Cape Town versus New York

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Cape Town versus New York
Summer in Cape Town and snowy weather in New York City!

Big contrast between sunny Cape Town versus snowy big Apple. Take a sip or a culture shot from both worlds!

Desiré

Cape Town is a wonderful place to be especially during summer. The surrounding winelands offer a breath-taking scenery.
I really love going to beautiful wine estates and have tastings. For me It's the perfect opportunity to learn and discover what you like and don’t like and it's a great way to try new wines without having to spent money on a bottle that you might be disappointed with.

First I went to the Morgenster Wine and Olive Estate in Somerset West where you can experience an olive oil tasting. Like wines, olive oils have complex notes ranging from buttery, grassy to peppery and everything in between. Instead of doing the olive oil tasting I had a wonderful lunch at 95 at Morgenster and tried some oils that were offered during the lunch. Because of this great lunch I ended up buying an expensive white truffle oil that I really don't need, but really want to try!

During my time at the Morgenster there was a huge forest fire due to the dry, hot and windy weather. An extensive cloud of brown smoke could be seen creeping towards the suburbs of Summerset West. The sun appeared red due to the smoke and dust. It gave me a sad feeling after spending such a beautiful afternoon there.

Life goes on and so does wine tasting!!. The next morning ( yes, morning!) I explored the decadently sweet and savoury art of wine and chocolate pairing (for which the wine estate is famous for) at Waterford Estate outside Stellenbosch in the Cape Winelands close to Cape Town. Three unique wines and three special chocolates were displayed on a platter and it was very tasteful! At the Blaauwklippen vineyards I enjoyed "Ons Sprankle" it is a perfect bubbly all-round wine perfect for hot summer months.
The Guardian Peak Winery has a fantastic restaurant where I enjoyed dijon mustard & brown sugar glazed Eisbein, mashed potatoes & chardonnay braised cabbage. The dessert was dark chocolate fondant with hazelnut ice cream. Mmmmmm!

I ended my trip at Paranga Restaurant at Camps Bay. It has a great vibe and fabulous view over Camps Bay beach. Soft white sand and aqua marine seas, Camps Bay Beach is the place to be during the summer months......Goodbye Cape Town for now!

Margré

This time New York City changed into a white city. It started snowing in the morning and it kept snowing the whole day. At the subway around the corner of my hotel on 34th street I took the R-line to Prince street in Chelsea. I decided to visit the New Museum because I wanted to see the exhibition of Pipilotti Rist. Elisabeth Charlotte Pipilotti Rist, is a visual artist who works with video, film, and moving images that are often displayed as projections. A must see for an art-lover like me!

The New Museum of Contemporary Art, founded in 1977 by Marcia Tucker, is a beautiful museum in New York City at 235 Bowery on Manhattan's Lower East Side. The seven-story 58,700-square-foot facility, designed by the Tokyo-based firm Sejima + Nishizawa/SANAA and the New York-based firm Gensler, has greatly expanded the Museum’s exhibitions and space. In April 2008, the museum's new building was named one of the architectural New Seven Wonders of the World by Conde Nast Travelers.

When you take a look at the outside of New York's New Museum you will notice a pair of skeletal towers extending from the roof and a 30-foot sailboat precariously suspended from the facade. Both are part of artist Chris Burden's project "Extreme Measures". The two skeletal towers certainly reference the Twin Towers, and the boat on the facade is intended to evoke a rescue ship in the aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.

I had to stand in line in the snow and cold to get a ticket but it was worth it. It was such a unique visual and sensory experience. And it was a very real and expressive type of contemporary art. I look forward to future visits when the exhibits change.

After my culture shot I walked around Prince street and ended up in Dean & Deluca on the corner of Broadway and Prince street. Dean and Deluca is a chain of upscale grocery stores carrying specialty foods, including prepared dishes, plus home and kitchen items. I bought some fresh made sushi and sea weed salad and returned to my hotel by subway again because I had to leave a couple of hours later for the airport to fly home to Amsterdam.

It was a very short stay in the Big Apple but it was a great 'tête a tête’ as always! New York never disappoints me. This vibrant city gives me so much energy and inspiration. And the white snowy accent gave it an extra touch of magic this time.

Watch our vlog of Cape Town versus New York!

Florence versus Los Angeles

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Florence versus Los Angeles
A private jet, a convertible and a romantic aubade

Chic to the max in a private jet to Florence, driving a convertible to Schindlers House, visiting Hollyhock House and a romantic aubade about Manhattan Beach…it’s all in one compi and vlog. Enjoy, relax and get involved!

