Thursday, December 31, 2015

Retromobile Car Show in Paris, February 2016

This car show will be in Paris February 3-7, 2016. It is expected to have 500 cars and 450 exhibitors from around the world. Included in the show is the Porsche 936, winner of the 1977 24 Hueres du Mans, and a pre-war Mercedes 540K. An auto auction will be part of the show.

Held at the Parc des Expositions de la Porte de Versailles, the show will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tickets are 16 Euros in advance and 18 Euros at the door.

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

The Island of St. Helena Gets Airport

St. Helena, located 1,200 miles west of the southern coast of Africa, is probably best known as the final home of Napoleon Bonaparte. It is a British Overseas Territory and home to about 4,000 people. Until the airport opens in February, 2016, the island has only been accessible to visitors who use the RMS St. Helena, a ship that makes the 5 day trip from Cape Town every three weeks. The ship will be retired in April, 2016.

Routes have been proposed by two airlines. One, Comair Limited, is a South African airline and has received permission to fly one a week from Johannesburg. The other proposed airline is a British startup, Atlantic Star Airlines, but as of yet, the company does not operate any planes.

Friday, December 25, 2015

Expect Delays at Kuala Lumpur Airport

In 2014, a new runway opened at the klia2 passenger terminal for low cost flights. However, despite treatment of the soil before construction, the runway is now sinking due to unstable soil, resulting in cracks, bumps and the pooling of water.

Air Asia, the largest operator of flights out of the terminal has sued the airport's operator for damage to airplanes. It is estimated that it will take at least five years to resolve the issue.

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Museum of Sound Opens in Macau

More than 200 pieces of antique video and sound equipment are now on display in the Museum of Vintage Sound Machines, located within Tai Peng Electronics & Appliances.

On exhibit are gramophones and phonographs that can play their original cylinders and records, plus hand-cranked music boxes, manual telephones and tube radios.

To see the display you need to book at least one day in advance by calling or you can email

Closed weekends and admission is MOP30.

Friday, December 18, 2015

Longest Rope Suspension Bridge in Germany

Germany's longest rope suspension bridge opened in western Germany on October 3, 2105. It spans the Geierlay Canyon between the towns of Morsdorf and Sosberg. It is 1,200 feet long, 298 feet high and is free to cross as it is part of a series of hiking trails.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Glass Bottom Bridges

Recently opened is a glass-bottomed walkway across the Tower Bridge in London.

Also, recently opened, is a nearly 1,000 ft, 590 ft high bridge called the Haohan Qiao at Shiniuzhai National Geological Park in southeaster China. Entry to the park is CNY98

Another glass bottomed bridge scheduled to open soon is the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Glass Bridge in Zhangjiajie National Park, northest of Shiniuzhai. It is 1,410 feet long and at 984 high, it will be the world's highest and longest glass bottom bridge. Entry to the park is CNY248.

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Holy Tunic of Argenteuil

Believed to be the garment that Jesus Christ wore on the cross, The Holy Tunic of Argenteuil will be on display at the Basilica Saint-Denys d'Argenteuil March 25 - April 10, 2016 in honor of the Year of Mercy that was declared by Pope Francis.

The tunic is usually displayed only once in every 50 years and has been kept in Argenteuil since around 800 A.D.

The garment was suppose to be seamless but during the French Revolution, a monk who hoped to keep the garment from falling into the hands of the revolutionaries, cut it into pieces, giving away some and burying some. Some pieces have never been recovered.

The basilica is open daily from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday mass is held at 8:30 a.m., 11 a.m. and 6:30 p.m.

For those interested, there is another tunic claimed to be the tunic worn by Christ. It is the Holy Tunic of Trier, and kept in the Cathedral of Trier in Germany.

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Increase in Entry Fee at Greek Archaeological Sites

Starting January 1, 2016, entry prices at some of the most popular tourist sites in Greece will have a higher entry fee.

O Partenon de Atenas adj In Athens, the cost of visiting the Acropolis will go up from 12 Euros to 20 Euros and the National Archaeological Museum will cost 10 Euros, up from 7 Euros.

