Friday, November 04, 2011

The Icelandair experience 2011 - much better than last year

I decided, once again, to fly Icelandair from Oslo to Boston in 2011 as the years before. My main reason to choose this air carrier is is still (and primarely) the short flying time. It is so much more convenient to fly 2,5 hours to Reykjavik, spending one hour in transit, for then flying around 5 hours from the Icelandic capital to Boston. Neither price, nor on board comfort is better, but this years experience was better, in spite of bad service between Reykjavik and Boston on our way over.

Facts on flights:

Here are the facts of my flight.

October 5th 2011:
  • Departure Gardermoen International Airport - Oslo, 2.45 PM - arrival Keflavik International - Reykjavik, 3 PM (-2 hours)
  • Departure Keflavik International Airport - Reykjavik 4 PM - arrival Logan International Airport - Boston 5.35 PM (-4 hours)
October 12th 2011
  • Departure Logan International Airport - Boston, 9.45 PM - Arrival Keflavik International Airport - Reykjavik 6.30 AM (+4 hours + 1 day)
  • Departure Keflavik International Airport - Reykjavik 7.30 AM - Arrival Gardermoen International Airport - Oslo 11.30 AM (+2 hours)
Check in: BBBB
Check in on schedule at all airports.

Take-off: BBBB
Take-off time approximately on all flights time.

Hospitality: BBBBB
So much better than last year, when staff appeared cool and distant flight crew on board, partly unwilling to inform us on delays at Boston Airport and transfer. The hospitality on board was professional and we felt very much welcome by the staff.

Service: BB+
We were seated at seats from row 20 and up. We generally had to wait a unnecessarily long time to get served, and on our way over we were the last to be served and they had run out of all what we wanted. This is certainly one point to be improved by the air carrier.  

Complementary: BB+
Only soft drinks and water complementary. Wine, beer, hard liquor and a small selection of warm dishes for sale on board at reasonable prices. Even head sets were not offered travelers for free.

Comfort: BBBB
One of the few assets of an Icelandair flight. Generous room in front of knees on all flights. Seats comfortably wide. Good sized table.

Flying time to destination: BBBB+
Average flying time to destination from Oslo to Boston. Shorter flight time from Boston to Reykjavik.

Arrival: BBBB+
Arrival on time or slightly before schedule for all flights.

Check-out: BBBBB
Smooth process disembarking of planes, and waiting for luggage at baggage claim.

Duty free goods: BBBB
A good selection of duty free spirits, accessories, fragrances, and other articles available at reasonable prices.

Rating Icelandair: BBBB (4,2 points)
The 2011 transatlantic crossing was much better compared to last years experience,  when bad information and delays counted for lower rating. Good leg room and short traveling time to my destination are still the air carriers asset. Airline service must be improved by offering more complementary goods and shorter waiting time to be served on these medium range flights 

Wednesday, November 02, 2011

Ryanair launch 6 new destination from Rygge Airport in 2012

View NOVEMBER 2011: All non-stop flights from Rygge Air in a larger map

Ryanair launch non-stop flights to six new destinations in Southern Europe and Poland from Rygge Airport in 2012. 

Budget airline Ryanair is extending its flights from Rygge Airport outside Oslo from spring 2012.

These are:

Tickets for the new destinations will be available on the internet November 2nd 2011. 

Tuesday, November 01, 2011

CANCELLED - DECEMBER 2011: Kempinski Nile Hotel, Cairo

Our trip to Cairo, December 2011, has been cancelled due to the current riots in the city.

When booking our Christmas trip to Cairo, Egypt, we chose Kempinski Nile Hotel as our base during our one-week stay. In Cairo you get much hotel for your money, and I guess we would have paid three time the price for a similar hotel at a European destination. 

When booking, our goal was to find a good hotel in downtown Cairo. We found that many of the exclusive hotels were located in Giza, south of the city, and close to the pyramids, but a good distance to the city centre with all its sights.

The Kempinski Nile Hotel is ranked as number two in, and as number one of 126 hotels in tripadvisor. It has an excellent location in Garden City an exclusive neighbourhood by the Nile, in Cairo city centre. 

The Kempinski Nile Hotel is a boutique hotel located few minutes walk from luxurious shopping areas, Tahrir square, Egyptian Museum, and Cairo Opera House

Kempinski Nile Hotel offers 191 rooms on the shores of the Nile River. Each room is fitted with:
  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Free Minibar
  • Flat Screen TVs with satellite Channels
  • Free Movie Library
  • 24/7 Butler Service
  • Complimentary Tea and Coffee throughout the day. 
Kempinski’s full-service spa and wellness center offers guests free access to Jacuzzi, steam room, and sauna. Guests can also enjoy professional massages, or cool off in the outdoor swimming pool on the hotel’s rooftop.

