Saturday, January 30, 2010

New hotels at Oslo Airport in 2010

View Oslo airport Gardermoen in a larger map

Three new hotels will be opened close to Oslo Airport 2010, making it easier to find affordable accommodation close to Norway's largest airport.

Comfort Hotel RunWay

Comfort Hotel RunWay is the first hotel to open at Oslo Airport in the new year. You could book a room here from January 8th 2010.

It is located by the western runway of the airport.

Comfort Hotel RunWay has 303 double rooms, 15 conference rooms and Norway’s first restaurant open 24/7.

Rooms vary in price from NOK 795,- to NOK 1795,- depending on type of room and weekday.

Scandic Hotel Oslo Airport

Scandic Oslo Airport opens on 6 April 2010.

It is located west of Oslo Airport Gardermoen, 6 minutes from the airport terminal. It will be the first hotel you reach coming from the terminal at Oslo Airport, Gardermoen.

Scandic Oslo Airport has 243 rooms decorated in Nordic colors, and offers wireless internet access throughout the hotel. It has two restaurants and one bar.

Park Inn Oslo Airport

The new Park Inn hotel will open late 2010.

It is located beside the terminal building of Oslo Airport. This striking new hotel is designed by the famous Norwegian architect Niels Torp.

Park Inn has 300 guest rooms, including 30 rooms for disabled people and 40 interconnecting rooms.

The vibrant RBG Bar & Grill will offer a versatile menu including mouth-watering signature dishes from the grill, while the bar will be an elegant oasis where guests may enjoy a freshly brewed coffee or pre-dinner drink

Park Inn Oslo Airport will offer a large conference centre with 17 different sized conference rooms.

Read more on Park Inn Oslo Airport here

(Photos: Hotel websites)

Friday, January 29, 2010

Foie Gras from Eduard Arzner - Strasbourg

I have vivid memories of my first time in Strasbourg, when entering the exclusive world of Edouard Arzner, producer of quality food, and in particular the Foie Gras made from goose or duck liver. When shopping at duty free in Brussels airport, I could not resist this package of duck liver with Muscat wine from Alsace.

As I am no connoisseur of these products, I do not taste much difference between foie gras made from duck or goose, so I most often choose duck, being the less expensive of the two.

This package contained two separately packed pieces of foie gras of 50 grams / 2 oz.

A product like this must be served with care. The strange thing with foie gras is that its strong taste meets its match in sweet, and slightly bitter aromas.

As I served them both during a dinner party, I chose a crunchy piece of toast as a base, and topped it with cranberry jelly. Even more sweetness was provided the wine that followed this little treat.

More stories on Goose or Duck on Foie Gras

Eduard Arzner, Master of Delicacies!

Pintxos with foie-gras and blackcurrant jelly

Nederburg Noble Late Harvest 2008 - awesome!!

I have expanded my knowledge of wines recently to Late Harvest wines. When serving foie gras, I used to buy expensive wines from the Sauternes district, but has found that even this region is getting fierce competition from the rest of the world.

Late Harvest wines are often expensive, but I know of one exception. The Nederburg Noble Late Harvest is an excellent product, a real bargain for half the price of many other wines. In Norway you'll get at 375 ml bottle for 105 NOK (12,80 EUR), and it is as good as many of its competitors.

The Nederburg winery was established in 1791 and provides and grapes for this wine come from vineyards in the Paarl and Stellenbosch regions.

Nederburg Noble Late Harvest 2008 is a blend between Chenin Blanc (78%) and Muscatel (22%) grapes, produced by the renowned Nederburg estate in Paarl on the Western Cape. It is recommended to cheese, fruit, and desserts.

Nederburg Noble Late Harvest 2008 has a beautiful deep orange colour, and intense aromas of peach, honey and citrus, and even marmalade, and the intense taste fades out elegantly. It is a superior wine, even to similar German and French wines.

