Our local offices in Poland and South Africa are well represented on this rundown of our most read articles of the previous year, but in total content from nine countries made the cut, including those from Serbia, Armenia, Romania and Belgium.
There’s no better way to get to know the city and its people than to mingle with the locals and engage in a bit of light-hearted ‘banter’. So if you want to know the difference between a minger and a munter or why tea is different from tae, or add your suggestions, just consult ‘How til spake Norn Iron’ and you’ll be talking the talk before you know it…big lad! Here’s our A-Y (because we can’t think of a Z) online guide to speaking the local lingo!
The Old Town of Gdańsk has been absorbing the flavours of trade for centuries and that legacy of quality dining still exists today. Whilst Gdańsk is now a city of Poland and indeed Polish cuisine can indeed be found here, in a previous life the hanseatic and later ‘free (city of)’ Danzig was also a German and Prussian city. Add to that Pomerania’s Kashubian cultural region, which itself is an approximate hybrid of Polish and German, and again you have something even more unique to the area.
More than 150 kilometres in length, the Transfagarasan Highway is Romania’s most spectacular and best known road, and, thanks to an appearance on BBC Top Gear in 2009, now one of the country’s most popular tourist attractions. Fully open only from June to October, the road’s highest point is at 2042 metres: the tunnel which links the northern and southern sides at Lake Balea (Balea Lac). However, if you’re looking for a little more asphalt and engine-powered excitement, perhaps you should check out the Transalpina Highway, which owns the notorious (unofficial) title of Romania’s most dangerous road!
One of Joburg’s oldest markets, the Kwa Mai Mai market is also known as Ezinyangeni, or ‘the place of healers’ and has for decades been one of the city’s most established muthi (traditional medicine) markets. Located just a few blocks from the Maboneng Precinct, the market’s reputation as a down-to-earth spot to grab traditional South African street food has grown steadily in recent years and positively exploded in 2020.
Kraków has been undergoing a massive sea change in its attitude towards breakfast, which we’ve watched evolve over the last 20 years from instant coffee and a cigarette at home, to unfiltered coffee, cold cuts and cheese in those few places open before 12:00, to today when elaborate all-day breakfast menus and morning cocktails in trendy bruncheries are a cherished lifestyle ritual for local urbanites. And when it comes to food as a fashion accessory, apparently breakfast is the most important meal of the day – at least that’s what our Instagram feed would suggest.
Over the past decade bustling Rosebank has been in an almost constant state of change as ever more new skyscrapers steadily filled the skyline. For infrequent visitors, the pace of change and the proliferation of new buildings and renovation projects has often led to exclamations of ‘help, where am I?’ followed by appreciation for the diverse range of option of where to eat and drink in this pedestrianised, and most walkable Joburg district.
At the start of each year, our Johannesburg In Your Pocket team look back over the best of the new dining venues that appeared on the Joburg food scene during the past 12 months. 2021 was the second year of living in the pandemic and was again a challenging time with yet more lockdowns and restrictions. However, despite the difficulties, many new restaurants forged ahead and Joburg’s upmarket dining scene in particular is showing signs of an uptick.
From rousing patriotic mazurkas to subtle anti-communist pop music all the way to 21st-century gangsta rap po polsku, there are plenty of great tunes to choose from the history of Polish music. Whether you’ve just started learning Polish, plan on visiting or staying long term in Poland, dipping your toe into this ocean music is a great way to get a better understanding of the nation’s history, culture and sense of humour!
The Welsh language is a struggle, to say the least. The Celtic tongue is known for its absolute disregard for vowels, meaning some words can look completely unintelligible to the uninformed. We’ve collected a handful of town names that might give you some problems, to say the least.
Brussels has become famous for its delicious waffles and spot on fries, but there’s more to Belgian food than these well-known dishes. The city also has some less known traditional meals that should be on every foodie’s list, so here is a small tour of Brussels’s typical food.
Celebrities don’t come much more famous than Kim Kardashian. We aren’t exactly sure how she became famous in the first place, but it is difficult to spend more than five minutes breathing in the English language world without encountering Kim or one of the other Kardashians. We’re not as annoyed by their celebrity as most – largely because caring about such stuff is dumb as bricks – but we’re certainly interested in the family’s Armenian heritage. So, the question must be asked: How Armenian is Kim Kardashian?
