48 hours in New Orleans (US Travel Adventure) #TravelTuesday

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Flying into New Orleans  – Lake Pontchartrain Causeway

After a long 16hour flight from South Africa(SA) to the United States (US) and spending another 7hours in transit to catch a 3hour30m connecting flight from New York (NY) to New Orleans (NO), I finally arrived in the Big Easy to meet up with my family to start our two week family holiday in the US.

I was welcomed by the most friendly driver, Michael. En route to the hotel, we spoke American politics (He says they are still in shock that Trump is president), we spoke about the importance of travelling (He works hard so he can travel the world, visiting SA is on his bucket list) and he gave me some insights of New Orleans and the must-see things.

The 1st thing that I did see that you cannot miss was the Mercedes-Benz Superdome – a domed sports and exhibition venue. The venue has hosted numerous historical events. According to wikipedia, it has listed football seating capacity of 76,468 (expanded) or 73,208 (not expanded) and a maximum basketball seating capacity of 73,432.

The superdome gained international attention in 2005 when it housed thousands of people seeking shelter from Hurricane Katrina.

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New Orleans is one of those cities that offer so much that if you don’t have an idea or plan on what you want to see, you will get confused.

One thing that I can tell you is that New Orleans does have round-the-clock nightlife and vibrant live-music scene. The city is also famous for its cuisine and is often referred to as the “most unique” in the United States.

With less that 48hours in the City, we were lucky to get a tour guide that was knowledgeable and knew the city well. We spent the day with John, he took via the tourist route but he added a local feel to it so we got to see and experience New Orleans from a different perspective.

  • Our tour highlights – Bourbon Street (which was under construction) but known for its bars and strip clubs, the history of the street provides a rich insight into New Orleans’ past.
    • Aquarium of the Americas — St Louise Cathedral —– Jacksons Square —- Café du Monte — French Market —- Lake Pontchartrain — La Fayette Cemetery — Magazine Street

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St. Louis Cathedral

 

  • We drove around the French Quarter and went past the Cornstalk hotel (the most photographed hotel) on Royal Street and other places of interest.
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The Cornstalk Hotel
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Houses in the French Quarter
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Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop – One of the oldest surviving structures in New Orleans 
  • We then took a drive down Esplanade Street – a scenic and historic street. We went past the Pitot House, the only Creole colonial country house that the public can access. Sadly we missed out on the tour.

 

 

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Pitot House (photocred louisianalandmarks.org/visit-pitot-house)
  • We took a detour past some residential neighbourhoods – Lakeview, Lakeshore, Garden District and Audibon Palace. John gave us a local insights on Katrina and the devastation it caused. He took us to his neighbourhood and showed us empty lots where houses used to be.

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  • One of the tours that I found strange in was the cemetery tours (I know, it’s a very strange and morbid) but these tours are popular. The reason why this is a major thing to do is because the city is built on a swamp -the only city built below sea level. The deceased have to be buried above ground in elaborate stone crypts and mausoleums. These above ground cemeteries are often referred to as ‘City of the Dead’.
  • Saint Louis No. 1 is the oldest and most famous, we visited the Metairaie Cemetery which has the largest collection of elaborate marble tombs and funeral statuary. The construction of these elaborate final resting places can start from $90 000 and reach $500 000 and they have a ‘Millionaire’s Row’ for all the rich and famous people. I thought we (African people) spent money on funerals.
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Metairie Cemetery

 

 

Places I would have loved to spend some time at had we had a full day 2 were:-

Where we stayed

We stayed at the Ritz Carlton which is located on Canal Street a major thoroughfare, forming the upriver boundary of the city’s oldest neighbourhood, the French Quarter which served historically as the dividing line between the colonial-era (18th-century) city and the newer American Sector, today’s Central Business District. Great hotel that has everything you need when travelling.

Decent size rooms which include a fully-stocked minibar and an iPod docking station. Cable TV and a spacious work desk. A private bathroom with bathrobes, slippers and toiletries. My only criticism is that shower/bath situation with a curtain, I’m not a fan. I prefer a stand-alone shower.

The hotel has 24-hour room service, a complimentary overnight shoeshine service, and overnight laundry service.

