Exploring Lake Minnewanka

As with most of the well-known tourist spots, we’ve visited Lake Minnewanka before. Just a quick stop, though, as the sheer mass of tourists kept us from exploring the area last time we were there. This time, no such thing happened. We drove mountain-side last weekend, stopped at Minnewanka, and could finally see what the […]

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Johnston Canyon Revisited

The last time we went to this magical place, the ice was thick and we had no spikes on our shoes. We’re noobs. How are we supposed to know you need spike strips when visiting Canadian parks in the winter. 😛 We’ve wanted to go back since that first time–heck, we’ve even tried–but somehow, something […]

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Vacation Photo Diary Vol 1

We went to the mountains. I mean, this was obviously one of the first things we did while my in-laws visited. Have you seen the Rockies? I want to live there. 🙂 We explored Banff and Bow Falls this time, so expect to be bombarded with images of nature that will pull at your heartstrings. […]

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A Visit to Calaway Park

The weather forecast wasn’t great, but we had family over last weekend and decided to have some fun at Calaway Park. None of us had ever been there, so this promised to be a day of exploration. This is not a sponsored post. 🙂 What I really love about Calaway Park is how family-oriented the […]

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Exploring Bowness Park

Now that the weather is getting better, we’ve had more opportunities to explore Calgary. We’ve been living here for 7 months now (SE-VEN, holy crap, when did that happen?) and still haven’t seen most of what Calgary has to offer. Friends have recommended the Bowness Park trip multiple times, but though we’ve been in the […]

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Mother’s Day 2019

Jan and I aren’t really big on celebrating holidays. We’re more chillaxed and show-them-daily than I-need-to-spend-all-the-money-to-make-them-feel-appreciated people. No judgement if you’re a hard holiday celebrator, it’s just not our groove. So this was literally the first year since Kayla’s birth that we went out of Mother’s Day. And then only because we had friends over […]

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Royal Alberta Museum

For the first time in forever, we went away for a weekend. Since a blizzard was in the cards for Calgary, we reckoned we’d get the hell away from here, and maybe catch some sun up north. We have friends and family in St. Paul and Cold Lake, and have been dying to visit them. […]

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Calgary Zoo Visited

We had such a wonderful weekend with friends from South Africa who also live in Canada. Besides the good food–and there was loads of good food–we hung out, caught up, laughed and chatted, and also treated the kids to a day at the zoo. We’ve heard really good things about Calgary Zoo, but haven’t had […]

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Peace Bridge Explored

One of the coolest landmarks in Calgary has to be Peace Bridge. Apparently, the locals have nicknamed this one ‘Finger Trap Bridge’, because it kind of looks like a finger trap. I personally think it resembles a diamond back snake. Either way, it’s gorgeous. We haven’t spent that much time exploring Downtown Calgary since we […]

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Calgary Library

If you, like me, love books, this is the place for you. If you don’t particularly like books–shame on you–but you love beautiful spaces, architecture, and design, this is the place for you. Holy cow, this library is gorgeous. We went Downtown with friends to check it out. I honestly can’t wait to go back. […]

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Walking on Water – Lake Louise

You’d think–after everything–we’d pretty much be sick of road trips, but you’d be wrong. Why? Well, mountains. They call to us. We’ve seen some mountains before, of course. When Kayla was just a wee babe we went to the Drakensberg in South Africa, and we also experienced the glorious Bavarian Alps one December, back when […]

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Downtown Calgary

One of our first exploration trips took us into the heart of Calgary. We hadn’t planned anything specific–it was a see where the road takes us kind of thing, AKA we wanted to get out of the house. Back in Toronto, it was always fun to go Downtown, and while some of us are in full-blown […]

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Niagara 2.0

The last time we visited Niagara Falls, the fog was so thick we could barely see anything. Going back was a huge bucket list item for us, so we did just on an EXTREMELY hot Sunday this summer. The experience was completely different. Last time, we froze our butts off. Everything was covered in ice, […]

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Horton Tree Farms

Living in Canada means loads of snow and maple syrup. As a self-proclaimed right of passage in our journey to become Canadian citizens, we figured it was a must to visit a maple farm and witness the process of making maple syrup. We’ve seen it a time or two on TV shows, but the actual […]

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Visit to Reptilia Zoo

It’s no secret that Kayla is a serious lover of creepies and crawlies. Her perfect day involves crocodiles and spiders, so we figured we’d deliver. The Reptilia Zoo in Vaughn caught our attention last year, but we haven’t had a free moment to go – until last weekend. As you can imagine, we had one […]

