Category Archives: Travel Tips

Copenhagen’s ‘Little Paris’

Gail Bailey is our guest blogger. Gail calls New York City home. However, she is currently on a discovery mission to find wonderful, secret places in Europe. One of her latest “finds” is the gourmet street Værnedamsvej. She shares with us why we must not miss Little Paris on our next trip into Copenhagen.

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One of Copenhagen’s sweetest gems is the tiny street, Værnedamsvej, or better known as ‘Little Paris’. Bordering the neighborhoods of Vesterbro and Frederiksberg, it is lined with charming gourmet specialty shops and restaurants that have the look and feel of a bygone era. Head here to experience the joie de vivre that the Danes are so famous for.

These are some places you simply shouldn’t miss.

One of the best bakeries in the city. Besides traditional Danish rye bread, Copenhageners come here for the amazing desserts. Most popular are the layered strawberry cream tarts, the kartoffelkage (potato cake filled with cream and covered in marzipan) and, of course, the variety of danishes. Take a number when you walk in.  If there is room, enjoy your desert at the window bar.

Lagkagehuset Bakery

Without exception, every morsel in this petite deli hails from France. The owner takes great pride in his personal relationships with small French producers. He’ll tell you exactly where your chosen delicacy comes from and how it is prepared. The day I went in I sampled a mouth-watering duck rillettes (slowly cooked to the consistency of pâté) and a chunk of hazelnut sausage. Perfect place to stock a picnic basket or takeaway a pre-prepared gourmet meal.

This chocolate boutique is famous for its flødeboller (translation: snowball). Instead of the ice cold variety, this Danish snowball is covered in chocolate filled with a white creamy filling. Inside you can find a surprise such as apple compote and at the bottom, a nutty base. Simply divine! All of Summerbird’s chocolates are 100% Danish and handmade on the island of Fyn.

Excellent and inexpensive French food is a rare combination. Les Trois Cochon dishes out a three-course meal for under $50. It has a fixed menu that changes seasonally: think of your favorite French dish (but with a Scandinavian twist). Intimacy is also up for serving. Diners share long oak candle lit tables, which creates a dinner party atmosphere. Book ahead!

There is a lot to sample on this small street, so come with an empty stomach.

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Elle’s Grand Adventure – the mature woman’s travel guide

Have you ever felt unsure of yourself? Ever shied away from tackling a project just because you didn’t know how?

Meet Elle! Heroine of Elle’s Grand Adventure.

Cover of Elle's Grand Adventure

Elle is 63, recently widowed and taking a hard look at her life. She sits in front of the Travel Channel and dreams of being a participant instead of a spectator in all those adventures.  But, Elle doesn’t know where to begin. Her best friend, Mary Ann, scolds her for having such outrageous travel ideas: “There are terrorists out there!”

Frustrated, Elle gives up…until Sheila, her biker-chick alter-ego, materializes on the scene. Tattoos blazing, cigarette smoking, beer guzzling Sheila steps in to help Elle satisfy her life long travel dreams.

Elle Meets Sheila

Elle’s begining:

Elle came to life in the early 2000’s when I was flying one of those numbingly long flights to Asia. I began watching people struggle with every aspect of travel from security to luggage to passports. Elle’s story was born. People, mature women specifically, have flight issues. Impossibly heavy luggage. The maze of passport application. Clothing…always an issue.
Because there is nothing that tells a story better than pictures, I opted for a graphic novel format instead of the printed word. I contacted a friend of mine, John Palamidy, cartoonist extraordinaire. He immediately liked Elle and agreed to transform my words into pictures.  Once accomplished, we called upon Linda Stiefler, talented graphic artist, to make Elle the colorful character we all envisioned.

So, if you or someone you know wants to travel, but is a bit confused by all the travel mumbo-jumbo, here’s the perfect gift. When she turns that last page of Elle’s story, you won’t be able to keep her home.

For a mere $10.95, here’s a solution to at least some of your holiday shopping needs.

Click here to purchase your copy from Amazon.com.  Happy traveling!

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Comfortable Air Travel Isn’t Always an Oxymoron

On one of my first flights ever, I was decked out in white pants, matching jacket, clicking down the corridor in really high heel shoes. I was doing that sassy walk thing, grinning like I had a new set of porcelain caps.

Six hours later I stumbled from the airplane cabin, exhausted, with the entire food menu imprinted on those white pants, a splitting headache and swollen feet. Life is full of learning experiences. At that moment, I swore I would get smarter about air travel.
Travel always sounds so romantic, mysterious, romantic…oh, I said that already. Travelers know the truth: air travel only qualifies for a string of four letter words. So, let’s get specific about getting comfortable.

Comfort Rule #1: Layer, layer, layer.
Layering is the Golden Rule of Comfort. Between take off and landing, cabin temperatures fluctuate from hot to freezing.  One minute you’re sweating, the next you have to flick the icicles off the end of your nose.  Layer, Layer, Layer
Begin with the basics, a comfortable bra. Next, slip on an inexpensive, colorful Old Navy tank top.  Then add a long sleeved shirt. Denim is great, but any cotton or cotton blend will work.  Finally, add a shawl or scarf.

