Tag: Europe TravelView All Tags
Well, it's been a whole entire year since all of Europe was singing and dancing to the annual song contest, Eurovision. Last time we watched, the insanity went down in Baku, Azerbaijan and Sweden won, so this year they played hosts in the Southern city of Malmö.
The contest as a whole has held the reputation of being quite the show, a mix of both native tongue and English lyrics accompanied by flamboyant costumes and overly produced choreography. This year was no exception. While the Russian grannies from last year didn't make the cut, 2013's winner did come from another Scandinavian country; Denmark.
If you're not up on the rules, this means Eurovision heads to Copenhagen for 2014.
Beer / Beer Travel / Belgium / Belgium Travel / Brussels / Brussels Travel / Alcohol / Bars / Cafes / Drinking / Europe / Europe Travel / → All Tags
In honor of North Carolina declaring April "Beer Month" you should know about this itsy-bitsy authentic beer parlour that we found in the capital of beer -- Brussels.
Even if you’re not a huge fan of the brewskie, it would pretty much be sacrilege not to go to a beer tavern in Brussels, the place of pilgrimage for many a beer-lover. There are beer halls, taverns and cafés aplenty, but if you want to go to a quirky original populated by locals rather than tourists, La Fleur en Papier Doré is the place.
This small tavern and café, dating from the middle of the 1700s, was once a convent and we suspect that the good nuns who lived there took a nip or two of the stuff in their time. Later it became a haunt of the Surrealist artistes –- René Magritte’s crowd. This artistic group, and the other writers and artists who followed, apparently liked to indulge in more drink than they could afford. All you need to do when you’re at La Fleur en Papier Doré is look up at the drawings and paintings crowding the jam-packed walls to see how cash-strapped artists paid their overdue bills in kind. As a shout-out to its past, the tavern still hosts exhibitions and writer’s evenings.
We headed there on a sweltering hot August summer day to find a cool cave fronted by a super-friendly barmaid. We picked a table in the back and settled in for what was to be a lesson in the history of Belgian beers. (Pics of this little gem follow below!)
Rental Cars / Hertz / Europe Travel / Cars / Driving / → All Tags
Once again we’re a little bit jealous when it comes to rental car options outside of the nifty fifty. Sure we’ve got some decent options and the PT Cruiser is thankfully no longer one of them, but putting the pedal to the metal just isn’t the same when you’re stuck inside a Chevy Impala.
Over in Europe it’s quite a different story, as the continent seem to get all the good cars—as long as you’re willing to pay extra for them. Hertz is the latest company to add some exotic and fancy pants options to their Euro rental car lots.
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This is not a late April's Fools prank.
Flying Europe's original low-cost carrier will now begin a different foot, as starting April 30th, the departures area for EasyJet will adopt a futuristic feel where passengers are checking themselves in and tagging their own bags.
Of course you'll still have to pay the £25 fee for a checked bag, but since the airline has estimated that about 80% of their passengers already check-in online, they've decided to do away with the extra cost of staffing a desk. It's all in the name of keeping airfares low, you know.
We’re all about in-flight comfort—from fine wining and dining to the latest in sleeper suites, it's all of interest to us, and of course we want to try it. However, that doesn’t mean that we aren’t interested in something a little more adventurous when climbing aboard an aircraft. That’s why we’re pretty intrigued about the Zero-G flights now available to the paying public over in Europe.
You’ve probably heard of the “Vomit Comet” before, as aircraft flying wild courses to experience reduced gravity is hardly a new concept. Space agencies have been using airplanes for years to simulate varying degrees of weightlessness, but you no longer need to be an astronaut to climb aboard. Trips like this have been available in the United States and Russia, but this is the first time these kinds of flights have been open to one and all in Europe.
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The European Union is considering changing the regulations that govern how airlines have to compensate/assist/not-screw-over passengers that they've stranded. Whether it's because they don't like their airline industry or because they do like their passengers is an open question, but changes they're nonetheless making.
The E.U. is already a relatively OK place to be a passenger. Under EU261, airlines have to refund ticket prices for cancellations and long delays, plus there are all kinds of rules about how geographically close airlines have to get their passengers when flights are diverted to alternate airports.
The implementation of those rules is admittedly imperfect. The refund rule sometimes ends with passengers taking airlines to court, and the geography regulation has its own loopholes (Ryanair once kind of hilariously met the rule by dropping passengers off on a nearby island rather than the one they were bound for. Close enough!) But at a minimum, the E.U. has been trying.
Budapest Travel / Nitty Gritty City Guides / Winter Travel / Wizzair / Thermal Baths / Hungary Travel / Europe Travel / BUD / → All Tags
Sometimes you've only got a few days in a city, and you want to make it worth the while. Our new series of Nitty Gritty City Guides gives you the basics, and what we most loved, fast and quick and so you're ready to get a move on.
