Road Trip to Mpumalanga- #TravelTuesday

Its Travel Tuesday and this post is to encourage us to take more road trip.

When I was growing up, I recall how my parents loved taking road trips. Their philosophy was, if you have a good working car, money for petrol and can afford a decent hotel, there’s really no excuse to take a road trip.

Fast-forward to my adult life, I’m fortunate that my +1 had a similar childhood and his family went on road trips.

When I think about it, the foundation of our relationship and getting to know each other came from the road trips we took. We are that couple that chose to drive 18h24 min (1773,5 km) – Johannesburg to Namibia for one of our travel adventures. That’s one of the the many remarkable, breath-taking adventures we took.

So when he suggested a road trip to Mpumalanga, I loved the idea. Road trips are not about the destination, they are about the company and most importantly the things you do and get to see along the way.

Our check list for road trip:-

  • Good working Car, Tyres in good condition, iPod, Camera, Snacks, Books and Sunnies.

The day we left, the weather was perfect – cloudy with spots of rain in certain areas.

What we did?

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When we arrived in Mbobela (Nelspruit) the weather was not great, it was raining. Fortunately for us, it was not our 1st visit to Mpumalanga, we had previously visited most of the scenic landmarks.

We did still manage to do a self-drive past Sabie – Pilgrims Rest – Graskop – The Pinnacle – Gods Window – Wonder view.  When the rain eased in some areas, we managed to stop at Mac Mac Falls, visited Pilgrim Rest and had pancakes in Graskop.

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Mac Mac Falls

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Anyone travelling to Mpumalanga for the 1st time, I highly recommend you spend at least 1 full day exploring the Panorama route, and do visit God’s Window, Wonder view, the Three Rondavels and Bourke’s Luck Potholes.

Where we at?

When I travel with my +1, we really do keep it simple from a food perspective, he is not a big fan of dining, he does it for me.

  1. Kuzuri Restaurant & Venue

We had lunch at Kuzuri, a gorgeous restaurant surrounded by the natural beauty of the Lowveld bush in a tranquil setting at the Botanical Gardens.  The inside dining area is quite formal and the outside is perfect for a relaxed breakfast, lunch, supper or sundowner.

The staff were warm, welcoming and friendly. The service was good but not very attentive, I ordered a vegetarian spring rolls and was given chicken spring rolls, my +1 ordered a cola tonic and lemonade and he was given a passion fruit and lemonade.

The menu has something for everyone and great to see a selection for vegetarians. I created a vegetarian tapas which was great except the halloumi was extra salty. My +1 enjoyed his vegetarian wrap.

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2. Harrie’s Pancakes Pannekoek

While in Graskop, we decided to have dessert at Harrie’s Pancakes Pannekoek. As the name suggest, this place is all about pancakes – savoury and sweet but they do have other food items on the menu.

The place is pumping with tourist coming in and out. Timing at this place is everything, we arrived just after a big group of tourist had left and managed to get a table.

The pancakes are fresh and taste really good.  The service was ok, and the pricing of the food is decent. This is one of those places that you have to stop at when in Graskop.

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Where we stayed?

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We were based in a lovely Tuscan style hotel in Nelspruit, La Villa Vita.

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Nestled in a in a quiet residential area in picturesque setting, the hotel is ideal for guests travelling for leisure and business. The hotel has meeting facilities, wedding venues and comfortable accommodation.

Accommodation

La Villa Vita has 21 rooms all offer a flat-screen TV with selected DSTV channels, air-conditioning, minibar, tea-and-coffee facilities and private bathrooms.

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Facilities

Free Wi-Fi, a gorgeous pool, gym, spa, restaurant, Bar/Lounge, private Jacuzzi.

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The hotel is surrounded by nature reserve and it’s extremely peaceful. We enjoyed our walks in the garden and just lounging by the pool with a pool. A perfect place for some R&R.

TS!

 

 

 

 

Spain Travel Tuesday Memories!

It’s Travel Tuesday and Im really itching for an overseas trip…our currency at the moment is making it difficult to plan anything. I have decided to reminisce on a trip I took to Spain last year. There’s a quote that I read that says “Traveling, it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a story teller“… love being able to share my travel adventures!

2015 was a great year for my travel adventures. My trip to Spain with my girlfriends (my sisters from another mother) was really awesome. Initially, our plan was a trip to Italy but that never materialised. We just spent too much time trying to plan the perfect holiday and that resulted in us not finding dates that worked for all of us.

The idea to travel to Spain (Barcelona and Ibiza) was driven by a friend who at that time was itching to travel. She was so motivated, she actually planned the entire trip:-)

BARCELONA

The City of Gaudi has a good mix of a vibrant night life, culinary experience, distinctive architecture and culture. Why the City of Gaudi? There is amazing architectural works by Gaudi – La Sagrada Familia, considered Gaudi’s masterpiece which is still under construction. There’s also Casa Milà (La Pedrera) Casa Batlló, Parc Güell…to mention a few.

