…The first of many beautiful Poems by Engel…

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Happiness . Is to be, or not to be,
It’s something as simple as climbing a tree,
With a world full Stress,
Don’t you think it’s time to undress? (Add Wink Emoji)
Each one of us carries negativity energy,
With the hopes of releasing it into inner-positivity,
Little do we know, it’s a mere block of creativity.
Such is the rollercoaster of Life,
Dictated by a linear time based motion,
Through spiritually,
you should flow like the ocean.
Christo Engel Engelbrecht
Christo
Dagga…
Cannabis, zol, dagga or marijuana,
Just legalise it ‘of jay gaan hop johanna’,
Unchivalrous behaviour towards those in dire need,
Where the only cure lies within a little bit of weed.
The vast amounts of controversy,
Somewhat smells of a conspiracy,
To refuge those whom appose to mediocracy,
So now you criminalise and victimise a Life,
A Life that would like to save another Life.
A Life that has more worth,
than what has already been sacrificed.
Christo Engel Engelbrecht
Christo
 
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WITRIVIER / NELSPRUIT / SABIE / GRASKOP

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The Naked Barista    13/06/2017

So, after a beautiful weekend looking after Sam, we left early this morning from Pretoria , lock, stock and Barrel and arrived in Witrivier at Bundu Lodge.

 

Driving out of the city of Pretoria, we were very soon…very suddenly…pleasantly surprised with the serene beauty of Schoemanskloof pass.

It was a winter warm day arriving at our destination.  B proceeded to search for the worksite as he was told that it was situated on a hill inside our place of accommodation which will be… Bundu Lodge.

We were amazed at the splendorous gardens overflowing with both fauna and flora. Allsorts of bucks, Alpacca’s, Ostriches and Emus walked freely in this stunning environment.

Ponds with ducks added to the tranquil feeling of peace and harmony.  There were also cages with bearded dragons and a first for me were some furry animals nestled against each other.  (Pic below) They are noted for their fur being the softest of all furry animals…they are ‘chinchillas’…and…even softer than the bunnies, that were also frolicking everywhere.

Later on in the week, we were on our way into town when we were blessed with a display of three ostriches doing a marvelous wild dance ritual.

An emu decided to follow me around and I could touch it’s soft feathers.  It wanted to put it’s head on my shoulder.  How very blessed!

Bundu Lodge is also a beautiful wedding venue complete with magnificent photo opportunities boasting a windpump and antique wagon sitting just to the side of a Romanesque chapel.

But, alas…work came first and only on the following Sunday afternoon while taking a stroll, we discovered the animals in the cages…

On our first arrival at Bundu Lodge, we proceeded to search for and eventually found the hidden winding road leading to the top of the hill.

Our workmen commenced work at once. We took one of our workmen and as per usual went in search for accommodation in the nearest village.  We always try to add to the economy of the locals.

Only after the fact, could we book into our own room and I immediately started working my magic to arrange for a good stay.

Karen from Bundu Lodge assisted us with a very attractive room and we had a splendid stay.  I highly recommend this lodge and as you know if you have read my travel articles, I can sometimes be just a little bit full of nonsense, especially if we are staying for half a month.

Our room had the biggest bed and we felt just a little bit lost in it after sharing a singIe bed for nearly three weeks…the reason being…better logistics and location with our workmen.

The room featured just that little extras which make being away from home, worth it…a candle against the wall…a kettle and fridge…best of all every day the drinks tray are replenished with rooibos tea, coffee, white and brown sugar and even diabetic sugars.  It truly is the little things that makes me feel at home.  The cleaning service every day is such a treat and the staff is super efficient.  I felt superblessed!

Adding yet more to my feeling of being extremely spoiled, I did not have to cook at night as we ordered our meals directly from the restaurant.  We mostly ate in our room as B needed some relaxation after work.

The food was well priced and extremely delicious.  The waiters are very efficient and friendly. The few evenings that we did eat at the restaurant was just as awesome, a delicious dining experience.  Eating on a huge deck surrounded by lush trees of every imaginable shade of green and when we were timeous…spoiled with stunning sunsets.

We did have to move inside on occasion as this time of year when the sun sets, an inconsiderate chill arrives.

Best of all about our room, were the lovely verandah complete with the biggest tree and as we were on the second floor, little birds’ animated chatter were heard all day long.  I made sure that they wanted to stick around by attracting them with crumbs from our morning rusks.  The verandah was also absolutely perfect for doing my leg exercises and I just loved breathing so freely…

After driving through Witrivier, we realized that accommodation in this region were superfluous.  Travelling as much as we do, I felt quite sure that we were superblessed to have had the absolute best stay with Bundu Lodge.

The following week we had to do the necessary bank related tasks and thought best to do this in the bigger town of Nelspruit which were all of about five minutes drive from Witrivier.

One Saturday we visited Baghdad where we thought there would be a Farmers Market to buy some fresh produce as we usually do in our hometown of Sedgefield.

We were disappointed as the Market is only held every second weekend of the month.  We did have a good stroll around and what an eloquent setting for a market it was.  Also featuring here is one of the most nostalgic antique shops I have had the pleasure to visit.

Baghdad, is situated opposite Casterbridge Lifestyle Centre which we made a quick visit to as B had to get back to site. The walls of these very attractive buildings is entirely covered with stunning free crawling exotic plant creepers.  Tea or lunch can be had in romantic courtyards surrounded by splendorous rose bushes and vined pergolas. This center is well worth a visit as it even boasts a movie house.

On Fathers Day, B gave our workmen a day of rest and we had a lovely drive out to Sabie.  Bonus…the most awesome High School hits were playing on Jacaranda FM.

What a peaceful experience, being surrounded by such an abundance of gigantic nut trees.  Under the trees were huge heaps of nutshells.  Harmony and peace…at last…the experiences a soul longs for…

On our way, we went down memory lane for B as he showed me where he lived for just a little while as a child.  While he talked about his childhood, I was reminded of how quickly a lifetime goes by.

The views on the road toward Pelgrimsrus is breathtakingly beautiful, hills and valleys and turns and greens of all shades.  No wonder there is an area named…God’s window.  Stunning!

We arrived, maybe with too high of an expectation, to see the growth of Pelgrimsrus as a tourist attraction, it being a Historic Town.  Our last visit to this town were around 15 years ago…we were quite disappointed…there is definitely room for improvement and growth surrounding the tourist industry.

I did however, buy some terrific liquirice toffees, B’s favourite, at a little store staffed by a mature lady and also a writer.  We got chatting and she was busy writing a book about the history of Pelgrimsrus.  I thought that she was born and bred there, but she only arrived around five years ago.  The toffees, alas, was not from the area, but manufactured in the town of Darling.

Graskop, on the other hand, were abuzz with tourists and Dad’s getting spoiled on Father’s Day.  We felt that someone from the community were doing something right to attract the tourists and shoppers.  The shops were open and inviting.  We entered a silk shop as I have had…since my teens and still have…’silk sheets’ listed on my wishlist…

This shop had some stylish silk garments and pillow cases, but…no silk sheets.  It is actually delightful to have something so alluding to search for on our travels…

There were so many eating places and we had a tough decision on choosing.  We opted for pancakes and narrowed it down to two places.  When I saw a sign of Black Forest Cake on one of the two, the decision was made for us.  After a delicious light meal of a shared pancake and a slice of cake, we took a drive through the town of Graskop.  Very agreeable indeed!

On our way back, we were surprised by a magnificent castle – Flycatcher Castle – and marvelled at the story behind it.  Read about it on the hyperlink – designed and completed by a sculptor.

 

 

 

 

On our last day, B and our workmen finished around lunchtime and after we dropped them off at their accommodation, I could eventually gift B one of his fathers day gifts which was a Moroccan Barber experience.  This store is well worth a visit and a treat for men SA Moroccan Barber.

The décor of this shop is breathtakingly beautiful and if I were a man in Witrivier, I would not go anywhere else to be spoilt.  They really know their business.

 

After not really wanting to go…B were superblessed!

 

Before!                   After!

 

 

 

 

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“Rekindle” – Bike Trip

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Rekindle Bike Trip – The Naked Barista 20/01/2017

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So…eventually we hit the tarmac around 12 on our “Rekindle” adventure.
Let’s just start from the beginning…
why “Rekindle”?
Well,…I found a small piece of wood carving this morning in my room with the word “Rekindle” written on it…and I believe in signs…
20170121_182646We have been together 22 years and let’s just say that we needed some alone time. We have so many awesome friends that we love to spend time with them…so…some “together alone” time was definitely needed, especially after the festive season.
I had purchased a ‘Daddy deal’  voucher last year for accommodation in Tulbagh, which was nearing expiry date. The timing was perfect especially after the recent traumatic passing of my Mother.
The day…weather wise…was stunning. I love being on the motorbike behind my husband as he is the best driver I know. I love the way he handles our magnificent BMW, 180kg iron horse.
Our first stop from our home in Sedgefield,  was at the Bali Trading Centre near Riversdal.

We ate at La Bella Deli and we definitely had a very good deal sharing a lovely Lamb Shank for R90,00 followed by a delicious chocolate cheese cake.

We love good food and I am always happy to share so as not to be too heavy for the bike.
On we rode towards Barrydale through the gorgeous Tradouw Pass with magestic mountain crevices spewing out water falls in different directions.
We stopped off for a visit with our new friends, Craig and Heidi at their peaceful home amidst stunning mountains for a cup of tea.

After a delightful visit, we rode onwards to the Guano Caves, thinking to have a stay over, but they were fully booked.
Everything always happens for a reason as we found the best accommodation that evening at the Montaque Country Hotel. We could not have asked for more as we had a lovely candle light dinner accompanied by beautiful live piano music. Very romantic indeed and what an amazing start for our ‘Rekindle’ journey?
I believe that gratitude begets more gratitude…and so…

Next morning, we were blessed even more, by the fresh new day beginning in a stunning rose garden to feast our senses and where I could do a few yoga stretches in total privacy.

