La Paz Carnival

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The end of February marks the beginning of traditional carnival festivities in more than 200 of Mexico’s town and cities.  While some towns celebrate in small and uniquely traditional ways, others organize large and spectacular carnival festivities, which makes them a must see event.  Three of the most popular places to see the carnival in the country are Mazatlan, Veracruz and Cabo San Lucas’ neighbor town, La Paz.  I am already making my plans to attend, and if you are in Baja between February 27 and March 4, I recommend you to visit as well!

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The first La Paz Carnival (we call it Carnaval La Paz) was organized in 1898, making it one of the oldest in the country.  The carnival is a week long party on the main seaside street Malecon, where the Sea of Cortez makes a beautiful backdrop to all the festivities.  The carnival usually starts with the condemning of an effigy called mal humor (bad mood) and the electing of a Carnival Queen and a King of Happiness.  There are fun parades with floats, street parties and street vendors (you must try their churros filled with caramel), and in the evenings there are concerts by popular Mexican musicians with festivities that go on until early morning hours.  Costumes worn by participants are very creative and vary each year, and I can’t wait to see what people will come up with this year.

Carnival in Mexico ends on Mardi Gras, or Martes de Carnaval, when another effigy Juan Carnaval is burned; he represents all the wanton revelry associated with the festivities.  This marks the end of the debauchery and return to temperance.  On Ash Wednesday people go to church to receive ashes and the abstinence of Lent will begin.

One of the things that make a visit to La Paz Carnaval special for me is that all the festivities happen at the Malecon, with fantastic sea and sunset views.  During the day I love watching the dolphins playfully jump out of the sea just by walking on Malecon, visiting their beautiful beaches or taking short trips to the adjacent islands.

If you are interested in visiting La Paz or attending our traditional Carnaval, please contact your Personal Assistant at pa.pedregal@capellahotels.com or call us at (624) 163-4300.

Photo: Carnaval La Paz

Carnaval De La Paz

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El fin de febrero marca el inicio de las tradicionales fiestas de carnaval en más de 200 entidades de México. Mientras que en algunas ciudades se realizan pequeñas y singulares celebraciones, otras tantas organizan grandes y espectaculares fiestas de carnaval, lo cual las hace una experiencia que se tiene que vivir. Tres de los sitios más populares para vivir la fiesta de Carnaval son Mazatlán, Veracruz y la ciudad vecina de Cabo San Lucas, La Paz. Desde ya tengo planes para asistir a el Carnaval de La Paz, y si te encuentras en la Baja Sur entre Febrero 27 y el 4 de Marzo te recomiendo ampliamente que lo visites!

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El primer Carnaval de La Paz se organizó en 1898 lo cual lo hace uno de los más antiguos en el país. El carnaval es una celebración que dura una semana y se desarrolla principalmente en el Malecón, donde el Mar de Cortez actúa como un magnífico telón de fondo para las festividades. El Carnaval usualmente inicia con la condena al “mal humor” y la elección de la reina y el rey de la felicidad. Hay divertidos desfiles con carros alegóricos, fiestas en la calle, y puestos callejeros (mis favoritos los de churros, donde tienen que probar los churros rellenos con cajeta), y durante las tardes y noches se organizan conciertos con músicos normalmente populares en México y fiestas que duran hasta las primeras horas del día siguiente. Los disfraces que utilizan los participantes son muy creativos y varían cada año, no puedo esperar a ver con que cosas salen disfrazados este año.

El carnaval en México termina el Martes de Carnaval, cuando otra imagen, la de Juan Carnaval se quema; esta imagen representa toda la juerga desenfrenada asociada con las fiestas. Esto marca el final del derroche y el regreso a la cordura. En Miércoles de Ceniza, la gente se dirige a la iglesia y recibe las cenizas que marcan el inicio de la Cuaresma.

Una de las muchas cosas que hacen especial una visita al Carnaval de La Paz es que todas las fiestas suceden en el malecón, con vistas al mar y espectaculares atardeceres. Durante el día me encanta ver a los delfines brincar y juguetear en el mar mientras caminas simplemente por el malecón, visitar las excelentes playas de La Paz o tomar pequeños viajes a las islas cercanas a La Paz.

Si estás interesado en visitar La Paz o asistir a su tradicional Carnaval, por favor contacta a tu Asistente Personal en el mail: pa.pedregal@capellahotels.com o llámanos al (624) 163-4300.

