FRIDAY 13 SEPTEMBER, 2013 / COMMENTS 
Last year when I was still in advertising, one of the guys I worked with quit his job, packed up his Land Rover and went with his girlfriend on a 5 month adventure through Africa. They didn't really have much of a plan. They had a map, a tent and craving to discover and explore.
They've documented this awesome adventure on their newly designed blog Pass the map. Jeff taking incredible pictures and Kerryn being beautiful and designing these awesome infographics below from some of the countries they went to.
They also made this flipping amazing stop motion video recording all the place they've taken Andy the Landy. I love it. Their next adventure is to India! So keep checking back for updates.
WEDNESDAY 14 AUGUST, 2013 / COMMENTS 
Need Supply Co. had a really cool instagram competition on during July and August. They wanted to integrate everybody's summer holiday adventures under the hashtag #goexplorenow. They featured a few of my instagrams from our trip, but it was also just so cool to see where everyone else was spending their summer. This picture at the top won. How incredible does that look?
WEDNESDAY 7 AUGUST, 2013 / COMMENTS 
The Amalfi Coast has been at the top of my travel bucket list for a long time and it was worth every hour and toll to get there (I will be writing a full post about driving around Italy - that is an adventure in itself).
This place had a serious effect on me - a calming, exciting, nerve wracking, first date kind of feeling. Have you felt that way about a place before? Like you just want to get to know it so badly.
Dylan and I loved exploring and taking in the beauty of this place. We found secret beaches, chartered a speed boat for a day, floated around the island Capri, explored turquoise grottos, ate way too many carbs, found lemons the size of our heads, drank some really strong limoncello (yeow!), had near death experiences on the windy coastal roads, had a picnic in the middle of the ocean and got stung by jelly fish.
We stayed in Furore quite high up on the hill at an awesome B & B where we ate fresh out of the oven croissants and had coffee every morning with a view of blue. There were some days where you literally couldn't tell where the sea ended and the sky began. It was soul food and I decided right there and then we had to come back here (some day!). Some places just do that to you - they steal a tiny piece of your heart and you'll always feel a pull to go back. Paris did that to me too (as I think it does to everyone).
Put this place on your travel bucket list, now!
Capri in the distance.
Heading back to Amalfi
I found this cute map here to give you better idea of where everything is (This is quite near the bottom of the boot on the west coast of Italy).
- We loved having a car, even though parking costs the same as food for a day but you don't really need one as the whole coast seems really well connected with buses.
- Definitely hire a boat from Amalfi and go up the coast and around Capri - it's the best view of the coast and was my favourite day out.
- Go find the Fiorde di Furore (that incredible beach above!). It's under a bridge and quite easy to find in Furore. The sun only shines in for a few hours a day but it's totally worth it. The water is crystal clear and there is small shop there that rents out loungers, umbrella's and food. It's also surprising quiet and the only the locals seem to go there.
- Try the local limoncello after a meal - it's potent but tasty!
- If you have a car drive from Amalfi all the way to Sorrento - it's longish drive but so beautiful.
Ps. All pictures are mine, taken on my iphone
SUNDAY 14 JULY, 2013 / COMMENTS 
Sometimes things don't really go as planned.
Our Italian road trip got off to a pretty rough start. Long story short (leaving out a few gory details), our camera, without warning stopped working on our last day in Amsterdam. One minute I was taking a picture of an ice-cream and the next minute the screen wouldn't go on. We got this beautiful camera on loan from Fuji to replace our bulky but amazing SLR's. All our bets were on using this camera for our trip and we lost. You have no idea how devastating it is, as a photographer, being in the most beautiful places in the world and not having the right equipment to capture it.
To buy a new decent camera would severely cut into our travel budget, and so far we still haven't gotten a replacement from Fuji so we are pushing onwards with our iphones as cameras and hoping that our pictures will do the places we go justice!
We landed in Milan, and after a long afternoon of finding a sim card, a gps and a camera shop (which seem to be non existent in Italy) we drove up for a short but sweet time on this beautiful Italian lake. The roads were crazy. Dylan quickly had to figure out how to drive on the other side of the road, the other side of the car while on two way roads really only meant for one! There were more than a few scary moments but we arrived in one piece.
Lake Como, Lago di Como in Italian, is Italy's most popular lake. It is surrounded by mountains and hills and dotted with beautiful houses and villas. Since Roman times it has been a top romantic destination and you can see why. The beauty of the place does something, physically, to your heart. Like a pull or a burst or something. All I know is that it made me forget all about the bumpy start to our journey and excited to be on this adventure with my favourite person.
We loved our very short stay here; making out in the cobbled streets, drinking a morning caffé with the most incredible view and seeing how the locals go about their weekends. We took it all in, promising ourselves and the lake that we'd be back again for longer next time.
A little place with a beautiful view where we split a pizza.
We stayed in Lezzeno but I would recommend staying anywhere on the lake. As long as you have a lake view and can walk around easily you'll have an amazing time. We drove in through Como and exited through Bellagio (both breathtaking) and headed South to Cinque Terre!
The road trip had started and adventure awaited us!
