Hopefully the first of many videos of our forthcoming trips.
Still a lot to learn about this video editing thing.
1080 version here:
Hopefully the first of many videos of our forthcoming trips.
Still a lot to learn about this video editing thing.
1080 version here:
Abrie delivered our new adventure wagon yesterday.
Feeling so excited to pack it and set off on a camping trip.
Our inside shower.
Lots of packing space.
Huge bed. No more ladders.
Love this thing.
The Conqueror that served us so well over 7 years have been sold.
I really hope Emma and Miles have as many awesome moments as we have had.
Leaving for the last time.
It has been too long.
Charmain and I needed a bush break and after more than 5 years we returned to Mapungubwe.
Our blog was not up at that stage but we did post a trip report here.
We had a wonderful time as we did the last time and even though some things did change most of the magic(and not so magic) stayed.
Many people always ask about equipment we used for our photographs etc. so I thought I would add some tidbits going forward.
The service from Anton at Lensrent was first class and I can really recommend his business.
Charmain only shot video during this trip and we plan to upload the video as soon as we tried our hand at video editing. (Might take a while)
I am uploading bigger pictures so please click on the photos in this post to get a much nicer picture.
Back to Mapungubwe.
We saw elephants every day as with our previous trip.
The animals operate mostly between the river and the waterhole and that is exactly where most of the photos were taken.
The waterhole was much bigger this time around with the added benefit of much more birds and animals including crocs.
It is always interesting to see the interaction between crocs and other animals coming to drink water.
The birdlife in and around the water was magical so please excuse the abundance of bird pictures.
Lets get back to the Ellies. As mentioned we saw them every day and very close up. The peacefulness of these big animals is intoxicating.
The veld was dry and overgrazed (more about that later) in parts even though good rain fell recently.
Being in one place for more than a week helps in getting nice pictures, since you get to know where the animals and birds operate.
We drove the eco 4×4 route again and even though portions were totally overgrown and inaccessible the quietness and beautiful landscape still takes ones breath away.
Obviously with animals around to keep it interesting.
The day we visited the eastern part of the park.
Apologies for all the pics but to pick the best ones out of more than a1000 can be difficult 🙂
One of the biggest troops of baboons I ever saw came to munch on some water lilies.
And then this beauty pitched up (Saddle billed stork)
A few more bird pics.
Nothing like parking in the veld and having a snack.
Charmain spotted this fish eagle and he was such a poser.
Back at the waterhole.
Sitting in the hide, not much happening while the light is getting better.
What to do?
Well, I have never tried my hand at inflight bird photography and it is actually one of the weak points of the Tamron 150-600 (its lack of fast enough focusing and focus tracking).
I also did not have a gimball so had to shoot freehand.
I bumped the ISO (the 6d is forgiving with higher ISO) set my aperture at f8, maximum zoom(birds were quite far) and shot away.
I am quite happy with some of the results.
Too soon our time in the bush was over, and the sun was setting on a memorable time.
There are some things in Mapungubwe that still bothers, like the abundance of fences (without obvious purpose) that causes over grazing in certain parts. The thick wire against the Limpopo river. The overgrown state of some of the trails, and the lack of viewpoints on the riverbank.
In conclusion I would like thank my better half for an awesome time together in the bush.
We had to say goodbye to our friends Anton and Elfreda on our return to Denmark from Norway. We had a blast of a time with them and the trip would not have happened without their nudge.
Thanks a stack and cant wait for this time next year when we will do our Botswana trip.
Charmain and I still had a day or two left before our flight back and after a slight miscalculation we ended up with a day to spend in another country.
We took the train to Malmö in Sweden for a day.
Malmö is a young city. By young I mean half the population is under 35 years of age, and this can be partly attributed to Malmö university.
Once again a beautiful city, with beautiful buildings and beautiful people.
At this stage of our trip we were totally at ease to get lost in a new city, exploring and enjoying every facet and scene the city good give us.
We had a nice bite to eat at this quaint little side street cafe.
Once again I was drawn to the Scandinavian furniture, with some lovely light simplistic pieces.
