Sunday, 30 September 2018

Building the Burj Khalifa with boxes. My Sunday Photo.


Current Location: South Africa for the past 2 weeks, either in a cellar or a storage unit

Reason for visit: To source, shop and pack 500 shoe boxes for a Christmas Charity.

Current Situation: Replicating the Burj Khalifa with cardboard boxes.


In the meantime if you're interested in any of the construction projects I've been documenting around the world, mainly in Dubai, do click on the links below:

Week 158 Dubai Bluewater Islands and Dubai Eye. Man made island a 210m high Big Wheel
Week 159 Dubai Dubai Marina - Reflections
Week 160 Dubai Dubai Frame. A window between the Old and New Dubai and a 150m high glass floor.
Week 161 Dubai Dubai Marina 3 years apart.
Week 163 Dubai New Metro Line for Expo 2020
Week 164 Arizona and Nevada Hoover Dam 2002 - 2010
Week 165 Dubai Dubai Opera House What a difference a year makes
Week 166 Dubai Unfinished buildings. The Pentominium
Week 167 Coventry Mixing the old and the new. Coventry Catherdral
Week 168 Dubai New Dubai Metro Station 
Week 169 Dubai The new extension of the Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa 
Week 170 Dubai Hotel fire After the Address fire 
Week 171 Dubai Unusual designs The Opus Building
Week 172 Dubai District Cooling. Keeping the desert cool.
Week 173 Dubai Can I visit the Burj Al Arab
Week 174 Dubai The Almas Tower
Week 175 Dubai The Cayan Tower
Week 176 Toronto The CN Tower
Week 177 Nevada The Paris Hotel 
Week 178 Dubai Ibn Battuta Gate
Week 179 A Wedding
Week 180 Dubai The World's Tallest Tower
Week 181 Dubai and Wales Al Fahidi Fort and Chepstow Castle 
Week 182 Dubai New Metro Station in Al Furjan 
Week 183 Dubai Ski Dubai
Week 184 Another Wedding
Week 185 South Africa Life in a township
Week 186 Austria Ski Jump 
Week 187 Dubai Green Plant Bio Dome 
Week 188 Dubai Update on the Metro Station
Week 189 Dubai My view from the balcony changed in 8 months
Week 190 Greece Just how instagramable is it?
Week 191-192 Dubai Before and After. 3 months out of Dubai
Week 193 Dubai Building a boat in the sky


Saturday, 29 September 2018

One Daily Positive - Week 39 Charity work in South Africa.

Normally I write this blog post on a daily basis, but I've been so busy with packing Christmas boxes that it's Saturday morning and I've no idea what's been going on.

I had to have my finger prints taken to prove I have no criminal record for my time in South Africa ready for when we return to the UK, not something I was asked to produce when I was teaching in Dubai.

I've had a mixed week, packing and sourcing items and funding for nearly 500 Christmas boxes. We have a storage unit near by, which I've been organising and using items from to pack. Sourcing empty shoeboxes has been my biggest challenge to date. I've spent time with friends, read 2 books, blogged and generally just chilled out. I also made sure I slotted in some time for a mini safari.

The friend I'm staying with had to go to Canada with work. Her parents who stay here also, have been  looking after me with dinner, printing labels, the loan of a car and making sure I'm still alive in the cellar. I have however taken over their part of the house now with storing packed boxes also.

I also booked two further flights this week, one to Cairo in November for a weekend and another back to South Africa in December for a week for handing out the christmas boxes in the townships. Peter is working in both places and with having been away for most of the year, he asked me to join him on both trips, otherwise I get back and then he goes away.

More about the Christmas shoebox appeal. 

266 Sunday Shopping and lunch with friends. Sadly I won't see the Jacaranda's in full bloom, everywhere will be purple in a week or so.

267 Monday Storage, read book, packed boxes in the cellar.

268 Tuesday Storage, finger prints, lunch date, cellar, baby sitting.

269 Wednesday Cellar, storage, cellar, safari, night with friends. Think about this question.....

Why did the chicken cross the road?

