These Five Things Archive

5 Innovative Travel Products

By 1800FlyEurope in These Five Things | on June 6th, 2012

If you plan on taking a trip abroad soon, you may be perusing the internet in search of quality, handy travel gear. There is a plethora of options out there, and they all promise to offer the best merchandise. So, I scoured through customer reviews of the top, new travel products available and made a list of the highest rated items.

Hard-sided Carry-on with Exterior Pocket $139.95*


This piece of luggage from Hammacher Schelmmer boasts an outer compartment to store your boarding pass, passport, liquids, and anything else you need to have easily accessible. Not only will you be prepared to glide through the TSA checkpoint, the ball-bearing wheels all spin 360º and will keep your belongings moving along smoothly. It is light weight, at a mere 7 ½ lbs and claims to be the only hard-cased carry-on with a front pocket.

USB Fuel Cell Charger $229.99*


Smart phones are an incredibly useful tool to have with you while traveling internationally (just be sure to choose an international call plan or purchase a SIM card once you arrive at your destination in order to avoid nasty data roaming charges). That being said, the battery seemingly always dies when you need it most. This coming Fall 2012, POWERTREKK is releasing a hydrogen fueled USB charger. So, you’ll be able to revitalize your phone anywhere you have access to H2O.

Water Filtration Bottle $59.95*


With Katadyn‘s MyBottle Purifier Blue Splash, you won’t need to question whether or not the water you are about to gulp is safe to drink. The purification system obliterates harmful bacteria and viruses on the spot. Also, it removes bad tasting chemicals (such as chlorine), and another added bonus is that you won‚Äôt need to purchase bottled water.

Adapter, Converter, and USB Charger $58.00*


All electronic device adapters are not designed equally. One may have the USB port but not the capability to run a hairdryer or another may be able to handle high watt appliances but doesn’t have a USB port. The TravelSmith All-In-One Adapter/Converter claims to have all the above bells and whistles. Take note, if you are visiting a destination where power surges are of concern, you may want to consider buying a surge protector locally; this is one instance where waiting to purchase an item may be a vital move to avoid frying electronic devices. There are voltage variances from country to country, making the surge protector you will need difficult to buy in your country of origin.

Carry-on Luggage with a Kickboard $299.99*


Ok, I know that Micro Luggage isn’t a necessity, but it is just too cool to leave off this list. Samsonite and Micro have collaborated to achieve a nifty fusion between a carry-on suitcase and a kickboard. The picture pretty much says it all. Fun!


Packing everything under the sun, just in case a situation calls for it, is simply not a good idea. Remember, extra luggage will equal extra fees, and once your flight to Europe lands, you are going to be responsible for carrying/pulling the baggage everywhere you plan to visit. Do yourself a favor and pack lightly. What types of travel gadgets have you found most useful abroad? Feel free to share below.

*Prices are from each product’s corresponding website on 6.6.2012


5 Fast Food Abominations

By 1800FlyEurope in These Five Things | on May 30th, 2012

… that You’ll only Find in Europe

Centuries old cobblestone streets, al fresco sidewalk cafes, and UNESCO classified historical sites most likely come to mind when picturing European cities and towns. While traveling, have you ever felt a bit let down upon sighting the big, glowing golden arches prominently displayed amongst old world charm? Your chances of escaping fast food chains while abroad from the States are pretty slim. While you certainly don’t have to dine at any of these establishments during your international trip, you may be taken aback by some of the menu items if you decide to stop by one of these restaurants for some familiar fare. Decide for yourself if the following 5 fast foods look appetizing or if they make you shake your head in disbelief.

The Crown Crust Pizza | Pizza Hut in the UK

Recently I spotted a write-up online about hotdog and cheeseburger stuffed pizza crust, and I couldn’t help but click on the post, as my curiosity got the best of me. I decided to check out the UK Pizza Hut site as well, and I happened upon across this new seasonal specialty, the Crown Crust. Meatballs and pockets of cheese circle this creation. It was concocted in honor of the ‚ÄúGreat British Summer.‚Äù

McHeikauser | McDonald’s in Germany

Gyros are a typical street food in Europe, and it is common to see large spits of meat twirling over a vendor’s counter. They may contain chicken, pork, beef or mutton, depending on the European country. To celebrate the Tour de France, McDonald’s in Germany came out with the McHeikauser. It is supposed to resemble a gyro from Greece, as far as I can tell with the aid of Google Translate. Lettuce, tomato, onion, mozzarella, and Ceasar salad dressing are placed atop a pile of seasoned pork pieces, and these ingredients are served in between a big piece of Ciabatta bread.

Dark Vador Burger | Quick in France

Quick is a fast food chain that originated in Belgium and is essentially Europe’s version of McDonald’s. For the premier of the 3D Star Wars Episode I, the French franchises featured a double cheeseburger on a jet black bun, and yes, it was called the Dark Vador.