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Canadian International Autoshow 2018

As you can probably guess from the title, we saw some cars the other day. And rightly so, considering I share a house with two major auto enthusiasts. Kayla’s one big dream for the day was to see a real racecar, while Jan wanted to check out all the American cars we don’t usually get […]

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Niagara Falls and Fog

Lots and lots of fog. And thick. Trust us to lose one of the most impressive natural landmarks in the world in a blanket of fog. Oh, you don’t believe me, do you? Nobody can lose a waterfall, not one that big. Luckily, I have photos as proof. 🙂 We headed out to the falls two […]

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Vacation Highlights

As many of you know, my parents came for a visit over the month of December. I’ve already shared photo posts of us doing the things tourists do (over here and here if you missed it) but we still had some other expeditions that you haven’t seen. Since there are SO MANY photos, I thought I’d […]

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CN Tower and Ripley’s Aquarium (My WIP)

I’m typing this as the snow is falling and slowly piling up outside. Just thought I’d put that out there, since our friends and family in Europe and the UK have been spamming us with wonderful imagery of snow, and we’ve been feeling left out here in Toronto. Ironically, everybody was expecting us to spam […]

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First Week in Canada

It’s difficult to believe, but there it is. We’ve been in our new home for a week already. One of the first observations or questions we get asked now has to do with the weather. Who’d have thought, right? 😛 But no, it’s really not freezing here in the north. In fact, at this stage, […]

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Family Weekend in Pictures

I’m so sorry I missed Friday’s post! It slipped away from me without my notice. We had my brother and sister in law over for the weekend, a last visit before the big move, and spending time with them got priority over being in front of the computer. This was also probably the last weekend of […]

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Duisburg Zoo 2.0

We’ve had precious few sunshine days this past season, so whenever we had even half a chance of catching a ray or two, we were outside. Feeling bolstered by the cloudless day, we hiked to Duisburg Zoo. We’ve been at the zoo twice before and this is my second blog about it (hence the 2.0). […]

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De Haar Castle

We’ve wanted to go to this place since we arrived in Europe, but every time we had the trip planned, something got in the way. We finally drove to the Netherlands on one sunny Sunday to feast our eyes upon the glory that is Castle De Haar. The original castle suffered major damages in a […]

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When Parkruns Rain Out

Well, I’m sure some of the other runners still had their fun, but by the time we reached Düsseldorf, it was coming down in buckets. So much so that my water resistant jacket (and shirt underneath) were drenched and we had to stop to buy something dry and warm to wear. Jan and Mario would have […]

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Japan Day 2017

Japan day took place on the 20th of May, in Düsseldorf. This yearly event sees thousands of cosplayers in the city, all to see the firework shows, sumo wrestling, samurai artefacts, talks hosted by the Japanese Embassy and so much more. Most people come to dress up, though. Some come in full costume, so detailed […]

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The Travel Tip Round-Up

Since the last bunch of posts were all travel-related (you missed it? Start here), I figured I’d share some of the tips we’ve learned in our travels. I realise the internet is chock-full of travel tips, but this is a roundup of the things that work for us.

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The Random Post

This is the end. We had a blast, saw amazing things and bonded with our tribe. We miss them terribly. The house is still quiet. Going through all of these photos somehow amplifies that. But, before I get too soppy, let’s get on with the post. While I shared all the main events with you, I […]

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From Beethoven to Burg Castle

On the last full day of our vacation, we drove to Bonn to fulfil a dream. Lizanne is a muso and a massive Beethoven enthusiast. So, when she found out that we could go to his birthplace, she was pretty much out of her skin.

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Tulips from Amsterdam

We returned to Amsterdam after a day of rest, but this time, we had a mission. Tulip fields.

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Hello, Amsterdam

Oh, Amsterdam. Still one of my favourite places on earth. The sweet smell in the air (no, not the weed, the pastries :P), the buzz in the streets and the beauty of the city will always draw me to return. Add the fact that we can be understood when speaking Afrikaans and it becomes all the more […]

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Visit to Maastricht and Aachen

We love these two cities so much, we’ve visited both before. This was our second time in Maastricht, Netherlands, and also our second visit to Aachen, which is a small German border-town. I can highly recommend both. This was a lazy Sunday trip and would also be the last warm, sunny day we had while […]

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Farewell, Rome.

On our last day, we had to leave the apartment by 10. Since we had to keep our luggage with us until we left for the airport, we decided to treat the kids. They’d been such little troopers with all the sightseeing, after all.

