Jo-Ann Strauss: Munich is source of joy and meaning

By Staff Reporter Time of article published Mar 7, 2017

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Jo-Ann Strauss is a busy mom who enjoys travelling with her family on her many assignments overseas. She is the current face of German companies Lufthansa Airways and BMW.

First holiday memory?

I remember camping in a green tent with my parents at Kogelberg just before Rooi-Els as a four-year-old. We often went there after Christmas throughout my childhood.

I vaguely remember my mom going into labour and having to cut our camping trip short because of my little brother’s imminent arrival. I was irritated as I had made a lot of new friends and wanted to stay.

Favourite place in South Africa?

Cape Town.

Best holiday?

I love going to Mauritius and am actually sitting on a plane there now as I answer these questions. I love the natural beauty of the island and the warmth of the people.

What have you learnt from your travels?

Ukuhamba kukubona is a great saying in Xhosa: To travel is to see is a literal translation. I think travel puts things in perspective. And I think you realise that the grass is not always greener on the other side.

Yes, South Africa has its issues, but the benefits of living in such a beautiful country with the most awesome people outweighs those.

Ideal travel companion?

My husband and our children.

Beach bum, culture vulture or adrenalin junkie?

All three. We love soaking up all the elements of the places we visit.

Greatest travel luxury?

On occasion we’ll fly business class. Then the relaxation starts from the moment we enter the airport. It is indulgent.

Luckily, as I often work with Lufthansa, I get treated to a flat bed in the sky regularly, which is such a treat.

Holiday reading?

I love all Paulo Coelho’s books and have read a few over and over.

What place has seduced you?

Munich is my favourite European city. I love the fact that I speak German and feel like a local because my husband is from there.

It’s close to the mountains for skiing and although it’s a big city, it feels like a village with little pockets of delights.

And since the city gave me a BMW, I suppose you could say it has seduced me.

Worst travel experience?

I once had to spend seven or eight hours at a small airport. It was from midnight to the morning and there were no open lounges.

I slept on the hard floor and awoke to the cleaning lady knocking her vacuum cleaner nozzle into my head at around 3am.

She wanted to clean under the chairs and was irritated that I was blocking her way.

Best hotel?

I love the Camps Bay Retreat, it is also where we got married and is such a hidden gem.

It has a huge private nature reserve with a little waterfall and natural mountain pool, and they do the best braais.

Favourite walk, swim, ride or drive?

My favourite swim is in Tamarin Bay, Mauritius, at around 6.30am when the dolphins are around and swim with you.

Best meal abroad?

I love a good paella in Barcelona and a seafood risotto in Florence.

Favourite city?

Munich or Cape Town

Where to next?

I’m on a plane to Mauritius and then will fly to Dubai next week to host a huge international event for BMW.

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