A South African in Cappadocia
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Johannesburg - Danilo Acquisto, 24, was named one of the three winners in the #PresenterSearchOn3. Here, he speaks to Diane De Beer about his fondest holiday memories.
First holiday memory?
A beach holiday with my family south of Durban where I attempted to take on my first set of waves. I stood on the beach, clutching my nonna’s hand, staring at the crashing waves, thinking I was in way over my head. Regardless, I took the plunge and charged. Needless to say, the waves won as I was tossed about in the surf, gasping for air. I climbed out (or rather, was dragged out) and, in tears, refused to enter the sea again. I did try again on my last day with my dad, who showed me how to take on waves bigger than me. Since then, I have been proud to call myself a water baby.
Favourite place in South Africa?
Cape Town. But there is something mesmerising about the Wild Coast. I can’t decide on a specific spot, but just being in the area is invigorating. It’s a beautiful escape into true wilderness.
This is tough. As a youngster I loved a cruise around the Caribbean and a trip to Orlando with my uncle, aunt and cousin. More recently, Italy and Turkey sit at the top of my list. Those were eye-opening experiences.
What have you learnt from your travels?
Often we all live in our small silos and feel trapped in our own interpretation of what it means to be alive. Travelling has opened my eyes to other cultures, ideas and possibilities, and has helped me become more sympathetic to people who don’t necessarily think or live the way I do. Travelling feeds my soul. There is always some place I can be happy and it doesn’t have to be “home”. It’s freeing.
Ideal travelling companion?
A significant other, a close friend or simply your alter ego. Getting lost is a beautiful way to travel and can’t happen if there are too many “tour guides” with you.
Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?
Culture vulture, on the beach mingling with the locals, with a Jet Ski on the horizon for some adventure.
Greatest travel luxury?
I think the ability to speak multiple languages or a simple app to translate and expand your vocabulary is a travel luxury.
I enjoy reading books by my favourite spiritual writers because it keeps me focused on being present and thankful.
Which place has seduced you?
Rome, the eternal city, definitely has. It’s easy to get to a man through his stomach, and Rome did that and so much more with the food, the Vatican and Sistine Chapel, along with the ancient ruins. I think it will always have my heart. I must return!
Worst travel experience?
My most “interesting” experience was travelling from Cappadocia to Istanbul in Turkey by bus. Nobody spoke English, the bus would stop and everyone would be forced to get off, no toilets (nor a way to tell them you needed the toilet) and the stops had these cleaning areas where the men would wash their feet and bodies in the basin; the floors were wet, it smelled of urine. The extractor fan in the bus wasn’t working, so everything smelled of smoke. Never mind the sour milk being kept in the basin that they served with your meal.
I loved staying at the Arabella Hotel and Spa (in the Overberg). The facilities were well maintained, the staff were friendly, the bed was incredibly comfortable and the spa had amazing facilities to use for free.
Favourite walk, swim, ride or drive?
One of my favourite walks and drives was through Old Delhi in India. For a young South African, the experience was a shock to the senses. The smells, the cars, the noise, the heat – I loved it! Also, the drive along the Amalfi Coast in the south of Italy is incredible.
Best meal abroad?
The meze in Turkey is life-changing (especially the famous desserts). The flavours and textures of Turkish food are beautiful. It makes me salivate just thinking about it. A good Italian pizza with mozzarella di bufala is a close second.
Cappadocia in Turkey was out of this world – the ancient history; watching the sun rise on a hot-air balloon ride, and eating with a family. I saw some incredible historic buildings and underground cities; drank Turkish wine, coffee and raki; and soaked in the blistering heat. I will never forget that place.
Where to next?
Next is going to be somewhere completely First World (New York, Dubai or London) or Third World (Cambodia or Jerusalem). First World to explore the limits of possibility and Third World to centre myself and live with a community of monks or do some service where I can. I guess fate will tell…
l Danilo Acquisto, 24, was named one of the three winners in the #PresenterSearchOn3. Acquisto will present Afternoon Express on SABC 3 (with Jeannie D and Bonang Matheba) and continues his Good Hope FM show at the weekends.