Maybe old news by now…but just for the record: on January 4th Burj Dubai was opened by Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammad bin Rashed al-Maktoum. At the same time it was also renamed from Burj Dubai to Burj Khalifa (after United Arab Emirates President Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al-Nahayan). The official height is now 828 meters (about 2700 ft) and the viewing platform on 124th floor is now open to the public Here is an article about the opening containing a video. Visit the official homepage for more information.
Archive for the Category "News"
I read in the news today that Finnair has opened a spa at the lounge at the Vantaa Airport in Helsinki. It seems like the spa is for the passengers traveling between Europe and Asia. Sounds like a great way to spend some time at an airport of course but I’m not sure that I agree that this is revolutionary news as Finnair has it on their site . There is a spa at the airport in Bangkok and I had the great pleasure of testing that when I flew Thai first class earlier this year. But maybe I will have to try out Finnair one of these days to Asia Thanks to VG for the illustration of how the lounge looks.
After years of planning, building, testing, delays etc I’m happy to inform you that Boeing’s new 787 (aka Dreamliner) plane has successfully completed its first test flight in the US. You can read more about this on BBC and even see the TV coverage of the event. You can also read more about this on Boeing’s site . According to BBC the Dreamliner project has been delayed for 2 1/2 years due to various problems. When the Airbus A380 it seemed like Boeing were having a field day so I guess it is only fair that their project has also run into some problems. But now, a new plane is born and I look forward to trying it sooner or later. The first customer to get the 787 is ANA and that will be before the end of 2010.
Well, maybe this is not really news but it is a sad fact I guess. Due to the climate changes in the world the glaciers on highest mountain in Africa is melting and the prediction is that the ice will be gone in 20 years! I have had the pleasure of standing at the top of Kilimanjaro (see my trip report http://gardkarlsen.com/kilimanjaro_index.htm ) and it was freezing. But I have to admit that towards the top I was so tired that I didn’t really notice the glaciers at all and I should have taken lots more photos.
I would guess that the main problem of the glaciers disappearing is that the fresh water source will be gone for many of the people that live around the mountain and I guess that this a much bigger problem than issue that the mountain will not be that picture perfect anymore without the glaciers. So if you want to climb the mountain and still enjoy the view of “The snows of Kilimanjaro” you have to hurry – it will be gone soon. On the right hand side you will see a couple of photos showing the difference from 1993 to 2000. If you can read Norwegian you can read an article about this in the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten.
As we speak, AirFrance will be the fourth airline to recieve an Airbus A380 plane and they are the first European airline to get their A380. The other companies that have A380′s already are Singapore Airlines, Emirates and Qantas. I’m a bit surprised that AirFrance is not making more of a fuzz out of this – the link to information about the A380 on the AirFrance page just leads to a “Page not found” page. Anyway, AirFrance will use the plane from Paris to New York City so hopefully we will get a chance to try it in the future. I had the pleasure of trying out the A380 when I went from London to Dubai in March this year as you might remember from this article.
Maybe you think that travel guides are a new invention – well, think again. Books describing journeys have been around for centuries but I guess they have changed a bit as more and more people have the chance to travel. I came to think of this the other day when I heard on the news that the book “Northern Travel” by Bayard Taylor has finally been translated into Norwegian. I guess it was about time as it was written in 1857! The book is a tale of Bayard Taylor’s trip to Sweden and Norway and on his trip he gets to visit Bergen, Oslo, the fjords, see the midnight sun etc. Norway has changed a lot over the last 150 years – we have gained full independent once again, we have gone from being one of the poorest countries in Europe to one of the richest nation in the world etc etc. In that respect I think all Norwegians should read this book to get a glimpse of Norway anno 1857. Taylor describes food in Bergen as being horrible, he talks to the lepers and the lack of hygiene, he describes Norwegian jealousy towards the Swedes etc. If you want to read the book you can actually do it online. Thanks to Google Books you can find it here.
The travel magazine Condé Nast has released readers’ travel awards 2009 and here the best countries, best cities, best airports etc have been listed. Let’s take a look at the list of best vacation countries:
2. New Zealand
8. South Africa
Well, first of all I would like to say that I totally agree when it comes to Italy. Nikki and I have been there several times and our last trip was to Florence and Tuscany and it was one of our best vacations ever (see trip report on http://gardkarlsen.com/florence_italy_travelogue.htm ). I’m also very, very pleased to see that South Africa is ranked on 8th place. I see that Cape Town is also high on the list of best cities in the world and I couldn’t agree more. I think that it will get even higher on the list when they host the soccer world cup in 2010. I’m a bit surprised to see Turkey so far up on the list…for most Scandinavians Turkey is just a place where you go to find sun, beaches and partytime. I have actually never been there but I would love to visit Istanbul one of these days. You can find the awards on http://www.cntraveller.com/ReadersAwards/2009/Countries/ .
Do you agree on the list? What country is your favorite vacation country?
As more and more airlines are getting into economic problems, it seems like they are coming up with various new ideas on how they can squeeze in more people on each flight. A Chinese airline suggested having people standing on shorter flights and Ryanair quickly picked up the idea and came out with some sketches on how it could be done. I’m not sure they are serious – I just think it is a PR stunt but here is how it could be done:
A British design agency called Design Q has come up with an idea where people are facing each other. So now you get to stare other passengers in the face the entire flight But if you look at the example below…does ths really allow for more passengers than the traditional layout?
Some of the flights in Norway are very short…Stavanger to Bergen is from 20 to 30 minutes and Stavanger to Oslo can be done in 40 to 50 minutes. I don’t think I would have had a problem standing on a flight for 30 minutes if the ticket was considerably cheaper. And when it comes to sitting face to face – I was transported this way in an Army Hercules plane when I was in the armed forces…I can’t remember that anyone complained about our safety and comfort back then
Have you heard of Couchsurfing? This is basically a network of people that are offering their help and services to other travelers. You register and create a profile and then you can surf other member’s profiles and ask if you can spend the night on their couch when traveling. Sounds too good to be true I guess but I have hosted a few travelers and shown them a bit of Norwegian life and and attractions around Stavanger and they have loved it. You can also use this network if you are traveling alone and just want to get in touch with people for a coffee, a drink or just to learn a bit about the local culture. There are also other similars networks like Hospitalityclub.org. So don’t be shy…register online and help fellow travelers in need
No, we are not talking about Armageddon here – we are talking about The World in Dubai. As some of you know, the city of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates has started some of the most amazing building projects in the world….some examples are Burj Dubai, Ski Dubai, the Palm Jumeirah etc. They also started the contruction of The World a few years back; a man made archipelago of 300 islands located of the coast of Dubai. The project got it’s name as the islands together formed a world map and to start with the there were lots of rumors of celebrities buying varies islands. According to the project homepage, The World was completed on October 1st 2008. But this week there are rumors that the whole project has been canceled – check this article in TimesOnline. I could see the islands when I was there in May but I don’t think that anything has been built on them yet – I guess the economic crises in the world put an end to the whole thing and maybe this shows that it was just too insane to complete. I’m always fascinated by building projects that are over the top but I didn’t quite see the big attraction in owning a small island of the coast of Dubai. From what I have heard the property prices in Dubai has dropped a lot but I was surprised to see that there were still a lot of construction activities when I was there in April and May. There has been some negative press about Dubai as a tourist destination in the last year and I guess that is not helping either. Anyway, I will write more about my feelings regarding Dubai in the upcoming trip report that I will post on gardkarlsen.com . You can read more about The World on Wikipedia.