Travel theme: Pale Ruins

This week’s travel theme from Ailsa is PALE and what is paler than sun bleached ruins? I explored Ephesus while traveling through Turkey a couple of years ago, it was amazing!! The library of Celsus is definitely the most recognizable  ancient Roman building in Ephesus, Turkey. It was built in honor of the Roman Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus  in 177 AD. The library was built to store 12,000 scrolls and to serve as … Continue reading Travel theme: Pale Ruins

Weekly Photo Challenge: Color of Japan’s Geisha

This weeks photos challenge is colour, and what is more colourful than the bright kimonos of the Geisha in Kyoto!?Geisha are traditional Japanese female entertainers who act as hostesses and whose skills include performing various Japanese arts such as classical music, dance and games. I spotted a few of these beautiful women in Gion, Kyoto‘s most famous geisha district. It is here that the geisha tradition is the strongest in Japan … Continue reading Weekly Photo Challenge: Color of Japan’s Geisha

Mist shrouded Nikko, shrines and hot springs.

Nikko is a small city situated about 135km North of Tokyo between picturesque mountains and waterfalls surrounded by lakes, wild monkeys, hot springs and hiking trails. It’s a 3-4 hour journey by train from Shinjuku station on the Tobu-Nikko line and cost me about ¥1320 one-way, ideal for a long weekend get away from the hustle and bustle of the city. I packed my bags … Continue reading Mist shrouded Nikko, shrines and hot springs.

Shrines, good fortune and happiness in Kamakura!

Kamakura is a great destination for a day-trip from Tokyo.  It was less than one hour south of where I lived. The most attractive feature of Kamakura is that there are numerous temples and shrines which gives it an atmosphere of old Japan. Kamakura was Japan’s capital for more than 100 years beginning in 1192 when the shogun Minamoto Yoritomo established Bakufu Samurai government. Kamakura … Continue reading Shrines, good fortune and happiness in Kamakura!

Hand Washing custom before entering Japans Meiji Jingo Shrine

Meiji Shrine located in Shibuya, Tokyo, is the Shinto shrine that is dedicated to the deified spirits of Emperor Meiji and his wife, Empress Shōken. Michael, one of my co-workers in Japan, and I went walking around the park and through the shrine one lovely sunny day. I lived in a very small place so spent most of my time outside if the weather permitted it. We were greeted by a huge Torii leading … Continue reading Hand Washing custom before entering Japans Meiji Jingo Shrine

Watching my first baseball match ever was in Japan!!

Japanese people take their sports activities very seriously, and baseball is no exception, it’s a very big event for them. I got 2 season tickets to the Giants vs. Swallows game held at Tokyo dome as a present from one of my students. The closest I have ever been to a baseball game was watching it in movies, so before I went I read up … Continue reading Watching my first baseball match ever was in Japan!!

I moved to Japan as the Cherry Blossoms started to bloom!!

Springtime is Cherry blossom time in Japan. I think it is absolutely stunning!!!! The streets were covered with a pink blossom roof and close to summer there was a pink blanket to walk on. I moved to Japan in March a couple of years ago and the whole area was filled with the sweet smell of cherry blossoms. I was quite excited about this move and … Continue reading I moved to Japan as the Cherry Blossoms started to bloom!!

Trying to touch a small Tame Springbok.

My friend and her husband took me to Blaauwboschbank Private Nature Reserve, their family farm for the weekend. This small Nature reserve is in the Freestate, South-Africa and only 126 hectares big but a lovely place. The farm is what they call typical freestate “vlakte” with open grass fields where all the animals graze. The most surprising part of the weekend was finding out that … Continue reading Trying to touch a small Tame Springbok.

Sightseeing in Pretoria during a heat wave!!

During January it gets quite hot in South-Africa and doing anything in the afternoon is quite taxing in that heat. We had a heat wave for a couple of days in Pretoria and the temperature got up to the high 30’s. The first morning of this heat wave was the day I planned on doing some sightseeing in Pretoria.  My brother volunteered to be the … Continue reading Sightseeing in Pretoria during a heat wave!!

Driving next to sheer cliffs through the scenic Chapman’s Peak.

While on holiday in the Western Cape of South Africa my brother and I took a day trip driving down the coast through Chapman’s Peak to Hout bay. We drove down the coast from Stellenbosch up to Fishoek and from there across the peninsula, through Chapman’s Peak all the way to Hout Bay. We got to drive next to the Indian Ocean on the south and … Continue reading Driving next to sheer cliffs through the scenic Chapman’s Peak.

