Monday, 29 April 2013

Picture of the week

Royal Mile- Edinburgh (UK)

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Heard in a travel agency: chapter one

Last week we received one of the.... erm.... weirdest petitions ever. We are used to being requested strange seats requests, but never like this. A passenger was flying from Europe to Asia. In economy, to be more precise and his PA sent us the following email:  

Please mind the following seat requirements: 
"Please, book my seat. The aircraft is A340-600, but there are two different types, depending on the type, please book according to the following preferences: 
When the aircraft is A340-600 (8F/60C/238M) (Airbus) then, please book the following: 
Priority 1: 38G
Priority 2: 40D
Priority 3: 41C or 58D or 58G
Priority: 58C or 41H or 58H
Being A340-600 (8F/56C/229M) please book one of the following :
Priority 1: 37G
Priority 2: 40D
Priority 3: 40C or 57D or 57G
Priority 4: 58C or 40H or 58H "

We were astonished. What would have happened if neither of the seats is available. Would he refuse tor travel?

Sunday, 21 April 2013

Lufthansa cancels all his flights tomorrow

Only 32 or the 1720 flights Lufhansa planned to operate tomorrow, will leave. The rest have been cancelled, check the status here. What a day is going to be tomorrow!

Friday, 19 April 2013

Why do airlines want my phone number?

We could also say: why do travel agencies want my phone number?

Passengers always complain and they do not want to provide us with their number. Not, really, we are not calling you to offer extra services. I have ever heard of a travel agency that stalks its clients by phone. And we really are not going to sell it to anyone.

The only reason why we need your number is for EMERGENCIES. If your flight is cancelled or there is a storm that has shut down airports, it is better that you hear it from us before heading there. I still remember one lady that told me off because no one called her to let her know her flight 07:10 was cancelled. She had to wake up early and drive for one hour and a half to get there on time and now she had to come back home. When I looked at her booking I saw that there was not contact number at all and I could see how the airline and us had sent her several emails the day before. Of course when I told her that , she was a bit shocked.

Really, I can not stress this enough: always, always, give a contact number where we can find you at any time.

Wednesday, 17 April 2013

How do low cost save?

A great explanation of how low cost airlines manage to keep their low costs. Apart from the well know using smaller airports and the seat pitch lenght, the number of employees makes the difference.

But I have to disagree with the fact that regular airlines have to pay comissions to travel agencies. That is not a reality anymore as most of them do not give us any comission at all. So do not ask me what they do with the money they used to pay us years ago.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Victoria Peak, see Hong Kong from a different perspective

Kowloon's bay
Victoria Peak or The Peak is a really interesting place to see Hong Kong from, it raises 552 metres, being the tallest peak in Hong Kong Island. Whether you decide to grab a cab, the tram or the local bus, the views from the road are spectacular and the vegetation extensive. It is funny to see among all that crystal and endless skyscrapers Hong Kongers have kept such a green place that remembers to a tropical garden (because the climate in Hong Kong is wonderful and extra warm). One of the reasons why this has remained untouched is, without a doubt, because building must be really difficult in highlands. I have not doubt that having being easy, the population would have already tried .

The peak itself has nothing more and nothing less that stunning views of all the city (what your sight and a clear sky can reach in such huge city) and specially of Kowloon's Bay. You can also see the West Lamma Channel and Victoria Harbour

Friday, 5 April 2013

Majorelle Garden: a colorful oasis in Marrakesh

It could be for the minth tea, the African heath of the city, the little oasis in the middle of the desert or the accumulated tiredness. But the truth is that we loved Majorelle Garden. I must confess I love vivid colours and weird combinations, so I loved this. We were coming from Menara that we did not particularly like and we recover from the disappointment with this joy.
I was a bit sceptical about this visit, I did not care too much about this being owned by Yves Saint Laurent (alive at the time), I thought this would be the typical place for tourists. But I was wrong, I discovered this little garden, so pretty, full of colours and pacifying.

