Thursday, June 21, 2018

The Road to Kruger

It takes a l-o-n-g time to get to Kruger National Park when you drive because of all the potholes...everywhere...potholes...big potholes!  It took me a while to figure out that everywhere else...most of Botswana, all of Namibia, and western and central South Africa have good to great roads.  But eastern South Africa has so many potholes that you have to drive extremely slowly.  Everyone complains, too.  Near the end of our adventure, it dawned on me why the potholes never got fixed.  Drivers are being trained to slow down, no matter where you come from, because when you drive down a road, you are never sure when an animal might make an appearance right in front of you.  Drivers need to be ready to stop, and potholes are the way to do it!

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Africa...Here We Come

Yes, we did.  Six weeks in South Africa, Botswana, Namibia, and back to South Africa.   Around Thanksgiving we had arranged to rent a Toyota Hilux double cab diesel camper pick-up with two collapsible tents on top for the three of us: Jim and I sharing one; Steve in the other.  Steve drove on the left side of the roads nearly 6,000 miles beginning near Johannesburg, the mile high city of South Africa.  We picked the truck up our first afternoon and began our grand adventure by heading east towards Kruger National Park where we had reservations beginning two days later.

Our first campsite was in a park outside Dullstroom, the coldest city in South Africa, which we did not realize until the middle of the night.  However, we went to bed with tummies filled with the delights of Mrs. Simpson's chef.  If South African food is this good, we will be really happy travelers.

The first animal we heard in South Africa was a horse munching grass at dawn.  The first animals we saw in South Africa were chickens and sheep.  This shy mama hen did not want her photo taken, but see what she was sheltering...8 babies!


We drove by the overlooks of Blyde River Canyon including God's Window.  Blyde River Canyon is the second largest canyon in Africa.  

God's Window is really a slit between the big sections of rock, but the sun was in the position to limit my photography skills.

The view from God's Window opened a vista towards Kruger Park and other private game reserves.

The parking lot was our first glimpse of tourist souvenirs.  Someone told me much was made cheaply in Zimbabwe, and everyone had nearly the same things for sale.  I decided to try to buy directly from the artisans who make the items I chose to buy on our trip.

Friday, January 26, 2018

My 70th Trip Celebration

My 70th birthday, my 70th trip around the sun, is one I will not get to repeat.  As no one ever gets to repeat, we should all celebrate, and celebrate well!  Many of my friends had great parties, a few had quiet dinners, and I was undecided.  Finally, I chose to spend it in my favorite city: San Francisco, which made my birthday celebration turn into a weekend-long celebration.

Jim and I drove up the coast highway looking at giant waves left over from the week's storm.

Our first stop of the day was the De Young Museum in Golden Gate Park.  I am pointing to Andy Goldsworthy's fault line and rocks in the entry way.  His work is one of my favorite things about the museum.

These are baskets woven by people who once lived in California.

This one has added bird feathers of many different kinds and abalone shell pieces.

We walked along the waterfront near the St. Francis Yacht Club enjoying views of the Golden Gate Bridge, the San Francisco Bay including Alcatraz Island,

and San Francisco:

As I was treated to dinner at Greens Restaurant in Fort Mason Center, we watched the sky grow dark:

We stayed overnight near Union Square and took our 11th stairwalk Saturday morning around Nob Hill, just four blocks up and away.  At the top we asked to be shown into a private dining room of the Huntington Hotel to view Muybridge's 1878 panoramic photo of San Francisco and his Horse in Motion series.

The famous cable cars crossed our path several times.

At the Fountain of the Turtles in Huntington Park, a woman practiced her Tai Chi.

Before heading back along the coast to Santa Cruz, we met an old friend for lunch in Japantown, a new dining place for us.  It was a wonderful 70th birthday celebration in the city!

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Last Look at London

In the car we shared to catch our flight to London from Preveza, there was a couple from the United Kingdom and a driver from Afghanistan who had been an interpreter for the US.  He was an extremely vocal supporter of our president, whereas the couple were the opposite.

We were fortunate enough to be able to spend our last two nights in Greenwich where we saw the Cutty Sark ship.

Summer was yet a month away, but it was still a gorgeous evening for a stroll along the Thames.

On our last day we returned to Tate Modern via a river boat to see the rest of the free exhibits and eat lunch at the window bar while watching all the people out enjoying the lovely weather.

A last view of the Shard:

We finally found The Design Museum which had moved across the river and to the west side of London into a brand new building built just for its exhibits.  A special exhibit, California: Designing Freedom, was opening the day after we were leaving.

  Until next time...Good bye, London!  

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Sivota to Vliho on Lefkada- May 20, 2017

We all had a good night sleeping-with dreams!  On our last day of sailing, we had our last excellent lunch in Portofini Bay; one that Jim and I thought we had never been...but we had.

 Slowly we sailed back to Vliho for our last rum punch at the Sail Ionian roundup. 

Tonight's supper at the Quay Cafe was no exception to the rule of always having great food in Greece...steak and baked potato, sole, bangers and mash, samosas, wine, and baklava to round it out.

The week has sailed by full of fabulous food, funny stories, and fantastic friends.  Tomorrow we share a car back to Preveza to fly back to London Gatwick taking wonderful memories and planning our next voyage.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Agia Efimia on Kefalonia to Sivota on Lefkada- May 19, 2017

          It was such a calm and beautifully warm morning as we motored on the west side of Ithaca.
                                        A small family of dolphins swam and fed around us.

Being close to the shoreline, we could see Stavros high in the mountains and several secluded homes.

We had lunch just outside the marina, eating wonderful leftovers, new spinach pie that is available in every market, wine, and John's lethal ice cream desserts.  

I went for a swim in hopes of burning off some calories from all the magnificent food we had been eating.  The water was really cold until I swam into shore.  No one else ventured in.

Elena was at the helm to take us past the northern point of Ithaca, then I took over.  The wind was great for sailing once we passed the point.  Eventually, I got cold and tired and passed the helm to Jim.  Suddenly the wind rose to 20-21-22, and we were in trouble because we could not reef the mainsail safely.  Luckily, a deep, narrow bay was close by into which we sailed to get out of the wind and to reduce the size of our sails.

The second moment of terror of our voyage had passed, and we sailed on into Sivota on Lefkada where another bit of excitement awaited us.  The marina used lazy line anchoring.  Neither Jim nor I had ever even seen it done.  Yannis, the owner of the nearby restaurant, jumped on and carried out the proper actions to anchor us while his wife and neighboring yachties fit us in between two other boats at the same time without crashing into the other boats or the quay.  Sometimes it takes a village to tie up a boat.

Once settled, John immediately headed for a nap.  Elena, Jim, and I walked to their favorite bar on the far side of the bay for espresso with ice cream and two Mythos beers.

That is an old olive crusher in the corner of the bar.

The menu tonight included stuffed roast pork, briam (a stew), pork souvlaki, broad beans, arugula salad, Greek salad, eggplant dip, bread, wine, and chocolates.