,

6 Reasons Why You Should Travel Marrakech

Travel Marrakech – Introduction

This autumn, we made a trip to Marrakech – a city that is like a fairy tale of 1001 night, probably few other oriental cities can compete in beauty with her. But let me tell you why you should travel to Marrakech.

marrakesh-night

le-jardin-koutoubia

1. Marrakech – A certain mystery and hidden secret

The Berbers called her ‘The Land Of God’, or it is also well-known as ‘red city’ or ‘pearl of the south’.

Marrakech is a spirited city surrounded by natural beauty. At its heart, it is busy with culture and old architecture, endless souks, and relaxing hammams. Just outside of its borders lies the Sahara Desert and the Atlas Mountains.

Marrakech grew rapidly and established itself as a cultural, religious, and trading centre for the Maghreb and sub-Saharan Africa; Jemaa el-Fnaa is the busiest square in Africa.

It’s been a while, I travelled to Marrakech- but still, there was something I clearly remembered. There is a certain myth, sort of ‘all-embracing energy’ in this town. During my trip I’ve captured a few shots, reflecting the infinite beauty of this town.

magic-marokko

bassin-de-roses

magic-marrakesh

marrakesh

2. Souks in Marrakech

Trade and crafts are extremely important to the local economy. There are 18 souks in Marrakech, employing over 40,000 people in pottery, copper-ware, leather and other crafts. The souks contain a massive range of items and it’s just an unbelievable experience and a must-do for every traveller.

I bought tons of spices and a few scarfs made of ‘sabra silk’ – Sabra is a luxurious fabric and a natural fibre made from the Agave Cactus, grown in Morocco. The fabric is made by hand using techniques passed down through the centuries.

souk-marrakech

marrakech-market

3. Mövenpick Hotel Mansour Eddahbi

A fantastic hotel, which is a 15-minute walk from the historic heart of Marrakech and just a 4 km drive from Marrakech Menara Airport.

Moroccan architectural details and orange tree gardens complement leisure facilities such as a spa, gym, kids club, swimming pools and children’s pool. Seven dining and entertainment venues includes a signature Moroccan restaurant.

A dedicated entrance connects the hotel to Morocco’s largest convention centre, the renowned Palais des Congrès, which is also operated by Mövenpick Hotels & Resorts.

A few other good reasons to choose the Mövenpick Mansour Eddahbi

  • The Hotel comes up with large rooms and king size bed’s to fully enjoy your trip
  • Plenty of large pools are available
  • The Spa & Hammam ensure you can fully relax during your trip
  • The staff is extraordinary friendly and attentive
  • It smells like ‘Fleur D’Oranger’ everywhere – that’s just a dream
  • It’s lighting concept is a big eye-catcher

moevenpick-hotel-marokko

moevenpick-mansour-eddahbi

moevenpick-marrakech

moevenpick-marrakesh

room-mansour-eddahbi

4. Moroccan Cuisine & Spices

You don’t need to be an expert to find something magical in Marrakech. It’s a city primed to amaze the senses – each aspect, smell, sound, and taste you encounter is more inspiring than the last. Let your taste senses start the exploring by cooking and sampling the utterly unique cuisine of Morocco.

Moroccan food is an adventure on your table, it’s a different way of eating with different flavor combinations, including sweet and savory spices. It’s so different than any other food you’ll experience in the Mediterranean. Traditionally, everything is shared from the same pot, and there are no individual plates. Food means a lot more than just something you put into your body to get you through the day. It’s a part of life, and it brings people together.

Vegetables, spices, and meats aren’t cooked separately—everything is cooked together to extract as much flavor as possible. It’s all about the variety of flavors, to experience a maximum joy of eating – it’s love, it’s art.

marrakech-food

marrakesh-food

5. Discover The Sahara

The Sahara is just a few kilometers from Marrakech. To me, the Sahara seems like an infinite universe which hides all of earth’s secrets. A place where you can find silence and harmony. There are a few amazing camps to spend your night and let everything go. Check it out here

The dunes are changed by the wind, but the desert never changes. – Paulo Coelho ‘The Alchemist’

6. Craftsmanship in Marrakech

Still, some residents are practicing craftsmanship to it’s perfection. Looking for huge mirrors, fancy lamps or colonial furniture? Marrakech is your place.

lamp-marrakech

I had a wonderful time with amazing people. I can’t wait to come back to this astonishing city.

