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June 2010

May 2010

SWISS flies (with flowers) to San Francisco

SWISS A340 in San Francisco livery
SWISS International Air Lines launched nonstop service between Zürich and San Francisco on June 2. To celebrate and publicize the new route, the airline has dressed an Airbus A340 in '60s-style "flower power" livery.

According to SWISS, it took three days for an eight-person team at Zürich Airport to apply the nearly 400 square meters of special film to the jumbo jet's fuselage. The design was chosen from a selection of three by the readers of 20 Minuten, a popular free daily newspaper in Switzerland. Some 30,000 readers voted, and their choice will remain on the A340 for more than a year. 

For more information on the new ZRH-SFO route, including fares and seat availability, visit (SWISS is a member of the Lufthansa Group and the Star Alliance, with more than 40 airline partners in its Miles & More frequent-flier program.) 

Trivia note: This isn't the first time that SWISS has shown a trace of corporate whimsy that may seem at odds with Switzerland's buttoned-down image. A while back, the airline painted an Avro regional jet in Swiss primitive style, with a mural that featured Helvetian cattle and cowherds:

SWISS Avro RJ100 with mural 

Walnut Wine & Truffle Groves

Walnut Wine & Truffle Groves book cover Kimberley Lovato and Laura Schmalhorst's recent book, Walnut Wine & Truffle Groves, is a "culinary adventure" for foodies and Francophiles. The book, which is set in the French départment of Dordogne, "invites readers to pull up a chair and visit the Dordogne the way it should be visited…one bite at a time." 

The authors write: 

"Navigate the back roads, as well as the menus and markets, with newfound excitement and a fork and knife! Through interviews with local home cooks and chefs, visits to local farms and historic sites, market tours, and wineries, readers will discover the true jewels in France’s culinary crown as well as discover the country’s most beautiful and less trod-upon provinces."

Fore more information about the authors and their culinary adventure, visit To read excerpts and view photos from the lavishly-illustrated book, see the "Look inside!" sample pages at

Special Needs at Sea

Wheelchair in Venice, Italy
ABOVE:  A wheelchair in Venice, Italy. 

We recently learned about a company that offers a variety of useful services for disabled or chronically ill cruise passengers and travelers.

The company, Special Needs at Sea, is a "one-stop source" of wheelchairs, mobility scooters, wakers, oxygen rentals, hearing-impaired kits, and other items in more than 55 cities and ports around the world.

Special Needs at Sea works with a number of major cruise lines (including Azamara, Carnival, Celebrity, Costa, Cunard, Holland America Line, Oceania, Princess, Royal Caribbean International, and Regent), but it also delivers equipment to hotels, resorts, conference centers, and theme parks.

For more information about Special Needs at Sea and its services, visit the company's Web site at