There is just something special about experiencing the sights, sounds and vibes of an unknown city and its people.
Quite nice seeing the facade of the building painted on the cloth covering the restoration of this building.
Aaahh time for another sightseeing boat cruise.
The non violence sculpture that was erected after the assassination of John Lennon. There are 16 copies of which ten are in Sweden.
We even have one in South Africa.
The old post office.
Apparently one or other Elvis Presley movie was shot on this boat.
Who knew Malmö had canals and Windmills.
Malmö’s 1437 grant of arms.
For the gamers.
Some more beautiful people.
Sadly a very exhausting but exhilarating trip came to an end.
We had an absolute blast with our friends, and once again it would not have been possible or such an awesome trip without my better half.
In the pipeline is a post or two about our latest trip to the bush, but thanks for reading and following our Baltic trip.
As promised part two of our unforgettable few days in Norway.
We decided we need to see more of the area around Flåm and Elfreda and Anton organised us a renrtal to go and explore on our own.
We were greeted with spectacular views soon after we left Flåm.
We left the scenic fjords and were soon in high country with quite a chill in the air.
A completely different kind of beautifull greeted us.
Found these restrooms that were completely off the grid.
We dropped down from the harsh highlands to a lush green area that made you feel to pack up everything, buy a fix me upper and move there.
We were back in civilisation after a most spectacular drive through the countryside, and had some nice coffee and cake.
We drove through the longest tunnel in Norway and definitely the longest one I have ever been in. It is called the Laerdal tunnel.
Picture courtesy of wikipedia.
Exiting the tunnel we found ourselves back in Flåm where we needed to catch the train back to Bergen.
The Flamsbana does not claim to be one of the most beautiful train rides in the world without a reason.
It is also one of the steepest railways in the world, winding through 20 tunnels and making a brief stop at the Kjosfossen waterfall.
With our time running out in Norway we tried to soak in and explore as much as possible before catching the plane back to Copenhagen.
We had time for a last sightseeing experience when we went with a cableway up a mountain.
The views were stunning after which we walked back to our hotel to catch a taxi and the plane.
Norway was without a doubt the highlight of our trip for me and it stays on my bucketlist to revisit instead of ticking it off.
In an unexpected turn of events we visit another country before we head back to SA, but more about that later.
To work through close to 600 photos taken in about 3 days is not a joke.
To try and reduce the amount to acceptable levels for the Lani blog, is not a joke.
Am I complaining? Not at all.
Lets rewind a bit (OK a lot).
When the trip was planned initially we only thought about doing the boat portion of the trip. Anton then suggested we add a few days and fly over to Norway since seeing a Fjord was on his bucket list. It took absolute no convincing to make this happen since it has always been in my top 5 list of places to see.
The build up to this part of the trip was immense (for me anyway), and my biggest fear was that it would not live up to my fantasies. With the internet and millions of photos out there one can very easily see all the scenes in picture perfect weather making the real experience feeling like a let down.
The weather can also play a huge role and it is common knowledge that the weather can change within a wink in these knack of the woods.
Fortunately none of my fears came true and the highlight of our tour was just out of this world.
Please join me on a rollercoaster 3 days with sensory overload extreme, and please visit the website if you receive the mail. The pictures are much better on there.
We flew in late and only got to our hotel after midnight. We woke up to a very wet Bergen the next morning right next to the train station where our journey would begin.
The Grand terminus is a real old world restored hotel which opened in 1928.
We picked up our train tickets early and went for a stroll around the hotel area waiting for our train to depart.
Eventually it was time to leave the city. Problem was that scenes flashed by and trying to take a decent photo through the glass of the train was really difficult.
Stepping onto the bus without any stops at the most scenic of drives was extremely painful for the photographer in me.
Driving the famous Stalheimskleiva that is only 1.7km long but with a gradient of 20% was just a little bit scary with the bus.
Check the link for more info.
Planes, trains, busses and now waiting to board our boat.
Our boat arriving.
I was falling in love with this country rapidly. The beauty of nature was beyond words and photographs, and once on the boat mother nature just smiled more on us.
Spot the canoeists.
