For seven years running Cape Town has been voted the Best City in the world, by 40000 readers of the UK Telegraph.
A quote from the publication shares the following about our special city, from a tourist perspective: ‘We”ll put up with the occasional discomfort for the sheer joy of waking up with a real natural beauty’. The City is also praised for its iconic Table Mountain, ‘and it is precisely this unique geography, towering mountains that drop, at times perpendicularly, into the vast blue, that is so seductive’. Its proximity to Franschhoek wine region is also highlighted.
London or any other British City does not feature in the Top 20 Telegraph List, showing that UK tourists are prepared to travel far from their country to enjoy their holidays.
I am happy to see Havana and Buenos Aires on the Top 20 List too, two cities which I visited just four months ago.
The Top 20 List of the Best Cities in the World is the following:
Photograph: taken from Tiger’s Milk in Camps Bay.
Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chrissy_Ulmenstein
On Thursday evening I attended the 2019 Finals of the Patrón Perfectionists tequila cocktail competition at Cause Effect Cocktail Kitchen and Cape Brandy Bar in the Waterfront, after a first part of the event had been held at Foliage in Franschhoek earlier in the day. Despite the largest number of female finalists over the past three years of the South African participation in the competition, the 2019 SA finals was won by David van Zyl, mixologist at Cause Effect Cocktail Kitchen! Continue reading →
Having spent close to a month in Havana in July, I saw many a cocktail list, and noted that these separated standard and traditional cocktails from Cuban cocktails. My focus in this report is on Cuban cocktails. The majority of these have rum at the heart, the national alcoholic beverage of Cuba. Continue reading →
My post below comes from Facebook, a post I wrote in the last few days of my journey through eight countries, walking and dancing 1,2 million steps and just under 1000 km in three months. It was a tongue in cheek story about my journey, motivated in writing my third SwitchBitch Book, but also to share with my Blog readers the World’s 50 Best Restaurants I ate at in Lima, Buenos Aires, Santiago in Chile, Rio de Janeiro, and a Michelin star restaurant in Lisbon, with other great and not so great restaurants, and the interesting Mendoza wine region in Argentina, synonymous with Malbec and the largest in the country. I will be posting stories as soon as I have settled in again and got over the jet lag. Continue reading →
I arrived in Havana on 3 July 2019, with no preparation of what I wanted to see or do, except that I wanted to learn to dance the Salsa. I was lucky that a slightly out of date ‘Cuba’ Guide by Lonely Planet was lying in the lounge of the San Lazaro BnB I stayed at. I annexed it for the more than three weeks that I stayed there, and found useful background information in it, but perhaps it contains too much information, not just focused on Havana, my only destination in Cuba, therefore making a large part of the book irrelevant to me. Much more useful was the Guidebook ‘300 Things to love about Havana’ by Heidi Hollinger, focused on Havana, divided into the various suburbs of Havana, with an address, a good representative photograph, and largely accurate in its descriptions, even if published in 2018.
I have a fascination with the late author Ernest Hemingway, referred to as ‘Papa’ in Cuba, but I have yet to read one of his books. In Havana I followed in the author’s footsteps yet again, after having been ‘introduced’ to him in Pamplona in Spain whilst walking the Camino in 2018. My interest in him is growing, and I will look to buy his books on my return. There is no doubt that Hemingway may be equally or better known for his drinking and hanging around in bars as he is for his books!
When the idea came to me to make a three day stop in Lima, Peru, having to make a stop in the city anyway in flying from Havana to Buenos Aires, I could not have dreamt that I would be able to eat at two of three iconic restaurants in this city, it having two Top 10 World’s 50 Best Restaurants in the city, an unbelievable achievement.
I decided to spend close to a month in Cuba, to learn to dance the Salsa in the country from which elements of it originated. It was an interesting experience, learning more about Cuban music, that Salsa is a ‘commercial’ overarching name for a dance incorporating steps from a number of other dance styles, and that I had to come to the conclusion that I do not like most Cuban Salsa music. I was told that Salsa has no age limit, one never being too old to dance, it even being used remedially with older persons.
From my Havana Guide Book as well as recommendations I learnt that La Guarida was deemed to be the best restaurant in Cuba. As I wanted to try out only the best the city had to offer, the BnB Manager Alain booked the restaurant for lunch on the special Cuban public holiday of 26 July, an apt day to celebrate my interesting stay in and imminent departure from Cuba.
The Sweet Service Award goes to Fusturlandia, and its creator José Rodrigues Fuster, for creating the most visually dynamic suburb in north Havana, created with sculptures and tiles, creating a tourist destination that benefits his neighbours in the suburb, who all have tiny shops on their properties, selling arts and crafts. Fuster himself makes his money by selling paintings and some ceramics, not taking an entrance fee. A visual and sensory delight in Havana.