20170121_081321After this we feasted on an enormous breakfast in the garden court with so much gratitude amidst a variety of birds greeting the new day with excited and happy chirping sounds.
After our very busy season, it is truly a blessing to feel so at peace.
I have to mention that the friendly staff at the Montaque Country Hotel made us feel very welcome.  We left the Hotel feeling real good.
On the road, sitting at the back of the bike, I usually find my meditation and reflection time and felt superblessed having eyes and ears to appreciate such splendor.

20170121_105849Beautiful red Kanna flowers jumped for joy amidst all the luscious green adorning the roadside and all my senses seemed to be caressed simultaneously.

 

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Our next stop at Springfield Wine Cellar did not disappoint either. Seating can be found under huge trees next to a lovely dam with fish. Gratitude were absolutely the order of the day and we chillaxed in this stunning space for a bit.
Our journey to the historic town of Tulbagh continued and we arrived midday on a very hot Saturday. Our accommodation, The Cape Dutch Quarters is situated in the old historic Church Street boasting with the most museums in our country.20170121_125511

We were told to take our vouchers and go directly to Drostdy Hof as they were not open on a Sunday.
We proceeded to do so immediately with our free voucher in hand, (the actual entrance fee being only R25 and drink as much as you can.) Being on the bike, we made a wise decision not to drink much at all.
20170121_125518Drostdy Hof is owned by Distell. The building dictates from an age old architecture and the old historic museum has the most amazing furniture and eloquent descriptions of an age old heritage.  We had a feeling of being telleported way back into time. We saw a romantic ‘sound system’ (pic below) from times forgotten and thought of our friend Nic, with his magnificent modern sound system.20170121_125135

After meandering through the romantic huge rooms complete with high ceilings and rich wooden floors adorned with stunning age old afghans and rich exquisite pieces of furniture, we went down a stairwell that leads into the cellar.

Here is the self help tasting set up of bottles awaiting consumption complete with candle light and historical nuances. This space were once used as a jail.

Then we went to Oakhurst Olive farm. What a beautiful greeting awaits the customer, with lavender and rosemary hedges, a glorious feast for the eyes.
The absolutely unique building were thankfully cool inside and offered refuge from the 34 degrees heat outside.  (Press on the hyperlink above to see the marvelous building.)

The olive tasting was a first for both of us and with the expert guidance of Jolandie, we thoroughly enjoyed it. We were amazed at the distinctive differences in taste of the three variants.

We hurried back, the wheels of the bike spitting up dust from the dirt road in our haste for a swim in the lovely pool at Cape Dutch Quarters.20170122_151629

 

 

 

 

We are staying in the Wagon Shed and yes this is where the wagons were kept. The self catering unit has thick walls which were good for keeping cool inside. We did have an aircon in the room.

20170121_144445 The most becoming feature were a romantic four poster bed complete with lace curtains which we found to be absolutely vital for keeping out the mosquitos descending on us at night.

So after I had my usual ‘OCD’ moment and turned the toilet paper in the toilet into its ‘correct’  (B laughs) position, we settled in.

We spend the afternoon relaxing in the perfect pool with “Miss Lucy”, the excellent white wine, we had purchased earlier the morning at Springfield wine estate.

20170121_201243Later that evening, after viewing a glorious sunset from the roof, we walked across the road and had a delicious dinner at Tulbagh Hotel.

 

20170122_083559The following morning we had breakfast in a room as big as a hall with a huge table complete with table settings for many guests. Blue porcelain and fancy silverware were everywhere to be seen. We felt like royalty as we were the only two people at the huge table.

20170122_193311Afterward we walked down the wide Church Street to the info centre and the ‘earthquake’ museum situated next to each other.  Church Street is famous for being the street with the most historical buildings in our country.  As it was Sunday, the info centre only opened at eleven and we decided to make a visit to Saronsberg first.

We went on the bike to the absolutely astounding Saronsberg Wine Estate.
We wandered around in the building and feasted our eyes on the exquisite art for a bit.

The pic below seems to be an art piece, but it is not, this is the exquisite view upon entering this beyond beautiful estate.

20170122_101427Inside, we were lured closer by a very informative and excited voice which we found out later, belonged to Renier, explaining all about Saronsberg fine wines in utmost detail to a couple and we decided to have a listen.
Renier welcomed us to join them and we listened with fascination to his extensive knowledge.

Suddenly the visitor, whose name was Johann, turned to us and told us that he recognized us from four years earlier in Wilderness where he met us at a party at Wild Farm. What a photographic memory he must have? His fiance, Nikita was with him and we decided to have a lunch date in town afterwards.
We were very surprised that we have never heard of Saronsberg before as it boasted with some of the most delicious wines, especially their desert wine.
Lunch was a Bobotie Javel at Cakes and Cream and afterwards we were spoiled with a chocolate tasting next door.
Johann and Nikita had to drive back to Cape Town and we went to the Earthquake Museum which made me really sad. There are so many sad stories depicted.
Afterwards, to feel uplifted, we went to ‘Jou Ma se Gallery’, but it was 20170122_144624closed as it was Sunday afternoon. We did however have a glass of wine in the courtyard restaurant under magnificent big trees. We were very surprised when the owner showed us that we were being oogled by four wide eyed owls.20170122_144628

We felt superblessed to see this historic town of Tulbagh and it was absolutely worth it.  Just goes to show that you have to follow your intuition…

That evening we dined at Readers Restaurant as we had yet another voucher from Daddy’s Deals for a free bottle of wine.

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Readers Restaurant is also situated in Church Street and we were blessed to sit outside while the sun was setting amidst a lane of majestic trees.  This restaurant definitely belongs to a cat lover.  Do yourself a favor and visit to see why we came to this conclusion.
We cruised toward Citrusdal over the rugged Middelbergpass in the area which is called the ‘Koue Bokkeveld’

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Some of the road was tarred, but for the most part we did some off roading…

We traveled via Dorp op die Berg…

Another place we never knew existed…

Such a weird little town within a backdrop of rocky mountains.  We saw a Spar shop and an Agri.

We definitely traveled on roads less traveled on a very hot day, before arriving at ‘Kardoesie’ Restaurant on the side of the road where we stopped for a light lunch.  We bought delicious figs, cream and other delicacies to take away.

Eventually we arrived at  The Baths, situated close to Citrusdal.

We were absolutely delighted to find that one of the swimming pools were a cold water pool as it was a scorcher of a day (around 38 degrees) and we could not wait to have a cool down.

Afterwards we took a walk to the rock pools which is situated behind one of the big houses on the premises.

We took residence in our own private cabin overlooking healthy vineyards.  It is newly build, so very modern and we had our very own stylish jacuzzi to boot.

Needless to say, we had an awesome time relaxing and just being.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saronsberg were obviously invited…

 

…and it goes without saying that we  braaied some tjoppies…

some more figs…and some golden oldies with LM Music

 

While we were at The Baths, we did a back road trip to Clanwilliam and ate brunch at  Nancy’s Tearoom.  We were blessed with a good meal in a delightful garden setting.

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So…on the 25th of January, we arrived in in the tiny fishing village of Lambertsbaai.

To get to Lambertsbaai, we decided to once again, travel roads less traveled over majestic mountains via treacherous, rocky and dusty back roads featuring, not only beautiful dungeons and gorges, but a magnitude of Rooibos plantations galore. Beautiful smells arrested our nostrils as we cruised on.  I cannot emphasize enough this feeling of freedom traveling on a bike effectuate.  We even lost our top box on the rocky roads when it went flying off…luckily B had his ever handy leathermanhttp://://www.leatherman.com/wave-10.html with him and some duck tape…

We were very excited to find foreign places we never knew existed…places like Paleisheuwel. (read more by pressing on the link)

Clainwilliam is well known for South Africa’s favourite ‘nectar of nature’, Rooibos  tea and we even passed a huge rooibos factory.

What a big change, not only in climate, but scenery it was, from being inland and then at all the tiny towns by the sea.

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Lambertsbaai boasts with Bird Island and we decided to pay a visit.  Bird Island is home to the blue-eyed Cape Gannet and as it is easily accessible, we had a close up ‘birds eye’ view of them in a natural breeding site. Mating dances can be witnessed through a signposted bird hide. This island is also home to the Cormorant bird species and as always a multitude of seagulls.

Cape fur seals could be seen sunning themselves on the rocks in the distance.  We walked around the island and it felt wonderful not to feel rushed to be anywhere.

We had our evening meal at Isabella’s and what a treat…the best seafood we have had in a long time.

Our home for the night is situated perfectly on the beach…

with everything we need…feeling superblessed indeed.

Malkop, equiped with everything that we needed.  Maybe the name rubbed off as we decided to put our feet in the water…this is definitely not recommended as the water is icy cold.

Next morning, we found a space on the rocks perfectly created for having a cuppa and a rusk.

 

What a perfect space and time spent before our adventure onward towards Paternoster and our home for the night…Sea Shack.

 

 

Enroute we had a fishy lunch and cold beer (Castle Milk Stout for me…) IMG-20170307-WA0050at a quaint restaurant harbour side of Veldrift.

Sea Shack proved to be the perfect ending to this, our “Rekindle” trip.

Sea Shack is situated within the Cape Columbine Nature Reserve.

That evening we watched the sun set  while sitting on the rocks…

 

 

I made us a light dinner in the very well equipped kitchen.  Afterwards we played some board games by candle light.

We felt superblessed by this impromptu get away…

 

 

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Pretoria Part 4

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…the Naked Barista                                                18 July 2016

Still in Pretoria and we were superblessed as we had a lovely weekend with Juan (son) before he took an airplane back to Palma.

He arrived in Pretoria very tired on Friday, as he was in Cape Town for a week only, sorting out a Visa and obviously had to see many friends.

We decided to just chill and spend some quality time together as I had already prepared a spinach dish for dinner.

On Saturday B had to sort out the workmen on his worksite and Juan accompanied him.   Afterwards B brought Juan back and we spend the day in Menlyn Shopping Centre as he needed a haircut before flying out.

We are both not so crazy about shopping malls anymore and it tired us out completely. We went for a late lunch at Parrot’s Restaurant and this is where B came to fetch us.

Afterwards we all just had to take a nap…

20160716_184046Napping turned out to be a very good idea, as we had an awesome evening together, just the three of us, cooking and drinking red wine in our family’s perfect kitchen.

