Tag Archives: travelblogger

Santorini Dog

Santorini dog, Greece
Santorini Dog 🙂
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My Warm-Hearted Christmas Travel-Thoughts

Christmas travels
Christmas travels

The Christmas days are now over and I hope you had a great time! I first had the need to sleep many many hours to recover from all these cheerful Christmas celebrations – but I have the feeling I am not the only one who is tired after the last festive days.

Everyone I am talking to tells me how stressful this time of the year is. The organization of all the presents, the Christmas decorations, the food preparation, the organization of the trips to the families…. All this paired with a huge amount of stress at work. I have the impression that every kind of working place gets stressful before Christmas. Everyone feels the need of completing everything before the year ends, as if there would be no tomorrow.

But wait, wasn’t Christmas the festivity of love and peace?

I think that sometimes the pressure of the things you “must” do ruins the special moment of sitting with your family, with your parents, with your friends, and enjoy these days. Instead of thinking about how perfect the dinner must look like or how noisy the neighbors children will be or about the awful present from grandma,… one should think about how special every moment with the grandma is. These family moments together are something that money can’t buy or bring back later and a not-so-perfect dinner cannot ruin. And with family I do also mean friends or anyone you are celebrating Christmas with. This is what I have learned.Christmas Candles

What’s this got to do with travel? Well a lot!

Most of us travel to reach the place where their family is. It is not such a spectacular kind of traveling, so that you will not read too much information about it, but I think it is the most sincere kind of travel. People basically travel to reach someone they love to see. This is the thought that lies behind every kind of trip: see someone or something you would love to see. There are people that only travel to meet their family or friends and people that travel to meet new friends and new families. It is this feeling of warmth that pushes you to travel, a warmth that cannot be found somewhere else.

Here is a nice quote I read today: “We are torn between a nostalgia for the familiar and an urge for the foreign and strange. As often as not, we are homesick most for the places we have never known.”

But please, do not underestimate the (mental and/or physical) trip “home” to your families. Don’t let the stress prevail and try to enjoy the warmth – I will try and do so too!

Have some wonderful remaining festive days and a great start into the New Year!!

Pinkvel 🙂

What did I learn? Pre-Christmas Edition.

What did I learn?
What did I learn?

It is a relaxing weekend and you can already feel the Christmas atmosphere everywhere. It is raining outside and everyone who can enjoys staying in the warmth of home, with candlelight and the smell of Christmas cookies… Ok, you see, I am in the right mood! 😉

Thinking about what I have learned lately, a great Twitter workshop I visited during the IAB Forum in Milan comes into my mind. Among many other things, I have learned the following:

  • Twitter became “The largest couch in the World”. As per a research among Twitter users, 60% have the feeling to watch a TV Show with other people in the room. I found that interesting, as also the TV now has to handle a completely new behavior: a direct feedback and mood that can be read in real-time during the TV Show. I must admit that I am also one of thesepeople that looks at the Tweets in order to see how people are talking about the show I am watching, and I find it quite amusing as people are often very ironic and funny in their comments. Are you tweeting too while you sit on your couch and watch TV?

    Twitter: the largest couch in the world
    Twitter: the largest couch in the world
  • Talking about the interaction between TV and social media: My idea was that the TV advertising is suffering a loss of importance, giving more space to social media advertising. Well, that is wrong: more and more people do not change TV station anymore during the advertising as they use the time to look at their Smartphone, maybe writing some tweets on the TV show they are watching or chatting with friends… while they unconsciously hear the advertising and are automatically influenced. I absolutely recognize myself in that and I am impressed!
  • A great quote that perfectly explains how one should act to be successful with social media: “A good hockey player plays where the puck is. A great hockey player plays where the puck is going to be” Wayne Gretzky

  • I have learned to bake Christmas cookies! I tried for the first time and I think the marine look with the seahorses looks great! (and of course they are delicious too! 🙂 )

