Friday, 31 December 2010

Scotland and Spain

We made it to Scotland for Christmas. Three trains and a bus - we were only an hour late in arriving in Keith despite the heavy snow. I enjoyed Christmas, even if looking after my father was challenging. We had a good Christmas lunch in the Royal Hotel in Keith, and on Boxing Day we dug out the car and drove to Spey Bay and then back via Buckie and Cullen.

Then on Monday we took the train to Dunkeld to see Andrew´s uncle and aunt before heading onwards to Glasgow for an overnight stay prior to our flight to Malaga. And now we have been in Malaga for three days. Yesterday we drove to La Herradura for lunch at a beach bar. Today we went to my favourite part of this area - the lakes at El Chorro. We had a fantastic lunch at the Oasis restaurant. It was also good to be able to visit Reg and Gloria in Fuengirola on our way back.

And now it is New Year´s Eve. We have our Cava and our 12 grapes and will proobably head for the Plaza de Constitution in Malaga for midnight.

Happy New Year to all. Retrospective of 2010 and thoughts for 2011 to follow in a day or two.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Heading for Scotland (maybe)

On Thursday, Andrew and I are booked to go from Hitchin to Keith by train. But with all of the snow and travel disruption, that now needs to be seen as speculative rather than certain.

This morning, I could not even get from Hertford East to Liverpool Street. The 0739 train did not depart until about 0800. So I was cold before it started. The heating was not functioning. I got colder. Then after a slow journey to Brimsdown, we stopped there for 30 minutes. I got colder. The driver then announced that there was a defective door and the train was being taken out of service. (Why can they not just empty that carriage and then continue the journey?). 500 people pitched out onto Brimsdown station. I got colder. The next announcement was that no trains were currently going in towards Liverpool Street. I stood for 30 minutes on Brimsdown Station. I got colder. Then I saw a bus going to Broxbourne. I took it. And at Broxburne there was a train going back to Hertford East. I took that. I was still cold.So I got home to my flat just over 4 hours after I left having been unable to get to work.

I was in Hitchin on Saturday and went for a walk in Herford on Sunday. Which is where I took these photos. I like snow as long as I do not have to rely on the UK transport system to get around. So I am looking forward to getting to N. Scotland on Thursday. But am not exactly confident that I will.

Monday, 20 December 2010

South Africa - Cape Town

After our time at Londolozi, we took a small plane to Mpumalanga and then on to Cape Town where we spent 6 days. Some of the time was organised (superbly) by Rhino Africa and some of the time was free time.

On the organised days, we did a wine tour of Stellenbosh and Franchhoek and also a trip to Cape Point - both really interesting days (thanks, Graham). On our free days, we took a train to visit a friend in Simon'sTown. visited the District 6 museum, spend some time on Clifton No 3 beach and went by cablecar to the top of Table Mountain.

We also were invited to a couple of parties and visited a number of hotels to check them out for AMRO Worldwide. Memorably we had dinner at the 12 Apostles watching the sun set over the sea.

I would love to write a travelogue detailing our trip at some length, but I simply do not have time. Suffice to say that we were hosted by Rhino Africa who were fantastic. Thanks to Billy, David and all of the Rhino Africa team. I hope we can bring business your way. I enjoyed this visit to South Africa much more than my first visit a few years ago. Maybe that was because the weather was better, the accommodation was out of this world, the people we met were so friendly and the scenery is breathtaking. Yes of course one cannot go to South Africa without realising the difficulties ahead for that country and the huge task still facing the government in balancing the needs and aspirations of all its people. But certainly we will be back. And I would urge others to visit as well. These are just a few of the photos I took during our visit.

Sunday, 19 December 2010

South Africa - Londolozi

At the start of our trip to South Africa, we spent three nights at the Tree Camp, Lonzolozi in the Sabi Sands - on the edge of the Kruger. It was amazing.

Firstly Londolozi was luxurious - our accommodation was larger than my flat in London. I loved the outdoor shower and outdoor plunge pool. It was weird but exciting to be soaking naked in the plunge pool overlooking the African bush with, in one case, a herd of elephants only 100 yards away. The food was also amazing and the wines were on the top order.

But of course we were there for the game drives. We did 5 drives and they were exciting, humbling and just wonderful. We saw lions, leopards, elephants, rhino, buffalo, giraffe, zebra etc etc etc. Byron, our guide, and Judas, our tracker, were tremendous. Their spotting was unbelievable and Byron was so helpful in his commentary.. All in all it was a great experience.
These are just a few of the photos I took.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Rhino Africa

We have now returned from an amazing visit to South Africa. I will get round to posting a blog about this. In the meantime, our hosts at Rhino Africa have got in first. Here is their blog. Thanks guys.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

In South Africa

We have been to Londolozi game park are are now in Cape Town. We are having a wonderful time. Sadly I don't have time to report in detail- rushing off to dinner now. Back in London on Monday and I hope to report then.

We have sent back some photos for Amro Bear's facebook page.

More soon.