Desiré

I was enjoying my well deserved vacation at home, until I got invited for a trip to Florence by private Jet!
Normally I love to stay at home during my vacation, because we are always living out of our suitcases, but you can't say 'No' to a luxurious Italian weekendtrip with Jet powered luxury.
To make it more luxurious the trip started in Paris. Le Marais is definitely my favourite neighbourhood and I had enough time to sit on an outside terrace sipping petit café and eating croissants.
This outside terrace was a wonderful place to watch people passing by and have a great view on street art and fashion boutiques. It felt like vacation already!

The flying time from Paris to Florence was short but very comfortable. The perks of flying on a private jet is something (most of the time) only the rich and famous enjoy. No security lines, cushy leather seats and more than enough legroom. After a smooth landing, I received my luggage and headed down the ramp. A taxi was waiting to take me to my hotel. I stayed in the Junior suite at the Cerretani Firenze hotel MGallery by Sofitel , in the heart of Florence. This hotel is absolutely beautiful and the interior design is modern, with a cool vibe and clean lines. For dinner I went around the corner, where there is a historic place that, after a extensive renovation opened its doors as a new concept-restaurant. Meaning that here you’ll find a place to eat, drink, buy flowers, shop design items for your house and listen to live music. We’re talking about La Ménagère.

The next morning I spent time exploring Florence. I started by mooching around the city and stumbled across the Palazzo Vecchio and Duomo di Firenze. The latter was a particularly impressive piece of architecture; grand in stature and very ornately designed. The Palazzo, like most in Florence was surrounded by colourful houses, restaurants and shops and filled with street entertainers and musicians, Later on I headed to the Ponte Vecchio and window-shopped through all the tourist places on the bridge. Unfortunately there wasn't enough time to admire the original "David" at the Academia Gallery, but I saw a copy of Michelangelo's "David" in marble, in front of the Palazzo Vecchio.

During the afternoon I had to visit the Roberto Cavalli café ! This café is located on the corner of via Tournabouni, Florence’s high fashion street, and via della Spada. They serve one of the best coffees in town with just a hint of chocolate. You can buy a box of chocolates in a designer leopard box, or Roberto Cavalli’s own wine.
I also recommend to eat at Il Santo Bevitore restaurant. They have a cool website as well!

I really enjoyed my little vacation in Florence.
Despite my luxury adventure, my return flight from Paris to Amsterdam was on an economy seat with my own airline. Back to reality!!!

Margré

During Desiré’s holiday I visited Los Angeles two times in one month. That’s why I combined these two trips in one compi.

The Schindler House, also known as the Kings Road House is a house in West Hollywood designed by architect Rudolf M. Schindler. The residence was meant to be a cooperative live/work space for two young families. The concrete walls and sliding glass panels made novel use of industrial materials, while the open floor plan integrated the external environment into the residence, setting a precedent for California architecture in particular.

I visited the house in the early afternoon when the light was perfect. The house was secluded behind a screen of tall bamboo shoots. The Kings Road House may be considered the first home ever built in the modernist style. They also exhibit some MAK Center art work because the house is owned by the MAK Center. I loved the silver rake that stood in a corner of one of the open spaces in the house.

Another architectual highlight is the Hollyhock House. Also situated in Hollywood. The Aline Barnsdall Hollyhock House is a building in the East Hollywood neighborhood of Los Angeles, originally designed by Frank Lloyd Wright as a residence for oil heiress Aline Barnsdall, built in 1919–1921. I joined a small tour which I can recommend as a nice way to get information about the Hollyhock House project.
 
It is a pretty sad story because of the miscommunucation between the architect Frank Lloyd Wright and Aline Barnsdall. His strict way of thinking and building was not the way Aline Barnsdall wanted to live in the house. But all the colors, the arrangement of funiture and even the way he figured out where and how to live in the house were a kind of strait-jacket instead of a peacefull place to live in. But it is surrounded by the beautiful Hollywood Hills. I could very clearly see both the Hollywood sign and the Griffith Observatory from the property of the Hollyhock House. I found the house a little depressing inside with all the darkness, unlike the bright light and colors you can find outside the concrete building.
 
After all that culture I decided to explore a new eatery in Culver City, named The Cannibal. As you might expect, The Cannibal is meat-focused, although its name is actually a nod to Belgian cyclist Eddy Merckx, who was given the nickname during his heyday in the 1970s.
Cycling references in the decor pay homage to Merckx but also to owner Christian Pappanicholas and partner Cory Lane. Both are avid bikers, so it makes sense that they also offer a number of bike-friendly accommodations to fellow cyclists.
 
