Ietsie van alles vir enige iemand wat tyd maak om dit te lees...

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Holiday Planning - Part 2

Okay, so here I am again.  Ready to do some more holiday planning (or at least blogging about it and then I can start doing the actual planning).

 I am happy to say that I have sorted out all of my music on my laptop, entertained my mother-in-law for three weeks, designed a pamphlet for my business, read a book about Nelson Mandela and also about a Saudi-Arabia princess, made lots of gluten-free goodies and still made time to sit on the porch looking at the sea and playing with our cat. 

Since I last blogged, our plane tickets have been booked and we are officially leaving on the 10th of September.  Whoohoo!  My task is to book our accommodation and tour activities and I will keep myself busy with that over the next few weeks :)

So here follows part two of the tour -  Italy (where my husband's forefathers reign from, which I guess is why his pasta sauces are always so delicious!). 

Day 8 and 9:  From the French Riviera we will continue on to Cinque Terre - one of the most beautiful places in Italy according to many people and definitely one of the places which I am looking forward to see the most. 

 
Wow is all I can say!!!
 
 
Some random information about Cinque Terre:  "The Cinque Terre is a rugged portion of coast on the Italian Riviera. It is in the Liguria region of Italy, to the west of the city of La Spezia. "The Five Lands" comprises five villages: Monterosso al Mare, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore. The coastline, the five villages, and the surrounding hillsides are all part of the Cinque Terre National Park and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
 
Over the centuries, people have carefully built terraces on the rugged, steep landscape right up to the cliffs that overlook the sea. Part of its charm is the lack of visible corporate development. Paths, trains and boats connect the villages, and cars cannot reach them from the outside. The Cinque Terre area is a very popular tourist destination. *




Love this little blue door and I think there are many different coloured doors and houses around these little villages...
 


 
The Postcard of Italy - Cinque Terre
 
 
We plan to hike most of the two days between the little villages (there are 5 of them) and also do some kayaking or go on a paddleboat on the beautiful glassy blue water.  There is even a pesto- making class that we can attend if we have time.  I loooove pesto and CT is known for it's famous pesto. 
 
 
I would also like to see the Il Gigante at Monterosso.
 
 
 
 
Day 10 and 11:  From there we will be on route to Florence and make a pit-stop in Pisa.  If only for the signature pictures :)
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 
The Leaning Tower of Pisa or simply the Tower of Pisa (Torre di Pisa) is the campanile, or freestanding bell tower, of the cathedral of the Italian city of Pisa, known worldwide for its unintended tilt to one side. It is situated behind the Cathedral and is the third oldest structure in Pisa's Cathedral Square.
The tower's tilt began during construction, caused by an inadequate foundation on ground too soft on one side to properly support the structure's weight. The tilt increased in the decades before the structure was completed, and gradually increased until the structure was stabilized (and the tilt partially corrected) by efforts in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. *
 
 
I am not sure yet how my OCD nature will feel about something so obviously skew...
 
Florence:  There are so many things that we want to see in Florence, Rome and Milan that my head started to hurt when researching it.  I just chose a few random photos that I thought looked good, but there are many things that we want to do including the Basilica of San Miniato al Monte (free of charge - he he), the Statue of David (although I might want to put a leave on it), the Piazzale Michelangelo for a panoramic view of the city, the characteristic Duomo Santa Maria and hopefully attend an opera or concert at the St Marks Anglican Church (depending off course on our funds), the Cupola climb, Ulfulzi Gallery and the Medici Chapels.  Too many things to name.  We might take the hop-on-hop-off bus here to get to as many of these things as possible in the short amount of time we have.  
 
 
 
Beautiful bridge of which I can't remember the name. 
 
 

 
I love lamp :)
 
 


So happy there will be something I can eat in Italy (except for the bread off course) 
 
 
Day 12, 13 and 14 and a bit of 16:  Rome. If we thought there are too many things to see in Florence, then Rome overwhelmed us even more.  It is just impossible to see everything (and afford everything) in 3 days.  We have decided the only two things we really want to see is the Vatican City and the Sistine Chapel and also the Coliseum.  The other things we will discover as we go. 
 
I found this really cool link on how to spend 3 days in Rome.  So we will follow some of the steps on there, with a few adjustments :) Here are some of them.
 
  • Hit the historic Roman landmarks: the Coliseum, the Roman Forum, the Pantheon, and the Circus Maximus.
    • One of the most historic landmark of Rome is the Coliseum (70–80 AD), the largest amphitheatre ever built in the Roman Empire.It reflects the architectural beauty of Roman engineering.
    • The oldest and most important structure-The Roman Forum is located between the Palatine hill and the Capitoline hill of the city of Rome. Roman Forum is also referred as the "Forum Magnum" or just the "Forum".
    • The Pantheon -one of the oldest standing domed structure in Rome was built as a temple to all the gods of Ancient Rome. It was believed to be built in the 126 AD.
  • Spend the first evening at a local restaurant and then go to the Spanish Steps for the night.


