."   Some of the features the Web site touts include: - 30 travel categories that contain the most unique travel opportunities in the world. - Type-face big enough to read! - Other info including tips on packing, state department info for international travel, etc.   The List   The top 10 hotels in the world, according to www.travelandleisure.com:   1. Oberoi Udaivilas, Udaipur, India   2. Singita Sabi Sand/Kruger National Park, South Africa   3. The Oriental, Bangkok   4. Four Seasons Hotel Istanbul at Sultanahmet, Turkey   5. The Milestone, London   6. Relais Il Falconiere, Cortona, Italy   7. Sabi Sabi Private Game Reserve, Sabi Sands, South Africa   8. Mandarin Oriental, Munich   9. Four Seasons Resort Hualalai, Hawaii   10. Oberoi Amarvilas, Agra, India   Fun Facts   - The temple of Wat Lan Khuad in Si Saket Province, Thailand, is built entirely from glass bottles, and the frescoes are made from bottle caps. – Wikitravel.org   - By tradition, the sand spit of Amanohashidate, one of Japan's Three Views, is best viewed upside down from between your legs. – Wikitravel.org   Travel Tip: Advice for Women   Here are some tips for females from female travelers, as posted on http://1000tips4trips.com:   - Advertise that you are not alone I know this sounds a bit crazy, but it helps. Check back at the hotel and leave yourself a message for “John,” or if you get a voice mail, leave “John” a message that you'll be back to get him in 15 minutes. Don't do this unless you feel you're being watched or you want the illusion of a travel partner.   - Allowable white lie When arriving at an airport alone, I often find people interested in my travel arrangements. I always tell them that my husband is coming on a later flight so that in case there is an air accident, the children won't be left orphaned. This has saved me from a lot of problems and unwanted attentions, especially from taxi drivers.   - A use for old pantyhose Because airports can be an easy place for others to prey on unsuspecting travelers who are unfamiliar with their surroundings, money/credit cards that will not be immediately needed should be secured until you leave your destination airport. Cut off a leg of an old pair of panty hose, put the money/credit cards in the leg and tie the leg around your waist underneath loose-fitting clothes. Keep a small amount of money in your pants/skirt pocket for necessary expenses or in the hopefully unlikely event that a stranger demands money.   - Africa safaris When traveling in Africa wear a support bra for the safari -- VERY bumpy roads.   Talk Like a Local: In France   - I can't speak French:  Je ne parle pas français (zhuh nuh PAHRL pah frahng-SEH)   - Do you speak English?  Parlez-vous anglais ? (PAHR-lay VOOZ ahng-LEH?)   - Is there someone here who speaks English?  Est-ce qu'il y a quelqu'un ici qui parle anglais ? (ess keel-ee-AH kel-KUHNG ee-SEE kee PAHRL ahng-LEH ?)   GateHouse News Service