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Category Archives: Exploring

Honey… I’m ho-ome!

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Been there, done that, did not get the t-shirt. ๐Ÿ™‚

My last post was all about my excitement over my impending visit to my daughter in Canada. Well, I’ve been, and I’m back!

The three weeks flew by, and as I got ready to head home, it felt unrealย that my holiday could be over already…

(Why does one always feel torn? Or is it just me? What I mean is – before I left, I was torn because I was going on holiday without my SO*, and after 3 weeks in Canada, I was torn again, this time because I would have loved staying longer to spend more time with my daughter and son-in-law, but I was missing my SO so much, I had to come home… ๐Ÿ˜ฆ

Anyway…about my trip…

I LOVED IT! ๐Ÿ™‚ย  I’ve wanted to see Canada for many years, and now I’ve done it. And may I say, what a beautiful country it is! Of course I haven’t seen the WHOLE country, that would probably ( ๐Ÿ˜‰ ) take more than 3 weeks, but what I’ve seen has left me happy and content, because it was all that I expected, and more!

At the top of Sulphur Ridge.

At the top of Sulphur Ridge.

Besides enjoying being with Xan and Stef, and getting to know the area where they live, as well as the city of Edmonton, they spoiled me beyond any expectations, and for that I thank them from the bottom of my heart. They took time off work and drove me around all over the place! I got to go to Drumheller and see the amazing countryside around it, I was fortunate to visit the absolutely fantastic Royal Tyrrell Museum ( dinosaurs) which is well worth a visit, even if you may think you are not really into dinosaurs. And… I got to see and experience The Canadian Rockies!

Oh. My. Word.

Beyond beautiful. The beauty of it often left me speechless, and definitely in awe of the power and wonder of nature. I could go there again, and again, and again, and I will not tire of the awesome beauty. I was fortunate enough to experience these magnificent mountains from a tourist’s perspective, as well as on a more ‘personal’, intimate level, as we drove around and stopped at numerous sites, and walked and climbed to a point where I thought I was not going to make it. But I did (with a little help and encouragement from Xan & Stef!), and I’m glad I persevered. The rewards were such that I hope if I forget everything else in my old age, I will remember that.

So, thanks to my SO, my daughter and Stef, I can tick another couple of boxes on my Bucket List: Canadian Rockies – CHECK. Banff – CHECK. Jasper – CHECK.

I will not ‘check’ Canada just yet, as it is such a vast country, and I feel I need to see a bit more of it before I can say I’ve seen Canada!

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(Next time, I might write a bit about the things I found odd about Canada…)

*SO Significant Other

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3,2,1!!!!!

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Up, up, and away...

Up, up, and away…

The final countdown.

Three more sleeps, and then I’m up,up and away!!!

I cannot understand how one person can be such a mess of emotions… Super-excited. Stressed. Worried. Sad. Fortunately, I’m not feeling all of that in equal measure!

I am super-excited. I’m starting to pack today, which is not something I normally do. I usually leave the packing to the last day, but this time I can’t help myself. I want to get on that ‘plane, and fly off to far-away places, and of course, to my daughter!!!!! Cannot wait to spend some quality time with her, to see where they live, and how. And of course, to explore new places (for me!) with her and her hubby.

I am stressed. I haven’t traveled on my own for a very long time, and it is a veeeeeeerrry long trip… Another reason why I am starting to pack now, is for the fear of forgetting important things, which stresses me out too. And I’ve got a few important things to do here before I go, and I’m not sure I’ll get it all done.

I’m worried. I do believe that I’m the only one that can look after my cattle the way I do! I know I’m probably wrong, but that’s just the way I feel. I’m worried to leave them and not be there if something goes wrong.

And I am a little sad. It’s sad that I have to leave my SO* here and go off on my own. He is the reason why I haven’t traveled on my own for so long. I know I will miss him terribly.

But all in all, I’m ready to go! Its been some time since I’ve been off to explore a new country, and Canada has been on my list of ‘places to see’! And I’m sure that once the wheels of the ‘plane leave the ground, I’ll be all excited, and forget to be stressed, or worried. Maybe just a little sad…

SO* Significant other

Textures

I’ve noticed that I’ve got quite a lot of shots of ‘nothing’.