Wine tasting with a fantastic view at Delaire Graff Estate

My brother and I visited some family down in Stellenbosch this December. We stayed at my aunts on their little vineyard and had a great time. We went wine tasting on the 31st of December with my cousin and his wife. They took us to Delaire Graff Estate. Delaire Graff Estate is one of South Africa’s finest vineyards in Stellenbosch. It is situated in Stellenbosch in the … Continue reading Wine tasting with a fantastic view at Delaire Graff Estate

White Tigers and mating tortoises at the Cango Wildlife Ranch

The Cango Wildlife Ranch is a wildlife ranch 3 km north of the town of Oudtshoorn in South Africa and about a. hour and half drive from Knysna. My brother and I drove from Knysna through the Outeniqua mountains to visit this ranch. We were quite surprised at the temperature difference as it was a lovely 26 degrees in Knysna and a boiling 37 degrees in Oudtshoorn. We read that … Continue reading White Tigers and mating tortoises at the Cango Wildlife Ranch

Driving through the Outeniqua mountain pass in South-Africa

The Outeniqua Pass is a mountain pass in the Western Cape of South Africa. It connects Knysna and the Garden Route coastal plain with Oudtshoorn. It was constructed between 1943 and 1951 and is characterized by gentle southern sleeps and steep drops on the north side down into the valleys. ‘Outeniqua’ is said to be derived from a Khoisan tribe that once lived in these mountains and means “they who bear honey”. Rock paintings from … Continue reading Driving through the Outeniqua mountain pass in South-Africa

Travel theme: Roads

This weeks Travel Theme is Roads. I went on a lovely road trip through the Western Cape in South-Africa and here are some shots that shows how drastically the scenery changed after driving just a couple of miles! Driving down the coast and next to the sand dunes of the Cape coast was amazing. Some places it looked like the beach wanted to take the road back!! Further … Continue reading Travel theme: Roads

Fresh Oysters while watching the sun set over Knysna lagoon

Knysna is one of the Southern Cape coast’s best known holiday destinations, situated between lush forests and the shores of the peaceful lagoon – it offers many activities and attractions of a wide variety. The name Knysna is a Khoi word but it’s uncertain as to its exact meaning. It could mean ‘place of wood’, or it could mean ‘fern leaves’, but its most probable … Continue reading Fresh Oysters while watching the sun set over Knysna lagoon

Ferry trip and a hike through Knysna featherbed nature reserve

Knysna is definitely the most beautiful part of the scenic Garden Route in South-Africa. It is here that my brother and I spent 3 lovely days relaxing during our Christmas holiday. At the heart of Knysna is a lagoon protected from the sea by the monolithic sandstone “Heads”. These two large headlands have become infamous due to the loss of boats and fishermen passing through their treacherous … Continue reading Ferry trip and a hike through Knysna featherbed nature reserve

Exploring the Portuguese sailor Bartolomeu Dias’ replica ship at Mossel Bay

On my first visit to Mossel Bay my brother and I went to the Bartolomeu Dias Museum. Mossel Bay (Afrikaans Mosselbaai) is a harbour town of about 130,000 people on the Southern Cape of South Africa. It is an important tourism and farming region of the Western Cape Province.  It is actually best known as the place at which the first Europeans landed on South African soil,Bartolomeu Dias and his crew … Continue reading Exploring the Portuguese sailor Bartolomeu Dias’ replica ship at Mossel Bay

Weekly Photo Challenge: Forward

The path forward on our hike of Huangshan or “Yellow Mountain“,  a mountain range in southern Eastern China. The mountains themselves were carved by glaciers 100 million years ago and the area is well known for its scenery and peculiarly shaped granite peaks. Huangshan is a frequent subject of traditional Chinese paintings and literature, as well as modern photography and was definitely one of my highlights while touring through China. This was also the hardest and most … Continue reading Weekly Photo Challenge: Forward

A Traffic jam and a wildfire on our Road trip.

We had a 5 hour drive from Stellenbosch to Knysna through the Western Cape that Thursday morning. Just before we reached the town Albertina, about an hour and a half from Knysna we got stuck in a traffic jam. Hoping that the delay will not last too long we waited in line. After moving only about 1 km in an hour we eventually stopped moving. Everyone switched … Continue reading A Traffic jam and a wildfire on our Road trip.

Travel Theme: Bridge on the River Kwai

This weeks Travel Theme is Bridges. One of the most famous Bridges that I have visited was definitely the Bridge on the River Kwai.  During World War 2, the Japanese used Allied prisoners of war to build a railway from Thailand to Burma so they could supply their army without the dangers of sending supplies by sea.  Many prisoners died under appalling conditions during its … Continue reading Travel Theme: Bridge on the River Kwai

Excursion through the Western Cape from Stellenbosch to Knysna

It was a rare cloudy and cool Thursday in December and perfect for the 5 hour drive through the Western Cape from Stellenbosch to Knysna. The Western Cape stretches about 400 kilometers northwards along the Atlantic coast and about 500 kilometers eastwards along the Indian Ocean coast in South-Africa.  Its been years since my brother or I have been in this area and we wanted … Continue reading Excursion through the Western Cape from Stellenbosch to Knysna

Road Trip to see penguins at Betty’s Bay in the Eastern Cape.

