A Taste of Street Art in Shanghai

In a city of over 20 million, I was bound to come across some street art. It surprised me that the Chinese word for graffiti is tuya (涂鸦), a word used to describe “scribble”. Traditionally, graffiti is viewed as criminal art or vandalism in China. If caught painting in non-designated areas, artists will be fined, arrested, forced to paint over their work, or possibly held in jail for a few days.

Street art in Shanghai
A beautiful mural I found in Pudong, Shanghai.

In an attempt to reverse the negative connotations of graffiti, some artists refer to themselves as aerosol artists. Also to development of graffiti in China all the materials must become popular and cheap for everyone as spray paint is a rare commodity in Shanghai.

At the moment the government allows street artists to only paint in certain designated places and are often supervised while doing so.

Street art in Shanghai
Artist at work under the supervision of the police

Despite the ambiguity of the law against graffiti the phenomenon of graffiti is on the rise. I look forward to seeing what other pieces I can find in this bustling city.

Doors in Shanghai

If you do follow your bliss you put yourself on a kind of track that has been there all the while, waiting for you, and the life that you ought to be living is the one you are living… Follow your bliss and don’t be afraid, and doors will open where you didn’t know they were going to be.

Joseph Campbell

Published as part of Wordless Wednesday

Doors found in Shanghai

If I can’t make it through one door, I’ll go through another door- or i’ll make a door. Something terrific will come no matter how dark the present.

Rabindranath Tagore

Published as part of Wordless Wednesday

10 Things you should know about Chinese New Year

It is the Lunar New Year and everything in China seems to have turned red. Houses are decorated with red Spring Festival Couplets, red lanterns, and red paper cuttings and even city streets are lit up with red lanterns. This is because red in Chinese culture is the symbol of happiness, wealth and prosperity, and can ward off evil spirits and bring good luck. These red decorations are to the festival what Christmas trees are to Christmas.

It is such a beautiful time of the year to be in China and to experience this important festival. As this is my first year living in China during this festival I have done a little bit of research about it and have found some very interesting facts. Did you know that The holiday is also called “Spring Festival”? This surprised ma as it is in winter, but it is seen as the ‘Start of Spring’ . While wintry weather prevails, ‘Start of Spring’ marks the end of the coldest part of winter, when the Chinese traditionally could look forward to the beginning of spring. I do hope this is true and that it will be warming up soon.

Here are some more facts that you might find interesting.

1. Chinese New Year Is About New Potential

Nearly all of the traditions and observed during Chinese New Year serve one purpose: to usher in as much good fortune and prosperity in the new year as possible. I like that they arrange things in a way to receive as much incoming luck as can be grabbed. Washing hair or clothes is not allowed on the first day of the lunar year because it is seen as “washing one’s fortune away” at the beginning of the year. Sweeping up and taking out the garbage symbolize removing the good luck from the house, so people don’t do that either.

2. Chinese New Year Isn’t on a Fixed Date

The date for Chinese New Year changes each year. It always falls between January 21 and February 20, which is determined by the Chinese lunar calendar. Chinese New Year 2019 is on Tuesday February 5.

The lunar calendar is still really important in China, even though it has officially moved to the Gregorian calendar like the rest of the world. All traditional holidays and days such as the Winter Solstice are celebrated. Some people still calculate their birthdays and ages according to the lunar calendar too!

3. The festival is celebrated for 16 days till the Lantern Festival.Traditionally, the 16 days from New Year’s Eve until the Lantern Festival each have a special celebration activity. In the evening of the 15th day of the first lunar month (February 19, 2019), on the night of the full moon, families gather for dinner and go out and see fireworks and light lanterns. Lanterns are put up for decoration, let loose to fly, and floated in rivers. I can not wait to go and see this, although I think it is going to be very crowded.