More on Sauternes and similar wines

Donnafugata Ben Ryé Passito di Pantelleria 2006

Villa Puccini Vin Santo

Château Haut-Claverie 2001

Château Gravas 2003

Another wine from Nederburg

More on Nederburg Western Cape Baronne Cabernet Sauvignon Shiraz 2005

Photo: Paarl Mountain, the second largest granite outcrop in the world by Magnus Manske

Thursday, January 28, 2010

News - Norwegian Air Shuttle flights

Norwegian's flights Trondheim - London move to Gatwick

Norwegian Air Shuttle will move all flights Trondheim - London from London Stanstead to London Gatwick Airport. Distance and better transportation to the British capital are the main reasons.

The non stop flights from Trondheim to London will be the last to leave London Stanstead. From March 28th all Norwegian Air Shuttle flights will land at Gatwick, providing travelers with shorter travel time to the city centre.

The British capital has several options for travelers, when taking a flight. Whereas Heathrow, Gatwick, and London City are located within the London Metropolitan Area, Luton and Stanstead are further away from London.

See all non-stop flights from Trondheim Airport Værnes here

See map of bars, hotels, restaurants and sights in the Trondheim area here

Photo: Gatwick South Terminal Zone K check-in concourse by Dbx54

Non-stop flight Tromsø - London may be closed down

View International non-stop flights from Tromsø Airport Langnes - status January 2010 in a larger map

The non-stop flights from Tromsø, the capital of Northern Norway, to London Gatwick have been a fiasco for Norwegian Air Shuttle. The airline is, according to, now considering closing it down.

This will mean that there may be no non-stop flight from destinations in Western Europe to Northern Norway, leaving travelers to Tromsø to change to domestic flights at Oslo Airport in the future.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Rating Les Crustacés - Brussels

Place Saint Catherine in Brussels used to be the place to enjoy seafood in the Belgian capital. When looking for a place for lunch, we passed a couple of seafood restaurants before choosing Les Crustacés. It was a decent experience, but after three meals here earlier I find that the food is not what it used to be. I am afraid that the square is slowly turning into a tourist trap.

Location: BBBBB-

Les Crustacés occupies two floors in an old Flemish style, red brick building located on Place Saint-Cathérine, a beautiful square. To get there take subway 1a/1b to the Place Saint Cathérine, or walk down - it only takes 10 minutes from Grand Place.

Place Saint-Cathérine is located in one of the most original areas of old Brussels with many old houses and much of the original character that is rapidly disappearing elsewhere.

In summer you may sit outside and enjoy your meal with a view to Église Saint Cathérine. We visited late fall and had to sit inside.

Service: BBBB-

Mixed service. Professional, but rather impersonal staff.

We were led to a table immediately. We ordered wine before we chose our fixed lunch menu. We did, however, have to wait a little too long to be served the first out of our three course lunch.

Interior & Atmosphere: BBBB

We were seated in the ground floor room at Les Crustacés.

A pleasant traditional interior in yellow and cream colours. Oak coloured wooden details, chairs and tables.

Nicely set tables with napkins, glass, china and cutlery. I found too many tables and chairs, in the room and it felt too overcrowded.

Food: BBBB

I chose three courses from the lunch menu priced at €23 This is what I was served.

Les Moules Grillées au Beurre d’ail (Mussels baked in garlic butter)

I chose seafood as an entree and main course. I chose mussels, a Brussels speciality, but here baked with garlic and parsley butter, not Moules Frites, steamed and with fries, as is the rule in Belgium.

The mussels were served sizzling hot, directly from the oven, presented in a steel bowl.

Fresh and well prepared, not overcooked, but tender and moist. Delicious garlic and parsley butter.

Le Loup de Mer Sauce Homardine (Seawolf with lobster Sauce)

I love seawolf, and served with lobster sauce, it was irresistible. I was, however, slightly disappointed.

The fish was not served properly heated, and the sauce had started to cool down and thicken.

The fillet was a little under cooked, but I do prefer that, too over cooked fish. One, nice, waxy potato.

The sauce, that provided most of the flavour, did not tickle my pallet. It was a little bland, with not enough salinity, too much sweetness and low in acidity. This was the contrast to the lobster bisque served earlier at another restaurant in the area, that was too salty and over powering.

