Farecompare.com is a great website for comparing a multitude of fares and also picking up some hand travel tips. Here one about How to Avoid ‘Crappy’ Food when travelling by air.

Farecompare takes over:

A friend once told me, “Food consumed in the air has no calories.” I like the way she thinks but alas, it’s not true. Here’s the question: Can you avoid crappy food and find the healthy stuff while traveling? Sure you can, and here are some ideas. Be sure and see the update below.

Disclaimer: We are not doctors, nutritionists or even restaurant reviewers. If food is an issue, consult a health care professional. This is for those who try to avoid crappy food when possible and might want a little guidance.

1. First, Find the Cheapest Flight Possible

Why? You’ll have more left over to spend on anything from great food in wonderful restaurants to fun events at your vacation city. So start by getting the best flight deal possible and that means comparing airfares. Tip: If you’re don’t have to travel on a specific date, you can often find very cheap flights year-round on the Getaway Map.

2. Eat the Free Food on Planes

Yes, free food is making a comeback – on a couple of airlines anyway.

Delta: As of March 2017, Delta began offering free meals in coach class on several long-haul routes and more are coming. Healthy stuff: Turkey and vegetarian wraps, plus fruit and cheese plates (and certain overnight flights feature a breakfast bar).
UPDATE: One air travel industry insider believes American and United may join Delta in free economy meals, if only to maintain their competitive edge. When this could happen isn’t known.
Hawaiian: Flights from the mainland U.S. to Hawaii also offer free meals in economy. Example: Ginger chicken with peas, carrots, corn and steamed white rice.
International flights: Most offer free food in economy including a wide range of chicken and pasta dishes; Emirates Airlines, for example, serves a chicken and herb-seasoned dish or sweet and sour fish; both come with vegetables.
International flights with no free food: Ultra-discount carriers such as Norwegian and Wow only provide food for purchase but it includes plenty of healthy (and tasty-sounding) options like salmon salad and bags of nuts.
Free snacks: Both Southwest and JetBlue have reputations for a wide array of free snacks that include healthy-ish type items like JetBlue’s dried cranberries and popcorn chips.
3. Bring Your Own Food

Make a sandwich the night before you leave; you’ll have something cheap to eat you know you’ll like. It can be healthy – and filling – and maybe you’ll be less tempted by those overpriced bags of candy and chips in the airport news kiosks. More ideas:

Hummus or peanut butter-smeared rice cakes
Small plastic tub of salad
Granola bars, fruits and vegetables
Remember, no liquids in containers larger than 3.4 ounces through security so bring an empty bottle to fill up past the checkpoint or get a free drink on the plane. Note: You have to pay for soft drinks on most of the super-discount airlines including Frontier, Ryanair and Spirit.

4. Avoid the Crappy Food – Fast Food

Many food-conscious travelers already know this stuff; it’s kind of common-sensical, but it may be news to some.

Fast food burgers: Tasty? Absolutely! But if you’re looking to cut calories, might want to go with a fast food salad and skip the fries. And the milk shake.
Pastries: Yes, sometimes you do deserve a treat and those giant sweet rolls with white icing are delicious. On the other hand, they are not necessarily ideal for dieters. One popular airport-and-mall bakery franchise offers a pecan/caramel treat that sources say is 1,080 calories but these shops also offer donut-hole snacks for 260 calories.
Pizza: What would the world be without pizza? But for the health conscious, it’s all about the toppings. One popular airport pizzeria’s site says a slice of its extra-meat pizza has 600 calories but they also offer a tomato & spinach slice with just 370 calories.
5. Avoid Crappy Food – Airport Restaurants

Most airports aren’t foodie destinations but that could be changing thanks to an explosion of good dining options. We’ve got some examples of good food at good airport restaurants around the world but please not that menus can change without notice. Tip: Click the city to find a cheap flight.

Hong Kong: This award-winning airport has a wide array of Asian and Western options including Chinese, Greek, Italian, French and numerous establishments serving vegetarian dishes. Try the fish balls or get a taste of home at McDonald’s. See more restaurants here.
London Heathrow: So many restaurants but we like the sound of Leon because one reviewer wrote, “Fast food that’s good for you might be a confusing concept, but a quick look at what’s on offer [at Leon] proves it’s not an impossible dream.” Rhubarb sounds good too; it offers “a welcome alternative to the ‘stodgy’ full-English breakfast.” See more here.
Los Angeles: Try Petrossian for caviar; it’s only about 40 calories per tablespoon and heck, how much can you afford to eat? Plus there are lots of salads at Lemonade. See more here.
New York (JFK): Deep Blue Sushi has – well, sushi – and Piquillo is recommended for paella and ceviche. See more here.
Frankfurt: Okay, so maybe Deustch doesn’t top the list of healthy options thanks to all those wonderful sausages (reviewers say they’re really good) but sauerkraut is kind of light. See more here.
San Francisco: Napa Farms Market offers a changing seasonal menu but usually includes a yogurt bar, rotisserie meats and fresh berries, while fans of Cat Cora’s Kitchen love the oysters and artichokes. If you overdo it, you can always visit the airport’s yoga room. See more here.
Sydney: The airport’s website lists a bunch of ‘healthy eating’ options including Little Bok Choy and Soul Origin. See more here.
Safe travels – and savour the journey.

