10 TIPS FOR A GREAT STAY AT GUEST ESTABLISHMENTS!

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10 TIPS FOR A GREAT STAY!
WHAT GUEST ESTABLISHMENTS SHOULD KNOW!

(Here goes…hoping that no establishment hosts will feel harmed in the making of this post as these are only suggestions.)

10…      Starting with just some feeling welcome wishes rather than necessities for a lovely stay…make it look and feel inviting with some soaps or creams or bubble bath (every one I know gets presents like these they do not want)…someone else will simply love it and even if they don’t, it would give an inviting appearance of caring. I am a the best example of this as I make and use only my own products named Alexia  (my granddaughter’s name)

 

Still I am always blown away when I see establishments putting out those little extras such as lotions, soaps and bubble baths for their visitors. A bath mat or even a little towel for feet to stand on when getting out of the bath/shower.
A two point plug for charging a phone / razor etc. Fridge/cooler comes in handy if you are staying for more than one night, but usually if asked, the establishment would make space in their own fridge for a guest.

9… Tissues…as most of us will use toilet paper if need be, a box of soft tissues is such an inexpensive luxury…
I recently had this experience at The Coral Tree guest house in Montana when I needed to blow my nose and the luxury of a tissue was right at hand. We all know that a piece of toilet paper or a serviette would have sufficed, but low and behold my feeling of being nurtured when I had the luxury of a soft tissue to wipe my nose. Elegance deluxe…

8… Curtains / blinds or whatever is good to keep out the light and sounds. Most of the time we have to get up very early, but just sometimes we get that odd day to sleep in. This is when we love a dark room.  Here I might add that the barking dog really does not add to a feeling of tranquility.  Birdsong on the other hand is what I always hope for.  A well nurtured garden is not only soft on the eyes, but also attracts birds and bees for an ambient feeling of wellness.

7… Duvets sometimes tend to be just too warm especially in our South African summer time…and specifically the really good down feather ones. So, have that extra top sheet and invest in a nice light, inexpensive (colour of your room) fleecy blanket which could be ever so helpful for those warm summer nights. Who knows, you could even save laundry time and money on the unused duvet. I don’t know if this is for everyone, but that ever so tiny scatter cushion does wonders for me for a better night’s sleep…strangely, I cannot sleep without this between my knees anymore. Obviously if the establishment don’t have this, I shall use my rolled up scarf which is always in my bag. So for me just a nice added pleasure. Also the bed will look prettier and just so much more inviting especially if you did not invest in a good bed.

6... A mirror…we have been to many establishments without even the smallest mirror against the wall, a decorous full length is not only a bonus, but can be very attractive and even makes your room look bigger.

5… A coffee station is always a nice touch. As you well know that being The Naked Barista, I always take our own, but sometimes we arrive late at our accommodation and have to leave very early. Those are the times when we do not cart in all our belongings and have to rely on the spoils of our host. I see Enrista coffee in rooms more of late, but my specialty which is rooibos tea I only find few and far between. For an even better feature, add just two rusks in a glass jar…and see many more return visits, which is what you wish for your establishment, is it not?

4… Towels, all the more so if they are very clean, soft towels…even if we always do have our own towels at hand…
Recently we have noticed that a few establishments put out only one towel for the two of us, obviously because of our water shortage…but, again if you want to have your guests feel special, a fluffy clean towel for just you really goes a long way.

3… Toilet paper...yes, and not just the one, always have one extra waiting to be used.
I know it costs a bit to have all these ten tips in place, but for me it really shows if an establishment just wants to make money from us or if they also want us to feel at home in the space provided…believe me there is no better way of showing this as with that extra toilet roll which would set you back less than ten rand. Most of the time it will not even be used, but in this case it really is the thought that counts.

2… Invest in the best bed possible as hopefully it is going to be used long and often…also do not skimp on bedding either…you have to have very good quality which is going to last. White bedding to me always has a luxurious look and feel and can be paired with absolutely any other colour. White linen is fast becoming the most used as the best kept secret is unveiling…white can be bleached and colour make for an unnecessary laundry challenge.

…AND  NOW FOR NO 1…

SHOWER / BATH or even both together. This shower hose in
the pic teams up perfectly for an inexpensive bath / shower combo.

(Maybe this would be the best place to insert also a toilet with enough pressure to flush properly) or if you really want to impress me…all three together makes for the absolute jackpot…but here is the key to a good stay…it is not only the fact that there would be a facility of being able to cleanse, but more so the actual water that reaches a body…
Most establishments goes for the awesome decorative ‘look’… the shower head looking like a huge sunflower or square or something exotic. It absolutely always fails to impress when you turn on the shower and find that the water pressure only allows a dribble. If I may have an input…stick with the one that works which is not the most expensive one at all.

