Sunday, 11 December 2016

Why This Season Makes Me Sad In A Way

I love the season of Christmas. There is always something exciting going on - talk about events, parties, markets and so much more. One of the things I also look forward to are the Christmas movies. However, (I bet you saw that coming) each year something always bothers me. It feels like Christmas has been hijacked. Santa Claus/Father Christmas and the commercialization of the day being some of the culprits. Honestly, I don't think many people know what Christmas is all about. The focus is no longer on Jesus as it should be but its on other things which have taken the focus on the real meaning of Christmas.

I remember watching a programme sometime ago where they were asking people what Christmas was all about. Shockingly very few people even mentioned Jesus. I was hurt, yes hurt and saddened. One person even mentioned that Christmas has nothing to do with Jesus because if he really ever existed he wasn't even born in December. This person just had to miss the point...

Anyway, so what does Christmas mean to me. Whilst I agree it is also about spending time with family and giving gifts, those are just side events which are done to share and show each other the love which the Lord Jesus Himself showed all of us by coming down to earth, living as a human and dying for us in order to give us life abundantly and bridge the chasm which had been created between us and God because of sin.He didn't have to but he did it anyway because He loves us so much. Christmas to me is about remembering how much God loves me and how He was willing to humble himself although He is God. His very birth changed the fate of mankind and human life was forever changed.  I am glad that Jesus came and died for me, I am because of Him and I cannot imagine life without Him. He is my everything.  One day when I have children I am going to make sure they know the real story behind Christmas.

Here is my current idee fixe. I love Lauren Daigle, I think she has an awesome voice and this song is really awesome. Love it and it is on repeat on my play list.

In other news - I have also been doing the rounds visiting Christmas markets. I am always on the look out for interesting and unique staff and general markets always deliver. Here are a few pictures.
The Christmas Village at Monte Casino was one of the places I couldnt miss.
You can just tell its Christmas.
There was even a cool fountain place where the children could cool off and have fun.
They even has movies showing every evening. 
I got this gorgeous bag which is perfect as an over night bag or an office bag where I can put in my laptop and work stuff.
 So what have you been up to this festive season and whet does Christmas mean to you? Just curious:).

Tuesday, 6 December 2016

Could This Be a Travel Blog???

This is beginning to feel like a travel blog. I seem to have so many travel related posts...oh by the way I still owe posts of my trips to Greece and the UK...yeah this year has been my year of travelling and it looks like I might just have 1 more trip lined up before the year ends.

Two weeks ago I had an unexpected opportunity to go to Magaliesburg. I have heard good things about  Magaliesburg and have always wanted to go. A getaway just an hour out of Johannesburg (when there is no traffic) with great views, fresh air and the quietness and serenity which I am always craving for, it was perfect. Shame that it was a working 2 days but I enjoyed the bit I got to see and the hotel we stayed at was yes...5 star for sure.It is a nice get away for a romantic weekend and would recommend it to anyone.

Welcome to De Hoek Country Hotel
Wide open spaces everywhere. This is the view from one of the dinning rooms.
The food was also very delicious - I have been wanting to lose some weight for months but with enticements like this I have no chance.

The table set up on our first night there with my colleagues. 
We even had a murder mystery - it was my first. Loved it especially considering I am a big fan of Agatha Christy and crime drama and books.
The judge presiding over the case of one of the murders - there was a total of 3 murders.
The evidence table to help us figure out who the murderer was. It was a complex case but managed to figure out 8/10 of the mystery. Watching all those crime drama finally paid off lol!
Look and that view walking to my room.
I was in room number 6.
My room was gorgeous. I felt right at home immediately.

This was my favorite spot in my room.
They had a great selection of books too. I was pleasantly surprised there was a Francine Rivers books. Oh yeah I managed to read it right by that window in the previous picture
My tea area - those 2 jars were full of cookies and biscuits. How in the world am I supposed to loose weight.
I even had a little pouch. It was a hectic and tiring 2 days but I made sure I took the opportunity to sit there and enjoy the noises of the night.
That shower oh that shower. I enjoyed that shower it was like gentle rain. A friend commented how wasteful of water it was...I refused  to be guilt tripped. Everybody deserves pampering once in a while.
 It was a brilliant two days, despite the fact that it was a working 2 days. At least the next time I need a get away I know where to head ...and I will make sure it will be a fun relaxing getaway with no work involved. 