Pinkvel Cookies

  • But not only: I have also learned to bake a traditional Engadin Nutcake!! This is a typical case of how tastes can bring you back to far away places and experiences. So I tell you a secret: most of my Christmas presents will have to do with my newly discovered fun for baking! 😉
  • Do you also think that it is impossible to live healthy and make some sport while traveling? Of course some hotels have a fitness room, but not everyone has the time and the discipline to use it (I do not! 🙂 ). The news is that you automatically have your sports done while traveling. Have you ever thought about how much you walk even only to take a flight? Here are the airports with the longest ways to the gates:

– Peking (PEK): 3.20 km, which is 46 minutes walk!!
– Atlanta (ATL), 2,09 km, which is 27 minutes walk
– Frankfurt (FRA), 1,88 km
– Hong Kong (HGK), 1,58 km
– London Heathrow (LHR), 1.22 km
– New York, 1.13 km

Well, imagine this with your heavy luggage and when being late (and I am constantly late).

  • If you’re thinking about living abroad, here is a chart with the cost-of-living index, which I think can also be considered when planning a trip to these cities:
    CostofLiving

That’s all for now. Enjoy the Pre-Christmas time and try not to be too stressed with the presents, put some love in it and it will work out perfectly! 😉

– Pinkvel –

10 things I learned during the Travel Fair in Barcelona

I am a bit late with my posts on the things I have learned, as I was traveling so much in the last three weeks, but here I am – back again!

I have learned so much during the travel fair I have visited, but I fear that going too much into detail would be too boring.

Travel Fair
So here are some fast facts:

1) Kazakhstan and Azerbaijan are the new interesting markets for the luxury travel industry, as there are more and more people traveling with a great budget. This was really new to me. So interesting!

2) Turkey is an interesting market as well. This is not such a news for me, but it was good to see so many interested Turkish travel agencies trying to find some new, luxurious destinations for their clients

3) The Knickerbocker Luxury Hotel will open its doors on NYC Times Square in 2015 and it must be amazing! Stay tuned for it!

The Leading Hotels of the World Stand
The Leading Hotels of the World Stand

4) Barcelona has over 200 hotels and meeting facilities

5) Spain ranks third globally in hotel rooms

6) There are 46 airports and 2 heliports in Spain

7) Five Spanish companies can be found among the top 30 most important hotel groups in the world

Great Flamenco performance during the fair
Great Tango performance from Argentina during the fair

All the other things I have learned in and about Barcelona are listed in my Barcelona post, here are some examples (check it out for more information on these topics! 🙂 ):

8) The best discovery in Barcelona was the most delicious Tapas Bar Cervezeria Catalunya

9) Don’t forget your slippers if you sleep at NH Calderon

10) Do always ask for window seats, but especially if flying to Barcelona

I would like to conclude this post with a travel tip:

Always do the online check-in if the airline offers this service. Flights can always be overbooked, that’s part of the airlines strategy, and if you are unlucky and arrive a bit too late (and this “too late” is very flexible, depending on the cases) your place could be given to another person.
This cannot happen to you if you have already checked-in before.

Have safe travels and… never stop learning!! 🙂 Pinkvel

A Short Barcelona Guide

Gaudi's Casa Battló, Barcelona
Gaudi’s Casa Battló, Barcelona

Back from the EIBTM Business Travel Trade fair in Barcelona, I would like to share some of my experiences with you. I will write a post on the official travel news soon, but first: let me give you some insights in my experiences in this wonderful city, together with some travel tips.

It is not too much information as I literally spent all my days in the fair, but some basics that could be interesting, especially if you go for business and you have a hotel close to the Rambla Catalunya area.

Airport:
What to say about the Barcelona Airport? It is one of my all-time favorites! New, bright, clean, friendly and full of beautiful shops and good restaurants. It is nice to arrive in a friendly environment. On my way back I always count some time more to spend at the airport to do some shopping and eat something. You see… this is a good way to keep the business going in an airport.
Perfect also for layovers.

