The very entertaining part of travelling to non-English speaking countries is the funny translations that you come across along the way. Here are my favourites for your giggling pleasure…
I recently went on a very special family holiday to Umngazi River Bungalows and Spa on the Wild Coast of Transkei. The Transkei is one of my favourite places in our gorgeous country. It’s untouched paradise on our doorstep – screw Mauritius, hit Transkei, baby – it’s far more real (okay I wouldn’t say no to Mauritius, but you know what I’m saying).
Umngazi really is the perfect family resort and provides the easiest, most comfortable family holiday I have ever experienced. The kids have an absolute blast, with organised activities every day…bug-hunting, beach snail feeding, crab-hunting, fishing competitions, marshmallow braais etc. etc. absolutely divine. Nannies are also available to look after the kids while the adults sip cocktails at the poolside. It’s just decadent. It’s not my usual kind of holiday, but for the kind of family time we were needing, it was just perfect.
Us grown-ups also have plenty to keep us busy. Every morning is an organised walk or hike. I did the Sugar Loaf hike one morning, which is a walk along the hills on the coastline, with the most magnificent scenery. We did some whale-watching along the way from the cliff-edges – it was just breath-taking!
Gillies are around for hire and will help you organise a boat and bait and take you to the best fishing spots.
The sunset cruise is also a must – Kevin the skipper is a pro at attracting the fish eagles to swoop down and catch some fish and will also entertain you with his ‘fat mama’ dance…was a good giggle 🙂
All meals are included as well, with the amount of food at each meal phenomenal. If you enjoy fresh seafood, Seafood Saturday will have you at your knees – platters and platters of crayfish, prawns, mussels, calamari…ridiculous! There were vegetarian options, but they’re not the best. I may just be fussy in terms of the kind of food that I enjoy, but the vegetarian meals did not seem too thought out in terms of health and nutrition…if you want to see the rant (take it with a pinch of salt), see it here.
All in all it was an absolutely phenomenal holiday with the family and I’d recommend it to anyone needing to take some time out in luxury. If you want to rough it a little bit, check out Swell Tours Guest Lodge – a bit of rough and rural paradise in the Transkei.
Spoilt, spoilt, spoilt, I heart South Africa.
This weekend the manimal took us away to Riverman Cabins in the Tonteldoos Valley, just outside of Dullstroom for a much-needed escape from the crazy of the city. An old farm with tranquil guesthouses, complete with lambs, cows, two trusty greyhounds and some fishing dams did the trick.
I’ve said it plenty of times before and I’ll say it again here…are you listening carefully…we live in the most beautiful country in the world!
I could spend the rest of my life exploring South Africa and the diverse surroundings and nature that most of us take for granted. Around every corner is something new and delicious to explore and enjoy. This last little holiday reinforced that for me.
Dullstroom is a quaint little town just outside of Middelberg with small arty shops, pubs, chocolatier, trout shops etc. Oh and of course a cheese shop! I would never miss that. The actual cheese farm, Bergen Cheese, is in Tonteldoos – about 10 minutes from Dullstroom and is also a restaurant (with cheese mentioned a lot of the menu, of course!). The cheese farm offers tours where they show you how the cheese is made, but the cheese maker was away and I didn’t get to experience it 🙁
Tonteldoos is really tiny and there’s not much to mention about it, but there are plenty of trout farms for fishing if that’s what you’re into, otherwise some serious chilling is on the cards in a beautiful landscape.
There are also plenty of interesting farm roads for mountain-biking, which I tried my hand (poor aching legs) at…I think I nearly died! Spinning is a walk in the park, but actual mountain biking…that’s another freaking story!
I also tried my hand at pulling a fish hook out of the manimal’s head…it appears that I’m not so good at that either.
Okay, enough babbling…the point is that it was such a nice getaway, not that far out of Jozi – only about 3 hours max, and…yes you guessed it… I Heart South Africa!
Go and explore!
I will not go into the whole saga that left me stranded in Frankfurt on the way home from Croatia, “courtesy” of Lufthansa Airlines, but nevertheless ended up with a day to kill in Frankfurt.
Being Germany’s financial centre, I didn’t expect much, but had a lot of time to wait until my flight back home to Jozi, so spent the day wandering the streets in Frankfurt. It turned out to be such a lovely city and I am glad that I had the opportunity to see it in between airport dramas.
The transport system is impeccable, the streets clean and the architecture really beautiful. There are plenty of museums and cafes, and a stroll along the river Main was really pleasant. The Jewish museum is quite interesting and devotes itself to portraying the history of Jewish communities in Frankfurt and Germany, complete with photos of the old Jewish quarters between the 15th and 18th century. LOVE city pics of the big cities way back in the day and comparing it to what it looks like today.
The main bridge in Frankfurt, the Eiserner Steg Bridge, is covered with gorgeous little “love locks” – where sweethearts affix padlocks to bridge railings to symbolise their everlasting love…sweet!
All in all, it was a really lovely city to experience, even though it was under rather unpleasant circumstances!
I would not suggest flying Lufthansa at all, especially if in Alliance with SAA. Every flight I had with them there was some sort of big issue and my baggage was lost twice (still waiting for them to find it).
If you do decide to travel with them from Johannesburg into Europe, fly via Munich as there are more daily flights between Munich and JHB in case you miss your connection.
The train leaves from the Airport Terminal 1 in Frankfurt airport and goes straight into Frankfurt city centre. Choose the ‘Frankfurt Hbf’ option for your ticket.
Well peeps, today I leave Croatia and I believe that I am quite ready to come home now.
