Capture the Colour Competition

With only a few days left to enter, I’ve been nominated by Tiffany Wüest of ‘World Meets Girl’ for the Capture the Colour Competition.

To be honest I had never even heard of this competition before, but after checking it out I decided to enter, for the following reasons:
Firstly, there are some serious prizes to be won from iPads to a cool £3000 travel fund. But more than that, the competition itself sounds pretty awesome, and I can’t wait to see the entries in each category.

Here’s how it works:

Capture the Colour Competition

So I went in search of images representing Red, Green, Blue, Yellow and White from the hundreds of travel photos I’ve accumulated over the years.

But I decided to take my own little spin on the competition by paying homage to my home country: South Africa. Extremely apt, seeing as South Africa is known as the Rainbow Nation…every colour welcome!

So here goes:

Red is… A fiery sky showing off at sunset, Durban

Red Capture The Colour

Sunset, Durban

Caught completely unaware by the setting sun, I managed to snap this photo just as the last of the light was disappearing under the horizon.

Blue is… A lone stingray in Ushaka Marine World, Durban

Blue Capture the Colour

Lone Stingray, Ushaka, Durban

This picture always makes me feel as if he was looking right at me, if only for a second.

Green is… the grass on which lay the baby zebra, Kruger National Park

Green Capture The Colour

Mother and baby zebra, Kruger National Park

I had never seen a baby zebra before; some of his stripes were still brown! Too tired to stand anymore, he playfully fell at the feet of his mother, and rolled over for attention.

Yellow is the fancy headdress of the African Crane Bird, Hluhluwe–iMfolozi Park

Yellow Capture the Colour

African Crane Bird, Hluhluwe–iMfolozi Park

Like a golden crown – the African Crane bird is regally clad. National bird of Uganda, but sometimes spotted by lucky safari-goers in South Africa.

White is… powder-soft sand at Clifton Beach, Cape Town

White Capture The Colour

Clifton Beach, Cape Town

There isn’t a shortage of natural beauty in Cape Town. From Table Mountain, to Cape Point – the city is alive with picturesque landscapes at seemingly every turn. This photo was taken on my honeymoon in the Mother City.

Feel free to let me know what you think of my entries!

And in turn, I nominate the following 5 bloggers:

1. Sarah Shumate: @Wanderblogger

2.Jenna Longoria: @Nomad_Notions

3. Shannon Reilly: @wanderReilly

4. Mike Hopkins: @TTMyEyes

5. Houssam Eddine: @tourismhoteltip

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Berlin: A Photo-Essay

As I have taken hundreds of photos on my last trip to Berlin, I thought it would be fitting to end my series of posts about the city with a photo-essay.

I adore Berlin. The people are friendly and smiley. The transport systems (both public and private taxis) are cheap and easy to navigate, there is a diverse assortment of food, and there are of course, some stunning hotels to lay your head at night.

But what I love most, is unearthing a little bit more of Germany’s, and in particular – Berlin’s history each time I go there. I am completely fascinated by the stories of the wars, the human accounts, the Wall, the legends. Germany’s history reveals itself throughout Berlin, with educational trips to museums and exhibitions dotted around the city.

But history aside, the German capital is a trendy, fashion-conscious city, which makes it an ideal destination for a glam weekend city-break.

So without further delay, here are my favorite images from my trip to Berlin:

berlin photo essay

Brandenburg Gate

Berliner Dom

Berliner Dom

Berlin Grafitti

Poignant Graffiti

Berlin photo essay

Old and New

Berlin photo essay

Currywurst

Altes Museum in the Lustgarten

Altes Museum in the Lustgarten

Berlin photo essay

Temporary exhibition

Berlin photo essay

DDR Museum

Berlin photo essay

Checkpoint Charlie

Berlin photo essay

Propaganda

Berlin photo essay

Berlin Concert House

Berlin photo essay

East Side Gallery – Berlin Wall

Berlin photo essay

More currywurst – it’s serious business!