For all our South African friends and family. Imagine sailing right next to a mountain higher than Table mountain in waters deeper than that height?
The small villages scattered around the coastline are just sooooo pretty.
The captain of the boat made a drive through at the famous Aurlandskoen shoe factory to get his new pair of shoes. (We did not disembark)
Our overnight village called Flåm loomed in the distance. We would sleep just beneath the waterfall.
After disembarking we quickly escaped the tourists to find our overnight spot.
The women got directions and the information they got was that it was only about 700m to our destination. Turned out it was slightly further (more like 2.7km).
Still an awesome stroll. 🙂
Got to the office and had to wait a few minutes to check in. Spot the bicycles, much better than walking.
Nope this is not where we would sleep over
This is it. 🙂 Communal house (hostel) shared with some other families. The scenery once again was beautiful.
After dumping our stuff it was time to take the bicycles to explore the megapolis of Flåm with its 350 inhabitants.
After spending a very interesting night in the hostel the Strydoms decided to get us a rental to explore some more.
That is enough for now.
The rest of the photos are edited but lets hold on to them for part 2 of our Norway trip.
A new year and a new post.
Still have not finished the report of our Euro trip (scandalous I know) but here is another flood of photos with sprinkles of info in between.
After disembarking from the ship we had 2 days to explore Copenhagen before getting on a plane for the next part of our trip. We really tried to squeeze in as much of Copenhagen as possible.
A quick stop to drool over some B&O tech.
We then took a sightseeing boat cruise, and even though the guides voice was not always loud enough (yes I am going deaf) it is still one of the best ways to see Copenhagen.
These very pretty clouds would later come and say Hi while on the boat.
Once again the architecture and contrast between old and new was just so awesome to see.
The famous little mermaid from Hans Christian Andersen being flooded by tourists.
This old powerplant is being converted into a ski-slope and should be finished by 2020.
I had to play around and crop some of the symmetry in the buildings for some arty pics.
Some more spectacular buildings.
Did I mention the cute mommy that sat in front of us in the boat?
After getting off the boat it was time to grab some lunch. We decided to head in a direction to avoid the crowds and stumbled upon a quaint little square.
This tower we would visit the following day with more pictures and info then.
Headed back to the hotel to freshen up before exploring the picturesque harbour area.
Hans Christian Andersen store beneath his home.
As the sun was getting lower the pictures and people got more.
The following morning we set off early to visit Rundetaarn tower, but first some more random pictures taken on our way there.
Cycling is a way of life/transport in Copenhagen with some pretty and interesting scenes.
This optometrist used dolls to display his selection of glasses.
Eventually Rundetaarn (The round tower) opened for us and we were early enough to miss the crowds.
You get to the top with a spiral floor that makes 7.5 turns around the hollow core.
Some interesting tidbits about this spiral floor. (pinched from wikipedia).
Thew view from the top.
Anton sitting on one of above mentioned privies.
On our way to our last stop for the day.
Tivoli gardens. but first some popcorn.
The garden is much better suited for parents with children that can enjoy all the rides, even though it is really pretty.
Heading back to our hotel.
In my next post I will tick of a bucket list visit that blew me away and was even better than I imagined.
The old town of Tallinn with its cobblestone roads, narrow alleys and hidden little shops.
An explorers dream.
Obviously a place filled with tourists.
A place I would love to spend a night at to get lowlight photos of.
Maybe some day.
Tallin was founded in 1248 (jip 400 years before Jan Van Riebeeck landed in Cape Town) and is one of the oldest capitol cities in Europe.
Tallin is one of the best preserved medieval cities in the world.
Pictures were everywhere ,even though it was in the middle of the day without optimal light.
Still on our bicycles on the cobblestones (to the utter delight of Elfreda 🙂 )we made our way towards the town square.
Tiiu left us here to explore the old town and have some drinks and a bite to eat.
Vinyl shop was unfortunately closed.
En toe word ons dors. (And then we got thirsty)
After some more exploring we ended up at a very nice street cafe for lunch.
The food and scenery were top class 🙂
Apologies but she is worth 2 pics 🙂
Back to other delicacies.
