Travel theme: Spooky

I had a fun day at the office where everyone got into the Halloween spirit and was decorating. I ended the evening with friends eating black spaghetti bolognaise (spaghetti coloured with squid ink which by the way tastes just like normal spaghetti) and watched the movie Dark Shadows (which was a bit lacking) but a great day!

Happy Halloween!!

Travel theme set by Ailsa.

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Fun day in our capital, Pretoria

Some friends and I visited Duncan Yard in the heart of Hatfield earlier today and what an extremely delightful arty place that is filled with surprises around every corner. It is like a little village with hidden pathways and cute and interesting shops and restaurants. There are little gems such as the Deli which sells the most wonderful looking desserts and freshly baked goodies, Moi for a little French finesse in your home and Papa’s for some real good food where we stopped for lunch while listening to a man play the blues on an enhanced electric guitar made out of an old Ouma rusks tin.

We admired the beautiful Jacaranda trees in the Jacaranda city which are in full bloom before setting off to the Union buildings, the seat of government and the offices of the presidency and the department of home affairs. Although Jacaranda trees are native to South America, Pretoria has more than 70 000 of these trees and there is a belief amongst students that if you walk under one of the trees and a blossom falls on your head you are going to pass your exams. The Union buildings are located on the highest point of Pretoria overlooking the city, the University of South Africa and the Voortrekker monument in the distance. We walked around in the beautiful gardens, smelled the roses and watched the tourists.

We ended the day with a visit to Church Square in the centre of town. It has a big bronze statue of former president, Paul Kruger in the middle and is surrounded by historical buildings. It was a wonderful day!

Isabella’s Country Cuisine

I met my friend for lunch at Isabella’s Country Cuisine in Kyalami and what a great coffee shop it turned out to be. I have never been there and don’t know Kyalami at all except that it has a racetrack so this was such a wonderful surprise. The whole area has a country feel similar to Irene so I would definitely want to go explore around there some more.

I had the quiche of the day for lunch which was really tasty and comes freshly baked in a little pan. It was accompanied by a garden salad and potato salad side dish. We were some of the last people to leave just before the rain poured down but what a fabulous afternoon.

Wits Choir 50th birthday celebration

It has been ages since I have been out till 2am on a week night and I will probably feel the effects for the next few days but what a fun night. I went with a friend to see the Wits Choir 50th birthday celebration at the Wits Great Hall. The Wits Choir, although linked to Wits University, is not exclusively for students and welcomes all people from all ages. I have a friend who has been a member for a long time so over the years I have come to know a lot of them personally so the night was one of great song and reunion.

 

As part of the 50th birthday concert the Wits Choir invited all alumni going back to 1962. Each era presented their memories of the choir at that time. It was interesting to see the transformation in music and choristers through the years.  They also had a guest choir performing, the Samro Choir, under the direction of Emeritus Professor Mzilikhazi  Khumalo. He is 80 years old but still going strong and a legend in the field of arranging, conducting and composing having composed the first African opera.

 

The Wits Choir performed a medley of songs from the 1960s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 2000s and surprised the audience by performing traditional pop songs such as Someone like you by Adele and Viva la Vida by Coldplay before breaking into their traditional songs singing in the many languages of South Africa and dancing to its rhythms. Like they say, music transcends all boundaries and brings people from different backgrounds together and even if you don’t understand the words, you can feel the spirit of the music and be moved by it.

After the concert there were drinks and snacks before the choir and friends set off to the choir house for a party. I enjoyed the evening tremendously!

Bukhara restaurant, Sandton

Our boss is moving to Hong Kong so today the team had a farewell lunch with him at Bukhara restaurant at the Nelson Mandela square. Bukhara is an Indian restaurant that serves mostly North Indian cuisine. It has an open kitchen so you can watch the chef and staff create succulent dishes. We had a three course set menu that consisted of a variety of chicken, lamb and vegetable tandoori and curry dishes which we enjoyed with naan and some wine. The food was absolutely divine. Some interesting dishes that I have not eaten before were Palak Paneer (homemade Indian cheese cooked in spinach) and Chicken cheese (chicken marinated with cheese and cooked in a tandoor). I wasn’t crazy about dessert, the Carrot Halva was a bit too spicy for me and although the Indian bread and butter pudding was interesting it was too soggy for my liking. All in all it was a wonderful experience filled with memories, crazy stories and lots of laughs.

Adventure at Harties/Hartbeespoort dam

I had a great day today. My friend and I decided to go to Harties for the day. We started at Jasmyn which is a big farm stall that sells fresh local produce from the farmers. There was a flea market outside with things sold by the locals. We had lunch at the Windmill Restaurant which is a great restaurant inside a big Dutch style windmill building. We sat outside and what was great was that they had a buzzer to either call your waiter, ask for the bill or call the manager so all the waiters walk around with watches that vibrate and let them know when service is required and at which table – not that it was necessary. The service was great and even the manager came around a few times.

The Windmill Restaurant at Jasmyn

Jasmyn is a treat. I don’t know who came first, them or The Food lovers Market but both are great in terms of the variety of fresh produce they sell. Jasmyn has a bookstore inside on the second floor. The gardens outside are beautiful and especially colourful after the first spring rains with the flowers in bloom. There are little trails to walk around in the garden or have a picnic.

When we left we decided to go around the dam as we wanted to go through the tunnel – a must every time one goes to the dam. On our way, we drove past the Harties cableway and decided that we would probably get a beautiful view from on top so it was time for us to explore the world from up high.I am not particularly fond of heights and I don’t think my friend realised quite how uncomfortable I was with them until she saw me all sweaty and pale but we made it without incident and it is so worth it.

Harties cableway

The view is spectacular! There is a restaurant, shop, Lookout Bar and lots of different trails to go for a walk around. There was a guy singing and some people were dancing on the lookout deck – just fabulous. They fail to warn you of the little drop going down so I don’t know who screamed the loudest, me or some other (also scared) guy in the cart but we had a great laugh after that. We drove through the tunnel and crossed the dam wall where they had the sluices open.

It was a beautiful and memorable day which ended with some rain when we got home followed by the most beautiful rainbow and vivid colours.