Archive for April, 2012

Ultimate Honeymoon Destinations in Europe

By 1800FlyEurope in These Five Things | on April 24th, 2012

photo courtesy of Adare Manor

The wedding invitations have been sent, and now, you and your fiance are likely considering making a registry or two to help guide your guests with gift giving ideas. Presents are nice and all, but do you really need a new blender? The adventurista in me says “Bring on the honeymoon!”. If your friends and family are so thoughtfully inclined to present you both with something special to celebrate the occasion (Maybe I’m a bit unconventional, but I feel that gifts aren’t necessary. Just the presence of friends and family at the wedding ceremony suit me just fine.), why not consider a honeymoon fund? Let your parents know (or whoever is in charge of this department) so that they can help you run with this idea. Below I have listed five, tr√®s romantique places to mull over as divine options for the ultimate, once in a lifetime getaway.

photo courtesy of Ch√¢teau Eza

Ch√¢teau Eza | Cote d’Azur, France

Perched high upon a bluff in the charming town of Vàze, rests the 400 year old Chateau Eza. Once prominently known as “The Prince of Sweden’s Castle,” the estate was fashioned into a five-star¬†luxury hotel in 1994. Each uniquely designed room boasts breathtaking vistas of the sparkling Mediterranean Sea below. There is a Michelin-starred restaurant on the grounds, so you don’t have to leave the comfort of this chateau in order to savor an 8 course meal spotlighting French cuisine.

Hotel Particulier | Paris, France

Amongst the chic buildings lining the narrow cobblestone streets of the Monmartre hill community, is the posh Hotel Particulier. This exquisite mansion is located in a part of Paris that used to be the stomping grounds of esteemed, bohemian artists, such as Vincent van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Claude Monet, Salvador Dal√≠, and many more. Keeping true to the essence of Monmartre’s distinct, creative flare, Hotel Particulier executes a flawless fusion of traditional French design elements and modern d√©cor. From the wallpaper to the fabrics, each lavish aspect of every room has been meticulously chosen by interior decorator extraordinaire, Morgane Rousseau.

Hotel Cipriani | Venice, Italy

On Giudecca Island, looking out over the lagoon to Doge’s Palace, Piazza San Marco, and the entrance to the Grand Canal, is Hotel Cipriani. All of Venice‚Äôs wondrous attractions will be right at your fingertips when you stay at the exclusive Hotel Cipriani. The suites present guests with grand adornments, such as Murano Glass and antique Venetian furniture. Have the concierge arrange a gondola voyage, complete with champagne, and let the gondolier glide you lovebirds along the enchanting canals.

photo courtesy of Castello Banfi

Castello Banfi il Borgo | Tuscany, Italy

Nestled amongst the rolling hills of the Italian countryside lies the acclaimed Castello Banfi il Borgo. The quaint town of Montalcino is fringed by vineyards and olive groves. Just 40 km south of Siena, this picturesque destination will place you right in the heart of Tuscany. You will stay in one of fourteen tastefully tailored rooms, each offering tranquil details like: light and airy quarters, terracotta tiled floors, exposed brick arches, and understated, rich fabrics. Set off on a scenic bike journey through the estate’s vineyards; bask in the warmth of the Tuscan sun, and savor the intimate outing centered on you and your love. As this is Italy‚Äôs wine country, be sure to tour the onsite winery and cellars. Swirl the highly regarded Brunello di Montalcino, breathe in its divine bouquet, and taste the very spirit of Tuscany.

photo courtesy of Adare Manor

Adare Manor | Adare, Ireland

Set in “Ireland’s prettiest village“, the Adare Manor was constructed for the royal Dunraven family in the 1860’s. It was sold in the 1980’s to Tom and Judy Kane, who lovingly restored the estate to its former grandeur. Reserve one of the Dunraven Staterooms and dive into pure luxury. Each of these suites welcomes guests with pure opulence; four poster beds, hand-carved marble fireplaces and claw foot tubs are just a few of the well-appointed details that newlyweds should anticipate. The 840 acre property provides the picture perfect locale to stroll hand in hand through its French Formal Gardens or choose a secluded spot, under an apple tree, for an afternoon picnic. The Adare Manor leaves no detail undone, and both of you will surely cherish the memories made here for years to come.

You are embarking on one of the most sentimental (if not the single most) event of your lives, and this is one of those occasions where it is perfectly acceptable to splurge on momentous essentials. Let us handle your flights to Paris or Venice; the money you save with our great airfare rates can be used towards honeymoon excursions and romance packages.

photo courtesy of Chateau Eza

 

Hurrah for Baklava!

By 1800FlyEurope in World Cuisine Wednesdays | on April 18th, 2012

World Cuisine Wednesday

History of Baklava

In the states, we commonly associate Baklava with having originated from Greece. Although the Greeks did play an important roll in the forming of the sticky sweet, nut-filled treat that we all love and know today, it is believed that it emerged from Turkic routes. The pastry dates back to the 8th century BC., and depending on whom you ask, you will likely get people from each respective country (particularly those from Eastern Europe and the Middle East) laying claim to its heritage. Circa 3rd century BC, Greek mariners brought Baklava to Athens from their travels, and the flakey baked good was a hit. It was at this point in history that an important modification was applied to the dough. The Athenians created phyllo dough by taking the original crust recipe and rolling it into paper thin sheets. Make your own syrupy layered treats that are chock full of  nutty goodness by preparing the following recipe.