The Balvenie Whisky Tasting

The Balvenie Whisky Tasting – A Gentleman’s Evening

A real gentleman starts his evening with a good Single Malt Whisky. Or, as Humphrey Bogart ones said:

The problem with the world is that everyone is a few drinks behind

Lately, I had the pleasure to taste a few beautiful Whiskies from the Balvenie distillery. It was much of an evening full of joy and wonderful flavours. My private collection of empty Balvenie’s bottles is growing, a good or a bad sign in many ways. At the end of the day, I’m living life and I truly enjoy a good Whisky.

The evening was hosted by Markus Heinze, a real expert in the Whisky world. A lot to learn on a cosy evening with good food and phenomenal drinks. So let me tell you about my favorites…

Pictures and rights by Christian Schmid – Fotowerk132

balvenie-whisky-tasting

balvenie-single-barrel

The Balvenie Tun 1509

To create the first batch of Tun 1509, the brand carefully hand selected 42 of the finest casks – 35 traditional American oak barrels and seven European oak sherry butts – from the distillery’s precious aged stocks. All were transferred to Tun 1509, which sits in Warehouse 24, for several months before bottling. This is a rare interpretation of the marrying process and allows all 42 casks to come together to create a unique expression of The Balvenie that’s greater than the sum of its constituent parts.

TASTING NOTES

Deep and rich on the nose, with floral notes, sweet vanilla and orange peel. Velvety smooth to taste with tangy citrus, mellow cinnamon spice and blossom honey.

 

balvenie-tun-1509

The Balvenie PortWood – Aged 21 Years

To create The Balvenie PortWood Aged 21 Years, a marriage of rare Balvenie is transferred to port casks, or pipes, which have held fine port wines. Here it is sampled regularly by The Balvenie Malt Master to ensure that just the right amount of character is imparted by the port casks, enhancing and developing the single malt whilst preserving its original characteristics.

NOSE

A perfume of fruity and ripe raisin notes, backed by a nutty dryness

TASTE

Refined with remarkable character, it is creamy and silky with fruit, honey and spice notes.

FINISH

Long, gentle, nutty.

balvenie-portwood

The Balvenie Thirty – Aged 30 years

The Balvenie Thirty is a rare and especially fine single malt for which David Stewart selects only exceptional casks that were laid down over thirty years ago. By marrying The Balvenie slowly aged in traditional oak whisky casks with that aged in European oak sherry casks,  we’re facing a rich, mellow Scotch whisky with unusual depth and complexity.

NOSE

Silky smooth and honeyed on the nose with mellow oaky tones and hints of candied orange peel.

TASTE

Great depth with rich dark chocolate, hints of plum, marzipan and caramelised pear.

FINISH

Exceptionally smooth and warming with gentle spice and lingering sweetness.

markus-heinze

The Balvenie Forty – Aged 40 years

Definitely the most expensive Whisky I’ve tasted so far. To create The Balvenie Forty, Malt Master David Stewart has skilfully married together small amounts of The Balvenie matured in 4 refill hogsheads and 3 sherry butts that have lain in our warehouses for at least forty years.

NOSE

Rich oak notes overlaid with baked apple, stewed fruits and soft leather. The addition of a little water releases sweet fruit notes and hints of vanilla.

TASTE

Silky texture delivers a beautifully mouth-coating sweetness and a spicy sensation of cloves, cinnamon and ginger. The flavour develops into a gentle oakiness with hints of dark chocolate, roasted almonds and sherried fruitiness.

FINISH

Rich, warming and slightly dry.

It was a great evening with the finest Whiskys. I’m looking very much forward to my next adventure!

balvenie-40-years

McLaren Sports Series

Recently you chased the new McLaren Sports Series through the black forest in Germany, tell us something about it?

