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For 18 years, travellers at SleepingInAirports.com have been rating airports for not only their "sleep-ability" factor, but also the services, amenities and features offered to layover passengers.

The annual survey asks travellers to consider the four C's of airport travel: comfort, conveniences, cleanliness and customer service.

Comfort encompasses the availability of plush chairs, armrest free areas, quiet zones, reclining options, etc.;
Conveniences include free Wi-Fi, 24-hour food options, showers, pay lounges and other things to do at the airport while awaiting a flight;
Cleanliness centers around clean floors, maintained bathrooms and tidy food courts;
Customer Service means smiling faces and friendly attitudes, along with considerate and helpful workers (who offer up blankets and pillows to stranded passengers).
Whether you plan to sleep your time away in an airport - or are simply looking for ways to pass a couple of hours on a layover - we hope their Best & Worst Airports lists help you plan which airports to use and which airports to avoid altogether! 

We are happy to announce Singapore Changi as the voted best airport!
English: Inside the newly opened Terminal 3 at...

English: Inside the newly opened Terminal 3 at Singapore Changi International Airport. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)






Once you are done here, be sure to check out our regional airport ratings, which are based on travellers overall airport experience. And, of course, a Best Airports list is hardly complete without an accompanying Worst Airports list, so check that out too.






Perhaps no virus strikes as much fear in people as Ebola, the cause of a deadly outbreak in West Africa.

The World Health Organization (WHO) reports more than 7,100 confirmed or suspected cases of Ebola in the countries of Guinea, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal and Sierra Leone as of Sept. 28. More than 3,300 people have died in the largest Ebola outbreak ever recorded.



What is Ebola virus disease?
English: Ebola virus virion. Created by CDC mi...

Photo credit: Wikipedia


Ebola virus disease (formerly known as Ebola haemorrhagic fever) is a severe, often fatal illness, with a death rate of up to 90%. The illness affects humans and nonhuman primates (monkeys, gorillas, and chimpanzees).

Ebola first appeared in 1976 in two simultaneous outbreaks, one in a village near the Ebola River in the Democratic Republic of Congo, and the other in a remote area of Sudan.


How is it spread?

English: Biosafety level 4 hazmat suit: resear...

Photo credit: Wikipedia

The natural reservoir of the virus is unknown and it is not always clear how the virus first appears in humans. Usually the first person gets infected through contact with an infected animal.

People can be exposed to Ebola virus from direct physical contact with body fluids like blood, saliva, stool, urine, sweat etc. of an infected person and soiled linen used by a patient.
It can be spread through contact with objects, such as needles, that have been contaminated with infected secretions.

The incubation period, or the time interval from infection to onset of symptoms, is from 2 to 21 days. The patients become contagious once they begin to show symptoms. They are not contagious during the incubation period.

Ebola virus disease infections can only be confirmed through laboratory testing.


What are the signs and symptoms of EVD?

  • Fever
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Sore throat
  • Joint and muscle aches
  • Stomach pain
  • Headache
  • Measles like rash
  • A rash, red eyes, hiccups and Bleeding from body openings  may be seen in some patients

Is there a vaccine?

Currently, there is no licensed medicine or vaccine for Ebola virus disease, but several products are under development


How do I protect myself against Ebola?

If you must travel to an area affected by the 2014 Ebola outbreak, protect yourself by doing the following:

  • Wash hands frequently or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Avoid contact with blood and body fluids of any person, particularly someone who is sick.
  • Do not handle items that may have come in contact with an infected person's blood or body fluids.
  • Do not touch the body of someone who has died from Ebola.
  • Do not touch bats and nonhuman primates or their blood and fluids and do not touch or eat raw meat prepared from these animals.
  • Avoid hospitals where Ebola patients are being treated.
  • Seek medical care immediately if you develop fever (temperature of 101.5°F/ 38.6°C) and any of the other following symptoms: headache, muscle pain, diarrhea, vomiting, stomach pain, or unexplained bruising or bleeding.
  • Limit your contact with other people until and when you go to the doctor. 

Additionally:

  • Report any suspected cases of Ebola to the nearest health unit immediately.
  • Suspected cases should be isolated from other patients and strict barrier nursing techniques implemented.
  • All hospital staff should be briefed on the nature of the disease and its transmission routes. 

None - This image is in the public domain and ...