270 Thursday Storage, nail bar, cellar. An amazing thunderstorm occurred during the night.

271 Friday Storage, collected 300 boxes from a school, had a quick lunch with a friend and shopped in the evening, getting back to another fantastic thunderstorm. This took 4 car runs.

272 Saturday Packed 100 boxes and visited friend where I'm staying for the night. Family Pets.

On the blog this week:

My Sunday Photo - The reality of an African Sunset.

Why I don't like being 47. Was there a significant age for you? What do you think (or were you)  doing when you're that age?



Monday, 24 September 2018

I don't like being 47 years old

No real reason, it's just 47 is almost 50 and whilst I've never had issues with numbers, I just feel that time is running out for me in regards to resuming a career when we return to the UK in around 4 years time.

Also being 47 with 5 adult children, feels older. I have friends the same age as me and older who have primary school aged children. I don't have any grandchildren yet, but most of the people I know who do are in their late 50's/early 60's.

There was a time when people would reply 'you don't look old enough for 3 children' now people don't bat an eyelid when I tell them I'm a mother of 5 adult kids.

My husband is 60, maybe it's because he has a younger wife that he hasn't had an issue with birthdays. The age gap is just under 14 years, sometimes it seems much bigger especially when he hits a birthday with a '0' in it and the age gap spans 2 decades. In the past I've looked forward to turning 30, then 40, to narrow that gap back down, but this time, turning 50 doesn't appeal to me at all.

I don't act, dress or behave like a woman of any particular age, although I know I look like a woman in my 40's. Sometimes I think because Peter is 60 there's an assumption that I'm probably a similar age and people may say 'she looks good for a woman in her 50's' I wonder if that means I look awful for a woman 'only' in her 40's.

I actually don't worry about what other people say about, I don't know who these other people are anyway. Earlier in the year I wrote about Things I envy in other women. This post isn't about how other people make me feel, it's about how I feel about myself.

I'm not sitting her feeling sorry for myself or fishing for compliments (but do feel free to chuck them at me)


I've given up worrying about how the 'mum tum' looks in a dress, although I do like to ensure the 'muffin top' isn't on show by wearing clothes a size too small in the vain hope of looking thinner (it really doesn't work)

I dress for myself, what I'm comfortable in. In Dubai that means lots of lovely dresses, in the UK I favour jeans, jumper and boots. I've never mastered the art of wearing a dress that requires additional clothing due to weather conditions.

I'm not having a crisis, I won't be dying my naturally grey hair bright red/blue/purple/pink. But I do add a silver dye to it, to blend all the grey in.

I keep relatively fit, with leisure swimming, dog walking and once the weather cools I'll be back to cycling to the shops rather than driving. I eat a healthy balanced diet, that has room for burgers, fizzy drinks and chocolate and I like to have the odd glass of wine or a G&T. I smoke, that's my only vice and a bad one at that.

I manage to keep myself busy sweeping sand out the house, writing my blog and occasionally earning a bit of money, which makes me feel like I'm contributing in some small way.

I'm the self appointed finance officer in the family, because Peter has a full time job and it's not fair to expect him to sort all that out on top with managing our lives in the UK and her in Dubai.

I'm chief bottle washer, events organiser, grocery shopper, gardener, cleaner, ironing lady, dog walker, cat tray emptier on a level that almost borders obsessive.

But I get to travel, meet friends for coffee and lunch, spend days on the beach with a book (mid week) write crap on my blog and generally just do what I want 9-5 Sunday through to Thursday.

It has it's advantages though, I don't have to work in this oppressive heat, I can travel to visit the family, I can chill out and do nothing all day, but it sometimes just doesn't excite me.

I had no firm plan for what would happen with my life, I just assumed at this stage in it, I'd be concentrating on the career I had before moving abroad 8 years ago. I assumed we'd be seeing more of the kids once they left home, but they've moved so far away from our family home anyway. I pictured weekend breaks and annual holidays, based on what I'd seen of other people doing when their children left home.