Hotel Amenities & Services

  • Indoor Pool
  • Meeting and Events venues
  • Fitness center with cardiovascular and strength-training equipment
  • A spa with 22 treatment rooms A gym and SPA
  • Wi-Fi
  • Concierge Service
  • ATM Machine on site

Dining

  1. M bistro serves authentic New Orleans cuisine. Is open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
  2. The Davenport Lounge offers afternoon tea and evening cocktails. Serves lunch and dinner. Live jazz is played in the Lounge on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday evenings.

The hotel also has a kids club, I find this service extremely beneficial to parents travelling with their little ones.

Staff were friendly and service was great, we did have a minor issue, one of the rooms was not cleaned. They made the bed but did not clear dirty cutlery and serviettes from our previous dinner in the room.

I did like the welcome towel area at reception that was setup every morning. Its always the little that guests appreciate and remember with hotels.

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The experience and being in New Orleans was incredible. I was lucky to capture one of the thee most beautiful sunsets. #GoldenHour

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With all the problems that they have, the people that we met were happy and truly grateful for having survived and lived through Katrina.

As I’m writing this blog post, today (29 August) marks the 12 year anniversary of Katrina. Today New Orleans is bracing themselves for heavy rains from Hurricane Harvey.  I do hope they survive the weather.

Till next blog, happy Travel Tuesday.

TS!

 

 

ShotLeft to the Vaal

During our courting years, one of the things that my +1 and I loved doing was taking spontaneous trips and discovering South Africa. We would select a location, take a drive and explore. It was effortless, this was our quality time.

We particularly loved long weekend, it was a great excuse to take a short getaway or ShotLeft, as its now referred.

With another long weekend approaching, we found ourselves planning a getaway but then our reality sunk in, we both have hectic work deadlines and unfortunately for us the timing is off.  We spent a few minutes reminiscing about our last trip to the Vaal. It being #TravelTuesday I decided to write a blog post about our recent visit.

We chose the Vaal primarily because we were looking for a local destination that did not require a long drive or flights. We were both familiar with the area, most of my visit were business related. It was great to visit the area on leisure. A refreshing thing about the Vaal is that the drive is ± an hour away from Johannesburg and offers a tranquil escape from the grind of the city life.

Due to our last minute travel arrangements, the hotel we wanted to stay at was fully booked.  We did however managed to find a room at the Three Rivers Lodge & Villa Anna Sophia. We were both very reluctant about this place, granted it looked decent online.  We have been to places where they look great online but when you arrive the hotel is old and has not been maintained.

We arrived at the lodge and were pleasantly surprised, the lodge is well looked after. The garden is impeccable and it’s surrounded by large trees which create a peaceful/calming environment.

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The lodge is in the heart of the upmarket suburb of Three Rivers in Vereeniging, a few minutes from the business district and within close proximity of golf courses and River Square Shopping Centre. It caters to the business and leisure travellers.

Three Rivers Lodge has 25 rooms and Villa Anna Sophia offer an additional 16 rooms. We were booked at the Tuscan style villas. The room was as descent size en-suite room with full bathroom, flat screen TV with selected DSTV channels and very good WiFi.

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A full range of services available include conference venues seating from 10 to 200 delegates, the Bethel Chapel seating 90 guests which is used for weddings.

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Their fine dining restaurant – Anna’s Kitchen is favourite amongst the locals. We had brunch there and I had the most delicious Egg Benedict – the caramelized onions used added a lovely flavour and the hollandaise sauce was perfect.

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Our short stay was enjoyable, a real home away from home.

Things to do at the Vaal:-

  1. Ponte de Vaal
  • Enjoy French countryside cuisine overlooking a tranquil stretch of the Vaal River. Relax for the afternoon at one of their handcrafted dining tables or drinks lounges, either inside the restaurant building, outside on the deck, at a terrace or Privé Booth.
  • Take a 30m river cruise.
  • Book a stay-over or get pampered at the BELLE FOI SPA
    • Tel: 016 004 0019
    • Address: 212 Boundary Rd, Vanderbijlpark, 9585
  1. Play Golf
  • I’m not much of a golfer but have hosted some golf day events at the Vaal. Below is a list of some of the places

a. Vaal de Grace

  • ‘Vaal de Gráce offers an 18-hole championship golf course situated on an island of incomparable quiet and beauty in the middle of the tranquil waters of the Vaal River.’

b. Maccauvlei Golf Club

  • ‘Situated adjacent to the Vaal River, a mere 45 minute drive from bustling Johannesburg, it’s essentially a world apart from the industrialized hub of Vereeniging.’

c. Riviera on Vaal Country Club

  • The premium Gauteng golf course is located on the banks of the Vaal River, boasting an immaculate 18-hole Gauteng golf course.
  1. Vaal Adventure
  • If you are more of an adventure traveller, you can contact Vaal Adventures. They have many activities to choose from such as white water river rafting, paintball, quadbiking, kayaking, snorkelling, raft fishing safaris and lots more.

