Category Archives: World

Food & travel behaviors

I bet there is not a single one of you out there reading this who never posted at least one picture of his food!!
Right? 🙂

It seems to me we are all surrounded by food. We are not just surrounded, we are flooded with images of food and drink. Drowning.

A look into facebook, instagram and co. is enough to see what my friends have eaten at the restaurant, what they have cooked at home, what their babies are eating… You can’t even escape this trend by watching tv: there are food-shows everywhere!!

Lugano14food
Italian food and lifestyle in Lugano

Even if I definitely do not want to see very single dish you are eating at home or at the restaurant around the corner, I think this is a good trend. People were eating privately, not really thinking about if the food is beautiful, healthy, ugly… worth a picture or not. We finally think about the food. About where it comes from, what effects it has on our bodies and most important: what effect it has on our friends who see it posted. It became a kind of status symbol.

By the way… I am loving this new trend of the short cooking instructions videos (like the ones of “Tasty” any many more). It makes cooking seem easy and accessible to everyone.

Delicious Waffle in Greece
Delicious Waffle in Greece

Are you a food-driven traveler?

Nowadays, when we travel we do not just want to show our friends at home the hotel room or the beautiful panoramic views we are seeing, we want to also show (and show off 😉 ) which restaurants we are going to and what we are eating.

Europe is trendsetter in this, and it seems this trend has also been carried overseas to the USA. I read that incredible 95 percent of American travelers are interested in a unique food experience when they travel. It was only 47 percent in 2013!

Thinking about how I chose my travel destinations I notice  that food definitely plays a big role! I can define myself as a food & cuisine driven traveler.

Travel & Food
Destinations are promoting themselves through their food: in this case Spain.

Generally speaking, I am always happy when I am able to find out more of the culture through the food, so it is always an adventure for me to try something I have never eaten before, but if I feel uncomfortable with the local food then this influences the mood of the entire trip.

Fortunately this happened just once very strongly. It wasn’t even a too exotic destination. I won’t tell you which destination it was. But if you want you can guess! 🙂

Back to us: this is changing the landscape of travel. Destinations are changing their marketing campaigns and tourism professionals are spotting a good business with culinary experience travel.

Foodies are looking for a deeper experience than the random restaurant suggestions we can read in every travel guide.

Wine and travel
Wines also play an impotant role in the travel experience

But how do you find the places and restaurants to visit?

A local travel advisor can be very helpful. Travel agents had lost a lot of importance due to the fact that all of us prefer to go the direct way and look into the internet instead of go through a travel agency. But in this case local agencies can really help. They know the hot spots and can offer you an authentic food experience … even if it’s only by their personal experience. I think you can find out very easily if you are talking to someone who knows what you are searching for.

If you want to organize everything on your own you can do some research on the internet. You can normally easily find some guest’s reviews or bloggers suggestions.

Just be careful not to choose a restaurant only because of its massive presence on the internet, this does not automatically mean it is good. The small delicious restaurant around the corner will normally not even have a homepage.

Which are your favorite destinations when it comes to food?
It would be interesting to find out.

PS: Okay I admit, I am also often taking pictures of my food … just now, after having written this article, my smartphone fell into my salad… 😉

Love of Food
“There is no sincerer love than the love of food”
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What it’s like for an Arab to go on vacation

Makes you understand how much the liberty of going “wherever you want” “whenever you want” is worth! Never take that for granted and feel blessed. Happy travels!

The Bancast

I have a full-time job. By Jordanian standards I have a decent job – as a presenter on the drivetime programme of a local radio station.

Once a year I feel entitled to go on a summer vacation and for a week or two forget about everything else that matters. And why shouldn’t I?

Oh right, cause I’m an Arab…

sea

Your average hard worker with a first world citizenship will pick a destination, purchase a plane ticket, book a hotel (maybe), go on holiday and return to their routine feeling fulfilled.

As an Arab – a Jordanian at least – it’s a little more complicated:

Step 1. Choose a destination

Step 2. Discover that it requires a pre-approved visa. Nine out of 10 times it’s a Schengen country. Even then you must apply at the country of entry’s embassy.

Step 4. Check to see if chosen destination has an embassy in your country. No? Change destination accordingly.

Step…

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I HAVE A CAMEL IN MY LIVING ROOM: DUBAI!

My camel Dubai

Looking at Dubai (that’s the name of the camel) in front of my living room-light takes me back to the trip to Dubai. It is a souvenir I bought during my short time there.

Everyone who is into travel, especially into hotels, has at least a bit of curiosity in seeing Dubai once. I finally managed to.

It was more a long-weekend trip, which for most of the people I talked to was a bit crazy to do. Maybe, if you fly a lot, the distances become shorter in your perception… But still, I think that it was absolutely worth it and everyone should do it.