 

B could have a sleep in on Sunday morning as he gave his workmen the day off.

We lazed around and ate a hearty breakfast which Juan prepared from the leftover food of the previous evening.

We were also superblessed to schedule in time for Juan for an Angel card reading .  At this card reading we had a discussion about our challenges as a family when they (Juan and his sister, Maryna) were growing up.  We reminisced as to how life has turned out for us after all of these challenges…

We were superblessed when…after our ‘reading time’ spend together, Jeremy (cousin) came to call us to show us his wall covered in photos from when he was a little boy and visiting us in Sedgefield.  Our family, who we think of as quite dysfunctional and challenged, meant a great deal to him as a boy growing up…

img-20160728-wa0006…Jeremy used to come visit and stay with us during school holidays as a little boy and I didn’t even realise that he had those photos.

All those memories came flooding back and made me realise just how very connected we are.

Jeremy has become quite famous as he has been voted ‘Mr Pretoria 2016’.  He is an amazingly well rounded handsome young man…and single…

…just saying.

Our friend Ruan, had booked us a table at Tings and Times  which will unfortunately close down soon.  Sunday afternoon, we went to see Piet Botha and the show was one for the books.

fb_img_1476181545205Cousin Jeremy also went with us to the restaurant and when it was time, he took Juan to the Guatrain  to transport him to the airport…and once again our son was off to work to take on some new adventures…

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…Three years ago I met a lady, Nira Sklair  by ‘coincidence’.

We were at our favourite restaurant Cocomos  in Wilderness one evening with many friends. It was packed as usual – as Cocomos offer live music, lovely food and a great vibe – but I degress.

We were sitting down when this beautiful lady, Nira and her partner came into view. I cannot even explain it, but we locked eyes and I just knew that she would be a part of my life.  As there were no tables available, we made a plan to have them sit at our table and we could chat a little bit.

Juan’s, 21st birthday was coming up the following Saturday and I invited them to join us. They did and enjoyed it, even took photos.

So why am I telling you this?

When we posted on facebook that we were coming to work in Gauteng, Nira send me an invite to get together and yesterday we did. It was such a weird thing, to get together with someone you spend so little time with three years ago, but it felt so absolutely right.

The day was perfect, everything just flowed for me.

I made plans to travel to Rosebank with the Gautrain, but being superblessed as I am, I was driven by car…

I was ready to go to the train station and waiting for B to take me. Stefan, who lives in the flat at our current accommodation was still at home and happen to mention that he was going there anyway.  I would have missed that opportunity if his car’s battery didn’t die and he had to wait for the AA.

Everything worked out perfect and I was delivered to Rosebank mall. I send Nira a message that I was there and went in search of a Health shop.  Since my recent health issues, I have been avoiding chemicals and have had a challenge sourcing organic Earthsap Hair products.

As I could not even find these products at such a big complex, I decided to visit Woolworths  to have some Chai tea and a sit down to send Nira a message telling her that I have arrived.  I haven’t even sat down, when she was right there with me.  We hugged forever and three years just melted away…

 

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…oh yeah, the photos Nira took at Juan’s 21st birthday, she burnt on a cd and was now a gift… how very special…

We chatted, getting to really know each other while drinking chai, hers with Soya as she also had issues with milk as I am now believing could be a part of my challenge as well.

The day continued to just get better and better…  Nira spoiled me by taking me to the Standard Bank Gallery  where they were show casing the work of Henri Matisse.

Interesting that this exhibition opens at a time when debates about the relationship about local and foreign in South Africa’s cultural landscape have never seemed more pressing.

For me the Gallery as well as the exhibition were an amazing experience and I felt superblessed just to be there.

From there we went on to a busy health shop named Fresh Earth where we had delicious butternut, cashew and coconut soup for lunch.

After lunch, I purchased healthy raw honey, almond milk and another organic hair conditioner as again, I could not find the Earthsap I was looking for.

Luckily, I had my leather backpack handbag (a gift from my friend, Aneta) with me fitting all my purchased goods neatly as I was to travel back on the Gautrain.  This was exciting for me as it was my first time on this train.  I have been superblessed to travel on the underground in London though.

Jetting off on the Gautrain with the sun setting I felt so much gratitude for this life and very much loved to have such jewels for friends.

20160723_183848I feel blessed to live in an era where this generation of young men seems to be keen to experiment in the kitchen as Jeremy and I also prepared a few good dishes together while we were staying there.

Our friend Jannelie, who creates beautiful jewellery, and I were very blessed to join in on the fun at a “secret sunrise“.

All I can say is that if ever you have an opportunity to do this, do yourself the favour and go for the experience…

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…You would be superblessed if you did…

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Trance…how did it happen?

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Queen of Hearts…                                     15 October 2016

I have felt like sharing our experience for a while now…

…how we as very conservative humans got into ‘trance’ and this ‘new age’ of living I suppose…

(Cannot believe I just used the words ‘new age’…as it was a definite taboo to even utter these words about seven years ago)…  I have hyperlinked the word ‘new age’ to one site only, but there are so many diverse opinions on what it means.  As for myself just the mere fact that I can mention the words without feeling that I am going to hell and not subjecting myself to being just a ‘this’ or a ‘that’ in religion, is absolutely freeing.

…and what a journey it has been…

This morning seems to be ‘D-day’ to share as my ‘memories’ on facebook suggests that it started six years ago in 2010. Also I am still in bed in Summerstrand, Port Elizabeth  overlooking the wide expanse of ocean.

img-20160928-wa0020The weather has changed to overcast. This makes for perfect writing weather while staying in bed as I can call it “work” being a writer.

B and our friend Joe has left to work on site, building a very big cell phone tower. We are nearly finished with this project and probably going home early next week.

…So, in 2010 we were encouraged by our awesome friends Christo and his brother Joe (same one who is working with B now) to join them at “Rocking the Daisies”.  Yes, this is a rock festival and yes this is where we started our ‘trance’ journey.

fb_img_1476425216531Our son, Juan, was only 16 then and joined us, me being aware of this, as we were very conservative church going Christians and even facilitators of courses on how to live ‘a righteous life’. Our children were both in the ‘ACE schooling system’ (Accelerated Christian Education)…so when I say ‘very’ conservative, I mean very conservative.

To be together at such an amazing event with our awesome friends, was afb_img_1476530276138 lovely experience for all of us and we revelled at the talented bands and basked in the glory of such a festive atmosphere.

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We were camping with many colourful friends and for the first time ever saw ‘magic mushrooms’

fb_img_1476530263305I was very cautious, but also curious and felt that we were in a safe environment to experiment. I was excited to try something new and had the tiniest piece.  It was so small that it disappeared into the hole in my wisdom tooth…

…please keep in mind that both B and myself never had a ‘teenager’ life of partying.

I started working at age fifteen every weekend and school holidays. Age 17, I even started working at the Rotary Club on Wednesday evenings and for the Lions Club on Sundays at the Woodbridge Island gholf course.

Thus no partying as a teenager…

Then I got married and had my beautiful children. Together with this, worked hard at being the best businesswoman and mother.

B went to varsity, but had a steady girlfriend. At age 21, he fell in love and married me.  Together with this he took on the package deal with kids and so we were always very responsible…

So in 2010 with a bit of magic in my tooth and much less responsibilities, we explored ‘Rocking the Daisies’…

Soon we saw a stunning huge white tent where strange beats were beckoning us to enter. It sounded weird to say the least, but we were absolutely intrigued.

We went inside and this is where our ‘trance journey’ began…at a rock festival…

I cannot say that I fell instantly in love with the weird sounds of electronic music, but the way the beats attacked my heart, made me feel truly alive. B and I definitely felt the same, as we could not stop gesturing to each other and marvelling at this phenomena.

On hindsight, I thought that it could have had something to do with the mushrooms…but it just kept on happening every time we encountered trance beats.

Joe and I had a discussion recently and we realised that these beats of trance would be the very first sound we hear when we are a fetus in the womb. No wonder that we recognise the beating of our own hearts when we encounter these beats.

It makes you want to wake up to your own heartbeat…

 Well, the journey was obviously not an easy one as in the conservative culture that we created our life, we were considered condemned souls.

There is no easy way to say this and I do not mean to criticize church goers, but in my opinion, I have never experienced so much unconditional love and acceptance as I have in the trance culture.  This being said, keep in mind that we are all on our own journey and if the church works for you where you are…be super blessed.

After 2010 Rocking the Daisies, we were invited to attend our first Vortex, off course, also by our friend Christo.

I remember that one of my first thoughts at Vortex was that I have never seen so many beautiful people together and still today I am amazed at every festival how many of the most beautiful people gather to just enjoy being.

At that point, Christo had been in the ‘trance scene’ for a while and trying to share with everyone he met the amazing experience of it all.  Gratitude for his persistence.

His Parents, Johan and Annemarie Moller were very worried of this and tried their very best to convince him to stop mingling with the ‘wrong’ people.

Eventually, he convinced them that he would accept their judgement only after they attended one of these festivals.

So, in 2014 they asked us to help them with purchasing their tickets to Vortex. They wanted it to be a surprise for Christo and Joe…and it really was.fb_img_1476522514425

And so their journey with trance began… (seeds of change) more than 15000 people have read this link…

 

I do not know if they are ‘the oldest’ (definitely not in stamina) couple in the trance culture, but I do know that with their shared knowledge everyone they meet are enriched. They bless us with their teachings and inspiration and have celebrity status…fb_img_1476522501493

They currently have 2 343 facebook friends…

I can just say that we have found a wealth of intelligence, acceptance and inspiration amongst the beings that loves trance.

There are so many of these souls that I have come to love and admire, but I want to mention one of my favourite and more mature (only in years) dj’s, Kalahari Kris .  Not only a dj, but also a farmer who has been on Carte Blanche recently with the Brucellosis Threat.

And mentioning Carte Blanche, our Princess friend, Dana comes to mind as she was also featured on Carte Blanche as a Tarot Card Reader.

After six years I do believe it is safe to say that I have had the honour to meet the most amazing souls and I have much more of an awareness of living my own best life.

I feel absolutely superblessed and loved  as our website suggests.

We were warned that the ‘trance’ scene is filthy with drugs and we would fall into this trap. We were very innocent and yes I have to admit that I was kinda scared of this happening.