On our Sunday drive exploring, we stumbled upon Castle Marina in a town called  Deneysville.

‘The Castle was built in the early 1960’s by an Englishman, Lord Sumner, who fell in love with the area, the vast body of water and the rich history of Deneysville.

In the early 2000’s the Castle experienced a new restoration – and became a venue for Engagements, Weddings, and other Celebrations.’

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The possibilities at the Vaal are vast and it caters to a wide range of travellers.  A must visit for anyone in the Jozi region looking for a simple getaway.

I loved taking walks in the morning along the river. The air is fresh and I have a deep love for being out in nature.

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This truly was another Splendid Experience and we continue to travel and make lasting memories.

TS!

The final #TravelTuesday post for 2016!

As I write my final blog post for 2016, I take this moment and reflect on the year that was…what a tough year. I am grateful that through all the curve balls that life threw, I still managed to do some travelling and will forever be grateful for the memories created along the way.

Our final trip for the year was Seychelles, Mahe Island. We landed in the evening and were booked to stay at Banyan Tree. When we arrived at our hotel we were unaware of the beauty that was surrounding us. We could smell the warm sea breeze and the sound of the crashing waves.

Banyan Tree is right on the beach front, surrounded by palm trees and nature – a true tropical sanctuary. The resort is nestled in Intendance Bay along the southern western coastline of Mahe. It’s a perfect hotel if you are looking for a quiet stay in-house but less ideal for those who are looking to tour and be in the hustle and bustle of things.

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Accommodation

  • The hotel has 60 one or two bedroom air-conditioned guest rooms which features a king bed, a pool, jetpool, open air dining, outdoor shower, WiFi, telephone, tea & coffee-making facilities, TV, DVD/CD player.

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Facilities & Activities

  • Infinity pool, Tennis Court, Gym and Yoga.
  • Complimentary snorkeling.
  • Diving and Fishing are offsite and can be arranged at a fee.
  • Fishing also has a charge.
  • Banyan Tree Spa – is on my top 5 spas, the attention to details and the service at the spa were phenomenal. One of the best massages, in the most tranquil setting surrounded by palm trees with amazing sea views.

 

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Dining & Restaurants

The resort’s restaurants offer a variety of local and international dishes.

  1. Au Jardin d’Epices is a buffet restaurant which does breakfast, light lunches and International cuisine for dinner.
  2. Saffron restaurant offers Thai and South East Asian cuisine.
  3. Chez Lamar offers Creole cuisine and I had a delicious vegetarian stew, the veges were cooked to perfection, the sauce well-seasoned.

Other dining experience is the In Room Dining and La Varangue lounge bar which serve burgers, sandwiches, pizzas…

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The staff were extremely helpful and friendly, we were looked after by Sam who ensured that all our requirements were met with a smile, the service at the resort is top-notch.

The break came at a good time, I was mentally and physically exhausted. A fantastic location to recharge my body, soul and spirit. I took walks along the beach, swam and ran in the resort and made the most of the tranquil resort.

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I could not have asked for a better way to end the year.

Another Splendid Experience!

TS!

The city by the bay – San Francisco (California, USA)

After spending 3 days in San Jose for my clients workshop, stopping in San Francisco before we went back home was what we needed.  When one thinks of the iconic symbols of San Francisco, the following come to mind -The Golden Gate Bridge, Alcatraz, Cable cars and the houses from Full House (yes I grew in that era) known as the Painted Ladies.

San Francisco is the fourth-most populous city in California, after Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Jose, and the 13th-most populous city in the United States. – source wikipedia

Where we stayed?

Our accommodation was booked at the San Francisco Marriott Marquis, we wanted a hotel that was centrally located and could give us access easy to the city’s attractions. The hotel lobby is a constant buzz, when entering for the 1st time, one would think they were entering a busy mall.

