All posts by marine
Winter is coming down under? Who cares, there is Vivid Sydney to keep you warm.
Launched in 2009, Vivid Sydney is a light, music and ideas yearly festival which takes over Sydney and transforms the city into a gigantic art gallery and creative incubator.
The tribe of Frequent flyers has its rite of passage, its unspoken rules and of course, like any group of grown ups with privileges, its first world problems. It could be an ever ending list. Here is a list of 10:
Around the world in 15 cities and 30 days. I’ll be staying between 24 hours to 4 days in any given location exploring airport lounges, report on amenity kits, feed my instagram with airline food and get the most of my stop overs in and outside the airports. The Long weekend around the world (and on the plane).
While I’ve travelled extensively, I’ve always wanted to do a round the world using only my favourite airlines and indulging in my favourite thing: flying!
A glimpse of the destinations to be explored: Los Angeles, Vancouver, Seoul, Bangkok, Tokyo, Sydney, Amsterdam, Munich and more! Departing Frankfurt on May 5…Stay tuned for more!
If you only spend 3 days in Capetown, you can already book your next trip, because let’s face it, you’ll get a taste of it that will make you come back for more!
For a little bit of everything (if you only have 3 days in Cape Town, it really is a little bit!) focus on 3 things: Cape Town, the mother city, Table Mountain or Cape point and a little escape to the Cape Winelands.
Best time to go is from December to March.
Cape Town is often referred to as the mother city…because everything takes 9 months to complete. And honestly it’s a mum on weed. Cape Town has a very chilled and mellow vibe even if let’s face it, it has some awfully violent side too. Stay safe and don’t be a dare devil.
One of the great ways to discover Cape Town is to hop one of the tours with the great guys at Free Walking tour. They rock and for any budget (you give a donation at the end of the tour) you can discover the city and its (glorious and not so glorious) past. Don’t miss the little piece of Berlin wall, a walk through the Malay quarter and the infamous bench in front of the old Race classification board building.
Once you’re done with the tour, make a small detour to the District 6 Museum. Not the most amazing museum but a great way to understand more about the apartheid (remember you only have 3 days!). There is a great coffee house next to the Museum, perfect for a little break after your walking tour.
If you’ve planned the afternoon tour (at 2PM), you can spend your morning cooking Malayu cuisine in the Malay quarter. Pam at Capefusion tour can help you book your cooking class.
If like me, a fan of Rodriguez, and you’ve seen “Searching for Sugarman” about a dozen times, head to Mabu Vinyl on Rheede Street. Probably the last CD I ever bought was in this store. It’s also a great source of information if you’re looking for a live gig in the area.
South Africa in general is a wonderful place for outdoor enthusiasts. If you’re in Cape Town for a short stay, here’s a pick on classics that you can do within a day without too much driving around.
Table Mountain climb (take the cable car on the way back). I’d recommend the Platteklip Gorge (it starts right next to the lower cableway station). It’s one of the easiest routes, if you’re not too scared of a little scrambling.
If you prefer to do it safely with a guide, check out those guys here.
You can either start your climb mid-afternoon to enjoy the sunset from the top (and spend most of your climb in the shade) or alternatively pick a morning climb to have the rest of your afternoon for exploring.
As usual, don’t forget plenty of drinking water, a good pair of shoes and a little picnic. You might even be lucky to have a rock hyrax as a climbing companion.
Another great visit is obviously the Cape of Good Hope, once believed to be the most southern tip of South Africa (but it’s not, Cape Aghulas is). The climb is much shorter and easier than Table Mountain, and can be done in 20 min with flip-flops. That’s one of the best spot to see where the two oceans meet. On both sides of the road to and from Cape of Good Hope, don’t miss out on the Ostriches chilling out.
Needless to say, if you want to do a self-catering tour, you will need a car to do both in one day.
Start the day at Boulders beach with the penguins. Forget kitten cuteness, this is cuteness heaven.
The Boulders penguin colony was established in 1983 to create a safe haven for African penguins.
With 3 boardwalks, one viewing area and a pristine beach, it’s penguins viewing heaven. Stay safe and don’t get close, while penguins are the cutest they won’t hesitate to bite fingers or noses if they feel threatened.
Once you’re ready to leave Simon’s Town and the penguins, make your way to the vineyards and head to the winelands.
Western Cape wine, stem from a long tradition of wine making with the first estate established in 1685 (Constantia). While the Dutch settlements started making wine, it’s when the French Huguenots started opening estates that the South African wine culture really started. I guess a little competition is always healthy.
The Cape winelands encompass Constantia, Stellenbosc, Franschhoek, Paarl, Robertson and Wellington which are the most popular wine regions.
I’d recommend Franschhoek if you want to combine some lovely town with wine tasting and a more chilled out tour. Don’t miss the wine tram, a great way to see some vineyards, do some wine tasting without having to drive around. Get your tickets in Franschhoek town and pick the Blue or Red tour. More here.
If you’re really into wine tasting, Stellenbosch has some cool activities such as Wine-blending at Middelvlei Wines. You get some expert advice on how to make your own blend and can even leave with the winning blend! More info here
For a romantic lunch, don’t miss out on the picnic baskets. Almost every estate offers amazing food and some even have picnic grounds. Forget about bringing your own sandwich, these are posh picnics. Book ahead as for most you can’t just show up for one. One of my favorites is the Boschendal estate, their picnic area is just gorgeous, so are the grounds around the vineyards.
Star Alliance Gold: you’ve dreamed about it and it could be yours!
Aegean airlines opens its Gold Status for 36’000 miles flown in a calendar year
Aegean airlines is one of Greece national carrier and has one of the lowest miles requirement in the Star Alliance network to achieve Gold status (probably due to the low number of long haul flights operated by Aegean airlines). Its frequent flyer program, Miles and Bonus, offers great opportunity for those looking for an Elite status without flying a heavy 100’000 miles in a calendar year (such as Miles and More Senator).
With Miles and Bonus Gold, you have access to the Star Alliance lounges around the world, priority boarding and fast track at most airports (full list of benefits here), Gold is pretty cool!
What’s the fine print? Well, not all flights qualify on Star Alliance flights (typically the cheapest economy class flights will not). But if you fly First or Business, you could potentially score a Gold status with one return flight. For more information (and see if your next flight could qualify) check here.
Oh, and they’ve just changed their rules and you now need to fly at least 6 segments on Aegean airlines. But really, escape to the Cyclades for a Mileage run…who wouldn’t..?
If you really can’t make it to Greece, you also have the option to fly 72’000 miles on any star alliance qualifying flights and Gold could be yours!