Photo credit: Wikipedia




Hospital staff should have individual gowns, gloves, masks and goggles. Non-disposable protective equipment must not be reused unless they have been properly disinfected.Infection may also spread through contact with the soiled clothing or bed linens from a patient with Ebola. Disinfection is therefore required before handling these items.

Communities affected by Ebola should make efforts to ensure that the population is well informed, both about the nature of the disease itself and about necessary outbreak containment measures, including burial of the deceased. People who have died from Ebola should be promptly and safely buried.



Want to get "messy" and have loads of fun? Then, La Tomatina IS FOR YOU! :)
Throwing tomatoes from a truck.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

La Tomatina is a food fight festival held on the last Wednesday of August each year in the town of Buñol near to Valencia (Spain). Thousands of people make their way from all corners of the world to fight in this 'World's Biggest Food Fight' where more than one hundred tons of over-ripe tomatoes are thrown in the streets.

English: Paella from Altea, in the Land of Val...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)


The week-long festival features music, parades, dancing, and fireworks. On the night before the tomato fight, participants compete in a paella cooking contest.
Due to numbers increasing each year, in 2013 the Town Hall of Buñol limited the number of people who can participate in Tomatina and added a €10 ticket tax. 




Make sure that you have a ticket or you will not get into the tomato fight. 

The Hemispheric at the Ciutat de les Arts i le...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There is limited accommodation for people who come to La Tomatina, so many people take the easier option of staying in nearby Valencia just 38km to Buñol by bus or train. In preparation for the dirty mess that will ensue, shopkeepers use huge plastic covers on their store fronts to protect them from the mess.


What Happens 
At around 11 am, the first event of the Tomatina begins. Many trucks haul the bounty of tomatoes into the center of the town. The signal for the beginning of the fight is firing of water cannons, and the chaos begins. Once it begins, the battle is generally every man for himself.

La Tomatina (25.08.2010) - Spain, Buñol 28

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

After exactly one hour, the fighting ends when the water cannons are fired once more to signal the end. At this point, no more tomatoes can be thrown. The cleaning process involves the use of fire trucks to spray down the streets, with water provided from a Roman aqueduct. Once the tomato pulp is flushed, the ground is clean due to the acidity of the tomato.



The Rules of La Tomatina
Do not bring bottles or hard objects as they can cause accidents and hurt other participants
Do not rip other people's T-shirts
You must squash the tomatoes before throwing them as this reduces the impact
Ensure you keep a safe distance from the lorries
As soon as you hear the second shot, you must stop throwing tomatoes

Useful Advice
Wear closed shoes that you don't mind throwing away afterwards. If you wear flip-flops, you may get hurt, or you could lose them easily during the battle
Wear old clothes, or clothes that you aren't planning to wear again. They will most likely end up damaged from being ripped or incredibly dirty
You may find goggles useful. However, it is safer if you just ensure that you always have something clean to wipe your eyes with. The best thing is if you tuck your T-Shirt into your shorts to keep the bottom part of your T-shirt clean and dry
If you are planning to take pictures, bring a waterproof camera!
If you're not from Buñol, and you want to stay overnight, don't forget to look for and secure accommodation in advance
Do not miss the Palojabón - a soap-covered pole with a Spanish ham at the top: whoever can climb the pole and get the ham can keep it!
Stay safe and enjoy the festivities as much possible
La Tomatina (25.08.2010) - Spain, Buñol 13

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Sky-tours wishes you a fun trip!! :)

Are "Black Boxes" really black?

The "Black Box", despite its name, is not black. 

Although they are called "black boxes," aviation recorders are actually painted bright orange. This distinct colour, along with the strips of reflective tape attached to the recorders' exteriors, help investigators locate the black boxes following an accident. These are especially helpful when a plane lands in the water.

English: The FDR onboard the aircraft records ...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

There are two possible origins of the term black box: Some believe it's because early recorders were painted black, while others think it refers to the charring that occurs in post-accident fires.

The unit shown is a Dukane DK120 attached to a...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

In addition to the paint and reflective tape, black boxes are equipped with an underwater locator beacon (ULB). If you look at the picture of a black box, you will almost always see a small, cylindrical object attached to one end of the device.

While it doubles as a carrying handle, this cylinder is actually a beacon.



What is the black box in an aeroplane?

The CVR and the FDR, better known as the "...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)


There are two "black boxes" on modern day aircraft. 
1. The Cockpit Voice Recorder (CVR) used to record cockpit, intercom, and pilot to controller communications. 
2. The Digital Flight Data Recorder (DFDR) used to record aircraft flight control inputs, flight parameters (speed, altitude, etc.), and system performance. 


