Thanks to my Australian family for making this one of the most memorable experiences of my life!
This is the third and final part of my wonderful Australian trip I took back in December 2014. Here are the links for the first and second part of this amazing journey:
We were out the door at 9am to drive to Manly. We had breakfast there and walked around at the local market. After touring for a bit we caught a ferry to Circular Quay and then walked to the Sydney Opera House for a guided tour which my uncle had arranged as a surprise. We learnt so much about the rich history behind this architectural wonder and it was such an interesting and enriching experience, which I would definitely recommend as a must for anyone traveling to Sydney. When the tour finished, we walked to the Museum of Contemporary Art for lunch and then went to the rocks, a well known large, local market selling anything from junk to high value items. My aunt, uncle and I strolled to the harbour bridge and walked the pedestrian path. From there you could see just about the entire city and both sides of the harbour, including the Opera House, and Taronga Zoo. I took so many photos and the view was so captivating from such a high point. Maybe next time I get a chance to travel Sydney, I’ll do the bridge walk, which means you walk on top of the frame work of the bride, attached to harnesses, ropes and pulleys of course! We walked back to the Ferry and when we got to Manly we stopped for ice-cream at the same Ben & Jerry’s parlour as previously. Due to the long day and the excessive heat, I fell asleep in the car, and the rest is history.
We drove to a nearby town, Freshwater to pick up a gammon the size of a baby for Christmas day. We had coffee at a small beachside cafe´and then drove back. My aunt and I went to the gym to have a session with the personal trainer. As soon as I was freshened up and back home, I made dinner for the family, which everyone raved about. At around 7pm my aunt and I drove to Hornsbury, a nearby mall which is open till late during the Christmas season. I went to a pharmacy there and got a second piercing in my right ear, as I had wanted one for a long time. I also did some clothes shopping and because of the sales everything was crazy cheap.
I woke up with an aching back, bum and sore thighs from the previous day’s leg workout at the gym, and the fact that my room was upstairs, and the rest of the house was downstairs didn't help… My cousin, aunt and I drove to a nearby salvation army and went thrifting. When we got home we all sat on the living room floor and wrapped up Christmas presents. My cousin and I made a traditional Hungarian treat which heir family always has at Christmas time. We watched a movie, and by the time we finished we were so tired, we went to bed.
My cousin and I slept in, and when we were finally dressed we started to set up the Christmas table, because later that night it was Christmas eve, and another set of my cousins was coming over for dinner and presents. I sat down at a creek in my Uncle’s garden but just as I started reading, I was attacked by a hoard of mosquitoes, so I decided t was best to leave. My other cousins arrived at 5pm, and dinner started at 7pm. When we were finished with supper, we went into the living room and unwrapped presents. While the rest of us went to bed, my uncle and aunt went to a Christmas sermon in church.
Worst Christmas present ever: Apparently the mosquitoes from the creek focused on my feet, so I had about 40 collective bites from my ankles down. It wasn’t so bad when I lay down, or sat, but as soon as I walked my feet itched like crazy, and there was nothing I could do about it! At lunch we all sat down to a traditional Christmas roast, with Turkey, gammon, roast veggies, potatoes and salads. When everyone left, we packed the car and drove to Avoca again. We lazed around and watched movies for the rest of the day as we were all so tired.
My feet still itched, so much so that I couldn’t even go down to the beach with my family because overtime I stepped I would shake from the itching. We went down to the shops and bought some itchy bite cream, which was sweet, sweet relief. We looked around the local surf shops and tried on some cute sundresses. We had lunch and packed up. I took a polaroid with my cousin in the lounge, with the beautiful view in the back. When we gt to their Sydney home, I packed my big suitcase, and we ate supper. The family and I talked about the trip together and I set out my clothes for the next day’s flight.
Day 22: I got up early and got my passport and documents together. I said goodbye to Bella, the cat and took one last look at my room. I said goodbye to the house and lugged my suitcase down the stairs. We packed up the car and drove to the airport and checked me and my bags in. I sat at the waiting area for airport assist, as I was traveling as an unaccompanied moonier and had to have an airport assistant. When the airport assistant got there I practically burst out into tears and it was so difficult saying goodbye to my family, who I’d only see in a year’s time. They had been so welcoming and I had grown so close to everyone. After gathering myself, and having my makeup smudges wiped off by the airport assist I shopped for traveling snack at the duty free section. I checked aboard my flight and started the long journey home.