Comfort Rule #2: Jackets and Scarves.
Because I’m cold natured, an inexpensive scarf resides in my purse 24/7.  Like my grandson with his security blanket, I need my binkie, too. As the temperature on the plane drops, wrapping the scarf around my shoulders makes napping a dreamy experience.
Hot or cold outside, carry a jacket.  Carrying saves bag room and gives you more options to control your personal climate needs.  I prefer inexpensive cotton jackets that can be folded and stuffed into a bag or purse. In case they get damaged or lost, it’s not the end of the world. Another option, although more expensive, are the new ski jackets. They are lightweight, water repellent and warm.

Comfort Rule #3: Wear the jeans, don’t pack them.
Jeans are heavy and take up suitcase space.  Wearing them serves multiple purposes: saves bag space, no show on spills and protects legs.

Comfort Rule #4: Shoes and socks
Undressing before passing through airport security has become routine. Walking around barefooted on airport floors makes my toes cringe. A simple pair of black socks solves the “cringes.” On the plane, if I slip off my shoes, I feel my feet are insulated from the floor grunge.
Plane-O-ShoesTennis shoes are a pain to untie, take off, get on, and re-tie. Makes me tired just thinking about it.  Loafers work best. They’re classy, easy to slip off and on and look sexy with jeans.  More pluses, they’re comfortable and provide good footing if you’re lugging multiple bags (aren’t we always?)  I have a pair that I call my Plane-O-Shoes.  When they become worn, I trade them in on a new pair and off we go again.

Comfort Rule #5: That indispensable carry-on

Prescription drugs top the list of things that go in your carry-on.  If your checked luggage decides to take a different destination, be sure your pills arrive with you instead of Madrid.   Over-the-counter pain medication, such as Aspirin, Excedrin or Tylenol should be tucked into one of those carry on pockets. When the cabin pressure causes a pounding headache, of couple of these can be real lifesavers.
Stop off at your friendly Walgreens or CVS before your flight to pick up a few of these comfort items.
•    Hand cream. Rubbing your arms with cream makes the whole cramped seat experience a little more enjoyable.
•    Hair bands:  If you have long hair, pull your hair back for a more open spaces feeling.
•    Magazines: Buy a no-brainer magazine with lots of celebrity gossip in it. They’re fun to read and help pass the airtime.
•    Lip balm: Any brand will work. The air on the plane dries out your lips. Fight back by lathering something greasy on them.

These five simple comfort rules can make a huge difference in how you feel when your foot hits the jet way.  That smile on your face as you strut to baggage claim will make people do a double take and go “Wow”!
Or, just fly first class and forget you ever read this…

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5 Tips on how to Survive Bad Airplane Food

About two years ago, I noticed a few people shunning airplane food service and doing carry on.  Maybe it’s my imagination, but airplane food seems to be getting worse. Is that possible?  Since airlines began charging for… well, just about everything, more and more people are taking responsibility for their in-flight nourishment.
If you, like so many others, have eaten your last soggy noodle on-board, here are five tips to help you plan bad airplane food revenge:

Tip #1:  If your only option is to eat the food, eat around the entree. This means, eat only what lies outside that center aluminum container.  The salad, cheese, fruit, bread and butter are eatable.  Avoid mom’s advice about eating everything on your plate. Let that entrée go in peace.

Tip #2:  Buy a fast food meal once you’ve cleared security. There is usually a McDonald’s or Wendy’s in the inter-sanctum of the gate areas.  This works great if you’re flying a short domestic flight. Unfortunately, not such a great plan if you’re flying international. A cold hamburger and fries are almost as bad as airplane food.

Tip #3:  Pack your own carry-on meal before you leave home. As long as you don’t bring any liquids, security will not object.  Things that work best are apples (no bananas – they bruise), peanuts and carrots. Sandwiches work if they are packed in a hard plastic container so they don’t get mashed.  Oreos are good treats as are almost any wrapped candy bar.  Avoid food that has a distinct odor like tuna. Also, avoid foods that spoil quickly like mayonnaise.

Tip #4:  Bag it!  Plastic bags are a traveler’s lifesaver. When I begin a trans-Atlantic or Pacific flight, I prepare “baggie meals”.  I have three bags: (1) breakfast (2) snack and (3) dinner.  In each bag I put things that will satisfy my hunger and keep me healthy.  Lots of nuts for protein.  Fruit (cut up ahead of time so I don’t need a knife), finger veggies like baby carrots and bite sized celery.  Since I’m a bread lover, I cook a small can of prepared biscuits several hours before my flight.  I smear jelly on a couple of biscuits for breakfast, ham (use mustard) for snacks and maybe roast beef for the dinner biscuits.  Biscuits have a greater resistance to being squashed than bread plus they are good hand food.  Instead of potato chips, I pack tortilla chips. They aren’t as fragile.

Tip #5:  Water, water, water.  Hydration is key to healthy travel. The flight attendants will do a ”milk” run early in the flight.  Be bold! When asked what you want to drink, ask for a bottle of water, not a cup. Don’t just say “water, please”. You need much more liquid than one of those 3 oz. cups.  With each service, request another bottle of water.  Stay away from carbonated drinks. Bad, bad, bad for you at this altitude.  If you are not fond of water, bring a couple of Propel packets to pour into the bottle and improve the flavor.

Definitely, the airlines should do a better job designing their menus. The food is expensive and the amount wasted is sinful. Current menu choices don’t prepare well at 35,000 feet.  The airlines would be smart to go back to the kitchen on food selection.  Until that happens, I recommend we all take control of our in-flight food for our own health sake.

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