Colmar & Countryside

Today we went to Colmar. The initial plan was to go to the Eco Musee, but unfortunately it was closed. The famous Alsacienne storks were everywhere to be seen on its rooftops.

 

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Eco-Musee Alsace

From there were went to Colmar, mainly to see the statue of liberty replica

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From there, we took a slow drive back through past Masevaux and on to Bourbache-le-Haut

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The baby pine trees

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We stopped at the top of the road down to Bourbach-le-Haut, and took a short walk to view one of the war monuments.

 

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“To Our Dead”


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The view over the valley was breath-taking, even though we only appreciated it for a couple of minutes, due to the icy wind.

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Below us us lies the sleepy Bourbach-le-Haut, a town of some 300 people.

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This is the road we took a good 6 times while staying here. The Tour de France travels along this route.

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Bourbach-le-Haut nestled below

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The Castle & The Christmas Shop

 

The next day of our adventure was to the Haut-Koenigsbourg Castle and the Christmas Shop

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The Haut-Koenigsbourg castle located above the village of Orschwiller

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The town is another tiny village, nestled in-between endless winelands

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We wound our way through the town, up to the Castle

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The Castle was built by Frédéric le Borgne, duke of Souabe and a member of the Hohenstaufens familyview more history

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It is cold and eerie inside the castle, you feel like you are back in the  12th Century, when the Castle was built.

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Throughout, small period windows allow you this astounding, breathtaking glimpse of what the duke saw on a daily basis

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After the Castle, we went down into Orshwiller for lunch, and ended up at The Hupsa Fannala

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It was a quaint place, the food slightly higher priced, but most delicious

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And from there, on to Riquewihr, in search of the Christmas Shop

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This was my favourite town of the trip

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The main street is only pedestrian (and delivery vehicle) access, the cobbled wonderland becomes from the start

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For those who prefer not to walk, the little tourist train will show and tell you around the fairy tale town

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Here, I found something I have never had before (and would not normally eat, should I not have been on holiday)

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Banana Sorbet !

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Made with real bananas, it was absolutely delicious, so much so that I hunted for it in every other place we went to, but did not find it

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We wandered through the village, taking in this surreal, movie-set like village

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The smell of mouth-watering treats, sweet & savoury capture every  sense

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Tourist and locals alike congregate in the the gorgeous winstubs (or wine rooms)

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Just one of of the boulangeries (bread-ery) / patissteries (bakery), its windows lined with multi-coloured macaroons

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Ha, and finally, the famous Christmas Shop

The Feerie de Noel is the main reason why this town holds the best memories for me.

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 The store is set up like many of the stores here, almost like a ride, one way in / out. And, as soon as you enter, it feels like you have climbed aboard the Polar Express

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As you venture further into the wonderland, you feel as if you have just woken up in the  Santa’s Factory, it really gives you that warm-and-fuzzy feeling.

No cameras inside – check it out here.













Exhilaration – The Eiffel Tower

After enjoying Opulence in the morning with mother, sister and I decided on a journey of exhilaration for the afternoon.

The industriously set of on foot for the Eiffel Tower, 6.3 kms away.

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This was just as we got the Seine, and yes, that is Starbucks in my hand

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We crossed over the Seine

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And found a small house boat of my namesake

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We just had to take a picture in from of the Bridge of  Love Locks

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When leaving the bridge, a most well positioned (what we call) rickshaw happened upon us

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We were more than happy to pay the €30, considering we had another 4.7 kms to walk (never mind the stairs up the Eiffel Tower) Our rickshaw driver even gave us a tour, he was from  Ukraine or Romania, most pleasant chap.

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And we made it. We queued for about 40 minutes in the line for the stairs to the first level. The queues for the elevator was astonishingly long.

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A few quick shots from the first level

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Then onward and upward  to second level  (click to take a 360 tour) via the stairs again

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We queued for about 50 minutes, the icy wind blowing fiercely.

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More second level

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Looking up to where the queue would take us. All those triangle things are lights that light up every evening at 10:00 pm when the Eiffel Tower closes.

There is quite a story behind these lights, find out here

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The Seine River stretching far in the distance

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The queue is rather tiresome, so they have these neat telescopes to amuse weary travelers

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Almost at the front of the queue…

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And finally, the top floor

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It is entirely faced in, so many a tourist stuck their lenses through, snapping away at the Notre Dame Cathedral (above)

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And at the  above Arc de Triomphe (undergoing maintenance)

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And above is the very very top of the exhilarating Eiffel Tower, which only staff can access

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Les Invalides, Musée de l’Armée

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When we alighted the Eiffel Tower, we were rather spent. Thank you Lord there was a rickshaw literally right in front of us that look us as far as the Louvre Museum, leaving us about another 3 kms to walk back

George The Chicken

For the last year and a bit, George the chicken has been living on this corner.