Joburg is among the world’s most treed cities and within city limits there is no shortage of scenic green spaces to take a stroll. For long walks and hikes take a short drive out of the city into the surrounding countryside where you can find private nature reserves crisscrossed by hiking trails that promise plenty of interesting fauna and flora and wonderful views, all within an easy day tripping distance. Over the years we’ve made it our mission to get out and hike Gauteng and we always have our eyes and ears open for new trails to try out. Here’s our comprehensive, tried and tested guide to Gauteng’s hiking trails.
One of the coolest neighbourhoods in the world (according to Forbes magazine), Maboneng is a golden child amongst Joburg’s regeneration stories and was transformed from an industrial and factory district to a buzzing lifestyle playground. The development of the Maboneng Precinct began in 2009 and after more than a decade this colourful, youthful neighbourhood has cemented its place as a popular Joburg visitor attraction in its own right.
One of southern Africa’s biggest and best theme parks, with rides and attractions for all ages. Extreme rides like the Anaconda, Jozi Express and Tower of Terror are for the brave and then there’s Gold Reef City’s newest ride, Storm Chaser. This ride comes with a ’10/10 Fear Factor’ rating (the highest rating in the park) and is designed to replicate the experience of being trapped inside the eye of a storm. You’ll be swirling around at great speeds, getting ever higher into the sky while the ride flips up and down, throwing you sideways and upside down. After trying it out ourselves, we can confirm it is pretty terrifying. Definitely one for the dedicated adrenaline junkies.
Looking for somewhere fun to take the kids for a day out in Gauteng? We’ve got you! From wildlife adventures and the great outdoors to hands-on interactive museums that will delight young minds, here are 15 fun Gauteng attractions perfect for your next family day out.
Here’s how to get around in Zurich. In the city we recommend public transport, even for car enthusiasts: it’s safe, reliable and gets you everywhere within no time – without having to worry about traffic jams and parking slots. The Zürich Card is a good option for getting around in Zurich, as it offers free public transport and free admission to many museums.
When the sun is out in Joburg, where better to enjoy a long lunch than in a sunny garden or courtyard. To save you from staring out at a mall parking lot, we made a guide focused on Joburg restaurants tucked alongside charming courtyards or hidden gardens, leisurely pool decks, rooftops with views, sprawling piazzas, and other places where the outdoor space offers something special.
While extensive, covering all areas of the city and its outskirts, Bucharest’s public transport network is far from fit for purpose. Services are few and far between, slow, and as a result most trams, buses and even the metro are notoriously overcrowded throughout the day. The current sorry state of transport in the Romanian capital is a consequence of years of poor management, under-investment in infrastructure and total disinterest on the part of the city council. A ‘car first’ mentality amongst locals has not helped. Taken as a whole, transport in Bucharest is at breaking point. Main roads and intersections are gridlocked, and hours are wasted in traffic. The city is the most congested capital in the European Union.
Johannesburg has long been one of the main shopping destinations for cross-border traders from Southern Africa. In particular small retailers and resellers come to the city to buy in bulk from Joburg’s many large wholesalers. Among the biggest are the city’s network of ‘China Malls’ selling clothing, electronics, accessories and homeware, much of it made in China, at exceptionally low wholesale prices.
Serbs are known for their great love of food, and for them sitting down to a meal is one of the greatest pleasures in life, which they also take great pride in preparing. A Serbian kitchen is not complete unless the aromas of some of the top traditional Serbian dishes are spreading from it. If you don’t get a chance to try these dishes in a Serbian home, the next best thing is check out our selection of the best traditional Serbian restaurants in Belgrade, and visiting as many as possible while you’re in town – just don’t try to do it all on the same day, Serbian portions are as large as they are tasty.
For centuries the town of Oświęcim was a quiet backwater community, largely bypassed by world events. That changed with WWII when Oświęcim, known as ‘Auschwitz’ under German occupation, became the chosen site of the largest death camp in the Third Reich. Between 1.1 million and 1.5 million people were exterminated here, etching the name of Auschwitz forever into the history books and countless films, documentaries, books and survivor accounts have since burned it into the collective consciousness.
Attempting discourse in the Polish language can be terrifying and humiliating, but fortunately for you most Poles, particularly young people, have a healthy command of the English language. Though you can probably get by without it, learning a few key Polish phrases will nonetheless smooth your time in the country of potatoes, cabbage and vodka, and may even win you friends and admirers.