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Archive for December, 2009

Dining Guide For New Year’s Revelers

By Linda Tancs

We’ll take a cup of kindness yet for auld lang syne, as the song goes.  Would you like a four-course meal with that?  How about seven?  Barcelona’s Noti restaurant is offering a four-course, fixed-price fiesta for 120 euros per person.  For less than 100 euros, you can add 3 more courses along with a midnight snack and fireworks at Hamburg’s Landhaus Dill.  Look up more specials like these at The Europe Restaurant Guide. Happy eating, and happy new year!

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 The author has not received any compensation for writing this content and has no material connection to the brands, topics, products and/or services that are mentioned herein.

Petrol Costs Wallop Travelers

By Linda Tancs

The economy may yield more hotel vacancies in Europe than one would otherwise expect, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the cost of petrol, averaging over seven U.S. dollars per gallon in countries like France and Italy.  And if you’d bank on using plastic to settle the bill, consider this:  your card must have a computer chip in it, technology increasingly adopted in Europe to combat credit and debit card fraud.  The use of the card is effectuated by verifying a PIN (personal identification number).   It does not appear that any U.S. credit and debit cards currently possess this “chip and PIN” technology for use in Europe.  The solution?  Buy your petrol with cash on weekdays when an attendant is usually present, and avoid the chip and PIN conundrum you’ll likely encounter on weekends.

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 The author has not received any compensation for writing this content and has no material connection to the brands, topics, products and/or services that are mentioned herein.

Cashless Cabins

By Linda Tancs

As of December 1, 2009, travelers flying on Delta and Northwest in North America, Central America and the Caribbean became aware that cash is decidedly not king.  In a move geared towards expediting the onboard payment process, customers flying within and among these destinations will have to use credit to pay for their munchies.  The rule, however, does not affect trans-Atlantic, trans-Pacific and South American flights or duty-free items.

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 The author has not received any compensation for writing this content and has no material connection to the brands, topics, products and/or services that are mentioned herein.

Going to the North Pole

By Linda Tancs

The North Pole is a lot closer than you think–as in North Pole, New York, in the High Peaks area of New York State’s Adirondack Park.  Like its more northern cousins (e.g., Alaska and Lapland’s Santa Claus Village), the New York version celebrates its famous moniker with a Christmas themed family amusement park sporting  rides, shows and shops for children and adults of all ages.  For those dreaming of a white Christmas, this is the place to be.  On any given year, the weather data suggests a 96% chance of any amount of snow for the holiday.  Let it snow, let it snow, let it snow–and Merry Christmas!

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 The author has not received any compensation for writing this content and has no material connection to the brands, topics, products and/or services that are mentioned herein.

All Aboard the Polar Express

By Linda Tancs

In that classic essay “Yes, Virginia, There Is a Santa Claus” an editorial writer for a now-defunct New York paper tells little Virginia O’ Hanlon that there is a Santa Claus.  In some cases, it may take more than a newspaper writer to believe in the jolly old fellow.    Indeed, it could take a magic train–like the Polar Express.  Across the country, coal-fired, steam-operated vintage trains take a page from Chris Van Allsburg’s popular children’s book, “The Polar Express,” ferrying their young charges (and their parents) on a picture-perfect journey to the “North Pole.”  There, Santa and his elves board the train, dishing out goodies and singing Christmas carols.  Surely, that makes glad the heart of childhood–or any heart, for that matter.

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 The author has not received any compensation for writing this content and has no material connection to the brands, topics, products and/or services that are mentioned herein.

Slopes are Recession Proof

By Linda Tancs

According to the National Ski Areas Association, the 2008/2009 season is the fourth best on record despite an agonizing recession.  That might not seem all that surprising to enthusiasts in ski-heavy areas like California, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, Wyoming–well, you get the idea.  But look east to New Jersey and you’ll find a welcome uptick, quite an accomplishment for a state facing one of the highest unemployment rates in the nation.  And with fresh snow from this weekend’s blizzard-like weather event, things are bound to look rosier.  So before you head west for skiing’s traditional mecca, maybe you should try out one of New Jersey’s signature resorts–Hidden Valley, Campgaw Mountain or Mountain Creek.  Hidden Valley Club resort is open to the public this season, but thereafter an uncrowded atmosphere will be assured on weekends with private membership.  At Campgaw, the whole family can partake in skiing, snowboarding or tubing.   Speaking of snowboarding, tomorrow is Go Snowboarding Day at Mountain Creek, which means you get a free lesson, lift ticket and rental.  The West may have Big Sky, but New Jersey has the Best Deal.

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 The author has not received any compensation for writing this content and has no material connection to the brands, topics, products and/or services that are mentioned herein.

The Spectacle of the Everyday

By Linda Tancs

Pablo Picasso famously observed that art washes the dust of everyday life from the soul.  Imagine what he’d think of the 10th edition of the Biennale de Lyon, carrying the theme “The Spectacle of the Everyday.”  The exhibition, running through 3 January 2010, encourages visitors to contemplate art’s place in a world defined by consumption.   Through sculptures, paintings, videos, photographs or installations by around 50 international artists, the complexity and diversity of simple human existence–the dust, as Picasso would see it–is celebrated.  While you’re in the city, why not experience the rest of the culture and heritage of this region in east-central France? Get a city card for 1, 2 or 3 days, which includes free access to the Biennale.

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 The author has not received any compensation for writing this content and has no material connection to the brands, topics, products and/or services that are mentioned herein.

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