Who knows…you could even buy a few rolls of toilet paper with the saving…

I am feeling superblessed indeed to have taken this opportunity to be sooo outspoken…

...and would be even more
superblessed with gratitude  to receive your comments on what your list would look like …

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My Fabulous Friends – My husband…Bethesda

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Queen of Hearts                                                                         23 May 2018

Bethesda

Too often, especially when we have been married for such a long time, we take our spouse who is closest to us for granted…always thinking there will be more time to express gratitude  for how incredible they are…well I believe that the most precious commodity there is, is time…so with this post, I want to thank my husband for spending so much time and so much more…

We have been together for more than 23 years and I believe we make an awesome team.  He still makes me feel special, by opening the car door for me.

I am truly amazed at the ‘MAN’ with capital letters, B has become, with all the trials and tribulations that comes with a marriage. I am superblessed that he has been my mirror for learning so many of my own life lessons.

B studied at TUKS and aced a B.Com Marketing degree.

He started his journey with construction at a very young age as his father was in the construction business and B is an only child. He used to work with his dad in the school holidays for pocket money. He was also extremely inventive of ways attracting the tool we call money.

Here is a man who when we met were a mere ‘boy’…but, at a young age already impressed me so…so much so that I just had to marry him… Continue reading “My Fabulous Friends – My husband…Bethesda”

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My Fabulous Friends Introduction

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Queen of Hearts                                                                                                    22 May 2018

Introduction to my Fabulous friends

On my life’s journey I am superblessed indeed with such a variety of treasured souls whom I can call friends…

As I have been told and now regard myself as something of a connector (social glue) or a maven (definition “one who understands”). An explanation of these terms can be found in the book of Malcolm Gladwell – “The Tipping Point”… ” The fact that Mavens want to help, for no other reason than because they like to help…”

Soulgrower by trade…

As I am always in awe with what humans choose to do with their lives…I am seduced into sharing my friends skills and so connect them for their prosperity…

…this is why I am going to be writing about my fabulous friends…

I do not know if I am going to be able to complete this project in my lifetime as everyday brings new souls on my path, so I shall start with my number one best friend (present company excluded…I am fast becoming my own bestie)…

my husband

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Transkei / Morgan’s Bay

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Queen of Hearts                                                                  12 August 2017

 

Part 2 – Mozambique / Transkei / Morgan’s Bay

Wow! We are driving away from spending a super interesting night at our friend, Louis Magwa.

Louis lives in Transkei, about a kilometre from the magnificent Magwa Falls

What a feeling of pure serenity!

Louis has been carving his own eccentric way of life here for the last 10 years. He is a man full of character, amazing manners…a brave and lovely man, bursting with interesting new ideas.

He has even brought his Mother to live with him about a year and a half ago. For anyone, it was clear to see how much they adore each other and this blessed my heart.

The two of them live in his huge rondavel. This is an extra-ordinary rondavel, as he build it so as to meet all their needs.  He even has his leather works machinery inside as well as a top floor build with mezanine.  The inside feel of their home is very inviting, calm and peaceful.

This morning he took us for a sightseeing tour where we came to understand why anybody would want to live here. The spectacular views and history of this part of the world is absolutely amazing.

 

 

As we wound our way out of a huge forest on the dusty roads of Transkei, we reminisced on our evening well spend around a fire.

Our food were a huge pot filled with an array of fresh vegetables. Delicious!

We were welcomed to stay in another rondavel and loved it.

There were also a third rondavel with six beds as he often have volunteers stay over.

The fact that he has two rivers (or one might be a fountain) that feeds his property with water helps a lot.

Before we left, Louis also showed us his amazing invention which  is a rocket stove. I really hope that this will cotton on as it is very effective.  If you would like to contact him regarding this…0832685611.

 

We stopped off at the Magwa Falls for a quick view…

18/08/2017

Today, we are on our way to Qolora after a lovely week spend with Tobie and Charmaine. (later more about this amazing piece of heaven)

We met Tobie and Charmaine at Mozamboogie and they invited us to come and stay with them at their holiday home in Morgans Bay for a visit. They are absolutely awesome people and so we did.

We have never been to Morgan’s Bay and ended up staying for a week. We were only going to stay for a few days, but we were going to Coffee Bay next and the weather predicted heavy rains. We were superblessed with our stay at Tobie and Charmaine who spoiled us so much that it was hard to leave.

B and Tobie…

B says that we achieved our ‘PHD in Nothingness’… we became one with ourselves…pulled ourselves toward ourselves…we really just lazed around…and had fun…

 

Martin, our travel buddie /  long-time friend as well as our Massuese, did a bit of work, as both Tobie and Charmaine had become aware of Martin’s magical hands. Martin had his hands full (pardon the pun), with quite a few massages.

I also did my part in thanking them for their generosity with my very own

“Pediblessiology”.