The garden takes its name from his creator, Jacques Majorelle, a french paint son of artists that travelled around the world and fell in love of all Arabic and oriental. Until he discovered Marrakech, that became a really important part of his life. He even went on to be ambassador of the city and painted posters for its promotion. He later discovered the Black Africa that he translated into paintings.
But he always came back to the city, until 1924, when he started to build this property. The main residence was done exactly as the palaces in Marrakech: simplicity in design, water fountains and exuberant lush. For years he kept collecting plants brought from everywhere in the world, to form his own botanical garden.

It is open to public from 1947, although it was not until 1980 when Yves Saint Laurent and Pierre Bergé bought it to restore it, as it was a bit deteriorated since his creator's death in 1962. Nowadays it also contains the Museum of Islamic Art.
The most interesting part of the garden are the cactus (which I love) as well as the lily pond decorated with colourful and inhabited by goldfishes, turtles and toads. It is really funny being looking at the pond and seeing a swimming turtle peeking from the bottom or a toad croaking in the corner. All really green, colourful and very bright. But over all, really quiet and relaxing. The perfect place to relax from busy Marrakech and a have a little rest relaxing in the cold provided by the shadow of the trees.

Do not expect a massive garden, it is just the opposite a tiny garding, but it is worth a visit. The price of the ticket when we went 7 years ago was around 10-20 dirhams.

Jardín MajorelleMarrakech
Tel : (00212) 024 30 18 52
Fax : (00212) 024 30 18 94
E-mail :

Photos: Raquel Ritz ©

View Raquel Ritz Travel in a larger map

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Landing in Lukla

Lukla's airport in Nepal is used by thousands of climbers that go to Everest. It is considered the most dangerous in the world and it because of his slople, bumps, the mountains that sorround it and the amount of traffic it receives.

I recommend you to take a look to the videos of take offs and landings in this post:

With snow:


 In a hurry:


 From the cockpit:


Go! Airlines routes

It looks like Go! Airlines has more routes and destinations, so probably we will decide to go for it. I will keep searching ;)

go! Airlines Route Map

Tuesday, 2 April 2013

7 essential: warm clothes for a city in winter

Every time I travel I have to do a list of things to pack in case I need them. If I do not do it, at the end and keep forgetting something essential. 
Typical tourist you DON'T
like to look like
This week, with the cold going on on London I have seen many lost tourists with teeth chattering. Yes, it is really typical you come from the south of Greece thinking here is going to be just a little bit colder. A bit is too generous. This week it has been snowing and I can confirm out of experience that November to March are quite cold months. But I am not only referring to London, I am also referring to northern countries or even Eastern ones, where temperatures drop a lot. While you can't do anything to change the weather, you can do something to avoid leaving your Cracovian hotel with skirt, no tights and flip-flops in December (true story).

To be honest, I always feel cold in winter and, through the years, I have been discovering clothes that keep me warm. So here is a list of my mandatory items if you are planning a city tour in winter. Let's have in mind that although you are coming for some tourism, you do not have to wear neon lights on your face to prove it!

  • Snoods: my more recent discovery. You can laugh if you want, but I feel not cold with them. Yeah, they can look like you are going for a snow trip but, does it really matter? Choose a thick or flurry one, they are the best. The good thing about this item is that they cover more area than the typical scarf and like the girl in the picture, you can even cover your head,  ears or even your nose. I have kept colds apart wearing this.
  • Wool hats. A classic. Through the head you loose the most heat produced by the body. If you do not like them, at least get earmuffs (you get a lot of cold there).
  • Boots. There is nothing better to keep you warm than waterproof boots.
  • Trekking socks. Maybe you do not feel cold at the beginning of the day, but walking all the cobbled streets and being all day outdoors, will make your feet icy cold. And if they get cold, you are KO and wanting to go back to your hotel. At least this is what happens to me. I have some socks like the ones in the picture and they are the best of the best.
  • Coat. Yes, you can have a jacket, but the coat covers much more (bum inclusive!), so is more practical. If the coat is waterproof, even better. 
  • Gloves: hands and feet warm, always. 
  • Optional: raincoat and a foldable umbrella. 

With all this you will feel warm and won't look like a tourist. 

Hawaiian Airlines destinations

I am looking for alternatives for the internal flights in Hawaii. Hawaiian Airlines does some routes... but I will need to keep researching.