Month: November 2020

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Visit Big Cities of South Africa

Visit Big Cities of South Africa


Johannesburg is a city with so much to offer: there are wonderful restaurants, relaxed sidewalk cafes, laughter-filled shebeens, glitzy shopping malls, tranquil parks, unique emotive museums and monuments, thrilling casinos, busy townships, stunning galleries, funky nightclubs, and more...

Johannesburg's entertainment and leisure options are vast and varied, so make sure your energy levels are high.

This dynamic city has a range of restaurants – from pub 'n grub bars, pizza take-outs and African-inspired eateries to delightful delis serving everything from a great cup of coffee to healthy meals.

There are restaurants for virtually every type of cuisine, cocktail bars, cigar bars, and fine dining. You've simply got to hang out at one of the many eateries in Soweto (along the famous Vilakazi Street), or soak up the sun in the Soho-type villages of Norwood, Parkhurst and Greenside.

Cape Town

Cape Town, South Africa's second-largest city, ranks among the most beautiful in the world. With its larger-than-life mountain overlooking the City Bowl, harbour, white beaches and Robben Island beyond, this is a tourists' playground. Two World Heritage Sites, the sprawling Winelands, nature reserves, botanic gardens and a buzzing waterfront are just the start of the adventure.

Cape Town is South Africa’s second most populous city, a quintessential melting pot of creativity, cuisine and colour – including pink.

Its strategic geographic position at the tip of Africa has seen foreign visitors stopping off at the Cape since the 1400s, each contributing unique cultural influences that make up the fabric of modern-day Cape Town.

A mix of Malay, Dutch, French, Portuguese and African flavour is reflected in Cape Town’s stylish restaurant menus, where locally produced wines complement popular seafood and curry dishes.

Mango Airlines a subsidiary of South African Airways operates daily flights from JNB-CPT

Aeroflot – Kaliningrad The City of History and Landscape

Aeroflot – Kaliningrad The City of History and Landscape

Initially three independent towns until the Königsberg Fortress united them and gave them their first name (Königsberg), the city was eventually renamed to Kaliningrad in 1946. The city’s entire history is reflected in its landscape: Soviet housing coexists with picturesque European neighborhoods, ancient churches with modern buildings, residential suburbs with strikingly beautiful countryside.

It is quite pleasant just to wander around Kaliningrad looking at old German villas, taking pictures, going into cozy cafes, enjoying nature, and admiring the lovely seaside sunsets.

The local climate transitions from moderate maritime to moderate continental. Winter is mild, summer is cool, and the proximity of the capricious Gulf Stream makes the weather change frequently. It is usually rather cloudy here, but that does not affect the flow of tourists. Even if it starts raining (usually a brief occurrence), there are plenty of interesting museums and cafes where you can pass the time while waiting for the rain to stop.

A good place to start exploring the city is Kant Island. Kneiphof (as it is officially called) is a really cozy place with many paths where you can stroll in the shade of the trees. Here you can take in the majestic presence of the gothic Cathedral (Konigsberger Dom), listen to organ music, and visit the grave of Kant, the famous philosopher.

The German villas in Maraunenhof look exactly the same as they did 100 years ago. By the way, many of them have become comfortable mini-hotels, so anybody who wants to can try on the role of a respectable last-century German.

Aeroflot operates six daily direct flights from Moscow to Kaliningrad.

Holland America Line’s Half Moon Cay Earns Best Private Island for 20th Year in Porthole Cruise Magazine’s 2020 Readers’ Choice Awards

Holland America Line’s Half Moon Cay Earns Best Private Island for 20th Year in Porthole Cruise Magazine’s 2020 Readers’ Choice Awards

Seattle, Wash., Nov 17, 2020
— Holland America Line took home four Porthole Cruise Magazine 2020 Readers’ Choice Awards in areas that covered everything from onboard dining to shoreside experiences. For the 20th year, readers of Porthole — one of the world’s leading consumer cruise travel publications — named Half Moon Cay as Best Private Island. Additional wins include Pinnacle Grill as Best Specialty Restaurant, Best Shore Excursions and Best Facilities for Guests with Disabilities.

Porthole Cruise Magazine's annual Readers' Choice Awards are determined by thousands of the publication's readers who vote both online and via paper ballot for their favorite cruise lines in dozens of categories.

“The readers of Porthole are some of the most knowledgeable cruisers in the world, and to be recognized in areas that are important to us like dining, shoreside experiences and inclusive cruising is an honor,” said Gus Antorcha, president of Holland America Line. “We believe in the strength of the Holland America Line brand, in the beauty of Half Moon Cay and exceptional quality of Pinnacle Grill, the power of our immersive tours and making a cruise vacation accessible to everyone. These awards tell us that our guests believe in us as well. Thank you to Porthole and everyone who voted.”