I hoped you all enjoyed sharing this travel adventure with me, stay tuned because there will be another travel series coming soon which I am so excited for!
Until the next post
-The Traveling Oyster xxx
Thanks to my Australian family for making this one of the most memorable experiences of my life!
This is the second part of my wonderful Australian trip I took back in December 2014. Here is the link for the first part of this amazing journey:
I woke up to the smell of my aunt’s freshly baked banana bread and had a couple of slices for breakfast. At noon we drove with my one cousin to the airport. We checked her into her flight to Ireland - she was going with her boyfriend’s family to spend christmas there. We ll had lunch at a restaurant and said our goodbyes. My aunt, uncle and I drove back to their home, packed the car and drove to Avoca, a small coastal holiday town about an hour away from Sydney. I went out onto the balcony, and I swear this house had to have one of the best views of the entire area. You could see for miles, and it was just tropical rain forest trees, a few holiday houses and the big, blue beach. Wild parrots are common in Australia but here they were abundant. We headed over to my other cousin’s boyfriend’s house (they also have a holiday place there). Their family and ours played Balderdash and watched a movie together after which we walked home in the dim streetlight and warm weather.
I overslept, and rushed to get dressed and ready for the beach. My cousin, uncle and I walked down a small path to the shore. There we met my cousin’s boyfriend’s family again. All the boys swam and my cousin and I relaxed on the beach. After a while, all of us except my uncle went to the rock pools and watched the surfers from there. We observed anemones and threw pebbles into the waves. We headed over to my the other family’s house and played cards with everyone. After 6pm, my cousin, her boyfriend and I drove down to Four Hnads restaurant, a gourmet pizzeria in Terrigal, the neighbouring coastal town. We met my uncle and aunt there and had tapas and pizza. After dinner we all went to Cold Rock, a place where you design your own ice cream with really cool toppings. I had cake batter ice cream with oreos, cookie dough and a caramello koala and it was easily the best ice cream I’ve ever had. My cousin, her boyfriend and I drove down to her Sydney house at 8pm, because the next day she had to go to a horse riding lesson and I promised her I’d take photos for her.
It was an early start - 6am and my cousin and I were at her riding school at about 7am. My cousin’s horse, Koda was being tacked up by her, while the most adorable dog (he lives at the stables) came to me, wagging his tail and begging for attention. He is known as a kelpie, which means he is half dingo (dingoes are Australia wild dogs who live in packs in a wolf like community structure). When I was done taking pictures, and my cousin had finished her lesson, we washed down the horses. I was sitting on the lawn chatting to my cousin’s friend, when her horse, sunrise almost knocked me over with her nose in an attempt to nuzzle me! We drove back to Avoca together and chatted and listened to music the whole way there. The we got to the house, there were more wild parrots and parakeets sitting on the balcony’s edge. My family was convicted that I wouldn’t be able to hand feed them as no one had ever done it before, so obviously I just HAD to prove everyone wrong, plus my love for animals immediately caused me to pick up bread and sit outside to try and lure the wild birds towards me. After about 10 minutes of me chirping and showing them the food, the first parakeet gave in. He hopped on the my hand and I started to feed him crumbs of fish, white bread. When the rest of the parrots saw that I wasn’t going to harm them they simply did the same, and at one point I had about 3 perching on me. My family was shocked to discover that I was secretly a Disney Princess, welt least that’s how I felt! We went over to my cousin’s boyfriend’s family for supper and had boerewors rolls! I was so happy because that was such a traditional South African food and I was craving that for a while. The family is South African as well so it made sense to have a traditional braai (a south african barbecue). We went home and my family and I watched a movie together and then went to bed.
My uncle, cousin and I walked down to the beach after an early breakfast. We lazed around in the sand for about an hour and hiked up back to the house after the heat started to get intense. When we got back, we turned on the TV to find that very new channel was broad casting about a major terrorist threat in Sydney. Yes the infamous Sydney siege in the Lindt Cafe´on Martin Place. 17 hostages were being held at gunpoint inside the cafe´and many were pressed up against the windows, with their hands held up against the glass. We packed up and drove back to my family’s Sydney home with the radio on the whole way to stay updated with this tragedy. So many of my friends and family contacted me to make sure I was alright, since everyone knew I was in Sydney. It was really scary to think that I was shopping there a few days prior to the incident, and had we decided to shop on that day we might have stopped by there. It made me appreciate the people who cared about me and made sure I was alright and it was a sobering thing to think that the people in that cafe´could have been me or one of my family members. At around 2pm my aunt and I went to the gym for personal training again, and it was fun but so intense! We got home to find that 3 of the hostages had escaped and later 2 more, which was relieving. My aunt’s friends came over for dinner and we had basil pesto pasta, which my aunt makes regularly and it’s the best pasta dish I’ve ever had. When my family’s friends left, we turned on the TV again. The police had shut down the cafe´lights and were using night vision goggles. They were planning to do a raid, which eventually happened in the early hours of the morning.