My life hasn't turned out how I thought it would be on reflection, but it's actually not bad at all. I just feel like I'm stuck in limbo waiting for something to happen, like grandkids or moving back to the UK. I feel life has been put on hold, like someone has pressed the pause button. Returning to the UK and Grandkids are out of my control anyway.

Do you feel you've reached a stage in life where you just don't know what to do with it? Where you've got little to focus on outside of domesticity, where you don't see where you're going to end up next?

We have retirement plans, that involve a camper van and travel, I just feel like I've retired already at 47 and there's a long time ahead of me to be doing very little in, I need more in my life than this, I just don't know how to go about it to make the changes whilst accommodating my husbands job and my need to be able to travel to see the children when I can.




Sunday, 23 September 2018

African Sunset. My Sunday Photo

Think sunset at a watering hole on safari and you imagine the animals coming down to the watering hole like a scene out of the Lion King. 

The reality is a row of cars jostling for position and this is the view the rest of us see. 

This photo was taken in 2013 on safari at Kruger National Park . 


I’m taking a break from my normal construction photography in Dubai as I’m currently in South Africa and then back to the UK for a family wedding. I’m not here on holiday (hence an old photo) I’m here doing some charity work for a Christmas gift project and spending my time packing and wrapping shoeboxes in a storage unit in Centurion. It doesn’t make for good photos, hence why I’m sharing the one above. 

If you want to see the construction projects I’m documenting, please click on the links below: 

Week 161 Dubai Dubai Marina 3 years apart.
Week 164 Arizona and Nevada Hoover Dam 2002 - 2010
Week 165 Dubai Dubai Opera House What a difference a year makes
Week 166 Dubai Unfinished buildings. The Pentominium
Week 167 Coventry Mixing the old and the new. Coventry Catherdral
Week 168 Dubai New Dubai Metro Station 
Week 169 Dubai The new extension of the Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa 
Week 170 Dubai Hotel fire After the Address fire 
Week 171 Dubai Unusual designs The Opus Building
Week 172 Dubai District Cooling. Keeping the desert cool.
Week 174 Dubai The Almas Tower
Week 175 Dubai The Cayan Tower
Week 176 Toronto The CN Tower
Week 177 Nevada The Paris Hotel 
Week 178 Dubai Ibn Battuta Gate
Week 179 A Wedding
Week 180 Dubai The World's Tallest Tower
Week 181 Dubai and Wales Al Fahidi Fort and Chepstow Castle 
Week 183 Dubai Ski Dubai
Week 184 Another Wedding
Week 185 South Africa Life in a township
Week 186 Austria Ski Jump 
Week 187 Dubai Green Plant Bio Dome 
Week 191 and 192 Dubai What's changed?

Saturday, 22 September 2018

One Daily Positive - Week 38 South Africa

Most of you know we used to live in South Africa for almost 4 years January 2011 till December 2014. I missed a trip back last year due to my father dying and this year I can only fit in 2 weeks due to a family wedding the beginning of October.

I really didn't want to leave SA, but we couldn't get our visas renewed, so Dubai it was.

Child 3 and 3a arrived back in the UK over the weekend to surprise their family and friends. I felt/feel left out.

Anyway I'm in South Africa now for 2 weeks, catching up with friends and helping out with a couple of charities, I used to be involved with.

259 Sunday By 8am I'd rescued the cat who broke free of her harness and escaped from the garden, walked Bob, caught up with blog comments and did the ironing. Packed for my trip to South Africa and updated address book and scheduled some blog posts. Visited the Marina to scout for a new location to document the building of Uptown Dubai. Got my clarinet out to help with some breathing practice as I was feeling dizzy and short of breath today, it really helped.

260 Monday Dr's for yet more blood tests, grrrrrr. Coffee afterwards and a trip to the supermarket to find out if the palm trees are real, as requested by Galina. Spent the afternoon in bed, so tired and aching all the time, it's really starting to get me down now. Blood tests back in 3-5 days.