The staff were welcoming and after our awful experience at the Hilton Hotel in San Jose, it was truly refreshing to arrive at a hotel and have no issues with our booking. Things worked out so well, I even scored a room upgrade and stayed in the Deluxe Suite. The room was overkill for me, I felt lost but enjoyed the space and the magnificent views of the city.

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City views from my room

The room has living/sitting area, equipped with flat-screen TVs, high-speed Internet a mini kitchen with minibar and tea and coffee making facilities. The bathroom was ok, for the size of the room they could have used the space better and has a bathroom that has a stand-alone shower not inside a bath. I’m not a fan of bath shower with shower curtains.

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Hotel facilities and amenities

Spa, fitness centre, business centre, barber shop, hair salon, free Wi-Fi in the lobby, drug store, concierge and valet.

Dining

The hotel has a choice of three places to eat:-

  1. Bin 55 restaurant, located in the hotel lobby – offers breakfast, lunch and dinner.
  2. Mission Street Pantry also located in the hotel lobby – deli type concept perfect for guests on the go.
  3. The View Lounge, located on the 39th Floor with spectacular views of the San Francisco skyline – offers small bites and signature cocktails.

Overall great location, well run, friendly staff and comfortable stay (thanks to my upgrade)

What we did?

There’s so much to do in San Francisco, so it’s imperative to have an idea of what one wants to see and do. My suggestion is plan in advance, it does make it easier to navigate through all the things that can be done.

We opted to go on the Big Bus tours, but before we got on the tour we had an idea of the key things we wanted to see. What I like about the Big Bus Tour is the flexibility of being able to get on and off at your own pace, while on the bus you also get to learn about the city through their narrated guide and It also allows you to see a lot more sights in a day.

Sadly thou, due to popular demand we missed out on going to Alcatraz Island.

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Our drive to Golden Gate Bridge
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The Golden Gate Bridge

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The cable car, an icon of San Francisco

Another highlight of our trip was visiting Sausalito, a small town situated across the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco. (Another town that reminds me of Knysna in the Western Cape, South Africa) Views from there across the bay toward San Francisco are just amazing.

The town is equipped with restaurant, art galleries, souvenir shops and hotels. A place where I could see myself living. I just like the simpleness of this town. We noticed that there were a lot of tourist cycling. I found out that cycling was popular with tourist, they usually hire a bike, cycle over the Golden Gate Bridge, and then down into Sausalito.

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Where we ate

Unless I’m travelling with foodies, I tend not to make food a priority and really prefer the simple meal options. The people I was travelling with were also not fussy as to where we ate.

  1. Mission Street Pantry
  • A deli/café in the lobby of San Francisco Marriott Marquis. They have a wide selection from sandwiches to pizzas to salads to pastries and deli items. They are limited from a vegetarian perspective. I had the Chef’s grilled cheese and ham and requested they remove the ham. The grilled cheese sandwich was really good.
  • The coffee is also good, a great break from Starbucks. Always good to try something new.
    • Lobby Level – San Francisco Marriott Marquis, 780 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA
    • 415-442-6134

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  1. Hamburgers, Sausalito 
  • We came to realise that timing is everything with this place. Just as we were ordering our food the line got really long and were told that’s normal. They are known to have the best burgers and worth the wait. It’s a simple no bells and frills shop with very tight space.
  • Unfortunately they don’t have a vegetarian’s burger option so I opted for a vegetarian burrito. The burrito was good and my travel companions loved their burgers.
    • 737 bridgeway hamburgers, Sausalito, San Francisco, CA
      • 415- 332-9471

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  1. The View Lounge 
  • They don’t call it the view lounge for no reason, located on the 39th floor of San Francisco Marriott Marquis and offers spectacular views of the city through massive arched windows.
  • The view lounge is more of a cocktail lounge and offers small plates of food for sharing. A great place to unwind after a long day of sightseeing.
    • 780 Mission St, San Francisco, CA 94103 (Downtown)
    • 415-442-6003

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San Francisco was really great experience and my travel companions were great.

TS!!

USA – California, San Jose – Silicon Valley

I love #FlashBackFridays I get to reminisce on my travel adventures.

