Sunday, May 22, 2016

Spirit of Italy captured in new Alitalia uniform


Alitalia unveiled a striking new staff uniform collection at a catwalk show held at the Nazionale Spazio Eventi in Rome recently before an audience of media representatives and specially invited guests from around the world. The collection has been designed and tailor-made by a team of nearly 500 people in Italy, with fabrics made in Tuscany, silk in Como, men’s uniforms tailored in Puglia, and leather accessories such as gloves in Naples, and shoes in the Marche region. Created by Italian haute couturier Ettore Bilotta at his atelier in Milan, the new ‘Alitalia Collection’ takes inspiration from the glamorous golden days of Italian fashion in the 1950s and 1960s and Italy’s rich heritage, culture and national identity. It also celebrates the people of Alitalia, their professionalism, style and passion for the airline.

Before we see the new uniforms and learn where the inspiration of the designs came from, just look at some of the past uniforms - mostly hits but a couple of misses!

Cramer Ball, Chief Executive Officer of Alitalia, said: “We are introducing a new look which captures the spirit of Alitalia today as it continues on its journey of renewal and growth. In doing so, we also celebrate its illustrious 70 year history. Our aim was to create a stylish collection which would represent Italian excellence around the world. This is a country at the forefront of global style and design.

Ettore Bilotta said: “Being given the opportunity to design the new uniforms for this much loved Italian symbol was very exciting and gave me the opportunity to create a special collection which symbolises Italy and our pride in Alitalia as its ambassador to the world. Alitalia is one of the most recognised airline brands in the world and I had to deliver something truly special. Working closely with Alitalia on every aspect of the design process was crucial. This ensured the whole project was created, managed and completed in Italy by Italians, and to showcase the arts, culture, people, design and landscapes of this great country.”

Aubrey Tiedt, Alitalia’s Chief Customer Officer, said: “Our new Alitalia uniform emulates the beauty, style and elegance of Italy. We want our customers to experience the best of Italy in everything that we do, and there is no better way of highlighting our desire than with our new uniform.”

2016 - Style

To represent the essence of Italy in the new collection, the designer studied Italian architecture, monuments, and everyday lifestyles but elected to draw inspiration from the country’s landscapes, eventually focusing on the terraces of Cinque Terre on the Italian Riviera. These terraces were the inspiration for the new hat design, which exudes a style inspired by the glamorous 1950s and 1960s, when women always wore elegant and beautiful hats and gloves. Alitalia’s brief to the designer was to create a new style which would be timeless and enduring, by using classic Italian elements combined with everyday practicality for both male and female staff.

The cut and colours of the collection have been selected to complement the silhouettes of all. Bilotta has used red to symbolise Italian passion, and green to represent the best of Italy, its countryside, and the richness of its culture and history. A blend of 96 per cent fine Italian wool and four per cent Elastane has been used for enhanced comfort and functionality.

For female cabin crew uniforms a burgundy slowly changing to a lighter red was achieved by using a chevron print design. For female ground crew, a charcoal grey gradually changing to green was also realised using the same print design. This design process is followed on each garment, including a white blouse features tapering chevron print columns in red for cabin crew and green for ground crew. All females receive three options – a one piece dress, a two piece jacket and skirt, and a trouser option.

The male uniform also uses the intricate chevron design in dark charcoal grey and wood green. A double-breasted waistcoat, using the same colour tones, will be worn by all male cabin crew, with male ground crews wearing the same colour scheme in reverse. A red tie will be worn by cabin crew to complement the red female cabin crew uniform, while male ground crew will wear a green tie to complement the green female ground crew uniform. Stylish wool crêpe overcoats in burgundy for female cabin crew, green for male cabin crew and female ground staff, and charcoal grey for male ground staff, add to the collection.

Accessories such as ties, waistcoats, cardigans, scarves, belts, shoes, gloves and bags, perfectly balance the uniform, and use modern Italian contemporary and classic design elements to create items which are in vogue. The leather accessories for female cabin crew are in wood green, in burgundy for female ground staff, and in black for all male staff.