Where we stayed

Catalonia Ramblas Hotel

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Great simple hotel, conveniently located with easy access to the Plaza Catalunya and the famous Las Ramblas.  Our arrival was not great, we requested early check-in but when we arrived our room was not ready. We were then given a voucher to shower at the hotel spa, when we got to the spa it was closed and only opened at 11am (We had arrived at 9h30am)

We were booked in their Triple Room (standard double room with an extra bed) The room felt a bit cosy, but we somehow managed.We loved the bathroom, it had a bath, a decent size shower and spacious.

The hotel has an à la carte restaurant, a bar, indoor patio with teka solarium terrace and gardens, gym, meeting rooms for events, swimming pool and free wifi.

Overall the hotel location is great, the staff were helpful and friendly.

What we did

We shopped, ate and partied…we failed dismally from touring Barcelona. The plan was to spend one of the mornings on one of the tours. The only saving grace for me was the fact that I have been to Barcelona and did manage to do a lot of the tourist activities.

On one of the mornings, I did manage to fit in a run and I also walked a bit on one of the afternoons, it was to see the city’s incredible architect.

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Where we ate

Barcelona is renowned globally for food and the culture of eating- from your Tapas bar to your fine dining venues, there’s an abundance of places to eat.  The places we ate:-

  1. Cañete Barra
  • This place is hidden in one of the streets, very close to the Las Rambla. The place was recommended by a friend who had an amazing experience there. 
  • Love the menu design –  The food was great, they serve Tapas style dishes of very high quality. The service was excellent and the overall atmosphere was fantastic.
    • Carrer de la Unió 17, Barcelona, Spain, +34 932 703 458

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  1. Sushi Shop 
  • We stumbled upon this place on one of our shopping endeavours, it’s the most convenient lunch place.
  • The menu has a great selection, love the overall look of this place, it also has a nice relaxed vibe to it and the service was good.
  • A great place should you want a break the traditional Barcelona Tapas or Paella meal.
    • Barcelona Diagonal, Barcelona, Spain, +34 934 143 232

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  1. Celler de Tapas 
  • This place was recommend to us by the hotel, we were looking for a simple place to grab lunch. Great Tapas selection and overall service was great.
    • Plaça Universitat, 5, +34 933 176 488

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You can’t go to Barcelona and not visit a rooftop bar, there’s plenty to choose from and all offer views of the city. We visited two bars that came highly recommended:-

  1. La Isabela Terrace restaurant  
  • The La Isabela Terrace restaurant is located on the roof of H1898 hotel and has incredible views of the city. The hotel is situated at the next to the Plaza Catalunya, very easy to access.
  • It’s a great looking bar, it has a warm vibe and lovely atmosphere. The service was not great but we enjoyed our late evening virgin cocktails. The bar is opened from April – November.
    • Hotel 1898 – La Rambla, 109, Barcelona, Spain, +34 935 529 552

2. Arola Restaurant Terrace

  • Love the look and feel of this place – sheek, elegant,modern contemporary. It made up for the disaster of an evening we had trying to find a good place to have dinner. One would think that being in Barcelona we would not struggle however we found ourselves in the wrong area with places that had the worst service that resulted in us having dinner at Burger King.
  • Arola is located at the Hotel Arts (Ritz Hotel) and has great view of the iconic fish sculpture known as Peix. It’s such a pity we missed out on a opportunity to have dinner there. Their menu looks really great…

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We partied at Jamboree Jazz Club – a club that offers different style of music. Our timing was perfect, the evening we went was RnB and Hip Hop night. The overall vibe and was great. The DJ’s were pretty decent.

IBIZA

After 2 days in Barcelona we ventured to the island of IBIZA. We spent the day lounging by the beach and the night partying.

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Where we stayed

We stayed at Ushuaia beach hotel – the ultimate party hotel. This place is great if you are looking for a party and beach combination. Ushuaïa has made a name for itself championing huge DJ names and creating the most amazing stage production. I was blown away by the entire production and scale.

The hotel has everything – restaurants, cocktail lounges, beachfront café, rooftop bar, outdoor pools, spa, fitness room, free Wi-Fi, and an outdoor stage.

We were booked in a double superior room, the room is open plan and I particular did not like the bath/shower combination. I guess it serves a purpose for people looking to just sleep, we hardly spent any time in the room.

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What we did

We lounged around, partied and ate ourselves silly. We partied at our hotel and at Pacha…the party experience was incredible and very different to how I would go out when in Johanneburg.

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The overall trip was EPIC…it really was an amazing catch-up session with my girlfriends. Barcelona and IBIZA are a perfect holiday destination for friends looking to have a good time. The entire experience was SPLENDID!!

TS!!