In my opinion I have seen more drugs outside of the trance scene than amongst. If you want to get addicted to anything, it is always your own decision.  You can even legally get a prescription from our present day Doctors not only for our adults, but especially for our children.

I can safely say that I am definitely not a drug addict…in fact I am not addicted to anything, not even smoking or alcohol (which I do believe is the greatest drugs there is) and ironically it is socially accepted…boggles my mind.

If I am addicted to anything…maybe love…yes, love…which I receive so much of anyway…

We have found a wealth beyond measure of treasured souls that we can call friends.

I have learned so much from all ages and I am open to receive everything that this life wants for me.

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After six years of this new journey, we have never felt more alive or better equipped to be in charge of our own lives, or at peace with the ‘not being in charge’ of everything.  This journey has taken us into overdrive in our thinking and feeling of life.  The experiences we have had in the last six years has been a blessed awakening.

We have met the most beautiful of souls and we are superblessed to call them ‘friends’.

Words cannot begin to describe our experience…the feeling when we arrive at a festival, meeting up once again with like minded beings just to let go…if even only just for a little while… of all the stress of preconceived ideas we were taught and to find your own heartbeat once again with the tribal beats…as our forefathers would have.

…Just to be…

I invite you to join us only once…

…maybe at Vortex this year…

 

you would be superblessed if you did…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Rustenburg…

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The Naked Barista…                                   29 August 2016

So my website was down for three months while I was trying to transfer to South African hosts.  We had so many challenges with this shift, but I am so happy to be back on my site and writing.  Crazy to see how much we have done in just three months. I love my life…

We are on the road again…for a thirteen hour drive and thinking of sleeping in Koster.  Jaco, B’s cousin said that he could easily arrange sleeping space for our six workmen travelling with us, in Koster.  This will make it easier for us and Rustenburg is less than an hour from Koster.

We left Sedgefield this beautiful Monday morning around 6 o’ clock.

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We have not been home much this year and I would like to take this opportunity to mention that our house is listed on Airbnb and always available for short term rentals.  We even rent out per room per night with full use of the house and we can be contacted on my cell no 0825706304

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So this is our home that we build ourselves and created over the years.  At some point we wanted to sell to buy a piece of land, but now we are happy to keep our home and just work harder for the purchase of the land.

 

Therefore…onwards to Rustenburg….

Coming out of the Outeniqua  pass we witness a most splendorous sun appearing on the horizon.

We are driving through Meiringspoort with the colours of the rising sun glinting sun specs all over the majestic wrinkled mountain range.  Blissful beauty surrounds us. Nature is wondrous.

We had an amazing weekend arriving home on Friday from working in Port Elizabeth.

I use the word amazing, because we also had so much sadness throughout this same glorious weekend…

…this is life and acceptance thereof is key.  We had to say goodbye to our dog Max, a beautiful border collie, as he was already 16 years old going on to 17.

 

On Friday night we were invited to the Wild Farm for a party with three of our best local DJ’s playing.  Although we were tired, we wanted to see some of our friends, Hanno and the owners, Theo and Riaan and decided to go. I also had the honour to view some of Ingrid’s stunning new paintings.  Wow! What an artist!

The Wild Farm venue, music and company was so good, that we only went home around three o’clock on Saturday morning.

After sleeping a few hours, we had to go to George for business and we decided to go by motorbike as we missed riding on our motorbike and this would be the only occasion to get a quick ride.

It is so exhilarating to sit at the back of the motorcycle holding on to B. That feeling of freedom on the open road…only a motorbike rider would understand what I am raving about.

To make this particular ride even better, was that I wore my brand new leather waistcoat and jacket for the first time.  Gratitude to our friend Andre who send us a Gumtree ad with this BMW leather suit which was advertised in Port Elizabeth.  Superblessed that we travel so much, as it was still available when we were in PE.

Although we were plagued by sadness about Max, motorbike riding definitely helps as you get to breathe fresh air all the way through Wilderness.  Deep breathing definitely helps with any challenge.

Later on Saturday afternoon, some friends arrived and we had a full house that evening.  We obviously had a braai, but as we have some vegetarian friends, I made a pasta vegetable bake that went well enough with all the braaied meat.

Sunday we were blessed to watch one of our favourite local bands, Rooted Souls at the talent exchange market in Wilderness hills.  I am always astounded by our local musicians.  We have the best for sure!

The venue was at Asanti, the magical farm situated in Wilderness hills of our talented friends Landi and Janus.  Such a peaceful and happy place and every time we are there, the same handsome horse always comes to greet me and makes me feel superblessed.  Got to love it!

I have been looking for the right sunhat for about two years now and found the most attractive one at the talent exchange.  We have also been a part of the talent exchange for a long time, but this was the first actual market I went to.  I love how this mode of exchange works so well to cut out the ‘money’ factor. Check it out on the hyperlink.

Afterwards we went to our favourite restaurant in Wilderness, Cocomos with friends, Tim and Lena and Heydenrich.  We had a good lunch and said goodbye to Tim and Lena who went home to their farm around the mountain near Knoll.

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Last night we slept in Koster at the Klub Kranskuil Resort.  The setting is truly beautiful amidst mountains and streams, but I have to say that the little things inside which help makes your stay more comfortable, could use a little help.

I cooked an easy meal of pasta and sauce…

We had a bath, because this was the only means of getting clean, but if I had the choice, a shower would have been better here, as the bath is definitely in need of some cosmetic repair.  Luckily, we were very tired after twelve hours of driving, so we slept very well.

Next morning on the road from Koster to Rustenburg, we listened to Rian van Heerden on Jakaranda radio.  We love listening to him and we are sorry to hear that he is leaving Jakaranda.  B says he studied at university years ago at the same time as Rian.  Always interesting how life turns out.

While listening to the Jacaranda, I once again researched for accommodation and narrowed it down to a couple of places.  I liked the idea of having our living space as close to the worksite as can be, so that B can come for lunch daily and maybe a quick nap.  He has been working very hard and I can see that he is tired.

So, while B was busy with site establishment, I took our vehicle and went to scout for accommodation which I found immediately.  I can definitely recommend “Ons Dorpshuis” and the self catering unit that we have is three minutes drive from the site. We are blessed with a majestic tree in front of our porch under which I do my leg exercises.  Inside our room, there is just the right size for me to even do yoga…perfect!

 

Last weekend, on Sunday morning, while we were still at home – after we had breakfast – I pulled some Goddess cards for my friends, Inge and Lena, from a pack that I was given by my friend Joe as he thought that this was the pack that my Princess friend would have wanted me to have.

He was absolutely right, as this is how connected we all are.  Princess Dana still wanted to gift me a pack and I do believe that after her passing, she had Joe give it to me, because of our connection.  This pack feels powerful to me as I also pulled a card for myself.  It was about autonomy which has to do with your third chakra.  I am busy reading a very good book, Eastern body, Western Mind by Anodea Judith and when I opened it at the last place of reading, it was all about Autonomy.  Is it not awesome how we can be in such flow?  My son, Juan was the one to introduce me to this book…so much connectedness.

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Today is the 2nd of September, a very special date for us, as it is our granddaughter Alexia’s birthday.  She is two years old today.  Sad to say that this is also the second year that we are not with her on her birthdate, but I am blessed as I will see her in about a week’s time.FB_IMG_1473157780324

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Rustenburg means ‘town of rest’ in Afrikaans.

The city is situated at the foot of the Magaliesberg mountain range in North West Province of South Africa and was established long before either Pretoria or Johannesburg.

The famous Paul Kruger was born here.

Nowadays, due to it’s rich history, the town is a tourism hot-spot, with areas of interest to entice all types of travellers.

Rustenburg is one of the oldest towns in the North West province. Officially founded in 1851 by Boers who had trekked into the area a decade earlier.

Rustenburg makes for a great base from which to explore areas of interest throughout the region. Rustenburg is also known as the ‘Platinum City’ because of the platinum mining around the area.

By far the best-known attractions in Rustenburg are the nature reserves that are all within striking distance of the town.

For those more culturally minded, there are some magnificent churches to be seen, including the Anglican Church (1871) and the Dutch Reformed Church (1898 -1903).

There are a multitude of sites with cultural and historical significance in and around Rustenburg. This is no surprise, given the many different communities in the area, such as the indigenous Bafokeng, Bakgatla and Tswana people, whose totemic tribal traditions are of much interest.

There is also the German community of Kroondal that traces its origins back to 1857.

Pilanesberg National Park is one of the most accessible South African game reserves. It is the fourth largest in the country and is set high in the Pilanesberg mountain range, traversing the floor of an ancient, long-extinct volcano.

Pilanesberg features all the major mammal species including the Big Five – lion, leopard, elephant, rhino and buffalo. There is also the Kgaswane Mountain Reserve, which is famous for its breeding herd of sable antelope. Small numbers of predators, including caracal, aardwolf, black-backed jackal and leopard also occur. More than 320 species of birdlife have been recorded including a breeding colony of cape vultures.

The Hartbeespoort dam is another nearby attraction offering plenty of activities near Rustenburg as well as providing irrigation for the entire region. A favoured site for watersports, the dam has many resorts, boat clubs and picnic sites scattered along its banks.

It is Saturday the 3rd of September and we are going to check out Hartbeespoortdam today after B has come back from working.  Comments to follow…

Far from peaceful as its name would suggest, Rustenburg is the throbbing centre of the North West province.  Easily accessible and filled with entertainment, Rustenburg is located on major highway routes and offers a wide range of activities for the visitor.

We were superblessed to meet up with one of our favourite friends from Mosselbay right here in Rustenburg last night.  He was here on business. We have not seen David in such a long time and it felt great to meet up with him.  We ate dinner at Panarottis, Waterfall Mall where we received very good service, before David had to leave for he was driving back to Johannesburg.

So, it is Monday the 5th of September and we had a superblessed weekend.  As I already mentioned, we went to Hartbeespoort on Saturday after B came home from working on site.  He had a quick nap before we set off on our road trip.  Enroute to Harties, we went past the little mining town named Mooinooi and I wondered who the ‘mooi nooi’ (pretty girl)was after whom the town was named.  I am still searching for this answer… maybe a reader could shed some light?

