Friday, 27 March 2015

News and Tips #23 - Friday, March 27, 2015

In this issue:

-Building Connections and Understanding - Medium
-Europe's 8 Most Picturesque Towns | Fodor's
-How to Cruise Economically - Tips For Stretching and Protecting - Your Cruise Vacation
-This is The Perfect U. S. Road Trip According to Scientists - The Bold Italic - San Francisco
-Top 10 Greenest Cities in the World - EcoWatch
-5 Reasons to Visit Antarctica | Travel Lifestyle of Your Dreams
-Awesome Alternative Accommodation Options in NYC

Building Connections and Understanding - Medium

When people speak of travel as a "force for good", what can it look like from the standpoint of the effect that travel has to break down fears and stereotypes? What sort of benefits - in terms of greater understanding, empathy and connection - can the act of travel bring to the world?

Europe's 8 Most Picturesque Towns | Fodor's

From the islands of the Mediterranean to the peaks of the Alps, Europe's postcard-perfect towns continue to inspire travelers with distance architecture preserved from 1,000 years ago. Filled with plenty of charm. many of these treasured areas contain historic ruins, cobblestone streets, and ancient churches to explore. While they may be flocked with tourists during the day, staying overnight in the area can inhance your travel experience...

How to Cruise Economically - Tips For Stretching and Protecting - Your Cruise Vacation

Economic cycles come and go. Cruise lines and travel vendors are offering deals. How can a smart traveler take leverage the current market?

Work with a travel professional. The amount of information available about cruise vacations can be overwhelming and confusing to anyone who doesn't work in the industry. Travel professionals are trained to understand your preferences, then sort through all the options to find the best cruise for you and...

This the The Perfect U. S. Road Trip According to Scientists - The Bold Italic - San Francisco

When most people dream of using their vacation days, they fantasize about European castle tours or Caribbean cruises or African safaris - really anything outside of the United States (except maybe Hawaii). But for the most of us who want to burn rubber on the good ol' Interstate System...

Top 10 Greenest Cities in the World - EcoWatch

This week, Dual CitizenLLC came out with the 4th edition of the Global Green Economy Index, an in-depth look at how 60 countries and 70 cities are doing in developing more environmentally friendly economies, in actual performance and in how experts perceive their performance. We already took a look at the top ten countries - Scandinavia, take a bow! Now we're going to check out the world's ten greenest and most sustainable cities. Scandinavia, an encore!

5 Reasons to Visit Antarctica | Travel Lifestyle of Your Dreams

Without doubt it's the toughest, more expensive and furthest away continent to tick off your ever expanding bucket list but with all that, Antarctica comes with a special kind of beauty.

The icy continent was my seventh and last continent, so it had big expectations to live up to. I had dreamed of Antarctica ever since browsing Chimu Adventure's website and discovering it was possible to visit as a tourist, but I always thought it would be too pricey for a backpacker to accomplish, now I know that's not the case. If any of you follow my Facebook fan page, you'll see that...

Awesome Alternative Accommodation Options in NYC

New York City is hands-down one of our favourite destinations in the world.

We love the melting pot of cultures, the Broadway shows, the long walks through Central Park. We love the energy and the noise and the diversity. We love lots of things about NYC - but one thing we certainly dislike is the steep price at hotels.

We're all for paying a bit more for stylish and unique accommodation, but unfortunately, extra dollars don't always equate to extra quality. In 2013 the average room rate was $230 a night. That'll put quite the dent in your travel fund if you want to visit for two weeks like we recently did over Christmas and New Years.

Thursday, 26 March 2015

Where in the World? Week 19 - March 27, 2015

Where in the world is this?

Enter your answer in the comment box below.

Check back next Friday (April 3) for the answer, and another photo.

Where in the world was last week's photo?

Little Venice,
Mykononos, Greece

La Dolce Vita - 2

A day in Naples...

A nice sunny day. Not bad for someone who has endured the never-ending winter of eastern North America.

I can take more of this!

Time to do a little retail therapy at a local 'mercato'.

Anyone want to buy some olives?

Dinner at a pizzeria in Naples...

Antipasto...deep fried pasta, deep fried pizza dough, arancino and bruschetta. 
Pizza margherita with a ring of ricotta cheese. pizza dough pockets filled with nutella.
A chaser of limoncello.

And before you can completely close off the day, a macchiato.
Ah, la dolce vita italiana!

Wednesday, 25 March 2015

Sunny thoughts....

Sunny thoughts....

Acapulco, Mexico

News and Tips #22 - Wednesday, March 25, 2015

In this issue:

-10 of the World's Hottest Hotel Rooftops
-Border woes: 5 items that will get you in trouble at the Canada-U.S. border
-Which country is South America's second largest?

5 Myths about Travelling with Kids| The Looptail, The Travel Blog Powered By G Adventures

Several years ago, as I was planning a trip to Italy with my toddler son, I asked for travel planning advice and was surprised with this response: "Sorry, but you're a parent now. No more grown-up vacations for you. Try a them park or something." This comment left me feeling judges, as though I was dragging my son to an adult destination for my own benefit. Since then I've noticed plenty of misconceptions about travelling with children, but the following five myths might be...