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Rome – Day 4

By this time, we were knackered. Four days in Rome, walking off your toes will do that to you. Having said that, we were still just as in awe of the place as we were upon arrival. Rome, folks. It’s magical.

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Rome – Day 3

After the excitement from the night before, we returned to the Pantheon first thing on the third morning. Well, first thing is relative. The Groenewalds are early risers. An admirable trait, I tell you. Kayla and I, though, *are not* early risers. In fact, we’re some of the grumpiest morning people you’ll ever meet. Nobody wants […]

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Rome – Day 2

In an unfortunate turn of events, we seem to have lost some of the vacation photos. Don’t hyperventilate yet, though. All my photos are still intact. We’ll get the rest at some point in time, but you probably won’t get to see them. Meh. Our second day in Rome (day one here) was sunny and […]

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Rome – Day 1

So, Rome. Folks, you don’t even begin to understand the spell this place has me under. Even now, I can’t get it out of my mind. But then, Venice was amazing, so maybe I should have known how bewitching I’d find Rome.

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Cologne 3.0

There’s a feeling that fills your chest when you round that corner, or take that step out of the train station in Cologne. The first and most undeniable structure in the heart of the city is the Cologne Cathedral – majestic, impossible and awe-inspiring. It claims your every thought and emotion with its sheer size, […]

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The House is Quiet

Well, I’m back. This vacation was one for the record books. Having friends over was seriously special, and more so because we experienced so many new things together. It was an honour to have them fly half-way around the globe to visit us. All the warm and fuzzies were felt. Having said that, I’ll try […]

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Kaiser Animal Park

With the weather in Germany finally turning, we’ve been seeing some sun. Though, that thought barely crossed my mind when the rain arrived. As I type this, it’s dristing outside. No, that’s not a word. It’s a weather phenomenon that is neither drizzle nor mist, and is so definitive of Europe that you probably have the exact […]

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Unexpected, but Fun

If you’ve been around the blog for a while, you’ll know I’m the obsessive type. Whenever I do something, I hurl myself at it until it’s done and I’m exhausted. Then I go into a weird, anti-climactic ‘what the hell now?’ state. That’s what I’m combatting now. So, since finishing the latest revision of The […]

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Water Fun

I’m happy to report that my insane revision period is over. For the moment. The editing was strong with me this weekend, but I did have some forced breaks mixed in. Also some spontaneous breaks, otherwise known as procrastination, which led me to find my Patronus is a St Bernard. I know. Anway, while not […]

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Ice Cold

Last week, I bombarded you with images of snow. This week, it’s ice. You see a theme here? This winter has been more than a smidge colder than last, but the weather brings many new experiences for those of us originally from warmer parts. So, ice. We live close to the River Ruhr, but we […]

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Neuschwanstein Trip

We’ve been ogling this castle for a looooong time. You know how I feel about castles to begin with, but this one was kind of special, and not just because it’s the template for the Disney castle. Imagine this place, with its majestic spires and pristine white bricks, keeping its vigil on the side of a […]

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Munich Zoo

Hello, all you lovely folks. Hope you had a good weekend. As I mentioned on Friday, our trip to Munich ended in a zoo, because of a three-year-old’s heartfelt request. For this reason, we braved the cold, ignored the patches of snow on the ground, and went to see some animals. The highlight of the […]

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Sightseeing in Pöking and Munich

I mentioned on Wednesday that our journey to Munich began on a rainy Sunday morning. We’ve never been to any other German state, so this was a big trip for us, especially considering how much we wanted to see Bavaria. We’ve been told on many occasions, by both Germans and non-Germans, how incredibly different Bavaria […]

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Surviving German Christmas Markets

So, the time of year is officially here, as I mentioned the other day. Today I want to talk about the markets in depth, and maybe give some advice to first-time market-goers, because this stuff can be a little overwhelming. The markets are a pretty amazing part of the German Christmas experience, even if you […]

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My WIP – Tree Decorating and Tower-scapes

We spent Kayla’s first two Christmases in South Africa, but for the one she was 6 weeks old and for the other, just over a year. So I doubt she remembers much. Last year, we didn’t want to make too much of a fuss, because our apartment was still temporary and we didn’t want to […]

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My WIP – Where Did Autumn Go?