 

Are they nervous, or bored, or completely oblivious? There’s no one-size-fits-all diagnosis for the airplane seat kicker, but they’re universally annoying.

For the third year in a row, rear seat kickers have earned the dubious distinction of being the No. 1 most offensive type of airline passenger.
They beat out inattentive parents, aromatic passengers, seat recliners and more in the fourth annual Expedia Airplane Etiquette Study, released Tuesday.
Drawn from feedback from 1,005 Americans age 18 and over, the study shows that 64% of respondents find the rear seat kicker annoying. Inattentive parents rank second, aggravating 59% of those surveyed, followed by smelly or “aromatic” passengers (55%).
Rear seat kickers have topped the rankings since 2014. In 2013, the first year of the study, inattentive parents topped the list.
Despite some variations, there’s a common theme from study to study.
“A prevailing theme across all four years of the study is the importance people place on the sanctity of their personal space within the tight confines of an airplane,” said Dave McNamee, Expedia spokesman.
The good news?
“A sizable majority of Americans — 70-80% of people — consider their fellow passengers to be ‘considerate,'” McNamee noted.
Annoying passenger rankings
So how do all the aggravating passengers stack up? Here’s the full 2016 list:
1. The Rear Seat Kicker (cited by 64% of respondents)
2. Inattentive Parents (59%)
3. The Aromatic Passenger (55%)
4. The Audio Insensitive (49%)
5. The Boozer (49%)
6. Chatty Cathy (40%)
7. The Queue Jumper (35%)
8. Seat-Back Guy (35%)
9. The Armrest Hog (34%)
10. Pungent Foodies (30%)
11. The Undresser (28%)
12. The Amorous (28%)
13. The Mad Bladder (22%)
14. The Single and Ready to Mingle (18%)
Commissioned by online travel company Expedia, the study was conducted by GfK, an independent market research company.

34+3 and counting!

Happy Anniversary, darling!

No New Year’s Day to celebrate
No chocolate covered candy hearts to give away
No first of spring, no song to sing
In fact here’s just another ordinary day
No April rain
No flowers bloom
No wedding Saturday within the month of June
But what it is, is something true
Made up of these three words that I must say to you

I just called to say I love you
I just called to say how much I care
I just called to say I love you
And I mean it from the bottom of my heart

No summer’s high
No warm July
No harvest moon to light one tender August night
No autumn breeze
No falling leaves
Not even time for birds to fly to southern skies
No Libra sun
No Halloween
No giving thanks to all the joy you bring

Hong Kong – 1983….

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The Birthday Girl (right).

 

With apologies to William Shakespeare for some abject plagiarising:

“Her life is gentle; and the elements
So mixed in her, that Nature might stand up
And say to all the world, THIS IS ONE HELLUVA LADY!”

Happy Birthday, darling – and many, many more.

 

Notice to these two ladies from the residents of Ménerbes - we miss you!

Notice to these two ladies from the residents of Ménerbes – we miss you!

11th November is Remembrance Day throughout Europe. Poppy Day.

For my darling, here’s another kind of remembrance….

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For more information on Bastide les Amis, click here.

 

Poppy field about to burst open near Avignon.

Poppy field about to burst open near Avignon.

The association between commemorating war dead and poppies arises from the famous opening lines of Canadian army officer John McCrae’s poem In Flanders Field, which begins: ” In Flanders fields the poppies blow; Between the crosses, row on row”.

McCrae wrote the poem during the Second Battle of Ypres, the day after he helped to bury a close friend. He had noticed the way poppies bloomed around the graves and included the observation in his poem, which was written from the viewpoint of the dead soldiers.

McCrae was promoted to Acting Colonel and moved to a position behind the lines, but died of meningitis in a military hospital on 28 January 1918. His poetry, however, lived on. Published in December 1915, In Flanders Field quickly became known as one of the defining poems of the First World War.