We commented on the fact that we have been in this area around Magaliesburg, coming and going more than a few times this year.

We passed a beautiful gholf course on our left which is situated in Mooinooi.  On the right side of us were lands lined with full blossoming Orange trees…so many that we could not see the end of it.

We stopped before the Hartbeespoort crossing into the town/resort as there were a pile up of waiting cars.  Luckily B remembered that the last time he went pass many years ago, there were a shop ‘Tan Malie se Winkel’ and a sign showed that he was right.  We found a traditional South African Shop built in a typical country trading post style abundant with history.  I had the most awesome ginger beer and I do believe I felt a buzz afterward and the colours of the roadside flowers were definitely much brighter…

Onwards we drove over the dam crossing and through a stone tunnel marvellously created.  Stunning views all round, but I have to add that this beautiful tourist attraction could do with some cleaning up campaign.  We were amazed at how filthy the streets were lined with garbage…

We drove onwards to our destination where we were meeting up with our friends, Camel and Anetta.

The Windmill Restaurant was our meeting point thinking that we could have dinner there, but we were surprised to find that they closed at five.

B and I explored and found the fresh produce at the Jasmine farm stall very impressive. It is on the same property and when I did some research last week before we went to Harties, I thought that I might be able to find a new supplier of Jasmine essential oil for my Alexia perfume.

What we did find were the biggest store of fresh produce and everything else.  We did some shopping while we waited for our friends – which wasn’t to long, as Camel is a very fast driver with his red Subaru.

As soon as they arrived, we had to show them the shop as well.  As Anetta loves good, fresh food and loves to shop, I know that she will be visiting them again soon.

We felt a bit at a loss for where to eat and B consulted Tripadvisor as he usually does and promptly booked us the last table at the no 1 restaurant for that area.

Onwards we went and we joked with Camel because we would limit his speeding as he had to follow us.

The Silver Orange Bistro were a fragrant oasis and we were very pleased to be there.  We had a table reserved on the patio and I do believe we were superblessed to have the best table.  The fragrance of sweet smelling flowers surrounded us and the delightful views of the garden and water fountain were an absolute treat.  The fact that we arrived just as the sun were setting were an added bonus…my favourite part of the day.

Anetta and I went to explore and found another huge orange grove with trees in full bloom.  It felt blissfully peaceful.

 

With an entrance like this to dinner, it could only be an awesome experience and we were not disappointed.

As the sun set with birdsong… a frog choir close by began their serenade to the best fine dining and service we have had in a long time.

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The food were delectable and we savoured every dish.

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Top Billing came to mind as every dish was created to perfection – an art piece.

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Fine dining down…check…

The next day we had an off work day and we decided to have a Sunday Funday at Moksha festival.

It was an awesome day and we arrived early to dance to the beats of Dj Kalahari Kris…never disappointing.

We had lovely day spend with beautiful friends.FB_IMG_1473151614369

 

The next day the tower was completed…Rustenburg done and dusted and we were off to Pretoria…

Superblessed indeed!

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A tribute to our dog Max…and the rest of his family…

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4 October 2016

img_0274So…a few weeks ago we had to say goodbye to our beautiful border collie, Max who we were superblessed to have with us for sixteen years.

What a privilege to have been called the owners of not only Max, but also his Mom and his Dad.

Hitler, his dad, we bought even before we got married.  We were superblessed with not only the most intelligent dog, but also an awesome guard dog.20161003_121358

I found Cleo from a farm in Calitzdorp.  She was to be a surprise present for my husband, B in the year 2000.

The children were still young and the three of us huddled together on the couch with her on our laps under a blanket.  When B arrived, we surprised him with her and he loved it.

Hitler and Cleo had several puppies together.  We sold all of them when they were of age.  It was so easy to find good homes for them as they were absolutely beautiful.  I could not find a clear photo of Cleo, but she was unique as she had one amazing blue eye and one brown.

Max was born in the year 2001 and he was the only one who had those amazing blue eyes.  We just knew that he was a keeper.

As we are travelling so much the last couple of years, I have to salute my Mother, who came to live with us in a flat onto our house.  She would look after Max and Max after her very well when we were away.  She was a feeder, so we know why he survived for such a long time.

(Today, 5 October 2017, I am busy editing this post, as with the hack of my site, I have lost many photos of my articles…and have to keep updating again.  Superblessed that I can…

Sadly, my Mom passed away in December, thought to be of Colon Cancer…but, we think it was more the fact of missing Max.)

Max was also blessed to have had some very good times with our son, Juan’s girlfriend, Katja and here is a pic…

Gratitude Katja for all the beach strolls and peaceful vibes.

 

 

 

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Is it not just sad that our animal friends life span is so much less than our own?

 

 

 

Blessed to have found this story of Shane, a six year old, as the best explanation…

…A Vet had been called to examine a ten-year-old Irish Wolfhound named Belker. The dog’s owners, Ron, his wife Lisa, and their little boy Shane, were all very attached to Belker, and they were hoping for a miracle.

The Vet examined Belker and found he was dying of cancer. He told the family that he couldn’t do anything for Belker, and offered to perform the euthanasia procedure for the old dog in their home.

As they made arrangements, Ron and Lisa told him they thought it would be good for six-year-old Shane to observe the procedure. They felt as though Shane might learn something from the experience.

The next day, the Vet felt the familiar catch in his throat as Belker ‘s family surrounded him. Shane seemed so calm, petting the old dog for the last time, that he wondered if the boy understood what was going on. Within a few minutes, Belker slipped peacefully away.

The little boy seemed to accept Belker’s transition without any difficulty or confusion. They sat together for a while after Belker’s Death, wondering aloud about the sad fact that animal lives are shorter than human lives.  Shane, who had been listening quietly, piped up, ”I know why.”

Startled, they all turned to him. What came out of his mouth next stunned him. He had never heard a more comforting explanation.

He said, ”People are born so that they can learn how to live a good life — like loving everybody all the time and being nice, right?” The Six-year-old continued,

”Well, dogs already know how to do that, so they don’t have to stay as long.”

Live simply.

Love generously.

Care deeply.

Speak kindly.

Remember, if a dog was the teacher you would learn things like:

  • When loved ones come home, always run to greet them.
  • Never pass up the opportunity to go for a joyride.
  • Allow the experience of fresh air and the wind in your face to be pure Ecstasy.
  • Take naps.
  • Stretch before rising.
  • Run, romp, and play daily.
  • Thrive on attention and let people touch you.
  • Avoid biting when a simple growl will do.
  • On warm days, stop to lie on your back on the grass.
  • On hot days, drink lots of water and lie under a shady tree.
  • When you’re happy, dance around and wag your entire body.
  • Delight in the simple joy of a long walk.
  • Be loyal.
  • Never pretend to be something you’re not.
  • If what you want lies buried, dig until you find it.
  • When someone is having a bad day, be silent, sit close by, and nuzzle them gently.
  • ENJOY EVERY MOMENT OF EVERY DAY!

 …We would be superblessed if we did!…

 

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PRETORIA PART 3

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…by The Naked Barista…                  28 June 2016

 

Pretoria is fast becoming home to us.

Oops!!!

I cannot believe that I just wrote that…

I have to admit that we were only motivated by the jobs to come and stay here for such a long period of time… but now… after being here for nearly two months, it is safe to say that we are definitely enjoying being here…

We were very excited to see our beautiful FB_IMG_1472630701874friend, Zel, from the Garden Route, when she came to fetch her sister’s children to fly with them back to their grandmother.

Our friend Ruan, collected her at the airport and we had a braai at our newest friend, Tania’s home.

We met Tania at Afrika Burn  this year and as it turns out she lives around the corner from where we have accommodation. We also met her two beautiful little girls.

Ruan delighted us with his skills, as he is currently the best braaier in my opinion. Not only is he good with a fire for a braai, he has also recently started playing with fire pois entertaining us as he definitely understands fire.

Ruan has a huge Costume rental shop in Pretoria and when I had the privelage of a walk through, I was amazed at the awesome variety.  I definitely can recommend this to anyone in need of a costume to rent.

We were delighted to be invited to house sit for our friend, Jam (Jannelie).

  • Jam has a very stylish and super cosy townhouse and we were very pleased to be able to rest peacefully for a while.IMG-20160715-WA0012 Our only ‘chore’ was to take care of Sam (above), absolutely adorable.…what a pleasure…

20160831_112612Jannelie creates exquisite jewellery (find her facebook page ‘Something Jam’ jewellery for some of her stunning creations).  I am superblessed to have received some stunning pieces as presents and wear them with gratitude.

Saturday morning, we at last had some chill time at the townhouse. Sam is absolutely adorable…he is like a live cuddly toy and he has super skills to hypnotise us with his eyes to have us meet his every need.

On Friday, we had to stop in at B’s uncle’s house, which we have also been invited to house sit. Nick has stunning Koi fish which need to be fed while they are in Mozambique.

He has remarried while he was living in Mozambique for the past nine years. Over these past nine years we have been invited many times to visit them in Mosambique, but this is still top on our wishlist and we have decided to achieve this soonest.

Recently they have purchased another beautiful home in Constantia Park.

We had a meeting at their home to see what their needs are for the house sitting.

We were cordially invited for dinner and as we had all our belongings in the car to go to Jam’s townhouse and it was late and we had not planned dinner as yet, we thankfully accepted the invitation.

We have fallen into a tradition of our friend Ruan to have a braai night every Wednesday. We met new friends Frans and Liezel here. We feel honoured with Liezel’s invite to a Secret Soiree in one of her friend’s garden in Monument Park with the band Georgetown.

Saturday afternoon we went to a Secret Soirree. It was the perfect day…with a lazy winter sun shining through the soft clouds. We had bubbly and I was amazed at how talented the musicians of the ‘Georgetown’ band was.FB_IMG_1468247935138

We had a good chat with them encouraging them to come and entertain us in the Garden Route as we have so many friends with the perfect venues.

We waited until the very last song and then we hurried back home to our cosy chill space at Jam’s lovely townhouse. En route we stopped for a take away pizza at Toni’s. I was pleasantly surprised with the vibey ambience as we sat at the stylish circular bar in the middle of the restaurant. We had a lovely glass of red wine and small talked while we waited.