We drove the three models which lately have been presented by McLaren. It’s called the ‘Sports Series’ and brings supercar performance to the luxury sports car world. More powerful and lighter than other sports cars, the Sports Series offers a class-leading power-to-weight ratio and just feels fantastic to drive.

The McLaren Sports Series is the third and final product family to join the recently announced three-tier model range from McLaren Automotive.

The Sports Series introduces unique McLaren DNA to the sports car market. Each model has been designed and engineered by a team of experts at the iconic McLaren Technology Centre alongside the Formula 1™ team operations, and every car is hand built in the same state-of-the-art McLaren Production Centre as the Super Series and Ultimate Series models.

mclaren-sports-series

mclaren-sportscar

mclaren-cars

It’s all Greek to me, tell us in numbers!

Sure let’s start from scratch… McLaren presents their latest model range: 540C Coupé, 570S Coupé and 570GT. At the end of the day it’s pretty easy. The number is the amount of horsepower, the character explains us the type of car. Let’s get it more clear:

540C -> 540 Horse Power – C stands for Club.

570S -> 570 Horse Power – S stands for Sport

570GT -> 570 Horse Power – GT stands for Grand Touring or Grand Tourer

Okay, that makes sense… but can you actually feel this difference when driving it?

Totally. Of course, they’re all super fast cars. That’s what the brand is about. Compared to the former models, we’re now talking about their little siblings.

The 540C is and feels like a comfortable version. It’s a modest model… less power, less noise and comfortable to drive.

The 570S is definitely a beast! It’s super fast, the exhaust noise is mind-blowing and cornering is master-work.

The 570GT which we drove in Tenerife is a typical Grand Tourer, very comfortable to drive, more space added. Still, one of my favorite models.

A very interesting fact: McLaren is using the same engine for all of their models, which delivers a power-range between 540hp – 1000hp (McLaren P1 GTR).

mclaren-sport-series

mclaren-sports-series-cars

mclaren-sports-series-drive

Wow, how is that possible?

The Sports Series uses the typical seven-speed twin-clutch gearbox and their 3.8-litre twin turbo V8, with 30 percent of components bespoke to the new model, produces 570PS (562bhp) and 600Nm (443 lb ft) in 570S Coupé and 570GT. Retrieving a power-range like this, i’s a matter of adjusting the engine in a different way. And of course, remove weight or refine aerodynamics etc…

Some words about the design?

The Sports Series introduces the McLaren design language to the sports car segment for the first time, with taught, ‘shrink-wrapped’ body lines marking it out from the competition. Design cues and learnings from the Ultimate Series and Super Series models ensure the Sports Series looks every part a true McLaren, but with a clear identity of its own. Unique design features include the iconic dihedral doors more typically associated with supercars, while elegant flying buttresses and a concave rear window distinguish 570S Coupé and 540C Coupé models. A subtly revised aerodynamic package and a dedicated wheel design further mark out the 540C Coupé from the more powerful 570S Coupé. The 570GT, meanwhile, presents a glasshouse with clean and sleek lines leading to the rear of the car. A unique aerodynamic package has been tailored to work in harmony with the elegant silhouette of the 570GT.

Impressive, what about the inside?

The interior design of the Sports Series carries the exterior design approach through with key features including floating elements to add to the sense of depth, while organic shapes and curves bring delicate tension without aggression for a welcoming and ergonomic layout.

The Sports Series offers the widest selection of ‘By McLaren’ designs to date, with 10 in total. Of these, five have a focus on contemporary luxury, while the other five have a sportier focus.

Not much of a surprise there is absolutely everything you’d expect in such a car.

I guess that’s pretty expensive?

The price for a 540C starts at 177’000 CHF, the 570S at 201’000 CHF and the 570GT at 212’000 CHF

Is that arguable?