L’Assiette de Fromages (Cheese platter)

I was served three cheeses, one firm cheese, one Brie / Camembert variety and a blue cheese, accompanied by leaf salad and vinaigrette.

I prefer cheese served with jam and other stronger contrasting tastes, than provided by the slightly bitter dressing.

Medium matured cheese, sadly served too cold. With this in mind, I would recommend a dessert, rather than this classic end to the meal.

Wine: BBBB

We decided to order the white wine of the house, as we all ordered a fish menu. We served a bottle full bodied, medium dry white wine, at a decent price. Wine of the house is arecommended choice, if choosing a full seafood menu.

Rating Les Crustacés experience: BBBB (4,03 points)

A reasonably priced seafood lunch. Quality a little uneven. Hot food partly served cooled, cheese served cold. Delicious entree, but main course low in flavour, but well prepared.

Les Crustacés
Quai aux Briques 8
1000 Bruxelles (Ville)
Phone: 02.511.56.44
Review of Les Crustacés on TripAdvisor

See location on Brussels map

Vis Brussels on Enjoy Food & Travel 2006-2009 i et større kart

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Parc Cinquantanaire and the Arche de Triomphe

Close to the headquarters of The European Union, you'll find the Parc Cinquantanaire and the Arch de Triomphe that King Leopold II of Belgium erected at the 50th Anniversary of the formation of the Belgian state.

The area between the Schuman and Merode subway stations, in a densely developed city area you suddenly find a large green lung. The centerpiece of this park is this triumphant monument built by a brutal colonialist that ran what is known today as the Democratic Republic of Congo (prev. Zaire) as his personal property.

An all year retreat

This park was in my neighborhood when I lived in Brussels. My apartment block in Avenue de la Renaissance (right), is located adjacent to the park, and evey day I went to work I crossed into the park, on my way to my office in Rue de Treves.

Park Cinquantanaire is beautiful in winter, as in summer. All year the lawns are beautifully green, lined with evergreen shrubbery. During summer, large trees provide shade from the summer sun under their large canopy.

Built through a battle of power

The curved buildings on each side of the arch was commissioned by the king and built to a National Exhibition in 1880.

These two buildings house the Royal Museum of the Armed Forces and of Military History, an art museum Cinquantenaire Museum and AutoWorld (museum).

The Arch was meant to be the centerpiece, when the buildings were opened in 1880.

Due to an ongoing battle between the king and the Belgian Parliament it was completed much later. This as the Parliament did not want to spend money on the project. It was completed with private funding, just in time for Belgium's 75th anniversary as a state.

The Great Mosque of Brussels

The Great Mosque of Brussels is also found in the park. In 1967, King Baudouin gave a building built in 1880 to King Faisal ibn Abd al-Aziz of Saudi Arabia, on an official visit to Belgium, so that it might be turned into a place of worship for the Muslim community of Belgium. It was inaugurated in 1978.

More Brussels stories

Brussels - the warm heart of Europe

A tale of a cat

More on the area by Park Cinquantenaire - see this map

View Brussels on Enjoy Food & Travel 2006-2009 in a larger map

Monday, January 25, 2010

Delicious Tiramisu - mousse

I am no good at preparing desserts and pastries. I therefore gladly use a packed, if good. At New Years Eve, I used a package of Tiramisu mousse from Freia. With a little extra brandy, it turned out a delicious treat

I looked around for something to prepare for my friends Ketil and Astrid. I wanted something easy, and I tend to choose a chocolate mousse mix, but I was intrigued by a new product - a Tiramisu mousse from Freia.

Instead of struggling with a process melting chocolate, adding egg yolks, whipped cream and beaten egg whites, you just add 5 cl milk, and use a whisk to blend it well. And 5 cl brandy, to enhance the taste further.

Then I poured the mix into a sparkling crystal bowl, allowing it to rest in the refrigerator before serving. It was a delicious creamy, tasty experience, recommended if you'd like delicious for dessert.

