The beautiful people of Venice, Italy

My friend David recently visited Venice. I knew he would come back with incredible photos of people. Yet, this is just extraordinary. It shows people, place and above all culture.

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21 20 18 17 16 15 14 13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1Photos by David du Toit

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Coopmanhuijs Boutique Hotel & Spa, Stellies

Set in the heart (and I mean smack-dab in the middle) of the historic town of Stellenbosch, Coopmanhuijs Boutique Hotel & Spa is the perfect overnight stopover. The five-star Coopmanhuijs is situated in the only street in Stellenbosch that really matters, i.e. Church Street (and this coming from me, a Stellenbosch local). Cafés, boutiques and the best restaurants are to be found in this oak tree-lined centre. Walk but two minutes from the hotel’s front door and you’ll stumble upon at least one or twoeateries you’ll love.

Friendly and helpful staff help create the sense that you’re in someone’s warm and lovely, yet uber-luxurious home. The hotel offers uncapped WiFi for techies, comfy white-linen beds and ultra-modern bathrooms with underfloor heating – essential on a freezing winter’s night.

Make time to sip a glass of fine Stellenbosch wine on the veranda as you people-watch or relax inside at the Parisian-style wine bar. For dinner head to Helena’s Restaurant, which features an array of delicacies from the area.

The breakfast is also delectable! Choose from artisanal bread, cheeses, preserves, yoghurt and cold cuts; or warm up with a hot breakfast. A fresh-from-the-oven croissant along with a creamy serving of Eggs Benedict and freshly roasted coffee hit the spot for me.

For more info go here:

Website: Coopmanhuijs.co.za

Telephone: +27 (0)21 883-8207 • Fax: +27 (0)86 520-2327

Email: info@coopmanhuijs.co.za

Address: 33 Church Street, Stellenbosch 7600, South Africa

GPS Coordinates: Latitude: -33.93809 | Longitude: 18.86175

Via Marie Claire

Egg Dishes Around the World

Eggs Benedict, omelettes or hard-boiled. These are only a few options I’m familiar with. Yet, eggs are one of the world’s most versatile ingredients. People all over the world consume eggs daily in various different forms. Here are a few famous egg dishes found around the globe:

USA: Egg salad sandwich. Chop some hard-boiled eggs, blend with some tangy mayo and eat it as a sandwich. New York delis serve this best.

Turkey: Try the scrambled egg dish known as Menemem. Served with veggies, this is out one of the staples of Turkish cuisine.

The Philippines: The simple, yet scrumptious dish called Egg Sarciado consists of some hard-cooked eggs in a rich tomato and onion sauce. Divine!

France: One of the most humble contributions, yet very complicated to execute to perfection: The Soufflé. Have it with chocolate or cheese.

Iran: The Persian dish, Kuku is a baked egg dish containing spinach, fresh herbs and spices which sometimes even includes rose petals. Very special!

Spain: An eggy tortilla wrapper (almost like an omelette) is often served filled with potatoes.

Japan: The famous Japanese boxed lunch or bento box often features Tamagoyaki –  a sweet rolled-up omelette.

Colombia: Whole eggs are used to fill the very popular corn-flour fritters called Arepas. They are apparently unforgettable.

Italy: Italians love the egg-drop soup called Stracciatella, which is an extremely filling soup often served at Easter.

Greece: In the beautiful country of Greece you will find the delicacy called Avgolemono, that is a popular lemony egg sauce that can be served with almost anything.

Ethiopia: In the mood for spicy eggs? Try the local Doro Wat, a very hot dish of stewed chicken in red pepper paste – most commonly served along with hard boiled eggs.

All images via Flickr

Originally posted on Travelstart

The Strangest Visa Questions Ever

Ever thought “Mmm, odd” when filling in a visa application? Every visa application requires something different. Some of it good, a lot of it bad, but more than likely something strange or hilarious may be asked or expected of you. Most often we (or sometimes even the authorities) can’t even explain why we have to answer certain questions, yet we still fill in that form. Why? Basically because we love to travel. These requirements are a must, no matter what, ultimately they decide whether to get to enter their country or not. Here are a few of the strangest visa application questions ever:

Often asked by the UK or US authorities: “Has the applicant ever been involved in, supported or encouraged terrorist activities in any country?” Of course you are going to tick “no”.

Seen on a Mexican visa application (this one is hilarious): “Describe your moustache/beard”. The options being bushy, clipped or trimmed. Of course.

When applying for an Australian visa: “Have you been to a farm in the past six weeks?” Is farming experience essential when admiring the Sydney Opera House?

American authorities allegedly once asked a man hoping to travel to the US: “What side of the bed does your wife sleep on?” Um, as baffled as you are.

This one I actually had to fill in a few weeks ago in order to apply for a Chinese visa: “Reasons for visiting”. Strangely, “visit” is listed as an option.

Asked to someone hoping to obtain a visa for the Middle east: “How many wives do you intend to bring?”

Do you have any to add to this list? Let us know.

Originally posted on Travelstart

Ever Heard of Pig Beach?

This, for me, is probably the best (and cutest!) thing I’ve seen in years. The already breathtaking Bahamian enclave of Exuma has something unusual to offer tourists, that is Pig Island. Never heard of it? Not many people know about this unique destination which is situated  on Big Major Cay.

The beach that has now been dubbed Pig Beach, as it plays host to some wild pigs that have a love for lazing on the beach – that’s of course just before they run out to the ocean and go swimming. Bizarre! Yet, pigs swimming have never looked this cute. They have been known to swim up to local or tourist boats, hoping to be fed. Tourists are of course more than happy to do so if it means they get to stroke the docile, friendly piggies.

Apparently, legend has it that sailors offloaded a drove of pigs with the intention of coming back one day to eat them. However, this never happened and the pigs stayed on happily. The beach has since become their home, and from the looks of it they are definitely in paradise.

I’m seriously considering a visit, are you?

Pics via Flickr/ cdorobek

Originally posted on Travelstart

Eat the Most Expensive Food in the World

Feeling peckish? Maybe try one of these, the world’s most expensive treats. Think caviar and truffles – these rare foods are culinary delights you might now get to try every day, or ever.

Edible gold leaf

Like iron and calcium, gold can also be ingested by humans. Even though it is super pricey, edible gold leafs are often incorporated into fancy desserts to ad that something special.

White truffles

Often served with risotto (above), white truffles are delicious shaved and in oil. Their high price is due to their unpredictable growth habits. White truffles, also known as Alba truffles, are the rarest and therefore the most expensive.

Kobe beef

Also known as Wagyu, this melt-in-your-mouth beef comes from Wagyu cattle raised in the Hyogo region of Japan. Foodies and meat lovers swear by this flavourful beef.

Caviar

Synonymous with luxury, caviar comes primarily from sturgeon that live in the Caspian Sea. Beluga caviar is thought to be the best.

Civer Coffee (Kopi Luwak)

Foie Gras

This is of course the liver of a force-fed duck or goose. Yes, force-fed with feeding corn to make that liver plump up.

Originally posted on Travelstart

Big tree, Wilderniss

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On holiday this past December, we visited the magnificent and very magical ‘Big Tree’ in Wilderniss along the Southern Coast. The tree is yellowwood, estimated to be about 850-years old. The area of Hoekwil – where this famous attraction is situated – is also a lovely area in general.

After snapping a few pictures at the tree, head into the forest for a very relaxed hike (around 2km). Just be aware of the boomslange hanging from (some) of the trees…