Sam obviously joined us as we watched movie and ate pizza in our cosy chilled surroundings.

Sunday morning we had a delightful lazy start.

Ever since my health issues, we have been doing our own research as to what could have happened with my body.

We have a few friends, who have done an Iboga plant healing experience. We have been looking into this ourselves and therefore we watched “The Reality of Truth”.  Knowledge is power as the Bible says. This movie was a real eye opener.

Eventually…we had to pack up as we were driving to Carltonville to take ‘rebar’ through to B’s cousin Jaco, who he has asked to help out with a new worksite in Magaliesburg.

On our way to Carltonville, we had to once again remind ourselves how blessed we were to be living in Sedgefield for the last 20 years.

Gratitude begets more gratitude as we have the best of both worlds living in Sedgefield, but being able to travel everywhere else.

The road there is dusty, flat, brown and dry…

We were mixing pleasure with business as we went for a braai with B and Jaco’s other cousin, Roelf and his lovely wife, Annemarie. Jaco and his three children would meet us there. We were looking forward to see the family, but especially the kids whom we have not seen in a few years.

Jaco and his children, Arno, Zellindie and Jaco junior are very dear to us as they stayed with us for awhile when the kids were much younger. Jaco bought a coffee shop in  our hometown, Sedgefield many years ago.

We were absolutely amazed at how fast the children have grown up. They were adults now…

We had a great time.

That side of the family are all into Big Game hunting and we obviously had to target practice after lunch.

I was handed the gun to have a shot myself. I only received this one shot as I surprised everyone including myself when I nailed it right on target first and only shot.

We had a marvelous day with the family and Annemarie made us each a delicious Don Pedro before we left for the long drive homeward.

It was awesome to reconnect with the family. Superblessed to be gifted four bags of delicious warthog cheese grillers which would come in handy as we are having so many braais.

So…we have moved into our new accommodations looking after the Koi fish. The house is much bigger than we have been used to for the last month and a half and very stylish. We are feeling superblessed as we are living in luxury…we even have under floor heating which is an absolute blessing as it is very cold here at the moment. The beautiful garden is filled with birds and I am loving my alone time here.

We were invited on a hiking trail at Grootkloof, but at this point, the sites are coming towards inspection time and B is working very hard to finalise his work to satisfaction.  Therefore, we do not have much freedom for roaming about.

We did however join our friends, Skillie, Alda and Ruan at Capital Craft on Saturday afternoon to have dinner and watch the rugby game.  Obviously some more friends of our friends joined and we had a very good time.  Capital Craft serves some good food and the vibe is totally great.

Sunday we joined IMG-20160628-WA0049them at the Voortrekker Monument to see Park Acoustics.

IMG-20160630-WA0021Our friend Ruan organised the tickets for us.IMG-20160628-WA0048

 

 

How amazing it was to be a part of such a lively occasion with talented musicians and such an enthusiastic crowd of fans…a variety of colour in all forms.

We are truly blessed with the most amazing friends which fills our life with enjoyment.  We even had the pleasure to see our friend, Dean, who moved to Johannesburg from Knysna.  Dean is very dear to my heart and we share the same birthdate with a ‘few’ years in between.

Came evening, we witnessed a beautiful sunset overlooking Pretoria.IMG-20160630-WA0027

IMG-20160628-WA0050We are aiming to spend some more magical moments with these friends on the weekend of 8, 9 10 July.  We are so blessed to be able to rent a house at Leeupoort  from the Mother of our friend, Jam.

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And so our weekend away at Leeupoort have come and gone… We were very excited to leave on Friday after collecting Jam from her townhouse.IMG-20160713-WA0053[1]

We drove Bella Bella route and through Warmbad. B had lived in Warmbad as a little boy and shared a few of his adventures with us. Sounds like a naughty boy as they always slipped into the warmbaths for free.

Our mates were already waiting for us when we arrived. It was getting dark fast, but luckily they had already made a glorious fire.IMG-20160628-WA0059

We had the keys for the house with us. After unlocking, veryone proceeded to unpack and get ourselves ready for a real good time…

…obviously starting with a braai.IMG_9091

IMG-20160901-WA0012[1]We took turns with the meals throughout the weekend and we ate so very well. Everyone outdone themselves and every meal was a feast.

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On Saturday morning, Alda and myself went for a lovely walk exploring Leeupoort. Skillie welcomed us back with an eagerly accepted Bloody Mary.

Skillie and Alda made us an awesome breakfast and all of us decided to add some bubbly. Champagne breakfasts are the best as it’s a good start for an awesome day. We set up tables under the beautiful trees and it was divine.

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Later we all went for an euphoric walk and Alda instigated a ‘boeresport bokdrol’ spitting competition. We were all in stitches.

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Saturday afternoon was our turn to prepare food and we made a lip smacking ’potjiekos’. Actually B brewed it and I was more of a chopping and cleaning assistant.

We saw the most stunning sunset together. For me, every sunset is different, but how much more special it is when shared with a group of beautiful friends…

IMG_9065Later that evening we thought we heard music. We had seen an advertisement of the ‘Boere orkes’ being at Leeupoort. We all decided that a ‘sokkie’ (dancing) would be great fun, so we jumped into our vehicle with our desert, Boplaas Cape Vintage Port in hand and followed the music.

We were disappointed as there was no one to be seen at the venue. The music we heard came from the farm workers cottages on the other side of the road and could only be accessed on the outside of the entrance gates.

We were blessed with beautiful weather the entire weekend.  Even 10 0’clock on Saturday evening when we were looking for the advertised ‘Boere orkes’ and the jacuzi…entrance fee being R6.   We never found it, but had so much fun searching for it…

…not everything we do can be published…

Everything were locked though and after a few ’tries’, we gave up and decided to go back to our own campsite.

We socialized till the wee morning hours as the fire blazed…

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Sunday we were very slow to pack up.  Nobody wanted to end this awesome weekend.

The delicious potjie of the previous day provided us with breakfast again.

Jannelie made us delicious ‘Boerewors rolls’ for lunch and we had so much leftover food.

Leeupoort is really a gem and we could not believe when Jannelie told us that she had not been there for the last five years.

The wild animals are very chilled and actually comes up right to our campsite…IMG_9032

It is also heaven for ‘Birdwatchers’ as we saw and heard such a wide variety.

The wildlife here is not so wild at all…

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It was late afternoon on Sunday when we took our last photos and said our fond farewells knowing that we would do this again soonest…

FB_IMG_1468247786747If you would like to visit this amazing place, contact Tarien de Villiers at 0825606444…magical… 

We had so much fun and laughter the entire weekend.IMG_9143 The house is definitely true to its name being “Tambotievreugde”. (joy)

 

 

 

Gratitude for being Superblessed!

 

 

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PRETORIA PART 2

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…by the Naked Barista…               20 May 2016

Part 2…

Our awesome friends, Camel and Aneta stays in Rooihuiskraal and the first chance we got, we headed over for some quality time. As I am still recovering from an illness, their home was the perfect place for us to be.  (more about the illness in my article ‘Get into the flow and know how superblessed you are’).

Aneta knows alot about nutrition and she is a “feeder”.  She knew exactly what I needed to get better.  We spend an amazing weekend together and I felt totally superblessed.

Rooihuiskraal: is a residential suburb Southwest of Pretoria. I have visited Rooihuiskraal in the early nineties when it was a fairly new development and I was amazed at how it has grown.  In 2011 the population exceeded 17000.

I felt truly in the ‘flow’ as B had to work on Saturday and Aneta took me to a Health shop. More about this in my article Get into the flow and know how superblessed you are.  We had a braai later that afternoon when B came back and I daresay it was a feast of note. Every meal with Camel and Aneta is a feast.  Camel is a good hand at braai and making us delightful deserts.

Camel also blessed us with an epic show of the stars as he has all the right equipment for stargazing.

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On Sunday, we went for a hike at “Rustig” Resort.

But first, I have to tell you about our mode of transport to get there…

As B drove with our vehicle to take our workmen to the worksite, I was an esteemed passenger in Camel’s brand new, totally red Subaru.

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I sat at the back and was forced to put on my safety belt as soon as we hit the tar as  I started sliding around wildly on the pristine shiny leather seat. Camel is a very good driver and I was really grateful about this as we drove lickity split down the highway for about 40 minutes.  What a supersonic adrenalin pumping ride?  Luckily, I love speed…

I knew it was definitely a very good reason for us being stopped by a traffic officer.

I was totally amazed at how well these two handled the authority as we were again speeding off in no time after only a little hand slap…

I think the traffic cop was a car enthusiast, as he had an appreciative smile playing around his lips and it helped a lot that the roads were pretty much traffic free with it being Sunday.

We arrived simultaneously with B who came from the other direction. I felt super exhilarated and energetically ready for a long overdue hike in the beautiful eye-pleasing surroundings.

Rustig is a well-established family farm since 1930.

A historical farm with three beautiful hiking trails.

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Rustig even has a saltwater pool for an after hike swim. Being this time of year though, we did not have swimming in mind.

The hike into the mountains and the views of the farm were breathtakingly beautiful and we spend a delightful three hours walking.

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Afterwards, B had to go back to work, so I had another awesome drive in the Subaru. When we got home, we had a refreshing shower and started a fire again for another braai.  B joined us and again we sat down to an awesome feast.

We were invited to stay another night and I decided to gift both our hosts with a foot massage. I have not done this in a while and I felt superblessed to share this love with them…they are truly amazing beings and we are superblessed to have them as our friends.

Early next morning we went to pick up the workmen and took them to the work site. I always have something to do in the car, while I wait to be taken back to our accommodations.

It was a beautiful weekend with all of the very best received for some accelerated healing.

We did not realise how many friends we have in the area of Gauteng as we are inundated with invites everywhere. It is a bit difficult for us to accept all these invites, as we get up early in the morning and therefore go to sleep early at night.  As Juan (son) says…’work hard and play hard’…

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This is a photo we received

recently of Juan

working hard in Palma…

 

I was truly superblessed when Maryna (daughter) and Alexia (granddaughter) came to visit us for a few days and Juan (son) also came a day or two later.

