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What to do in and around Bogota, Colombia?

Finally, finally, finally. Another reunion after 2,5 years, but now only in Bogota, Colombia! It was the time that Daniel and I would meet again. Before I already went to Chile, I bought my ticket to Bogota (where he lives) for six days. I will tel you everything about what to do in and around Bogota?

Where should I start?

So, yes.. where to start? I think with the flight, because that was something. Back in the time while buying the ticket for Bogota. It was all a bit stressful, because I wanted to find the cheapest but most efficient flights, to make sure that I was in Bogota as long as possible. I searched on (literally) the whole internet.

The reason by the way, why I could (what I thought only) go six days was because of National Holiday in Chile. Although, I should not forget to mention that my supervisor one week before told me that he thought that I was going for 10 days to Bogota…… I was a little bit sad in the beginning, but yeah, a miscommunication and you all know that changing a ticket also has a price, so I let it this way and those things happen.

Okay, back to the flight. So, I bought my ticket while being at the beach house on a sunny Friday afternoon. The ticket was still expensive but the times where good, although LATAM (airplane company) changed the departure time twice. Eventually I left 1:05 Friday morning and as of my own surprise, a week before my departure my eye fell on the word “Business Class”. I checked everything and yes, I booked Business Class for my way to Bogota. Do not ask me how, because I still have no idea haha. By then, I understood why my ticket was so expensive (I leave out the price in this story), but yeah, I thought now I have Business Class I can better enjoy it to the fullest because this is probably not going to happen many more times (if I don’t make the same “mistake” again haha…).

The reunion with Daniel

I arrived in Bogota at 5:20 in the morning (the time difference is two hours with Santiago). The flight was all good, but still didn’t sleep a lot. However, because I was full of adrenaline I didn’t feel it. Dani picked me up from the Airport and we went to his house which was like 20 minutes away.

Although Dani and I, most of the time, have weekly contact, share a lot and FaceTime sometimes, it was still a nervous moment to see someone again after 2,5 years. No worries at all, because the bound was still as strong as it has always been.

After a sleepy morning/afternoon and meeting Dani’s family, Dani and I went up to Monserrate to have an amazing view of Bogota and visited the old house of Quinta.

Weekend road trip

On Friday night we left Bogota and with “we” I mean; Dani, Angelica (Dani’s sister), Nicolas (Angelica’s boyfriend), and me. Boys in the front, girls in the back, Latin music and goooo. We rent an Airbnb in Villa de Leyva for the weekend. Villa de Leyva is a historical village with actually only white houses and during the night you usual see lots of stars (unfortunately we had lots of clouds).

Horse riding

Haha yes, you read that well; horse riding. Never liked horses and obviously I had never ride a horse. I must say, I was afraid. The first five minutes on the horse were not one of my favorite moments in life, however, that changed very very fast. I never expected it, but my gosh, I loved it so much! The horse wasn’t always listening that well, because when I wanted to go faster he didn’t. Later on, Dani told me that the horse had a total different name than I called him, so maybe that is the reason haha..

In total the horse riding was one hour, although I would have loved to ride longer. By the way, Villa de Leyva is full of horses and people who offer those tours. It is more usual to have a horse than a car, let’s put it this way. So, when you want to ride a horse, you just search for a cowboy (we all know how a cowboy look like right?) and that’s it!

On the way back Dani’s horse fell and therefore Dani also fell of the horse. I was just a little bit behind him galloping too, and it didn’t look really good. He rolled like around three times over the ground, but gladly he was “fine”. I was very worried about his head because he fell quiet hard. Gladly, his head was fine, but he still had a wound on his elbow and knee + jean broken.

The horse was also wounded, but the people took great care of him and Dani, too. Because after the tour, we went to their office and they helped cleaning the wound. Although, a few days later Dani still had pain, we all in general (again) enjoyed the horse riding very much!

Riding squads

We went for squad riding after the horse riding, which you can see when you look at Dani’s jean… I still don’t know which one of the two I loved the most, but I definitely enjoyed this one too!