We woke up early and my aunt, her family friends and I drove up to Featherdale wildlife park (West of Sydney), where the animals kept there are all native to Australia and some are rescued. I took a photo with a koala and petted him, and let me tell you, they are soooo stinky! I fed many different species of kangaroo and wallaby and petted an echidna, an Australian monotreme that is similar in appearance to a small porcupine. There was also a petting zoo, where I fed a hoard of goats, sheep and a small cow. All of the farm animals frenzied around the food and jumped all over me! At around lunch time we left the park and drove to Eden Gardens for lunch. It is a huge garden centre and also sells homeware. It also has little parks and large sculptures where you can sit down and take lots of pictures - there was even a small amphitheatre for live music performances. For dinner we went to my cousin’s boyfriend’s house again, which was just a couple of blocks away. Again we had boerewors rolls with lots of sides and condiments plus frozen cheesecake for dessert.
We woke up early and met up with the same family friends as the previous day. We all drove into Sydney and went for lunch in Darling Harbour. After that we went to Sea Life Sydney, which is the biggest aquarium and marine wildlife centre I have ever encountered. Sea life Sydney is also the only aquarium in the world that houses manatees. This is because both manatees are reduces. Their home is a massive glass environment which leads partly out into the ocean (but there are barriers to stop them escaping as they would not be able to cope in the wild). The aquarium goes through kilograms of lettuce a day. There is also a really cool starfish, seahorse and coral display and the gift shop is massive and has such cool stuff. There was even a manatee shaped tea infuser! After we finished at the aquarium we went to Pancakes On The Rocks and my aunt and I shared Nachos and a pancake. We said goodbye to the family friends and went shopping at a nearby Sydney mall. We walked around Darling Harbour and we spotted a Starbucks. I went in, planning to buy a travel mug when I was told that I got a free drink with it, my day got so much better! My whole family and I shared it because it was Venti, so it was way to much to have on my own. We found a really awesome play park and of course my cousin, her boyfriend and I had to test it out. We drove through China town to get home and the city lights were so beautiful.
I woke up early, and my aunt and I made fudge together in the kitchen and it was so delicious. Us two drove to Bobbin Head, a nature reserve. I bought coffee for my aunt and I and we both had a snack on the pier. We walked on a boardwalk and bridge that lead to a beautiful mangrove area, and my aunt pointed out a hiking trail that takes you to her neighbourhood, but we didn’t walk it because it would have taken us 2 hours. We had a salad at home for lunch and at around 4pm we left with my cousin, her boyfriend and my uncle and aunt to go to Cirque Du Soleil. We first had dinner at the Bavarian beer house and then at 8pm we entered the circus tent. It was the most beautiful performance I have ever seen, and the tour we watched was called Totem, which entered around evolution and nature. The theatrics and mechanical aspects of the show were outstanding and the performers were out of this world. I got a T-shirt to commemorate the experience and we all drove home very late after an exciting evening.
My mom’s cousin and her daughter came to pick me up and we drove to Taronga Zoo, which is opposite the Opera house across the harbour. We walked around a little and had lunch at one of the cafe´s there. You could see the entire harbour, opera house and bridge from the lunch table so we stopped for a photo opp. We toured around some more and then went to the giraffe enclosure where we got to feed three beautiful, tall giraffes. later that afternoon, we took a walk down to the bottom of the zoo, and then hopped on a cable car, which took us all the way back to the top. From the cable car you could see the whole city. When I got home, my aunt and uncle took me to Manly have dinner at White Water restaurant, and we had the most attractive brattish waiter, I must say, accents are always hot! After dinner, we had dessert at a Ben & Jerry’s ice cream parlour and walked along the beach.