Meatball Pie | Goody’s in Greece

Greece’s most popular restaurant to stop in for a quick bite to eat is Goody’s, and the Greek company has grown to surpass the sales of McDonald’s. I don’t speak Greek, but Goody’s roughly translates to mean meatball pie (I used Google Translate once again). The meat in question doesn’t come with a description on their website, so perhaps it is hamburger? This sandwich boasts onions, tomatoes and French fries wrapped in pita bread. The menu page also advises that it comes with a choice of tzatziki sauce or mustard.

Mega Pocket | KFC in Hungary

While perusing KFC’s Hungarian site, I stumbled across the Mega Pocket. It may not appear too out of the ordinary at first glance, but the potato theme seems to be overdone. Fried or grilled chicken comes rolled in a tortilla with lettuce, tomato, cheese, spicy mayo and potato patties. The picture showcases a value meal with french fries and a soda.

I admit that I have frequented some of these food establishments while in my travels, and I even bought a cheeseburger at McDonald’s in Quito, Ecuador once just for a slice of American cheese that I happened to be craving. After several months away from the States, it’s amusing the things you will do when a little homesick. What about you? Once your flights to Europe have landed, do you see yourself trying out one of these fast food gems that aren’t available in the US?




5 of Europe’s Most Riveting Skyscrapers

By 1800FlyEurope in These Five Things | on May 1st, 2012

Throughout the world, every urban setting has its own distinct cityscape, recognizable by the unique negative space in between high rises and the sky, almost comparable to the identifying characteristics of a human finger print, except that skylines are in a continuous state of change. Each panorama has prominent features; the structures that make up these vistas are of various contrasting heights and shapes. Some cities boast architectural pieces that not only stand out from the skyline but also have become symbolic to their local community and government. Below are five intriguing skyscrapers that can be found throughout Europe.

Link√∂ping, Sweden | Plantagon’s Vertical Farming

Many of us buy our produce at the local grocery store without giving much thought as to how much mileage your cantaloupe has racked up before it reaches the cart. Beyond this, you may wonder which chemicals your fruit may have been exposed to before you take the first bite. One city in Sweden has taken it upon them selves to try and solve these dilemmas and plan for the future. The ground breaking ceremony to begin construction of an immense greenhouse skyscraper was this past February. Plantagon’s philosophy to why they are creating the vertical farming dome is pretty straight forward; they want to harvest organic crops for their community and to do so in the most eco-sustainable manner. The planning and technology behind the plantscraper is much more complex. The legumes will rotate and spiral throughout the glasshouse using a system that involves double helix ramps.

Prague, The Czech Republic | Dancing House

Nestled in amongst predominantly Baroque architecture is Prague’s beloved Dancing House. The project was designed by Canadian architect Frank Gehry. Initially, the new structure was not well received by the city and even considered a bit controversial. When looking at the towers, you get the sense that there is an underlying grace between these two buildings, and this is because they are supposed to be representative of the famous dancers, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers. Prague has grown to embrace its unique Dancing House, and there has been a gold coin fabricated by the Czech’s mint to commemorate the seemingly swaying structures.

London, England | 30 St Mary Axe “The Gherkin”

After the original building was damaged beyond repair in 1992, London knew that they wanted to rebuild something special in its place. Affectionately called “the Gherkin,” the city certainly obtained a one of a kind landmark upon finalization of construction in 2003. It stands 40 floors tall at 591 feet, and resembles, well, a pickle.

Malmö, Sweden | Turning Torso

At a soaring 54 stories and 623 feet high, the Turning Torso is Scandinavia’s tallest building. These statistics are impressive alone, but it is the spiring of the building’s frame that is its most awe-inspiring feature. The residential high rise was designed by Santiago Caltrava, of Spain, who was inspired by a sculpture of the human form. Specifically, the natural curvature of the spine when twisted 90 degrees is what Caltrava took and applied to the tower. Completed in 2005, the Turning Torso has since become a symbol of Malmo and is listed as one of Sweden’s 7 wonders.

photo courtesy of Resident on Earth

Wolfsburg, Germany | Autostadt CarTowers

At first glance, the two glass towers situated on Volkswagen’s Autostadt (Car City) site may not seem too out of the ordinary. However, it’s what’s inside each 20 story edifice that attracts a lot of attention from VW fans. Autostadt is an ultra-modern theme park and center where customers may pick up their brand new vehicle (it isn’t mandatory). This is where it gets interesting, inside each CarTower are 400 individual spaces dedicated to housing the autos until they are ready to be shipped to a dealership or picked up by a client. If you so desire, you may take the tour of the cylindrical high rise garage to receive your new, 4 wheeled purchase. Watch it get plucked from its holding space, lowered, and delivered to you, its first owner.

Before you set out on your next flights to London or Prague, do a little research on the destination(s) you’ll be visiting. This way you can be familiar with its layout and skyline before you arrive. It certainly will make the landing experience more significant, too, as you may be able to identify some of the major landmarks from the sky.


photo courtesy of Plantagon | Plantagon Greenhouse Building B1 View 1 (Type for Linköping, Sweden)



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


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Fare Type Round Trip     One Way
Passengers  Adults
  Children under 11