New York, Geneva (AirGuide - Destination News Europe) Jun 10, 2013
Skirts instead of shorts for male train staff in Sweden Male staff on StockholmOs commuter trains have begun wearing skirts to circumvent a ban on shorts as sweltering heat hit the Swedish capital this week. Around 15 male train drivers and other staff wore skirts this week on the suburban Roslagsbanan train service, where temperatures inside the carriages can reach 35 degrees Celsius (95 degrees Fahrenheit), transport company Arriva said on Sunday. OOur policy is that you have to look well dressed and proper when representing Arriva, and that means trousers if youOre a man and a skirt if youOre a woman, but no shorts,O Arriva spokesman Tomas Hedenius told AFP. OBut if thereOs a man who is keen to wear womenOs clothing, such as a skirt, we have said thatOs okay,O he added. The company could change its policy this autumn after receiving feedback from its employees. OThereOs always reason to review the framework when you hear your staffOs views. The uniforms should look proper but they should also be comfortable to wear,O Hadenius said. Around 47,000 passengers travel on the Roslagsbanan service every day according to Stockholm Public Transport (SL). SwedenOs tradition of gender equality has famously put more mums in the workplace while rising numbers of dads stay at home. Over the past year, activists have pushed for a gender-neutral pronoun, Ohen,O to be added to OhanO (he) and OhonO (she). The Nordic countryOs largest toy chain said in November its toys were Ogender neutralO after picturing boys holding baby dolls and banishing girls from the dolls pages of its Christmas catalogue. Jun 9, 2013
France is Europe's most popular destination for canal barge cruises Even the most jaded and cosmopolitan travel writers tend to rave when it comes to canal barging cruises in France. It's no wonder, given the beautiful scenery, gourmet feasts and faultless service. A completely different beast from a river cruise, which can cover several rivers and countries in one sailing with more than 100 passengers, the canal barge cruise is slower, smaller and more expensive ($350-$1,000 per day). Approximately eight to 12 guests and six English-speaking crew are the usual number of passengers on a French canal barge, which navigates through centuries-old waterways through the French countryside. Stops range from castles and cathedrals to villages and vineyards, where passengers can step off on guided tours. Although canal barge cruises are possible in a number of European countries, these are the reasons why France is by far the most popular destination. 1. The wine The average varieties of wines offered on board a week-long French barge cruise? More than two dozen -- all French and all selected after judicious testing and tastings by the staff. A variety of canal routes wind through vineyards where passengers can step off and try Sancerre from the Loire Valley, Reislings from the Alsace-Lorraine in the north-east and Bordeaux wines, as well as those from the warm climates of Languedoc-Rousillon and Provence. Some of Burgundy's best vintages can be sampled at the Grand Cru vineyard of Chambertin-Clos de Bze in the northern part of the Cte de Nuits in Burgundy, Clos de Vougeot, the headquarters of the esteemed Chevaliers du Tastevin and the Chteau-Hotel Andr Ziltener. 2. Elaborate cuisine Several barge cruises offer the option to dine ashore, to eat in the restored Abbaye de la Bussiere in La Bussire-sur-Ouche, for example. What was once a pilgrimage retreat in 1131 is now a Relais & Chateaux hotel and Michelin-starred restaurant. Onboard the barge, thematic regional French fine dining is the standard. The chefs create their inspired from tiny galley quarters. One divine sample menu dreamed up by Selbey, the chef on the European Waterways' L'Impressionniste barge: French onion soup, lamb with minted peas, and poached pear with mascarpone ice cream paired with a white Pernand Vergelles and red Meursault, Ecrevisse salad, Coq au Vin and fresh fruits paired with a white Ladoix and red Moulin -- a vent and escargot, tender scallops and mousse au chocolat paired with Rose Marsannay. A stop at the gastronomic markets in the culinary towns of Dijon and Beaune is also a must. Passengers can shadow barge chefs as they go scouring for rich foie gras, briney crevettes, baguettes with a crunch like no other and hundreds of fresh cheeses. 3. Quaint lock keepers Many old locks on the waterways are tended by lock keepers, and passing through them on the barge cruise becomes a fun experience in itself. When barges pull up, beefy men race out to turn the wheels, raising the rushing water level high enough to let the barge cruise through. At midday there may be a bit of a wait, as the cruise captains won't even consider disturbing a lock keeper's lunch. 