Review: Air France's Boeing 777, IAD to CDG, is a solid trans-Atlantic option for economy travelers

Meghan and I recently flew aboard Air France in economy class from Washington to Paris. This is essentially the reverse of the flight Kathleen reviewed last year, though we have some elaboration and additional recommendations to offer a year on. Air France is one of the last traditional airlines that at least still seems to convey a sense of actually caring about the passenger experience, so we found this to be overall a pretty good way to cross the ocean. Read our review, insights, and tips here.

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Our definitive guide to the world class wine, food, history, and energy you'll find in Madrid, Spain

I make no secret of my love for cities, and less secret still of my particular love for the capital of Spain. I always seem to return to the first European city with which I fell in love on a visit years ago with my grandparents. Though I've written here and there about the city before, I've recently found myself responding by email to several friends seeking advice for their time there. Thus, this Wine:Thirty Flight Guide to Madrid is born.

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Exploring wines of Romania, Slovenia, Armenia, Bulgaria, and Croatia for "Global Drink Wine Day"

February 18 is National Drink Wine Day, dubbed "Global Drink Wine Day" by our friend Casey at Travelling Corkscrew in Australia. Hers is branding we can get behind. We'll be drinking wine in Madrid, Spain the day of (this Sunday), and in further celebration of this as a global event, we've decided to take a look at wines from countries that are a bit off the beaten path for the typical wine drinker. Romania, Slovenia, Armenia, Bulgaria, and Croatia each get a look here.

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Vinarna Bokovka is the very best of Prague's excellent wine scene

Enter through a quietly cloistered courtyard whose cobblestones reflect the light that shines from above, through arches and columns both stately, yet sooted by time. A soft bronze glow of filament bulbs and candles gently twinkling through the phalanx of glasses and bottles cast merry shadows on the vaulted walls of a place that one might think dilapidated if you didn't know it was a wine cellar. We're inside of Vinarna Bokovka, an absolutely exquisite wine bar we discovered in the heart of Prague, capital of the Czech Republic.

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Review: Never thought I'd say this, but Iberia's Euro-style business class is worth it (sometimes).

I never thought I'd say this, but I've determined that Iberia's European-style business class is worth a few extra euros on a flight -- we'll say -- longer than two hours. I actually flew the service twice this fall, once from Arrecife (on Lanzarote, in the Canary Islands) to Madrid, and then about a month later from Madrid to Stockholm, Sweden. The service was consistent between both flights, though my discussion here focuses on the first.

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Three wines for you to try from Ribera del Duero, one of Spain's finest wine regions

I've been carrying around recommendations for three Ribera del Duero wines we've tried in restaurants throughout Spain over the last year. A pair of them have surfaced through other posts, but as none were part of a lineup or a winery visit, I've not had cause to share them in a lineup. Funny, though, we've seen them all again in places other than where we first tried them, and have found them all to be worthy bottles from one of our very favorite of the world's great wine regions. Give them a look.

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Weekend guide to Stockholm: Sweden's charming, historic, regal capital on the Baltic Sea

Situated on Sweden's east coast, Stockholm is a city of islands perforated and interconnected by canals that ultimately flow to the Baltic Sea. Its maritime informs its aesthetic, a city whose urban geography reflects its national flag: brightly colored buildings atop a sea of beautiful blue. It's a gem of a European capital, ever as charming, historic, and regal as those to the south; cool in May, and connected to the sea as few others are. This is our weekend guide.

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Three fabulous restaurants for your journey through Spain's Toro, Ribera del Duero, and Rioja

The chef sat at our table and asked us if we had brought the wine. We had just walked through the door into what appeared to be a small local place fronting a charming yet luxurious dining room in the back. Yes, we had the wine; a blessing, for the meal that was to come had been paired specially not just for any bottle, but for this bottle. Our host grinned. So at El Chivo, in the tiny Spanish village of Morales de Toro, began the one of the most spectacular three days' of lunches that Meghan or I have ever experienced.

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US to Europe for the weekend, with only one day off at work? Yes, absolutely!

I had always wanted to try a weekend trip to Europe; doable, in theory, originating from home on the east coast of the United States. Mind you I am not talking about a turn and burn, a trip just for the fun of flying or with a meeting or dinner in the middle, but an actually meaningful weekend trip to Europe. You can do it too, like this...

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An evening in Burgos, the gem of a city astride Spain's Ribera del Duero and Rioja wine regions

We drove east from Valladolid, through the small towns of Peñafiel and Roa, the even smaller town of Gumiel del Mercado and its Bodegas Arrocal winery, entering the city of Burgos just after dark. The streets were alive with activity as we drove towards the center of the old city and its cathedral this Wednesday evening. This is how to spend a most worthy evening and a day here.