We drove to a farm which belonged to my family’s family friends. The owner gave us a tour while we sat in the back of his truck. We went to see his miniature ponies while we were followed by a small bunch of puppies - what more could you ask for? My cousin and I rode the farm horses for a little while and we all went inside for lunch. I went with the boys after lunch to where the quadbikes, gator and motorbikes were parked. I decided to try and ride the motorbike which didn’t end well.. I didn’t really understand the concept of a clutch yet, and so I gave too much petrol, released the clutch and went flying into a wheelie… I immidietly pulled on the break but I was way too scared to try again! I hopped on the gator with one of the boys instead and we rode around the farm, until we got to family friends who had managed to get the truck stuck in the mud. Since there were about 5-6 families on the farm that day we ALL went to help, we tried everything, from using the gator and a chain as a tow rope to making everyone stand at the back and push. Eventually we had to use a tractor, and after an exciting 2 hours of rescuing the car we were all covered in mud and sweat! We all swam in the pool to rinse off and cool down. When I got home I fell asleep on the couch, and woke up at 2am, not knowing where the hell I was. I had to drag myself up to bed and try to go to sleep for the next day’s adventure.
I hope you enjoyed the second part of my adventure! Stay tuned for the final part 3, which I will post later this week
Until next time
-The Traveling Oyster xxx
Thanks to my Australian family for making this one of the most memorable experiences of my life!
At the end of 2014 I went on a trip to Australia to visit my cousins for a month. It was the first time traveling alone (as in without my parents) and it was one of the most amazing overseas adventures I've been on. This blog series will be taken from diary entries I wrote while I was there and of course there will be lots of pictures as usual.
After traveling for over 24 hours, and with only 2 hours of sleep I was so exhausted, and my body clock was confused due to the 9 hour time difference between South Africa and Australia. Although I didn't sleep much, the Qantas flight was good and the food was surprisingly pleasant for economy class aeroplane cuisine. I spent most of the flight either watching movies, or listening to music while watching the flight map, and it was slightly satisfying to check back every now and then and see the little plane icon had moved. As we started to fly over Australia, I noticed unusual place names, Like Wagga Wagga and Wooloomooloo. I can confirm that Australia has the strictest border security I have ever experienced, and the amount of documentation I needed to produce there compared to other international airports was quite surprising. Because I was an unaccompanied minor I was called aside to a different security counter at one point, and I swear I nearly shit myself scared because I thought I was in trouble - not that I had done anything wrong, but when a burly Australian security guard leads you to a separate desk you start to get nervous! After I finally got through security my whole family was waiting for me with big smiles and a traditional Australian hat, the ones with the dangling corks on strings! We drove to their house which is about 25 minutes from Sydney's centre and after unpacking I went to bed, jet lagged and tired.
I woke up early, very early, like 4am early. I somehow managed to go back to sleep after a while and woke up again at 6am to get ready and dressed for the day. My aunt and cousins took me to the neighbourhood's annual Christmas market,which was much bigger than I had expected and the stuff they sold there was really awesome. I bought a beautiful silver ring (which I have since then lost), two necklaces and a shirt. I could already feel the intense heat of the Australian sun so as soon as we went home, we all jumped in the pool and had lunch. My aunt made the most amazing banoffee pie, and we sat on the veranda eating dessert. After 2pm the weather quickly changed. It suddenly started raining and hailing out of nowhere (the hail was the size of small golf balls). And when I say raining, I really to mean cats and dogs. We had to move the table to stop it from getting hail damage and the cars had to be checked too. It was still quite hot and humid while this went on, so it was rather strange. Thunderstorms started as well. Because of the severity and the quick time between weather change, all my uncle's koi fish in his pond died - one's he'd had for years! There is a scientific reason for this, but I'm not going to explain it because it's long and complex. My one cousin and I went to play Sims in the study and then made supper.
Another early start and we put on our swimsuits to go to Wet 'n Wild Sydney, the Southern Hemisphere's biggest waterpark! We waited in line for a long time, and went on one of the biggest rides - a large blue and yellow slide with 2 loops, a steep (almost vertical) drop and a massive wall that you slide up and down in and then out to a pool. Four of us went in a tube, which was so much fun. We went to a fake beach and swam around for a while. We were about to go to the next ride - in fact we were in line - when the park got closed for the rest of the day due to another approaching thunderstorm. We were disappointed, but we had a lot of fun there so it wasn't a big deal. On the way home we stopped at McDonalds and we all ate junked on the way home. The whole family set up a big Christmas tree together after supper which was so much fun and we fooled around with the decorations while listening to Christmas music. I discovered the household cat, and I was instantly in love - being the self proclaimed crazy cat lady that I am I immedietly kidnapped her and took her upstairs to my room and from that night onwards she slept in my room right on top of me - needless to say I was very happy.