Why is the black box so important?

With the advent of jet airliners in the late 1950s, analyzing critical details of aircraft performance became paramount during crash investigations, and two new devices were added as standard equipment on airliners: the CVR and the FDR (now DFDR).
 

English: Brazilian Air Force personnel recover...

 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The black box is extremely important, as it records everything that happens in the cockpit, including what the pilot/copilot says, what buttons they press, everything. In the event of a crash, the black box can be retrieved, as it is virtually indestructible, and has a radar emitter. They can then analyse the data from it to discover what happened just before the crash.



Who invented the flight black box recorder?

Dr David Warren with the first prototype FDR.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)



David Warren invented the black box flight recorder in 1953.


What are black boxes made out of?

They are typically double wrapped, in strong corrosion-resistant stainless steel or titanium, with high-temperature insulation inside. They are designed to withstand high impact forces and high temperatures from fires.




Why don't they make the entire plane out of black box material?

The material that the black box is made of is too heavy. A whole plane made of the same material (All stainless steel), it would have a hard time getting off the ground and would be ridiculously expensive.


Is a black box reprogrammed in every flight?

The black box  is constantly re-writing itself so it holds the last series of events. It does not need to be reprogrammed.

 

Why do aircraft need a black box recorder - why can't the info be transmitted live?

English: The cockpit voice recorder (CVR) from...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The black box has proven to be one of the best tools the aircrash investigators have in understanding an accident. This helps us avoid similar accidents in the future. The info cant be transmitted live because it would take up too much bandwith for every aircraft to transmit all its data at the same time.

Failures in aircraft systems can be relayed real time by a system called ACARS but the black box contains a lot more info and would have to be a constant stream.

 

What kind of airplane uses the black box?

The FAA mandates that any aircraft with 10 seats or more must have a flight data recorder (black box).

Most aircraft smaller than that size do not have a black box.


Sky-tours wishes you a pleasant and safe trip!


CDC Helps Safeguard Business Travelers from Health Threats

 

English: Logo of the Centers for Disease Contr...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia) 

Business Pulse: Travelers' Health, launched today by the CDC Foundation, provides businesses and corporate travelers a wide range of online resources to help them better prepare for international trips.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) resources include guidelines, tips and current data to help safeguard travelers against infectious diseases, as well as road hazards and environmental concerns that can sideline personal health and business productivity.

Travel plays an essential role in business and an estimated 5.1 million U.S. residents travel internationally for business each year. The extensive business opportunities abroad also pose a variety of potential health risks, including exposure to infectious diseases. To access Business Pulse, visit www.cdcfoundation.org/businesspulse.

Airplanes at sunrise

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)



Business travelers often have unique challenges, such as travelling  at the last minute and coping with fatigue from jet lag, along with the stress of work responsibilities. In addition to the impact on a business traveler's personal health, illness and injury during business travel can significantly impact planned business activities and goals, resulting in direct and indirect costs for the company.

 



"Millions of Americans travel each year, often for business. Illnesses and injuries abroad can sideline not only the traveler but the work they had planned. We encourage all travelers to prepare before they head abroad and educate themselves to help ensure safe, healthy travel," said CDC Director Tom Frieden  M.D., M.P.H.   

Sky-tours wishes you a safe flight!



The San Fermín festival celebrates the patron saint of the Spanish region of Navarra. It has become the most internationally renowned fiesta in Spain, with over 1,000,000 people coming to participate!

graffiti on some wall

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Thousands of tourists attend San Fermín every year, with the dangerous running of the Bulls being the highlight for adrenaline junkies willing to be chased by angry bulls.

 

The origin of the fiesta of San Fermín goes back to the Middle Ages and is related to three celebrations: religious ceremonies, trade fairs and bullfights.


English: comparsa Pamplona

 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

Initially, the fiesta San Fermín was held on October 10th, but in 1591 the people of Pamplona, fed up with the bad weather at that time of year, decided to transfer the fiesta to July so it would coincide with the Fair. 

 


At the beginning it lasted two days and had a pregón (opening speech), musicians, a tournament, theatre and bullfights. Other events were added later, such as fireworks and dances, and the fiesta lasted until July 10th.