  • Spend the entire second day at Vatican City. Go to the top of the dome; see the crypts, monuments, painting, and statues along the way. You can even decide to visit the Vatican Museums: the ticket costs about 14 €. It is worth to see if you are fond of Arts. The only bad thing is that the line could be very long and it would take you hours to get in it. If you are interested in visiting the Museums, go there early in the morning (around 07:00-07:30....quite early it is) to avoid long waiting.
  • Spend the second night at the Trevi Fountain. Enjoy dinner at a local cafe.


  • The third day is for catching up. Walk to the historic places you missed, and do some shopping for your family and friends.
  • Have a special farewell dinner before you leave the "Eternal City".


 
 





 
Day 16, 17 and 18: Milan:  The Fashion Capital of the World some say, not that I really want to go for shopping :)  I will go for:
 
 
 
The Opera

 
These kind of buildings
 

 
This kind of street atmosphere :)
 
 
 
This beautiful portrait of the Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci
 
 
 Here is another link for 2 days in Milan.  
 
Map Data
Map data ©2014 Google
 
 
 
 
Map
Satellite



Day 1

Museum of Twentieth Century

The museum offers insight into the history of various 20th century artistic movements. See Futurist, Spatialist and Arte povera artworks.
 

Milan Cathedral, Milan

Milan Cathedral

The largest Italian Gothic cathedral was under construction for 600 years. Its grandeur and elaborate artworks are simply breath-taking!


Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II, Milan

Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II

An absolutely stunning example of Art Nouveau architecture. Built in 1877, it belongs to the oldest shopping galleries in the world.


La Scala, Milan

La Scala

Hugely reputed opera house built in 1778 which is a star attraction of Milan's artistic scene. Book tickets ahead to see a performance here.


Via Sant'Andrea, Milan

Via Sant'Andrea

A luxurious shopping thoroughfare where you can find high-end boutiques such as Hermès, Chanel, Kenzo, Giorgio Armani or Miu Miu.


Via Monte Napoleone, Milan

Via Monte Napoleone

A fancy boulevard which overflows with high-end boutiques, prêt-à-porter stores, HQs of famous designers and shoe-maker shops.
 
 
Map Data
Map data ©2014 Google
 
 
 

 

Day 2

Brera Botanical Garden, Milan

Brera Botanical Garden

Lovely botanical garden which spreads across 5000 m² and prides itself on more than 300 different plant species. A tranquil oasis.


Sforza Castle, Milan

Sforza Castle

Sturdy buildings formed into a magnificent castle complex. Its purpose changed across centuries and now it houses museums and collections.


Simplon Park, Milan

Simplon Park

A large and tranquil city park surrounded by several major sights. See the lake here, feed ducks or let your kids enjoy the playground.


Church of Holy Mary of Grace, Milan

Church of Holy Mary of Grace

An inconspicuous church which hides a jewel inside – the mural of The Last Supper by Leonardo da Vinci. Inscribed in the UNESCO list.


Spazio Rossana Orlandi, Milan

Spazio Rossana Orlandi

Peep into this interesting art gallery housed in a former factory building. See the avant garde designer artworks.
 
 
We will then take an overnight train back to Paris and spend one more day in Paris before flying back late that evening. We haven't decided what we will do on that last day, but we will see what we feel like  :) Starting to count down the sleeps... (50)
 
 
 


 
*Wikipedia 

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Something Ridiculous

There are many ridiculous things in the world.  I will often exclaim:  “That’s so ridiculous!” when  I witness certain events on the news – the latest one about the uncontrollable biter playing football for Uruguay -  Luis Suarez or as some like to call him:  Jaws.  I used that sentence the other night while we were watching a comedy show done by Trevor Noah who talked about how “being gay” is illegal in countries like Zambia and how a person will get arrested if they are found to be gay.  He thought this was really ridiculous and tried to see the funny side of it.  What would a police force look like who investigated people who are gay and how would they identify them?  Do they ask them:  “What is the purpose of that flamboyant scarf you are wearing?”  The concept is so ridiculous that it is actually funny. 

There are also many things that I observe in the world around me and in everyday life that I think is ridiculous. 

For instance people who only drink tea and never experience that satisfying feeling of your first sip of coffee in the morning.  That feeling of pure bliss and suddenly knowing that no matter how down you are, everything will be okay in the end.

Another ridiculous thing is when people go through all the trouble of going out to see a movie and paying all that money for tickets and then they talk throughout the movie.  According to my husband (who is a bit of a movie fanatic) there is a special place in hell for such individuals. 

I do not understand people who never listen to any music.  How can you discover and become more aware of the melody of your life, if you don’t listen to any songs?  My life would be very bleak if I didn’t constantly fill it with all kinds of weird and wonderful music.