261 Tuesday Took Bob to the indoor dog park, meeting up with human and canine friends. Collected the cat and dropped them both off for boarding  as Peter flew to Saudi for till the weekend. Got the car cleaned and cleaned the rest of the house.

262 Wednesday 8 hour flight to Johannesburg, collected by my friend Cheryl and straight out to Ridgebacks for Jam Jars with my friends and off to Dorette's for the night.

263 Thursday Was dropped off at the storage unit where all the charity donations are stored, sorted, did and inventory and packed 100 boxes, an early night as my hole body aches badly.

264 Friday Back to the storage unit to collect everything needed for the Christmas boxes for children aged 14-18. Each box contains: toothbrush and paste, face cloth, soap, stationery, a toy, sweets, an item of clothing. We've run out of boxes now to pack into, need another 1000 to reach the target. If I can buy and pack 100 a day, we should get there.

265 Saturday Taking the weekend off to meet up with friends and just relax.

On the blog this week:

Building a boat in the sky

What it's really like living abroad? Dubai and South Africa.




Monday, 17 September 2018

What it's really like living abroad? Dubai and South Africa.

Every now and then a little thought passes through my brain and I ask myself

'What am I doing living in Dubai?'

'How did this happen?'

Sometimes this thought is triggered as I drive past the Burj Al Arab or the Burb Khalifa and I think 'this place is a dream holiday location for a lot of people and I'm just going about my daily business'

Usually I'm on the way to or from the vets, the doctors or a food shop.

The other times I'm ironing or sweeping endless piles of sand out of the house.

Life isn't actually any different from living in the UK or South Africa. But there are many things to take into consideration when you leave the UK shores.

In the UK I worked and studied full time, we had 5 kids at home. In South Africa we were down to 2 kids and I didn't work or study. By the time we came to Dubai, there were no kids, but I did work full time for our 2nd year here.

In South Africa I had to deal with issues around personal safety, worry about armed robberies and car jacking on a daily basis. So all trips out were planned, someone was notified of where I was going and when I would return. But I had the most amazing experiences from camping in townships, taking the kids to Kruger National Park. Catching the train from Joburg to Cape Town with the then 12 year old and travelling alone to see the Spring Flowers in the Western Cape.

In Dubai I have the freedom to go anywhere at anytime on my own, walk, drive, use public transport, but my world is much smaller and contained to Dubai which is a huge city, but I also have to contend with the oppressive heat, which does limit my activities.

Temperature in car after parking for an hour.

Living abroad means I spend a huge amount of time on my own. Peter is out the house at work from 8am till 5pm every week day and he also travels a lot which means I'm completely on my own. Whilst I'm safe here in Dubai on my own, compared to South Africa, I still have the odd fleeting moment of panic when I realise if I had an accident or was taken ill, that I'd have to manage in it alone.

In South Africa that happened a few times, but we had a wonderful network of support to turn to. In Dubai I pretty much have only one person who I could call on in my hour of need.

Living abroad is lonely, you're isolated from family back in the homeland. In South Africa we had issues with the internet and even lack of electricity at times. In Dubai all voice over internet is blocked. It makes communication difficult. But at least the postal system works in Dubai unlike South Africa.

We now consider the flight from Dubai to the UK as short haul, despite it actually taking 7 hours to reach and another 4-6 hours to get to and from our homes. From South Africa it would take 24 hours door to door, with a direct flight taking 12 hours, or a stop in Dubai involving 2 x 7 hour flights and a minimum 2 hour stop over.

So what do I do all day as a none working mother of 5 whose kids have all left home?

Well I do the house work, washing and ironing. I food shop. walk the dog, scoop dog poop and clean the litter tray, load the dishwasher and cook dinner. I visit the dog park, get my nails done once a month and pretty much do the same things as I did when we lived in South Africa and the UK, just minus having to go to work.

We're not here on holiday, this is our life. In South Africa we lived on a golf course over looking a small river and the 16th green. In Dubai we live in a villa near the Marina.