TUESDAY 2 JULY, 2013 / COMMENTS 
Hi Guys, I'm writing this post from Frankfurt! We're in a little airport cafe drinking R40 cappucino's and eating Frankfurters (we had to!)
Yesterday we packed our little bags and have headed to Europe for a whole month. It was quite a stressful last few days getting ready and finishing up work but it feels so good to finally be here. We're headed to Amsterdam today, and we have a long list of nice things to do and places to eat and shop!
I'm going to try and blog as I go, and take you along on the journey. If you have any recommendations we're in Amsterdam for the next 3 days :) let me know!
THURSDAY 29 AUGUST, 2013 / COMMENTS 
If you're headed to Barcelona on a budget one place you have to know about is La Champañerîa Can Paixano. It's a meat and cava (champagne) bar and was probably the most awesome place we went to in Barcelona.
It's a tiny space so it fills up fast (so you're drinking and eating pretty much shoulder to shoulder with everyone...but thats part of the fun). You slowly make your way to the bar, order your pink Cava (A really delicious Rosé champagne they make themselves) and a Bocadillo (a hot sandwich with chorizo or whatever you like inside), and you enjoy the atmosphere. The Spanish guys behind the counter are always shouting out orders, and constantly pouring champagne - we found the service was excellent - our glasses were never empty ;)
The vibe is amazing. It's loud, the space is so tight and you are forced to make friends with the strangers next to you (Most likely a local or another tourist you can swap stories with). You are guaranteed to spill your champagne (as they fill it to the brim!), and you most likely won't be able to decipher the menu boards (just order a hot Chorizo Bocadillo - it's amazing). Also don't look down, apparently the sign of good bar/restaurant is how dirty the floor is (Don't worry it's mostly wrappers and serviettes and spilt champagne).
A glass of Pink Cava goes for 1 Euro, and a Bocadillo goes for around 1.65 Euro. If you order tapas or croquettes those go up to about 3.50 - still the cheapest tastiest meal you'll have in Barcelona.
La Champañerîa is located near the Barceloneta Beach/metro and it’s on a road Calle Reina Christina. Once you find the road, it may seem like a quiet street - just keep walking til you find it. There's no signage, but you'll know once you've found it!Tip: Get there before 8pm to get a good spot.
TUESDAY 13 AUGUST, 2013 / COMMENTS 
Croatia was interesting.
I have to be honest from the beginning that Dubrovnik didn't meet all our expectations. We imagined a "hidden gem" still untouched and beautiful. While it is still very pretty and the sea is warm, it is very touristy. We visited the old town in Dubrovnik on our first night and felt like we were in Montecasino. Even though it is a genuine medieval city most of the original city had to be rebuilt after it was besieged and damaged by Serb-Montenegrin forces in 1991 after the break up of Yugoslavia (pretty hectic stuff to have happened so recently). The old town feels too new and streets are mainly lined with restaurants and souvenir shops.
So we tried to avoid the old town and hired a scooter so we could explore the coastline. The sea and the beaches are amazing (pebbly but amazing). The colour of the sea is unbelievable and it is crystal clear. We found some really great beaches and also rode out to a small town outside Dubrovnik to go find a few of the spots where they filmed Game of Thrones. It was probably a really dorky thing to do but we enjoyed it.
You'll also be happy to know the exchange rate is actually in our favour (about R2 to 1 Kuna), so it's quite an affordable holiday if you can't get to Italy and really has some rad spots. Here is a brief overview in pictures.
The Arboretum in Trsteno aka The Kings landing gardens
TUESDAY 16 JULY, 2013 / COMMENTS 
Wait! Before you start reading, play this song, and then carry on - just a little something to get you into the mood.
After a great trip south we reached the beautiful Cinque Terre which 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" is composed of five villages: Monterosso, Vernazza, Corniglia, Manarola, and Riomaggiore.
We loved exploring all of these pastel coloured towns, tanning on the big rocks and swimming in the warm sea. We ended every night watching the sunset on the rocks and eating take aways. I can still remember the smell of the air - salt, fries and sunscreen. Although very touristy we still really enjoyed the authenticity of the towns. If you walked through the streets you'd still see people hanging up their washing, and going about their daily life.
Our favourite towns had to be Vernazza (top picture) and Riomaggiore (below - the best swimming spots). Monterosso is the only town with a traditional sandy beach so it's completely packed and is quite pricey to hire an umbrella and loungers. We ended up buying a beach umbrella for 9 Euros which was totally worth it with that heat!
I've heard there are some lovely hiking trails between the towns, but with the heat all we wanted to do was lie on our backs and soak in the sun.
Getting around: We had a car and stayed just outside the towns. Parking is a nightmare and very expensive so the best place to start is in La Spezia and take the train in to all of the towns. I would recommend staying here for 2 - 3 days so you can see everything and maybe even Porto Venere (which we missed).
MONDAY 8 JULY, 2013 / COMMENTS 
Amsterdam! What an adventure. We arrived at the airport with no clue what to do and we could only check into our Air bnb later that afternoon. So we bought a train ticket to Centraal station and decided we'd figure out what to do from there. I'd heard from a lot of people that the only way to see Amsterdam is on a bike, so we made a bee-line to a rental shop. We rented from Yellow bikes (but there are tons of bike rental shops around.)
