Skiing, Mozartkugeln and Tiroler speck in Innsbruck, Austria

My German friend Magda lives and studies in Innsbruck, Austria. Here she tells us a bit more about what to do when visiting one of her now-favourite places:

1. Must-see?

Be sure to venture out to the mountains during winter. Take the lift up to Nordkette in the north or Patscherkofel and Serles in the south for great skiing and hiking. The views from there are just spectacular. It is also internationally renowned for its great winter sports. So be sure to bring your snow gear!

2. Which are the best area(s) to stay in? Why?

Try to stay in the city centre or at least close to the Inn river. It is one of the most beautiful rivers I have ever seen. All the best museums like Riesenrundgemälde and the Bell Museum are within walking distance from here. You’ll also find a cosy little café around every corner.

3. How expensive is the city?

Expensive. You’ll find that food is extremely expensive and renting a one bedroom in a three bedroom flat is about R4000 a month. So be sure to save up before you go!

Mirab_mozartkugel

4. Which local delicacy would you recommend?

Definitely the Mozartkugeln (above) – marzipan chocolate balls with nougat inside –  if you have a sweet tooth. Tiroler speck is also a must for the bacon lovers. Yum!

5. How many days do you need ideally?

Ideally you need about five days, but that depends on how long you plan to snowboard or ski.

6. Fun facts?
The first Winter Youth Olympics was held in Innsbruck in 2012.
Originally posted on Travelstart.
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Mervyn Gers Ceramics Studio Pop Up

 

We are in love with the new pop-up studio set in the heart of Cape Town – 99 Loop Street, corner Loop and Church Street.

Mervyn Gers, a renowned Cape Town potter says: ‘I am constantly getting requests from people to view my work and, although my studio is only 10 minutes from town, I decided it would be more convenient for everybody to have a shop in the city centre. It couldn’t be more perfect as this area is known for its art and antique shops. The building itself is over 100 years old and very beautiful, both inside and out.’

The interior is the perfect gallery space, high ceilings and white walls – Greek-inspired and clean cut, allowing the art to sing on its own. The studio is situated right in the middle of the Mother City’s ‘Art Walk’. On the first Thursday of every month, Cape Town’s central city comes alive as dozens of art galleries and stores are open until 9pm.

                                    

 

Cape Town’s best eats: Nobu

World-class master chef Nobuyuki ‘Nobu’ Matsuhisa opened his first South African eatery in the One and Only hotel in the Waterfront five years ago. Since then it’s served its unique Japanese fare to great acclaim.

Tuck into the brand-new Nobu Lite menu (served between 6pm and 8pm), which allows you to try palatable platters featuring some of Nobu’s most delicious bites – or design your own. The Pescatarian Lite platter combines a wonderful fusion of flavours: from Salmon Anticucho Skewers served with a Peruvian BBQ sauce to Tuna Tataki drenched in zesty Ponzu, the feather-light Salmon & Tuna Tacos, Hot Miso Chips and finally the Tuna Tempura Roll. All bright, undeniably fresh and delicately prepared.

Dessert at Nobu is on a whole other level. A key piece of advice: don’t come here to share one with your partner. You’re going to want it all! The Chocolate Bento Box holding a perfect chocolate fondant served with Green Tea Ice Cream and the Nobu Chocolate Tart served with hot chocolate are both very wise – and all-for-me choices.

Dock Road, Victoria & Alfred Waterfront +27 21 431 4511, for more details visit their website.


Hwaseong Fortress, galbi and soju in Suwon, South Korea

My friend Stephan Johan Matthee lives and teaches English in Suwon, just south of Seoul, South Korea. Here he tells us a bit more about this city:

In which area should you stay?

If you’re visiting Suwon for the first time, I’d recommend staying near Suwon Station or in Yeongtong, as both are linked to the Seoul subway line and are well situated for bus trips or longer rail journeys, too. Alternately, if you are looking for luxury, the Ramada Hotel in Uman-dong is a great option.

You simply must see…

No trip to Suwon would be complete without a trip to the Hwaseong Fortress, a UNESCO World Heritage site. In addition, there is a folk village with traditional crafts and exhibitions and Everland, Korea’s premier amusement park. In the warmer months, the adjacent Caribbean Bay water park is also a lot of fun.

You simply must eat…

Suwon features some great restaurants, but locals are most proud of their Suwon galbi, large beef ribs cooked on a grill embedded in the center of the table. Also be sure to try some samgyeopsal (thick pork rashers) dipped in ssamjang (red pepper and soybean paste) and wash it down with some soju and makkoli (a rice-based spirit and wine, respectively).