Some last exploring and a little shopping before we had to head back to the ship.
We were too lazy to ride back on our bikes to the ship. We decided to get ourselves two taxis to take us back.
Back at the harbour we had a last traditional Tallinn drink before we set food on deck for the last leg of our boat cruise back to Copenhagen.
Vana Tallinn is sooooo yummy and obviously unobtanium anywhere else 😦
Last pic of a beautifull Estonia girl.
In our next post we will be painting Copenhagen red before we head to one of my top 5 bucket list destinations.
Our boat trip was rapidly cruising to its end and Tallinn was our last city before we headed back to Copenhagen.
We were all well rested after our exhausting overloaded St. Petersburg day and the beautiful view of Tallinn greeted us on a perfect morning.
Wikipedia has the following to say about Tallinn:
Tallinn’s Old Town is one of the best preserved medieval cities in Europe and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.Tallinn is the major political, financial, cultural and educational center of Estonia. Often dubbed as the Silicon Valley of Europe, it has the highest number of startups per person in Europeand is a birthplace of many international companies including Skype.
Once again disembarking was a breeze and we had to linger a bit before we took to the the roads of Tallinn on bicycles.
This gave us time to take some pictures before we met our tour guide.
We met our guide Tiiu who gave us an overview of what we would see. The stunning morning made it the perfect day to explore another city marked for a return after spending not nearly enough time there.
I learned to take photos from the bicycle while riding and by the end of the bicycle trip the booboos was significantly less. 🙂
And once again we crossed paths with Peter the great.
We did not enter his Kadriorg palace, but wikipedia had the following to say:
After the successful siege of Tallinn during the final phase of the Great Northern War in 1710 czar Peter the Great of Russia bought a small Dutch-style manor house at Lasnamäe for his wife Catherine. The house today is the result of a drastic renovation ordered by Nicholas I of Russia in 1827.
However, plans for a larger palace in the area soon developed and construction of a new palace, Kadriorg, was started on 25 July 1718. Peter and Catherine visited the unfinished residence on several occasions, but after the emperor’s death in 1725 Catherine showed no interest in the seaside property.
We left the palace our next stop being the presidential palace that shares the ground with Peter the great’s palace.
inyourpocket have this to say about the palace/residence:
For a few years during Estonia’s first period of independence (1918 – 1940), the Estonian head of state worked out of the Kadriorg Palace, but in 1938, this purpose-built presidential palace was opened next to it, just up the hill. The Presidential Palace’s style echoes the Kadriorg, albeit without quite so much flourish. Since the building once again serves as the President’s office and residence, it’s closed to visitors, but you can still wander into the parking area for a better view and, if your timing is lucky, you’ll see the honour guards marching out front.
The current coat of arms of Estonia is a golden shield which includes a picture of three blue lions with red tongues in the middle, with golden oak branches placed on both sides of the shield. The insignia derive from the coat of arms of Denmark, which ruled northern Estonia in the thirteenth century
We were really getting a nice feel for Tallinn on the bicycles.
Our next sight of interest was the grounds for the Tallinn song festival.
The stage can take up to 15000 performers at a time. These grounds played a significant role in the history of Estonia.
In 1988, Estonians gathered at the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds, to sing patriotic hymns in what became known as the Singing Revolution that led to the overthrow of Soviet rule.
The singing revolution went hand in hand with the baltic way where a peacefull demonstration was held for independence by forming a human chain. More than a million people were estimated to take part in this human chain.
The Estonia song festival are still being held here every 5 years. From Wiki:
The Estonian Song Festival (in Estonian: laulupidu) is one of the largest amateur choral events in the world, a Masterpiece of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity. It is held every five years in July on the Tallinn Song Festival Grounds (Lauluväljak) simultaneously with the Estonian Dance Festival.The joint choir has comprised more than 30,000 singers performing to an audience of 80,000.
I just have to post a picture from wikipedia (since I know not many people will check my links).
We headed back towards the sea on our way to the old town.
Obviously everybody was looking forward to visit the old town dating back to 1248.
The visit to the old town will be covered in part two of the Tallinn post.