The new uniforms will be gradually introduced system-wide from early July and worn by Alitalia’s 5,700 cabin crew and ground crews, including check-in and lounge staff. New uniform designs are under way for the airline’s flight crew and operational staff.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

SOUTH AMERICA Santiago: A putsch in a punch at La Piojera

Once the air would have been thick with a pungent fug of Cuban tobacco and seditious schemes yet today, years after the last dictator was deposed, La Piojera (the flea pit) still retains that vital air of free speech and dangerously creative thought.

Owned by the same family for a century and formerly known as 'Restaurante Santiago Old' the name is derived from that given to it when former president of Chile, Arturo Alessandri Palma, called it a lowly 'flea pit' when on a visit in 1922.

You want it in a dirty glass?
This nondescript hole-in-the-wall in the Mapocho district, lies just across the road from the over-hyped, French-designed Central Market, a feature on many conventional tourist trails.

In stark contrast to its shiny, pompous neighbour, the grimy La Piojera's floors are wet with untold spilled drinks, beaten-up furniture, take-it-or-leave-it service and a rowdy, convivial crowd sporting lots of black, tattoos and Che Guevara beards. 

Rough neighbourhood
Back in the '80s, seditious left-wing plots were hatched here by minor revolutionaries and poets like Jorge Teillier, Rolando Cárdenas, Alvaro Ruiz and Aristotle Spain. The famous opera singer, Ramon Vinay, was known to get up and rattle off Verdi on top of a wine barrel.

Dangerous mutterings were once heard in dark corners, fearful of Pinochet moles, but today subversion is served in a plastic 10oz cup and called a 'terremoto' (earthquake), a cheap and nasty concoction of rough white wine, grenadine and a scoop of pineapple ice cream. Here, they like to add a straw for a touch of sophistication.

This proletariat temple and working class chapel is worth the visit if you are looking for the quirky, seldom seen underbelly of Santiago.

For information about tours that include this and other out-of-the-way sights in Santiago, contact Movidas Journeys

- guest post by Get Up & Go contributor, Roderick Eime

Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Europe's best food festivals for 2016

Rail Europe’s Five European Food Festivals for 2016!

There is no doubt that many Australians have come to love European cuisine, with some of the most popular being French, Italian, Spanish and Greek. However, Europe’s culinary horizon extends far beyond the Mediterranean nations and Rail Europe shortlisted five countries and their food festivals for the discerned foodie traveller.

Tapas, Spain
Catalonia, Spain

Being the European Region of Gastronomy for 2016, Catalonia will be boasting its rich culinary heritage including its 63 Michelin Star restaurants, 12 wine regions and a series of gastronomic hotels. Visitors can expect to have their senses spoiled by vibrant colours, rich aromas and unmistakable flavours of Catalonian cuisine wherever they go in the region.

Exploring Catalonia and around Spain is easy with a Spain Pass or via France-Spain High Speed tickets if heading over from France.

VegfestUK Bristol, England

UK’s largest annual vegan event, VegfestUK Bristol will run over two days from 21-22 May 2016. Visitors can expect to enjoy a weekend of live music, taste international vegan food from about 160 stalls, 15 caterers, bars and juice bars; pick up on some useful cooking skills, nutritional tips; and even learn about the vegan philosophy and lifestyle.

Bristol is 1.42hours by train west from London. Travellers can explore England and the around the UK using a Britrail England Pass.

Prague Food Festival

Prague Food Festival

Running for 10 years now, the Prague Food Festival is an extravagant event that takes place on the verdant lawns of the Royal Gardens at Prague Castle. Taking place from 27-29 May this year, the best chefs and restaurants will wow visitors with their culinary interpretations and creativity. From soups to desserts and beverages of all sorts, there will be endless tasting opportunities, discussions and classes to keep visitors engaged.

Discovering the culinary delights of Prague, Czech Republic and Eastern Europe is easy with a European East Pass.