American humanitarian worker Moina Michael was one of the millions touched by the imagery of poppies growing on the battlefield. To raise money for her work helping disabled servicemen, she came up with the idea of selling silk poppies to be worn as a tribute to the fallen.

By 1921, her efforts had led to the poppy being adopted as the official emblem of remembrance by both the American Legion and Royal British Legion, with poppy sellers an established fixture in many nations.

Armistice Day (Poppy Day), when we remember the fallen in World War 1 is on Friday 11th November 2016.

 

Iconic Bonnieux, one of the famous Luberon Golden Triangle villages

Iconic Bonnieux, one of the famous Luberon Golden Triangle villages

 

France’s tourist trump cards
France has a great deal to offer tourists, ranging from its geography (coastline, town, countryside, mountains) to its attractions and facilities (accommodation, activities, catering). This enables it to develop many dynamic sectors:
– With 55 million skier days sold, France is the world’s top skiing destination
– Business tourism is also a crucial sector for France, with over 7,000 events annually
– France is positioning itself as a cultural destination, with many international events being hosted there (Marseille Provence 2013, Lille3000), many museums opening (Pompidou Metz, Louvre Lens, Fondation Maeght, the MuCEM in Marseille), as well as the new cultural tour A journey to Nantes. Major events generate spin-offs in terms of the economy, society, public relations and regional development. By combining French know-how and individual expertise, it is vital for an effective policy to be created which makes it possible to attract the regular events which countries take turns to host throughout the world, develop the existing events and create new ones. The Comité France Evénements, supported by Atout France, is working on developing, as a matter of priority, a marketing campaign to attract new partners, international benchmarking and criteria for branding major events.
– Wine tourism is one of the most dynamic industries. 24 million people visit the wine regions.
– Destinations such as Paris, the Provence and Côte d’Azur region, and Mont-Saint-Michel are veritable showcases for the richness, quality and diversity of what France has to offer.

Atmospheric villages abound in Provence, the jewel in France's tourism crown. Her is the Dora Maar House

Atmospheric villages abound in Provence, the jewel in France’s tourism crown. Here is the Dora Maar House – home of Picasso’s lover for over 40 years and now an artists’ retreat.

83 million tourists, 7% of French GDP
France is the world’s top tourist destination, with 83 million foreign tourists. It remains the global leader, with the dynamic tourism sector boasting a surplus and rapidly transforming under the combined effect of a new, emerging clientele and a broader range of activities on offer to international tourists.
Indeed, the sector is radically changing, with a new clientele arriving. Today, Europeans and Asians account for the growing number of foreign tourists in France. Germans make up the greatest number of foreign tourists in France, ahead of the British. Tourists from the first countries to be hit by the economic crisis, such as Ireland, Portugal and Greece, are also returning to France for their holidays.
The Chinese account for the highest proportion of Asians choosing France for their holidays (1.5 million). Meanwhile, the influx of Brazilians and Russians is greatly increasing.
Tourism makes an essential contribution to France’s foreign trade. Since 1999, it has accounted for the main balance of payments surplus. The tourist trade has shown a marked progression, achieving a balance of nearly €13 billion in 2012, as compared to €7.5 billion in 2011. Longer stays and more nights spent in commercial accommodation have led to increased spending by foreign tourists in France, amounting to a total of €35.8 billion.

Lost-Luggage-Found-20-Years-Later-Video

 

The New York Times reports that passengers who suffer from airlines losing their luggage may be getting their rights back.

Buried in the new bill reauthorizing the Federal Aviation Administration are a few sections addressing the fees that many of us pay to fly. And while the Senate and the House bills still differ a bit, one likely result is going to be this: The carriers are going to have to refund the fees you pay when your luggage isn’t on your flight and you have to wait a long time to get it.

Refunding those fees may not seem like a big deal, but airlines in the United States took in about $3 billion in fees for checked luggage last year. So plenty is at stake. And if you’ve ever tried to get your money back after an airline botched its baggage delivery, as I did recently, you’re acutely aware of the following facts:

■ Any attempt to reason with the airline begins with the discovery that it may have declared all baggage fees nonrefundable in nearly every circumstance.

■ A refund, if you get one, may come in the form of a voucher that requires you to fly that carrier again — and to remember to use it.

■ If you dispute the charge with your credit card company, you may run into resistance.

While the bill contains other improvements for traveling families, people in wheelchairs and others, those baggage fees are the ones that airlines have been charging for a longer time and are particularly noxious. If the bag doesn’t come spinning around the carousel, you shouldn’t have to pay, right?

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