Foto: Carnaval de La Paz

Breidenbacher Hof’s Hoppeditz Cocktail

Hoppeditz-cocktail

It is only February, but I am already looking forward to March 3rd and Düsseldorf’s beloved Rose Monday.  Do you remember what I told you about the Hoppeditz last year?  He is the carnival mascot, who starts the season by waking up and climbing out of a mustard jar.  You can read more about him HERE.

This year will be extra exciting, because Breidenbacher Hof, A Capella Hotel is the official home of the royal carnival couple!  It is the royal carnival couple’s duty to represent the carnival making various public appearances and conducting interviews to spread awareness and the spirit of the festive traditions.  I met Prince Michael I. and Venetia Pia last week and it was so much fun to welcome them to our hotel.  Believe it or not, but our General Manager Cyrus Heydarian and I even received special carnival medals as a reward for our support and service!

In celebration, our bartenders at Capella Bar created a new cocktail, The “Hoppeditz.”  It has quickly become a favorite at the hotel.  I highly recommend stopping by the hotel to try it.  Don’t worry if you can’t make it, I’ve included the recipe below for you to recreate at home.

Have fun, good luck and Helau!

Hoppeditz-cocktail

Hoppeditz Cocktail

Ingredients:
–  2cl pink grapefruit juice
–  1cl ginger liqueur
–  1cl vanilla syrup
–  Sparkling wine to top off
–  1 diced kumquat and mint leaves for garnish

Preparation:
The preparation is very easy.  First put all ingredients into a white wine glass (except for the sparkling wine).  Add a diced kumquat and some leaves of mint.  Then just fill it up with the sparkling wine and enjoy.  Perfect for an evening of clowning around!

 

I hope you like it as much as I do!

Hoppeditz Cocktail Im Breidenbacher Hof

Hoppeditz-cocktail

Es ist erst Februar, aber ich freue mich bereits jetzt auf den 3. März, denn dann findet Düsseldorfs beliebter Rosenmontagszug statt.  Erinnert ihr euch an meinen Beitrag über den Hoppeditz vom vergangenen Jahr?  Er ist das Karnevalsmaskottchen und läutet jedes Jahr die Karnevalssaison ein, indem er aus einem Senfglas steigt.  Hier findet ihr noch einmal DIE GANZE GESCHICHTE.

Dieses Jahr spielt der Breidenbacher Hof, a Capella Hotel eine ganz besondere Rolle während der fünften Jahreszeit, da wir die offizielle Hofburg des Düsseldorfer Prinzenpaares sind!  Die beiden repräsentieren diese Tradition während der gesamten Session.  Dies bedeutet unter anderem zahlreiche öffentliche Auftritte und Interviews mit den Medien.  Ich durfte Prinz Michael I. und Venetia Pia in der vergangenen Woche treffen und habe mich sehr gefreut, sie bei uns begrüßen zu dürfen.  Und ob ihr es glaubt oder nicht, unser Hoteldirektor Cyrus Heydarian und ich haben sogar Karnevalsorden für unsere Fürsorge und Unterstützung erhalten!

Sogar unser Bar Team ist in Karnevalsstimmung und hat für den feierlichen Anlass unseren “Hoppeditz” kreiert, der mittlerweile zu den beliebtesten Cocktails in unserer Capella Bar gehört.  Ihr solltet vorbeischauen, um ihn zu probieren.  Falls ihr es aus zeitlichen Engpässen nicht schafft, habe ich euch das Rezept für einen Selbstversuch in der heimischen Bar beigefügt.

Viel Spaß, Glück und Helau!

Hoppeditz-cocktail

Hoppeditz Cocktail

Zutaten:
– 2cl Pink Grapefruit Saft
–  1cl Ingwerlikör
–  1cl Vanillesirup
–  Sekt zum Auffüllen
–  1 gewürfelte Kumquat und Minzblätter zum Dekorieren

Zubereitung:
Die Zubereitung ist sehr einfach.  Zuerst alle flüssigen Zutaten, bis auf den Sekt, in ein Weißweinglas geben.  Die gewürfelte Kumquat und die Minzblätter  ebenfalls dazugeben.  Dann mit Sekt auffüllen und genießen.  Der perfekte Cocktail für einen närrischen Abend!