Some of you might know what I mean by that without an explanation, but for those of you who don’t – ย I’ve taken shots of things that I thought might make an interesting shot, but then it didn’t, or it only sort of did. And it falls under no category like ‘family’, or ‘landscapes’, or ‘ cattle’. ย All of this happens of course, while exploring the limits of my abilities and creativity. Oh, and those of my camera… ๐Ÿ™‚

So I thought what I’d do is bore you all to tears with some of these pictures of absolutely nothing. And fill up some space while doing so.

My straw hat. I’m supposed to wear this on the farm, to protect my skin…but I forget it most of the time. ๐Ÿ™‚ (One of my very first random shots with new camera)

 

Concrete sleepers. I took this pic 2 days ago when I went off looking for things to photograph. (Playing, in other words…) ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

This was taken with my Samsung, quite some time ago. It is a dried up mud hole, which I imagined at the time to be interesting.

 

We had some very old roof trusses sanded down, and we were quite pleased with the result. We’re not sure yet what we’re going to use them for.

 

Sand and stones, also taken some time ago with the little Samsung.

I could find a lot more, but I hear you yawning, so I’ll stop right here!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

 

 

 

 

My trip II : Franschhoek

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The second night of our trip, we stayed over in a B & B between the towns of Paarl and Franschhoek.

We were pleasantly surprised to find that the place we were going to sleep that night, was 500 years old! The present owner was a descendant of an Englishman that bought the place in the mid-1800’s, with money that he borrowed from Cecil John Rhodes! It was an amazing place, and we loved staying there.

The next day, we spent some time in and around Franschhoek, but today I’m keeping it short and sweet – ย history of the area in my next blog!!!!

We visited two wine farms, but one of them we visited for a totally different reason than tasting wine! At Plaisir de Merle, we tasted (and bought) some delicious wines. L’Ormarins is a stunningly beautiful farm, which now belongs to the Rupert- family ( some of you might have heard ofย Anton Rupert, a very well-know business man and millionare) and they make exquisite wine there, but we went there to visit – get this!! – ย the Franschhoek Motor Museum!!! ๐Ÿ™‚ ย This museum has a history all of it’s own, but at this rate we’ll never get away from history. Shortly, the government closed down a motor museum in Heidelberg, and the cars were left to rot, so the Ruperts bought up everything, and relocated the museum to Franschhoek. And what a stunning job they did of it!

I hope you enjoy the pictures!

Lekkerwijn, our 500 year old B & B.

The huge courtyard of the house, with an ancient pomegranate tree.

The dining room, ready for us to sit down to breakfast.

Vineyards at Plaisir de Merle

The entrance to L’Ormarins

The Franschhoek Motor Museum

And finally, just to give you an idea of the inside of the museum, some beautiful old motor cars. I think that I’ll show you the rest of the beauties in a separate blog. Those of you who love cars as much as I do, will drool when you see the rest of the photographs!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

A couple of Mercedes Benzes.

Until we get together for our next history lesson, have a wonderful time!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Therapy

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Yesterday afternoon I needed to get out. I’m sure a lot of you have had the feeling that the walls are starting to press inward, not much, just enough to make the spaces inside feel smaller, and tighter, and the air a bit thicker…

So, in order to avoid being squashed to a pulp, I decided to jump into my car and escape to the farm! ๐Ÿ™‚

Sometime Wednesday night, it had started to rain – a steady, heavy rain that continued well into the morning. I was completely in my element! Then the clouds slowly started to lift, and the sun played hide-and-seek for a while until it got bored and decided to completely show itself.

By the time I arrived at the farm, it was sunny, but with a lovely, fresh breeze blowing – always a great aid if you want to clear some cobwebs from your mind! So, I parked my car under a tree, grabbed my constant companion (also known as a camera!) and set off on foot.

I tried my best to look at everything I saw as if it was a potential subject for a great picture – the grass blowing in the breeze, the trees, the sky, the insects, my boots and even some cow dung! ๐Ÿ˜‰ ย And once again, it ended with a few hits, and quite a few misses.

So here is the story of my afternoon of physical and mental therapy, in pictures.

Grass stalks blowing in the wind. And clouds, of course! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Some fungi growing on a piece of wood next to the path.

 

The spoor of either a duiker (a small kind of buck) or baby warthog. Next to my very sexy hiking boot, to give an idea of scale. ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Some tiny daisy-like wildflowers.

 

The tiny pink flower of a wild creeper/ground cover type of plant.

