2013 in review – my year in ten trips

by Jeanne on January 5, 2014

in Roundup, Travel

Post image for 2013 in review – my year in ten trips

 

So I have shared my favourite restaurant experiences of 2013 and my favourite recipes of 2013 with you, and as promised the final part of this series is a roundup of my travels in 2013. Ladies and gentlemen please fasten your seatbelts, return your seatbacks to the upright position, ensure that your tray tables are stowed – and prepare for take-off!

The travel year kicked off  in February with a week’s skiing with friends in the French Alps in the resort of Samoens, part of the Grand Massif ski area. We stayed in an outstanding chalet called Grand Ourse owned and run by a young English couple under the banner of Absolute Alpine who truly understand the kind of ski holiday I want: luxury accommodation; a hot tub; a relaxed atmosphere; and outstanding food (their chef for the season  had done a stage at the Fat Duck, no less!) . An excellent time was had by all, as you can probably see…!

 

Samoensskilift © J Horak-Druiff 2014

 

2013SamoensSigns

Samoens2013Group © J Horak-Druiff 2014

 

Samoens2013HotTub © J Horak-Druiff 2014

 

ChaletGrandOurseChocFondant © J Horak-Druiff 2014

 

The next trip was our annual trip home to South Africa in March.  We started in Cape Town and managed to fit in a night at the spectacular Cullinan Hotel, as well as a blissful short break to the magical Grootbos reserve outside Hermanus.  We also made it down to Port Elizabeth and Cape St Francis where I hung out with my awesome nephews and spent rather a lot of time on the beach!

 

CullinanHotelPool © J Horak-Druiff 2013

 

CullinanHotelLobby2 © J Horak-Druiff 2013

 

GrootbosBreakfastDeck © J Horak-Druiff 2013

 

GrootbosLandrover © J Horak-Druiff 2013

 

GrootbosBath © J Horak-Druiff 2013

 

GrootbosChampagneSunset © J Horak-Druiff 2013

 

SamDavidApr2013 © J Horak-Druiff 2013

 

May brought the Plate to Page food writing & photography workshop at which I am a speaker and this time we held it at Decoy Country Cottages in Ireland, just outside Dublin. We welcomed 11 participants from around the world (including two from South Africa!) and fell in love with the Irish countryside, people… and food!

 

PlateToPageIrelandMarketWeather2 © J Horak-Druiff 2013

 

PlateToPageDecoyCottages1 © J Horak-Druiff 2013

 

P2PIrelandSage&StoneGroup1 © J Horak-Druiff 2013

 

JeanneProsecco © Meeta K Wolff 2013

  

PlateToPageIrelandInstructors © J Horak-Druiff 2013

 

Early June saw me head off to Nantes, France for a press trip to the Muscadet wine region.  Two very happy days were spent travelling from wine estate to wine estate and meeting interesting, diverse and passionate winemakers; as well as experiencing some fantastic meals including the wonderful local seafood.

 

LAtlantide78Muscadet © J Horak-Druiff 2013

 

LAtlantideLangoustine © J Horak-Druiff 2013

 

LAtlantideJoLandron © J Horak-Druiff 2013

 

MuscadetWine © J Horak-Druiff 2014

 

MuscadetPoironDabinWinemaker © J Horak-Druiff 2014

 

In August we went to visit friends in Jersey – an channel island we have visited several times but that never fails to provide an enjoyable weekend. You can always find a spot on a sandy beach, even on Bank Holiday weekend, and a trip around the food market in St Helier to collect fresh local produce for dinner is a foodie’s dream.