Ich hoffe, er schmeckt euch genauso gut wie mir!

Romance In Singapore

Romance in Singapore

This February, love is in the air, especially in Singapore where the Chinese Valentine’s Day, which is the 15th day of the Lunar New Year, coincides with the Western Valentine’s Day.

To commemorate this occasion, I sought to uncover some of the most romantic spots and activities where you can savour the best of Singapore while enjoying the company of your loved one.  These are my top 3 recommendations:

The Jewel Box Cable Car Dining
I particularly love this because you get to enjoy a private dinner with your loved one high up in the sky with a panoramic view of the vibrant Singapore city and Sentosa Island below you.  It is certainly a remarkably memorable experience to watch the glistening lights below.  You will truly feel the romance of spending quality time in a space which you can call yours exclusively for the evening.

Romance in Singapore

Be My Valentine: A Spa Villa at Capella Singapore
Last week, I had the pleasure of having a preview of the Be My Valentine package here at Capella Singapore.  Now this is romance!  Enjoy one of Capella Singapore’s romantic villas for the weekend, which has been completely transformed with romance in mind.  This weekend getaway includes in-Villa Auriga spa treatments, a special Valentine’s dinner at The Knolls and even a one-hour photo-shoot to memoralize the weekend.  Of course there is plenty of champagne and chocolate as well.  Frankly, I can’t imagine a more romantic way to spend the holiday!

Take A Trishaw Ride Though Singapore
In my book, nothing says romance more than a whimsical tour though Singapore’s rich colonial heritage.  Trishaws are bicycle drawn carts, an evolution of the rickshaws, which were used as transportation for the wealthy in old Singapore.  Today you can cosy up to your loved one as you take a ride though some of Singapore’s most culturally rich places like Chinatown – just you and your partner, and of course your friendly trishaw guide who’ll be eagerly share fascinating historical tales.

If you would like to know more about any of these couple’s activities in, please approach your Capella Singapore Personal Assistants who would be pleased to share their favourite romantic haunts in Singapore.

Romantic Mexican Traditions

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Valentine’s day is around the corner, and it perfectly fits the loving and festive nature that defines Mexicans.  We use this sweet excuse to pamper our loved ones, friends and family.  Throughout history, love has always been very important to Mexicans and as a result, we have many romantic Mexican traditions.

Our ancient civilization Mexica had two gods, that personified Love: Xochipilli and Xochiquetzal.  Xochipilli was like the Apollo of the Mexica.  He was the god of Love, games, beauty, dance, flowers, corn and songs.  His name means “the prince of the flowers” and he had a twin sister, the goddess of love, Xochiquetzal, meaning “precious flower or ornate bird.”  In honor of this pair of gods and their representation of love, Mexica used to celebrate with a four day festival.  During this time the people would make offerings of bread and corn, pierce their tongues with maguey thorns and dance to the beat of drums called teponaztli.

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Today, Mexico’s Valentine’s Day celebrations are similar to celebrations around the world.  Red roses are given, romantic cards written and chocolates enjoyed.  But we do have some traditions that remain our own.

In smaller towns, young people often meet in town squares; the girls stand on one side, the boys on the other.  Then, they walk around the perimeter in opposite directions, so they can face and look at each other.  On the second round the boys offer a flower to the girl that they like.  On the third round, if the girl has retained the flower, it means that she has agreed to go out with her suitor.  If she doesn’t keep the flower, it means she has rejected him and the boy must pick another girl.

My absolute favorite way of expressing the love in Mexico are “las serenatas” (serenades).  They are just so romantic!  You have probably seen the act of playing a serenade in some movie.  Usually, the boyfriend gathers a group of mariachi, or a trio, and visits the girlfriend’s house after the sunset.  On the street, under his loved one’s window, they all start to sing the most romantic and heartfelt songs.  The intention is to wake her up with songs that will touch the heart.  When the girl appears at her window, it means that she is pleased and approves of the serenade (I can’t imagine a girl could resist such a sweet and romantic gesture from her loved one!).  However the family may be a different story- if they approve of the suitor he may be invited in to visit, but if the family does not they may toss the water on him!

At Capella Ixtapa we have prepared a special Valentine’s Day package and are organizing many romantic activities and sweet attentions during this most romantic month.  Who knows, we might even get to play a serenade for some of our lucky guests!

 

 

Photo: LA76 Photography