Other desserts on Enjoy Food & Travel

Trifle in a glass

Chocolate Mousse - see recipe here

Cup Cakes from Heaven - see recipe here

Photo: Tiramisu mousse mix: Matvareguiden)

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Norwegian Air in U-turn

- after public rage over new fee

(Source: Aftenposten, January 20th 2010) Norwegian Air Shuttle experienced a humiliating U-turn this week, as the budget air carrier canceled, after a public outcry, its plans to introduce a compulsory fee to reserve seats on their flights.

Whereas Scandinavian Airlines market themselves as a non-nonsense, all-inclusive airline, Norwegian Air Shuttle has introduced a wide range of different fees. They argue that they provide low priced tickets and that travelers may choose to save money on services other airlines charge for.

If you choose to reserve seats, when booking on the net, you will have to pay a fee to get that special place to sit. Until now, you could pick your own seat, at check-in, at no cost, and passengers with no preference, will be seated by the airline.

Until now, as the company planned to introduce a fee for every travelers that wants a particular seat. Anne-Sissel Skånvik, Norwegian's Director of Communication, did even claim that most travelers would regard this as an advantage, as e.g. families that check-in late, would be guaranteed a favourable seating by the airline.

Most travelers did not agree with here, but regarded this as another way to squeeze more money out of the passengers. The new fee resulted in a public outcry from those that declared their resistance to the company policy, saying that the new fee would be another nail in the famous coffin. A frustrated passenger, Jan Krøgenes, had the following message to the company through Aftenposten (translated):
This is the last straw. I will not choose to fly Norwegian after its last stunt. The company introduce too many fees, and only its Irish competitor (read;Ryanair) is worse. In addition to this, Norwegian experience many delays, so the choice from now is simple - SAS, here I come again!

Norwegian Air Shuttle did, in all decency, drop the new fee after just one week, and the company management admitted that the passenger's reactions was the main reason for the change of policy. This should serve as a lesson for the airline that there are limits to what passengers will conform to, and that decisions like this may undermine their position as a major player in the Scandinavian travel market. It also confirms that travelers have power and that it pays to react to unreasonable fees.
(Photo: Norwegian Air Shuttle Boeing 737-300 (LN-KKO) taxis to the runway at Birmingham International Airport, England by Arpingstone)

More stories on unreasonable fees

Ryanair: Toilet fee still an option

There is no such thing as a free lunch - or ticket............?

How to avoid Traveler's diarrhea

Getting travellers diahrrea or even worse, a serious food born disease, may ruin that dream holiday. This may be avoided easily by some prophylactic measures before you leave, and avoiding some easily contaminated foods when on travel.

Most common food born illnesses

Infections caused by salmonella or campylobacter bacteria are the most common food born diseases, that may ruin your vacation. There are, however, many other less known bugs that may cause digestive problems for travelers.

If you suspect you have contracted a food born illness, during or after your travel, do take contact with medical staff to get proper treatment.

Travellers Diarrhea

Each year 20%–50% of international travelers, an estimated 10 million people, develop diarrhea. Travellers diahrrea is also known to mountaineers, as it can occur in camps due to poor sanitary conditions.

This may simply be caused by the traveller meeting a bacterial flora not known to him, or by other bothering, but less harmful germs.

These infections may, in 85% of the cases, be avoided by taking a vaccine as Dukoral, or by boosting your own digestive system with probiotic products, as e.g. Activia and Actimel.

What (not) to eat on vacation:

There are some very easy advice that may significantly reduce the chance of travellers diahrrea or food born illnesses. These are:

  • Non-disinfected water. Drink bottled water!
  • Ice cubes

Be cautions when offered the following foods

  • cold sauces
  • unpasteurized dairy products
  • food prepared from raw eggs (e.g. mayonnaise and desserts)
  • salads
  • raw seafood
  • partly roasted or raw meat or meat products
  • food served luke warm

Safely eat:

  • warm, cooked or fried foods
  • fruits and vegetables peeled by yourself
  • freshly made tea/coffee
  • properly sealed, bottled water
Brush your teeth with bottled water and avoid swallowing water when taking a shower or a swim.

More travel health advice

Medication on your travel