 

JerseyBeach2013 © J Horak-Druiff 2014

 

JerseyCow © J Horak-Druiff 2014

 

JerseyMarket © J Horak-Druiff 2014

 

JerseyMarketFish © J Horak-Druiff 2014

 

JerseyMarketTomatoes © J Horak-Druiff 2014

 

Early September saw me finally set foot in Asia (it only took fortysomething years…) when the Hong Kong Tourist Board invited me along with a couple of other journalists on a press trip to explore Hong Kong as a foodie short break or layover destination – a perfect halfway house if you are travelling to Australia from the UK. We stayed in possibly my favourite hotel ever (the Hotel Icon in Kowloon) – an establishment that takes customer focus and attention to small details to new heights. From the first evening bobbing up and down in Victoria Harbour on the Aqua Luna red-sailed junk in a happy jet-lagged daze, to the extraordinary views from The Peak, through a foodie tour of the Central district, to a series of increasingly excellent dim sum meals, it was a hugely memorable long weekend and I definitely want to return to Hong Kong to explore further.

 

HongKongStreetScene © J Horak-Druiff 2013

 

HongKongSklyline © J Horak-Druiff 2013

 

HongKongThePeakJeanne © J Horak-Druiff 2013

 

HongKongDimSum © J Horak-Druiff 2014

 

HongKongAquaLuna © J Horak-Druiff 2014

 

As luck would have it, my first and second trips to Asia took place within two weeks of each other as we departed on our long-awaited Singapore holiday in late September. I had been promising Johanna that I’d visit since she moved there and I had finally made good on my promise!  We arrived just in time for the Singapore Formula 1 Night Race – an unmissable spectacle even for non-fans like me – and had a Killers concert thrown in as a bonus. For the next week, we explored and fell in love with Singapore – its tropical climate; exotic plants and animals; bustling hawker centres full of cheap, exotic food; elegant high-end dining options; and its melting pot of cultures. We also spent a night at the famous Marina Bay Sands hotel, mostly to be able to swim in their spectacular rim flow pool on the 57th floor.  Yes, it is worth every penny, and then some.

 

MarinaBaySands © J Horak-Druiff 2014

 

MarinabaySandsPool © J Horak-Druiff 2014

 

SingaporeF1NightRace © J Horak-Druiff 2014

 

SingaporeJohanna © J Horak-Druiff 2014

 

SingaporeBotanicGarden © J Horak-Druiff 2014

 

SingaporeMaxwellHawkerCentre © J Horak-Druiff 2014

 

SingaporePeranakanHouses © J Horak-Druiff 2014

 

On the way back from Singapore, we stopped off in Dubai for a few days, where we stayed at the magnificent One & Only The Palm resort, quite possibly the most luxurious and relaxing resort I have ever visited. Our villa was halfway between the swimming pool and the beach and it was difficult to tear ourselves away from the pool long enough each day to do a little sightseeing. Seriously difficult. We did manage it though, and did a spot of skiing at Ski Dubai as well as going up the Burj Khalifa (the world’s tallest building), having (enormously expensive) drinks at the seven-star Burj Al Arab hotel, and meeting up with Sally for dinner.

 

2013DubaiBeach

 

OneAndOnlyThe PalmPool © J Horak-Druiff 2014

2013DubaiSunset

AtTheTopBurjKhalifa © J Horak-Druiff 2013

 

DubaiMallWaterfallDiver © J Horak-Druiff 2013

 

2013DubaiSally

 

In November, the planets magically aligned and we were able to take a weekend break in Scotland on the same weekend that the Springboks played rugby in Ediburgh.  I had won a weekend at the Monachyle Mohr hotel in a cooking competition earlier in the year and had no idea what to expect – but boy, was I blown away!  Situated on the shores of the small but perfectly formed Loch Voil and a stone’s throw from Rob Roy’s grave, the hotel is a serene oasis of beautiful decor, friendly staff and seriously good food.

