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