4. It is a day for praying to gods

The Spring Festival was originally a ceremonial day to pray to gods for a good planting and harvest season. People also prayed to their ancestors, as they were treated as gods

5. And fighting off monsters

But the myths are much more interesting. According to one legend, there was a monster named Nian (). It would come about every New Year’s Eve. Most people would hide in their homes. But one boy was brave enough to fight him off using firecrackers. The next day, people celebrated their survival by setting off even more firecrackers. And that practice became a crucial part of the Spring Festival.

6. The festival causes the world’s largest annual migration.

For Chinese people, the most important part of the Chinese Spring Festival is to enjoy a reunion dinner with their families on New Year’s Eve, even if they have to travel long distances. It is the longest public holiday and the whole country is on the move. 200 million Mainland Chinese travel long distances for these holidays, and it is estimated that there are 3.5 billion journeys in China. Tens of millions of people travel in other countries too. It makes the largest annual human migration in the world, known as the Spring Festival Travel Rush.

In China, where much of the migration takes place, it’s been claimed that trains are so overcrowded people have to wear adult diapers for their 24-hour journeys home. Something that I am glad I will be missing as I am spending the whole holiday in Shanghai.

7. Billions of red envelopes are exchanged.

Chinese people love the colour red. Giving red envelopes is a way to send good wishes and luck (as well as money). The practice of giving red envelopes (hong bao) with money inside has been digitized. People can send small gifts to friends, family, and employees digitally via China’s messaging apps. The world record for most text messages sent in a day is broken each year during Chinese New Year. The current record was 19 billion.

8. The Chinese Calendar Is Way Ahead of the Gregorian

Per the Chinese calendar, Chinese New Year in 2019 begins the year 4716. The future seems to have arrived because year numbering was once based on the whim of emperors and when they decided a new era had begun.

9. Fireworks are used to scare evil spirits

Most mainland Chinese believe that the flash and bang of firecrackers and fireworks scare away demons and evil ghosts. The loud bangs and chaos are meant to frighten away the Nian, a mythological beast that once came around to eat villagers.

Always a country that likes to do things big and set records, China has often grabbed the record for the world’s largest organized fireworks display during Chinese New Year. Fireworks have been banned here in Shanghai so unfortunately I did not get to see this display.

10. Singles hire fake boy/girlfriends to take home.

Chinese New Year is a joyful time for most, but for singles above the normal matrimonial age it’s not. In China, females are said to be marriageable up to 30, and males before 32. For “old” singles, parents are extremely anxious. So New Year’s Eve stress is heightened by embarrassing interrogations of the singles. Desperate parents even arrange dating (prospective marriages) for their single children.

To solve this problem an interesting solution has appeared — renting a boyfriend or girlfriend for the New Year. There are websites and agents who specialize in this business. It is quite sad that people need to go to this extreme just to avoid being questioned by their family.

I look forward to going out in Shanghai to check out the parades, lion dances, lantern statues, and amazing food!

Windows of Shanghai

“If you want the people to understand you, invite them to your life and let them see the world from your window!”
― Mehmet Murat ildan

Published as part of Wordless Wednesday

Doors of Shanghai

“I feel very adventurous. There are so many doors to be opened, and I’m not afraid to look behind them.”
― Elizabeth Taylor

Published as part of Wordless Wednesday

Why you should explore this Unique Alley in Shanghai

Alleys provide great opportunities to walk through something a little more intimately scaled. Sometimes they provide a refuge from the city. But Tianzifang is the opposite of a refuge. It is tucked away off the French Concession in Shanghai and is a maze of alleys and shops that was definitely slightly overwhelming the first time.

Tianzifang is a history-rich old quarter where East meets West. As I looked around I could see products not only designed in China but all over the world for sale in tiny restored buildings that are back-to-back with local residences. While my eyes were feasting on all the things that the merchants sell, my mind was also wandering amidst the traditional vibe of the place. The aesthetics of the establishments are very charming since the shops are still reflective of old Shanghai style.