4. Interesting history Dating back to the 16th century, barging had a different meaning from the luxury travel experience that it's become today. The French countryside's elaborate canal system was developed as a means to transport coal and other goods that were difficult to move on land. History buffs will love the fact that their airy, luxurious barges were once working ships carrying cargo along the same winding waterways. 5. Leisurely day excursions The canals in France are surrounded by historical towns and in addition to vineyard visits, day excursions include stopping by the old towns and meeting the locals. Guided tours of old architecture are some of the top highlights of a barge trip. Recommended: a visit to the Hospice de Beaune in the town of Beaune, which was built in 1443 and is one of the finest examples of French 15th-century architecture. But for those who prefer to just relax instead of embarking on busy historical excursions, it's wonderful to just sit on the deck and watch the scenery pass by, too. Jun 7, 2013
Top 5 ultimate sailing adventures on luxury sailboats For those who like the idea of adventure, thrills and discovery on the high seas but who are reluctant to give up their creature comforts, itOs hard to beat a fully-serviced cruise on a luxury boat. Here are five of the ultimate sailing adventures that will allow you to roam the high seas in styleE Luxury among the pirates Get lost among the countless islands of South East Asia on a vessel which even James Bond would have approved of. If your idea of luxury is showing off in a port where iron monsters are lined up like cars in a parking lot then this would not be your ideal cruise. But if you want a generous dose of adventure, luxury and freedom with a professional crew taking care of your every whim, then this could be just the ticket. Sailing vessel Under the volcano Say the word OOysterO to any keen sailor and chances are he wonOt be thinking of a delicious seafood entre but rather the sailboat of his or her dreams. Add the vista of a spectacular volcano erupting every so often behind the candles on your dinner table, and you have attained luxury sailing nirvana. ItOs little wonder that Roberto Rossellini and Ingrid Bergman fell in love here. Stromboli [ETH] Sicily, the island of gods and devils. Eolie Ulysses on a swan The Swan 65 is probably the best sailboat ever built oozing class, power and elegance. When the first ORound the WorldO race was organised, she won the event despite not being specifically made for the job. Furnished in abundant teak and velvet, this boat represents sailing purity on the exterior while offering a silky luxury nest inside. Our suggested itinerary with this boat is to follow the wake of Ulysses through the Greek Islands, where it all began. Sailing boat from above To the ends of the world with French flair The seaOs most powerful spell is romance; a romance which, in the mists of time, has gathered round ships and the people who have sailed in them, together with the strange and exciting coasts theyOve discovered and the storms, hardships and battles theyOve had to overcome to reach them. Nowhere is this spirit of sailing discovery better encapsulated than in an adventure to explore Alaska, Antarctica, Patagonia and the Pacific Ocean with a skilled French crew of adventurers. Sailing Antarctica Luxury villa on the sea The charm of a superbly-designed luxury villa is hard to beat; unless the villa is floating on the ocean that is. And if you can move it around freely to explore deserted coves and pristine waters at will, then the luxury villa experience takes on an entirely new dimension. Particularly if you have your own private chef and wine list provided. Sailing boat interior Marco Rossi is a Founder and Partner of Sailing the Web. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us. Jun 5, 2013
Dutch cannabis cafes stage open revolt by selling dope to tourists Authorities in the Dutch drug tourism hub of Maastricht are striking back after cannabis cafes staged an open revolt by selling marijuana to foreigners in defiance of a controversial ban. The battle has been fought on the streets, in the courtroom and in the media as authorities struggle to enforce a law aimed at ridding the streets of stoned tourists, with foreigners previously accounting for two-thirds of the coffee shops' clientele. Coffee shops in Maastricht, a Roman city of 120 000 conveniently wedged between the borders of Belgium and Germany, were emboldened following a court ruling on April 25 that city authorities should not have ordered the closure of one of its best-known hangouts for getting high. The Easy Going was ordered shut last year after it was caught selling to tourists. Members of the Maastricht Coffee Shop Association (VOCM) comprising 13 of the city's 14 coffee shops resumed selling to tourists in May. But police raids, seizures, closure orders and prosecutions followed, and after the latest police bust at four coffee shops last weekend, all 13 VOCM member have...