There’s a bicycle valet parking, and if cyclists dine at the Cannibal in their riding gear, they’ll get their second beer on the house. A gift known as a “kit” in the cycling world. I wasn’t wearing riding gear at that moment so I didn’t get a second glas of red wine for free ;-)! The food was delicious and the service was great. But I had to pay a lot of money for that. So prices are a bit overrated in my opinion, but a YES for sure to visit, specially for bikers!
 
My beloved Manhattan Beach is the place where I often end up at the end of my tour in Los Angeles. No matter what I did that day and no matter how far I had to drive for that. My love for this beach is huge and I always have to say goodbye to the place before I leave LA. You could call me a ‘romanticus foolicus' but I can't resist it's beauty and get tons of energy from it. This beach is inresistable...till the moon and back!
Watch our vlog of Florence versus Los Angeles!

Los Angeles versus New York

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Los Angeles versus New York
West Coast meets East Coast

This time DDTS traveled apart together: Desiré was on the west coast in Los Angeles and Margré on the east coast in New York City. How far can you go ;-)! Read about our adventures with one aspect in common: water!

Desiré

My short stay during the happy holidays in Los Angeles was amazing but exhausting!!. Of course after a long flight I was not very happy to wait in a long line at Target to buy my ' oh so important' whitening toothpaste.( Yes, in the Netherlands you can buy this as well, but I like the big size packs here). Luckily after a few hours the shopping list was completed. It was time to go to Manhattan Beach and watch the amazing sunset.The pier is decorated with beautiful Christmas lights during the holiday season. I walked around and had some dinner at Fushion Sushi.

The next morning I drove around and stopped at the beach near Palos Verdes. You have breath taking ocean views here from the red tile roofs of Palos Verdes all the way to Malibu. Palos Verdes is an affluent, picturesque city on the peninsula. It has a mix of smaller, older and huge, modern homes perched on the hilltops.
There are many trails to choose for hiking or just walking along the ocean. For golf enthusiasts, Trump golf course is also located here. This area is a nice respite from the LA daily grind.
I finished my breakfast at the beach surrounded by strollers, bikers, dog walkers, surf dudes and runners. What a lovely place to be!

Margré

This time I wanted to see New York City from another perspective. So I decided to take the East River Ferry from the Pier at East 34 street across the East River to Pier 11 near Wall Street. It was such a great trip.

Of course it's a normal way of travelling for the commuters in the Big Apple. But for me it was one big party. With a big smile on my face, feeling like the queen of the world, I watched the impressive skyline of New York City on the roof top deck of the ferry. All commuters were inside the ferry, instead of me, struggling with the strong wind! But the blue sky and the sun made it very pleasant to stay outside and I felt like I was on top of the world at that moment. Via Williamsburg I travelled to Pier 11 and had a great view of the Brooklyn Bridge, the Statue of Liberty and the skyline of Manhattan. Tickets you can buy at the machines near the Pier. This trip cost you only about four dollars. But real entertaining ;-)!

I jumped of the Ferry at Pier 11 and walked to Wall Street. Saw the Trump Building just after Donald Trump won the elections. Some tourists were staring at the building maybe not knowing that THE big Trump Tower is on fifth Avenue. 40 Wall Street, also known as the Trump Building, is a 71-story skyscraper. I had a glimpse of the Wall Street Stock Excange and walked into the Trinity Church for a peaceful moment.

I took the subway from Rector Street uptown till Rockefeller Center to see the big Christmas Tree. The Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree is a large Christmas tree placed annually in Rockefeller Center, in Midtown Manhattan. The tree is erected in mid November and lit during a public ceremony on the last day of November just at the time I landed in New York City. Approximately 50,000 multi-coloured LED lights adorn the Norwegian Spruce’s branches. But unforntunately during my visit at the middle of the day it was not as spectacular as I expected. It will be great during the evening and night when it is dark and all the colourfull lights are shining. Don’t forget to watch the Swarovski star on top, which made its debut at the top of the tree in 2004, weighs 550 pounds, spans nine-and-a-half feet in diameter and features 25,000 crystals.

A winter visit to Rockefeller Center wouldn’t be complete without enjoying one of the city's most celebrated traditions. Each winter, visitors lace up their skates and twirl away at The Rink at Rockefeller Center. Here you’ll find New Yorkers and visitors alike skating at the base of the iconic Christmas Tree in the heart of Rockefeller Center. I wandered around, didn’t skate but twirled away at Victoria’s Secret instead ;-).

Watch our vlog of Los Angeles versus New York!