Yield: 2 dozen

(more…)

4 Reasons to Purchase Travel Insurance

By 1800FlyEurope in Travel Tips | on April 11th, 2012

 

Are you on the fence about whether you should or shouldn’t purchase travel insurance? One approach in gauging if you should buy the additional coverage is to think about the sum of money you are putting towards your travel plans, and decide how you would feel if you lost this entire investment. Life is unpredictable. There are quite a number of things that potentially could put a major damper on your vacation, and these circumstances are all likely to be beyond your control. There are three primary areas of coverage that travel insurance generally provides.

 

 

Travel Protection

If your trip is delayed, interrupted or canceled, this safeguard has your back. Say you or someone who is traveling with you gets sick and you need to reschedule the flights. Without travel protection, this could cost you about $300-$600 per person. The weather can be another unreliable factor in your otherwise meticulously planned getaway. Perhaps uncommon, but tornadoes, blizzards, hurricanes and many other natural setbacks can and do occur.

 

Medical Protection

You may be thinking “I have health insurance, so I don’t have to worry about this.” Most U.S. policies do not include benefits for international travel. Should you need medical care while abroad, whether or not you are covered is the last thing you want to worry about.

 

Baggage Protection

After watching the baggage carousel make its 20th rotation without a sighting of your much anticipated suitcase or worse, one by one you spot your mangled personal items (on full display for everyone to see) make their way towards you on the conveyer belt, panic sets in. First, take a deep breath, and then feel rest assured that you will be compensated for luggage delays over 24hrs, damaged articles, or suitcases that seemingly disappear off the face of the earth (in the U.S., they end up at the Unclaimed Baggage Center in Alabama). However, if you don’t have this protection, the airline may recoup some of your loss, but the claims could take up to 6 months to process and restitution is based on the depreciated value of your belongings.

 

Peace of Mind

There are so many reasons to look forward to your future travel plans, and these should be your primary focus. Once you have the appropriate coverage for you trip, there is no need to dwell on all the what ifs. Do be sure to read through the entire protection plan so that you are familiar with what is covered and what is not. When the time arrives for you to reserve your cheap flights to Europe, ask your 1-800-Fly-Europe reservation agent to add the travel insurance to your purchase.

 

Feria de abril | Spring Fair in Seville

By 1800FlyEurope in Destination Highlights | on April 3rd, 2012

About Seville Spain

In the south of Spain, the vibrant city of Seville sprawls across both banks of the River Guadalquiver. It is the heart and the capital of the Andalucia (or Andalusia, in English) Region. Seville has a 3000 year old history, and the alluring, ever present customs and culture recognized today that embody deep seeded Moorish and Castillian routes.

History of (Feria de abril) Spring Fair in Seville

The first Feria celebrations were held at Prado de San Sebastian, which is not too far from the exquisite Maria Luisa Park. In 1847, it began as a three day event showcasing local farmers’ cattle. There were only three casetas (tents) set up, and these were provided for the city officials and noble attendees. By the 1920’s, Feria had transformed into the grand spectacle that is observed today.

 

Feria 2012

Seville‚Äôs Spring Fair is now held on the other side of the River Guadalquiver, in a district known as Barrio de los Remedios. Upon the arrival of Feria, the entire city shuts down so that everyone can partake in the six days of festivities. The event takes place each year in the third week after Easter and following Semana Santa (Holy Week). Today you will find over 1000 casetas lined up throughout the fairgrounds, and many are private (belonging to families and businesses). If you are fortunate enough to receive an invite to one of the private casetas, don‚Äôt let the rare opportunity pass you by. Don’t worry if you don‚Äôt receive an exclusive invitation from anyone because there are 7 public tents set up. Each day processions are lead by horses, carriages, and Sevillanos (residents of Seville) dressed in traditional traje de gitana (gypsy attire). They are en route to one of the bull fights that are held daily at the Plaza de Toros. As if there wasn‚Äôt enough going on during Feria, children and adults alike can enjoy carnival rides that run morning to evening; these are located in an area adjacent to the casetas, which is referred to as La Calle del Infierno (Hell’s Road).

 

Casetas, After the Sun Sets

Things really begin to liven up in the casetas in the evenings. The grand, arched portada (entrance) to the fair grounds is lit with over 20,000 individual bulbs, and suspended over the sandy walkways between the tents; lighting the way are thousands of glowing paper lanterns. Manzanilla (Jerez sherry) flows freely from the individual bars situated within the tents and tapas (small portioned meals, like appetizers) are also served. Women wear brightly colored, bold patterned Flamenco dresses and in contrast to the kaleidoscope of rufflels swathed ensembles, the men sport more muted tones with their trajes cortos (suits consisting of short jackets, riding pants, boots, and wide brimmed hats, similar to what the cattle farmers would have worn in the 1800s). The sound of live folk music strums through each caseta, and it is accompanied by Sevillanas (traditional dance) until the early morning hours.

 

Do you know that Sevillanas is not Flamenco?

Although there are similarities between the two dance genres, do be aware of their differences. Sevillanas actually originated from Castile and not Seville, as one might easily assume. Flamenco is generally performed without a dance partner. Sevillanas necessitates the presence of two people, and the motions are precise, whereas Flamenco is a dancer’s free expression, comprised of improvised steps.

¬°Viva la Feria!

To experience Feria in Seville is an experience that gives a glimpse into the very soul of authentic, southern Spain. If possible, it is best to learn some of the basic movements of Sevillanas before hitting the casetas, and there are plenty of beginner dance classes that are offered throughout the Andalucia Region. If you would really like to look the part, Flamenco dresses are sold at many of the larger clothing stores in Spain. You will want to book airfare to Seville well in advance because Feria is one of the city’s largest festivities of the year.

 

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Fare Type Round Trip     One Way
Passengers  Adults
  Children under 11