We woke up early again, and surprised my aunt with breakfast and present in bed for her birthday. After that my cousins and I all went to the gym for a morning work out, showered at home and then drove with my aunt to McQuarie, a large mall next to my cousin's university. I bought quit a lot of clothing. We had lunch a lovely eatery called The Missing Piece, and they had the most amazing drinks and food for sale. I had 'Pomegreatness' iced tea and a chicken ceaser salad, which were both amazing. We went home and prepared for my aunt's birthday dinner party. Lots of her family friends came over and most of them all had kids round about my and my cousin's age, so we all had a ball and ordered pizza for supper.
My aunt, cousins and I took a train from Wahroonga statin to the town hall in Sydney's CBD. From there we walked to Westfield Sydney to go shopping again. We picked up my beautiful Michael Kors bag, which I had preordered on sale before I even got to Aus and I fell in love the minute I saw it. We had sushi for lunch and afterwards shopped around the centre. We headed out onto the street to smaller shops, and found a guy drumming on plastic buckets and he was absolutely amazing. There was also a tap dance group who were bloody good. We walked in the rain to my uncle's office building, which was right near the Sydney harbour, so you could see the entire Opera house and a big chunk of the city from there. We took the elevator up to the 39th floor and went to the boardroom to take in the view and capture the city on camera. After a while we drove to circular Quay and had supper at a lovely restaurant with another set of my cousins.
My aunt, one cousin and I left early to meet a personal trainer at a Crossfit gym. We did a super intense circuit including boxing, running, skipping and ergo. At lunch time we popped over to a nearby mall to get a few essentials for my cousin who was off to Ireland the next day. I shopped for makeup at Target and when I got home I napped with the cat. The whole family packed a small suitcase as we were off to Avoca the next day, A small coastal town about an hour from Sydney where my uncle owns a holiday house.
I hope you all enjoyed the blog post, I will post the next part of the series as soon as I can, but it might be a few days because of school work etc.
Until the next post
-The Traveling Oyster xxx
For those of you who don't yet know, I am writing a series on a 27 day hiking/camping/river rafting/ mountain biking experience I had back in 2013 with an amazing group of girls. To read the first part of the journey, click on this link below:
It was our first cycling day of about 52km, across bumpy terrain and many uphills. Many of the bike's brakes and gear were rusty after boys in group 1 left them in the rain, so some were difficult to operate. After a very short while one of the girls in the group got her chain stuck in between 2 cogs, so we spent almost an hour having to force it out. At lunch, we stopped by a big dam, and one of the support crew vehicles met us there. The support crew blasted music through the car radio, and helped us adjust anything we needed on the bikes. We were also surprised with 2 loaves of banana bread, 2l of coke, sprite and cream soda as a reward for fixing the stuck chain before without hep from the support crew. We came across a scarecrow en route, that had our prinicple's face stuck on and a school jersey, and we all found it hilarious. We got to camp earlier than most groups do, and relaxed by a river at the bottom of the campsite.
This was by far the easiest day in terms of hiking, because we really didn't have to hike that far. We walked about 2km up the road to set up camp in the garden of a hiker's lodge called Zebra Moon. Our leaders walked down to the local bakery to pick up fresh loaves of bread, and we shared one big loaf between 3 people. We were also surprised with a few watermelons, which was perfect because the day was so hot! After lunch we walked to a local school's aftercare and repainted a Wendy house (shed) in white and yellow. After that we walked to the local primary school and played with all of the children. We read to them and then played lawn games with them outside. I found a cat later that night at the campsite which was super friendly, and it made me very happy because I am totally a 'crazy cat lady' at heart, and I was missing my own cat so much.