 

This Spanish festival was made famous by Ernest Hemingway. His novel "The Sun Also Rises" ("Fiesta"), written in 1926, attracted people from all over the world to come to the fiesta of Pamplona.


 

English: Seconds before the beginning of the S...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)


San Fermin kicks off its 2014 celebrations on the 6th of July from 12:00, when the opening of the party is marked by setting off the pyrotechnic chupinazo. 

 

The chupinazo rocket is launched at noon from the city hall balcony to declare the nine-day fiesta, with thousands of people below in the city hall square. 

 

 

 

 

Everybody holds his red handkerchief above his head until the firework is exploded and they then put it around the neck. The fiesta sees thrill-seeking locals and tourists run down the historic streets chased by bulls ahead of a bloody bullfight.

 

Nederlands: Stierenrennen in Pamplona.

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The running of the bulls (In Spanish encierro) involves hundreds of people running in front of six bulls and another six steers down an 825-metre (0.51 mile) stretch of narrow streets of a section of the old town of Pamplona. The run ends in the Pamplona's bullring taking a mean time of around 3 minutes where the bulls would be held until the afternoon´s bullfight when they would be killed. Bullruns are held between 7 and 14 July.

 


Sanfermines Vaquillas in Pamplona, Spain.

 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)



After nine days of partying, the people of Pamplona meet in the Townhall Plaza at midnight on 14 July, singing the traditional mournful notes of the Pobre de Mí ('Poor Me'), in a candlelit ending. The city mayor closes the festival with participants lighting a candle and removing their red handkerchief.






Although it attracts a large number of young tourist partygoers, the San Fermin festival is an annual event steeped in tradition which is enjoyed by all.

 

Sky-tours wishes you a happy and safe San Fermin! :) 

SAN JUAN MIDSUMMER´S NIGHT


The Festival of San Juan is celebrated annually on the 23rd of June, the shortest night of the year. 

Legends, tradition and magical rituals are connected by common elements: 

fire and water

hogueras de san juan_opt_edited.jpg


Every region in Spain has different local traditions, however all of them are related to 
fire and water. 

Fogueres de Sant Joan (Bonfires of Saint John)

 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)


Pagan and Religious tradition meet in this awesome celebration.
During this festival, hogueras de San Juan, or the bonfires of Saint John, are lit in cities all around Spain, especially on the beaches of costal areas. The bonfire preparation is done days in advance, and it's something that Spaniards of all ages take part in, and look forward to. 






It is a night full of Superstition.
If you want to be lucky for the next 12 months you may want to:

Hoguera san juan

 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

  • Jump over a bonfire. According to the traditions of the festival, if people jump three times over a bonfire on San Juan's night, they will be cleansed and purified, and their problems burned away.
  • Swim in the ocean after midnight. It´s less dangerous and has the same cleansing and purifying result as jumping over the fire.
  • Prepare perfumed water, which combines the scents of seven plants - including rosemary, roses and laurel. Bathing or washing in this water is another method of purification for the new season.
  • Burn a piece of paper with your lovers name on it.
  • Burn something old and personal to leave behind bad spirits from the past and start a new phase.
  • Fountains and natural water resources become magic and have healing properties. 


Fuegos artificiales hogueras

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)




San Juan's night is full of bonfires, fireworks, music, dancing, sardines and bread.

Other countries such as Argentina, Chile, Paraguay, Perú, Bolívia and Cuba celebrate this date influenced by Spaniards, Portuguese and other European immigrants.




Sky-tours wishes you a happy San Juan´s night :) 


Delta Airlines restarts direct flights from New York  to Tuscany, effective June 07. 

Pisa


It will be the only nonstop flight between the beautiful city of Pisa and the Big Apple and it will run until August 31. 

The flight will operate four times weekly throughout the peak summer season, using a 757-200 aircraft with 167 seats in conjunction with Delta's joint venture partner Alitalia.

 


Other seasonal routes Delta is starting this month are: 

JFK-Malaga, Spain : June 06. The flight will initially operate four times weekly in June and will increase to five times weekly in July, using a 757-200 aircraft with 167 seats in conjunction with Delta's joint venture partner Air France KLM.

JFK-Stockholm, Sweden : June 02. The flight will initially operate five times weekly in June and then four times weekly during the remainder of the summer season, using a 757-200 aircraft with 167 seats in conjunction with Delta's joint venture partner Air France KLM. 