Many people (and definitely also me) sometimes forget to dance in and enjoy the rain.  Isn’t it a bit ridiculous that we decide that sunshine means happiness, but rain and cold and clouds means sadness.  Shouldn’t we appreciate all the seasons and all the aspects of nature?  We as humans are so fickle and ridiculous in our demands and perceptions of life.

I find it extremely ridiculous that a lot of people never read and that parents don’t introduce their children to the imaginative world of books.  It’s sad that many people only read from their kindle and Ipad and never go into a bookshop and smell that new-book smell.  They will never turn the pages of a book that you just cannot put down.  All my childhood memories are filled with images and characters from all the books I’ve read.  I was completely lost in the world of books and it was really hard to get back to reality and find a balance between the beauty of books and the sometimes-harsh-but-if-you-look-really-close-just-as-beautiful-world we live in. 

But I guess one of the most ridiculous things is that when I had to write this piece, I struggled for a while to get my imagination flowing, so I turned to the only resource I could think of in case of a writer’s block in that moment; my good friend Google. 

I must admit, I did find some ridiculous things.  Did you know that you could fit 360 teardrops in a tablespoon?  Which is ridiculous if you think that somebody had the time and the motivation to cry and then catch their tears with a tablespoon (which couldn’t have been an easy job) and then counted each drop until the spoon was full.  What’s even more ridiculous is that this story makes me want to try it and maybe even write a song about it… “Just a spoon full of teardrops make your worries go by… in the most delightful way”.

I also learned while I was on Google about a high-energy juggling and acrobatic act performed by two slapstick stuntmen, called “Something Ridiculous.”  They seem to have made “being ridiculous” a way of life. 

But nothing I found stirred my wild imagination in action.  It actually just made me sad to think that we live in a world where little is left to the imagination.  We never have to wonder about things anymore or ask inquisitive questions to our parents, teachers or friends.  We never go look for the answers in libraries filled with knowledgeable books and encyclopaedias.  Most of life’s answers are but a click away with the technology of today.  You can even Google something so ridiculous as:  “When someone waves to me, should I wave back?”  The internet is truly making us smarter and dumber at the same time.  

People are watching television (and I am including myself in this statement) rather than curling up on the couch with a good book.  And it’s not that television is a bad thing, it’s just that if all the images are given to you (and sometimes in very violent and explicit ways), you don’t need to use your imagination.  And I think growing up and even being a grown-up without imagination is something very ridiculous.

So maybe I should have rather written about this land far, far away called Flutterby, where a little girl lived who was called Inara.  She was born with fairy wings, but a wise old lady told her that she shouldn’t tell many people about her wings as people can sometimes be ridiculous when they see beauty different to their own.  So she grew up knowing she was a fairy and she died without anyone knowing about her wings. 

Perhaps if they sometimes tore themselves away from the television, their emails, facebook status updates and connecting without every really being connected they would have caught a glimpse of the glitter and magic they were surrounded by. 



 



Ons het `n rukkie oor die alledaagse dinge gesels…


“Ek glo nie meer in God nie”

 
Al het ek dit vermoed, skok die woorde nogsteeds…

 
“Ek verstaan” se ek sag.  “Dankie dat jy eerlik is”


“Dit het net gebeur.  Een dag was daar net die twyfelinge van kinderjare en toe skielik die sekerheid.  Hy bestaan nie en al het Hy gee Hy definitief nie vir my om nie.”


Ek bly `n rukkie stil.

 
“Ek kan jou nie oortuig van God se bestaan nie, ek is nie so goed met woorde nie…  Wat ek wel weet is dit:  elke keer wat ek van God praat is daar `n roering in jou oë en ek is seker jy voel dit in jou hart…  Dat alles nie net vir niks kan wees nie en dat soms wanneer jy `n kind sien glimlag, jy`n stukkie hemel kan proe.
Hoop is net `n tree weg van Geloof.  En net jy kan die eerste tree  terug gee..."
 
Opgedra aan almal wat bietjie ver van God af voel…
 
 
 
* We have been talking about everyday things for a while...
 
 
"I don't believe in God anymore"
 
 
Even though I expected this, the words still shocked...
 
 
"I understand", I said softly.  "Thanks for being honest."
 
 
"It just happened.  One day there was still the  doubts of childhood and then suddenly the  certainty.  He doesn't exist and even if He did, He definitely doesn't care about me personally."
 
 
I was quiet for a while..
 
 
"I cannot convince you of His existence.  I am not all that good with words.  What I do know is this:  every time I talk about God there is something in your eyes that tells me what you feel in your heart...  That everything cannot just be for nothing and that sometimes in the smile of a child, you can taste a bit of heaven.
Hope is only a footstep away from Faith.  And only you can take that first step back."
 
 
Dedicated to everyone that sometimes feel a little bit far from God...