 

Chi-Chi reminded us of how much we ate. She had a lot to do with it as she loves making food and does it so well.  She is a vegan and loves creating healthier options…her brand name being ‘Raw-Chi’…lovit!  My personal favorite being seaweed chips which she harvests herself…so a love process from beginning to the end product…and you can taste the love!

Back to Morgan’s Bay…

The absolutely beautiful view complete with bird life kept us captivated. The beautiful song of the fish eagle;  gliding in front of us, catching fish…when we looked carefully, we could even see where their nest were.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hummmingbirds, heron and various other birds song rang in our ears all day long and we kept the binoculours close. Nonnie (in the photo below) of course were my favourite.

 

 

 

 

 

 

We canoed and could even access the beach, which we did.

When the weather were really cold and wet, we watched movies in front of the fire or played scrabble. Their doggie, Vlooi was also to be kept busy with a bit of ball play.

Tobie drove us through the town of Morgan’s Bay and Keimond. We visited some of their friends, Billy and Annemarie next to the Kei River. They are lovely people and we were blessed with avo and coffee trees.

After our welcoming stay with Tobie and Charmaine, we are on the pond on our way to Qolora for an overnight stay…

 

 

21/08/2017

So…Qolora did not work out for us as they could not confirm our overnight stay and we decided to move on to Coffee Bay.

 

 

 

 

 

On our way we passed this amazing sculpture alongside the road, carved from a tree stump.

 

We slept that evening at the Kings Cottage of Coffee Shack. This is their biggest cottage as it has 2 double rooms with kitchen and bathroom as well as an upstairs loft area with more beds. Chi-Chi loved the decor and I even remember being there when our friend, Cindy van Schalkwyk, was busy working on the tiling of the murals.

The staff there remembers us well as we have visited many times over the years. Coffee Shack is definitely our favourite as we have so many awesome memories here. Friendships for life has been solidly forged here. Continental friends made.

Next day we went to visit our friends who lives close to the Maphusi cliffs. While driving to Nadine and Johan, we could not help but stop in awe of the splendorous views. We walked to the cliff overhanging onto the vast sea below. As we were standing there captivated by this view, it got even better…we first saw one turtle swimming in the waves. As our eyes fixed on it, we became aware of three other… four turtles riding the waves. We felt superblessed with nature…as we always are when we take time to appreciate… We were superblessed even more as our eyes feasted on a whale and some dolphins…all of this happening just because we stopped to appreciate…Gratitude.

Nadine and Johan has acquired a piece of land and have build two rondavels to live in. They are a lovely family, complete with a healthy baby boy, Benji.

Working hard to achieve a peaceful, pure life and enjoying every minute of it. Nadine use to live and work in Cape Town. Rat race got her down and I love the conscious awareness happening…as if most nowadays are seeking a purer life, growing our own food and in this process living in symbiosis with and honouring our earth.

B said that he got the feeling of back in the day…the wild west frontier…where you aquire a piece of land, arrive…and now you have to cope…get water on the land to start building a home for your loved ones and growing some food. Johan and his buddie also spearfish for food in the ocean.

A few metres from Johan and Nadine, lives an Israeli, who we met. He shared with Martin, that he swims out into the ocean for about 15 minutes, shoots good sized fish and then swims back…hardcore… then barter transactions take place, depending on what the other man have to offer.

Everybody eats and everybody helps each other…this is community!

What a magical visit this was to connect again with her and now also with her beautiful family. So much gratitude for this awesome experience.

22/082017

Back in Coffee Bay, we saw on social media that our friends, Christie and Marius, were also in the area. Christie arranged a surprise breakfast for the next morning with us as Marius did not know that we were there.

We walked into our friend, Karl of tribalrhytms.

After our breakfast the next day, Karl took us all on our next adventure to the opposite hill of Mdumbi at the mouth…Ethuleni is the area. Situated here is ‘Freedomoclock Backpackers’. What an experience this was..WOW!

Freedomoclock is the home of Otto and Lu with their confident little girl of six. They are lovely and we were very blessed. The accomodation is well recommended.

Camping can also be arranged, which Martin and Chi-Chi opted for.

Marius and Christie said their goodbyes, but we would meet up again soon for an adventure in Hogsback.

I loved all the beautiful signs everywhere. Chi-Chi loved the incredible invention of an amazing rocket shower.

Lu and Otto have worked very hard to establish this haven of tranquility. Everything just works well together, the kitchen and buildings and finishes…

We had a delicious seafood meal…oysters and crayfish, which the locals supply fresher than fresh and so cheap; white wine and lovely conversations as Johan and Nadine also came to join us for a few hours.

The sunset was unbelievably spectacular as we had uninterrupted views over the mouth and beach.