My instagram feed is a mixture of an photos of daily activities just with a glamorous backdrop.

I drop Peter at the train station when he travels for the week and after parking i'll get the tram to the beach and the ferry back to the Marina. To me that is just normal life now. I get used to seeing the big buildings, tripping over the tourists, coping with the heat, buying bleach to clean the toilets with from the mall and having a Mcdonalds for my dinner in the food court.

I post the pictures, rarely do people read the comments, they just see me in a holiday destination, having fun or showing off. Being envious of my glamorous life style. But the reality is I just popped to the local shops, I could've been sitting in a park in the UK, instead of a beach in Dubai or a nature reserve in South Africa. I go where I need to go to do what I need to do, it just happens to be 'exotic' in many people's eyes.

We rarely do brunches, we save them for when the visitors come, as they're expensive. We go out for dinner with friends occasionally, but we're not dining in 5 star restaurants. We go to the World's largest Mall on the weekends so we can get out of the house, but stay cool indoors and go for a walk.

It's 8am and I can only sit out in the garden till then or after 8pm when the sun has gone down. The air con is on, set at 25c, you'd not heat a house that high in the winter, the bills are huge. My cold water tap doesn't run cold, even in winter it's luke warm. So I go to the pool over the road for a swim. It's lined with palm trees and sun loungers. It's £400 a year membership. If I swam in the UK 3 days a week for 30 weeks of the year, I'd pay £360, so while it sounds luxurious to have gym membership, it isn't really.

I'm not complaining about life abroad, I guess it's more about expelling myths about how glamorous it is. At the end of the day it's still the shame shit, just a different City and a bit harder to get home when I need to.


Sunday, 16 September 2018

My Sunday Photo - The Address Sky View in Downtown Dubai Week 193

When we moved to Dubai in December 2014, I started taking photos of where we lived and places we visited. It soon became apparent that Dubai was changing almost weekly, so I decided to start documenting the speed at which it was being built.

However as construction is being completed, my view points have altered, new buildings have meant I haven't been able to stand in the same place to update the photo's.

Also I've discovered not everything is built at the same speed and this building The Address Residence Sky View in Downtown Dubai, seems to have come to a halt, you'll also notice that my view point has altered somewhat from the 10th floor of Dubai Mall.

November 2017

September 2018

         November 2017                                                                   

September 2018

I've a new project I'm going to start photographing this week. I'll be scouting the perfect location to take regular photos of it. Uptown Dubai in JLT (Jumeriah Lake Towers) It will consist of 2 towers and a 2 level central plaza some 28 meters above the ground, housing a mall and residential apartments which will be larger than Times Square in New York.

If you want to see the other projects I've been documenting in Dubai and buildings and construction projects from other parts of the world, feel free to click on the links below:



Week 158 Dubai Bluewater Islands and Dubai Eye. Man made island a 210m high Big Wheel
Week 159 Dubai Dubai Marina - Reflections
Week 160 Dubai Dubai Frame. A window between the Old and New Dubai and a 150m high glass floor.
Week 161 Dubai Dubai Marina 3 years apart.
Week 163 Dubai New Metro Line for Expo 2020
Week 164 Arizona and Nevada Hoover Dam 2002 - 2010
Week 165 Dubai Dubai Opera House What a difference a year makes
Week 166 Dubai Unfinished buildings. The Pentominium
Week 167 Coventry Mixing the old and the new. Coventry Catherdral
Week 168 Dubai New Dubai Metro Station 
Week 169 Dubai The new extension of the Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa 
Week 170 Dubai Hotel fire After the Address fire 
Week 171 Dubai Unusual designs The Opus Building
Week 172 Dubai District Cooling. Keeping the desert cool.
Week 173 Dubai Can I visit the Burj Al Arab
Week 174 Dubai The Almas Tower
Week 175 Dubai The Cayan Tower
Week 176 Toronto The CN Tower
Week 177 Nevada The Paris Hotel 
Week 178 Dubai Ibn Battuta Gate
Week 179 A Wedding
Week 180 Dubai The World's Tallest Tower
Week 181 Dubai and Wales Al Fahidi Fort and Chepstow Castle 
Week 182 Dubai New Metro Station in Al Furjan 
Week 183 Dubai Ski Dubai
Week 184 Another Wedding
Week 185 South Africa Life in a township
Week 186 Austria Ski Jump 
Week 187 Dubai Green Plant Bio Dome 
Week 188 Dubai Update on the Metro Station
Week 189 Dubai My view from the balcony changed in 8 months
Week 190 Greece Just how instagramable is it?
Week 191 Dubai What's changed?

