Tuesday 29 April 2014

My Travel Bucket List

Today I share a few of my dream destinations with you.  Many of you reading this may have visited one or all of these magnificent destinations.  I, on the other hand, still remain hopeful.  These 5 places are at the top of my travel bucket list: 


I don't even have to explain myself with this one.  Who doesn't dream of sipping a mug of Swiss hot chocolate somewhere in a remote mountain cabin while heating up your toes in front of the fireplace?  A romantic getaway on the slopes also sounds like a pretty fine idea...think about sipping a glass of something with that special someone at the Gstaad Palace; absolute heaven!!  (Yes, I am a sucker for romance.  So what?)  The sightseeing is also something to behold...from snow covered mountains to icy lakes and the gorgeous Lauterbrunnen Valley with its 72 plunging waterfalls.  If this does not stir your inner romantic...nothing will!


To be honest, Italy is not a country I would visit for the sightseeing; though I do want to visit the Colosseum and row my own Gondola in Venice!  The REAL reason I want to visit Italy is the food - I want to eat gluttonous servings of Gelato and pizza and drink copious amounts of wine while I'm at it!  You, however, are free to roam the city and go sightseeing.

Hong Kong

This is a city that appeals to all your senses!  It's a place to visit when you don't plan on resting...imagine experiencing the Chinese New Year celebrations - China is well-known for its over the top festivals and events!
The city also boasts a world-class aquarium, thrill rides and giant pandas at Ocean Park, and if that's not enough...they have a life sized Ark (as in Noah's Ark!), which features a variety of things to do and see for all ages.
For a more spiritual experience, you can take a day trip to Lantau Island to visit the Big Buddha statue.

New York City

This is another city to visit if you don't plan on sleeping a lot...you can have your pick of Broadway shows, visit the famous Museum of Natural History and Museum of Modern Art (MoMA).  Early morning Starbucks & bagels in Manhattan followed by a walk in the Park is always a good idea.  Another popular tourist activity is taking an afternoon ferry to Staten Island to visit the ever popular Lady Liberty.


Like many others before me, I dream of experiencing the world famous city of Machu Picchu and hiking the legendary Inca Trail to the Lost City. 

Another attraction is the Peruvian Amazon, perfect for hiking and sleeping in an open cabin in the middle of the Amazon Jungle!

This list is not exhaustive...there are many places I still want to see. one experience I want with every fibre of my adventure-hungry being is a romantic, tropical island breakaway - that one deserves an entire blog post dedicated to it!

What is your dream destination?

Written by: Christine Kleyn

Tuesday 22 April 2014

A Bloemfontein Breakaway

If you are like me, you regard long weekends as sacred things.  It’s a time to rest, spend time with family and, of course, explore a little. 

This past long weekend I decided to take an unplanned trip inland to visit family.  Usually around Easter time half the population flock to the coastal areas to lap up the last bit of summer sun.  I, on the other hand, ended up on a last-minute flight to Bloemfontein.  Yes, that Afrikaans place in the middle of South Africa that’s butt-paralyzingly cold in winter and hellishly hot in summer. 

Airport Shuttle dropped me at Cape Town International Airport and I got to experience a Prius for the very first time and wasn't disappointed (this Eco-friendly vibe isn't bad at all)!  As I waited patiently to board the orange fruit plane for the umpteenth time, I noticed my fellow passengers and knew it was going to be an interesting experience; it was a cultural kaleidoscope of note.  The plane was packed with eccentric looking varsity students, business men, babies and a few boere (judging from their dress-code).  
I witnessed mothers discipline their unruly children loudly...in Afrikaans...in a confined space; this had me praying for Valium to rain down from the overhead compartment by the handfuls. Thankfully, the flight itself was a pleasant experience…unlike other carriers, they allow you to use your tablets and other tech in-flight and this kept me distracted for a good hour!

Upon arrival, we headed out to Loch Logan Waterfront (yes, Bloem has a “waterfront”) for brunch at a gorgeous contemporary/artisanal deli called Picnic where I had Eggs Benedict with salmon, fresh rocket and the richest hollandaise sauce you could imagine…it was phenomenal!  They sell the most delectable home/hand-made breads, cakes, cured meats and food goodies...none of that iffy commercial stuff!

It would be a cardinal sin to compare this “waterfront” to the V & A we all love so dearly here in the Cape, but it has water nonetheless.  Thick, green, slimy, foamy & fishy water (I’m not even sure if it still qualifies as water but let’s leave that for the local authorities to decide).  

Overall my weekend was pleasant, uneventful and consisted of eating (a lot), something the friendly locals sure know how to do!