So, yeah the experience. What should I say? I just loved to be a bit extreme and drift all around in the mud. All did Dani told me, he was a bit in a shock in the beginning because he didn’t expect that I would be the second Torreto (Fast&Furious actor). This is also a side of me, it is just that I do not get to show it very often, but it doesn’t say it is not there you know.

And yes, lots of mud and speed, so dirty legs, trousers and shoes. I can tell, the shower after was great!

Relaxing time

The Airbnb provided a guitar which we first didn’t know. Dani plays guitar and sings. So, while he practiced some songs, I just had another moment to be grateful to be alive and have such amazing, inspiring people around me.

Besides all the cute white houses, the traditional shops and nice restaurants, there is another thing which really catched my eye. During the evening, lots of people gather together at the Plaza and take their drinks to chat and dance with their friends or meeting new people. Something which I had never seen before. Those people, their culture, and this was just day two!

The next morning we took it all a bit slowly. Breakfast was actually served until ten, but I think we came around eleven or even later. Very kind though, that they still served it for us. I bought Pisco (typical Chilean and Peruvian alcohol- 40%) for Dani as thank for everything and the guys bought Aquadiente (typical Colombian alcohol- 29%). We drunk at the Airbnb that night, played games and danced, but it went all a bit too fast and was too strong. Gladly, a hangover wasn’t included.

Colorful Raquira & the Independence Monument

After the breakfast we headed to Raquira which was around an hour in the car, but in the direction of Bogota. It felt like we were doing a formule 1 race, because beside the roads where waiters waving with red flags in sense of; “Come and have lunch here”. Furthermore, Raquira is a small town with colorful buildings and traditional shops.

After Dani had parked the car, we walked a bit around. Although, I almost love everything they sell like the bags and hammocks, the clothes, the souvenirs, I didn’t buy anything, just because I can buy everything then haha…

The weather was good that day, also in Raquira it was quiet warm. Therefore, I was finally able to wear my favorite dress. So yeah, as you can expect we made some pictures, also together. We laughed a lot and again, I felt so grateful to have such an amazing time with those people.

Before we had lunch at an Italian restaurant, we passed the place of the Independence of Colombia. The little white bridge you can see on the picture, is where it all finished. Dani and Angelica told me it was a small bridge, however, I didn’t expect it would be that small haha.

Wandering around in Bogota

On Monday, we went into the city centre by bus. Dani wanted to show me the Plaza (which is nice but looks like every square in the world) and Chorro, which is an area with lots of graffiti. However, that is not the biggest reason for the specialty of Chorro, because Chorro is where Bogota began.

So, Chorro is the beginning of Bogota, although Bogota was first called; Bacatá. There were only twelve houses and one church (which you see on the picture below). The houses are all very low and small by the way.

After we walked a bit around, Dani said that I should try another typical drink, Canelazo with alcohol. We went to the oldest bar, called Santa Marta Café, and ordered. Canelazo is something sweet and looks like sugar, and is together with spices. The drink is hot and you drink it like coffee together with an alcohol of your choice. I had tequila with passion fruit and Dani had vodka. It was much stronger than I expected and wasn’t able to finish. I was already tipsy after 5 sips haha…

Laguna de Guatavita and Catedral de Sal

On Tuesday, we took the car again and left Bogota after lunch to Laguna de Guatavita. Even though, it was raining cats and dogs, it was a very nice trek of around 45 minutes through the woods with as result the Laguna. The tour was in Spanish, therefore, Dani was still the whole time whispering the translation in my ear, still I am not able to tell you the whole story again (I forgot, sorry Dani…). I know people, not the first time I write something which I actually doesn’t know about, but yeah that’s me. At that moment, I loved it and understood the whole story. However, because I receive so much information, I cannot save everything in my little cutie brain you know.

And now!! Here it comes, one of my favorites; Catedral de Sal. I think it is good to know that I don’t believe in God or anything, but that I am very open to learn more about it and see other people’s perspective.