As I explored the alleyways I ended up being jostled around with other tourists who were also getting lost in the maze for the 20th time. My first visit was very overwhelming and I could hardly take everything in. But this was a great excuse to go and visit again, and the next time I made sure that I arrived before 9am, so as to avoid the crowds that start flooding in after 11am.

Here are some essential Travel Tips for when you visit Tianzifang

  1. When you drop by Tianzifang, keep in mind that there are three main lanes which you can take. These lanes each go from north to south and there are several smaller alleys which intersect with each lane. If you find yourself quite lost because of all the turns that you have taken while being entertained by the various products that are being sold, just look for one of the main lanes and you can easily find where you are supposed to go next.

2. Get there very early to avoid hordes of domestic tourists. Otherwise be prepared for being pushed around when this area gets busier.

3. Avoid going in the holidays when it is very, very crowded.

4. Learn to bargain on the stuff you are going to buy. I was advised that you should pay as little as two thirds of the price asked originally.

5. A camera is necessary when you go to Tianzifang as there will be so much you would love to capture. But be careful as it is not allowed to take pictures in the residential area where the local residents still live.

6. Look out for the old residential buildings called ‘shikumen’, literally ‘stone doors’. These houses have stone door-frames and solid wooden doors.

7. Many original residents still live in the narrow lanes. Please be mindful and respect their privacy.

8. Some shops do not permit you to take photos, even of the exterior. So don’t feel offended when they stop you and chase you away.

9. Besides places of business, there are still some residents living there. Don’t enter residential houses mistakenly.

10. Take toilet-paper as there are only traditional Chinese toilets. Otherwise there are nice public toilets in the mall across the street where the Starbucks is located.

Where is your favourite alleyway to explore?

Postcards from Dublin, Ireland

These are some of the photos I took in Dublin while on my Road Trip through Ireland.

Postcards from Dublin, Ireland
Dublin is filled with some amazing buildings. This is the Building housing Modern Art.
Postcards from Dublin, Ireland
In the heart of Dublin

“What you’ve done becomes the judge of what you’re going to do – especially in other people’s minds. When you’re traveling, you are what you are right there and then. People don’t have your past to hold against you. No yesterdays on the road.” – William Least Heat Moon

A Woman needs a Man like a Fish needs a Bicycle

A Woman needs a Man like a Fish needs a Bicycle

Graffiti-

Doors and Windows of Ireland

The architecture of each country is quite unique and special. These are some photos I took while driving through Ireland.

Architecture is a visual art, and the buildings speak for themselves. Julia Morgan

 

Dublin Icon Walk

A small lane way that I randomly spotted on a walk through the city of Dublin ended up being one of my favourite parts of Dublin. This unexpected colourful lane is known as the Dublin Icon Walk. Located in the alleyways of the Temple Bar area, these informative panels and the beautiful art work illustrate iconic characters throughout Irish history. There is a street dedicated to Women Writers, another to Irish Movie Actors and even one or two Oddballs, Crackpots and Assorted Geniuses.

It’s a hugely informative wander through the people that have left a significant impact in Irish arts and culture. The Icon Walk Dublin is a multi-street public art installation which showcases original artwork by many different local artists of Irish icons from many disciplines including: writers and playwrights, sports icons, musicians, and actors from the performing arts.

While everyone talks about the bars in Temple Bar as a must when visiting Dublin, if you’re in the area and you have only time for one thing, do the Icon Walk instead.

The Reclining Buddha

“When you’re traveling, you are what you are right there and then. People don’t have your past to hold against you. No yesterdays on the road.” – William Least Heat Moon

The colourful Cape Minstrels Street Parade

The Cape Minstrels take over the streets of the Mother City each year for the annual and historic Second New Year Street Parade, a colourful procession also known as Second New Year. Spirited cultural music and dance celebration explodes onto the Mother City’s streets in a flurry of colour, song, drumbeats and movement every year. The colours are bright and fibrant and the minstrels often end up being just ‘a face in the crowd‘ on photos of this even..