 

MonachyleMohrHotel © J Horak-Druiff 2014

 

MonachyleMohrRoom © J Horak-Druiff 2014

 

ScotlandLochVoil © J Horak-Druiff 2014

BalquhidderGraveyard © J Horak-Druiff 2014

BalquhidderAutumnLeaves © J Horak-Druiff 2014

 

In mid-December I was thrilled to be invited to experience a gourmet ski weekend on the slopes of  the Dolomites.  The concept of “Slope Food” is that a number of Michelin-starred local chefs (the area is over-endowed with them!) each create a single signature dish that is to be served at one of the mountain restaurants that dot the area.  You buy a ticket that entitles to you to all six dishes and then ski from hut to hut, sampling a dish and a matching glass of wine at each.  My dream trip?  You bet. All I can say is that the French resorts can learn a lot from Italy in terms of stylish mountain huts! Definitely a must-do for any skiing foodie.

 

SatSnapsDolomitesMoonrise

 

DolomitesSunrise © J Horak-Druiff 2014

 

DolomitesSpeck © J Horak-Druiff 2014

 

DolomitesDeckchairs © J Horak-Druiff 2014

 

DolomitesPiste © J Horak-Druiff 2014

 

2013DolomitesSlopeFood © J Horak-Druiff 2014

 

And a week after my Dolomites ski trip, Nick and I jetted off to spend our Christmas skiing in Obertauern, Austria with Johanna and her family. We’d been to the resort previously two years ago, but I had hurt my knee on day 2 and so had not seen much of the resort – but this time I skiied it flat! Compact and pretty, it’s set in a bowl and you can ski in a clockwise or anti-clockwise circuit (the Tauernrunde) without ever having to retrace your steps. Our hotel (Hotel Austria) was situated directly next to the Edelweiss lift and slope, which just so happens to be the slope where night skiing takes place – can there be a greater luxury than tumbling out of your hotel and directly onto the chair lift and then spending the day skiing with one of your best friends? Nope, didn’t think so!

 

2013ObertauernPistes © J Horak-Druiff 2013

 

2013ObertauernJ&J

 

Groomed Pistes © J Horak-Druiff 2014

2013ObertauernSkiLift

2013ObertauernJeanne

 

And that, as they say, is that! I don’t like to pick favourites, but suffice to say we are already planning a stopover in Singapore in 2014, en route to Australia… :)  If you are in the travel industry and would like me to visit a specific destination during 2014 please get in touch with me to discuss how I can help you showcase your destination through high quality photos and text via all my social media channels. 

Happy travels to all my Cooksister readers and may you get to explore to your heart’s content in 2014!

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{ 21 comments… read them below or add one }

Marcel January 5, 2014 at 1:00 pm

Wow Jeanne – you had an excellent year!

My wife and I were married on Zanzibar and did the Tanzania safari tour. Very spectacular countryside. I did collect ZAR coins at one stage (from the late 1800′s) but they have all been sold on now.

I’m in Cork, Ireland so if ever you are over let me know and I’ll cook you a lovely meal.

Marcel
http://www.cookingforfun101.com

Reply

Jeanne January 7, 2014 at 12:36 pm

Hi Marcel – thanks for stopping by. I’ve never been to Tanzania (never been on a proper safari in fact, which is a terrible admission for somebody born in Africa! ;)) – I can imagine that a wedding on Zanzibar must have been magical. Ireland is somewhere that I really need to explore further – such wonderful people and fantastic local produce!

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Jenn January 5, 2014 at 3:55 pm

A lovely set of photos, Jeanne! Can’t wait to see all your adventures in 2014 :)

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Jeanne January 7, 2014 at 12:37 pm

Thanks Jen – high praise coming from a photographer as talented as you!! 2014 should be a big travel year – planning to be on five of the seven continents :o) Watch this space…

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Simone January 5, 2014 at 10:32 pm

Oooo, I’m not jealous… No not at all.. ;) You had an amazing year Jeanne! Well I knew you had been a way a LOT but that it was this much I could only have guessed! Wishing you a great travel year again for 2014!