 Are the people friendly/ helpful?

Although English education is ubiquitous, you may find that not all Koreans are comfortable speaking it. Try learn a few basic phrases in Korean, but otherwise keep asking! You’ll stumble across a local who’s fluent enough to chat in English soon enough, and there are plenty of information booths and tourist assistants (in brightly coloured bibs) in popular tourist areas.

How many days do you need in the city?

Two or three days in Suwon should be enough to see all that there is, although it’s transportation links and adjacency to Seoul means you could use it as a base to explore further afield.

Any fun facts?

FUN FACT: Suwon was site of some of the 2002 FIFA World Cup games. The stadium is still in use, and you can catch the Suwon Bluewings there, who are one of Korea’s best soccer teams.

FUN FACT: Suwon is the home of Samsung, the electronics super-conglomerate.

Originally posted on Travelstart

100 Africa Travel Experts on Twitter

The world of travel has become popular on social media. Many people now have unvarying access to travel information and tips for different destinations in the world. There are many Africa travel experts who tweet regularly, offering tips and advice on travel. They love sharing their travel experiences about best places they have visited with their followers. So whether you’re just looking for travel tips, best destinations to visit for a vacation in Africa and other continents or if you are looking for people to connect with for travel information to guide you on your next holiday, you should visit Twitter to keep you in the know.

We have put together a comprehensive list of some Africa travel experts to follow on Twitter. You can follow them or read their posts on Africa Travel Experts Twitter list we have created. You can also tweet suggestions to this list @TravelstartNigeria.

Jim HoldenMagicalKenya_Logo_-_SmallEncounter MaraExpert AfricaTravelgroundNaija TravelAfrica on the blogHersi MohammedafricapointMzansiGirlgoplacesKE@DianiBeachKeniakenya_travelsKWS_World_Class_LogoFlyNaijaNaijatreksdestination NigeriaLape SoetanRichard TrilloSusan WongPelu AwofesotravelingkenyaTourismUgandaRussellKate TurkingtonJacqMaraisPhoto@feedflowNarinaJan HuttonbysarahkhanWhaleCottage@LolaAkinmadejozifoodiefixAfrican travel writer and photographer Anton Crone from Brightcontinent.co.za@travelcommentsEmma JuderangerdiariesGo2AfricaDawnJorgensenStephanie BeDalenehazeldickens@KerrydeBruynGenaTanyaHasmitarhinoafrica@AdelgreenFatima@RoxanneReidSAphilipLucy Corne@ontdeksafaris@stealinglucy@justcamphillygirl@andrevanketsluxafricatraveldiscoverafrica@PastExperiences@Travelwrite1@TravelNextDoorSarah DuffCapturing Africa@bestcapetownSAFireflyAfrica@ecoafricaJanezTGAdventurerNews24TravelGaryKoetserkathCapeTown_GirlTourismTanzaniacometonigeriaTheGautrain@concierge_ryanSATravelTradeafrotourism@MWEMAJOSPHATEgypt Travel@RelaxWithDax@BridgeeWjennaATTA AFRICA MARQUE@TravelZanzibarTravel Africasouthafricatoryansandeswilliam pricewaka aboutCape Town TourismMauritiusTclareappleyardafricageo@MariettedTHjenty@TysonJopson@The_B_BossAfrica Travel Tips