People line the streets from early morning, some even camping since the previous night just to get good spots. You can spend all day here as there are between 50 and 70 minstrel groups performing, each a spectacular show on their own. I squeezed in between some people and got to watch a big part of the procession before the heat of the day got too much for me. The Cape Town Minstrel Carnival, consists out of thousands of members of the Cape coloured community who are divided into several well-rehearsed minstrel troupes.

This yearly parade dates back to the mid-nineteenth century when the slaves in Cape Town were given one day off in the year (2 January). To celebrate, groups would dress up as minstrels, waving parasols, strumming banjos and making merry with music, dance and a parade from the District Six area through to the city centre. Many of the songs still sung today date back to the 1800s. Aside from honouring these classic tunes, repertoires are also laden with interpretations of modern pop songs to keep all ages entertained.

It is truly a vibrant and cheerful sight. An event every Cape-Tonian should attend at least once as it is part of the history and culture that formed cape Town.

 

Top 5 Reasons Why Street Art is Important

In the last couple of years I have come to appreciate street art. I now go out of my way to see street art and even go on street art walking tours if they are offered. There are so many reasons why people love street art and why it is becoming more popular or important for people of all walks of life. Street art is an important part of history and identity for many metropolises, and sometimes even has the ability to breathe life into communities.

People are starting to accept that the creative and talented people involved are seen as artists, not vandals. And that their work, however ‘urban’, is still worthy of being considered art. People are becoming more open-minded to urban and street art and appreciating where this art form has come from.

Here are the top reasons why Street art is important and why you should love street art.

1. Street art is freedom and diversity

Art is about expression, creativity, freedom, asking and raising questions, protesting, analysing and even beautifying. A way to step beyond convention. There’s freedom with putting work in the street. You don’t even need to be considered a ‘legitimate’ artist; don’t need to have thousands of fans, have a huge social media presence, be taken seriously by galleries or be picked up by an artist agency. all over the world.

Street art is a very diverse form of expression for people from all over the world. There are street artists in nearly every country in the world who are influenced and inspired by a multitude of cultures and styles. This has resulted in a wide and diverse body of urban or street art found all over the world.

2. Mystery &Intrigue

There are so many questions when you’re a street art lover! Who did it? Why did someone put this work there? What does it mean? Does it even mean anything?

But with the invention of Instagram it’s now easier than ever to find artists’ official profiles and learn more about their work and why they do what they do. But a lot of street artists prefer to remain anonymous or use aliases for both privacy and legal reasons. There are also still artists who don’t even tag their work so the intrigue and mystery lives on.

Woodstock, South-Africa, Street Art
Doing a street art walking tourn in Woodstock, South-Africa.

3. Political or Social Statements

Graffiti and street art has always had a history of being influenced by the present political and social issues. A lot of people have painted on the walls and buildings in their cities as a form of anonymous political protest.

Some political statements are quite controversial; scrawled illegally and boldly in various countries and for various reasons. When people feel they have no power or influence but want to express their anger, hatred or defiance towards political injustice, this kind of art happens. But it is still a peaceful kind of protest.

4. Colourful surroundings = Happier Life

Art in the street makes people happy and can cheer them up. Street art makes their day and their commute more interesting and adds character to what would otherwise just be grey and boring. Art reminds people to feel alive. It’s there to beautify a space. It wakes people up, inspires and motivates them. And sometimes it can make people think.

It may have some broader social commentary, or just be there to bring some chaos to the establishment. Street art takes the ‘normal’ and makes it a thousand times more interesting. Even if you live in poverty, there’s something about bright colors and beautiful art that seems to fill the area with a contagious, buoyant optimism.

5. Sense of Community 

Street art is important to keep urban areas and their residents energized and inspired. In some areas artists and building owners come together to foster the creation of artwork that can be viewed as beautifying and reviving a city, rather than destroying it.