“Every year Holland America Line continues to deliver an exceptional cruise experience, which is why our readers consistently honor the cruise line with several of Porthole’s distinguished awards,” said Bill Panoff, chairman & CEO of PPI Group, publishers of Porthole. “If you’ve been to Half Moon Cay you know that it’s the quintessential Caribbean paradise, and Pinnacle Grill is superb in every way. The shore excursions are as diverse as they are memorable, and inclusivity is key in today’s travel environment. Congratulations to Holland America Line for the wins.”

Half Moon Cay: Best Private Island

For the past 20 years, Porthole Cruise Magazine’s readers have named Half Moon Cay the industry’s best private island. The island’s perfect powdery sand, crystalline waters and island-time ambiance make it easy to see why. Half Moon Cay has evolved into an idyllic playground for cruise guests, and features the finest beaches in the Caribbean, a natural 700-acre lagoon, incredible two-story villas and private cabanas, delicious dining venues like Lobster Shack, a children’s waterpark, and a variety of fun-filled shore excursions for nature lovers, adventure seekers and explorers.

Cruisers visit Half Moon Cay on nearly all of Holland America Line’s Caribbean itineraries sailing roundtrip from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.

Best Specialty Restaurant: Pinnacle Grill

Pinnacle Grill is the ultimate steakhouse at sea, where steak, seafood and wine make for an impeccable meal inspired by the bounty of the Pacific Northwest. The menu focuses on expertly prepared dishes with premium ingredients — from Alaska’s wild-caught king salmon to sustainably raised beef from Washington State’s Double R Ranch.

The menu also features signature recipes by Culinary Council Member David Burke including Pastrami Salmon, Clothesline Candied Bacon, Beef Tenderloin with Lobster Dumplings, Braised Short Ribs with Mushroom Orecchiette, and Broiled Lobster with Corn and Bacon Crepes. Culinary Council member and renowned chocolatier Jacques Torres’ Chocolate Soufflé is featured on the menu as well.

Best Shore Excursions

Holland America Line’s nearly 6,500 unique shore excursions are designed to help guests make the most of port visits and deeply connect with the places they visit, as well as maybe have an adventure along the way. From zip lining over a lush jungle canopy or gliding over a glacier pulled by sled dogs to conquering a fear of heights while scaling Sydney Harbour Bridge or moving through the surf atop a graceful horse, Holland America Line’s expertly curated tours provide a wide variety of ways to experience and enjoy each port of call.

For foodies and wine aficionados, Holland America Line features shore excursions in partnership with FOOD & WINE magazine. These exceptional excursions around the globe show the culinary side of destinations in some very special ways, combining food and culture with entertaining and unique experiences. Guests can learn how to make authentic Italian pizza in Naples, taste wines at New Zealand’s oldest winery, explore Japan’s food culture with one of the world’s foremost ramen experts or shop with a renowned Barcelona chef and create an extraordinary meal together.

Top Accommodations for Guests with Disabilities

Holland America Line ships accommodate guests with a variety of special needs. The cruise line offers a number of services to guests who may have a disability, including up to 30 accessible staterooms on each ship, in-room equipment for assistance, computer and entertainment tools for those in need and a tender transfer system to accommodate guests using wheelchairs.

About Porthole Cruise Magazine
Porthole Cruise Magazine, the world's leading cruise travel magazine, now in its 24th year, is published bimonthly. Featuring a wide range of cruise content for both first-time and experienced cruisers, each issue includes ship reviews, destination features and other editorial writing on cruise trends, food and wine, spa and well-being, entertainment, kids' activities and other onboard amenities. To learn more, visit

For more information about Holland America Line, contact a travel advisor or call 1-877-SAIL-HAL (1-877-724-5425) or visit

Rail Europe – Visiting The Black Forest By Train

Rail Europe – Visiting The Black Forest By Train

Taking the train is the best way to get to, and explore, the Black Forest.

The Black Forest, or Schwarzwald, in southwest Germany’s Baden-Württemberg state, is one of Germany’s finest locations for walkers, skiers, cyclists and cake-eaters alike. Covering more than 6000km², the northern reaches of the Forest were given National Park status in 2014. The icing on the cake for train travellers is that it is very well connected by rail, its main gateway being the aptly named city of Freiburg. Because in the Black Forest, that is exactly what you will feel. Freedom.