The reason why the Catedral de Sal is one of my favorites is, because it is 180 meters under the ground and takes one kilometer before you are there, and because it was just insane beautiful and magical. Everything is made from salt (that’s why “Sal”) and took in total 70 years. All the work is done by miners, who still work in there today to make it bigger with more levels.

It is difficult to show and explain how touchy this place is. So yes, if you are ever close to Bogota you MUST go there, you MUST!

Oh and we even helped the miners a bit with their work. I know, it looks very pussy, but it was hard and heavy people. Yes, lots of respect for the miners!!

To finish, as you have seen and read, I did really have six fantastic, amazing, lovely days. They couldn’t have been any better and yes it was difficult to say good bye, but great things are waiting for me in Chile! I am just a very grateful woman and cannot thank Dani and his family enough.

A European road trip crossing three countries

Well, this was a little spontaneous, a little exhausting, a little different, but on the other hand, very much appreciated, exciting and wanted. Let’s hit the road for this European road trip!

So yeah, summer was arriving and I had not planned anything yet. As most of you know, have I been sick from the beginning of this year and therefore, was my mind somewhere else. However, a good Mexican friend, Renato, is living in Spain at the moment and after not being able to see each other for four years, we were eager to try to figure something out and meet. Renato is another friend from EF by the way. To even make it better, some other EF friends were free and wanted to join. Then the question was; what are we going to do?

Hoek van Holland – Rouen

It all started in Rouen, France, where Julie lives. Julie and I had not seen each other for two years by the way. I drove to Rouen myself in around five hours and when I arrived she had made my favourite cinnamon buns, but this time vegan ones. I had never ate them in this way, but well oh well I love them.

When you don’t see your friends very often, it makes it special that when you are together just doing something is already nice, because you are together and being able to spend that time together. The normal daily things are the things that we enjoy doing the most. So, yeah what did we do? We played games, cooked, watched Netflix, relaxed, went to the gym, met her friends, and went for an afternoon sight seeing in Rouen. A typical Normandy city. I really loved the buildings.

Rouen – Versailles – Rouen

Then a few days later was honestly the day we were both most looking forward to. The reunion with Renato after four years. He flew to Paris, but since we did not think that Paris would be a good idea during this time, we decided to still make something of our day and went to Versailles. People ask us many times how that always is; these reunions, and actually don’t we ever think about it like that. It just happens naturally. We were together for nine months, 24/7. Of course, we have changed, we all do and yes, with some people we aren’t so close anymore, but for us, it just always stayed the same, as beautiful as it was at that time.

Now Versailles, a place I never really had on my “bucket list”, but for sure didn’t mind to visit. My parents had already been there and were very enthusiastic about it and so became I. The information didn’t really stayed in the mind, because of the too many impressions, but we had a lovely day together and it was insane to imagine that people lived like that many many years ago.

Yes, masks very necessary in closed places. Even sometimes on the street when we felt it was too crowded, we started to wear masks. Something that was totally different to the regulations from the Netherlands.

The next day, we stayed at Julie’s grandmothers house who has a swimming pool. We played games again, I slept since I still needed to rest several times a day, and we ate lovely. Like all the other days in France, because yeah those baguettes jummiee. I also love it that I was able to experience the French culture from much closer now. We have been going on holiday to France for already many years, but (of course) it is different when you start “living” with French people. A difference in sense of food is, for example, that they have many times dessert after dinner. Whereas, in the Netherlands, we have like a cookie or chocolate around 20:30 when we have our coffee or cup of tea. After dinner I was always too full to have dessert, whereas, in France they say: “Dessert doesn’t go to the stomach. Dessert goes to your heart.” Well, I had to get used to that ha-ha. Oh and I also tried Raclette. For my other fellow cheese lovers overhere, you gotta try that once in your life.

Rouen – Hoek van Holland

After six fantastic days in France it was time to go back home and the best part of it all was that Julie and Renato came with me. We went with two cars and again, within around five hours we arrived. It was only until almost lunch break when I got hungry and started to eat the first part of baguette while driving. Then when we did stop for lunch Julie asked whether I wasn’t hungry and I told her I already ate a big part of my baguette. Her face expression drastically changed. Apparently, it is prohibited in France to eat and drink while driving ha-ha. I had no idea.

We arrived at the end of the afternoon and we were all a little tired. We stayed at home for dinner, talked with my parents, and went to the beach house after. Again, we continued playing Qwixx, our favorite game or maybe I should say, my favorite game of the trip. It was only a little cold and windy… ha-ha.

The next day, we had breakfast at my favourite breakfast place; Pelé Surf Shack and we played Qwixx again. After that, we relaxed in the sun at the beachhouse and spend the afternoon/evening in Rotterdam. I gave them stroopwafels, poffertjes, and we ordered some Dutch beer and a typical “borrelplank”. Lots of fun, again!

The following day was the day I think they most looked forward to, Amsterdam! They both had never been there and to make it an efficient day, we started with a canal boat tour. After that, we went for a walk around the city, had lunch at the Vegan Junk Food bar (gosh, I was surprised by how delicious the food was), and finished our day at the Rijksmuseum. Gladly, Amsterdam wasn’t so busy and didn’t we need to wear our masks. Oh and of course, they ate stroopwafels again. The special ones from Van Wonderen. Loved it so much to see them enjoying themselves.

The other days were relaxing and did we hang out on the beach. I also had to work two mornings, but since the weather was great it was alright for them to stay together at the beachhouse. And yeah, I cannot say enough how much I loved showing them around and let them experience our way of doing things.

Hoek van Holland – Munich

Moving on to the next destination of our European road trip. Monday five in the morning we started driving from Hoek van Holland to Munich with one car, Julie’s. Fully packed. No space left, but it fit and we were on the road. I was sleeping at the back to the rest and Julie and Renato were changing for driver. Eight hours ahead to Munich. Although, while Renato was driving something happened.

Our police experience

Julie woke me up and told me to look ahead. The first thing I saw was a car with a blue siren on it and a text that said: “Folgen” and we Dutch people all know what that means.. ha-ha. So I told them it means ” Follow”. I asked Renato if he thought that he drove too fast but he didn’t think so. Our hearts started to beat faster, especially theirs, after I told them my parents always taught me not to just stop somewhere for “police” since there is also fake police. Gladly, that wasn’t the case and they went to a big parking place with restaurant.

So, me explaining with my good German that I understood that it looked a little weird; a full packed French car with a Mexican driver driving from the Netherlands to Munich with a French and Dutch girl. Yes, kind of suspicious. Still we all had to give our papers and later on Renato had to go with the two police men to their car. Julie and I were trying to stay calm and laugh the stress away, when from one moment to another Renato had to do a drug test. He had red eyes, which for Renato is normal because of the air differences, however, for the police men it was a reason to let him do the test. Everything was alright, obviously, and we could continue. Still, it took some time for our hearts to calm down. Buttt! We could continue our European road trip. 🙂

Number four of the group

Now it’s time to include Carmen. I guess I don’t really have to introduce her though ha-ha. Since I have been to Munich already several times and Carmen doesn’t live in the city centre, I only joined them in either the morning or morning and evening, so that I could rest/sleep the afternoon and recharge my energy. This picture below is from the first night (yes yes, sleepy heads), but wanted to show you the beers they had. Yeah, the big German beers ha-ha, Renato couldn’t stop laughing and talking about how big and heavy they were. Oh and you see Qwixx there on the left, my buddy was joining us for the whole road trip ha-ha.

We stayed in Munich for around three and a half days. I joined them for walks around the city, we visited the BMW museum, and we went to a Beer garden in the Englischer Garten. One day at the end of the afternoon I woke up and they brought Kaiserschmarrn with them for me. The best friends!

Munich – Lyon

The last destination of our European road trip. Our last reunion of the road trip, because we were heading to Matthiays. Another friend who Carmen and I hadn’t seen for four years. Carmen’s friend Sophie went with us from Munich, so that Carmen wouldn’t need to drive home alone those seven/eight hours. The weather in Lyon was very different to the weather in Munich, by the way. Munich was on some days fifteen degrees and when we arrived in Lyon is was forty degrees. For me, all fine, since I love it and it reminds me of a holiday feeling, but others, were having a harder time getting their sweat away.

Although, I was only in Lyon for around two days, I have many pictures. So, this part is even going to be more pictures than text. I do also think that pictures already show a lot, especially since explaining our relationship is indescribable. Last thing, I find Lyon a very underrated city. It is so beautiful from it’s streets to buildings, churches, restaurants and shops. It has everything. So, if you want to go on a city trip, Lyon is definitely worth to visit.

Lyon – Amsterdam

Saturday at four in the afternoon they brought me to the airport of Lyon. After sixteen days on the road, it was time for me to go home. My European road trip had finished. I cannot say enough how grateful I am to have them in my life, to experience all cultures with them and see them enjoying. It makes me utterly happy. In good and in bad times, you are in my heart. And as we always say (me still with tears): See you soon.

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A road trip from Edinburgh to St. Andrews

Although we started our trip in the Ijmuiden, which is in the North of the Netherlands, where we took the boot to New Castle, we were already all very excited. Especially, my father and brother because we would end this trip in St. Andrews, heaven for golfers as they call it. The boat was comfortable and we were ready for our road trip from Edinburgh to St. Andrews.

First Edinburgh

Before we were heading off to heaven, we first went to Edinburgh for 2 days. We slept at Hilton Carlton, which is located in the city centre. Therefore, we did not have to use the car because we could walk everything.

Edinburgh is a city which none of us had ever been yet. The days were very cold, we were walking from Nero to Starbucks to Patisserie Valerie (the restaurant where they have my favourite cinnamon roll). However, we also walked around in the city and it was beautiful but different than I expected. Honestly, the buildings were all very grey and sober which gave me a kind of sad impression.

Because whiskey is the most famous product in Scotland, we went to the whiskey museum. This was such an amazing experience. It was like we were in an attraction because we were sitting in a little car made for two persons, which took us around and then there was a man on a screen talking to us, explaining all the history about whiskey. Even though you may come to Edinburgh with little kids, this museum is the greatest!

The road trip from Edinburgh to heaven for golfers.

After those two days in Edinburgh, the men got impatient and were totally really to go to St. Andrews. It was not the first time for them because once in a while they go there with some friends for a long weekend. So, yes, when we were there. Of course, they needed to play golf. Besides that, we were sleeping in the Hazelbank Hotel and our room had the best view I had ever had. The rooms were perfect and the staff was so nice and generious.

The reason why St. Andrews is such heaven for golfers is because this is where it all started. St. Andrews has all the history of golf and besides that,  there is another special fact. There are a lot of golf courses, where The Old Course is the most famous one, which is also the most expensive and difficult one. Those golf courses are all blended together and lay just beside the coastline. A lot of jokes got made that they had to pay attention not to change of golf course.

The girls into the Highlands

Because the men were most of the time playing golf, we, as the female side of the family needed to plan something else because waiting for them was not the thing we wanted to do those days. Going into the Highlands had always been something which my mom and I wanted to do. Because St. Andrews is not that far from the Highlands, which is an extemely big area, we hired a private driver who drove us all around. We were away for the whole day and although we were mainly looking through the windows, the views were amazing. We even went to Loch Ness, the mysterious lake where people many years ago thought to see a special animal in the water.

By the way, besides playing golf and buying golf stuff in all the golf shops, St. Andrews is also a “little” famous for their University. So, if you ever want to study abroad and are a fan of golf, you know where to go because this place is a bit of heaven. Plus a road trip from Edinburgh to St.Andrews is for sure a good idea then!

My favorite hotspots around Florence

My first visitor arrived! One of the best friends since we are young, Claire. We did a day trip through Tuscany from Florence. We packed our bags, rent a car, bought two cappucino´s and bread for on the way. We were so excited! The other days, we took many walks and chewed a lot on food. Eventually, we went to all my favorite hotspots around Florence! 🙂 Happy woman.