The question is, is all this too good to be true? Will we really experience this luxury at a price of a little more than € 100 per night? I cannot wait to find out, so visit Enjoy Food & Travel after Christmas to find out whether this was a vacation of a life-time.

Kempinski Nile Hotel
12 Ahmed Ragheb Street, Cornish El Nile, Egypt
Phone: 02 27980000

View Cairo, Egypt - Christmas 2011 in a larger map

Monday, October 31, 2011

Great pumpkin is here!!

A stroll along amnesia lane - for those us that loved Peanuts as kids
For years I celebrated Halloween in my flat in downtown Oslo. Last year I was in the US, and this year I have not sent any invitations. That's too bad, really as it is a great idea with a party when fall sets in.
Pumpkin ale - the ultimate Halloween brew
A few weeks ago, we visited a farms shop by Scituate, and the whole yard were full of pumpkins. Small up to so big that a grown up could hardly lift it up.

My eyes fell on a box picturing my childhood heroes (or rather anti-heroes) in the middle of the field waiting for the great pumpkin.

This year shops were warming up to the coming festivity. Scary masks and costumes were on display and baskets filled with sweets wrapped in the most distasteful way. I once bought a box of "eyeballs" sweets!!

The pumpkin ale from the Shipyard Brewing Company in Maine should be the perfect drink for Halloween. After a few sips I end up as defender of the German purity law. The pumpkin ale is a curio to be tasted, but a beer is best without any other tastes.

But the label is great.

Next year I will start my Halloween tradition again, as it was great fun. I have a few accounts from earlier accounts on Halloween here on Enjoy Food & Travel.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Ristorante Fiore, Boston MA

Vis New England, New York State and Washington DC on Enjoy Food & Travel 2006 - 2010 i et større kart
We had lunch our last day in Boston in the city's North End, heavily influenced by Boston's Italian population. Ristorante Fiore located on Hanover Street promise authentic Italian cuisine, but its pizza does not match the simplicity of the Italian kitchen.

Rating Ristorante Fiore: BBBB (3,98 points) 
  • Location: BBBB
  • Service: BBBB
  • Interior & atmosphere: BBBB+
  • Food: BBBB-
  • Wine: BBBB
Ristorante Fiore is situated at one of the main streets of the North End, Hanover street and is easy to locate of you that do want to visit it, as it is just a few minutes walk from Faneuil Hall and Quincy Market.

The interior - you have seen it all before in other Italian restaurants
Hanover street has no wow-factor. If you want to find a more romantic place to eat, you are adviced to look for a restaurants in one of the smaller sidestreets.

When entering Ristorante Fiore, you immediately knew that you were in an Italian restaurant. The interior was more or less the same as most others you have visited around the world, predictable and boring.

Beige walls, light wood in constructions and furniture, traditional painted artworks - you had seen it all before.

The tables were elegantly set at Ristorante Fiore,  well apart from other tables, set with white table cloths, napkins, wine glasses, china and cutlery.

We were well taken care of by the staff at Ristorante Fiore and given a table in the dining room. We were given our own waiter, a Russian, who was a little over eager, without being particularly friendly. We did not have to wait long to order, and we were served without delay.
Pizza con Salsiccia Fresca e Cipolla
I ordered a Pizza con Salsiccia Fresca e Cipolla, topped with fresh tomato sauce, onions, homemade spicy sausages and mozzarella cheese ($15). I was served an enormous pizza with a thick outer crust and filling in abundance.

The tomato sauce was on the bitter side, i.e. it had not enough sugar. The salsiccia was added as sausage meat, rather than spicy sausage in slices. The outer crust was deliciously crispy, but the rest of the crust was a little soggy, rather than the delicious crispy crust of the genuine Italian pizza.

All in all, it was a good pizza, but rather an American style pie with much topping, than the Italian, where you use less tomato sauce and just a few good ingredients.

I ordered a glass of red wine, I asked for a merlot, but was served a Chianti, a light red wine, not completely my choice, but well suited for Italian food.

Ristorante Fiore is a good Italian restaurant, but it served American style pizza, but it may well serve other good and authentic dishes. I would, however, do some research and find one of the smaller family run restaurants in the North End. I have had excellent food served there during earlier visits.   

Ristorante Fiore

250 Hanover Street
Boston, MA 02113
Phone: (617) 371-1176

More Italian restaurants on Enjoy Food & Travel 
On Tripadvisor

Ristorante Fiore is rated as 303 out of 1553 restaurants in Boston
Read reviews here