 

More fungi growing on a dried out piece of cow dung! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Clouds framed by trees.

 

Lichen.

 

More lichen.

 

Interesting whorls of a tree.

 

Sweet little flower of a creeper, creeping all over a dead pile of wood.

 

Some kind of pretty, hardy grass forcing its way through some paving.

 

And finally, lying on my back (on an oil drum!) watching the clouds drift by...

 

I took a whole lot more pictures, but once again I think some of you are already yawning and falling asleep, so I’ll be sneaky and work some more pictures into future blogs!

And finally I have to say that my wild therapy, or maybe more aptly ‘therapy in the wild’, did wonders for my soul. I have new courage, more patience (something I am always in short supply of – you can ask my kids!! ๐Ÿ™‚ ย ), and I am looking forward to the weekend, and I hope you are too!

Until we chat again – have a grrrrreat weekend, be blessed! ๐Ÿ™‚

Following a trend

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Over the past weekend, I saw at least 2 fellow-bloggers post beautiful pictures of elephants (TBM and PhotoBotos – sorry, I really don’t know how to post a link yet… ๐Ÿ˜ฆ ย ) It reminded me of a trip we took about 2 years ago to the Pilanesberg Nature reserve in Northwest Province. If you haven’t heard of Pilanesberg yet, you might have heard of Sun City, the huge ‘city’ that Sol Kerzner built seemingly in the middle of nowhere, and it went on to be a hugely popular destination, both for locals and tourists.

Anyway, one of the developers decided to take 3 of the agents (one of them me, of course!) that were marketing their development to Pilanesberg for a day out. It was a fun day, and I took a few photographs of animals, insects and scenery.

The reserve has a very wide variety of animals roaming about, and we were lucky enough to get VERY close to some of the elephants, as you’ll see from my pictures. To me, there are better reserves to go to if you wanted to see wild life, but a lot of people love going to Pilanesberg, probably because it is only about 2 hours drive from Johannesburg and Pretoria.

I hope my two friends don’t mind too much that I’m ‘following ย the trend’, but I’ve wanted to share these elephant pictures for a while now, but most of my South African friends will find them slightly boring, so I’m sharing it today with all of you out there!

Big Foot approaching

 

Good morning, oh Ancient One.

 

Uhmmmm...OK, we were just on our way...

I just love these huge creatures that can tread so gently through the veld, there is a mysteriousness to them that appeals to the romantic in me. I ย do knowย that they can be extremely destructive and dangerous, but that happens mainly when they are provoked, as is the case with most wild animals.

Until we chat again, hope you have a wonderful Monday – make the most of this new week!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

 

Weekend Breakaway

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This past weekend my significant other and I took a quick break. Unfortunately for him, the break came about because he had work to do down in Kwazulu-Natal, but fortunately for me, he decided to take me along and stay a day or two longer than was necessary. ๐Ÿ™‚

We booked a place in a seaside village called Umtentweni, and we were very pleasantly surprised by both the cottage we stayed in and the village itself. (Neither of us have been there before.) The cottage was right on the sea, and it was pretty and clean and I’d love to go back there sometime.

The highlight though, was Sunday. When we woke up, it was dark with clouds and it had started raining. I was smiling broadly, as this is perfect weather, as far as I’m concerned! (Crazy considering we were at the beach! ๐Ÿ™‚ ย ) ย I was busy reading a magazine, and there was an article in it about Oribi Gorge – a place I’ve heard of, but never been to. I realized that it was only about 25 km from where we were staying, so we decided to go and ‘explore’. I’m very glad we went, as the scenery was spectacular! I’ll let some of the photographs I took, speak for itself.

The waterfall is just a trickle, as it was a very dry season.

 

Beautiful!

 

More beauty.

 

Suspension bridge over very narrow part of the gorge.

 

Taken from the bridge.

 

Taken straight down from the bridge. It doesn't show how high it really is!

 

A dead tree lying precariously over the precipice. Also from the bridge.

 

A different angle from the other side of the gorge, with river snaking below.

 

A combination of textures.

 

I thought I'd finish off with this picture taken from the cottage, early Monday morning, just before we left.

 

I had a hard time selecting pictures for this post, and still it is overly long. I’m sure some of the pictures I haven’t used, will sneak into future posts… ๐Ÿ™‚

Until next time, keep well!!! ๐Ÿ™‚