This place takes you straight to another world: the world of 1001 nights!

From Europe it is quite easy: flight is not too long, time difference is not too big, good weather is guaranteed when here it’s still winter and it is an absolute way to get rid of all the negative thoughts of everyday stress.

Flights & transportation:
Lufthansa or Emirates are recommended. Check out the Dubai Airport site to find out all the possible airlines and time-schedules from your preferred airport, they have a great flight-planner: www.dubaiairport.com
I took a Lufthansa flight from Frankfurt and as soon as I arrived, I have been approached by a limousine driver who offered to bring me to the hotel for a special price. He talked in such a low voice that I could barely understand him and as I was confused about the currency exchange I nearly accepted. Well, only nearly. I decided then to go to the official taxi stand where there are special women-only taxis with a pink roof: driven by women for women. It looked cooler and it finally cost half of the price!

So, here a generic travel-tip, no matter where you are:
– always use the official taxis and
– check the cost of the ride to your hotel before arriving, keeping in mind the actual currency exchange

Dubai Nightlife
Dubai Nightlife

Hotels:
How to recommend a hotel in Dubai? I call it the hotel-city. There is something for everyone and every budget.

Taxis are quite cheap, which means that you do not have to worry too much about where exactly your hotel is located. Nevertheless, I picked a hotel at the Dubai Marina in order to be able to directly go to the beach after my sumptuous breakfast: the Habtoor Grand, which was ideal as it has one of the best private beaches. The rooms are spacious, some of them with a wonderful sea-view, staff members are incredibly friendly and always helpful, the pool is relaxing, and it has a cool shisha-lounge with good cocktails. Champagne was free for women during my visit… what else do you need?!

View from my window to the city, the Hotel-Bar and... the beach!
View from my window to the city, the Hotel-Bar and… the beach!

Here some closer shots of the Habtoor beach:

beach2

The Dubai Marina is also where you can find all kinds of restaurants and bars: an artificial canal city and includes over 8 kilometers of public walkways. For me, it was the best choice.

Dubai Marina
Dubai Marina

So, what to do if you only have a couple of days?
The city offers everything a traveler’s heart desires. It is difficult to recommend something, but these are some of my favorites:

  • Visit some of the best and famous restaurants in the world
  • Have a drink in one of the panoramic rooftop bars
    View from rooftop-bar
    View from Rooftop-Restaurant, Marriott Marina Harbour

     

  • Shopping! A must: Dubai Mall with one of the largest aquarium in the world and access to the Dubai Fountain with a stunning view of Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building
  • Buy some gold at the Dubai Gold souk
  • Visit one of the symbols of Dubai: Burj Al Arab. You can enter if you have a reservation for one of the restaurants or bars in the hotel – even if it’s only afternoon tea
  • Have a look at the palm-tree shaped islands
  • Visit the Bastakia District and Dubai Creek with its souks
  • Don’t forget the beach!
Dubal Mall Aquarium
Dubai Mall Aquarium
Dubai Creek
Dubai Creek

Dubai Festival of lights:
It wasn’t planned. I had the luck to be there during the first Dubai Festival of Lights ever! Downtown Dubai was stunning, with a breathtaking combination of lights, music and art.

Dubai Festival of Lights
Dubai Festival of Lights

Dos and Don’ts:
The great thing about Dubai is that the many tourists from all over the world and the very modern look make you easily feel comfortable. However, you don’t have to forget that Dubai strictly follows Islamic laws which should be respected, and I think that respect is the most important thing while traveling.

So here are the main rules:
–          Always remember: Public displays of affection, such as holding hands and kissing, are socially unacceptable. I know that it is a bit difficult for us to get used to this, but there have been arrests for public displays of affection. Sex outside marriage is banned. Homosexual acts are criminal offense with possible deportation.

–          As a woman, avoid tight, transparent, above the knee, stomach free, shoulders or back free clothing. Topless sunbathing is not permitted on the beaches. For men, is not appropriate to walk along the street bare-chested.

–          As a man, be very careful when talking to a woman. Unwanted conversation and long stares are not well seen.

–          Avoid taking pictures of local people, especially of women wearing national dress, without permission.

–          It is illegal to walk in the street drinking alcohol or to be drunk in a public place, as well as to have any alcohol in your blood when driving. You cannot purchase alcohol from a supermarket.

–          There is a zero-tolerance policy towards drugs. Penalties for drug trafficking include jail and the death penalty.

–          Medication available in every pharmacy at home may be illegal or considered a controlled substance in the UAE. Check the status of the medication before bringing it into the country.

Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Fountain
Burj Khalifa and the Dubai Fountain
Poster of Downtown Dubai
Poster of Downtown Dubai