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Stockholm's 19 Glas wine bar fuses brilliant dishes with inspired wine pairings in Sweden's capital

The buildings are each their own hue of yellow, orange, or red as we walk up the narrow stone streets into Gamla Stan, Stockholm's old town on a small island in the heart of the Swedish capital. It is eight o'clock in the evening, but the rooftops throw shadows upon the ground from the nearly-midnight sun overhead in late May as we turn the corner down from the cathedral and step through the door at Stora Nygatan 19, the aptly named -- and quite delicious -- 19 Glas restaurant and wine bar.

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How to enjoy a day in Valladolid when visiting Spain's Toro and Ribera del Duero wine regions

Valladolid has long been on my list of venerable old cities to visit. One evening is not nearly enough, but it's what we had to work with as we ventured from the Toro to Ribera del Duero wine regions. Yes, Valladolid is particularly well situated as an operating base for wine drinkers. Here's how to get the most of your day there.

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Review: British Airways, Economy Class aboard Boeing 787 Dreamliner, London to Baltimore

Though the Boeing 787 Dreamliner airplane has been in service for several years, the chance to fly on one had eluded me until my recent flight from London to Baltimore, Maryland. This was the type of route that the Dreamliner was built for -- "long and thin" they call it -- i.e. long distance routes flown by fewer people (so lower demand). The Dreamliner can actually fly far longer than this, though it's easy to see why this airplane is a big part of long-haul air travel's future between all but the biggest cities. If you have a choice between taking a trip on the Dreamliner versus any other plane, choose the Dreamliner.

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In Spain's Méntrida region, idyllic Bodegas Arrayán is making fantastic wine, available worldwide

We drove about twenty minutes from the small Spanish town of La Torre de Esteban Hambrán, to vineyards in the media alta -- middle elevations -- on winding dirt roads surrounded by lush green countryside where we understand hunting deer and other game goes hand-in-hand with tending vineyards. It was winter then, when lonely rows of clipped vines stretch down the gently sloping hills on into the horizon. Here at Bodegas Arrayán winery in Spain's Méntrida wine region, we walk from barrel to barrel, tank to tank, stopping at each to sample the now-aging vintages.

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Review: Air France, Economy Class aboard Boeing 777, Paris to Washington

This was the final leg home on a trip that took me to Niamey, Niger in West Africa. The trip from Niamey to Washington took almost 24 hours, with a long layover in Paris’s Charles De Gaulle Airport (CDG).  Niger may be far off the beaten path for most travelers, but Air France between Paris and Washington, DC certainly is not. Despite the layover, overall I had a fine experience in economy class to bring my trip to a close. This is my complete review.

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Delighted by Sweden's Vingården i Klagshamn wine found at Göteborg's Swedish Taste restaurant

Light shining through the windows from the long-setting sun twinkled upon a line of glasses through which the varied hues of white and rosé wine refracted, one glass after another in a row. Five wines from Vingården i Klagshamn, a winery in Sweden's southern Skåne region, awaited us at the splendid Swedish Taste restaurant in Göteborg, Sweden's second largest city.

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Off to Sweden in search of wine from Europe's northernmost winemaking region (and a lot more)

We're off to Sweden, a week-long follow-up to my thirty-six hour jaunt last November. I'm particularly excited to try the wine from the Europe's (and I believe the world's) northernmost wine region, specifically from Vingården Klagshamn and Hällåkra Vineyard. I'll also be flying aboard my first Boeing 787 Dreamliner, an experience that I've thus far been denied thanks to the likes of the Boeing 767, Boeing 747, and Airbus A330 that have recently stepped in to ferry me across the ocean. I hope you'll keep up with Wine:Thirty Flight via Twitter and Instagram.

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What to do, and not do, when visiting Porto, Portugal's great wine city on the Douro River

It's all about the river here. The city rises from its banks: festively colored buildings in seemingly ancient repose, crowned by the twelfth-century cathedral atop the hill, a stately contrast to the carnival of wine and revelry down at the waterfront. In times past the rabelos, cargo vessels native to this river alone, hauled Port wine to this the only port from it could be shipped. This is Porto, Portugal's second city and the source of the the fortified wine that has made the country famous in the hearts and palates of generations of connoisseurs around the world. This is what we found to do -- and, critically, what not to do -- when visiting.

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Our current picks for great food, wine, atmosphere in Madrid, Spain

I made the case just last week that Insanely great airfares make this the absolute right time to book your Europe trip for later in 2017, so am following up this week with our fourth and final (for now) installation of our Wine:Thirty Flight Guide to Madrid, Spain with what is arguably the most important piece of the series: Our favorite places for great wine, great food, and great dining atmosphere in one of my very favorite cities.

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