Berlin photo essay

Mother with her Dead Son – War Memorial

Berlin photo essay

Holocaust Memorial

Old World Charm

Afternoon Tea at Hotel Adlon Kempinski, Berlin – Germany

What do Albert Einstein, Charlie Chaplin and Michael Jackson all have in common? Well, they were all guests of the Hotel Adlon in Berlin. Not at the same time, of course – although that would have sure been something!

The Hotel Adlon is one of the most famous hotels in Germany, if not Europe itself. The hotel survived both the first and second World Wars, only to be gutted by a fire mere days after WW2 had ended. But like a phoenix rising from ashes of the old, the Adlon was rebuilt shortly after the reunification of Germany, and now operates as part of the luxury Kempinksi Hotel chain.

Hotel Adlon Berlin

The Adlon’s history is vast, rich and somewhat chequered; yet in modern-day culture, it is primarily known as the hotel from which Michael Jackson notoriously dangled his then-infant son Blanket from the hotel’s balcony, in a somewhat misguided attempt to debut the baby to the hordes of screaming fans outside.

If you read my blog regularly, you’ll know that I do love a good Afternoon High Tea (proof here, and here). There is just something about the elegant British tradition that I absolutely adore.

So, on a warm summer’s day in Berlin, I made my way over to Pariser Platz to enjoy afternoon high tea at this iconic institution.

Brandenberg gate Berlin

When I arrived at Berlin’s most famous square, the Brandenburg Gate took center stage, poised about a 100m from the hotel itself. Greeted courteously by the smartly dressed porters outside, I made my way along the same path that I presume Brad and Angelina strolled when they stayed at the Adlon, and into the hotel’s stunning lobby.

Afternoon tea is served in both the Lobby Lounge bar, and the Bel Etage (first floor lounge). Sophisticated clientele were seated around the Lobby Lounge, amidst thick conversations in German, Italian and French (from what I could decipher).  There were young clusters of women enjoying the tradition of afternoon tea, businessmen in suits and colorful ties, and groups of families having a late lunch.

afternoon tea adlon hotel berlin

I settled into a plush velvet chair and immediately succumbed to a friendly waiter proffering a chilled glass of Moët and Chandon – how could I resist?

afternoon tea adlon hotel berlinafternoon tea adlon hotel berlin

Having skipped lunch to fully appreciate the tea experience, I got to work on my three-tiered cake stand filled with delicious treats, as I took in the ambience of the hotel.

afternoon tea adlon hotel berlin

The style and décor can only be described as old-world charm. From heavy fabrics to imposing chandeliers, the impression of old-fashioned luxury in the lobby expands like the film set for the Great Gatsby. Again my mind drifted back to the Adlon’s illustrious guest book – Nelson Mandela, Franklin Roosevelt, Greta Garbo, and the Queen herself, have all enjoyed the hotel’s impeccable hospitality.

afternoon tea adlon hotel berlin

Feeling rather special amidst the history and grandeur, I delved into the savory portion of my cake stand…several finger sandwiches displayed ever so elegantly . The quail egg and cucumber sandwich went down effortlessly well with the glass of champagne.

afternoon tea adlon hotel berlin

afternoon tea adlon hotel berlinThen, as I smothered my scones in clotted cream and strawberry jam, I was somewhat disappointed in the rock-hard texture of the scones. Perhaps left a little too long in the oven, the scones were slightly harder than I prefer.

afternoon tea adlon hotel berlinHaving chosen a delightful summer tea bouquet (named Granny’s Garden – a fruity rhubarb concoction with a hint of bourbon-vanilla), I sipped the delicious tea, poured from a real silver teapot. The hotel thinks of everything, even going as far as supplying a soft, monogrammed teapot holder to avoid guests burning their hands on the teapot, as silver can get smoldering-hot.

afternoon tea adlon hotel berlin

By the time I arrived at the third and final layer of my tea stand, I was actually quite content to sit back, cup in hand and listen to the soothing sounds coming from the grand piano on the Bel Etage.

afternoon tea adlon hotel berlin

If I closed my eyes, right at that moment, with the backdrop of hushed conversations and the tinkling of fine china floating around, it would have been easy to forget the present day and time, and simply slip into a bygone era where flapper dresses, wingtip shoes and fedoras were all the rage.