In some cities independent graffiti murals are designed and implemented by artists with a personal connection to the neighborhood in which they are installed. In many of the cases these pieces are created with the permission of the building owner. This relationship can then help develop positive interactions between businesses and members of their community. It is a very cost-effective way both to keep surfaces free from vandalism and to create visual cues to residents that the place they call home is desirable.

Next time you travel somewhere, take some time to explore the street art of that city. You will undoubtedly be led of the normal tourist path, but I am sure you will be surprised by what you find.

Welcome to Woodstock

Woodstock, South-Africa, street art walking tour
A beautiful piece done in a parkinglot of Woodstock, Cape Town in South-Africa. You can see Table Mountain peeking out in the background

Woodstock is definitely fast becoming known as Cape Town’s street art hotspot. The neighbourhood is adorned with pieces by both local and international artists, ranging in subject from social commentary to animal rights activism. Some have been around for years, while new ones are being added all the time.

Tour Guide: Street art

I am an avid art lover and in the past couple of years have come to learn about and appreciate street art. This is a small taste of the beautiful street art that the City of Cape town in South-Africa has to offer.

While you can absolutely take yourself on a street art walking tour of Woodstock, the experience is enriched with the correct context applied to each work.

Woodstock, South-Africa, street art walking tour
The regeneration of Woodstock comes in part thanks to the Woodstock street art project that began in 2009, where locals like our walking tour guide, decided to take art from its traditional setting indoors, to the great outdoors.

As you walk through the streets of Woodstock in Cape Town you will be amazed at the amount of street art you will find. It is quite difficult to choose a favourite artist or even a favourite piece of art. The best way to see the art and learn about the artists is to so a guided street art tour. I have now done this twice and would gladly do it again.

All the pieces here are done by the street artists Wayne BKS, of which Conform is but one of his aliases. He is South-African born and loves painting pieces with a minimalist African/south American feel.

Woodstock, South-Africa, street art walking tour
The success of the Woodstock street art project is evident in the vibrant atmosphere to be found in the streets and converted warehouses, which are filled with young professionals, urban hipsters and plenty of tourists.

What do you love about where you live?

The Alhambra is Granada’s cultural treasure

The Alhambra is Granada’s love letter to Moorish culture, a place where fountains trickle, leaves rustle, and ancient spirits seem to mysteriously linger.

It is part palace, part fort, part World Heritage site, part lesson in medieval architecture, enchanted a never-ending line of expectant visitors. Years ago I was one of these expectant visitors and I was not disappointed

The Alhambra has quite a colourful history as it was renovated by a Moorish in the 11th century, converted into a royal palace in the 1333 by a Sultan. Used as a mosque, which was replaced by a church in 1492, and eventually in 1527, the palace of Charles V was built within the complex. 

Then the complex fell into disrepair, inhabited by vagrants, and even being used as soldiers’ barracks during Napoleonic times. Alhambra was then rediscovered in the 19th century by European scholars and travellers.

The Palace is strategically located on a hill and the walk up to the palace is worth it. Just make sure you are there early morning, because as it is an essential pilgrimage for most tourists it gets quite crowded. In summer up to 6000 people walk through daily, making it difficult to inspect and enjoy the details of the palace. The walkway is through the woods so it is canopied by trees, the shade really welcome during the summer. Along the way you get fabulous views of the old city and the mountains beyond.

Most of the buildings on the Alhambra were whitewashed, but today, after years of being baked in the sun, they appear reddish. 

The central palace complex is the pinnacle of the Alhambra’s design. The entrance through the 14th-century Mexuar was perhaps an antechamber for those awaiting audiences with the emir, but two centuries later, it was converted to a chapel, with a prayer room at the far end.

From the Mexuar, you pass into the Patio del Cuarto Dorado. It appears to be a forecourt to the main palace but also leads to the Court of the Myrtles the centre of a palace built in the mid 14th century as Emir Yusuf I’s private residence.