When I learned that we were going to run an event at my clients head office in Palo Alto Silicon Valley -the home to the world’s largest technology companies.  I was beyond ecstatic. Such a privilege to be awarded this opportunity.

The planning was tricky, we had very tight deadlines but we somehow managed to make it work. We would spend 3 days in San Jose for the workshop and 2 days in San Francisco.

As much as this trip was a long life dream, I write this post with a heavy heart. Emotionally it was the hardest trip of my life, a complete emotional roller coaster. I landed in the US on Sunday and early hours on Monday, the dreaded call came in. I learned of the passing of a dear friend and brother. We were so torn but made a decision based on the on information we had received back home. We stayed, and somehow managed to survive the emotional roller coaster. The day time was way better than the night time.

Where we stayed

Our base was San Jose, the third-largest city by population in California, the tenth-largest by population in the United States and a major technology hub in the California bay area.

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Our accommodation was booked at the Hilton Hotel, I usually like to write a basic review of the hotels I stay at but our experience at the Hilton was not great.

On arrival we had issues with our booking, the staff working the afternoon shift were clueless and credit cards were billed incorrectly.  The hotel rooms and bathrooms are old, the carpet in the room is questionable. The hotel is in need of a refurbishment.

This is the 3rd Hilton Hotel that just seem to have lost the edge slightly, the is no longer what it used to be.  The only thing that I  did like was the fact that their Affinity Restaurant & Bar had a Starbucks, I could have my morning coffee fix before going to work.

What we did

The purpose of the trip was a 3 day client workshop at HP Headquarters, 1501 Page Mill Road, Palo Alto, California.

We were well received by the HP local team, all our requirements were met with a smile and were made to feel at home. The HP Customer Centre is high tech, love the fact that they use their products for everything. Its great advertising mechanism.

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                              The screens (bottom image) are the HP ENVY Curved All-In-One                                       The world’s widest curved All-in-One 
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Using the Sprout (all-in-one desktop with built in projector, a touch-mat display, and advanced 3D-scanning hardware) in the meeting room – super cool!

We got a tour of the facilities and products in the centre and got to see the original offices of the Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard. The entire experience was incredible.

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Touring Silicon Valley

Our last day was spent touring Silicon Valley, our 1st stop was the HP Garage – the birthplace of Silicon Valley. Knowing the history of Silicon Valley, HP and seeing images of the garage, being at 367 Addison Avenue was an unbelievable moment.

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HP Garage

We also got to see the headquarters of LinkedIn, Facebook, Apple, Adobe, Intel and Google. We were fortunate to go inside Intel and we visited the museum.

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Intel Museum
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Facebook Headquartes

Google was another amazing experience, we got access inside one of the buildings thanks to one of the HP managers who had a meeting and invited us all to join him. Having watched the Intern, it was lovely seeing areas where he movie was shot.

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Googleplex
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The Tyrannosaurs Rex skeleton named Stan which was discovered near Google’s headquarters. 
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Different versions of Android, named after something sweet- kitkat, froyo, gingerbread, marshmallow, lollipop, honeycomb, eclair, ice cream sandwich, cupcake, donut, jelly bean.

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We then spent the afternoon at Stanford University and did the walking tour of the university.

The leafy campus in the heart of Silicon Valley has produced some of the most influential tech entrepreneurs since the beginning of Silicon Valley, starting with Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard in the mid-30s to the likes of Sergey Brin and Larry Page, the founders of Google, Marissa Meyer (Yahoo), Intel, Netflix, LinkedIn, YouTube…etc

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‘Founded in 1885 by California Senator Leland Stanford and his wife, Jane, in memory of their only child, Leland Jr., who died of typhoid fever at 15, the Stanfords determined that they would use their wealth to do something for “other people’s” children.

They decided to create a university, one that, from the outset, was untraditional: coeducational in a time when most private universities were all-male; nondenominational when most were associated with a religious organization; and avowedly practical, producing “cultured and useful citizens” when most were concerned only with the former.’