But a white chocolate truffle with my name on it kept calling out, and soon the delicious burst of café-crème filled my tastebuds as the truffle was washed down with the last of the champagne.

afternoon tea adlon hotel berlinThe sound of the central fountain in the courtyard of the Lobby Lounge was ever-present, adding a serene and calming ambience to the experience. And with one final peek at the luminescent stained-glass dome high above, I shook off the ghost of Daisy Buchanan and I said goodbye to the Adlon Hotel.

afternoon tea adlon hotel berlinafternoon tea adlon hotel berlinafternoon tea adlon hotel berlin

Buttered Side Down

Murphy’s Laws for Travel

Murphy’s Law states that whatever can go wrong; will. While an optimistic outlook should always accompany you on your travels (it’s even listed as a travel essential on my What to Pack list!)…there are some days, in a strange and foreign land, when Murphy seems to be laughing…and you’re the butt of the joke!

What follows is a collection of the most hilarious Murphy’s laws for travel.

When Flying:
  • When you’re running late, your departure gate will be the one furthest away from the security check point.
  • When arriving at the airport early, the flight will invariably be delayed.
  • Length of flight delays will be directly proportional to the importance of you arriving at your destination on time.
(Photo Source: travelsort.com)

(Photo Source: travelsort.com)

  • When passing the security scanners, the alarm will only sound when already running several minutes late for boarding.
  • The largest person on the plane will be seated next to you.
  • The one time you do not pre-select your seat, you will be assigned the middle seat. Your neighbors will hungrily hog the armrests.
  • The crying baby will belong to parents seated in your immediate vicinity.
  • During the flight, the ‘fasten seatbelt’ sign will illuminate the minute you realize you need to go to the bathroom.
  • When you decide to go the bathroom, and are seated in window seat, your neighbor will be fast asleep.
  • When in the aisle seat, those in your row will need to go to the bathroom frequently, and most likely when you decide to get some shut-eye.
  • There will be no record of the special meal request you made several months in advance.
  • Your luggage will be the last to appear on the carousel.
(Photo Source: aerotool.net)

(Photo Source: aerotool.net)

When Touring:
  • You will find an array of delicious-looking local food options immediately after you’ve succumbed to buying a McDonalds burger.
(Photo Source: luxuo.com)

(Photo Source: luxuo.com)

  • You will dent/scratch/bang a rental car if you’ve opted out of the additional insurance choices.
  • Souvenirs that you bought will always be cheaper at the stall immediately after your purchase.
(Photo Source: stlawrence market.com)

(Photo Source: stlawrence market.com)

  • When no purchase is made, the first stall you passed selling a coveted souvenir would have had the cheapest price.
  • The chances of getting lost on foot are directly proportional to the weight of the luggage you’re hauling.
  • The must-see attraction at your destination will be closed during your visit, and will reopen the day after you leave.
(Photo Source: flickr.com)

(Photo Source: flickr.com)

At the Hotel:
  • You will invariably be the last person in a long check-in queue.
  • The last available room upgrade will be given to the person immediately ahead of you.
  • If your trip encompasses many sightseeing tours, your room will be located the furthest from the elevator. If you plan to work/relax in your hotel room, your room will be located directly outside the elevators.
  • The soundproofing of your hotel room will be inversely proportional to your need for quiet.
  • If seeking a tan, all the hotel’s ideally positioned sun loungers will be occupied. The opposite will be true when requiring shade. The loungers are of course, immovable.
(Photo Source: telegraph.co.uk)

(Photo Source: telegraph.co.uk)