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Jeanne January 7, 2014 at 12:38 pm

Hahaha – thanks, lovely! Just read your beautiful 2013 travel post too and I am equally jealous! ;)

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Carolina January 6, 2014 at 9:53 am

Dear Jeanne,

How exciting your year was. Beautiful pictures. I am happy I met you a couple of years ago at Monkey Valley Resort in Noordhoek for a food blog course.
After we closed Cucina Carolina in Strand, we are now on our way to Spain where we are going to open another Cucina Carolina Restaurante at the Costa Blanca.

Wishing you well and love to see more beautiful pics.

All the best.

Carolina da Cucina Carolina

Reply

Jeanne January 7, 2014 at 12:39 pm

Hi Carolina :) Thanks for popping by – I think you mailed me to say that you were closing in the Strand but I did not realise you were heading for a new venture in Spain – how exciting! Will have to come and visit when you are up and running. All the best for 2014 and the new venture!

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karin@yumandmore January 6, 2014 at 9:59 am

Wow Jeanne what a year! Your pictures are stunning!
Glad you enjoyed amazing Singapore, a place one can’t get enough of.
So looking forward to my first visit to SA so soon.
Happy New Year and see you there!
xox

Reply

Jeanne January 7, 2014 at 12:40 pm

Thanks, lovely lady! People had such mixed reactions when I said I was visiting Singapore – some said 1 week there was WAY too much, but I ended up leaving with so many things I still wanted to see (and eat!). Can’t wait to see you in S Africa in less than 2 months!

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Meeta January 6, 2014 at 10:50 am

What an amazing travel year 2013 has been for you Jeanne. I always love hearing about them. Hope maybe 2014 takes us on a few trips together!

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Jeanne January 7, 2014 at 12:41 pm

Thanks, Schatzi! And oh yes, I am sure we will manage to go away together in 2014… ;o)

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Jamie Claire / The Sparkle Kitchen January 7, 2014 at 1:31 am

What a gorgeous year! And wine everywhere :)! Can’t wait to see what you share with us in 2014!

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Jeanne January 7, 2014 at 12:42 pm

Thanks for visiting, Jamie! And hahaha, yes indeed, there was a lot of wine going on everywhere I went ;) 2014 should be an exciting year with trips planed to 5 of the 7 continents! Stay tuned…

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Sally - My Custard Pie January 7, 2014 at 5:37 am

Awww – love that pic …so nice to meet up and that was a rather beautiful evening at the 101. I’ve patently lived here too long though as it’s the Ireland pics and Monachyle Mohr that pique my fancy. That loch…..wow! Hope to see you in 2014

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Jeanne January 7, 2014 at 12:43 pm

It was a spectacular evening indeed – such a treat for us to sit outside on a balmy night listening to the water lapping at the jetty and enjoying spectacular food and company! And yes – here’s to meeting up in 2014 – maybe when you do your annual UK pilgrimmage??

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Grace January 8, 2014 at 5:47 pm

What an incredible year, I’m so jealous! I saw this and saw your wonderful writing and beautiful pics about Hong Kong food…itching to go back.

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RuthieLeader January 8, 2014 at 7:48 pm

Wow! Am impressed. I have just started a blog and celebrating my first follower! Gotta start somewhere. Please give me some words of advice Nd encouragement. It’s about my childhood in rural Thailand recipes inspired by my time there.

http://monsoontreasures.wordpress.com

Reply

jane@burningsalad January 9, 2014 at 4:51 pm

Wow, it sounds like you had a fantastic year of travel and some amazing food Jeanne. Here’s another year of exploring the world and eating lots of new meals

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Jonker - Firefly January 13, 2014 at 11:56 am

To say that you just had a couple of trips out of town would be an understatement. You did some serious travelling and, I’m sure I talk for all your readers, we are really envious.

Reply

Helen @ Fuss Free Flavours January 14, 2014 at 7:23 pm

Goodness me, what a distance you went Jeanne!

I adore that photo of the Frenchman with the very splendid tash! #

Reply

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