Saturday, 15 September 2018

One Daily Positive - Week 37

I've been up early before sunrise at 6am to walk Bob and water the garden. The actual gardening will have to wait till I finish my travels the end of October, it's still too hot. There is a humid factor of 'feels like' 10c more than the actual average temperature of the high 30's.

I spent 3 days on and off cleaning the house, it's not had a deep clean since the end of May. Peter did clean and tidy while I was away, but book cases and shelves were incredibly dusty. The two spare rooms were full of sand around the doors and windows and the rooms looked like a haunted house covered in dust. One room is the guest room and the other my sewing room and study. Peter just left the doors shut while I was away.

My blood test results are back, Vitamin B12 deficiency, levels very low and no improvement with iron levels after 3 months of supplements so infusions to look forward to. Still no clue to the cause.

252 Sunday Off to meet my friend for coffee and as usual 3 hours, none stop nattering and only 1 coffee each, sometimes we've sat there for an hour before we've even ordered coffee. Cleaned the downstairs of the house in the afternoon after the food shop, went for a swim while Peter cooked dinner, watched a movie and in bed before 9pm.
Some of the malls make you feel you're actually outdoors

253 Monday Up at 5am and sat in the garden drinking tea with the cat (on her lead) and dog, walked Bob and rearranged the furniture in the hall so I could bring the pushbikes inside as the sun is damaging them and it's a flaff to keep chaining (unchaining) and removing the covers. Met a friend for lunch.
Bumped into this fella (no idea why there was a cut out of Ronaldo in the store)

254 Tuesday Early morning start to the dog park to meet our dog and human friends, spent the afternoon cleaning upstairs, went to the outlet centre in the evening. It's the Arabic new year today, but they've made Thursday the public holiday.
Bob ran some energy off in the outdoor area, but we didn't stay outside for long

255 Wednesday Doctors first thing for B12 injections and treatment plan. Found somewhere local to do all the recycling, swept/hoovered and mopped through the house and went to the pub quiz in the evening.
Started a new book

256 Thursday Peter was off work, I headed off to a local football club to meet with them about volunteering with a new youth league they're setting up. We went to Ikea and didn't argue, only bought things we didn't know we needed, stopped at the flamingo sanctuary on the way home, met a friend for coffee and had an early night.
Dubai skyline

257 Friday We headed off to the Palm for Brunch, nothing else happened all day.
I was defeated by dessert

258 Saturday In bed all day with a migraine, Peter had a friend round in the afternoon for a few beers.
Breakfast in bed, coffee in bed, dinner in bed

On the blog this week:

Construction projects in Dubai and how they've come on in the 3 months that I was away.

6 days in Bavaria in July. Things to do and places to see.

My dream wedding venue 'Under one roof' part of my Wedding series blog post.




Wednesday, 12 September 2018

My dream wedding venue. Under one roof.

There are so many things to think about when planning your wedding day. From guests to the dress, everything that the Bride and Groom and their families and friends could possibly want.

We’ve been to 2 weddings this year, with a third in October. All 3 weddings have been in a church with at least a 30 minute drive afterwards to the reception.

For my husband and I and our children, we all have a considerable distance to travel to get to the church. From Dubai for Peter and I and 2 of our children in Australia and Northern Ireland. This means we need accommodation either near the church or the reception and often in areas of the country we are unfamiliar with.