We have fitted in a few braai evenings and reconnected with a few friends. It is satisfying to see how stylish our friends live that we spend so much time with at Afrika Burn recently.  Skillie (Sydney) and Alda has a lovely space they call home and our family had a braai with them while Maryna, Juan and Alexia were still visiting.

Juan, Maryna, Alexia and I could do a roadtrip together to Potgietersrus where they were both born.  B responsibly had to stay for work.

We were invited last Sunday to lunch with family that we have not seen for three years.

It was on Sunday morning, after B left to take the workmen to the worksite, that the kids and I went to Menlyn shopping mall as Maryna wanted to do some shopping before our lunch date with the family.

As I walked into this huge shopping mall, I realised that this ‘sensory overload’ was not what I needed and so Alexia and I went to Panarottis, where there were a wonderful play area.

Alexia saw an adorable little ‘play house’ and I was obviously invited in to be her guest.

I have so much gratitude for my returned energy to be able to play with her.  We watched a cartoon together and soon other kids came in to play with Alexia.

I ordered us a delicious desert and a milkshake which we still had as this was a bit much of a muchness.  Maryna and Juan came to share it when they arrived.

We met up with B at our family’s beautiful home in Parktown North.  It was marvellous to see them as we have not seen them for a long while.  Pascale is french and loves making delicious meals and even better deserts, so we had an exceptional lunch.

Our road trip began after we said our goodbyes to Pascale, Alain and Jeremy…

On the road trip, I realised once again with so much gratitude what an amazing family I have.  I am superblessed with the most beautiful children who turned out to be splendid adults, even though we went through many a tough time while they were growing up.  We have an added delightful bonus with our granddaughter, Alexia.

In Potgietersrus, we visited their grandma and it was her first time seeing Alexia. We IMG-20160610-WA0022stayed there for two nights and had so much fun.  We went to play golf on Monday morning at the Potgietersrus Golf Club.  Maryna drove the golf car with her grandma and Alexia and I hung on behind the car and we had so much fun.  It was a gorgeous sunny winters day…

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We were invited to have a potjie with family in Pietersburg.  Food was once again a delightful feast as you cook your own potjie.  We had live music to boot in the form of karaoke… until the wee morning hours and then only went to sleep…or…to chat with Ouma Dollie as we slept in the same bed.

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Next morning, we went for a Wimpy breakfast before we left on our road trip back to Pretoria. It was amazing to spend time with both kids and Alexia, before Juan had to take his prebooked flight back to Palma to work away again for a five month contract.

 

So after a month of working on weekends, the workmen needed a well deserved weekend off and we made full use of this opportunity to have ourselves a weekend away to the Magaliesberg.

Friday afternoon, we could not wait to get our bags in the car and head out of the city…

We bought food for the weekend and as we were super excited, we went overboard and we had food for the rest of the week also.

It was a beautiful day as we set out excitedly.

It was after lunchtime and we had not eaten yet. We are definitely eating more healthy after my health scare, but cannot seem to find healthy take aways. – Suggestions for the future would be awesome.

We bought buns, salami and Kiri cream cheese…and added baby spinach leaves. We devoured this while driving and the views surrounding us were transforming and becoming increasingly appealing.

We saw some majestic horses grazing in a paddock and this created a peaceful feeling of knowing that we were leaving city life behind for a few glorious days.

We opened the windows and the country smells streaming in were calm inducing.

We had prebooked and rented a cute thatch roof cottage, The Farmhouse .

As we drove in through the gate, we were greeted with rich farm smells and a peaceful feeling settled in us.

It was really awesome to be out of the bustling city and hear only the sound of silence…

Isaac opened the gate for us and gave us our keys.  Then the welcoming committee did their bit…some cackling geese and our nameless black Labrador.  Said Labrador felt a bit like a ‘rent a dog’, as he stayed with us at our cottage the entire weekend making us feel right at home.

B was worried that the little thatch roof cabin would be too primitive, but as I looked around, there was everything that we could possibly need. I was especially pleased with the corner bath, balancing out the simplicity of everything else.

We also – immediately upon seeing it – switched on the necessary wall heating panel.

As wood were already supplied, we did the South African thing and immediately started a fire in the fireplace outside under the vast variety of exquisite trees.

The moon slowly started showing her beautiful face and she were two evenings away from full.   Without any visible city lights around, the magical starry skies were a stunning sight to behold.

We enjoyed grilling a small portion of lazy aged steak as we were both a little bit over meat. (Our vegetarian friends would love to hear this.)

Most of our vegetarian friends cannot resist a little piece of grilled steak though.  We also grilled some mushrooms with garlic and cheese.  An added bonus were the most awesome spinach that we have seen in a long time as we purchased it from a proper country cart on our way to the farm.  We were superblessed as a bunch of spinach cost only R5.  We could not believe it and to make this deal even sweeter, the size of a bunch equalled four bunches at any regular store.

After a delicious meal, weIMG-20160622-WA0024 chilled for a bit enjoying the beautiful starry skies with a lovely Boplaas Vintage port in hand.

A candle light bath were well overdue as we only have a shower where we were staying and it definitely is the little things in life that makes us happy

…I had a few finished bottles of my essential oils that I used to produce my perfume Alexia .  The fragrance of the bottle wash with these bottles lasted for every bath we had throughout the entire weekend.

We were also superblessed to use our new candle, handcrafted in Bali, which were gifted by our friend Steve, just about a week ago on his return visit from Indonesia.

How superblessed I felt with this ‘first in a long time’ bath and the warm water and alluring smells were stimulating all my senses.

As I was taking off my earings, one of them fell on the floor next to the bed. I was very grateful when I kneeled down to pick it up and saw that we were superblessed to have an electric blanket on our bed.  I immediately proceeded to switch it on, so we would be even cosier after our bath.

I cannot remember when last we played board (or as I use to refer to them as bored) games. As we are both competitive, “Scrabble” became our chosen battle for the weekend.  After a long game of scrabble, we decided to watch a movie and only went to sleep just before two in the morning.

Saturday morning B woke up at the same time that the alarm usually wakes us up. He went to make us tea and brought the rusks.  We opened the sliding door and our senses were pleasured by a scenic splendour, musical birdsong and fresh farm smells.

I must say that being June, the air was quite a crispy fresh and we stayed in bed for a long while drinking tea and eating rusks.

The brightening sun beckoned us out to do some exploring and soon we were heading towards the Cradle of Humankind.

IMG-20160625-WA0027B was reminded of his childhood memories and he chatted excitedly telling me all the stories about his road trips with his parents when driving to his grandparents. Both his grandmas lived in Swartruggens and they would visit them on many weekends.  They would drive from home on a Friday afternoon, half way there, they would buy Russian and chips at a particular take-away vendor.  He also remembered being dropped off sometimes with his cousin, Jaco on their farm and told me about all the weekend fun they had.

Surrounding us were beautiful countryside and majestic mountains. We went passed a turnoff with a sign of Bekker School.  At the same turnoff I also saw a sign that piqued my interest for ‘Melon Rouge’, but B drove past and I decided to leave it be.

Being ‘in the flow’, we came to a circular road that brought us right back again to the entrance of ‘Melon Rouge”.  I was very happy about this as it was a splendid venue to purchase some treasures…books, crafts and antiques that teleported us back in time.  We spend some time there before we headed on to the road towards the Cradle of Humankind.

We drove on and I saw a signboard suggesting that we were 26 km from Krugersdorp and the surrounding nature were breathtakingly beautiful. We drove over the Magalies river again which is the same river that runs where we have our accommodation on the Farm.

After driving awhile on the Magalies meander,  we saw a turnoff for the Cradle of Humankind onto a dirt road and this did not inspire us with any high expectations…

Wow… wow… wow

…were we pleasantly surprised?  Everything from the parking space to the buildings, were clean and very well taken care of.  The staff were super competent and helpful.  We were just in time for the 12h00 guided tour and were amazed at the information our tour guide shared with us firstly outside the building and then taking us inside and ushering us in the right direction towards even more captivating surprises.

IMG-20160625-WA0031At one point we thought we had seen it all, but were super surprised as we entered into a room with low and behold…a river. We were guided onto an inflated dinghy.  As we swirled around on this riverstream, the surrounds depicted the ice and fire age.  It was absolutely amazing…

We came to a halt where a gentleman ushered us out. Just as we thought the tour had ended on this high note, it surpassed any expectation when we entered into a spinning ‘Vortex’ which really confused our equilibrium.

Still, this was not the end…

Next we entered into the actual museum and saw skeleton foundings and interesting articles about these excavations.  We read informative articles about DNA strands.  We heard more about Mrs Ples .  There is also a huge science area with many interesting gadgets and info.

We had such an amazing time so well spend that we forgot about food. We did not have breakfast yet and it was well after lunchtime…

Luckily for us, we were ushered toward the restaurant which served us too well. We also had a lovely view from the glass walls of this amazing architectured building.  We were amazed at how well priced it was as the service and food were excellent.  They even had a Peroni for me.

We felt superblessed with our trip to The Cradle of Humankind and would definitely recommend it.

Afterwards we phoned a friend of a friend who we have met and were invited to visit should we ever be close by. We have heard so much about Eugene’s hard work and moringa growing abilities.  Since I have been in the hospital, I have added moringa to my diet.

We were cordially invited and spend a lovely afternoon in the company of Eugene and Yvette. We explored their farm and saw the plants.  They are both very talented.  Works by their hands can be seen everywhere.  Yvette was busy with a beautiful commissioned painting and Eugene creates enchanting metalwork statues.

Our new friends were very hospitable and giving. We were gifted geniune treasures in the form of home grown mint, moringa, tumeric, ginger, pickled pepperdews and even sugar cane.  We were super blessed with spending time and did not want to leave.  We left much later than we wanted as the sun was already setting.

Sunday morning was ‘Fathers Day’. I was back on top form being ‘The Naked Barista’ and made B a well deserved breakfast as he is an awesome father.

Again we opened the door and it was rather cold out.  We were lazy after Saturday and decided to stay in bed as long as possible as it was so warm and cozy.  After I phoned my Dad, we proceeded to watch a long movie.

