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Honey… I’m ho-ome!

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Been there, done that, did not get the t-shirt. 🙂

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 unreal 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… 😦

Anyway…about my trip…

I LOVED IT! 🙂  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 ( 😉 ) 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

Sunday morning coming down…

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The winter has arrived.

We were warned from early on this week, that the cold would hit the country by this weekend. And it did! Not that I’m complaining, mind you! As I’ve told you before, I love winter and everything that goes with it. Up to now, we’ve had unseasonably warm temperatures, so it was time for the cold to strike. One cannot have a year without winter now, can we? 😉

It is Sunday morning, not too early, and I’m wondering how we are going to spend our day. We have several cows about to calf (we think so, since we don’t know much about being cattle farmers! We could still be waiting this time next month, for all I know!) Yesterday one of them really seemed to be uncomfortable, so we’ll probably spend a lot of time on the farm, to make sure they are all fine, especially since it is so very cold.

And then  there is the Montreal Grand Prix, later on today, which we will most probably watch, since my SO* is such a petrolhead! I really don’t mind that, since I’ve always loved beautiful cars as well, and I’ve learnt a lot about machines since we’re together.

We will make something to eat, somewhere during the day. We are not clock watchers, and we won’t necessarily have breakfast now (it is 8.28 am), and we probably won’t have lunch at 1pm. We do things rather randomly around here, but we all seem to be fine – nobody starving to death. But somewhere during the day, we will decide to put that pork roast in the oven, and make some veggies to go with it, and we’ll have a late lunch.

I mostly love Sundays, it is just once in a while that I feel a bit edgy, or irritated, and those are the days that I hope something comes up to make it a little bit less…quiet, shall we say?

So, here’s wishing you all a wonderful Sunday. May you have the kind of day that you enjoy having. Since tomorrow it is back to work for all of us, may you also have a day of rest and quiet, and be refreshed for the week ahead.

A part of ‘The Twelve Apostles’ (mountain range behind table Mountain) sticking through the clouds on our drive round Chapman’s Peak two weekends ago.

PS.  I know I owe you one more ‘history lesson’ from our trip – I will get around to it this week.

*Significant other.

One single picture – Cape Town

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I started off doing the ‘car blog’, but halfway in I decided that  it wasn’t working for me.

So, for tonight, I’m only posting one of my very favourite shots of the whole trip. It was taken on Chapman’s Peak Drive, across the bay towards Hout Bay.

Flowers, mist and mountain.

I’m feeling somewhat nostalgic tonight – wishing we were back there …  🙂

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 –  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 of Anton Rupert, a very well-know business man and millionare) and they make exquisite wine there, but we went there to visit – get this!! –  the Franschhoek Motor Museum!!! 🙂  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!!! 🙂

A couple of Mercedes Benzes.

Until we get together for our next history lesson, have a wonderful time!!! 🙂

My trip: let’s start with some history.

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We left on Wednesday afternoon of last week, after my SO* finished working. Because we had a late start, we decided to go no further than Kimberley. I’ll give you the history in a (tiny) nutshell, as it is extensive and I’m not knowledgeable enough to give all the facts correctly, but you can read the details here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kimberley,_Northern_Cape It makes for some interesting reading.

Kimberley is a town in the Northern Cape Province of South Africa. It is significant for so many reasons, but mainly because of diamonds. A young boy picked up (literally!) a diamond in the area in 1866, and soon after an even bigger one was picked up near where the first was found, and people started streaming to Colesbergkoppie in their thousands. Soon it was a bustling town, with people trying to find their fortunes.

Two very well-known and important persons played a HUGE part in the history of Kimberley, namely Barney Barnato and Cecil John Rhodes. They both became very rich and influential in the town, coming from very different directions. Barney worked abandoned claims. He worked 7 days a week, with one helper, and eventually through sheer dogged persistence, he made his fortune. Cecil on the other hand, came from different stock, and became rich and important through connections. Initially they were fierce opponents, but they realized that they could be stronger if they worked together, and in short, the De Beer’s Diamond Company was founded.

The diamond mine was started by people working their individual claims. It then became an open cast mine of vast proportions, keeping in mind that it was worked by people, not machines! They climbed into the depths, loosened the  dirt with picks and shovels, and carried out buckets of dirt that was sifted at the top, to find the shiny little stones. Many people died there, and many came away poorer than they were at the start. But – a few made their fortunes.

Kimberley became a town that is still a busy one today. It developed around the ‘Big Hole’, as it’s know today and the lay-out of the town is quite weird and confusing! 🙂

I’m going to leave the history there, except for one other very important fact: Kimberley was the first town in the Southern Hemisphere to get electrical street lights!!!

Here are some of the pictures I took there – I hope you find them interesting.

The Big Hole

To give an idea of the scale, this picture was taken so you can see the tall buildings of the town, compared to the hole.

This structure was built in recent years, so visitors can look down into the hole, instead of from behind a fence on the ground.

Some facts about the scale of the mine.

Around the Hole, there is a huge museum, with a reproduction of the old town, with authentic fittings and interiors, as well as a reproduction of what the mine would have looked like after they went underground, and a display of diamonds – real ones, that are very well guarded!! 🙂

Mining Town shops.

 

Old tools and workbench in an ironmongers workshop.

 

Streetlight

 

Well, that’s it for today! Let me know if you find posts like these interesting or boring, please!!! Would hate to bore y’all!!! 🙂

Paris

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A few days ago my friend TBM suggested I share a few of my Paris pictures, since I’m longing to go there so much and I can unfortunately not do so at the moment.

While looking at the photographs, I cannot believe that we took so few!! If I went now, I’ll probably end up with many hundreds (or even thousands!) of pictures. These were taken in 2004, when my daughter and I went to Europe to celebrate the end of her school career.

Although these pictures are not in any way ‘good’, or artisitic, they bring back a lot of very fond memories, and I gladly share these few pictures with you.

Detail of the Arc de Triomphe

Paris, from the Eiffel Tower

A very happy young South African, glad to be standing at the entrance to the Palace of Versailles! 🙂

The Louvre, of course…

Detail of the Notre Dame

The Champs Elysees at night.

It was a wonderful holiday with my daughter, and we saw a lot, but there are still places we didn’t get around to then, that I would love to go and see.

And  since  it is Mother’s Day, I’ve decided to finish today’s post with this photograph of Xandre and myself, both of us in Seventh Heaven because we’ve at last made it to Paris!!

Mother and child. 😉 Oh, and Eiffel Tower.

 

To all the mothers out there – have a wonderfully happy Mother’s Day. And to everybody else – hope you also have an exceptionally happy day!!!! 🙂

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… 😦  ) 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  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  do know 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!!! 🙂