Stockholm, Sweden
Taste of Stockholm, Sweden 

Running in its 25th year, Taste of Stockholm will take place from 2-6 June. From a two-day event and 90,000 visitors when it first began, the event today runs for five days and welcomes 350,000 visitors. This year will see 24 restaurants, 14 food trucks, 45 chefs (including four Michelin star chefs), 35 bakers and 30 small food-entrepreneurs from around the country educate, inspire and spoil the senses of every visitor.

Travelling around Sweden and Scandinavia can be done cost effectively with a Scandinavian Pass (covering Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Norway).

Wiesbaden, Germany
Rheingau Wine Festival in Wiesbaden, Germany
Germany, well known for its beers and Oktoberfest, is not the first place foodies will think of when it comes to wine, yet it is a country that produces quite a wide variety of wine, some of them featured in the Rheingau Wine Festival. Running for 40 years now and entering its 41st year, the Rheingau Wine Festival will take place from 12-21 August, where a variety of wine estates and local delicacies from Rheingau and Wiesbaden will be featured.

Wiesbaden is a 46min train ride from Frankfurt. Travellers can explore this region and other parts of Germany using a German Rail Pass.

Manager Australasia of Rail Europe, Ingrid Kocijan, says, “Backed by rich history, culture and long-standing traditional cooking methods, Europe is a kaleidoscope of gastronomic experiences. There is certainly a lot more of European culinary experiences to be had beyond the norm or what is already popular.”

For more information on European rail tickets and passes, visit www.raileurope.com.au / www.raileurope.co.nz.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

USA - New York BROOKLYN: Endless possibilities

Visit Brooklyn Botanic Garden to see the beautiful cherry blossoms this spring - and make a day of it in Prospect Heights!

Explore the endless number of diverse activities and attractions that this popular Brooklyn neighborhood – Prospect Heights, has to offer. Don’t miss the local charm found in the neighbourhood’s historic brownstone architecture, local stores and thriving restaurant and bar scene.

Marvel at the design of the memorial arch in Grand Army Plaza, and stroll through Prospect Park bracketing the neighbourhood. Brooklyn Botanic Garden

Hanami: Cherry Blossom Viewing - Cherry-blossom viewing, known as hanami, is a centuries-old Japanese custom, a springtime occasion for merriment and the contemplation of life's beauty and transience. Visitors and locals can partake in this tradition at the Brooklyn Botanic Garden (below) , home to scores of flowering varieties for public enjoyment. Guided tours focusing on the blooms are held on Wednesdays during the April viewing season, and the more-frequent garden highlights tours touch upon them as well (bbg.org/cherries).

Culture & Entertainment
Barclays Center – The 18,000 seat Barclays Center is home to the NBA’s Brooklyn Nets and, most recently, the NHL’s New York Islanders. The Islanders are headed for the playoffs, making now the perfect time to experience the adrenaline-filled atmosphere of a Barclays Center hockey game. The venue is also host to boxing, circuses, family shows and concerts, including Florence and the Machine (June 14), and Demi Lovato and Joe Jonas (July 8) this summer (barclayscenter.com).

