Grown-up Travel Guide News Update – 06.08.2012

In which we present a regular round-up of news from the world of Grown-up Travel

The sky’s the limit for the world’s celebrity chefs

The Independent

There’s no avoiding celebrity chefs, even if you’re 30,000ft in the air. If you’re fortunate enough to fly business or first class, it would be a shock not to find a famous cook’s name beside at least some of the dishes on your in-flight menu.

There’s no avoiding celebrity chefs, even if you’re 30,000ft in the air. If you’re fortunate enough to fly business or first class, it would be a shock not to find a famous cook’s name beside at least some of the dishes on your in-flight menu.

Fly long-haul business class with Air France (0871 663 3777; and you’ll be dining on the creations of Guy Martin of legendary Paris restaurant Le Grand Véfour (00 33 1 42 96 56 27; ). Since January, the airline has been working with a roster of top cooks that also includes Joël Robuchon, holder of no fewer than 26 Michelin stars.

The trend stretches back to the late 1990s when Singapore Airlines established its International Culinary Panel that today includes Suzanne Goin of acclaimed Lucques in Los Angeles (001 323 655 6277; and Japanese masterchef Yoshihiro Murata of three-Michelin-starred Kikunoi in Kyoto (00 81 75 561 0015;

British Airways followed suit, employing a distinguished Culinary Council including Shaun Hill of the Walnut Tree Inn in Abergavenny (01873 852797; and Richard Corrigan of Corrigan’s, Mayfair (020-7499 9943;

This year, to mark the Olympics, BA asked Heston Blumenthal of the Fat Duck, Bray (01628 580333;, to create dishes inspired by onboard menus from 1948 when the last London Olympics were staged. Blumenthal teamed up with Simon Hulstone of Michelin-starred Elephant in Torquay (01803 200044; who cooked up umami-rich dishes, designed to appeal to taste buds dulled by altitude. Hulstone’s menus will be served on long-haul flights from Heathrow until September.

Continue reading this story


Somalia: does tourism stand a chance in Mogadishu?

The Telegraph

Mo Farah’s birthplace remains on the Foreign Office’s no-go list, but tourists are starting to visit, finds Jessica Hatcher.

Landing at the international airport in Mogadishu, our plane skims the glittering water of the Indian Ocean where the runway is built on a white sand beach. An unbroken line of jagged white dunes rises up to meet a deep blue, cloudless sky. Welcome to Somalia, east Africa’s infamous pirate coast and one of the world’s most unlikely venues for holidaymakers.

I am here to trace the early life of Britain’s Olympic long-distance runner, Mo Farah, who was born in the city in 1983. The Mogadishu his parents knew was a cosmopolitan metropolis where people gathered in the Al-Uruba Hotel to dance. “They drank wine! And beer!,” a local hoots as we pick our way through the war-strewn ruins.

Mo and his family fled the fighting that broke out in the late Eighties and descended into civil war in 1991. Since then, two decades of anarchic power struggles between clan-based militia and Islamic groups have left hundreds of thousands dead.

Until August last year, Mogadishu was partly controlled by al-Shabaab, a group affiliated with al-Qaeda. Since African Union forces drove them out, there has been a somewhat restive peace. Kidnap and ransom, improvised explosive devices and suicide bombings are still an everyday reality in Mogadishu, and African Union troops have yet to secure outlying areas. But for the first time in 20 years, the city is under central authority and people and private investors are returning.

We are met by Bashir Osman, a Somali businessman who seven years ago opened the Peace Hotel, offering secure accommodation for aid workers and journalists.

These days the hotel is accepting a new kind of guest – tourists. The trend started in late 2010, and among those walking through the elegant courtyard of the Peace Hotel have been an intrepid British man and a glamorous young American couple. But most visitors are of Somali origin – expatriates like Mo, who fled famine and fighting to Europe, the Middle East and North America. Others are returning for good to buy land or start businesses. But visiting is not a decision taken lightly. Westerners here are still targeted by pirates and for terrorist attacks from al-Shabaab and other militant groups. The country remains firmly on the Foreign Office no-go list:

Continue reading this story


Plane terror as man jumps from moving Air Asia flight

A plane passenger leapt from a moving aeroplane after he suddenly changed his mind about staying on board.

The man, who was travelling on an Air Asia flight from Miri to Kuala Lumpur, jumped from his seat and opened the emergency door as the plane was taxying on the runway, witnesses reported.

The move caused panic among the passengers as emergency measures were activated.

Passengers were delayed for more than an hour following the incident where the man was later arrested.

Flight passenger Siva Nathiran told the Asian News Network: “’The raft automatically opened. Other passengers started screaming. The plane was brought to a halt.”

The man, believed to be in his 20s, was taken to hospital but did not suffer any injuries from his fall.

Continue reading this story


Does France deserve its reputation for rudeness?

USA Today

It’s a July evening on the terrace of the legendary Cafe Flore. A coiffed woman sips chilled wine, another savors her chocolate eclair.

The one thing to complete a perfect picture of Parisian life? A dash of French rudeness.

It comes from the waiter, who snootily turns away a group of tourists: “There’s no point waiting,” he shrugs, even though there are many empty tables. “No space outside.”

Such rituals of rudeness have long been accepted by visitors as part of the price of enjoying such a beautiful city as Paris. But it seems the French themselves, who over centuries have turned rudeness into an art form, have become fed up with their own incivility, according to recent polls and publicity campaigns.

There’s a fabled history of French rudeness from Napoleon, who called the English a “nation of shopkeepers,” to former President Nicolas Sarkozy, who infamously snarled at a voter: “Get lost, poor jerk.”

Now, bad manners and aggressive behavior top the list of causes of stress for the French, even higher than unemployment or the debt crisis, says pollster IPSOS. A total of 60 percent cited rudeness as their number one source of stress in a survey last year on social trends.

“We’re so rude,” admits 34-year-old French teacher Stephane Gomez, as he comes out of a Paris metro station. “France lacks the civic sense that you find in Anglo-Saxon countries.”

Continue reading this story

Andy Higgs
Andy Higgs

Not meaning to brag, but here goes. I can say I’m a travel expert and have spoken at multiple travel conferences and trade shows.

I enjoy travelling all over the world but my big passion is Africa.

I also own and run The Grown-up Travel Company as a travel designer creating personalised African itineraries for experienced adventurers

Articles: 1721