Rooms (likely used for lounging and sleeping) look onto the rectangular pool edged in myrtles, and traces of cobalt blue paint cling to the muqarnas (honeycomb vaulting). Originally, all the walls were lavishly coloured, the effect would have resembled flocked wallpaper.

Wondering through the palace we walked through the Courtyard of the Lions, which got its name from the centrepiece, a fountain that channelled water through the mouths of 12 marble lions.

Some rooms had narrow staircase leading to the top terrace, other were lit by star-shaped skylights. The courtyards were graceful, one with the trunk of a 700-year-old cypress tree, suggesting delicate shade once graced the patio.

There were so many different halls and rooms, buildings and courtyards to explore, it was a bit overwhelming. I think that I will time my next visit for a quieter time of the year.

Gaudí’s Casa Batlló

Casa Batlló is a renowned building located in the center of Barcelona and is one of Antoni Gaudí’s masterpieces

Gaudí’s Casa Batlló
Like everything Gaudí designed, it is only identifiable as Modernisme or Art Nouveau in the broadest sense.

Published as part of Wodrless Wednesday

Gaudi’s impressive Park Guell

Park Güell, located in Barcelona and designed by famous architect Antonio Gaudi, is one of the most impressive public parks in the world. It is one of the most important sights in Barcelona and one of Gaudi’s masterpieces. It was an extremely hot day in Barcelona when my friend and I got to explore this park. We only had a couple of days in Barcelona so couldn’t spend as much time as I wanted here.

Gaudi planned and directed the construction of the park from 1900 to 1914 but, like a lot of his projects, he never finished it. The park became city property in 1923 although never fully completed, and still remains one of Gaudi’s most colourful and playful works.

Past the entrance I found Gaudí’s multicoloured mosaic salamander, popularly known as “el drac” (the dragon). I had to resist the urge to actually climb onto this salamander, and settle for just touching it.

It was amazing to see how he had shaped nature into colonnades, archways and covered galleries with well-camouflaged artificial structures. It’s a playground for the mind with columns that simulate palm-tree trunks and arches that grow out of the ground, and surfaces covered in quilts of ceramic tiles. I agree that this park is one of his masterpieces, being a colourful, quiet and calm place that brought peace and inspiration by just being there.

It’s surrounded by a long bench in the form of a sea serpent, the back of which forms a balustrade, its entire surface encrusted with ceramic shards of all colours, some randomly arranged, some in patterns.

The Laundry Room Portico, so named for the Laundress sculpted into one of the arched columns. This arcade, along with others around the park, provide covered footpaths and support the roads above. These covered footpaths were quite a blessing on a hot day like this.

The park is like something out of a fairy tale!

My Art Hero, Dalí’s Theatre-Museum

Since I became aware of Dali and his surrealist paintings he has been my art hero. I have been to every Dali exhibition I could attend so I jumped at the chance of getting to see his theatre-museum in Spain. We took the train from Barcelona up North, to a town called Figueres. The building is quite easy to spot as it is painted a bright red with huge eggs on top of the wall and turrets. This was back in 2005 so things might have changed a bit since I was there.

The Dalí Theatre-Museum, which he and his wife opened in 1974 evokes the life and work of Salvador Dalí. It felt surreal being able to walk around in a building designed by the famous artist himself, knowing that he spent hours and days here, creating and displaying his art. It is described as “the world’s largest Surrealist object”. The heart of the museum is the town’s theatre that Dalí knew as a child. This is where Dali held his first exhibition at the age of 14 and it is only a few blocks away from where he was born in Figueres, Spain.

Dalí Theatre-Museum
Mw at my Art Hero’s own museum!!

The Dalí Theatre-Museum includes some of the painter’s greatest masterpieces and includes over 2,100 works from every moment and in every medium of his artistic activity. Around every corner there is a new piece of art, even the building and entrances are pieces of art work. In addition to Dalí paintings from all decades of his career, there are Dalí sculptures, 3-dimensional pieces and other curiosities from Dalí’s imagination. A big attraction is the 3-dimensional  living-room installation with custom made furniturethat looks like the face of Mae West when viewed from a certain spot. I usually don’t take photos inside museums or art galleries but made an exception and took just a couple of photos here. I got a very grainy shot of most of the face.

