Archive | August, 2015

It’s Time to Stop Bitching about Airfares

This miraculous view is far cheaper than most anyone imagines.

There’s a lot not to like about flying these days. Airport security screening is a colossal waste of time that doesn’t make anyone any safer. Airplane seats are smaller and planes are fuller, which brings us all that much closer to the inevitable squalling, temper-tamper-throwing crybaby in the next row. And here I’m just talking about the adults on board.

Adults like Matt Foley whose complaints were deemed serious enough for the Washington Post to highlight in their article Gripes about air travel have some people swearing off certain carriers.    

Matt Foley’s breaking point was the coffee. He wanted a cup of joe on a recent Frontier Airlines flight from Washington to Denver, and a flight attendant asked him for a credit card. ‘A buck-ninety-nine for coffee?’ he says. ‘Really? To charge for nonalcoholic drinks almost made me scream.'”

The truly remarkable thing about Matt’s complaint is how familiar it feels to anyone who’s ever taken a commercial flight. But to someone who never has, surely the criticism sounds ridiculous. That’s because it is. Matt wants a cup of coffee and doesn’t think he should have to pay for it. None of us would ever walk into a Starbucks expecting a free cup of coffee. Why do we expect them on our flights?

Read More…

A Long-awaited Rome Restaurant

Trattoria Der Pallaro

Fourteen years.

As we walked through Rome, searching for the Trattoria Der Pallaro, anticipation began to build. After exiting the Campo de Fiori, a modest piazza by Rome standards whose hallmarks are a daytime market and a statue of an excommunicated Dominican monk burnt at the stake centuries ago in that very spot, we took a wrong turn. The often warren-like streets can be challenging even with a GPS for guidance.

But if we had to search every side street in the area and spend hours doing it, we weren’t giving up the quest. This wasn’t just any restaurant we sought. This was a restaurant I had waited to return to for fourteen years. After all this time, I vividly recalled arriving at the trattoria, a haven on a chilly, rainy March night. We sat in a cozy, wood-paneled dining room with friends, one of whom had come across the listing for Trattoria Der Pallaro in a Frommer’s guidebook as the “Best Value” eats option in Rome (it’s still their pick). The wine began to flow and, with barely a word exchanged between diners and servers, platters of food began arriving at the table. 

“Buona sera. Come in, sit down.”

Read More…

Beating the Crowds in Rome

Saint Peter's Dome and the Tiber River

It had been fourteen long years since we last visited Rome. And when we finally got back, our first thought was that we couldn’t believe we had waited so long to return.

With thousand year old imperial ruins flanking majestic Renaissance-era palaces standing alongside grand Baroque squares it is obvious that Rome wasn’t built in a day. No, Rome was painstakingly constructed over the millennia, layer upon layer, out of sheer awesomeness.

Even for slightly jaded full-time travelers who’ve probably grown a bit too accustomed to awe inspiring sights, Rome awed us.

Read More…

Is this the end of (affordable) travel?

Massive Cruise Ship

We live in a golden age for travel. Never has the world been so accessible to so many. Growing middle classes in previously impoverished nations are taking to the road at the same time discount airfares, packaged tours, and generally improving travel infrastructure everywhere are making destinations more accessible to everyone. It’s a trend that’s proven so successful that it can’t possibly continue.

Read More…

Greece Road Trip, Part 4: Mystras and Nafplio

Palamidi Fortress, Nafplio, Greece

Palamidi Fortress, Nafplio, Greece

After two nights in the walled medieval stronghold of Monemvasia, we walked along its roughhewn stone streets for the last time and exited the tiny town through the sole entryway: an opening just wide enough for a loaded donkey to fit through. After reclaiming our rental car, which went unused during our stay in pedestrian-only Monemvasia, we continued on our way through the Peloponnesian Peninsula.

Read More…

%d bloggers like this: