Travelling Tuesday: Welcome to Beautiful Hermanus

With a friend visiting we took a quick road trip to a beautiful village called Hermanus a little further up the coast last week. It is really stunning and one of my favourite places to visit. Were it a wee bit closer to an international airport, I’d prefer to live there over anywhere else in SA, methinks! It has stunning views with mountains tumbling into the sea, there are opportunities to see whales up close and personal at the right time of year, and it just has such a relaxed, great feel to it.

Mark took this shot from our hotel room last year. We stayed in Hermanus when we were visiting Mark’s family in South Africa last Christmas (as in Christmas 2008). Who wouldn’t like this view every morning?


Along the way to sunny Hermanus, we stopped for a view of Turtle Rock. Well, I have named him Turtle Rock. Mark thinks he looks like Sid the Sloth from Ice Age. We are waiting for Sarah Wood and Rory Macdonald to settle the debate for us. Sarah, Rory, if you please…

Turtle Rock

Scott was kind enough to take a moment to pet Turtle Rock. I doubt he gets many visitors.

Pet Turtle Rock

Another cool thing about Hermanus is these interesting little creatures (and you know I love interesting little creatures) called Dassies, or Rock Hyraxes. Apparently their nearest relative, in terms of their genetic make-up, is the elephant. Coulda fooled me…I think looks like a Nutria from Lake Mattamuskeet! (Sorry that was really eastern North Carolinian. It’s getting late.)


If you do decide to come for a visit to Hermanus, just beware…the Dassies can get up to mischief. You don’t want to explain the birds and the bees to your kids any sooner than necessary.

Rock Hyraxes

I hope that made you laugh. Now back to the real reason Hermanus is great — here’s one more slice of how beautiful it is!

The Cliffs

There are paths to walk around these beautiful cliffs that line a lot of the coast of Hermanus. At the right time of year, the whales actually come into the harbour, just to the left of those rocks (to mate, actually — what kind of post is this turning out to be?) but you can stand right there and see them up close!

So that’s one of my favourite travelling spots in this neck of the woods. Beautiful, hey? Happy Trails — I hope the road rises to meet you wherever your journey takes you next!

Travelling Tuesday: Close to Home in GB… with History!

Happy Tuesday! I hope your week is going great, dear ones! We went for a walk on the beach Saturday morning. The sun was high and shiny, the water cool and inviting, and the Bear more than willing to be a superstar photo subject. The pictures were too cute not to share. My apologies if you feel like you’ve seen too much Bear so far this week. We’ll move on tomorrow! 🙂

Enter said beach, stage left. And the Bear, desperately hoping a beach walk is on the agenda. Somebody preez open dis gate!! he seemed to say.

Beach, preez?

Here’s a good shot of a bit of the area where we live. A lot of the houses nearby are amazing, huge beach houses that people only live in one month out of the year. It’s kinda sad!

Close to Home

See the rounded windows with balconies in the background? Our apartment is in the complex through the entrance underneath. We would love to take care of one of those houses while the people are away, though! 🙂

Chilly Toes

The Bear decided that even if it’s chilly, walking in the water ain’t so bad! Yes, I can see his hair is scruffy and a cut is in order! Leave me alone about it, I’m not ready!

See the “GB” with an anchor spelled out of white rocks in the background of this next shot? (It’s rather faint). It’s in honour of General Louis Botha, a steady fighter of the Brits in the Second Boer War. (You might remember me telling you before that the Boer Wars were similar to the American War for Independence aka the American Revolution, except the British won. There’s a little more SA history for you in some other posts here and here if you’re interested.) Anyway, years later, Botha visited London seeking assistance for the rebuilding of South Africa after the wars and Winston Churchill remembered him as the man who captured him in a Boer ambush of a British armoured train! He eventually became the first Prime Minister of the Union of South Africa, the forerunner to the modern state we know as the Republic of South Africa. He was seen as the leader of the Boers for many years after the wars, so it was a good thing he had a mind to make peace. The Naval Station in Gordon’s Bay was originally named for General Botha, thus the letters on the hillside. How’s that for a history lesson from a blurry mountainside in the back of a photo?

And this is the excitement of seeing an airplane go by!!


Hope you’re having a great Travelling Tuesday, and the road rises to meet you wherever your journey takes you next!

Travelling Tuesday: Closer to Home

Although it’s strange to feel totally “home” in this place so far away from the place I was born, it is good to be back “home” in Gordon’s Bay. When you get back to your own pillow, your own kitchen (+ a dishwasher!) and your own familiar sights and smells, it feels good. I thought I’d share a few more slices of life at the moment with you this Travelling Tuesday. This post may be closely followed by a post where I’ll get a little more ‘real’ about life here at the moment, in ways that can’t be captured in pictures exactly. We’ll see!

These are what our travels looked like on the way home:

Follow the Yellow Paint Line

Mountains continually in the distance, fields stretching out as far as you can see, and skies that look too big to capture. (The topography changes a little when you get closer to the Cape and it is really beautiful). Are you perhaps taking a closer look at this picture and wondering why the heck are you halfway off the highway? Well, in South Africa, (don’t forget we drive on the left) there is a very polite manner of driving along the roads, in some instances. Mainly along highways, and from what I hear, not in Joburg.

Since there are very wide shoulders on most highways, a car will graciously pull aside (still moving forward at its usual speed), driving over the yellow line along the shoulder to make it easier for the next car to come past. The car comes past and (you might guess this is my favourite part) they wave, or put on their hazards as a “thank you!” And you can do the same. When we pass people I often put the hazards on even though I’m not driving. It feels so sweet and friendly!

We also passed an occasional fire or two. I always wonder what’s happening and if it’s just out in the fields and hope no one’s going to get hurt. In some places, it’s just dry, and the fires are a natural part of the system, clearing the bush and popping open seeds that will get their chance to take a turn in the great circle of life as a result. It’s very poetic and Lion King-esque if you think about it. 🙂


This is what the Bear’s travels look like at the moment. He LOVES this little car. I’m sad to say he is quickly outgrowing it. I love this shot because there are three generations there. Beautiful, good, thought-provoking stuff.

Travelling Bear

And this the funny ridin’ my car face he is often making if he’s not toting along a pet rock. Great story I’ll have to tell you soon.

Yay for the Car

In the meantime, I hope your Tuesday is going great, and that the road rises to meet you wherever your adventures take you next!

Travelling Tuesday: African Rides

Hooray for another Tuesday! I am sorry I’ve been off the blogging circuit for a few days, but my guess is unless the Bear is your grandchild, you probably weren’t too terribly disappointed! This TT I thought you might enjoy a few everyday sights around town…namely the sassy African taxis that we are enjoying spotting whilst Mr. Potato Head is toting us hither and thither. I apologise in advance that these shots aren’t as crisp and artistic as others you may have been enjoying around here, but they were mostly taken through car windows with my little digital camera, since that lives in the nappy (diaper) bag so as to be readily available for such sightings.

It seems like we always see this one on the road. The name choice…I cannot explain.


This next one has pretty colours, but I can’t remember what the name is on the front. It might not be English.

This One's Pretty

“Good Luck to Those Who Hate Me” — I wonder if he is being generous and serious or sarcastic. It is a nice thought if he’s sincere!

This one is one of our favourites. It looks a lot like Unknown, but the name is much more creative. You might overhear me saying, “Look, Mark! There’s …

Vantastic Back

We wonder if the driver is vantastic, too?

Are You a Vantastic Driver?

There’s another one we always laugh and point at called Facebook. And the logos all over it actually look like the Facebook logo. I really wish I could’ve gotten a picture the last time we saw it. If I snap it later I will upload it for you!

And, just in case you’re missing a bit of pretty scenery from around here, here’s a shot (still sticking with the little digital camera) from our neighbourhood when we were out walking with the Bear one evening.


From Gordon’s Bay, you’re looking toward Cape Point, across False Bay. Not a bad view to come home to!

Although all has been a bit quiet on the blogging front for the last few days, I have some really lovely thoughts that I hope will encourage (and perhaps even challenge!?!) you in the days ahead. We’ve been settling in after our time away in Bloemfontein so I haven’t had a chance to type it all out! Until then, many blessings and happy trails!!

Travelling Tuesday: Introducing Exotic Bloemfontein!

It’s Travelling Tuesday!  I know all eleven of my blog readers are excited! I thought this week I’d introduce you to lovely Bloemfontein, South Africa, since I’ve been mentioning it so much lately. Even among South Africans, it’s not a very well known city. (Or better said, people know of it but know nothing about it.) It has a reputation for being a place where you “cry when you get here and cry when you leave.”  But I absolutely love it!

Here are a few Bloemin’ Facts:

Name: Bloemfontein is an Afrikaans name, literally translated “Flower Fountain”

Location: Just east of dead centre if you look at a map of South Africa, in the Free State, formerly known as the Orange Free State, which is along the Orange River.

Population: 349,000 in the city, and even more in the greater municipal region (Way bigger than my hometown!)

Claims to Fame: It’s one of SA’s three capitals — the judicial capital. J.R.R. Tolkien was born here, as well as several famous South African athletes including Zola Budd (such a sad story!), Ryk Neethling, and Hansie Cronje, a famous Cricket player whose biographical movie was released in 2008.

Home to:

  • The Free State Cheetahs, a Currie Cup winning Rugby team. (That’s like the South African Rugby Super Bowl).
  • At least three lovely shopping malls, one of which is situated on a man-made lake called Loch Logan. I continually refer to it as Loch Lomond.
  • One of the most active soaring (or gliding) communities in the world. (That’s the sport/recreational activity where pilots fly unpowered aircraft using rising air).
  • Lots of incredibly beautiful gardens (including my mother-in-law’s), in a surprisingly arid region of the country.
  • Some serious dust storms. That can sometimes turn into serious thunderstorms. Which makes it feel a little like home.

These days exotic ‘Bloem’ is also home to…

The neighbours’ pet tortoise. I don’t know if he has a name so I call him Pedro.

Pet Turtle

Exotic Birds.

Still Not the Croc Hunter

Okay so that’s actually just a dove that flew into the house and Mark caught him. (In case you’re confused, please check out this post so that I can confirm for you that my husband is not the Croc Hunter.) There are other, slightly more exciting birds in the garden as well! Masked Weavers and Bulbuls are some of my favourites.

One ferocious Bear. Who is only ferocious when I try to get him off of his little car, even if he’s been on it so long his toes are being rubbed raw. (I’ve since started putting his shoes on when he goes out for a ride).

Dad & Bear

This is perhaps my favourite picture of late — look at our sweet sixteen month old!

B&W Bear

Here is what happens to the car the gardener just washed when a dust storm is immediately followed by a thunderstorm.

Grubby Potato

Poor Mr. Potato Head!!

I suppose you’ve now realised that Bloemfontein is not particularly exotic. I was kind of hoping you’d figure that out. I thought it might be good for some stereotype-breaking-down. No lions in the roads…No elephants on the outskirts of town. Just pretty birds, shopping centres and stuff that makes it feel a lot like America or Britain. I’m sorry to say I don’t have more pictures that can capture the essence of Bloemfontein — especially the crazy dusty-coloured skies I’ve seen the past couple of days! I hope we can capture a few more good shots of the place to give you a better feel for it in the days ahead.

In the meantime, I hope your days are merry and bright (though if you’re in the northern hemisphere, they’re not likely to be as bright as ours right now!) and that the road rises to meet you wherever your travels might take you next!