It has been a fantastic holiday an a very well-needed break from my day-to-day life. Food, wine, truffles, beach, sleep, rockclimbing, biking, buses buses buses, caffe. That would be the short version 🙂
I will start creating my Croatia blog posts as soon as I am back, with lots of photos etc. and some useful info for travellers, so be prepared for those – I really look forward to it! I decided that I would have no tech on this trip and I must admit that it has been killing me softly, so I will have LOTS to say about everything I experienced as it is all ready and waiting in my head.
I was sitting in the square in Zagreb this morning, after a disasterous attempt at a Mysore yoga class and a feel-better Nutella pancake, reflecting on my trip and how I feel about coming home. I then realised that Toto´s Africa was playing out of one of the caffe bars and I realised how much I love South Africa. (That damn song always plays at the right moment – usually the cheesiest time possible)
Amazing food, wine, beaches, mountains, weather, culture and most importantly…friendly people! We really are so spoilt in our country and sometimes it takes a trip elsewhere to make you realise that again.
So now I am looking forward to some sushi, English-speaking people, my homemade gourmet salad lunches, a bubble bath, my own home and my wine rack.
So I arrived in Zagreb, eventually, but my baggage did not. I had quite a crazy morning screeching through the airport like a mad woman to try to catch my connecting flight to Zagreb after my first flight was delayed. Poor Munich airport did not see me coming!
Well I am here. After a much-needed shower, we hit the streets of the city for some quality cafe time. The city is littered with cafe´s where you just sit and relax and people-watch. (By the way, I have watched the Croatian men and they are delicious!)
Speaking of delicious, it is also strawberry season and these babies are the juiciest and sweetest you have ever tasted…yum!
Off to Plitvice Lakes tomorrow (after a quick yoga class in Croatian – should be interesting), which is the number 1 must-see of Croatia, so that will be lovely.
That is it for now, mainly because I cant find any damned punctuation on this Croatian keyboard and I dont need stress on my holiday. *smiley face*
Til next time…
One more sleep until I leave for Croatia! I am quite stressed about the whole thing, although I know that I am actually ready for it. There’s just something about independant travel that gives you that extra buzz of nerves. I don’t know – could be the whole not having booked anywhere to stay and just winging it, not really sure 😉
I’m armed with my Lonely Planet book on Croatia, and having had a brief little visit to the Thorn Tree forum on their site, I do have a bit of an idea of where I’m going, how I’m getting around and how much I can expect to spend (ah crap, just realised I need to transfer some money still…). I’m a big Lonely Planet fan, and between their site, books, blogs and traveller forums, I think that they absolutely provide the best support for independant travel! Maybe one day I will write for them…hmmmm…or photograph for Lonely Planet Images.
I am packed (just about) and ready. Just have to fit this small pile of clothes into a backpack and do some bon voyage kisses.
I’m not taking my Blackberry and am completely removing myself from the world as I know it for 2 weeks. I will probably start having withdrawal symptoms and hunt down an internet cafe every now and then for a quick-fix blog post, so I’m not making any promises just yet!
If I don’t come back, please just assume that I have found a beautiful Croatian husband and am sipping cocktails and eating truffles in his seaside villa. Or more likely, I lost a day and missed my flight.
Dahab, Egypt has to be second on my list of favourite places to trave to. It is situated on the southeast coast of the Sinai Peninsula in Egypt and is the only place that has really been able to put me at peace. It’s a ridiculously lazy diving town that sucks you in and wills you to stay. What was meant to be a few days there ended up being over a week. We also managed to lose a day to the town and nearly missed our flight home.
The sunsets over the still Red Sea against the backdrop of the Saudi Arabian mountains on the other side of the coast is something that everyone has to see in their lifetime. Put it on your bucket list now! As soon as the sun starts to fade and the sea turns red, while you’re sipping your traditional bedouin tea with the smell of fruity-flavoured shisha pipes, you cannot actually imagine being anywhere else!
It’s also an amazing diving town and there are many, many diving schools where you can do a huge range of certified diving courses at your own leisurely pace. The underwater world of the Red Sea is definitely something that you want to see.
I found a kind of magic there that I have yet to find anywhere else.
To steal a line from a fortune cookie from my good friend, Big Daddy:
“May you step on the soil of many countries.”
I hope my photos portray some of that magic.
The travel bug has bitten again. Hard and vicious.
So to psyche me up to spend all my money again on seeing the world, I thought I’d write a few blogs on some of my favourite travel experiences. I hope you enjoy them and it inspires you to go experience whatever it is that you need to experience!
The country at the top of my list of travel memories right now, is Cambodia, which I like to refer to as ‘The Land of Smiles’.
Khmer people are the friendliest people that I have ever met…and I’m talking genuine friendliness, you know…the kind where you feel that they are genuinely happy to meet you? As a traveller in a third world country (I mean real third world, not South Africa-style third world), you will always encounter the unpleasant hasslings of locals who want your money, but Cambodia welcomes you with open arms and a big, big smile. Okay, the exception would be a border post between Thailand and Cambodia, but even that was enough of a bizarre experience to think I’d do it again.
Considering what these people had been through with the Khmer Rouge brutality (a visit to the killing fields left shivers down my spine to this day – which is why you will not see any photos on this blog post of this), still seemingly unknown to a lot of the world, the genocide and absolute inhumanity that they experienced seems to have made them stronger and they still manage to smile and forgive. Insane.
Okay, enough ramblings, a picture tells a thousand words…
Travel, travel, travel! That will be my mantra from now on…watch this space!