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

Switzerland Part 2

The one thing I forgot to mention is that Switzerland - particularly Geneva is expensive, very expensive. I remember pay 95 Euro for a simple lunch and getting the shock of my life. I thought Norway was expensive has nothing on Switzerland. Grace explained to me that it was due to the many diplomats who live in Geneva, the presence of a lot of international organizations and the famous Swiss Banks.

Anyway, during my visit I had the opportunity to visit one of the smaller towns in the mountains called Lenk which is one of the places were winter sports happen. I have never seen places that looked like a picture and so unbelievable. I even got to witness an old old Swiss farmers' game called Hornussen in session. The visit to the small town meant a lot to me because I was able to get a real Swiss experience and see how the ordinary Swiss people live. Switzerland is a very mountainous country, you will see this in the pictures.

Again I had so so many picture so it was very difficult to choose, I was taking pictures, Grace was taking pictures so I have hundreds of pictures.
It was about a 4 hour drive from Geneva to Lenk.
The views were stunning. It was a sunny day too.

We saw lots of cows along the way. Grace's 4 year old loved the cows. 
Need I say anything?
Loved how most of the houses in the smaller towns have flowers hanging from the windows. 
Can't figure out why it looks like it was a cold day in this picture, because it was a warm day by Swiss autumn standards. 
We made a stop at this place just to take pictures and breath in the fresh air.
When we arrived in Lenk the 1st thing we did was find a place to have lunch. Took a window table so as to see the stunning view of the mountains.
This was a delicious lunch. I fell in love with a Swiss soft drink called Rivella. It is good. But I heard that it is only popular in Switzerland, it didn't do well in other markets. 
One of the few streets in Lenk. I tell you, its so hard to get lost in these small towns.
Arrival at the field where the Hornussen game was being played. Of course had to take a picture other wise would forget the name:).  
These are rods which are used to play the game. 
Garce's husband is Swiss but he has never seen a game in session  because it is one of those old old traditions which is not so popular anymore. So it was a real honor  to be there for the game.
So the very flexible rod above is used to hit the ball and the end of the blue rail like thing. Believe me its not easy.
Look at that view in the background. Although it was October the snow was already gathering on the mountain tops. 
See those flowers on the windows. So beautiful.
Doesn't this look one of the pictures you wee on a postcard .. so tranquil and picturesque. 
Later afternoon after the game ended there was a celebration in the city centre. 
People came out in their numbers... I mean there was beer and food.
Horse and carriage in Lenk city centre.
There is also a lot of para gliding activities which happen. Managed to capture this para glider who was just about to lane. Do you see those snow capped mountains in the background. 
On our way to the lodge were we stayed. The stunning views are everywhere you look. 
This is the lodge were we stayed. It was charming. 
These where our neighbors for the time we were there. This is the view from the lounge.
Imagine having this as the view in your backyard? I want to have that (Sigh).
We managed to also to to one of the local waterfalls called Iffigenfall. 
So this waterfall is a result of the snow which will be melting from the surrounding mountains.
Goodbye Lenk. This is one of the last pictures I took as we drove away. 
I love places with character. This is a city called Aigle it is about 2 hours away from Lenk. We stopped here to visit a castle. In Aigle they grow grapes and make wine.  Its another small town but a little bigger than Lenk
Here is the Castle - the Chateau d' Aigle. This happens to be one of Grace's 4 year old's favorite castles. See told you before... amazing views from every direction. 
So in the castle they have a display of the wine making process in the olden days which I liked. 
Look at those wine tasters getting drunk. This is over tasting for sure. 
At some point they had a wine called Johannisberg - fascinating indeed. Don't you just love these cool wine labels they had  in the past.

I can't get over those labels - crazy different.
Looking at the vineyards from the castle

Painting of the castle the way it looked back then

So what do you think of Switzerland? As for me  I am sold totally hopelessly in love more than before. There is a reason I fantasied about this country long before I visited it. One of the places with the most amazing views I have ever seen for sure.

The Good Changes

Perhaps I am a person of contradictions but here is the thing – I like doing new things but I am not a huge fan of change. I like planning ...