Brooklyn Museum – Brooklyn Museum possesses an extensive permanent collection of ancient Egyptian masterpieces, African art, European painting, decorative arts, period rooms, and contemporary art, in addition to rotating cutting-edge exhibitions and programs. Current exhibitions on display at the museum include:
Brooklyn Museum – Brooklyn Museum possesses an extensive permanent collection of ancient Egyptian masterpieces, African art, European painting, decorative arts, period rooms, and contemporary art, in addition to rotating cutting-edge exhibitions and programs. Current exhibitions on display at the museum include:
Prospect Park - Go horse-back riding or ride the carousel, visit the Prospect Park Zoo, walk through the breathtaking Long Meadow, treat your four-legged friends to a dip at Dog Beach and ice skate at LeFrak recreation center. Attend the BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Festival at the Prospect Park Bandshell, New York’s longest-running, free outdoor performing arts festival featuring live music (prospectpark.org).
Ample Hills - Offering creative flavors such as Snap, Mallow, Pop (marshmallow ice cream with buttery Rice Krispies clusters) and The Raw Deal (vanilla ice cream with chocolate flakes and homemade brown butter chocolate cookie dough), Ample Hills (above) is a great spot to take the kids, in addition to anyone with a sweet tooth. All ice cream is made from local, organic ingredients (amplehills.com).
El Atoradero - a popular Poblano Mexican joint that originally operated in the Bronx, El Atoradero features homemade Mexican eats and outdoor seating, ideal for the warm spring weather (elatoraderobrooklyn.com).
El Atoradero - a popular Poblano Mexican joint that originally operated in the Bronx, El Atoradero features homemade Mexican eats and outdoor seating, ideal for the warm spring weather (elatoraderobrooklyn.com).
Chuko Ramen - Chuko Ramen serves up ramen and Japanese inspired dishes with unexpected ingredients and flavour combinations (barchuko.com/chuko-ramen).
Tooker Alley- Serving up classic and modern cocktails, Tooker Alley is a speakeasy that gets its name from the location of Chicago’s famed Dil Pickle Club (tookeralley.com).
O.N.A. – The trendy woman’s boutique features bold, modern clothing and accessories from local designers (onanyc.com).
1 of a Find Vintage - Don’t leave Brooklyn without purchasing some vintage items, whether it’s clothing or home goods (1ofafindnyc.com
1 of a Find Vintage - Don’t leave Brooklyn without purchasing some vintage items, whether it’s clothing or home goods (1ofafindnyc.com).
Empire Mayonnaise - For unique souvenirs from the neighbourhood and a taste of Brooklyn’s artisan culture, Empire Mayonnaise sells a wide variety of mayonnaise flavours including Bacon, Roasted Garlic, Sriracha and White Truffle (empiremayo.com). Unnameable Books - For the book worms, Unnameable Books sells new and used books and also hosts events including talks, book launches and readings (facebook.com/unnameable).

More information can be found at www.nycgo.com.

35th Anniversary Sakura Matsuri – From April 30 to May 1, Brooklyn Botanic Garden hosts the weekend-long Cherry Blossom Festival, known in Japanese as Sakura Matsuri. During the festival, which is celebrating its 35th year at Brooklyn Botanic Garden, visitors can enjoy an array of events and activities celebrating Japanese culture, including J-pop concerts, traditional Japanese music and dance, taiko drumming, martial arts, bonsai-pruning workshops, tea ceremonies and manga art (bbg.org/sakura_matsuri).

  • This Place – This Place explores the complexity of Israel and the West Bank, as place and metaphor, through the eyes of twelve internationally acclaimed photographers (through June 5, 2016). 
  • Agitprop! - Agitprop! connects contemporary art devoted to social change with historic moments in creative activism, highlighting activities that seek to motivate broad and diverse publics (through August 7, 2016). 
  • Stephen Powers: Coney Island Is Still Dreamland (To a Seagull) - This site-specific installation recalls the birth of new public art in Coney Island, and the emergence of a uniquely American and wholly “Coney Island” style of painting.
  • For more information, visit www.brooklynmuseum.org.
Brooklyn Public Library – Visitors can take in the stunning architecture of the Brooklyn Public Library (above) and enjoy its collection of 1.5 million books and magazines (bklynlibrary.org).


The Islands - The Islands gives visitors a taste of the Caribbean with savory jerk chicken and calypso shrimp (zomato.com/the-islands).

Tom’s Restaurant - A family owned and operated diner known for its pancakes, egg creams and key lime rickeys, Tom’s Restaurant is an iconic diner in New York City’s restaurant scene (tomsrestaurant.net).

The Vanderbilt- A seasonal American gastropub with an intimate and stylish setting, The Vanderbilt serves everything from eggplant lasagna to grilled pork chops (thevanderbiltnyc.com).