I have passed him on a bi-daily basis since he arrived there, and affectionately call him George.

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The corner of Umhlanga Rocks Drive and Westridge Road is where he makes his home, the kind man in that corner residence feeds him.

Around Christmas 2013, George vanished from his traffic light.

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After a few weeks, the story came out.

The kindly man of the corner house, had taken George and relocated him to a residential complex, where he is well looked after.

It was sad, but better for George.

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Then, yesterday, I spotted him. He has obviously broken free of the secure complex, and made him way back to the traffic light.

Mt Moreland KZN – Barn Swallows & Legavaan Sighting

The weekend before my Cape Town Christmas trip, my friend and I went up to Mount Moreland, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa.

Mount Moreland is about 15 kms from Umhlanga, and is best known for its Barn Swallows.

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The public can view this awesome sight of the up to 3 million Barn Swallows descending on their roost.

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This initiative is courtesy of Mount Moreland Conservancy

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Visitors bring their own chairs, food, drinks, binoculars, and mosquito repellent.

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The roosting time is about half an hour before sunset, but we went on the trip for the serenity and quite of the landscape.

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A pathway leads from the top of the view point, down towards the marshlands

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I begin descending, the only sound the wind whistling and rustling through the cane fields

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The path rounds a bend, and a tunnel of foliage leads down to the marsh, igniting the imagination

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The sparse clouds provide little relief from the midday sun, I head back up the path.

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En route out of Mount Moreland, we crossed a bridge

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Stopped to take photos, my friend noticed a Legavaan (or Rock Monitor) in the road behind us in the road

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The Legavaan vanished as quickly as he had appeared, scampering back to the safety of the brush.

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Further along our route back to Umhlanga, we came across the Dust Pit Tavern.

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It is housed in a picturesque building, Cape Dutch style almost.

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The road home

Funfair Rides, Durban Beachfront, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa

If you haven’t been to Funworld or Waterworld, then you haven’t been to Durban, Kwazulu Natal, South Africa. You will experience exhilaration and excitement as never before. Share the excitement with family and friends. The Beachfront Amusement Park is a wonderland of fun and fantasy for both adults and kids.

Go to site to book.

I went there a couple weeks ago. The below is from the cable car ride. I also went on the Breakdance ride.

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Situated on Marine Parade opposite the Holiday Inn, the Amusement Park provides secure entertainment for the whole family in a world of carnival lights, music and entertainment. Spend time enjoying all the fun of the fair. The Cablecar provides a scenic and majestic view of the beach-front from the air, while the bigger kids have the fun and the exhilaration of the Breakdance and experience the thrill of the Swingboat. The little ones can experience the Elephant Ride or Carousel. All this in the safety of controlled facilities.

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Breakdance ride above at the bottom

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Beautiful Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa

As part of my job I visit various sites in Kwa-zulu Natal, South Africa.

I usually take 2 or 3 day trip, and go as far as Bergville (plus minus 4 hours from home in Durban), stopping in Ladysmith, Estcourt, BostonPietermaritzburg, Richmond, and Eston.

I also go down the KZN South Coast (Hibiscus Coast), as far as Port Edward, and inland, to Harding.

I prefer taking the back roads, and avoiding major highways.

Here are some pics from my last two trips.

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Inland – en route Boston, a tiny farming town in rural KZN

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Climbing the hill on the N2 to Harding

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N2 to Harding under re-vamp

From the top of the hill en route to Harding

From the top of the hill en route to Harding

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Nearing Harding, I spotted this Crowned Eagle

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Back route from Harding to Port Edward, Izingolweni Road 

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Terrain contrast of the Hibiscus Coast

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Rolling sugar cane fields bordered by thick forests

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Route: Richmond to Eston – April 2013

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Richmond to Eston – October 2013

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Bougainvillea in full bloom – October 2013

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R624 – nearing destination Eston

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Rolling hills on the R624

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The in-coming summer rains will see the hills transformed into God’s pallets of fabulous greens

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Majestic evergreen forests

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Finally, returning home to Umhlanga Ridge area

 

Sunset – Glenashley Beach, Durban, South Africa

Yesterday evening, after another perfect Sunday in Durban, South Africa, sunset at Glenashley Beach was a playground for the imagination.

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There were 18 vessels  to be seen on still waters, some full of cargo, others empty.

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As the sun sank below the horizon, the shadows of each ship seemed to be haunting the calm evening, like lost souls waiting to be ferried to another world.

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The windswept clouds mirrored mysterious shapes of unicorn, dragons and unearthly sea creatures.

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Another beautiful day in Kwazulu Natal, South Africa