Tropical Eden Villas: the perfect place for a winter getaway

It’s Monday again and I’m still contemplating selling my belongings  and moving to a small town between the mountains. Anyone want to buy a thousand books and a really fat cat? Our recent trip to Patensie reminded me that small places don’t have to mean deathly winters, and it was actually quite a pleasant awakening.

When Jonker – Firefly the Travel Guy – fixed me up with Reneé from Tropical Eden Villas, I mentally prepared myself for a cold weekend. Now, a cold weekend I don’t mind – it’s a cold life that worries me a little! Unlike my husband, I am not someone who delights in cold weather, unless I can be tucked away inside, blissfully warm, while the cold rages on at my window, like a noisy reminder of how warm I am.

We got lucky in Patensie with the weather though, it was delightfully warm the entire time we were there. But it didn’t take me long to figure out that even if it was cold, we would have been just fine. The family suite at Tropical Eden Villas is so well kitted out that an indoor braai would help keep us all warm on even the coldest of nights, as well as make for an awesome social setting in even the foulest weather. Yes, we South Africans will braai in the rain if we have to, but it’s really nice to not have to get wet while doing it! Being at Tropical Eden Villas was just so easy. Absolutely everything we could even think of needing was available to us. I could quite happily have just stayed in my sunny bedroom and hibernated for three days!

 

The best part is that we had enough space to do our own thing while still being in each other’s company. And the even better best part was being able to happily let my kids go off for a walk (for as long as they wanted to) without feeling even a small twinge of worry about their wellbeing. Small places…I guess they make you comfortable….

I’d like to extend probably the 100th thank you to Reneé and Jonker for making this weekend possible for us.

The only problem is that I kind of want to move to Patensie now. So…uh…thanks for that…

Take Your Kids to the Countryside

As I said the other day, thanks to Firefly the Travel Guy and his friend Reneé, I’m still dreaming of the relaxing few days we spent at Tropical Eden Villas, nestled between the mountains and orange trees of the Bavianskloof. Now all I want to do is move to the countryside and raise goats and chickens. And turkeys. Because turkeys are magnificent. (Seriously: who needs someone to come and look after their farm? I’m there!)

The five of us spent a three day weekend exploring the roads between home and Patensie, eating way too many ice-creams and far too much braai food. We read books. We played games. We took a thousand photographs. And we had long conversations about really important things. (more…)

Connecting Around the Corner: An Adventure in Patensie

Yes. I’ve just come back from a ridiculously happy-making weekend in Patensie. Of all places. From Istanbul to Patensie? Isn’t that a little weird?

No. Of course it isn’t.

For the compulsive traveller, or for myself at least, the time after a big trip can be a challenge. Since getting home from Turkey in May I have  especially struggled. It’s my fault. I pushed our budget way too far and the post-apocalyptic fallout has been a little heavier than usual. It’s ok, it will get better soon.

The thing is, though, that travel doesn’t have to mean disappearing to far away (and therefore exotic) places. Especially not when you live in a country as diverse as ours. I do know this. So when my son said to me with the most hopeful sincerity, “Mom, I want us to go on a family holiday!” I decided that maybe I could make it happen over a weekend, somewhere close. Because how do you make a much-needed family getaway happen on a tight budget? You go just around the corner!

But where to start? There are so many corners around here! (more…)

Granny Mouse & the Marvelous Coincidence

I mentioned last week that I was lucky enough to be sponsored with some accommodation by AccommoDirect.com which is why my spoilt little butt was able to afford to dash off for a weekend of awesome Hogsback zen and some much needed canoodle time with the husband. Although “afford” is maybe pushing it a bit since I pretty much just charged the whole non-sponsored part of the weekend to my credit card – thank you Standard Bank! (I really should get back to being less irresponsible sometime….)

Anyway, I ended up at Granny Mouse House with the help of Toni who had zero judgement for my very strict adherence to a very low budget when it comes to accommodations. We’re all about the affordability around here – even when we’ve been lucky enough to have someone else picking up the tab! And when affordability and “oh my goodness this place is so lovely” meet then it is totally my favourite thing because that means that whenever one of you lovelies inboxes me for a recommendation then I get to excitedly steer you in the right direction with confidence.

I digress though…

Ty and I arrived at Granny Mouse House on Friday and promptly jumped into bed for a nap because sleep is everything. Madness, perhaps, to give in to sleep so easily instead of exploring immediately, but who knows? Maybe other people do it too? Maybe that bed was so comfortable that we just didn’t have a choice. Also maybe my alergies were acting up so hard I had to slip into an anti-histamine coma for a little while to recover from pollen overload…

Of course we did finally leave the warm coziness of our perfect cottage. We didn’t need to go far for our exploring instincts to kick in because the garden  we found ourselves in was a sight to behold all on its own! And I think that this sort of thing is possibly my favourite thing about exploring. The fact that you don’t always need to go far to be delighted by your surroundings.

And the coincidence? Well, it turned out that Ingrid, aka Granny Mouse, is the daughter of my godfather’s late best friend. A charming reminder, perhaps, that if you do enough exploring, the world becomes a very small place and the universe likes to show off by connecting us together…

Hogsback and Higher Powers

 

When I was about 12, or perhaps 13, my family went on a weekend trip to Hogsback where we got lost and couldn’t find our way home for about four hours after we were ready to be done with hiking. I remember some parts of the trip quite well. I remember the carved hiking sticks sold by entrepreneurs on the streets, and the little clay warthogs painted with white decals. I remember that I wore this little black shorts and t-shirt outfit that my friend Riëtte gave me. I remember that a lot of family closeness was born out of that weekend. I remember that in the midst of trying times we kind of just had this weekend that was so perfect. I remember it as one of the few times in my childhood when I felt content.

And I remember that the word “cool” became “cabbage” in my family that weekend. Because we are seriously just so ridiculously uncool. Yes, all weekend long (and sometimes it happens to this day) anything that could be referred to as “cool” was instead referred to as “cabbage”.

Can you figure out why? (I’ll sit here and *facepalm* while you figure it out) (more…)