Transfer to the city:
I took a Taxi. They have a fixed rate to the city center, which is 27 €.

Hotels:
As I have been to the fair before, I knew that it is a bit far away from the city center and for this reason I chose a hotel which is a bit farer away from the fair but in the center, in order to be able to go out in the evening without any problem.
I have been to the NH Calderon.

The location is great as it is on the Rambla Catalunya. The rooms are a bit dark, but functional, especially if you are just coming for a fair. If you are lucky, you can even get a room with view of the Sagrada Familia Cathedral.

View from the room, NH Calderon
View from the room, NH Calderon

I had a little dispute with them as I did not have any slippers in my room and when I asked for them they told me that only Suites and Junior Suites get them. There wasn’t any chance to get some, even by asking to buying them! They just said a cold “no!”.
There are few things that really do disturb me… this was one of them. How can you deny some slippers to a client? How can you deny ANYTHING which is perfectly possible for you to a client? Without even saying that you are sorry! Ok, maybe I am too extreme, working in the hotels business myself, but I guess they had an uncountable amount of slippers and they just denied them to me.
NH Hotels Slippers

So please, if there is any hotelier reading this: tell your staff to at least kindly explain to the guests asking for something why you cannot help them.
And then please: offer slippers in your rooms, at least per request. Slippers mean “come in and feel like home!”.

But to get back to the point: functional, good position, buffet breakfast was fine. Perfectly ok if you are there for business.

A fun business hotel is the Barceló Saints. Location is not as perfect but the metro station directly under the hotel is strategically perfect. It is a strange experience to stay there as it looks like a spaceship and you completely feel like in space. The windows, the furniture, the amenities… it’s just like being in space. Even the welcome note says “Welcome on Board” 🙂

Barceló Saints, Welcome on Board!
Barceló Saints, Welcome on Board!

If you prefer very elegant, traditional luxury hotels and have a higher budget, then I recommend the El Palace. Part of the Leading Hotels of the World.

Leading Hotels of the Worls Cocktail Party at El Palace Hotel
Leading Hotels of the Worls Cocktail Party at El Palace Hotel

Fira Gran Via (Barcelona fair):
My arrival to the Barcelona fair in the morning was easy as the EIBTM organized some shuttles from the hotel, but a taxi only costs 10 € or you can use the metro.

Food & Drinks:
First of all, let me tell you about the best Tapas restaurant I have ever been to: Cevezeria Catalunya (in Carrer de Mallorca, 236). Every day it is full of people and the atmosphere is great. You can sit outdoors or at the bar on the entrance or inside the restaurant and enjoy the best tapas and great cocktails or a good Spanish wine. We asked the waiter to bring some tapas suggestions and after them, we ordered some more!
My suggestion is to reserve a table the day before or you will be put on a waiting list with a waiting time of around one hour that you can use to stroll down the Rambla.
Talking about Spanish wine:
I have been suggested by different Spanish people to drink white wine from the Barcelona region. Often the Restaurants have a house wine. And in fact, the white wine was always great!

Cervezeria Catalunya Barcelona
Cervezeria Catalunya

Cachitos
On Rambla Catalunya, 33. A more stylish restaurant, celebrating the art of food.
The specialty here are the 50 different Sangrias as you can combine different wines, even good Cava wine with different kind of fruit combinations. We had a good Cava with Berries.

Cachitos Barcelona
Cachitos

Mas Q Menos
Nice little tapas bar, perfect to enjoy a good glass of wine with some small things to eat or sandwiches.

Mas Q Menos
Mas Q Menos

Oh one last thing: absolutely ask for a window seat when flying to Barcelona! I had the luck to have a late afternoon flight and saw a wonderful sunset from my window. The view of the Mont Blanc was amazing and when we arrived, the sea was colored in yellow, orange and purple by the sunset and the boats of the fishermen were just too romantic.

View from my window seat, Luftahansa flight to Barcelona
View from my window seat