Weather Up- The old-fashioned cocktail bar and popular local hot-spot is the perfect place to relax with a high-end drink (weatherupnyc.com).


Prospect Heights borders main streets Atlantic Avenue, Eastern Parkway and Flatbush Avenue. It is a quick ten minute subway ride from Lower Manhattan and less than a half hour from Midtown. The 2, 3, 4, 5, B, D, N, Q, and R trains all stop in the neighbourhood, as do public buses, making for a smooth and seamless commute from no matter which borough one is staying.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

The longest train tunnel in the world

Switzerland: Exclusive Journey of Discovery

The Gotthard Base Tunnel, the longest train tunnel in the world, enters into service on 11 December 2016. Prior to this, the record-breaking construction will be more accessible than ever, but only for a limited period: from 2 August 2016, passengers may descend into the once-in-a-century construction on exclusive tunnel rides - disembarkation in the depths of the mountain included. The special "Gottardino" train only runs until 27 November 2016 and the number of tickets is limited.

The test operation of the Gotthard Base Tunnel is in full swing. The handover of the longest train tunnel in the world by constructor Alp Transit Gotthard AG to its future operators, Swiss Federal Railways SBB, will take place in two months' time, on 1 June 2016, after 17 years of construction.

Catching a train deeper into the mountain than ever before

Before regular operations of the Gotthard Base Tunnel commence on 11 December 2016, SBB is giving customers the opportunity to admire the interior of the once-in-a-century construction. From 2 August to 27 November 2016, the special "Gottardino" train will carry visitors to a record depth in the rock of the Swiss Alps. A special stop will be made at the multifunction station in Sedrun. Here, 800 metres below the surface, a tour will vividly demonstrate the dimensions of the gigantic tunnel system.

Once trains are travelling through the Gotthard Base Tunnel at high speed, a stop in the middle of the tunnel will no longer be possible. Thanks to the new north-south connection, regions and neighbouring countries on both sides of the Gotthard Tunnel will move closer together. From the end of 2016, passengers will cross the Alps in the new tunnel in only 20 minutes and reach their destination faster than ever.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Cruising the Amazon River

Howlers, screamers and the perfect pisco sour

Guest blogger Louise Southerden [www.noimpactgirl.com] travels to the Peruvian Amazon with Lindblad Expeditions.

“Anybody been to the Galapagos?” asks expedition leader Carlos Romero at the first night’s briefing aboard the Delfin II, a 14-cabin luxury river vessel and our floating hotel for the next eight days. A few hands go up. “Forget it. Forget about [blue-footed] boobies in the middle of the walking tracks. This is the Amazon. Here, you have to work to see the animals.”

Delphin II, Lindblad. (Picture by Richard Maack

Rainforest walk (picture by Louise Southerden).
He’s right, but it’s our Peruvian naturalists who do the hard yards. They make it look easy. Every dawn and dusk, we board purpose-built skiffs to explore narrow creeks off the main rivers, puttering quietly so as not to disturb birds with names as colourful as their feathers – horned screamers, speckled chacalacas, white-headed marsh tyrants – and monkeys (platoons of squirrel monkeys, solitary howlers). Some days we go ashore to hike in the rainforest and visit villages that have no road access; we also get to kayak and swim with pink river dolphins in piranha-free lakes.

Howler Monkey (picture by Louise Southerden).
And after every outing, the Delfin II welcomes us back with hot showers, fine dining and on-board activities such as talks and cooking demonstrations, including one on how to make the perfect pisco sour, Peru’s national drink. (The secret? Shake it while dancing to some Afro-Peruvian tunes.) The best part is knowing that when we wake up the next morning, we get to put on gumboots and insect repellent and head out again to explore another corner of the world’s last great green wilderness.

How to do it: Lindblad Expeditions runs 10-day 'Upper Amazon Aboard the Delfin II' trips all year round, for a maximum of 28 guests at a time, departing from Lima. See http://au.expeditions.com/