First of all, I apologise for missing yet another blog post on Friday. I went to my German lesson as always, then received the bad news that one of our doggies in South Africa passed away. I was really sad and shocked by the news, which really just jumbled my mind, I accomplished nothing for […]

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Day in Düsseldorf

Hi there, folks. Good to have you back here! After dashing off to write on Friday, a severe case of writer’s block made my life miserable. I pretty much wrote a few words, deleted them, wrote a few more and deleted them too. It sucked. Jan saved the day on Saturday, by arranging a Dad […]

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Visit to Kaiser Park

So, Oberhausen has a schloss (this word can be used to describe anything from a castle to a manor house – in this case, it’s a manor house) and a park, but we’ve been putting off going there. First of all, the schloss is not that impressive (in our opinions) and we had no idea that […]

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My WIP – I See You

I’ve always had pretty good eyesight, but recently it’s been a mission to read the signs at the station, or the subtitles when I watch anime. Plus, the headaches. I knew it was time to have my eyes tested looong before I actually had them tested, but, you know, anxiety. You can guess by the way this […]

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My WIP – Forests and Food

Welcome back! I said this last week somewhere and I’ll say it again – I feel as if a train ran over my head, realised it was on the wrong course and then reversed. I’ve been unable to stay fully awake at any given time for about 8 days solid. Hello, Monday. This weekend was […]

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My WIP – Heatwave

You would never guess from the title, but we had one hellishly warm weekend. In fact, all of last week was the kind of weather where your clothes are perpetually stick to your skin – moist and glistening. Yuck. All I can say is that a lot of ice cream was involved. On Friday, our […]

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Castle Hopping – Part Two

This second instalment of castle hopping reached over two countries. So exciting. 🙂 You can see day one here, if you haven’t yet. Maastricht in the Netherlands was our first destination. This is a pretty amazing place, with cobbled streets and beautiful old buildings. You must be getting tired of the words ‘cobbled streets’ and […]

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Castle Hopping – Part One

Friends – castles. Over the weekend, we saw three of them. OK, fine, we saw one castle and two palaces, but you get the general idea. We also visited some monuments, a small fort with an actual moat and drove between two countries. It was amazing. Here’s how it went down.

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A Visit to Schloss Broich

These photos are actually from my Mother’s Day weekend. It’s late, I know, but I was writing a novel! Yes, the keyword in that sentence is ‘was’. More on that soon. 😀 With the amazing spring weather, we’ve been sightseeing a lot lately. There are some pretty awesome sights to see right in our back […]

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Visit to Werden

On Ascension Day, we hopped a train to Werden. This picturesque place is a suburb of Essen and is seriously gorgeous. The buildings are still in the old style and there’s almost a fantasy-type vibe to the old taverns turned cafés. Walking through those cobblestone ways certainly piqued my creative flow. Then, there’s the parks […]

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A Visit to Schloss Styrum – TGC

We’ve been living in Germany for seven months. Can you believe that? It’s been interesting. We’ve been adapting. There are still better days and worse days, but overall, we’re finding our feet. Jan is starting with German classes soon, and our landlady has undertaken to teach me too. Once he learns, I’m sure my own […]

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London Vacation Pics

Fair warning, this is going to be an image rich post. 😛 We set out for London from Düsseldorf airport in pretty much perfect weather. The flight itself was only 55 minutes, but of course we stood in the line at passport control for over an hour and a half. 🙂 I honestly don’t blame […]

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Random Vacation Photos

This post is to show you all of the vacation photos that didn’t make it into other blog posts. Because if you know my family at all, you’ll know that very little is ever done without cellphones or cameras in the air, clicking away. Pictures or it didn’t happen, right? So here are some of […]

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Vacation Day-by-Day : Schloss Burg

Everybody who knows me is aware of my absolute fascination and obsession with castles. There is something mystical and magical about castles and the age they were constructed in.  I often find myself at the base of one of these structures and I wonder how it’s even possible that they exist. How did those people […]

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Vacation Day-by-Day : Amsterdam

While my folks were here, we spent a day in Amsterdam. The last time I was there, the place absolutely stole my heart. I mean, it’s not only beautiful, but the people were incredibly warm towards us and understood when we spoke Afrikaans. I loved the sights there. This time was no different. I still […]

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Vacation Day-by-Day : Cologne Cathedral

Am I addicted to great architecture and lead-glass installations? Why, yes, I sure am. That statement means cathedral and church-hopping is on my A-list of things to do and sights to see. The Cologne Cathedral (Or Kölner Dom, as the Germans call it) is AH-MAZE-ING. It is, without any trace of a doubt, the biggest structure I […]

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