 A glass dome crowns the stage of the old theatre, and Dalí is buried in a crypt below the stage floor. The space formerly occupied by the audience has been transformed into a courtyard open to the sky, with nude figurines standing in the old balcony windows.

A Dalí installation inside a full-sized automobile, inspired by rainy taxi (1938), is parked near the centre of the space. My photo definitely does not do this piece of art justice.

I could have spent days exploring the museum and reading about his life, but unfortunately we only had an afternoon to spend here before we had to return to Barcelona. This visit was a real experience, a journey into the unique, captivating world of Salvador Dalí. One I will always treasure and definitely hope to repeat someday.

I want my museum to be a single block, a labyrinth, a great surrealist object. It will be [a] totally theatrical museum. The people who come to see it will leave with the sensation of having had a theatrical dream.

— Salvador Dalí

Friday Facts: Sagrada Família

Gaudi’s Sagrada Familia in Barcelona is like a blast from the past as it was in 2005 that I had a quick glimpse of this amazing building.

Did you know….

The La Sagrada Família will take longer to complete than the Egyptian pyramids. It started in 1882 and is expected to be completed in 2026. The Great Pyramid, by comparison, only took 20 years. But like the Pyramids this Cathedral also doubles as a buriel place.  Antoni Gaudi, the chief designer, is buried in the crypt below the church.

Gaudí disliked straight lines and angles because they don’t often appear naturally. Instead, he based his design on the swirling curves of nature. If you’re a keen observer, you’ll find trees, water flows, flowers, sunlight, etc. everywhere in the interior.

Sagrada Família
Rene and me on one of the walkways of Sagrada Família

It is the most visited tourist attraction in Spain with 2-3 million tourists a year! It’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1984.

 

The Beauty of McGregor Valley

McGregor Valley
View of the beautiful McGregor Valley

McGregor is a small village in the mountains of the Western Cape, South Africa. It is roughly 150 km east of Cape Town and was one of our stops along our wine route adventure. McGregor is a unique, eccentric village away from the crowds where you can unwind, step back in time and just relax. The village is home to a vibrant community of artists and there are a couple of top-class galleries to choose out of. I will have to return again soon to visit all the galleries as I only had the chance to explore two or three galleries while we were here.

The Lord’s Guest house, McGregor Valley
The Lord’s Guest house, McGregor Valley

After spending the day with my parents looking at houses and properties for sale in the area we had a very relaxing evening at the Lord’s Guest house. The lush, abundant McGregor Valley is part of the Breede River Valley and is defined by its absolute beauty.

McGregor Valley
What a beautiful view of the mountains and McGregor Valley
The Lord’s Guest house, McGregor Valley
This is the perfect place to relax with a book

The Lord’s Guest house, was once a family-owned fruit farm, but is now managed by a group of passionate winos, who have made it their goal to produce superlative wines. Apart from its wines this guest house offers some of the most beautiful views of the McGregor Valley and the blue mountains beyond. The indigenous splendour is breath-taking with it’s rich in intriguing birdlife and beautiful vegetation.

The Lord’s Guest house, McGregor Valley
The stone buldings of The Lord’s Guest house, McGregor Valley
The Lord’s Guest house, McGregor Valley
Looking out over the valley after breakfast

Inspired by Scottish passion and the rough natural geometry of the rock of which it is built, each stone hand-selected and each item meticulously chosen, the result is a luxurious combination of age old craftsmanship and elegant convenience. The guest house takes one back to a time of extravagant luxury and exemplary refinement. With 4 star management and exquisite style I felt like royalty during our short stay.

The Lord’s Guest house, McGregor Valley
What an amazing view!!