* Bloemfontein Airport & Loch Logan Waterfront *

Written by: Christine Kleyn

Thursday 10 April 2014

An Adventure Imagined

You’re tired, overworked and underpaid. You want adventure and you want it now.
Imagine getting home from work one day and just grabbing your beaten up old backpack from under your bed and throwing in a couple of T-shirts, a pair of jeans and some underwear.
Imagine calling a cab service (Airport Shuttle Cape Town is my favourite by the way!) and heading to the airport and staring at the departures board and just picking the first available flight to anywhere.
Imagine landing at Charles de Gaulle Airport in Paris and starting your day with a glass of Cristal and a sensational smoked salmon baguette before taking a walk down Champs Elysees to visit the Arc de Triomphe. Imagine seeing the Eiffel Tower in its full glory and now imagine standing on top of it and having Paris all around you!
Imagine waking up in a hotel overlooking Times Square in New York City…in winter…covered in snow. Imagine sitting down in Starbucks across the road, sipping a latte and taking advantage of their free WiFi to catch up with your friends back home. Imagine partying it up on New Year’s, Times Square Style!
Imagine celebrating Oktoberfest in Germany, it’s not for the faint of heart…you've been warned!
Imagine standing at the top of the ski slopes in Austria or Switzerland and feeling the icy air and adrenaline overcome you on the way down.
Just imagine…
Now stop! I know it sounds impossible but you don’t have to be among the super-rich to travel. A budget hotel, bed and breakfast or even a backpackers (if you’re a student or travelling in a youth group) can be just as fun! After all, you’re not going to spend any time there except to sleep – which you won’t do very often anyway because there’s an adventure waiting and you have limited time.
Do yourself a favour and start a dream collage, there’s something about putting it out there in the universe that works magic. Write down your dreams and goals and add pictures! Everyday look at it and do something (no matter how small) towards achieving it.
Who knows, before long you might find yourself checking in your luggage on your way to an amazing adventure!

This blog was produced on behalf of http://www.airportshuttlecapetown.co.za

Written by: Christine Kleyn

5 Reasons to Travel...NOW!

Travelling can be a very personal thing. Everyone has a reason to do it and many will find reasons NOT to.

Today I will share some of my personal reasons for globetrotting and discuss their merit. I’ll also encourage you to discover your own reasons for travelling and their meaning to you.

Here are 5 reasons to travel and how it changes your life for the better:

It changes your perspective

We all get comfortable in our routines…and what happens when we get comfortable is that life becomes boring. Painfully boring. Getting out of your routine will give you a fresh perspective on life. You will learn new things and discover a whole new world outside your own!

Challenge yourself & your beliefs

Travelling, especially alone, can be an intimidating experience. Heading out into the unknown will teach you a lot about how to be adventurous and do things in the moment.

Jumping on that plane will push you past your reservations about leaving your comfort zone and immersing yourself in a different culture or vibe than you’re used to. Go ahead and eat that strange dish in a foreign country, get lost and find your way back to the hotel without asking for help…just do it!

I can guarantee that these experiences will help you grow as a person and get past emotional and physical limitations that are keeping you from living a crazy, fun and fulfilled life!

It changes your speed of thinking

When travelling you will notice there are lots of variables that challenge you to be creative & flexible. Your plans can change at any moment and you have to adapt instantaneously. The rain might start pouring down by the bucket loads on the day you planned to go hiking or do some outdoor sightseeing, you might leave your wallet at a restaurant, hotel or the bus, you might even miss the get-together of your tour guide! All these things will force you to think on your feet and act quickly if you want to enjoy your journey by grabbing every opportunity to go have fun and trying something new and different.

It teaches you discipline

Travelling teaches you persistence and self-reliance – both skills that will benefit you in your everyday life.

You need to be financially disciplined to budget and save for your trip, you need to get your travel documents (Visa’s & passports) and paperwork in order and you need to ensure that your vaccinations are up to date and that they comply with the requirements of the country you’re travelling to. You also have to arrange for your personal and home affairs to be taken care of while you’re away. Some questions/issues to consider: Who’s feeding your pets? Are the kids staying at home and do you have a reliable babysitter/caretaker? If you own a business, are your managers reliable?

As you can see, it takes hard work and discipline to accomplish your goal of travelling to another country.

It improves your self-confidence & adaptability

Can you think your way out of a difficult situation? Well…travelling will teach you just how to do that!

Placing yourself in a situation where you’re in over your head and managing to rise above will give your self-confidence the boost that it needs. If you don’t believe me, try navigating through a busy foreign airport…for the first time…alone…without any guidance. You feel on top of the friggin’ world when you get to the other side all by yourself!

Written by: Christine Kleyn
This blog was produced on behalf of http://www.airportshuttlecapetown.co.za

Welcome to the Travels of a Madman

Hi…I am the Travelling Madman and this is my blog.

Now that the formalities are out of the way, let’s get down to it. The Travels of a Madman is named after me – the madman. I'm a pleasure-seeker travelling far and wide to feed my sanity but end up even more insane and wanting more at the end of the day. I’m restless, completely off my rocker and I suffer from a bad case of wanderlust. 

I love travelling, exploring beautiful places, eating strange foods and discovering gems in the most unlikely places and now I get to share it all with YOU!

In this blog I’ll share some travel tips and advice while taking you on a journey to some of the most magnificent places I've seen and experiences I had; I’ll also be brutally honest and share some of the not so awesome things I have encountered on my travels.

I was inspired to share my experiences by reading other travel blogs and by my peers always asking me for tips on anything from restaurants and hotels to car hire/transport and sightseeing before they pack their bags for that long overdue holiday. I’ll help you navigate through the travel maze and make the process as stress-free as possible.

I hope you accept my invitation to join me on this journey where we’ll take a walk through Paris and have a croissant in a street corner caf√©, take a trip through Deutschland and take the scenic route through the green, cow-spotted countryside of the Netherlands. Together we will also explore the city of cities and my home…Cape Town. Beautiful, colorful, vibrant Cape Town.

I look forward to this journey with you, feel free to comment and share your own travel experiences along the way. I’d love to hear from you!

Written by: Christine Kleyn