1. Jim Holden, @JimHoldenAfrica
2. Magical Kenya, @MagicalKenya
3. Encounter Mara, @EncounterMara
4. Expert Africa, @ExpertAfrica
5. Travel Ground, @TravelGround
6. 9jatravel, @9ja_travel
7. Africa on the blog, @AfricaOTBlog
8. Mohammed Hersi, @hersimohammed
9. Africapoint, @africapoint
10. Meruschka Govender, @MzansiGirl
11. Go Places Kenya, @goplacesKE
12. Diani Beach, @DianiBeachKenia
13. Kenya Travel Tips, @kenya_travels
14. Kenya Wildlife, @kwskenya
15. TRAVEL UPDATES, @Fly_Naija
16. Naijatreks, @naijatreks
17. #PromoteNigeria, @MyDNigeria
18. Lape Soetan, @lapesoetan
19. Richard Trillo, @RichardTrillo
20. Susan Wong, @SusanLUCKYWong
21. Pelu Awofeso, @PeluAwofeso
22 Traveling Kenya, @TravelingKenya
23 Travel Mate Uganda, @traveluganda80
24. Russell Jarvis, @russelljarvis
25. Kate Turkington, @Turkington
26. Jacques Marais, @JacqMaraisPhoto
27. Folarin Kolawole @feeldflow
28. Narina Exelby @NarinaExelby
29. Jan Hutton @janinehutton
30. Sarah Khan, @BySarahKhan
31. Chris Von Ulmenstein, @whalecottage
32. Lola A. Åkerström, @LolaAkinmade
33. Thando Moleketi, @JoziFoodieFix
34. Anton Crone, @antoncrone
35. Seb Hermanns @travelcomments
36. Emma Jude Jackson, @MissEmmaJude
37. Ranger Diaries, @rangerdiaries
38. Go2Africa, @Go2Africa
39. Dawn Jorgensen, @DawnJorgensen
40. Stephanie Be, @StephanieBe
41. Dalene Ingham-Brown, @AdventurousDee
42. Hazel Dickens, @hazeldickens
43. Kerry de Bruyn, @KerrydeBruyn
44. Gena Stander, @genevievedoull
45. Tanya Kovarsky, @TanyaKovarsky
46. Hasmita Nair, @Hasmita
47. Rhino Africa @rhinoafrica
48. Adel Groenewald, @Adelgreen
49. Fatima Mangera-Minty, @oh_my_golly
50. Roxanne Reid, @RoxanneReidSA
51. Philip Briggs @philipbriggs
52. Lucy Corne,‏ @LucyCorne
53. Ontdek Kenya Safaris, @ontdeksafaris
54. Marisa Crous, @stealinglucy
55. Cameron Ewart-Smith, @justcam
56. Philly Girl, @philly_girl
57. Andre Van Kets, @andrevankets
58. Luxury Africa Travel, @luxafricatravel
59. Discover Africa Group, @discoverafrica
60. Jo Buitendach, @PastExperiences
61. Caroline Hurry, @Travelwrite1
62. TravelNextDoor @TravelNextDoor
63. Sarah Duff @SarahDuff
64. Stuart Parker, @capturingafrica
65. Lisa Huang, @bestcapetownSA
66. Jonker Fourie, @FireflyAfrica
67. ecoAfrica Travel, @ecoafrica
68. Janez Vermeiren, @Janez_Vermeiren
69. The Great Adventurer, @TGadventure
70. News24 Travel, @News24Travel
71. Gary Koetser, @GaryKoetser
72. Katherine de Villiers, @KathDv
73. Alex van Tonder, @CapeTown_Girl
74. Tourism Tanzania @TourismTanzania
75. CometoNigeria, @cometonigeria
76. Gautrain, @TheGautrain
77. Ryan van Zyl, @concierge_ryan
78. SATravelTrade, @SATravelTrade
79. afrotourism, @frotourism
80. Kenya Tourism, @MWEMAJOSPHAT
81. My Egypt Travel, @my_egypttravel
82. Dax Villanueva, @RelaxWithDax
83. Bridget Williamson, @BridgeeW
84. Jenna Finch, @Jenna_Finch
85. Atta Africa, @atta_tourism
86. Anna Banana, @TravelZanzibar
87. Travel Africa, @OnAfricanSafari
88. SouthAfrica.TO, @southafricaTO
89. Ryan Sandes, @ryansandes
90. William Price, @william_price
91. Waka-about, @waka_about
92. Cape Town Tourism, @CapeTownTourism
93. Mauritius Travel, @MauritiusT
94. Clare Appleyard, @clareappleyard
95. Africa Geographic, @africageo
96. Mariette dT-Helmbold, @MariettedTH
97. Jeanette Verster, @jenty
98. Tyson Jopson, @TysonJopson
99. Brigid Prinsloo, @The_B_Boss
100. Africa Travel Tips, @africatip

Have we missed your favourite travel expert? Tell us who you’d like us to add, why you think we should add them and we will add the best recommendations to the list.

Via Travelstart

Mauritanian women and pharmaceutical gavage

The West African country of Mauritania is known for its so-called fat farms. Women, especially young girls, are taken into the Sahara Desert and are given (or sometimes force-fed) camel’s milk to fatten them up, in a practice known as ‘gavage’. Being a well-rounded or even morbidly obese woman is a sign of opulence and beauty. Mothers often start fattening up their daughters at a very young age to ensure they are big enough by the time they are ready for marriage – often around 14.

