August 1, 2017

Just when the boys thought we could simply not visit another museum, we woke up on day four and told them we would be visiting the Hermitage. Like many museums around the world it is closed on Mondays and we therefore suffered the consequences of going there on a Tuesday. Though if you continue reading you will find the crowds were even worse when we walked past on Thursday.

After we made our way through the maze...

The three-hour time zone and 24-hour journey from Abidjan to Saint Petersburg meant we all slept in a bit (9am in parenting terms is midday) before venturing down to the nearest metro station, Fruzenskaya. Gorkovskaya metro station, which is where we aimed to start the walking tour we had discovered in the hotel guide, was four stops away and our first introduction to the Russian ‘underground.'


As the train doors ope...

I have waited months to be able to use the Bond cliché and now that I can, I will have to find the will power to not give every blog post written in Russia the same title. We arrived in Saint Petersburg via Dubai from Abidjan earlier today. It was not the grand entry we had initially planned for the Russia leg of our trip: riding into Moscow from the far eastern city of Vladivostok on the Trans-Siberian railway. Yet...

September 28, 2016

It is 1 a.m. and rain is pummeling the thatched roof of our rondavel at Rio Vista Lodges in Malalane, on the outskirts of the Kruger National Park. I can’t find sleep. Images of some of the emaciated impalas, withered elephants and scrawny giraffes trying to graze among lifeless trees we saw in the park today still haunt me and it feels good to hear rain coming down.

Like the rest of the country, they too desperately...

September 12, 2016

On a slow, solar-powered internet connection at Bulungula Lodge, on the Wild Coast, I manage to get a message through to a cousin of my late maternal grandfather, who lives between Durban and London. We are headed up to KwaZulu-Natal after and I want to make sure she is around.

She is, but only on Thursday evening. We had arrived in paradise at the Bulungula River mouth a day earlier a couple of weeks ago, so leaving...

August 30, 2016

On the BRICS road for 10 days, packing up in Nieu Bethesda and heading to Port Elizabeth, I receive a WhatsApp from a friend in Johannesburg saying she had a dinner invitation for me at our next stop. 

The chicken potjie we'd had at The Karoo Lamb the night before was divine and as close to home-cooking as you can get, but the prospect of dinner at her "PE mom's home" would be a welcome treat. 



August 26, 2016

When South Africa won the bid to co-host the Square Kilometer Array project it was described as an achievement for the country and the continent as a whole. It is an international effort to build the world’s largest radio telescope, with its hub 80km outside Carnarvon in the Northern Cape.

Members of the small Karoo town were understandably hesitant about the development of this project on their doorstep, but some are...

August 22, 2016

We wake up to a gorgeous cloud-domed sky after a night of stormy rainfall. We heard the muffled sounds of raindrops pummeling the roof our warm little cottage throughout the night and felt quite relieved for the upgrade to Bos Huisie after the tinge of disappointment at missing out on the night in a reed hut. We head up the hill, across the West Coast highway for a hearty breakfast at the !Kwha ttu restaurant, run by...

August 21, 2016

After a morning of frantic last-minute packing, we finally load the boot of the Subaru Outback with our luggage under a torrential downpour and lock the front door of our Mowbray house around 13h00. Earlier in the morning, our future tenants, Tobias and Claire, who will move in next week, came to pick up Flash, our beloved dog. He will remain in their care during our trip. There were some teary goodbyes but both Guy...

August 16, 2016

We've had a couple of farewells before (to say the least), which always included lots of dancing, late nights and the hangover that goes with it the next day. Those were fun, don't get me wrong, but also didn't allow for any meaningful conversation with our nearest and dearest.

This time, with two kids in tow and lots still to do before we leave, we decided to have an open house from 9 in the morning, until 9 at night...

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© by Leanne & Guillaume de Bassompierre.