Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Ca' de Vèn in Ravenna, Italy

I was visiting Ravenna in Italy and while I knew a lot about the amazing history of this beautiful city, I did never expect to encounter a restaurant like that.

The second we walked into this fortress-looking edifice called Ca' de Vèn, we knew we were in for a treat. The entrance is a preserved ancient shop, I think once a pharmaceutical supply or such, but long ago converted to a wine cellar and store – an enoteca, as such a place is called in Italy. The front salon has a massive bar and lovely old cabinetry and a high vaulted ceiling complete with a decaying fresco.

The cavernous back room has plain brick walls that are at least two stories high. Right down the middle of the room runs a massive A-line heavy-timbered rack supporting wine casks up high – and a balcony above that. Within the rack is built a single heavy table upon which is a pair of marble griffin-carved stands supporting fresh flowers. The remainder of the room has long refractory tables set perpendicular to the rack, and a row of doubles along the wall.

The enoteca has another room equally as large as the one mentioned above. This is a garden room culled from an old courtyard with a majestic entrance door (closed for good) used for horses to enter the courtyard.

The enoteca can seat up to 150 guests and offers traditional but amazing food with wines you can expect at such a place. Try it out, and enjoy!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Highlight Icelandair

If you have followed my blog in the past, you know that I have been invited to Iceland.

One of the sponsors of this trip was Icelandair. The airline has been in the news lately: "Icelandair is to lay off 240 employees this fall in preparation to meet expected reduction in demand. Among the unlucky employees are 133 flight attendants and 88 pilots."

You might wonder why I am writing about this now; it is very simple. I had an amazing trip onboard Icelandair, one of my best flights ever.

Not only the state of the art aircraft, but foremost the incredible kind and service minded staff made both trips a true enjoyment. In a moment of sadness and shock, I think it is about time to write something positive. And to let the meetings industry world know, there is an amazing island with stunning people ready to host your group, conference or meeting.

Do you need a hotel in Reykjavik with a wine cellar you have never seen before? Check out the Hotel Holt. You will like the selection of wine and whiskey...

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Black sheapes of the online travel industry?

According to an article in BusinessWeek, European Union and Danish officials named seven online travel operators and airlines Thursday in an ongoing crackdown against misleading ads and price schemes.
Online travel sites run in Denmark by Ryanair, Air Berlin, Air Baltic, SkyEurope, Aer Lingus, Brussels Airlines and Seat24 were singled out for violating European consumer law.

Consumers are being "led down by the airline industry," despite the EU investigation into online sales practices launched in September, EU Consumer Affairs Commissioner Meglena Kuneva said.

"There are serious and persistent problems with ticket sales throughout the airline industry as a whole. It is completely unacceptable," Kuneva said in a statement.

The seven operators, some already criticized for Web sites run in other European nations, were accused by Denmark's consumer ombudsman of misleading consumers on booking procedures, notably on prices and terms under which flight tickets can be used.

Henrik Oee said his investigation involved 13 foreign companies that run online travel services in Denmark, five of which have already moved to change their practices.