Luckily the sun was warming gradually as we were invited to meet our friends, Skillie, Alda, Ruan and Nadia around lunch time at the Ale House .

The Ale House is owned by ‘Oom Dirk’. We were in time to see his daughter ‘Jackie’ giving him some love in full abundance with flowers and a huge stuffed blue elephant toy to add some pinkish tones to his face colour.

We had some pizza and craft beers surrounded by beautiful trees and a lively vibe.

IMG_9106Nadia proceeded to complete my hair wrap that she renewed for me  starting at a braai awhile back.

This was a good advert for her, as Jackie, the owners daughter, asked for her number as she would also like to have a hair wrap done.

IMG_9110[1]While we are on the subject of Nadia’s talents…orders are very welcome. (Cellno 072 7047252)

We are all so very connected and I strongly believe we need to nurture this as it is preeminent to fabricate our life as…

…superblessed…

 

 

 

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PRETORIA PART 1…

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By: The Naked Barista…                          18 May 2016

Part 1…

 So we arrived in Montana Park, Pretoria, last night after 13 hours on the road from our home in Sedgefield.

Although it was a long drive, I always feel safe with B at the steering-wheel as he is the best driver I know and he loves driving.

I was superblessed with a most beautiful sunset while driving through the Freestate unlike I have ever seen before…

As the Freestate is free of mountains and the horizon can easily be seen as a flat surface, it looked as if a magnificent flaming red ball descended ever so slowly and came to sit carefully on the earth.

I live with gratitude as my mantra and it really felt like the Universe was choreographing this entertainment just for our viewing pleasure…

 

I was totally mesmerized with this big, magical, red, round ball which slowly moved with us as we were driving… My eyes were transfixed as the magical trees then came in to play and danced in ‘fairytale style’ past it…

I have never experienced a sunset like this one. It was the longest time before the sun actually set and very slowly looked like it was being halved, the further we drove the smaller this red half ball became…until…at the very last second it was eaten up by the flat horizon and spat out in an ever increasing pink hue.  It was absolutely stunning…

I firmly believe that gratitude begets more gratitude. This might have something to do with the way in which I experienced this sunset as I am healing from being very sick.  The doctors diagnosed it as an unknown blood virus, which only means that we still do not know what actually caused my illness.  I am truly grateful to be alive and I really would love to share the story, but as this is the article on Pretoria, here is a link for my “Get into the flow and know how superblessed you are”  article for those who would want to read it on the ‘spititual’ side of our Travel website.

So, last night, around nine, only after off-loading and settling in our workmen, could we book into our own accommodation, The Zambesi Lodge, for the night. At reception, we were registered by Fred, who reckoned that we ‘had arrived in civilization’

Obviously, he has not spent much time in the Garden Route and I let the comment slide as we were very tired.

Next morning though, I just had to ‘give it’ to him as there were no ‘Rooibos’ tea in the room when we needed to have a ‘cuppa’ the night before and they had the cheapest powdered coffee for the morning… Civilization…hmfp?

As we are superblessed though, I could go and find some good coffee and a plunger in our vehicle early next morning and being true to my title, “The Naked Barista”, woke B up with a good cuppa and also a few delicious rusks to boot.

During the day, Fred made up for his terrible comment, by helping me with my Wi-Fi connection and I found out that he is actually from Belgium, but has been in South Africa for 36 years.

Later in the day I felt a bit hungry and saw some bread rolls on display. I asked if I could purchase something to eat, but was told that this was for the conventioners meeting.

About half an hour later, Fred knocked on my door and offered me a delicious bread roll left over from the convention and at that stage the ‘Rooibos’ tea in the room were also replenished.

In my bag, in a tiny glass container, I had the best honey I have ever tasted. This was a gift from a friend, Gerhard Snyman who shared our Africa Burn experience recently.  The lovely honey comes from Stellenbosch where he stays.

 Superblessed indeed!

As usual when off to work, our vehicle were fully loaded, complete with trailer. (I have a story about the trailer, but this is also for the article…”Get into the flow and know how superblessed you are”).

Sometimes I find it an absolute miracle to see what we can load – with our workmen, all of our luggage and theirs for about two months, a fridge for them to have on site and all the necessary tools…

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I can understand why some Cellphone towers is necessary…It is unbelievable how bad cell reception is in the centre of the City. I really battled with reception and I had much to do as we are trying to sell one of our properties in Sedgefield.  We would like to purchase a bigger piece of land in the beautiful Garden Route…

Well…after that bit of subliminal advertising,

…something about Pretoria…

Pretoria (Tshwane), in the Gauteng Province, is one of the three capital cities of South Africa and home to more than a million people, the bulk of who are government officials.

Pretoria was founded in 1855, by Marthinus Pretorius, who named it after his father, Andries Pretorius. It became the capital of the South African Republic (ZAR) on 1 May 1860.

Today, it is also known as “Jacaranda City”, for its thousands of jacaranda trees, bedecked with purple blossoms, lining its streets usually in October and November. This purple haze with beautiful blossoms adds splendour to the wide streets of Pretoria and thus is incomparable to any other city.

This city has a humid subtropical climate, with long hot rainy summers and short cool to cold, dry winters. Pretoria experiences typical winters of South Africa, with cold clear nights and mild to moderately warm days.  Snowfall is a rare event, but snowflakes were spotted in 1959, 1968 and 2012.

Also known as South Africa’s administrative centre, it has a long, involved and fascinating history.

The CSIR – Council for Scientific and Industrial Research is located in Pretoria in its eastern suburbs.

Pretoria also hosts the South African Bureau of Standards, making this city a hub for research.

At the heart of Pretoria, Church square is surrounded by a number of gracious old houses and government buildings. These include the 19th century Palace of Justice, where the Rivonia Trial that sentenced Nelson Mandela to life imprisonment was held.  The semicircular early 20th century Union Buildings encompass the president’s offices and hosted Nelson Mandela’s inauguration.  A 9 metre tall statue of former president Nelson Mandela was unveiled in front of the Union Buildings on 16 December 2013.  Nearby is the massive post-war Voortrekker Monument, honouring 19th century Afrikaans settlers from the Cape Colony.

More significant old buildings and fascinating museums abound. The Transvaal Museum has changed venues a number of times, but has been around since 1892.  This is the home of Mrs Ples, the australopithecine fossil found at Sterkfontein in the Cradle of Humankind.

Old Lion (Paul Kruger) takes pride of place in the centre of Church Square, surveying his miniature kingdom.

Pretoria is home to the largest residential university on the African continent, the University of South Africa (commonly referred to as Unisa), founded in 1873, as the University of the Cape of Good Hope.

The University of Pretoria (commonly referred to as UP, Tuks or Tukkies) is a multi campus public research university and was established in1908.

The University of Pretoria Faculty of Veterinary Science established in 1920 is the oldest veterinary school in Africa and the only veterinary school in South Africa.

The Tshwane University of Technology (commonly referred to as TUT) is a higher education institution, offering vocational orientated diplomas and degrees.

Pretoria also boasts with the Loftus Versfeld Stadium which is home to the Blue Bulls, who compete in the domestic Currie Cup, and also to the Bulls, in the international Super Rugby competition. The Bulls super rugby team, which is operated by the Blue Bulls, won the competition in 2007, 2009 and 2010.  Loftus Versfeld also hosts the soccer side Mamelodi Sundowns.  There are three teams in this city playing in South Africa’s top flight football League, the Premier Soccer League,  – Mamelodi Sundowns and Supersport United ( 2008 –09 PSL Champions).  The University of Pretoria gained promotion to the Premier Soccer League following the 2011/2012 season as the top domestic league. The famous 2010 FIFA world cup was also held here.

Cricket is also a popular game in this city and the most local team to Pretoria is the Titans. Pretoria has even born some famous Cricketers such as the current captain AB de Villiers and T20 captain Faf du Plessis.

The Pretoria Transnet Blind Cricket club is situated in Pretoria and is the biggest blind cricket club in South Africa.

The South African State Theatre and the Oliver Tambo building, which is the headquarters of the Department of International Relations and Cooperation (a good example of neomodern architecture in South Africa).

Located on Muckleneuk Hill on the outskirts of the central city stands a prominent landmark in the skyline, The Lukasrand Tower.

Pretoria, in good city flavour, have a few skyscrapers worth mentioning – The tallest would be the Reserve Bank of South Africa (150m tall), the Absa building (132m tall) and the Poyntons Building (110m tall).

Although Pretoria is the neighbour of Johannesburg, it could be a direct opposite. Johannesburg is seen as a “world class city” and one of the most “happening” cities on the African continent and it gleams with the glamour of money.  Pretoria is more of a laid back Afrikaner city and even its bars and restaurants are less cosmopolitan.

Pretoria feels more cosy as it lies in a warm, sheltered valley surrounded by the hills of the Magaliesberg range which ensures that the temperature here are a few degrees warmer than Johannesburg.

Pretoria has more on offer as it is home to the National Zoological Gardens of South Africa as well as the Pretoria National Botanical Garden and a number of smaller parks and gardens including the Austin Roberts Bird Sanctuary, Pretorius Square gardens, the Pretoria Rosarium, Pretoria showgrounds, Springbok Park, Freedom Park and Burgers Park, which is the oldest park in the city and now a national monument.

It is easy to get around in Pretoria as the public transport services includes commuter rail operated by Metrorail. The Gautrain is a high-speed railway line with various routes.

Pretoria Station is also a departure point for the luxury, well known, Blue Train. Rovos Rail, a luxury mainline train safari service operates from the colonial-style railway station at Capital Park.

The oldest bus company is Putco, but there are various others.

There are two military air bases to the south of the city, Swartkop and Waterkloof.

The city is a major commercial centre and an important industrial centre. The main industries are iron and steel works, copper casting, and the manufacture of automobiles, railway carriages and heavy machinery.

We spend two nights in the Zambesi Lodge, as B had to establish his site before we could move to  our self-catering accommodation I had booked for us at Castalis Guest House in Montana Park.

Montana Park: is a residential suburb and is situated north east of Pretoria CBD.  It is a predominantly Afrikaans speaking suburb for mainly young white residents.

….TO BE CONTINUED IN PRETORIA PART2…

Superblessed!

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