We arrived at Yellow Bikes just in time for a 3 hour tour of the city. It was such a lovely introductory tour of Amsterdam with a lot of stops along the way at different points of interest. The city is connected by canals, and the architecture of the houses that line the canals are totally unique. Three or Four stories high with a very very small front facade, some as small as one metre wide! The windows are huge and beautiful and the apartments don't have any curtains so you'll often ride past people just reading in their window or watching tv. It feels very open and safe which I loved.
We were there for less than 3 days, and it felt way too short but I think in the time that we had we packed in a lot! In no particular order here are my top 5 things to do in Amsterdam.
We've kind of covered this above but I can't recommend it enough. Amsterdam is a small city but travelling feet still get tired and on a bike you'll cover more ground without breaking too much of a sweat. I also recommend doing the city tour on your first day to get used to riding around, using hand signals etc.
Here's a great post about bikes in Amsterdam.
Visit the Musuems.
I know they aren't for everyone but going to the Stedelijk museum (of modern art) and the Rijks museum were incredible for me. Seeing the Picasso's, Rembrants and Vermeers in the flesh were inspiring. (Most of the art museums are in the same area so you can do both of these in a day and they have amazing cafes inside.)
Amsterdam has most of the cool chain stores like H&M, Cos, scotch and soda etc. One of the main shopping streets is Leidestraat, and nearby is "De Negen Straatjies", which is nine streets full of wonderful and unique shops. If you love vintage clothing you have to get to Episode and Zipper (They reminded me of Beyond Retro in London). I think you'll like these back streets way more. Also if you have more expensive taste (Louis Vuitton, Fendi etc) there is De Bijenkorf which is the big fancy department store opposite Madam Tussauds.
If you're on the run be sure to get a pack of Stroopwafels (syrup waffles), they make for a really great energy snack. We also ate at some really amazing unique restaurants which I will be reviewing in a separate post.
There are a lot of random things to do in Amsterdam but one of the best things to do is get lost. Just walk around the canals and see what you find. It's so quaint and pretty, and there are hidden gems around every corner.
We stumbled upon such awesome places like this sweet little corner shop called Stach (I loved their branding so much, so simple but effective).
We also stumbled onto a totally cool Barber shop called Haar Barbaar where Dylan got his beard trimmed - it was such a cool place but a total boys club - no ladies allowed! I laughed out loud when the barber told me I couldn't come inside but he was dead serious, so I had to wait outside on the bench while trying to take some sneaky pictures. How awesome does it look though?
Wandering around at night is also lovely with all the canals lit up, as long as you don't end up in the red light district.
A few random tips
Don't worry about the language barrier, most people speak a bit of English and are really friendly. If you understand Afrikaans, you can generally understand the dutch pretty well.
Don't waste precious time and money on typical tourist traps like Madam Tussauds. Rather try experience Amsterdam like a local (below is me being a major tourist, it's the I amsterdam sign outside the Rijksmuseum and there are always people climbing all over it)
Do have a picnic in Vondelpark, or at least a ride through it.
Do try visiting one of their "coffee shops", at least once.
Do get to the museums/sites early to avoid queues.
Do dump your luggage if you're stuck with it. There are lockers at the stations and museums.
Do book accommodation in the central ring (in riding distance), we stayed outside the ring and it wasn't fun catching the metro in everyday.
Do get a 48 hr - 72 hour transport pass (works for metro, buses and trams if you're going to be doing a lot of cross city travelling, especially if you don't hire a bike).
Take it all in, it's an amazing city.
Next up: Driving through Italy.
WEDNESDAY 22 MAY, 2013 / COMMENTS 
This past weekend Dylan and I joined a small group of bloggers in Cape Town on an awesome weekend of hiking, eating and music, all brought together by Sedgwicks Old Brown sherry. We did a small part of the Hoerikwaggo trail. Starting at Silvermine and ending off on Table mountain. We hiked about 25 km!
Cape Town is beautiful, we all know that, but seeing it from those heights blew me away. Seeing the city and the ocean through the pine trees, and beyond that, the layers and layers of mountain ranges was something incredible! Such a different perspective and such raw beauty.
After our first day of hiking we settled in at the Orange Kloof tented camps, which were so comfortable and luxurious for camping style accomodation, and so beautiful (see pic below). After the sun dropped (along with the temperature) we all gathered around the fire place with amazing food and awesome folky tunes provided by the Black handed kites who are two lovely lads who are making some great music (listen here!). We had such a surreal camp fire night, sharing stories, singing songs - I felt like I was in American summer camp movie, but better.
Oh and an awesome video was made of our little adventure by Jacques Koudstaal - it's really beautiful and the music is great so have a watch!
The next day we soldiered on and finished off on Table mountain with an ice cream and a ride down the cable car ;)
Thank you Sedgwicks for an unforgettable weekend!
Ps. Our hiking guide was the amazing Binnie from the Ridgeway ramblers if you're looking for a guide to do something similar to what we did.