JFK-Copenhagen, Denmark : June 02. The flight will initially operate daily during the summer season, using a 757-200 aircraft with 167 seats in conjunction with Delta's joint venture partner Air France KLM.

JFK-Reykjavik, Iceland  : June 05. The flight will initially operate five times weekly, but will be daily from June 12 throughout the summer season, using a 757-200 aircraft with 167 seats in conjunction with Delta's joint venture partner Air France KLM.

English: A Delta Airlines Airbus A330-323E lan...

Photo credit: Wikipedia)







Skytours wishes you a nice flight ! 









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EL CAMINO DE SANTIAGO

ST. JAMES´ WAY

The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela. The w...

Photo credit: Wikipedia


The Way of St. James or St. James's Way (commonly known by its name in Spanish: El Camino de Santiago) is the name of the pilgrimage routes to the shrine of the apostle St. James the Great in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia (northwestern Spain), where tradition has it that the remains of the saint are buried.

ORIGIN

Legend holds that St. James's remains were carried by boat from Jerusalem to northern Spain where he was buried on the site of what is now the city of Santiago de Compostela.

The Way can take one of any number of pilgrimage routes to Santiago de Compostela.

The route was declared the first European Cultural Route by the Council of Europe in October 1987; it was also named one of UNESCO's World Heritage Sites.

THE SCALLOP SYMBOL 

Scallop.jpg

The scallop shell, often found on the shores in Galicia, is the symbol of the Camino de Santiago. Over the centuries the scallop shell has taken on mythical, metaphorical and practical meanings, even if its relevance may actually derive from the desire of pilgrims to take home a souvenir.

MODERN PILGRIMS

Today, tens of thousands of pilgrims set out each year from popular starting points across Europe, to make their way to Santiago de Compostela. Most travel by foot, some by bicycle, and a few travel as some of their medieval counterparts did, on horseback or by donkey (for example, the British author and humourist Tim Moore). 

Galicia.jpg

In addition to those undertaking a religious pilgrimage, the majority are hikers who walk the route for non-religious reasons: travel, sport, or simply the challenge of weeks of walking in a foreign land. Also, many consider the experience a spiritual adventure to remove themselves from the bustle of modern life. It serves as a retreat for many modern "pilgrims".

Along the way you will find wonderful landscapes, friendly and welcoming locals, delicious local food and wine...and many other pilgrims who will be happy to share the experience, travel tips and maybe even walking together for a few hours.

 


ACCOMMODATION

In Spain, France, and Portugal, pilgrim's hostels with beds in dormitories dot the common routes, providing overnight accommodation for pilgrims who hold a "credencial". In Spain this type of accommodation is called a "refugio" or "albergue", both of which are similar to youth hostels or hostelries in the French system of  "gîtes d'étape".

Español: Ebro Etxea. Actual albergue para pere...

Photo credit: Wikipedia

Staying at pilgrims' hostels usually costs between 6 and 15 euros per night per bed.

Pilgrims are usually limited to one night's accommodation and are expected to leave by eight in the morning to continue their pilgrimage.

CREDENCIAL

Most pilgrims carry a document called the "credencial", purchased for a few euros from a Spanish tourist agency, a church on the route, or from their church back home. 

camino santiago.jpg

The credential is a pass which gives access to inexpensive, sometimes free, overnight accommodation in refugios along the trail. Also known as the "pilgrim's passport", the credential is stamped with the official St. James stamp of each town or refugio at which the pilgrim has stayed. It provides pilgrims with a record of where they ate or slept, but also serves as proof to the Pilgrim's Office in Santiago that the journey was accomplished according to an official route.

The stamped credential is also necessary if the pilgrim wants to obtain a compostela, a certificate of completion of the pilgrimage.

THE COMPOSTELA

The compostela is a certificate of accomplishment given to pilgrims on completing the Way. 

To earn the compostela one needs to walk a minimum of 100 km or cycle at least 200 km. Pilgrims arriving in Santiago de Compostela who have walked at least the last 100 km, or cycled 200 km to get there (as indicated on their credencial) are eligible for the Compostela from the Pilgrim's Office in Santiago.

GREAT EXPERIENCE

Regardless of your reasons (religious, spiritual, exercise, self-searching or just for fun) we can assure you that you will not regret the experience and you will want to go back again! J

Santiago.jpg


And if you feel lazy to walk, you can book your plane ticket with Sky-tours.com  to visit the always charming and beautiful Santiago de Compostela! 

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