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With summer officially in swing, we no longer feel the need to hide our rosé
drinking problem obsession. (Even though it's possible to drink rosé all year long, the blush pink wine is typically meant for summertime.)
While rosé is popular at restaurants and bars all over right now, we were quite surprised when we found a Cotes de Provence Rosé on the business class wine list aboard Air France, as usually airlines just offer white or red, but never in between. Paired with the rich butter cookies, it made for an excellent pre-meal treat. (However, if you're looking for rosé champagne, you'll have to fly Qatar business class for that.)
We'll have more on the rest of business class meal, and the flight, later this week but for now, sip on these travel news tidbits compiled by Conde Nast Traveler:
Train Travel / Canada Travel / Rocky Mountaineer / Banff Travel / Banff National Park / Vancouver Travel / Jasper Travel / → All Tags
Last week, we took a ride across Western Canada from Vancouver to Banff on board one of Canada's few long-haul scenic train options, the Rocky Mountaineer. It was the first ride of the 2015 season, made even more special by the fact that the company is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. Step inside with us for a breakdown of what Rocky Mountaineer has to offer as well as insight into what you can expect from the experience.
Snapshots / Train Travel / Canada Travel / Rocky Mountaineer / Banff Travel / Vancouver Travel / Jasper Travel / → All Tags
The Gold Leaf observation car on the Rocky Mountaineer
Western Canada, specifically British Columbia and Alberta, is mostly comprised of wilderness and small, isolated mountain towns. The major bullet points like Kamloops, Revelstoke, Jasper, and Banff might be well known, but it's the scenery in between - typically tough to access for the general traveler - that does most of the talking.
As far as scenic passenger trains go, the Rocky Mountaineer is Canada’s most luxurious line. Contrary to the government-funded VIA Rail, which features sleeper cars and does a lot of its travel in the dark, the Rocky Mountaineer travels only during the day, stopping in "ports" along the way and putting its passengers up in hotels.
Train travel isn't as, shall we say, theatrical as plane travel — but it is much more convenient. No security hassles, no lost luggage problems and no anxiety attacks about take-off and landing. (Oh, is that just us?)
Also, getting upgraded to First Class is way easier, especially if you're riding Virgin Trains in the UK.
Here's how you do it:
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Good news for those looking to head into or head out of Miami, as another of the area’s commuter trains has finally linked itself up with the airport.
Earlier this month a new Tri-Rail station opened up at Miami International Airport’s transit hub, and that means passengers are now just a short people mover ride away from the terminals and concourses.
The last time an Amtrak train ran between Vermont and Montreal was in 1995. Now, 20 years later, the whistle is a step closer to sounding off once again. According to reports, "a significant hurdle" was cleared Monday "when the United States and Canada signed an agreement allowing the creation of a U.S. Customs facility in Montreal."
Now, the agreement isn't specifically one made for Amtrak and the aforementioned route. The new customs procedures will make transporting anything - whether it's people or goods - more streamlined when it comes to crossing the border. That said, it will no doubt have a large impact on train travel and the services provided between the two countries.
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The Verde Canyon Railroad reaches its turnaround point in Perkinsville
There are endless trails that will take you into the heart of Sedona's natural beauty, but there's only one set of tracks. The Verde Canyon Railroad's depot is located a half hour southwest of Sedona and takes a slow journey through limestone canyons, red rock buttes, and river-filled ravines, providing an alternative way to leisurely take in the unique scenery of central Arizona.
The trip softly narratives the historical ties back to the days of mining the canyons, and those interested in history can certainly dive in by chatting with the historians assigned to each car. For the general interest traveler, it will be the train's scenic journey through the canyon itself that does all the talking.
Four hours in length (two hours out, two hours back along the same path), it is a pleasant train to nowhere, with each ticket providing access to an interior cart with drink and food service as well as an open-aired viewing cart.
We're known for daydreaming of future travel concepts in this neck of the woods, and one particularly nice dream revolves around the idea of reducing the time it takes to travel from one place to the other. California has debated the idea of a high-speed train from Los Angeles to San Francisco for quite some time now, but now things look to really be progressing beyond political chatter.
Known as Hyperloop, the concept is tubular train travel that allows for speeds of up to 600 miles per hour. This is the type of speed that would really aid to connect cities across our own country, reducing travel times greatly. For example, San Fran to L.A. would take about 45 minutes. Things have come so far that the company that makes Hyperloop has now began testing its technology.
But before we get too excited, there are hurdles to overcome. Here's the latest that's coming out of camp Hyperloop:
Eurail, popular with travelers looking to bounce around to multiple countries in Europe, recently announced major additions to its pass plans for 2015.
The biggest news is the addition of four new countries - Bosnia-Herzegovina, Montenegro, Poland, and Serbia - that can be explored using the rail pass, bringing the total to an impressive 28 countries. That in itself is a reason to pull out a map and start considering possibilities.
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For all the travel we do, maybe because of it, we appreciate the little joys along the way and train or plane lounges rank right up there. When we come across a modern gem like the Renfe Club Lounge at Barcelona Sants Station our heart gives a little leap: it’s a seriously cool place to chill while waiting for your train.
Entry into the lounge, which reopened on April 2 of this year after a major overhaul, takes a Club, First-Class or Grand Comfort class ticket. Once you’re in you can choose from at least five different areas to park it, all with a different look and feel. There’s a self-serve drinks area with a few complimentary snacks as well – nothing spectacular, but enough to get you through until you board your train and can enjoy the first-class treatment on board.
(Want to see more? Check out the photo gallery!)
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The Eurostar and the French TGV may take up most of the spotlight of Europe’s high-speed rail network, but there are other options for zooming through the continent’s patchwork of countries, depending on where you go. There is the sleek, white, and German ICE and, if you’re looking to travel between Amsterdam, Brussels, and Paris, the shiny, red Thalys.
Thalys reduces Amsterdam to Paris, a 316-mile, 5-hour drive, to almost three hours flat (ok, 3 hours and 14 minutes) of high-speed comfort. It runs between Amsterdam Central Station and Paris Gare du Nord, giving you the advantage of city center to city center travel too. Stops along the way include Amsterdam Schiphol Airport, Rotterdam, Antwerp, and Brussels.
The train to plane options over at London-Gatwick are about to get much improved, as officials are spending big bucks to make the transition from rail to air that much better.
Work will be ongoing for quite some time, as the plan is get things done in time for 2020. The investment will upgrade and improve the airport’s train station, and that means way better public transportation options to and from the terminals and concourses.