We had our usual early start - awake at 5am and hiking by 6am. We started to hike up a mountain and struggled for a while to find the hiker's trail. For tea, we stopped at Breakfast Rock, a well known landmark to the avid hiker for its gorgeous views of the surrounding area. After a long walk, we stopped at another massive landmark, this one slightly more exciting. Oak Falls, a massive waterfall that cascades into a large natural pool in the rock deeper than we could see. This pool cascaded into another waterfall into another pool and so on. We had lunch and swam. Although the water was FREEZING we had to take this kind of opportunity. After lunch the weather changed as we hiked further up the mountain. A thunderstorm approached, which was very scary. We all had something metal in our bags, and I had titanium in my arm in the form of plates and screws because I had broken my arm the previous year, so there we were; 13 girls & 2 leaders crapping ourselves because we all though we might just get struck by lightning and die right there.... maybe we were slightly dramatic, but in the moment it seemed right. We got to the best hut we had ever been to after about 2 hours in the storm. There was a FRIDGE which we had never experienced on Trek. We received Coca-Cola and marshmallows to roast, and a friend and I volunteered to barbecue meat outside in the storm. In hindsight we should have just cooked the sausages in the pan provided at the hut, because I got bronchitis (and ain't nobody got time for that, especially on Trek!). We played cards in the one hut (the group shared 2 huts between us) and drank our coke. It was an amazing night, until my half of the group got back to our hut. We found, to our dismay that the roof was leaky, and because of the rain an thunderstorm, half of the beds (including sleeping bags, pillows and any bags that were stored on beds) got absolutely soaked beyond the point of being deemed sleepable. I had to share a sleeping bag, pillow and single bed mattress with a good friend of mine, which I wouldn't have minded except for the fact that there was a drop dripping next to my ear the entire night! The one good thing was that at least we weren't so cold on such a stormy night because of all the shared body heat.
We woke up late and sat in bed. We had cereal for breakfast, and because I'm lactose intolerant I had a whole bottle of lactose free milk to myself, which was amazing! We started hiking down the other side of the mountain at about 12:30 and after about 2 1/2 hours we got to another beautiful self catering cottage. We would have camped somewhere, had it not been for the storm which had flooded out our planned campsite, but I much preferred to be indoors! The cottage was 2 stories, and upstairs was an attic room with 4 big single beds (you could easily fit 2 people in). Because of the rain we were going to have to stay at the cottage for 2 days, so we decided that the first night half of us would share the beds and the other hand would sleep on the floor on mattresses, and the second night we'd switch around. The beds were so comfy and we even used the proper feather pillows. The two leaders shared a double bed downstairs. There was a small lounge and a bathroom and kitchen; with yet another FRIDGE! we could even boil water for tea, coffee, and instant noodles! There was a jungle gym outside which we used a lot, and the lodge owners provided board games for us girls while the leaders watched TV in the Lodge's common room.We received our second letter drop, and it was again emotional and it was relieving to hear from home again.
It was our one leader's birthday, so we woke her up by singing happy birthday, and giving her a mug of hot chocolate, some Kit-Kats we had saved and a birthday candle. We had to stay indoors because of the weather, so it was nice to rest up for the next days long hike. We played lots of card games and scrabble with our leaders and for some reason decided that it was an excellent idea to crawl fully into our sleeping bags and roll around the lounge floor like worms.We definitely had a laugh, I guess you get creative with your entertainment when you don't have technology to turn to, and it was actually so much fun. We decided to start working on our Trek flag, as it is tradition to customise it according to your groups memories and traditions. I volunteered start sewing a large number 2 in sequins on the flag and it turned out surprisingly well. We added some more bits and pieces to the flag and called it a night.
Seeing as every girl had to lead at least 1 day on Trek (you are in charge of the map and you set the pace, although you can be helped) I had to lead us because I was the only one who hadn't done so yet. I was nervous as I was the only person who didn't have a map- our 2 leaders couldn't find it, so I had to rely on directions given to me by the support crew. We actually got to the solo site very early, 8:45am. This was the halfway mark of Trek, and we had to sleep alone in the forest for a night, making our own shelter (we had to hand in our tents), food and entertainment. We could only use the long drop toilet if we really needed to and we were not allowed to communicate with each other in any way. I was still very sick with bronchitis, so this gave me an opportunity to get a rest from the group and try to recover. I opened a can of tuna for lunch and as soon as I did so, a flock of dung beetles came to my campsite, ew. I built my shelter for the night, a small lean-to, and stuffed my sleeping bag and pillow inside. We received a tarpaulin, which I used as a ground cover to avoid getting poked with sticks and rocks. The leader for the day gets the Trek flag to carry, which I used to aid in my shelter building. The school counsellor came to speak to everyone to make sure we were all coping. As one of our tasks we had to write a letter to the principal. We also had to make a small gift that we were going to do a secret santa with later. I found a soft block of wood, that was slightly wet and carved out a bear totem with my pocket knife. I plaited dried grass and tied it around the bear, so that it could be worn or used as a charm on someone's Trek bag. I had a difficult sleep that night, due to the fact that I watched a Slenderman 'documentary' a week before Trek started; which was set in a forest. Maybe that wasn't the smartest thing to do...