Of course. It’s a high class brand which puts around 30% of their revenue into engineering. Every single detail has been studied and improved by the best technicians on the planet. Only the best materials are being used (chassis is made of carbon fibre for example). They’re constantly improving their models and trust me, I’m looking very much forward to drive the next one soon!

mclaren-570gt

mclaren-570gt-rear

The OMEGA Speedmaster And The World Of Space Exploration

OMEGA Speedmaster – The First Watch On The Moon

Today, I’m writing about an important piece of history. OMEGA’s history with space exploration is more than that, but let me explain it…

Many cultures around the world have interesting myths about the Moon, reflecting it’s presence in the night sky and its impact on our lives. Since human kind started to explore, we have the desire to fly to the moon. Neil Armstrong’s quote couldn’t be better associated with my story today:

“That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind”

At the same time, it’s a huge achievement to develop the first watch worn on the moon.

omega-speedmaster

SPA122

The Speedmaster Moonwatch

The source of many a myth and legend, the OMEGA Speedmaster has been the choice of astronauts and space agencies for half a century. This “common” object has become one of the most famous watches in the world and has been associated with the entirety of humankind’s half century of space faring, thus earning it the name “The Moonwatch”.

nasa-astronauts

OMEGA’s history with space exploration began sometime in 1962 when a group of astronauts including Walter “Wally” Schirra and Leroy Gotdon “Gordo” Cooper privately purchased their very first flight-watches: the 2nd generation Speedmaster model with the reference CK2998. These privately owned chronographs were to be used on the upcoming Mercury program flights. And indeed, the very first time that a Speedmaster flew on a space mission was “Wally” Schirra’s own CK2998 during the Mercury-Atlas 8 (callsign: Sigma 7) mission.

Two and a half years later and after a series of what can only be described as radical, extreme and exceptionally brutal tests, the choice of the Mercury astronauts became the choice of NASA.

It was at the end of the Mercury program that the astronauts approached the Operations Director, Deke Slayton, and asked to be issued with a watch for use during training and eventually flight. This request was met with enthusiasm and as every piece of equipment from the Mercury program was being re-evaluated and re-designed for the upcoming Gemini and Apollo programs, the timing could not have been better. NASA had just employed a large group of engineers to test, select and certify equipment to be used by the astronauts.

On the 21of September, 1964, Slayton issued an internal memo stating the need for a “highly durable and accurate chronograph to be used by Gemini and Apollo flight crews”. This memo landed on the desk of engineer James Ragan who was no newcomer to finding equipment for hostile environments. He had been the engineer responsible for testing equipment for the US Navy’s “SEA LAB” program. Eight days later a “Request for Quotations” for wrist chronographs was sent out to different manufacturers. OMEGA’s copy of the Request was received by its U. S. affiliate in New York. Of brands contacted, only four responded so James Ragan asked each to supply three watches.

speedmaster-nasa

omega-speedmaster-strap

But What Tests Needed To Be Fulfilled?

The tests which ensued were designed literally to test the watches to destruction. The watches were subjected to temperatures ranging from 71° to 93° centigrade over a two day period, after which they were frozen to -18° centigrade. They were placed in a vacuumed chamber heated to 93° centigrade, and then subjected to a test where they were heated to 70° centigrade and then immediately frozen to -18° centigrade – not once but fifteen times in rapid succession! When this had been completed, it was time to subject the watches to 40 g shocks in six different directions, then submit them to high and low pressures, an atmosphere of 93% humidity, a highly corrosive 100% oxygen environment,  noise to 130 decibels and finally vibrated with average accelerations of 8.8 g. In the end only one watch had survived: the Speedmaster. Interestingly, after each test the watch would settle to an average rate which was largely within the NASA imposed limits of five seconds per day during normal use.

The result of this was the “Speedmaster” reference ST105.003 being declared “Flight Qualified for all Manned Space Missions” on the 1st of March 1965. Just three weeks later, on the 23rdof March, the Speedmaster went into space officially for the first time on the wrists of Virgil “Gus” Grissom and John Young during their Gemini 3 mission. The only modification to the watches was the addition of a long Velcro strap that replaced the standard steel bracelet which could not be worn over the space suit. Later that year Edward White wore his Speedmaster on America’s first space walk, during the Gemini IV mission.