It may be better known today as Budapest (with a "sh" sound instead of a regular "s"), but the Romans originally called it Aquincum. And to be honest, the name fits. Aqua means water in Latin. And no other city in Europe is as rich in thermal waters as Budapest.
Though Budapest's attractions are numerous (sipping espresso on Franz Liszt Square, riding the funicular to the top of Castle Hill, frolicking around on Margit Island), the baths were undoubtedly a big part of why we showed up last month en route to visit a friend in Poland. We weren't looking for drunken nights out (though Budapest specializes in those as well) or lavish boat dinners on the Danube (certainly not on our budget!); we were looking for a quiet, relaxing few days exploring the Hungarian capital during one of the coldest months of the year.
And lucky us, because that's exactly what we found.
Greece Travel / Strikes / Athens Travel / Europe Travel / Tourism / Politics Travel / Travel Politics / Travel News / Tourism Industry / → All Tags
We hate getting involved in travel politics labor issues. We say things like 'hey, if your company or your country is in financial or economic trouble, maybe you should go to work,' which seems reasonable to us. You guys respond by yelling at us for - actual quote - "undermin[ing] the intrinsic and sacramental right for unions to strike or engage in collective bargaining." That's no fun for anyone.
That said, we'd be remiss if we didn't at least suggest the possibility that the 24 hour strike currently crippling Greecewhich is specifically designed in part to disrupt travel and includes that country's civil aviation authorityis probably not going to help Greece's troubled economy.
Baggage Fees / Airline News / Airlines / KLM / Europe Travel / Luggage / Baggage / Checked Baggage / → All Tags
Besides those pesky low cost carriers it seems that once you crossed the pond you were somewhat safe from the dreaded checked baggage fees and charges. For the long-haul flights you’re probably still okay checking a bag for free, but now when your fit hit the ground over in Europe you might need to take out the credit card.
It looks like KLM is going to be one of the first traditional carriers over in Europe to start charging for checked baggage for travel within Europe. The charges hit the airport ticket counters beginning on April 22, as it will be in effect for tickets booked on or after that day. It’s going to be 15 euros for those checking a bag in advance, but it doubles if you’re paying at the airport—that’s roughly $40 if we converted things correctly. Other carriers like Air France, Alitalia, and British Airways don’t seem to be interested in this kind of thing just yet, but now we’re getting a little nervous.
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Everyone is always asking, "how can I get cheaper airfare?" Well today's your lucky day as Air France announces a bare-bones ticket that's nothing but cheaper airfare, and they're calling it the "MiNi."
One-way "MiNi" fares would start at €49 (including tax), which is around €20 less than a normal economy ticket, though MiNi means no itinerary changes, no seat selection at booking, and no mileage earning. Still, if you can keep it to carry-on only (checked baggage is €15 per piece in advance, €30 at the airport), it's a heck of a lot cheaper than taking the Eurostar from London to Paris and the TGV on to Nice.
There are 58 starter destinations, all short- and medium-haul, for example from London City to Brest, Nantes, Pau, Avignon, Toulon and Paris-Orly. If you're like, "what the heck in Toulon," then know that it's an airport much nearer to St. Tropez, Cannes and Monte Carlo than Marseille, so that's our first choice right there. Other MiNi fare hubs are Paris-Orly, Marseille, Toulouse and Nice.
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Ignore the obviously photoshopped A380 above
Way back in September, we briefly talked about a huge airline partnership between Qantas and Emirates. Back then the deal was still in its infancy and only the proposed benefits were released and, of course, the entire project was waiting for the respective Governments to approve the coupling.
Just today the first major hurdle was cleared. The ACCC, the Aussie Government office that wants to make sure there is due competition in the market, has given their initial thumbs-up for the partnership. Now, the two airlines can move forward with some mutual love. Furthermore, Emirates' CEO clarified the reason for this whole joint partnership, saying, "We don't want to enter a global alliance".
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Ever flown into Switzerland's Zurich Airport? You step off the plane and the soaring windows fill only with the expanse of blue sky all around. Then you step into the terminal transfer train and, in the darkness, there's the sound of cows mooing, cow bells clanking and alpine horns tooting from the speakers.
The first bit of the video below instantly brought us back to that moment at Zurich Airport, as it also features that typical Swiss soundtrack...before jumping into a rhythm to compliment the stupendous vistas in the time-lapse.
This video. named "Helvetia's Dream," comes from Swiss photographer Alessandro Della Bella and is an ode to his homeland and the landscape in which he grew up. He obviously headed to the top of a few mountains for the shots, but we're here to tell you that you can as well, and easily.