Betty’s Bay is a very small seaside village in the Eastern Cape. My brother drove from Stellenbosch all the way along the coast to this small village. It was a lovely drive filled with stunning scenery!! Betty’s Bay is surrounded by the Harold Porter Nature Reserve thus covered with “fynbos” and other indigenous vegetation. Unfortunately summer time is quite dry here in the Western Cape … Continue reading Road Trip to see penguins at Betty’s Bay in the Eastern Cape.

Road Trip along the Eastern Cape Coast

On one of the lovely hot days this December my brother and I drove from Stellenbosch all along the coast down to Betty’s Bay. I rented a car for this road trip and the rental agency gave us a canary yellow little car. At least we couldn’t lose it in a huge parking lot!! While on this road trip I was once again reminded how beautiful South … Continue reading Road Trip along the Eastern Cape Coast

Staying at Aan de Vliet vineyard during my Cape Holiday!!

Aan de Vliet Guest House I haven’t visited Cape Town in more that 5 years and haven’t seen my family in nearly 2 years so I was super excited at going to Cape town on holiday and staying with my family for a while. My uncle and aunt live in Stellenbosch on a small vineyard. My aunt also turned part of the family house into … Continue reading Staying at Aan de Vliet vineyard during my Cape Holiday!!

Yachts, Amarula and Sunshine in Richards Bay, South Africa!!

I spent the week visiting my friends Corli and Frikkie in the coastal town of Richards Bay in South Africa.  I used to live just outside Richards Bay which has a subtropical climate so it’s quite warm all year round. It was hot and sunny all week, perfect weather for a yacht trip! We made ourselves comfortable on the yacht with a glass of South … Continue reading Yachts, Amarula and Sunshine in Richards Bay, South Africa!!

Weekly Photo Challenge: Home

This weeks Photo Challenge is home and I immediately think of South-Africa when the word Home is mentioned!! I am currently visiting family and got to see some South African wildlife again this week. The little Meerkats are very social, living in colonies averaging 20–30 members and are always found close to their Home!! There’s always one or more Meerkats stand sentry while others are foraging or playing, to … Continue reading Weekly Photo Challenge: Home

Sunshine and beaches in Richards Bay, South Africa.

I was supposed to fly to Richards Bay the Sunday evening and was really looking forward to seeing my friends again for the first time in 3 years. Unfortunately as I got to the front of the check in row I was informed that my flight had been cancelled and that I would only be flying out the next afternoon!! I could believe they didn’t even let me know … Continue reading Sunshine and beaches in Richards Bay, South Africa.

Last day of my Israel adventure I spend exploring Nazareth

I stayed at Fauzi Azar Inn while in Nazareth. It is a great hostel with fabulous people and on my last morning I did their free tour of Nazareth. It was very interesting exploring the old city and I really enjoyed it. I got to see what Nazareth really looks like away from the usual tourist sites. We walked through the town with a great … Continue reading Last day of my Israel adventure I spend exploring Nazareth

Hiking to Waterfalls and Elephant DNA Hyraxes in Israel

Someone told me and my 2 new traveling partners about a lovely walk in the Gholan heights so we decided to do it.  One of the first things we saw on our walk were the little Hyraxes who live all over the place. They are little animals found around the Golan Heights that share 90% of their DNA with elephants. They are actually quite ugly if you … Continue reading Hiking to Waterfalls and Elephant DNA Hyraxes in Israel

Susita,the City of Hippos in the Gholan Heights of Israel

Early Sunday morning, 1 of January the 3 of us headed up to Susita- an excavation site on the top of a mountain close by. We drove past a UN truck and along some more danger landmine signs all the way there. The city of Hippos, also known well as Susita, was founded on this hill overlooking the eastern shore of the Sea of Galilee … Continue reading Susita,the City of Hippos in the Gholan Heights of Israel

Road trip in the Gholan Heights of Israel part 2

Driving up north to Nimrod Fortress we drove through the mist covered mountains. All along the side of the road were fences with “Danger, Landmines” signs covering them. We couldn’t see down into the valleys and coming around one bend we saw the castle perched on top of a mist covered mountain. It looked like something out of Lord of the Rings. Walking around the ruins of … Continue reading Road trip in the Gholan Heights of Israel part 2

Road trip in the Gholan Heights of Israel part 1

In Nazareth I stayed at Fauzi Azar Inn and there I met Pia a German girl looking for someone to rent a car with and drive up north in to the Golan Heights. I haven’t actually made any solid plans on what I wanted to do yet and a road trip in Israel sounded like loads of fun. We also met a polish guy at … Continue reading Road trip in the Gholan Heights of Israel part 1