Gut rumgekommen in den letzten Monaten!
10.06.2010 - 10.08.2010 22 °C
Its been interesting 2 months or even 3(?) - time flies when you're having fun! Indeed I've been around a lot since the WorldCup started and only noticed now how long its been since my last entry.
In a nutshell - even though I hadn't bought a single soccer ticket in advance, I was lucky enough to get to see 3 matches live: South Africa - Paraguay in Pretoria, Germany - Serbia in Port Elizabeth and finally Germany - Ghana in Soccer City, Jo'burg where we eventually won. for the opening match and the other german matches I went with colleagues to different public viewing sites around Pretoria, which was great fun, too.
Overall, it was an amazing month and after the final I couldn't quite believe it was over... this sudden emptiness... :-)
Now it already feels far away and unfortunately a lot of the common spirit, drive and togetherness seems to be getting forgotten, which is a shame. this is what the papers say and on Monday I attended a tourism policy drafting meeting at national level, where they also complained that nothing is being done to make any of the achievements sustainable.
Anyway, after the World Cup, I went to beautiful Lesotho for a few days with my colleague Tanja. Late July is the middle of winter and not the time to go to Lesotho, also known as the Mountain Kingdom / Kingdom of the Sky, which gets bitterly cold and snowy and like here, nobody has proper insulation or heating in the houses. But Tanja's contract ended here and she now left, so we had to go then or never. So I packed ALL warm clothes that I have and we drove there in about 6 h. First we stayed in Maseru with another colleague, then went on to Malealea and Semonkong, which are small villages/ towns in beautiful mountain settings. The main thing to do there is pony riding on the special Lesotho ponies, which are more like small horses. They manage to navigate through the rough terrain with steady steps, sometimes almost a little too close to the edge... but we trusted them and they brought us back home safely!
The hardest part of the trip was the drive between the 2 places, of which 65km were on the worst gravel road I've ever been on (and I've been on a lot!). Just that stretch took us 3hrs and once my poor little Polo's engine died on a steep uphill slope in first gear... but managed on the second try luckily.
Then again Semonkong was beautiful and almost felt like a medieval village because almost everyone was on horses and covered in thick and warm blankets, which are a unique thing of Lesotho. On the way back we bought some as well and it really was priceless back here for the remainder of the cold days.
Then after a couple of weeks back home, 4 of us embarked on the next trip - Maputo, Mozambique this time as we were longing for warmer weather and the sea. It was just another long weekend and therefore no time to visit the tropical beaches they have up north. Instead we stayed in the city and for once I felt like in Africa again! Busy street life, everyone was walking (rather than driving), street cafes, etc, etc. Oh, how we enjoyed it! One day we did a walking tour through the whole of the centre (unthinkable in Pretoria...) and one day we drove out to a nice beach a bit further north. Oh, and all the Portuguese influence is still very much there in the form of the language of course but also the nice food (especially the pastries) and the relaxed attitude of people - almost mediterrean. The most annoying thing however was that in 3.5 days we were stopped 6 times by the police. They just see the money when they see South African number plates I guess. But with a lot of talking we mostly managed not to pay for whatever offences they'd made up. After all it was a great trip and I'll certainly go back for more of the beaches up north!!! (when the current street unrests over high food prices are over of course).
so that are my latest travel experiences - and there is so much more to do (Botswana, Zambia, Namibia, Cape Town, ....that's only the top of the list). Truly amazing how much this southern part of the world has to offer in terms of nature!