BBC - Travel - Top 21 under-the-radardestinations

From Canada's Yukon wilderness to the mountaintops of India, these unconventional holiday destinations will lead you off the beaten path and onto an adventure all your own.

How to Spend 4 Days in New Orleans | Nomadic Matt's Travel Site

New Orleans. NOLA. The Big Easy. A city by many names, all conjuring the jovial "Laissez les boys temps rouler!" ("Let the good times roll!") attitude towards life the city is famous for. New Orleans if filled with scrumptious French-inspired Creole and Cajun food, live jazz music, street performeres, and an appreciation for...

The 7 Best Shore Excursions in St. Maarten | TravelPulse

The part-French, part Dutch-owned island of St. Maarten/St. Martin is a hub that most cruise lines include on Caribbean itineraries. Cruise travelers will find an array of shore excursion options ranging from relaxin beach breaks and snorkelling to zip line adventures and aerial hover boarding. Here are some of the island's most...

10 of the World's Hottest Hotel Rooftops

Maybe it's the weather, the view or both but there is something magical about being high up and seeing things from a different perspective. That is why we have compiles a list of the top 19 hotel rooftops around the world that you simply have to visit.

Border woes: 5 items that will get you in trouble at the Canada-U.S. border

Nora Fitzgerald had no idea when she tried to cross the border to the U.S. that her seal-skin purse, an accessory that was drawing many compliments, would be confiscated. Since seals are on the endangered list, U.S. customs seized the piece, slapped her with a $250 fine and a threat she could be denied future entry unless she paid up.

Which country is South America's second largest?

South America is home to 19 countries and an incredibly diverse geography. The site of ancient civilizations, European colonies and emerging world powers, South America will play an increasingly large role in the 21st century and beyond. But can you distinguish between Guyana and Guyana? Can your sort your - guys?

An unexpected incident

When travelling, I enjoy going in all types of stores. I get to see the things the locals can buy - similar and different to home. I also enjoy seeing the prices of things, and comparing them to home.
This morning, I was in a Lidl store in Naples and I caused an incident. I was walking by the wines, looking at the types and the prices. Even their most expensive bottles were a fraction of the price I am used to in Canada.

I took a photo so I could possibly post it here, and also share with friends at home. Well! I guess you don't do that at Lidl. The manager, who was nearby, flipped out. No explaining possible. I guess I am part of the competition...even though the Italian that I speak is with a Canadian accent.

I have done this before in Lidl stores, as well as other stores in Europe and wherever I travel.

I guess some people just aren't open to the idea of sharing cultural experiences, which I consider this to be.

Even at home, I often take photos in stores, so I can remember items and prices for future reference. It would be harder for me to survive if I could not do this.

(N.B. For the record, this photo is not from the Lidl store. Heaven forbid that I would cause a bigger incident.)

Tuesday, 24 March 2015

La Dolce Vita - 1

Street scenes from Naples.

The mountain rising into the clouds in the distance is part of Mount Vesuvius.

Sunny, and 18C! Great weather to enjoy a coffee on a patio.

It's popular here, too. Red velvet cake, Italian style.

If you drink, how can you afford not to here.

Ah, la dolce vita italiana!

Heading to Naples Finally! (photos)

At long last, after an unexpected 25 hour layover in Frankfurt, and a change of flight in Munich we are headed to Naples.

Looking out the window, these are a couple of photos of the mountains in Italy. Being from eastern Canada, and after this winter, seeing snow covered mountains, almost caused me to panic.

A little further on, the mountains are looking a little 'better'.

Seeing Mount Vesuvius on the horizon, and the Mediterranean (just out of the picture) is a sure clue that we are approaching Naples.

Monday, 23 March 2015

News and Tips #21 - Monday, March 23, 2015

In this issue:

-The World's 12 Most Beautiful Museums
-Travelling on the Trans-Siberian Railways - This Battered Suitcase
-The 10 best airports in the world - Business Insider -
-21 Best Things To Do In The San Francisco Bay Area, As Explained By Locals
-5 Places Not To Miss On Your 1st Trip to Vietnam

The World's 12 Most Beautiful Museums

The world's best museums offer buildings and interiors as stunning as the objects within them. From converted train stations to medieval ruins, discover a world of beautiful museums from Canada to Qatar, and be inspired by some of the most impressive architecture around.

Cruising the romantic Danube | Expedia Viewfinder Travel Blog

My college sweetheart, Denise, and I have been married for more than 30 years. She works hard in the human resources department of a local school system, while I jet around experiencing some of the most amazing places on the planet. Sometimes this can lead to drama.

On a recent trip to Italy I flooded my Facebook and Twitter streams with pictures of a fabulous, multicourse meal I was enjoying.

Travelling on the Trans-Siberian Railway - This Battered Suitcase

Originally from Canada, all I've ever wanted to do is travel. After eight nomadic years and nearly 90 countries, I'm currently living in London and fulfilling my other dream of becoming a writer. If I'm not travelling, I'm writing about it, either for my blog, my job, or my Master's degree. I firmly believe there is an adventure everywhere, so long as you keep your eyes (and your mind, and your heart) open. Join me as I continue to look for these adventures. Hopefully you'll find your own, too.

