with Bob Nicolaides,
Guild of Sommeliers… Greek Wine Master Classes
This month Master Sommelier, Matt Stamp, of the Guild of Sommeliers, led three Master Classes on Greek wine for trade in Houston at Camarata at Paulie’s on 10/8, Los Angeles at Upstairs 2 on 10/10, and finishing up in New York at Corkbuzz on 10/14. The attention was on Greek white varieties including, Assyrtiko, Moschofilero, Malagousia, Kydonitsa, Robola, Vidiano,the very rare Dafni… and yes, even Retsina. An additional focus will include a comparative flight of Assyrtikos from Santorini, followed by a tour of wines from the sun-bleached, wind-swept coasts of Greece and other islands.
The U.S. chapter of the Guild of Sommeliers was founded in 2003 by a group of Master Sommeliers. The Guild of Sommeliers, like the Court of Master Sommeliers, originated in the United Kingdom. Founded in 1953, the Guild’s goal was then, and remains now, to educate and reward those in the beverage service industry.
How’s a Weekend Trip to Hilton Head Island in the Fall
A weekend trip to Hilton Head Island requires a little more commitment. Nevertheless, with fall temperatures in the 70s and 80s, and miles of clean low country beaches, it’s well worth the trip. Golfers will also find the courses are quieter, and fishing enthusiasts will find that red fish are spawning and abundant all around Hilton Head.
The Westin Hilton Head Island Resort & Spa, which is located within the Port Royal Plantation completed an extensive renovation earlier this year, and has three outdoor swimming pools and private oceanfront cabanas (October weekend rates start at $195 — a good deal for a four AAA Diamond resort). Also a recently renovated four Diamond resort, the Sonesta Resort Hilton Head Island ($179) is set on 11 acres of beachfront, located within the Shipyard Plantation, and has an on-site, full-service spa
World’s largest manmade lagoon to come up in Dubai
Crystal Lagoons Corporation, the patented technology developer of giant crystalline lagoons, is set to develop the world’s largest crystalline manmade lagoon at an upscale $7 billion residential community in Dubai, said a senior company official. Crystal Lagoons has signed a deal to construct the world’s largest manmade lagoon, covering 40 hectares, almost four-times bigger than the world’s largest existing lagoon, revealed Crystal Lagoons CEO Kevin P Morgan ahead of Cityscape Global 2013, the leading real state event in the Middle East which will run from October 8 to 10 in Dubai. Located in the upscale Mohammed Bin Rashid City – District One residential community in the heart of Dubai, the lagoon will form an integral part of the $7 billion project, he explained.
Mohammed Bin Rashid City – District One is a prestigious joint venture between Dubai-based Meydan Group and Real Estate developer, Sobha Group. The new lagoon with its expansive custom-made beaches, which offer unlimited scope for swimming, water sports and other water-based leisure activities, will be a core amenity within the District One’s 47 million sq ft of freehold land. This expansive development will feature luxury residences, green parklands, waterways, a high end shopping and dining pavilion and large recreational spaces creating one of the lowest density developments in the heart of any international city.
Mohammed Bin Rashid City (MBRC) is a planned mixed-use development containing four components; family tourism, retail, the arts and entrepreneurship and innovation. One interesting feature will be a public park larger than Hyde Park in London. The company has completed two lagoons in the popular Egyptian resort of Sharm El Sheikh – including currently the world’s largest lagoon at 12 hectares – and another completed project in Jordan, along with two other projects under development in Oman and the UAE.
Tourism Minister: 12 Countries Lift Travel Ban to Egypt
In a press conference on the sidelines of Al Mal GTM conference, Hisham Zazou said that after Poland had lifted travel ban to Egypt, 12 European countries lifted the travel ban result of the efforts made by the Ministry of Tourism in that regard.He added that the tourism would be back on the right track, noting that Hurghada Airport has received 1,000 Germans over the past few hours reflecting a return in German tourism to Egypt.
Zazou pointed out that the revenues of tourism declined by about $1 billion, as from January till August tourism revenues reached about $5.3 billion compared to $6.2 billion in the corresponding period last year
Could Visiting India Amount to Visiting the World?
India could be considered a world on its own because of the variety of languages spoken, the cultural traditions and the many religions. It is there where festivals like Diwali and Id are celebrated hand in hand with people of other faiths. That in itself makes it so that if one travels they may begin with India, or it equals to a trip around the entire world. Each state has a different flavor, something different to tell in terms of its social diversity. This may also be the reason why it attracts so many visitors annually.