In Crete, the Knossos site goes from 6 Euros to 15 Euros and in Mycenae, from 8 Euros to 12 Euros.

The Archaeological Museum of Heraklion will cost 10 Euros.

These prices will only be in effect during the peak tourist season running from April to October. In the winter, the prices will be reduced by 50% and the first Sunday of every month will be free.

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Noise in Boutique Hotels

I love boutique hotels and will stay in them if the location, reviews and price is right.

But expect boutique hotels to be noisy.

Often they have a great location, right near the center of town. Which means the traffic noise can be deafening. Add to that the simple street noise of people talking and cars passing by.

Then there is the issue of sound proofing between rooms ... which very often doesn`t exist. Plus rolling suitcases bouncing over the cobblestones.

And they may not be up to date as far as room temperature control is concerned. Want to cool off the room? Open the windows and be bombarded with the street noise.  :(


Monday, November 2, 2015

Cruising? Beware the Sales Tax

I have done a lot of cruising but I just learned something new. If you buy something while the ship is docked you will be charged the local sales tax. If you are buying a beverage, that tax is charged on top of the 15% service charge the ship charges.

A cruiser discovered this while the ship was docked in San Pedro, CA when they looked at their shipboard account and saw an additional 8% on their tab for the purchase of a bottle of wine.

I'm not a drinker so didn't know this. But tax is charged on all purchases when in a U.S. port including Ft. Lauderdale and Miami.

And this is not only in the U.S. Apparently Spain charges 25% for alcoholic drinks purchased while in port.

There is some question as to whether or not the tax is charged if you buy a beverage package when boarding ship. If your cruise card is swiped, the guess is probably. If the charge slip is handwritten, maybe not, as the thought is the purchase is not entered into the system until the ship is in international waters.

To avoid this possibility on a beverage package, suggestion is to pre-purchase it at home.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Electrical Outlets in Switzerland

If you are traveling to Switzerland, invest in an outlet adapter like this one:

In all of the hotels that we stayed at, the outlet recepticle was recessed. What you see in the photo is a screw (top) and 3 round holes. While we did have two prong adapters with us, none of them had prongs long enough to fit snugly into the recessed outlet. The plastic housing around our adapters were too wide to allow the prongs to go fully into the electrical outlet.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Taking the Train to Zurich in Switzerland

We stayed in a hotel (the Movenpick Airport - a typical business class hotel - nothing special one way or the other) just outside of Zurich. Plan was to take the train or tram into Zurich for the day.

The concierge at the hotel suggested the train as it is much faster. So we did that. The only problem we had at the automatic ticket machine was not knowing the correct name for the station we wanted. Fortunately we got help from another traveler and the correct selection is Zurich HB.

In retrospect, though, since we were touring, we should have gotten an all day tram ticket. Both tram and train stations were at different ends of the same platform. A bit more expensive but with a tram ticket we could have ridden trams all day all over the city.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Addition of Extra Pages to Passports Ending 2015

In late March, the Department of State announced that as of Dec 31, 2015, it will no longer add more pages to existing passports. Instead, travelers who run out of room on the visa pages will have to renew.

With the new rules, the new passports will have 52 pages, of which 43 will be blank. That's an increase from the current standard of 28 and 18.

It is still possible to get additional pages added to a current passport by sending to the Department of State before December 18th. The cost is $85 and will take from four to six weeks. A renewed passport costs $110 and will take about the same amount of time.

Both processes can be expedited for an additional fee.

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Keeping Your Luggage Secure

A big topic on a lot of travel bulletin boards and forums is how to keep your luggage secure. The two major source of problems are baggage handlers and security personnel. Solution suggestions range from using a TSA lock, to cable ties to just twist ties. The logic is that there is plenty of unsecured luggage out there and the thief will head to those and leave yours alone.

Still, many of us, including myself, try to secure our luggage. Then I came across this video. Got your luggage locked? Think it is secure? Think again.