Getting to the Black Forest by train
Given that the Black Forest is around 160km in length and 50km wide, there are plenty of places where you can access it by train. You can even reach the Black Forest in under 6 hours from London. As well as the main gateway city of Freiburg, stations within the bounds of the Forest area include Karlsruhe, Baden-Baden, and Offenburg.

The Black Forest - home of hiking
Hiking maps and guidebooks have been promoting the area for well over 150 years. Indeed, Philipp Bussemer opened up the first tourist information centre in Baden-Baden to serve this purpose in the 19th century. Within the Forest, you’ll find over 24,000km of hiking and cycling trails. The Black Forest’s Westweg is one of Germany’s most famous hiking routes, climbing from Lake Titisee to Feldberg Mountain.

Cycling trails in the Black Forest
The range of high-speed trains to Freiburg makes the city an excellent base to explore the Black Forest by bike. The Southern Black Forest Cycle Route is a 250km circular from Freiburg, following mainly flat terrain through ancient woodland and farmland. The river Danube’s source is in the Black Forest near Donaueschingen and you can pick up some of the world-famous Danube Cycling Trail between Donaueschingen and Ulm.

Cross country skiing in the Black Forest
Cross country skiing, or langlaufen, is at the core of Black Forest culture and, indeed, throughout the country. One of Germany’s most celebrated routes is the Black Forest High Road (Schwarzwaldhochstrasse) which runs over 60km from Freudenstadt to Baden-Baden. This route, as the name suggests, covers high-ground in the north section of the Forest and offers stunning views of the Black Forest valleys, Rhine Valley and Vosges Mountains.

Black Forest spa towns
The Black Forest’s Spa towns’ curative waters, restorative treatments and thermal baths have been fashionable places to visit since the 1800s. Any town with the word ‘bad’ refers to there being a bath or mineral spa tradition. Baden-Baden is its most celebrated spa town, but the best way to explore them is on the Black Forest Spa Route, a 270 km stretch between Pforzheim and Freudenstadt, taking in spa greats of Bad Herrenalb, Bad Rippoldsau, Bad Wildbad and Baden-Baden of course.

Explore Hiking trails and waterfalls in Hawaii

Explore Hiking trails and waterfalls in Hawaii

Hiking trails and waterfalls!

Kauai Places

"The Garden Island's" untouched splendor makes it a haven for those seeking to get away from it all. From its sheer cliffs and waterfalls, to lush trails and rainforests, Kauai beckons you to come and explore. Seventy percent of the island is inaccessible by foot, but it's still a hiker's and sightseer's paradise. The sheer beauty of Kauai is unsurpassed and adventure and exploration are the keys to enjoying this island to its fullest.

Plan your holiday to Kauai with Hawaiian Airlines.

Kalalau Trail to Hanakapiai Beach
People come from around the globe to hike this world famous, very rugged 11-mile trail that hugs the steep cliffs of Kauai’s Napali Coast hundreds of feet above the ocean. You can get a wonderful feel for the trail and its fabulous views by hiking just the first two miles into Hanakapiai Beach and stream. Begin at the trailhead in the Kee Beach parking lot at what is literally “the end of the road” on Kauai’s north shore.

Kilauea Lighthouse
The view alone is worth the drive to Kilauea on the island’s northernmost tip, upon which is perched the historic Kilauea Lighthouse. Built in 1913, this lighthouse has guided ships and boats safely along Kauai’s coastline for 62 years. (It was turned off in the 1970s.) Today, it attracts more than 500,000 visitors a year, lured by the breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and one of the largest populations of nesting seabirds in the main Hawaiian Islands.

Mountain Tubing
The sugar plantations play an important part in Hawaii’s history, and this unique inner tube tour takes you through the historic irrigation system of the former Lihue Plantation. This water system runs through some of the most beautiful and remote parts of Kauai and provides views of the ocean, coastline, mountains and valleys. The water flow originates near the top of Mount Waialeale, the wettest spot in the world, and is channeled through ditches and tunnels.

Hoopii Falls
Visit one, two or all three waterfalls during this idyllic hike along Kapaa Stream.Enter at the almost-hidden yellow gate tucked alongside a residential neighborhood and follow the trail through the lovely river valley until you reach the clearing and the stream, then turn right. At this point, it’s easiest to walk the dirt path as it winds high above the river, then when you hear the roar of the waterfalls – in only 15 to 20 minutes.

Kauai Hiking Tours
The Food & Foraging Tour not only is fun, interesting and exciting, it’s practical. You’ll learn skills that will help you survive if you ever find yourself lost in a forest. You’ll hunt for edibles in wilderness regions of Kauai, collect them and prepare them. You’ll weave cordage from vines, build shelters from branches and leaves and make fire by rubbing dried branches together (it works!).