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Image on the left is the Hoover Tower, a 285 feet (87m) structure on campus. The tower houses the Hoover Institution Library & Archives founded by Herbert Hoover before he became President of the United States. 
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Views from the top of the Hoover Tower

‘Today Stanford University is one of the world’s leading research universities. It is known for its entrepreneurial character, drawn from the legacy of its founders, Jane and Leland Stanford.’ ** Source http://facts.stanford.edu/about/

Stanford has a warm feel to it and get why at times its referred to as the farm. Its a beautiful campus, full of trees, fountains, manicured gardens, great student facilities and lovely frat houses. They seem to have everything there: post office, Starbucks, eateries, libraries and some form of entertainment. It truly was an amazing experience.

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Fraternity Houses

Where we ate?

I was tasked with finding dinner restaurants while we were in San Jose. 1st night we had dinner at our hotel restaurant, the Affinity Restaurant & Bar – the only good thing about the Hilton. Their menu selection was substantial and catered to most people, the food was appetizing and the service was great.

Our 2nd night we had dinner at The Grill on the Alley, a well renowned Steak house. The food here was exceptional, they serve large portions of steaks, chops, fresh seafood and pasta. The vegetable were cooked well…overall amazing dining experience. Highly recommend it, its a tad pricey but we left feeling extremely satisfied.

On the last night we ventured out to Santana Row – an outdoor shopping mall in San Jose at times referred to at the Rodeo Drive of San Jose. We had dinner at El Jardin Tequila Bar & Restaurant, we could not come to San Jose and not have Mexican food. For me the atmosphere, service and vibe were great but I was not blown away by the food. We shared Nachos as a starter and I had a burrito which tasted ok. Apparently the Tacos were not bad, should have ordered those.

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Santana Row
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Santana Row

Even though we were in San Jose for business, the trip was great. My highlight was being in Silicon Valley, definitely a place that I would visit again.

Look out for my post next Friday, I will be blogging about our adventures in San Francisco.

Till next Friday, stay Splendid!

TS!

Hong Kong – ‘Pearls of the Orient’

‘The best things in Life are the people you love, the places you’ve seen, and the memories you have made along the way’

My #TravelTuesday post is on a trip we took Hong Kong (China) with family. Truly grateful for these trips and grateful to my family for the memories we are creating.

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Hong Kong is made up of four parts: Hong Kong Island (HKI), Kowloon Peninsula, the New Territories and the Outlying Islands. We were based in HKI, the centre of their economy.

Hong Kong (HK) is renowned for its deep natural harbour, skyline with a very high skyscrapers which is impressive during the day and at night it will blow your mind when all the skyscrapers are lit. Adding to this beauty is the Symphony of Lights, a multimedia orchestrated light show involving more than 40 buildings on both sides of the harbour. It’s truly spectacular.

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What we did?

Having travelled to Hong Kong (HK)before, we skipped all the top things to do, our focus was purely a half year recharge. When you travel with little people, you find yourself at all child friendly places, for adults its a great excuse to unleash your inner child.

Our 1st stop was Ocean Park Hong Kong, located on the southern side of Hong Kong Island is a marine mammal park, oceanarium, animal theme park and amusement park.

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The park is separated by a large mountain into two areas, The Summit (Headland) and The Waterfront (Lowland). These areas can be reached by a 1.5 kilometers (0.93 mi) cable car system, or the Ocean Express funicular railway.

There’s so many experiences at the park, so it’s imperative to plan your day well. We went on a few rides, watched a dolphin show, visited the panda, went to the Adventures of Australia and visited Old Hong Kong.

My highlight rides were:-

  1. The Abyss – this ride is not for the faint hearted, the rides takes you up to the top of its tower (20 stories) and then it plunges straight to the ground, its beyond INSANE.
  2. Hair Raiser – is a roller coaster ride on steroids, its fast, its wild, its Hong Kong’s first and only floorless roller coaster. A must do for the thrill seeker.
  3. The Dragon – The largest roller coaster featuring two giant loops on a 842-metre-long track.
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Hair Raiser pic cred Wikipedia

Ocean Park really has the best rides and views, really was an amazing experience.

Our next stop was Hong Kong Disney Land, whats there not to like about Disney Land. Awesome experience, awesome rides and attractions. It truly is a place where families and friends of all ages can have fun together.

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Where we ate?

What I like about HK is that it has become the ‘culinary capital of Asia’ and offers thousands of restaurants from your local Cantonese to your International Cuisine, one is really spoilt for choice.

Having experienced the food culture before, we really were not particular as to where ate.