For the guests having a wedding and reception ‘under one roof’ is very appealing. One destination with available accommodation means not getting stuck in traffic or relying on taxi’s to and from rural areas after the evening do.

For the Bride and Groom though there are so many other advantages with booking Bijou Weddings there’s enough stress choosing bridesmaids, best man and ushers, let alone then choosing the wedding dress, bridesmaids dresses and the suits for the grooms party.

Planning a wedding that takes place under one roof, offers so many advantages. In the first instance a venue that offers a wedding package, tend to employ people who are experts in this field. They plan weddings for a living. They are the experts. Whilst many venues only offer the room and catering, a wedding under one roof many include a wedding planner and if they don't they will be working regularly with florists, cake makers, companies that do decorations, DJ's and photographers. 

They'll help with seating plans, advising on the best layouts for tables whether you have 60 guests or 250. They'll cater for different dietary needs, from vegans to ensuring halal and kosher foods. Most importantly they'll provide you with a schedule of how the reception will run with timings, from the ceremony itself, to photographs, providing luxurious settings in which to have your photo's taken.

Having a wedding under one roof means the Bride and Groom can slope off to the Bridal suite after the cutting of the cake and the first dance, once the evening guests have arrived, if they want to get changed. The Bridal suite is also available for the Bride to get ready in, with hair and make up artists coming to you, or the Bride could travel from her home putting her dress on last minute to ensure it's wrinkle free. Bouquets and buttons holes can be derived to the venue, meaning less stress for the Bride trying to remember who is doing what and where everything will be.

If the weather is nice it's worth asking if you can you get married outdoors? If it rains, there's no lengthy drive, getting in and out of cars and the bridal party getting wet. The guests also stay nice and dry and warm during a winter wedding once they've arrived at the venue also.

One final thing to remember though is that when you book your dream wedding venue make sure a celebrant is available on the day.

This is a collaborative post.

Monday, 10 September 2018

6 days in Bavaria. Places to visit, things to do.

I returned from a trip to Wolfratshausen, south of Munich, where I stayed with friends, in July. I last visited in 2016 on this visit they lent me their car to allow me to explore further afield during the week while they were at work.

On the weekend we visited castles, Christmas shops and attended a Medieval festival and in the week I explored the town where they live, on foot, caught a train into Munich, drove into Austria through the Alps and visited the local lakes while my hosts were in work.

I visited here in 2016, so wanted to explore new places and revisit in further detail some of the other places I'd already visited.

It's not expensive to visit the attractions in Munich, a few euro to enter museums and churches were free, although a donation is welcomed.

As I've lived in Dubai for the past 3+ years, the driving was easy for me, although it's been a long time since I've driven a manual car and some of the villages in the Alps proved tricky with testing my hill starts. Before entering Austria I had to stop at a garage and buy a 'vignette' to allow me to pass through the tolls freely. The road signs were easy to work out, I set my GPS before I left each day, downloaded an app called 'visit a city' and was able to download routes and places to visit in advance. I had a data package on my phone and there was plenty of free wifi.


There isn't a lot of English spoken in this part of the world and as I don't speak any German and had difficulties with translating the menus, I lived off Mozerella and Tomato sandwiches when I was out. When I asked for a latte I received a Latte Macchiato, which I wasn't too fond of, so stuck with the international word for cappuccino. I got by with miming and pointing and managed to buy train tickets as the machine had an English option and all announcements were in English and German. There didn't appear to be a return ticket option as the prices vary according to the time of day one travels. The S Bahn was undergoing works and my journey time was doubled.

There are so many things to see and do in Munich, Wolfratshausen and surrounding areas. All churches are free to visit and most of the attractions only charged a few euros to enter. Most of my spend was on public transport, fuel, coffee and food. In a couple of places my credit card wasn't accepted and my debit card declined as they only accepted local cards, which was awkward when I insisted on paying for dinner one night.

There are a lot of things in Bavaria that I find strange to see, I tend to notice more things from living abroad and always wonder when I visit new places what it would be like to live there.