  • During your visit, the hotel’s outdoor pool will be closed for maintenance/renovation.
  • Housekeeping would have only just begun cleaning your room when you return from your long day of sightseeing.
  • The delay for room service delivery will be directly proportional to your degree of hunger.
(Photo Source: telegraph.co.uk)

(Photo Source: telegraph.co.uk)

Tapping in to Lux 11

Hotel Review : Lux 11 Design Hotel, Berlin – Germany

Imagine the scene, under communist rule, the phone lines of normal East Berlin citizens are tapped, and conversations recorded. The KGB officers in charge listen attentively, trained to discern any signs of ‘unorthodox political and religious ideas’; basically, any signs of free-thinking.

As I relax, cocooned in a luxurious room in one of Berlin’s hottest new boutique hotels, with its candy-cane bedthrow, and amply stocked minibar catering to my every whim, I find it hard to believe the Lux 11 Hotel was once the headquarters for such operations.

Lux 11 Hotel BerlinLocated a mere 5 minutes from Alexanderplatz in the vibrant Mitte neighborhood, the hotel is perfectly poised for a night on the town; be it club hopping or bar crawling. If that’s not your thing, then the location is also ideal for visiting the city’s museums and galleries, and there is no shortage of restaurant choices; whether you’re craving Berlin’s famous currywurst, authentic Italian pizzas or spicy Mexican burritos.

Lux 11 is a boutique hotel, housed in a sprawling whitewashed building. The alabaster backdrop is a designer’s dream, and as such, the minimalistic design elements of the hotel come to life. The furniture, in muted earthy tones allow for the deep contract of hot pink splashes that seem to jump out at you, aiming to surprise.

Lux 11 Hotel Berlin

I check in to an executive suite on the 3rd floor. The room is huge – by any standard. Large windows run along one wall, letting in masses of daylight. There is a living area, with beautiful monochrome couches and a contemporary low-lying coffee table.

Lux 11 Hotel BerlinI find a long table on one end, which can be used for dining or working depending on your need. Sectioned off from the living area is the huge king sized bed in clean white linen, and the stylish bathroom with rain shower. The enormous walk in closet is any woman’s dream come true.

Lux 11 Hotel Berlin

Lux 11 Hotel BerlinLux 11 Hotel Berlin

It’s cozy, relaxed; with an ‘at-home’ feel that can be sorely missed after spending too many days on the road. There is a fully functional kitchenette stocked with crockery and cutlery for 6 place settings and the bar fridge is well-appointed.

Lux 11 Hotel Berlin

I find a toaster and a coffeemaker, which I use frequently. I think I love the aroma of freshly brewed coffee wafting through the room almost as much as the coffee itself. In the cupboard I find several long-stemmed wine glasses, and they seem to be issuing a siren call to the bottle of red sitting on the counter. To my amazement I find there is even a dishwasher!

Lux 11 Hotel BerlinI love the luxurious full-size bath amenities and like its sister hotel, The Weinmeister, I find  a range of essential toiletries in a gift box by the vanity –including minty dental floss.

Lux 11 Hotel BerlinLux 11 Hotel Berlin

Lux 11 is exploring the concept of the ‘apart-hotel’, which provides all the comforts and luxury of a traditional hotel but with a coziness that allows guests to make the room their own – even if only for a short while.

Lux 11 Hotel Berlin

From the candy gifts to the iPod docking station, it seems no detail is too small at Lux 11.

Lux 11 Hotel BerlinWith its prime location and the contemporary minimalistic design, Lux 11 is the embodiment of Berlin itself: classic yet ever trendy; stately, but with a hint of a wild side.

Lux 11 Hotel BerlinLux 11 Hotel Berlin

For the latest pricing and special offers visit the Lux 11 website.

Rates from 119€ to 299€ per night (depending on various factors such as room category, season, events in Berlin and the number of people), excluding continental breakfast.

Disclaimer: I was a guest at the Lux 11 Design Hotel, staying in an Executive Suite. All opinions expressed in this review however, remain completely my own.