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  1. Big Fernard 
  • A French burger workshop, with a selection of burgers you can order off their regular menu or DIY your burger by choosing your cheese, toppings, sauce and meat or vegetables for a personalised taste.
  • I had the Le Lucien (portobello mushroom burger). The veggie burger was ok, I have definitely had better. The meat eaters tried the Le Philibert, Le Big Ferdinand and the Le Bartholome. The Le Bartholome burger was NOT a hit, she ended up making a chip roll, The rolls were FRESH.

Address:

IFC Mall, 1 Harbour view Street, Central, Hong Kong,

tel: +852 6650 0580

  1. Zuma 
  • Zuma features modern Japanese cuisine, it’s one of those places that’s on my Top 5 memorable culinary experience. I really was looking forward to having brunch and I must say, from a food perspective, I was not let down.
  • The brunch menu allows one to eat from the buffet, order a main and dessert. The buffet food was beyond substantial. The sushi was fresh, the vegetables were cooked to perfection and the dessert was just the cherrie on top.
  • Our overall dining experience was great, the service for drinks was not so great. At some stage we waited over 20m to get served Iced Tea.

Address:

Landmark, Level 5 & 6, 15 Queen’s Road, Central Hong Kong

tel: +852 3657 6388, info@zumarestaurant.com.hk

  1. Greyhound Café 

‘Life is a journey, full of pictures, places, stories and good tasting recipe’

  • The concept of Greyhound is Thai food with a creative and modern twist in a trendy and casual dining experience. The menu has a wide selection, I opted for the Phad Thai with Mushroom. It was well cooked.
  • Love the quirkiness and relaxed atmosphere.

Address:

IFC Mall, Shop 1082, Podium Level 1, Central

tel: +852 2383 1133, ifc@greyhoundcafe.com.hk

Where we stayed

Whether you are travelling to Hong Kong (HK) on business or pleasure, HK has accommodation for everyone, from your youth hostels, to hotels, to chic boutique hotel.

We stayed in the heart of the Central District, on Hong Kong Island at the Four Seasons Hotel located next to Victoria Harbor and connected to the IFC shopping mall. The hotel is a constant buzz with business people, tourists visiting and locals with weddings and private events.

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Service & Amenities

  • Two outdoor pool, a whirlpool, outdoor plunge pool, Vitality lounge & Spa, 24hour fitness centre, Executive Club, Children’s welcome programme & babysitting service, 24hour business centre, 24hour in room dining,

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Accommodation

  • Our room had stunning views of the Victoria Harbour, Kowloon and the Peak.
  • All guestrooms are decorated with a fusion of Western and Chinese elements and are equipped with a 42-inch flat-screen TV, a DVD player, an iPod dock, WiFi and some rooms include a Nespresso machine.
  • The bathrooms have walk-in showers, bath and equipped with all bathroom essentials – dental kit, shaving kit, nail care, comb and the standard body cream, shampoos & conditioners one finds at a hotel.

Dining

The hotel has 4 restaurant, with two restaurants that have received Michelin stars and 2 bars.

We had breakfast in the Blue Bar, lunch at the Pool Terrace and dinner in the Lounge. We are simple travellers and prefer the more simple restaurants to eat it at.

  1. Caprice
  • Offers French cuisine and the French wine and was awarded Michelin two-stars
  1. Lung King Heem
  • Authentic Cantonese restaurant, the world’s first Chinese restaurant to be awarded the coveted Michelin three-star rating.
  1. The Lounge 
  • “Offers a menu of Western and Asian favourites, afternoon tea and pastries, and premium snack items in the evening, all accompanied by piano music during the day and a jazz trio at night.”
  1. The pool terrace
  • Has spectacular views of the harbour, simple pool side dining with healthy smoothies and frozen cocktails.

For the shopping lovers, HK is considered the commercial centre of Asia whether you’re a mall or a market person, there’s plenty to choose from. The best places to find global brands and luxury stores are in malls, such as the IFC and the Landmark in Central, Times Square in Causeway Bay, Pacific Place in Admiralty, and Harbour City in Tsim Sha Tsui.

What I like about travelling to Hong Kong is the visa-free access for passport holders. It really does make it as an attractive destination to visit. The best time to visit HK is from October to January which from an South African school holiday perspective is ideal.

HK was another Splendid Experience!

TS!