Claire and Ies on the road to Greve in Chianti

On Saturday we rent a car with car2go and drove to Greve in Chianti to start of with one my favorite hotspots around Florence It was a beautiful day, the sun was shining and the sky was blue with just some little clouds. And yeah, we had a lot of fun and really enjoyed the day. Below some pictures and explanations about what we did.

  • Monteriggioni

This cutie little town is definitely one I will go back to. The city is between a wall and to have a better view of the surroundings you can walk on the wall all around the city. We had some coffee there, me my first cappuccino in Italy, only after ten (I am sorry), but I liked it.

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  • Montefioralle

If you paid a little attention in my last blog, you know that it was not my first time here. Montefioralle is a little town where l also went with Fre the last time. This is an example of a town where no souvenir shop can be found, but where we did find that amazing restaurant Il Guerrino on the hill with a view over the wine yards. Of course, I showed Claire and did we enjoy an amazing and again, delicious lunch. I had gnocchi for the first time in my life. It never really attracted me because of the way it looks but by eating this gnocchi pesto I learned that the way something looks can be different than the way it tastes (sort of cliché, I know). Oh, it was so goooood.

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At this castle, we did a wine tour. The landscape around the castle was beautiful and it took us a while before we arrived there. It was only one road if I could call it a proper road because it was more like an unpaved road with little rocks. Yes, we were a little scared of a flat tire, in the end, everything was alright, gladly!

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Because we just like fooood

Before Claire came to Florence I already tried some different restaurants, so that when she would come, I would know where to take her. We usually had breakfast at my place or otherwise bought something along the way in the supermarket. For lunch and dinner we went to the restaurants.

The first picture is from Obicá, the mozzarella bar. We both had a delicious Buffola and shared the rest.

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Indeed, loves goes through the stomach. Below the delicious heart pizza’s from Napoli 1955 

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At last, Trattoria Zà Zà. We went there for dinner the first time and lunch the second. Even though, I made a reservation for dinner we needed to wait half an hour before we could have a table. No worries, because while we waited we could enjoy the Italian chaos that was happening over there.

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Yes, I know, we can just continue eating here. Everything looks delicious and is delicious. There is no way you can go around that. Between the meals, we liked to play some cards and asked each other questions. Because we thought that even after knowing each other for so long, there would still be some things that we wouldn’t know about each other. It was great to have some time together and embrace our friendship.

Oh yes, last thing. We also went out on Saturday night. Slept for three hours and as diehards enjoyed, walked around in the city (walked 25km that day), came back home at 21:00 and were obviously very tired afterwards, but with a satisfied feeling. I still look back at this weekend with a big smile, because great and hilarious memories were made!

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The Panorama and Garden route in South-Africa part2

The two most famous routes, the Panorama and Garden route in South-Africa. The Panorama Route is more on the North/East side of South-Africa and the Garden Route more South/West side. Two totally different routes, but both so special and amazing! For the Panorama Route I cannot say that about everything, because we were not able to see everything and finish it. I will tell you why within a few minutes.

The Panorama Route

We left our B&B Idle&Wild in Hazyview around 8:30 in the morning. Amazing people over there by the way!

The Panorama route has officially fifteen spots. They differ from falls to caves and mountain view’s. However, because we didn’t have the whole day we had chosen to go to five of them.

  1. Pinnacle  
  2. God’s Window
  3. Bourke’s Luck Potholers
  4. Blyde River Canyon
  5. Three Rondavels

So, we started the Panorama route around 9:15 and the Pinnacle was the first stop. At most of the places was security where we needed to pay 10RD (0,65 cent) per person go park our car! It was good that we started the trip early in the morning, because the later it became the more big touring busses arrived.

The Pinnacle has a beautiful view point with amazing nature around it. We felt so little and even though it is winter over here now, it was 31 degrees that day. Yes, you read that well, it is winter with 31 degrees. Not so bad haha.