There are maypoles in every town

Cigarette vending machines and advertising


Traditional costume is still worn freely, it's very pretty and expensive

There are chairs in the town centre so you can just sit down and watch the world go by

All the buildings are beautifully decorated

If you want to see the places I visited and get some ideas of things to do in this part of the world, then please feel free to click on the links below:

Day 1Ettal Abbey, Linderhof Palace and Oberammergau.



Day 2 Kaltenberg Knights' Tournament.

Day 3 Wolfratshausen, Bavaria and Marchenwald Fairy Tales Land

Day 4 Munich by train.

Day 5 Innsbruck Austria and the Olympic Ski Jump.

Day 6 Starnburg Lakes.

Dachau Concentration Camp is located 30 mins by road and 40 mins by public transport from Munich, it was a very moving experience to visit, but not for the feint hearted, it was an extremely emotional visit.

I'm looking forward to my next visit, hopefully in the summer of 2019, I'd like to venture further afield and explore the neighbouring countries some more. I did pop to Italy for an ice-cream in 2016.

Sunday, 9 September 2018

My Sunday Photo - Week 191 and 192

I flew back to Dubai this week. I've been in the UK since the end of May, I'll be back the start of October for our final wedding of the year. I'm only in Dubai for 2 weeks as I'm visiting our old home in South Africa. I didn't get the chance to visit last year after the sudden death of my father and I'm very much looking forward to catching up with my friends, reconnecting with the charities I worked with and hopefully a safari or two. 

I'll be continuing my before and after photo's in both Dubai and South Africa. It will be interesting to see how much has changed in the past 2 years, although I doubt it will be as dramatic as the changes over the past 3 months in Dubai.

The top photo in each picture was taken prior to June 2018, the bottom one in each set was taken September 2018. You'll see some really big changes in some of the photo's, in others, not much has altered in the 3 months I've been away.

Looking down from our house




 Construction of the new road system






 Looking out from the end of our street




 The new metro system as viewed from our balcony


The other metro station only 600ms away



In the meantime if you're interested in any of the construction projects I've been documenting around the world, mainly in Dubai, do click on the links below:

Week 158 Dubai Bluewater Islands and Dubai Eye. Man made island a 210m high Big Wheel
Week 159 Dubai Dubai Marina - Reflections
Week 160 Dubai Dubai Frame. A window between the Old and New Dubai and a 150m high glass floor.
Week 161 Dubai Dubai Marina 3 years apart.
Week 163 Dubai New Metro Line for Expo 2020
Week 164 Arizona and Nevada Hoover Dam 2002 - 2010
Week 165 Dubai Dubai Opera House What a difference a year makes
Week 166 Dubai Unfinished buildings. The Pentominium
Week 167 Coventry Mixing the old and the new. Coventry Catherdral
Week 168 Dubai New Dubai Metro Station 
Week 169 Dubai The new extension of the Dubai Mall and Burj Khalifa 
Week 170 Dubai Hotel fire After the Address fire 
Week 171 Dubai Unusual designs The Opus Building
Week 172 Dubai District Cooling. Keeping the desert cool.
Week 173 Dubai Can I visit the Burj Al Arab
Week 174 Dubai The Almas Tower
Week 175 Dubai The Cayan Tower
Week 176 Toronto The CN Tower
Week 177 Nevada The Paris Hotel 
Week 178 Dubai Ibn Battuta Gate
Week 179 A Wedding
Week 180 Dubai The World's Tallest Tower
Week 181 Dubai and Wales Al Fahidi Fort and Chepstow Castle 
Week 182 Dubai New Metro Station in Al Furjan 
Week 183 Dubai Ski Dubai
Week 184 Another Wedding
Week 185 South Africa Life in a township
Week 186 Austria Ski Jump 
Week 187 Dubai Green Plant Bio Dome 
Week 188 Dubai Update on the Metro Station
Week 189 Dubai My view from the balcony changed in 8 months
Week 190 Greece Just how instagramable is it?

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