Another four years passed and the Americans were preparing for the first lunar landing. The crew had been selected and the decision was made that Neil Armstrong would be the first man to walk on the moon’s surface. NASA had, by this point, adopted the most recent version of the Speedmaster, the ST105.012 and ST145.012 for the Apollo program; however, as NASA still had quite a few ST105.003 in stock out of the original procurement, this model was also routinely issued to the astronauts.

omega-nasa-certificate

SPA120

The First Watch Worn On The Moon

On the 21stof July 1969 at 2:56 GMT, Neil Armstrong stepped off the Eagle to become the first human to stand on another world. Roughly fifteen minutes later Buzz Aldrin stepped onto the Moon’s surface too and thus, during the legendary Apollo 11 mission, the Speedmaster Professional became the first watch to be worn on the Moon.

The next great moment for the Speedmaster in space came in 1970 with the Apollo 13 mission, when the watch was used to time the critical engine burns needed to ensure that the re-entry trajectory of the heavily damaged craft were correct. The smallest error would have meant that the capsule would either have bounced off of or burnt up in the Earth’s atmosphere on re-entry. For The Speedmaster Professional’s role in the safe re-entry, the astronauts gave OMEGA the coveted Silver Snoopy Award that is accompanied with its certificate bearing the inscription “Manned Flight Awareness Award”, the highest distinction given by NASA and its astronauts to private persons or companies in appreciation for important services rendered for the American Space Program.

buzz-aldrin-und-speedmaster-moonwatch

omega-astronaut

My Personal OMEGA Speedmaster

Of course, I own an OMEGA Speedmaster. Not only because of it’s most precise movement or it’s amazing look. The moon has inspired me since I’m able to speak. One of my first words I knew, was ‘moon’ – a story my mother loved to narrate. My Speedmaster now goes around the world…

omega-speedmaster-dark-side-of-the-moon

,

Jaguar F-Type SVR – Hell Of A Ride!

Jaguar F-Type SVR – Introduction

Mephisto has interesting quote in Goethe’s Faust that somehow reminds me of the Jaguar F-Type SVR.

I am the Spirit that denies!
And rightly too; for all that doth begin
Should rightly to destruction run;
‘Twere better then that nothing were begun.
Thus everything that you call Sin,
Destruction – in a word, as Evil represent-
That is my own, real element.

Jaguar has recently presented their yet most powerful, fastest and loudest series model in history. Ladies and gentlemen, I think the Jaguar F-Type SVR has been built directly in hell. But let me explain why…
jaguar-f-type-pictures  jaguar-f-type-italyjaguar-f-type-svr-front  jaguar-f-type-svr-rear jaguar-f-type-svr

No question, the F-Type belongs to my favorite cars since I drove it up to Gstaad. Already the F-Type S is a lot of fun and still one of the sexiest cars ever. But now Jaguar tops it again. Lately, Jag presented their yet fastest series model in history, the Jaguar F-Type SVR. It’s 50 Kg lighter, 25hp have been added and the exhaust noise just leaves you numb after a tunnel.

In figures? The F-Type SVR contains a supercharged 5.0 litre V8 that produces 575bhp and 700nm of torque. That throws you from 0 – 100km/h in only 3,7 seconds with an earsplitting exhaust noise, I love this car!

The barking F-Type is fantastic to drive. The brakes have been adjusted, the eight-speed gearbox revised which turns the driving experience into a gentleman’s dream. The cat-like look with the fancy air-ducts and the aggressive spoiler is just tremendous.

jaguar-f-type-svr-look

Jaguar F-Type SVR – Power meets comfort

I’m glad to tell you, it’s super comfy to drive on holiday with the F-Type SVR. The coupé version provides enough space to spend a week in Italy (including wine shopping, luggage for two people). The seats are very convenient and the car comes up with more options than you find in a usual sports car. Seat heating, cruise control, rear view cam, parking sensors, sat nav, a super entertainment and many more fancy options.

jaguar-f-type-space

Piemonte with the Jaguar F-Type SVR

What a dream to drive through a region like the Piemonte. Vineyards where ever you look at, the alps in the background and you’re cruising with this fire spitting car. We had such a wonderful time and really enough space for a week of holiday.

Besides… check out our Hotel recommendation. We keep going to this amazing place.