Next stop was God’s Window as part of our Panorama and Garden route. After a short drive we arrived and with short I mean really short, like five minutes short. When I was walking up the stairs (120 stairs), I had enough time to think and I was wondering why I had only seen Dutch, Scandinavian, and Germans, and no French, Spanish, and/or Italians around here yet. Was it about the distance, the interest, the weather conditions, or maybe money? Just about when I finished my thoughts, an Italian family passed me, when later on a Spanish and then also a French family. So, no need to think it through anymore and without even thinking about it, I had already walked up the 120 stairs. Ready for the view with us/me standing a little bit in the way?!

After this amazing view, we drove further on the Panorama route.. butttt now it comes, we needed to stop. We saw fire and lots of smoky clouds a bit further down the road. However, because this was sort of normal for us (around every 15 minutes we saw fire somewhere) we thought it was nothing special. This time, there was a police car and the man told us that the inhabitants were striking against the police and others with power. It was too dangerous for us to past, because they were on the road fighting as he said.

As people say; “more roads lead to Rome”, we tried to find another way. Unfortunately, it were too many kilometers and we would not have arrived at our new accommodation before it got dark. We decided to stop at a restaurant which we passed already on the way to get a drink and something to eat. It was a wild drive through middle of nowhere, but when we arrived, it was so calm, cute and the food was delicious (fresh grilled meat and chicken), although, the toilet was something new for me haha.

Still we could not enter the road.. All a bit disappointed because the other three which we still had planned to see where our favorites (from what we saw from pictures of the internet). We kept positive and said; “so this is also South-Africa, now we got a real story”.

We decided to visit some falls (on the picture you see the Berlyn Fall). It was lovely and quiet, and I was happy that we could walk/hike a little bit more than we had done the previous day. Stretching our legs, trying to get a little workout from jumping from stone to stone up and down hill.

On to the next one

I have to say, that the Panorama route has amazed me so so much and let me relax and enjoy this country even more than I already did.

First some inside information, it will be easier to understand the route. So, the Garden Route officially goes from Tsitsikama (a nature park and yeah I know, what a name haha) to Mosselbay all along the coast. The most things to do are all around Tsitsikama. You have Nature Valley and the Suspension bridge which are most famous attractions. However, of course there is more, but that is of own interest.

We slept in Plettenberg Bay at the Piesang Valley Lodge. Plettenberg Bay is a lovely town along the ocean with (again) great restaurants and very friendly inhabitants. Besides that, has Plettenberg Bay a “treasure” as they call it themselves. Although it is actually called Nature Reserve Robberg, I would certainty agree with them on the fact that it is a treasure!

We did the hike around the mountain, only did the short cut (still took us two hours haha) because we didn’t have enough time for the whole route. However, it was a-ma-zing. The first time we did a real hike, with climbing the rocks on hands and feet, getting our heart rate high, and most importantly, it felt like we somewhere else than on earth. It was so peaceful, beautiful, I cannot describe it. Maybe the picture will…

Moving further to Tsitsikama, we first went to the Suspension bridge. I should tell you that the bridge wasn’t really my thing, didn’t feel really safe… Of course, they others were laughing their asses off. However, everything else than the bridge was even more beautiful than Robberg. I tried to photograph the ocean a few minutes, because it was so powerful and intense. Yes, as you can read “I tried”, because the power of the waves didn’t come on my pictures as they look liked in real.

After that, it was time for Nature Valley. Honestly, it would maybe have been better to start with that because after we had been to those two amazing places, Nature Valley was like “Oh is this it?”. Still, it was a place that I would add to my list of “meditation places”. Although, I would probably add all places which have a beach, sea or ocean, add on that list though.

The last place we went to on the Garden Route was Knysna. It is really cute small village with a harbor, I called it “safe haven”, because Safe Haven is one of my favorite films and really had to think about that when I was in Knysna.

Those two routes are so different that it is not comparable to the blog about the game drives. Both have their specialties which I really liked. However, I came to the conclusion that wherever their is water (sea/ocean), I feel at home, in peace and am saying the whole time; “oh it looks so magical over here”.

We are now in Cape Town, totally different world again than the Panorama and Garden route. However, I will tell you about that in a separate blog later!

