• Vergelegen wine estate – it’s both history and happening

      I visited Vergelegen wine estate, just outside the town of Somerset West, in the Western Cape, one blustery day this past December.  I don’t know if it was the combination of the textured sunlight – trying it’s best to break through the clouds that threatened much needed rain – or the fact that our …

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  • Spier Wine Farm – of Segways and art surprises

      Spier Wine Farm was the third farm on Ryan‘s and my itinerary during our recent visit to the Cape winelands.  Situated along Baden Powell Drive off the N2 highway – a main arterial road into historic Stellenbosch, Spier is the definitive go to wine estate. It has every facility to tantalise the simplest to the most discerning …

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  • Val du Charron – bringing history to life

    Val du Charron Wine and Olive Estate, situated high on a hill overlooking the breathtaking Bovlei Valley, outside the town of Wellington in the Western Cape, is truly the grand dame of wine estates in the area.  She commands attention in terms of the expansive views she affords of the historic valley, the vision and generosity …

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  • Wildekrans Wine Estate – A toast to the fruit of the impossibly straight vines

    Cape wines have been given a bad rap recently. A 58-minute documentary entitled Bitter Grapes – Slavery in the Vineyards made by Danish filmmaker Tom Heinemann, and which aired in Denmark and Sweden in October, threatening exports with boycotts of South African wines, has left the local industry smarting.  As I write, workers at Robertson Wineries …

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  • A taste of van Gogh en Provence

    “I am not an adventurer by choice but by fate.” Vincent van Gogh For those prone to taking in traveling in tiny distant sips – there’s the arm chair, while cruising offers day trips and a bus ride. A sample it may be, with one’s senses straining to take it all in – but you can also take in …

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  • I was born a wandering Nguni!

    The wandering Nguni is a wonderful thing! Descended from livestock brought into southern Africa by cattle farmers of several centuries back, the animals were essentially itinerant in nature, knowing no bounds, and certainly not subject, until the 1940’s, when the first efforts were made to legitimate the breed,  to the feeding and breeding pressures of conventional livestock. …

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  • Fallen faces - Igor Mitoraj

    Among the ruins of Pompeii

    Ozymandias I met a traveller from an antique land, Who said—“Two vast and trunkless legs of stone, Stand in the desert. . . . Near them, on the sand, Half sunk a shattered visage lies, whose frown, And wrinkled lip, and sneer of cold command, Tell that its sculptor well those passions read Which yet …

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  • Searching for the 600 in Balaclava

     “I must go down to the seas again, to the lonely sea and the sky, And all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by;”                                                   …

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  • Lubeck – of marzipan and war

    Lubeck, on Germany’s Baltic coast is a picture perfect medieval town – a UNESCO heritage site. Once the capital of the former Schleswig Holstein, an independent fiefdom, Lubeck formed part of the Hanseatic League, an alliance formed in medieval times to protect trade in Baltic waters but also to ward off pirates. The interdependence and trade …

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  • SS United States – a resurrection in the making?

    My first foray with six-star luxury cruise line Crystal Cruises was in 2012, when I accompanied two journalists on a 12-day “died-and-gone-to-heaven” voyage from Venice to the Black Sea. We were allocated penthouse suites and with them came Engin, our Turkish delight of a butler, who attended to our every whim with utmost decorum and …

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