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Archive for January, 2010

World’s Most Beautiful Airports Jan 28

The travel magazine Travel + Leisure has just published an article where they list the world’s most beautiful airports. On the list you can find airports in Beijing, Madrid, NYC, Bilbao, Denver, Seoul, Hong Kong, Kuala Lumpur etc. You can find the list of the 15 airports in this article. So which airport do you think is the most beautiful in the world? I have to say that my favorite is still the tiny little airport at Samui in Thailand. It is basically just a couple of large huts with straw roofing but it fits really will in as Samui is quite a small island filled with coconut palms. But it also depends where you are hanging out at an airport. Frankfurt is not one of my favorites but when I got to stay in the Lufthansa First Class terminal I changed my mind ;-)

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A “private” tour of the Sistine Chapel Jan 27

A few years back we visited Rome (see the trip report with photos) and as many others we went for a tour at the Vatican museum and at the end we got to visit the Sistine Chapel. It was a bit of a surreal experience as it was so crowded and the guards were busy chasing people that were talking or taking photos. But now it seems like it is possible to go for tours after regular opening hours. Companies like Italy with us, Context , Rome in limo and Viator can all offer tours according to the Norwegian paper VG. But seeing Michelangelo’s masterpiece after hours does not come for free of course – you have to be prepared to pay about 300€ per person for the touring service. So if you have the money you can now enjoy the view of this beautiful chapel more or less in peace.

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Air New Zealand can offer bed in economy!! Jan 26

I think most of us have been there…you are on a looooooong flight and you are stuck in economy class between a couple of strangers. After trying 50 different positions in the seat you discover that it is very, very difficult to get some decent sleep. Well, today newspapers reports that Air New Zealand has come up with a clever “inventions” to also allow economy passengers a good night sleep in something that resembles a bed. So the deal is that if you are flying as a couple you can book a third seat for an extra fee and then the three seats are turned into a bed when you want to sleep. Based on the photos it looks a lot more comfortable compared to sleeping in an upright position. Anyway, the airline also adds that this is not an invitation to join the mile high club :-) Read more about it in Mail Online. So if you are going from the UK to New Zealand in 2011 you might be one of the lucky ones that can catch some Z’s as you in the air.

Do you steal from hotels? Jan 13

When I travel I’m always surprised to see reminders in hotel rooms that e.g. the robes are not meant to be taken home with you. I guess it must be a problem as some hotel rooms have a price list for almost everything in the room ;-) Here is an article about top 10 items that people steal from hotel rooms. Here is another article called “When stealing from a hotel is OK” that talks about the same subject. So have you ever taken something from the hotel room? I have to admit that I do take bathroom amenities that I have started using…like shampoo, conditioner and mouth wash. But apart from that I can honestly say that I have never stolen anything from a hotel room….well, as far as I can remember ;-) So what about you? Are  you a thief?

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List of places to go and places to stay Jan 12

As it is a new year there are articles popping up suggesting where to go and places to see. I never quite understood these lists as it all depends on what you want to see and what budget your are on.  But anyway; New York Times have printed this article called “The 31 Places to Go in 2010” and it includes places like Sri Lanka, Patagonia Wine country, Seoul (apparently Tokyo is soooo 2009), Mysore in India, Copenhagen, Koh Kood in Thailand (the next Samui?), Damascus in Syria (the next Marrakesh), Cesme in Turkey, Antartica??? and Leipzig.

Condé Nast Traveller has also published a list of places you want to stay at in 2010. The list is called “The Gold list 2010” and it covers more than 100 recommended hotels. The “winner” this year is Cliveden in Berkshire followed by the Ritz in London, The Balmoral in Edinburgh, Four Seasons Hotel George V in Paris, Hotel Cipriani in Venice, Hotel Adlon Kempinski in Berlin, Ellerman House in Cape Town in South Africa (now we are getting somewhere ;-) ), The Ritz-Carlton in Dubai, The Oberoi Mauritius and The Taj Mahal Palace & Tower Mumbai. I don’t think I  have stayed at any of these hotels…I get a feeling that most of them are on the expensive side ;-) Have you stayed at any of them?

Where to go, where to go… Jan 11

We have started thinking about where to go during Easter but we can’t make up our mind. We would like to go for a week or two so we probably want to keep the flight less than 6-7 hours and we would also want to avoid a big time difference in order to not be too jet-lagged ;-) We have been thinking of places like Istanbul in Turkey, Egypt, maybe Madrid and Barcelona in Spain. maybe Portugal. So have you got any great recommendation on where to go during Easter (around April 1st 2010)? Have you been to any of the places that I have mention and would you recommend it?

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THAI airways seeking a younger image Jan 10

It seems like the average age of female flight attendants has gone up to over 35 in Thai airways and they are now planning to offer voluntary retirement  to flight attendants that are over 45. They will of course offer a generous compensation to the ones that retire but in the end it is all about saving money as senior flight attendants make more money than the junior staff.  You can read the entire article in Bangkok Post.  I did have an older female flight attendant on my First Class flight with Thai airways and the service was great. I wonder what the average age for flight attendants in SAS is like ;-)

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British woman arrested in Dubai after being raped! Jan 09

A British woman got arrested the other day in Dubai when she went to the police to report a rape. It turns out that she was there on vacation with her boyfriend to celebrate her engagement and when she admitted that she had had sex with her boyfriend, she was arrested for having “illegal sexual intercourse”. One should of course respect the rules and regulation to the country that you are visiting but this is no way to be treated if you have been raped. This case shows a bit of the problem that Dubai faces. They do want western tourists to come to the city and country but they still want to enforce their strict rules on them.  So keep this in mind if you are planning on going to Dubai! Here is the article concerning the British woman that got raped.

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Burj Dubai opens…and changes name Jan 08

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.

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Trouble when using Travelocity Jan 07

When I travel I try to look around to find the best prices on airline tickets and hotels. Most of the time I book directly with the airline or the hotel but from time to time it is cheaper to use a third party (like when we went to Thailand and used Agode.com when booking hotel). But if you do involve a third party, there is always a chance that something can go wrong. Read this blog article about problems when using Travelocity: http://www.futuregringo.com/index.php/2009/12/30/travelocity-last-minute-packages/ . Have you got any experiences (good or bad) with booking through a third party? I have used sites like agoda.com, asiatravel.com, expedia.co.uk etc in the past and I have never had any problems….maybe I have just been lucky :-)

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