Drakensburgs

The Drakensburg mountain range is known as the wall of spears that peacefully separated the Basotho (People of Lesotho) from the Zulu (Of North East RSA). Here are some clips from a sneaky long weekend I managed for a friends birthday thanks to a public holiday in RSA way back in the start of spring.

We stayed at the beautiful Inkosana  Lodge, which is on the road to the Monks Cowl National Park, with a great view of Cathkin peak at sunset over the pool. After doing one of the day hikes to the waterfall under Monks Cowl, we headed further South West to the Amphitheatre Park, and hiked into the base of the Amphitheatre. Topped the long week of driving around a small game park which is situated at the site where the British armed forced incurred a significant loss to the Zulu.

A very action packed and worthwhile long weekend.

Nozawa Onsen snowboarding

It is a year since I first went snowboarding with Arnault at Nozawa Onsen. During January and February 2013 we made numerous trips into the deep fluffy snow on the north west slopes of the Torogi pass in Nagano Prefecture. Arnault, a university friend of Nicks’ from Singapore has been a regular at Nozawa onsen for the past 7 years and returns year on year for the ease of access from Tokyo, deep powder, often unused off-piste trails, and local, non-touristy feel that the place has. He stays at the same family Ryonkan each year, and they view him as a favoured son. Ina ddition, the town is historic, with 17 public onsens scattered throughout the tiny town, it is one of few places  where these public onsens are still maintained, free of charge.

We had blue skies for 2 of the three visits, which is apparently pretty rare, and good snow. On one occasion, we had almost too much snow! Check out the gallery and two video clips I have put together below. Unfortunately, both times I went off-piste with Arnault and Delphine, I crashed too many times to make sure the camera was operating appropriately! One of those occasions I managed to get a little air just prior to hitting a tree at pretty decent speed, so a good thing it is not on camera!

Click to see the pictures in large format.

2013 Review

Another eventful year has ended, and more memories piled atop old. I’m struggling these days even more to hold them all in my head, and find that some leak out as others enter. I hope this post immortalises some of them, capturing an hint of them to serve as a future prompt, a link to a sight, a story, a smell that still lingers in my brain. Before all that though, here is a little clip of how we ushered in 2014 in Germany!

Pictures and videos for some of these memories to come soon! All links below are to existing blog posts on the topics.

January (Japan)

  • Snowboarding with Arnault, Delphine and friends at Nozawa Onsen on multiple weekends
  • The green shoes with pink laces finally paid off when I met Julia

February (Japan)

  • Completed my first marathon, the Tokyo Marathon in 4 hrs 12 minutes and achieved my goal of running the whole 42kms.
  • A big month for work, with the INPEX, IFC and both JICA BoP projects all  being wrapped up at the same time
  • Off-piste snowboarding with Arnault, Delphine and friends.

March (Japan and Thailand)

  • A weekend trip to the Boso peninsular and the fire festival at Takao-San with Julia
  • 10 day return bike trip to Osaka and surrounds and return via Route 19 with Julia, including a catch-up with Lloyd-san.

April (Thailand)

May (Tanzania, Kenya and Uganda)

June (Africa, Holland and USA)

  • Cederburg bike and hike weekend
  • Amsterdam stop-over and catch-up with Julia
  • New York visit for training
  • Presentation of South African PoC site selection model to NHLS PoC forum in Pretoria

July (Africa, Munich, Austria, Slovakia and Italy)

  • Ethiopian food and cultural night with the team
  • Catch-up with Samir and Julia in Munich
  • Train trip From Munich to Bratislava via Vienna
  • Best man for Bryans wedding in Bratislava
  • Family holiday in Sardinia, Italy
  • Rome weekend with Julia

August (South Africa)

  • Supporting the SA DAT team transition
  • NeighbourGoods and ArtonMain markets
  • Apartheid museum

September (South Africa, Lesotho, Ethiopia)

  • Hiking Cathkin peak and the Cathederal, Drakensburg mountains with Antoinette
  • Raspberry day trip with John and Sameera
  • Lesotho Wine tasting festival

October (South Africa, Lesotho, Swaziland)

  • Cape Town to Lesotho via the Garden Route bike journey
  • Cube 10 course degustation dinner for my 30th birthday with Julia, drinks with John, Hanna, Antoinette and Vibhutti.
  • Kruger, Swaziland, Drakensburgs, and outback Lesotho bike tour with Julia

November (Lesotho, South Africa)

  • DAT Access Summit in Pretoria
  • Golf with Nick in Pretoria
  • Hiking Ketane Falls in Lesotho with Emma, Bhavya, Jenna and friends.

December ( South Africa, Lesotho, Ethiopia, Munich)

  • SA team strategy week and Regimen Optimisation workshops
  • Weekend wine tasting in the Stellenbosch with Maria, Micah and Bhavya
  • LST strategy meeting in Camps Bay and SA POC modelling team workshop
  • Ethiopia GeneXpert Workshop and presentation in Adama
  • Julia and friends traditional Christmas eve ‘Werewolf’ game
  • Christmas in Bavaria with Julias’ family
  • Snow shoe hiking in the Alps
  • NYE celebration in Munich

Christmas in Bavaria

A sneak peek into Christmas in Bavaria. After visiting the Christmas markets in Munich We travelled to my girlfriends family farm in Bavaria.

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I didn’t get to capture much of the food, but rest assured the two meals included sausages of various kinds, potato and bread dumplings, saur kraut, brussels, spätzle (home made pasta), and also rolled beef filled with pickled cucumber and boiled eggs. To bring a little bit if Aussie tradition to the party I whipped up a Christmas pudding with assistance from a Country women’s Association recipe and mums skype assistance.

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To top the whole day off we took a short drive into the foothills so that we could claim it was a white Christmas!

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Cape Town Open Street festival and neighborhood markets

Cape Town is a beautiful, vibrant city with a large and growing activist community. There is always a buzz about people and places that are trying to make themselves better. I was lucky enough to pop into the Open Street festival in Cape Town at the end of May when all my gear arrived. I was doubly lucky to have the energetic Cecile to show me around and introduce me to many of the exciting and interesting people that are improving the social equality in and around Cape Town.

For more information on the open streets project you should visit: http://openstreets.co.za/

For more information on the Old Mill Neighborhood markets you should visit: http://www.neighbourgoodsmarket.co.za/

Enjoy the pics.

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