The Sweet Service Award goes to El Corte Inglis department store in Porto, which has a fabulous free collection service at key tourist points and hotels in Porto. I made use of it to get to the store from the Se Cathedral, and to be dropped off back at my hotel. The second driver was a tour guide, pointing out key tourist attractions to me. On arrival at the store, I was told about the VIP promotion for foreigners, receiving 10% off on their purchases, which credit can be redeemed in certain departments. Whilst my shopping experience with the MAC cosmetic assistant was far from satisfactory, the Cosmetics Manager made up for it by assisting me with the payment of my purchase of their lipstick, given that the line that I like is to be discontinued. I was also invited to the restaurant, to enjoy a free Pasteis de Nata, and a glass of Port or a cup of coffee, graciously substituted for a lovely Tetley’s Tea when I requested it. And I could use the 10% credit to buy a fruit knife for my Camino journey. Continue reading →
Today is the first day of a three-month adventure on three continents, and including five countries. Not only is it a personal journey, but it also completes my SwitchBitch Book 3 which I stated writing two months ago, and gives me the opportunity to visit and review restaurants I eat at on my Blog. Continue reading →
I was invited to the newly opened Coco Safar a few days ahead of its opening in the newly refurbished Artem centre, previously the Adelphi Centre in Main Road in Sea Point. A week ago I invited a young chef intern to join me for Brunch at Coco Safar, on a Sunday morning. Continue reading →
Cape Town has dropped to the 20th position in the TripAdvisor 2016 Travelers’ Choice Top 25 World Destinations list, from 10th last year, despite the extremely favourable exchange rate offered to tourists by our city. No explanation for the massive ranking drop is provided. and may be due to the stringent Visa Regulations!
The TripAdvisor 2016 Travelers’ Choice Awards World Destinations list has just been published: Continue reading →
The Kitchen and Tasting Room at Maison has been operating for almost three years, and during its recent two month winter break, a number of changes were made to the interior, to the menu, with further changes on the way.
Ten days ago I visited Maison after a long absence, mostly due to the winter closure, and my less frequent visits to Franschhoek in the winter months. In walking to The Kitchen and Tasting Room at Maison it was a delight to see that the uncomfortable stony entrance walkway has been replaced with very comfortable walkable wooden decking. Tables and chairs have been set up on the front lawn, to allow for overflow of unbooked guests. Inside, the ceiling near the pass has been redone with wooden cladding, as has a wall alongside the fireplace. New lamps have been hung, looking like seahorses to me. Lamps have been erected above the pass, with shelving above it, and the pass exterior has been wood-clad as well.
The biggest change is that a Deli is to be introduced in the winetasting section, on the right as one enters the building, with a bar counter, at which one will be able to taste six to eight Maison wines (the number is still to be finalised), each paired with two tapas-like bites reflecting some of the dishes which Chef Arno Continue reading →
* It’s the start of Tourism Month, and Tourism Minister Derek Hanekom has advised South Africans to visit the sites that pay homage to the late Nelson Mandela at the launch of the month long focus on tourism, culminating in World Tourism Day on 27 September. The theme this month is ‘Tourism Transforming Lives’. Domestic Tourism is an important focus for our country, especially given the decrease in international tourists which can be expected due to the new Immigration Regulations. A target of 18 million domestic tourists has been set for 2020. The theme of World Tourism Day is ‘Tourism and Development in the Community’.
* Coca Cola has won Grand Prix Awards for Overall Favourite Brand as well as Community Upliftment at the Sunday Times Top Brands Awards, as well as Favourite Soft-Drink Award. Eskom received the ‘Green’ Grand Prix for preserving the environment, and Shoprite was named the top Grocery Store Award. Other winning brands are Nokia, Tastic, KOO, Nike, KFC, and Ricoffy.
* The first ever African marketing office of SA Tourism was opened yesterday in Lagos in Nigeria, by our Minister of Tourism Marthinus van Schalkwyk. Not only will this be good for tourism for our country, but it also aims to create greater awareness and to attract more tourists to Africa globally.
* The Reserve Bank has increased the interest rate by 50 basis points, the first increase in five years, to curb inflation caused by the weak Rand.
* SAA made a loss of R991 million in the 2012/2013 financial year, an improvement on its previous loss of R1,25 billion in the previous financial year. It blames the loss on the ‘weakened rand‘, as 60% of its costs are dollar based. It announced today that had the Rand not weakened, SAA would have made a profit! Cost-cutting efforts have been cutting the Kigali (to Rwanda) and Buenos Aires routes. All long-distance routes are loss-making, admitted CEO Monwabisi Kalawe, but have to be retained for strategic reasons, such as Beijing.
* The USA has close to 8000 wineries, of which just less than half are in California, by far the dominant wine production state. South Africa has about one tenth of this number!