Roadtrip through South-Africa part 1: Game Drives

Here we goooooo!! A roadtrip through South-Africa. Flying 10,5 hours to Johannesburg, South-Africa. Ready to start our road trip which will totally last for three weeks. First part; the game drives. Yeah, I am talking about the big five (and many more animals), about nature, and about middle of nowhere places. So are you ready to hear about our amazing, funny experiences and beautiful, breathtaking views?! I hope you are, because you will not regret it. Although, it will take some time to read. I have so much to tell you!

Eight game drives + one bush walk

So, overall, at the start of our roadtrip through South-Afirca we had eight game drives and one bush walk, which were all around two/three hours. You might think; “wohhh that is much”. Honestly, I thought the same and I must say that I am still very grateful that we had good weather/temperature because otherwise I think it would have been a bit less fun. Gladly, this was not the case and did I change my mind about the amount. Due to fact, that you still need some luck to see the animals, and you just will not have that every day, various game drives in various parks are good!

Sadi Sands Game Reserve

Our first game drives and the start of the roadtrip through South-Africa was at Sadi Sands. A very isolated place from the “real world”.

We stayed at the Umkumbe Safari Lodge for two days and this place was so extremely magical (our lodge had an outside rain shower!! Yeahhh I know, cool right?) and made everything magical that I could not wait for everything that was yet to come.

First point to mention; WiFi. We got a WiFi password per person which we could use from seven in the morning until four in the afternoon. It was 50MB for the whole stay per person, so you can imagine that we were happy if the picture to a friend send and very happy if we could upload something on our socials (with “our” I mean the children haha). Of course, we used the 50MB already the first day, but it was fine by me actually. I like to disappear for some time.

Second point; the animals can walk and fly everywhere and with that I also mean your room. So, we always panicked when we thought that someone forgot to close to door. With that, I by the way do not mean close it with a key, because we did not have one. Because you were with only around 20 people in the middle of nowhere, we could easily play Cluedo to find out if someone stole something (except for the animals of course). We even had a brutal monkey that stole our lunch from the buffet. To be exact, two slices of focaccia and two apples. We had lots of fun watching him, though.

A day at Umkumbe Safari Lodge

Dawn game drive of this roadtrip through South-Africa always started at six in the morning. The rangers woke us up at 5:30. They knocked on our door and kept saying “good morning” until we said: “good morning” back (it felt like I was on a school camp haha). During all game drives we stopped in the middle to drink something and stretch our legs (and do some wild peeing, of course everyone laughed their asses off when I needed to go). By the way, the rangers do everything to get you see the animals from close. Lots of trees were down and we actually thought that, that was because of the elephants, but no. The big Land Rover defender car does “mainly” all of that. Really, I have never been so amazed by a car.. You should have seen the trees!

When we came back at nine we had breakfast, although it felt like lunch and we had been already awake for hours. Between the second game drive which starts at four in the afternoon and breakfast, there is lunch at two o’clock and you can relax. There was a gym, a trampoline and a swimming pool. Because of the lack of WiFi, we read books, jumped around 20 times on the trampoline, looked at the gym and instead of working out, took a nap.

Now comes my favorite part, the “sun down game drive” as they called it there. It becomes dark around six and believe it or not within fifteen minutes, it is dark, really really dark. During those drives, we saw the most different kind of animals (where I still don’t know the names of). Sometimes, I even thought to see an animal, but then again it was just a part of a tree or a bush (it was dark, it could have happened to anyone you know. It only every time just happened to me ha ha..).

My favorite, favorite part! Can you guess it already? Something with… darkness, middle of nowhere and stars >> The Milky Way. I know that we were there for the animals, but as a “stargazer” I could not get my eyes off of them. It was insane beautiful, there were so many and we could see Mars, Jupiter, Venus, and Saturn. I am normally very good in writing down my thoughts and feelings, but this one is difficult. I still cannot find my words and yes, I let some tears falling down my cheeks. Some people will understand why, others not, and that is also fine, too.