The 10 best airports in the world - Business Insider -

Consumer aviation website Skytrax has published its latest annual World Airport Awards, and for the third consecutive year, Singapore's Changi International Airport took the crown as the world's best airport. It serves as one of Southeast Asia's largest transit hubs and is a major cog in the city-state's bustling economy.

"To win this prestigious award three years in succession is a remarkable achievement for Changi Airport...

21 Best Things to Do In the San Francisco Bay Area, As Explained By Locals

New York was freezing, and I had to leave. Thanks to JetBlue and a $63 round-trip ticket (yes, you read that right), I headed to the San Francisco Bay Area where the weather was better and the food, too, gave NYC a run for it's money.

While there, I worked from various cafes, friends' homes and random benches in parks...

5 Places Not To Miss On Your 1st Trip to Vietnam

Vietnam is one of those crazy colourful places that envelopes the senses. Mix the aromas of the Vietnamese Parisian cuisine with the stretches of pristine beaches and top it off with the handful of beautiful heritage listed sites. Vietnam has a little something for everyone. East truly meets west when discovering Vietnam, and here are my favourite places to visit.

Travel is more than the seeing of sights...

Don't shop without it...

Of all the ridiculous rules you experience when travelling, I think one that I experienced the other day in Munich airport is among the most stupid.

We were waiting for a connecting flight having flown in from Frankfurt as part of our 'never-ending saga' due to the job action by Lufthansa pilots. By now we were over 36 hours in transit, for what should have been about 23 hours in total.

There were machines that distributed different kinds of coffee found frequently along the concourse, but in one word the coffee was 'brutal'. In fact I would question if it was coffee. When I went to the washroom, I decided to check out the shop further along the concourse for a soft drink. It was probably a total of 5 minutes walking from where we were waiting for our flight. 

I got my drink and waited my turn at the cashier. When I got there I was asked for my boarding pass. Huh! What? I had left my pass back with my friend with whom I was travelling. A boarding pass for soft drink? Really? How ridiculous!! I was totally exhausted at this point in the trip, and did not have the energy or the patience to get it and return. I left without my drink. I have been asked for my boarding pass when making a duty free purchase, but for a bottle of a soft drink. Since then I have been trying to rationalize this rule, but can't.

Is it a security measure? I was a long distance from security, and being in transit, I never had been near security at Munich airport. I did not know that soft drinks were a duty free product. Paying 2.90 euro for it doesn't seem like a duty free purchase.

So, if you want to purchase anything, at least in Munich airport make sure you have your boarding pass. To me this rule smacks is an ultimate waste of bureaucracy.

Where in the world? Week 18 - March 23, 2015

Where in the world is this?

Enter your answer in the comment box below.

Come back next Friday (March 27) for the answer, and another photo.

Where in the world was last week's photo?

O'Connell Street and Millennium Spire
Dublin, Ireland

Sunday, 22 March 2015

This time it's not the weather

After the crazy winter that many of us have experienced in eastern North America, one would not be surprised to experience travel difficulties due to weather.

As I was heading to Europe last week, I was monitoring the weather and things looked good. The most recent storm on the east coast moved through the Maritime Provinces of Canada before we left.

Little did I think that the problems I would encounter would be in Europe, and they were not weather-related. Often I am aware of labour difficulties in Europe, but this one missed my radar.

This last week Lufthansa pilots held rotating strikes. One day their job action affected international and cargo flights, and another day it affected short- and medium-haul flights. As would be expected this action created havoc.

We were travelling on Air Canada, and notified of a potential problem upon arrival in Frankfort; however, it was not certain as the pilots had not stated their intended action for the next day.

Upon arrival in Frankfurt, it was quickly apparent that we had a problem and my flight was cancelled. I stood in line for almost two hours to be told I was not in the correct line since we were travelling with a dog. I went to area of the airport where I was directed. The earliest option for getting to Rome was Sunday at 9:00 a.m. (two days later). The agent suggested I go to another area of the airport where they had access to all possible flights, not just Lufthansa's flights. Off I went. When I got there, I was curtly told that this area was for Business Class flyers, which I was not. It didn't matter to the woman on duty that I had been directed there by her colleagues. She gave me the feeling that she considered my presence to be 'tainting the air she was breathing'. Try as I might, and as I pleaded, I was not going to get service from this woman. What was really sad, was this section was not busy at all. I could have been served immediately. I returned to the area that I had previously left and told them what happened in Area A. They apologized and set me to another part of the airport that was much busier. Again, I waited for over an hour to get assistance. In this case the service was friendly and efficient. The agent did her best to help.

In the end we were able to get a flight the next day to Naples which was better for our plans. However, to get there it meant a flight to Munich with a connection there.

We were given a voucher for eating at the airport. Also, reservations were made at a hotel not too far away from the airport for the night. Dinner was covered by a voucher. Breakfast was included with the room.

Funny how our attention to weather for the last several months, caused us to forget other factors which can disrupt air travel.