This practice has now taken an even darker turn. Modern-day Mauritanian women-on-the-go find it to be too time-consuming. The wonderful answer? Appetite-inducing pills. VICE has made an interesting documentary exploring the risks women are willing to take in order to be considered beautiful and desirable by men.

This pharmaceutical gavage often leads to infertility and unequal distribution of fat as it enlarges certain parts of the body, leaving arms and legs skinny. Scary? Yes.

This is very much an act of patriarchy as women continue to measure their sense of desirability and value against what a man finds appealing – disguised as tradition. 

Model releases video of her gender-identity struggle

Australian model Ruby Rose recently wrote and produced a video entitled ‘Break Free’, which has since gone viral.

The video’s description reads: ‘A short film about gender roles, Trans, and what it is like to have an identity that deviates from the status quo.’

For the most part, people are responding positively to her video (the video has over 125,000 shares and 95,000 likes on Facebook, with over 250,000 views on YouTube), while others say that it doesn’t represent everyone’s journey. Well, obviously not. This video is about her journey – the operative word being ‘her’.

Watch it here and let us know what you think:

The Equinox African Signature Ritual

The Equinox Spa, set inside Cape Town’s premium Cape Royale Luxury Hotel, is one of those memorably luxe spots. From the friendly welcome to the tasteful décor, it’s a world away from your everyday existence.

Highly skilled therapists draw from both international and cultural African traditions, combining the two to give clients a superb pampering experience. Our recommended must-try this month is the Equinox African Signature Ritual, a 75- minute journey that takes you from a deep back massage – using internationally renowned products such as Theravine™ – with tiny dumbbells to massage the neck and shoulder area to a luxurious Appetiser Facial, ending with a hand and foot treatment.

For more details, go here.

 

Prince George is walking already AND other news

Image via Rex Features

Prince George is walking already

Official royal photos were released this weekend showing the tiny royal taking a few steps ahead of his first birthday. Such a cutie! Wearing striped overalls and blue polo shirt, the little prince was snapped taking determined steps across the pebble-strewn ground.

We are sure mothers around the world will be dashing to the shops to buy their younglings the same outfit. We simply can’t wait to see the first birthday snaps.

Rosie Huntington-Whitely turns denim designer

The model has teamed up with Paige Denim as both its new face and its designer. Teasing a #projectintheworks on Instagram, showing her holding a pair of Paige jeans, she looks set to try her hand at denim after her very successful Marks & Spencer lingerie line.

‘With her effortless, chic off-duty style I can’t think of a more perfect ambassador for our brand,’ said Paige founder Paige Adams-Geller. ‘She will be the face and inspiration of the spring campaign when the collection launches in January 2015. We share so many of the same interests and passions. I can’t wait to see what our future holds. Working together will be an exciting adventure and a dream come true.’

Daria Werbowy returns for Céline

Already the face of various Autumn/Winter collections for 2014 – Mango, Equipment and AG Jeans – Daria Werbowy has returned as the face of French fashion house Céline for the fifth season in a row.

Shot by Juergen Teller, Werbowy wears Phoebe Philo designs like no one else.

Behati Prinsloo and Adam Levine tie the knot

The Victoria’s Secret angel and Maroon 5 frontman got hitched this weekend in a private ceremony in Los Cabos, Mexico in front of some 300 guests. This was a star-studded affair – Stevie Nicks was there and actor Jonah Hill (The Wolf of Wall Street) officiated. The bride was clad in a custom-made Marchesa gown.

Talking weddings… 9-year-old Saneie Masilela made headlines in 2013 as the world’s youngest groom when he married 61-year-old Helen Shabangu in a traditional ceremony in Mpumalanga. Saneie originally claimed that his dead ancestors had instructed him to tie the knot. The ‘couple’ have now renewed their vows in a second ceremony. Other villagers have called the wedding ‘sickening’, but Saneie’s mother, Patience, doesn’t have a problem with it, saying: ‘I know it’s what the ancestors wanted. If we hadn’t done what my son had asked, then something bad would have happened in the family.’ For more watch the below video:

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie reuniting on screen

For the first time since their 2009 smash hit, Mr and Mrs Smith, Brangelina plans to reunite on screen in a new film penned by Jolie. The film will be a character-driven drama called By the Sea, and will be made by Universal Pictures. ‘I am very happy to continue my relationship with [Universal Pictures chair Donna Langley] and the entire Universal team as I finish Unbroken and begin work on By The Sea,’ Jolie said in a statement. ‘They have created a very special place for storytellers, and I look forward to the continued passion and support they have provided to me as a filmmaker.’

Simply. Cannot. Wait.