If you picked one place only to visit in India, that would be Himachal Pradesh, and that is because of the hills and because of its distance from the big city hustle and bustle. And the advice of Indian travelers to their countrymen is the need to keep their streets and neighborhoods clean of rubbish. “When we go abroad to the US or Dubai” advises an Indian tourist, “we follow the rules to the letter. We throw waste in the bins, whereas when we’re home we litter hopelessly.. It would be prudent to follow the same rule when we are home.”
Another bad aspect of India is the widespread corruption of politicians and that needs to be corrected. While they are busy buying mansions aborad, they forget the common man and the nation. It is a symptom which must be wiped out.
London Steals Best City Title From Paris
It could be that it is the city’s growing reputation for harboring increasingly aggressive pickpockets and petty thieves. Or its reputation for rudeness. One way or another, the City of lights, long one of the most visited places in the world has been knocked off its perch as the ‘best city in the world,’ by London and Sydney in a new index released the week of October 6th.
According to the latest edition of the Anholt-GfK City Brands index which measures a city’s brand image, power and appeal, London stock has gone up in the world as it has taken the top spot in the biennial ranking. London has also taken the top spot as the city where individual cultures are appreciated and where non-Brits can ‘fit in easily.’ Meanwhile, the Australian megalopolis of Sydney has capture the stellar reputation of being the ‘safest and friendliest’ of cities.
The City Brands Index measures the value of a city’s international reputation across six dimensions: Its international status and standing; aesthetics; a category called ‘pre-requisites’ such as affordable accommodations and the standard of public amenities; people; pulse (interesting things to do) and its economic and educational potential.
More than 5,140 interviews were conducted in Australia, Brazil, China, France, India, Rusia, South Korea, the uS and the UK for the index. And while Paris was able to retain the top spot in the category of Pulse, where the city failed to crack the top 10 ranking was in categories such as Friendly People and Safety. And here are the top 10 best cities in the world for 2013/2014: 1. London, 2. Sydney, 3. Paris, 4. New York, 5. Rome, 6. Washington, DC, 7. Los Angeles, 8. Toronto, 9> Vienna, 10. Melbourne.
Visitors Are Sparse Now In Ancient Monastery.
By William Booth,
ST. CATHERINE’S MONASTERY, Egypt — Thousands of years of tradition say the monastery built here marks the spot where Moses fell down on his knees before a burning bush and talked to God. Hidden high in the desert mountains, guarded for centuries by scholar monks and Bedouin tribesmen, this fortress sanctuary was once as remote as any place on Earth could be.
This is no longer so. The modern world arrived at St. Catherine’s Monastery in the form of paved highways and mass tourism, which once brought thousands of pilgrims a day. Syria’s conflict is threatening its religious diversity, Christians say. Pilgrims have fled amid insurgency elsewhere on Egyptian peninsula, but locals take care of their own.
In August, the Egyptian government closed St. Catherine’s Monastery to visitors as a precaution. It was only the third closure in 50 years. While the monastery reopened its doors again after three weeks, Egyptian security forces are now everywhere, shepherding the handful of foreigners into the area in armed convoys. The monks at the monastery, and the Bedouin who make their living as guides here, stress that the violence is taking place 300 miles to the north.
Militants in the north have launched near-daily attacks on Egyptian security forces. In August, gunmen ambushed trucks carrying Egyptian police recruits and executed 25 on the side of a road near a peacekeepers’ checkpoint. But in the south, the Bedouin tell their children the story of how the Roman emperor Justinian brought their tribe of mason-warriors to the Sinai in the sixth century to build the walled monastery here, and protect the monks with their lives. “We teach our children that the monastery gives us life,” said Suleman Gebaly, a guide and local chronicler. “This place puts food on our table.”
The descendants of these Justinian serfs continue to honor their task, and so do the monks in black frocks, with their long gray beards and ponytails, who devote their days to vespers and prayer and to their magnificent library, which preserves in the high desert air some of the oldest, most precious manuscripts in Christendom.
Industrial tourism came to the monastery with the building of paved highways in the early 1980s. Until recently, the monastery drew throngs — sometimes 350 tour buses a day, a thousand visitors or more — from the beach resorts at Taba, Dahab and Sharm el-Sheik along the Red Sea coast, a diver’s paradise.
Camel drivers who bring visitors on the three-hour climb to the top of Mount Sinai say they are desperate for work. On a recent dawn ascent, only six Colombians made the summit. At a hut along the trail, guide Sabah Darwish sat wrapped in blankets, drinking tea and smoking in the murk. “You’re the first foreigners I’ve seen in a month,” he said.
A Bedouin tribe called the Gebaliya still tend desert gardens and flocks of sheep and goats. Every man has a camel, if he can, though many families have had to sell their camels at steep discounts to traders, who take them down to the beach resorts and feed them from dumpsters, trying to hold on until the tourists come back. Without tourism, the Bedouin said, they would pursue other paths — such as drug smuggling, or worse.