The sunrise the next morning after a good nights rest, was even more remarkable. We woke up with the crowing of roosters. All the amazing sounds of abundant nature…

We could not help but to put on our coats as it was still very early and quite chilly…B and I took a walk down to the beach. The more we walked the fresher we felt, as if the air was filled with healthier oxygen and with every breath we felt invigorated.

We came to a stunning tree and being very silly started with a photoshoot in and around this.

Then we saw Martin and Chi-Chi who was also on the beach. They joined in our photoshoot before we walked on the beach. We did yoga stretches and headstands…feeling healthy and vibrant.

 

 

 

It was a perfect morning, but as we were walking back, the wind started up with a speed. We could  not believe how quickly it could became so windy.  I picked up a small planter pot which blew into the middle of the road with something inside. At first I wanted to just take the planter pot to Lu and Otto, but my intuition made me keep the little something inside as well. When I gave it to them, they were amazed as it were their own, complete with lemon seed still inside.

After our walk, the locals deemed us special enough to take us for a day out to a secret place…which was on the beach and absolutely lovely. Martin and Chi-Chi opted for a long beachwalk to the secret spot.

As we were driving, we passed a wide river and Karl, who was driving with us, told us about a day when he was in his rubberduck on the river and were blessed with a scene of a Fish Eagle catching a fish right in front of him…these definitely is the moments in our lives which is most memorable.

After being cajoled to have another meal,we drove away fairly late…we would spend the evening at Mdumbi backpackers, which is just on the opposite hill as the crow flies, but quite the drive around…

We found Mdumbi in the dark and after we settled in…here the staff also knew us…we decided to have a bath. A ‘donkey’ (also a rocket type stove) has to be fired up first and after waiting quite some time, we had an awesome bath…

…after this we slept like logs…

The next morning was quite windy and cold, so we opted to not have a walk down to the beach, but rather have breakfast indoors.Martin and Chi-Chi on the other hand braved the outdoors and were rewarded with sightings of many dolphins swimming and jumping with the surfers. On their morning hike, they were also accompanied by Eco, the same dog living at Mdumbi for many years.

We left enroute to Hogsback…for another adventure…but first we had to show Martin and Chi-Chi the hole in the wall…just a quick drive past…as the wind were still howling…

Christie and Marius decided to join us for a Hogsback mission. They are an amazing couple. They have a very interesting business named Share a Villa.  Accommodation for single professionals in Cape Town.  Contact Christie at +27609800339.

24/08/2017

Hogsback was the coldest with snow on the mountains and frost in the stunning gardens of The Edge, where we stayed…

We arrived with rain actually turning into frost. We went to eat in their cosy restaurant, warming ourselves in front of the fire and only opting to sit at the table when our food was already placed. Be sure to try their Dark chocolate drink…lipsmacking…

The Edge is situated, yeah, you guessed it… right on the edge of a mountain peak overlooking a valley. There are houses to rent, but we would rather do this in summer time when the view will value the cost. For now we are renting a little house with fireplace where four of us can stay.

We did try some walks to the edge, but it was too cold for me, as I have been there before in the summer. Martin and Chi-Chi were blessed to see a magnificent Crown eagle in the Arbirithium when they braved the cold for this walk.

I am always looking for a better price on essential oils, for my perfume Alexia and we decided to check out Amathole. We found the owner, Ian, who shared so much with us. Martin also found him very knowledgeable. He will be having some workshops on oil extracting that I am interested in.

We all went for a walk in the Botanical Gardens later and the most amazing big old Redwoods towered over the other trees.

 

 

 

 

Afterwards we had a absolutely delicious lunch at the Butterfly Bistro  where we could order vegan food as well.

Chi-Chi (+27834194658) is vegan and she makes her own range of food – seaweed chips, which she harvest herself, (I am so impressed), seed crackers, vegan pesto, sauerkraut, chi bars which is an amazing substitute for chocolate (it is a superfood bar), dehydrated veg patties, vegan chocolates… She sells these at the Vegan Goods Market in Plumstead, Cape Town which is on the first Saturday of each month…and Midweek market in Plett.

While we chattered on the recorder, we drove through the little town of Alice.  Click on the blue, as I just had to research and see what it is about…

We do get around hey…

We are on our way to Port Elizabeth and will be stopping for lunch with our friends at the well known Nanaga farmstall…

We had an exciting stop to make at the most awesome Salt Restaurant in Port Elizabeth.  Martin had a meeting for the upcoming Wildeburn.  We also join in on the meeting as we are avid Burners(more about what happened at the Wildeburn in a next post)

After a very good meeting we were ready to head home to Sedgefield as our friends, Marius and Christie were waiting for us and were going to stay with us for the night.

Next day the fun continued in our own backyard…

 

…What a trip…feeling Superblessed with Gratitude

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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…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.

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 leatherman  http://://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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