I lead again and it was one of the most difficult days I had through the whole of Trek. I again didn't have a map, so had to rely on what the support crew told me. Most of the group was dehydrated due to the heat and the route was extremely long. We stopped at the small town of McGregor to have lunch. Because of a depleted water supply we decided to muster up and know on one of the local's door to ask if we could fill up bottles from her tap. She obliged and we all filled up as many bottles as we had and went on our way after having a chat and telling her all about the journey. We met one of our support crew members inside another small town who again filled up our water and sprayed us with a hosepipe, which was actually welcome considering the heat. We walked for another hour until we reached our site for the night, Vroelikheid, a small accommodation village for hikers and cyclists. The huts were all 'rondawels', traditional african style. Four people were in a hut and there was a lovely Boma outside; a place to socialise, cook and eat. There was also an industrial kitchen on site whee we prepared our food, which was very helpful. Another support crew member arrived with a trailer full of bikes, and we unloaded them for the next day's cycle. We got surprised with the leaders telling us that we'd be allowed to have a quick phone call home for a few minutes to our parents. It was such a welcome opportunity and we were all so elated. When my phone call was up, I burst into tears. It was so emotional hearing from my parents again after being away for so long. We exchanged the gift we had made on solo, and I received a flower ring that one of my friends had woven with dried grasses and stuck flower into.
We began bright and early, swapping our normal bags for our smaller day packs, and selecting our bicycles. It was to be our longest cycling day of ±75km, and there were lots of uphills. We had to cycle through very deep puddles and potholes. At 11:30 we stopped for lunch and a support crew member repaired our bikes. We got to our campsite at 2:00pm, which was very early, considering how long the cycle was distance-wise. Our campsite was a small lawn in front of a house by the Breede River, and the 2 leaders slept inside for the night. I felt very achieved for the day, because I had managed to keep up with the rest of the group on a beat up, broken bike on a route that was almost only uphill.
This was our first river rafting day on the Breede river! We rafted down a 22km river stretch and encountered rapids that were so much fun! My rafting partner and I got stuck in a bush and started to drift down the wrong part of the river, but luckily the river guide helped us out of s sticky situation. We stopped alongside the riverside on a bank to have lunch in the shade. We rafted for another hour until we got to a beautiful river bank where we set up camp. I had an afternoon nap, and the group chatted for an hour after that. The next day would be our next rest day, so lots of the girls sat in front of a pink bucket shaving their legs giggling about their crushes who they were going to see then; it was quite a sight to see!
I hope you all enjoyed sharing the second part of this adventure with me! Stay tuned for the last part in the series; it will be up in the next few days!
Until the next post
-The Traveling Oyster xxx
This is the last part of the series, but if you would like to read the first two parts, here are the links:
I am fortunate enough to have traveled to quite a number of places. I will do separate posts on some of these in the future, but here is a summarised version of my adventures:
This last week, I went to my holiday house near Hermanus (I will write a blog post about the week later). I took my best friend with, as usual and we decided to hang out the whole day in town on the Wednesday. We ate breakfast, shopped around and then stumbled upon a previously undiscovered little bistro called Betty Blue.
As you know, yesterday I posted the first article to this 4 part travel series (Amsterdam & Belgium trip). The post was quite long, so I couldn't fit everything about Amsterdam in one blog. This post is all about the tips and more recommendations when you travel to this beautiful city. And yes, there will be lots of photographs!
I am dedicating this post to one of my very good friend, Frances, who is going to Amsterdam in a short while. Franci, may you have the best time and enjoy every second of your adventure!
So yesterday I had the privilege of having lunch at the beautiful Overture restaurant, situated in Hidden Valley, Stellenbosch, South Africa. This is the second time I have been there and I must say it is definitely one of my favourite restaurants in the area. The lunchroom has an ever-changing palatable menu with bright colours and excellent wine to pair. I had their rose´
champagne along with my lunch and it was amazing.