Showing posts from August, 2012

Day 7: Vatican City (20 June 2008)

We ate breakfast in the hotel at 7:45 and rode with a bus to the train station at 8:15.   It was our Contiki bus driver’s day off and we got day pass to use public transport for the day.   We got on the Metro train at the EUR Magliana station and rode to Ottaviano station.   The train was very, very busy and we had to split into two groups.   We had to change trains at the Termini station and everybody got to the last stop. Then we walked to the Vatican City.   We stood in the row for about 10 minutes before entering.   We walked through the huge museum.   It was a lot to take absorb in one visit.   It was very busy and we followed the crowds of tourists down the corridors of the museum in the direction of the Sistine Chapel.   Along the way we saw statues and more statues.   The walls and ceilings of every hallway are decorated differently with lots of detail.   We walked down the “Gallery of Maps” with maps of Italy painted in


After stopping in Tarkastad we arrived at my uncle’s farm, Groenfontein (meaning green fountain). We were very glad to get out of the car after about 8 hours of driving.   The mountains around the farm still had some snow on them and with the wind blowing is was very cold outside.   We quickly unloaded the car and went into the house. I am not sure for how long my mother’s family has owned the farm.   I know my great grandfather used to farm there, then my grandparents, then my uncle and now my cousin runs the farm.   We had a nice weekend spending our inside and outside the house -          Walking around on the farm -          Searching for a spot in the sun to sit and read -          Catching up on all the news -          Playing board games or table tennis -          Riding in the field on the back of the bakkie -          Playing with the dogs -          And even some hunting We had a great time but so soon Sunday arrived and we had to drive the ±6


9 August is Women’s Day in South Africa and it is a public holiday.   This year it was on a Thursday.   We decided to take Friday off and make a nice long weekend.   Together with my parents and sister we were on our way to my uncle’s farm near Tarkastad in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. My last visit to the farm was in December 2006 and I was very excited to show my husband the farm.   We used to visit the farm each year in June and December when I was growing up.   It is about 650km to drive and we started very early Thursday morning.   After quick stops in Willowmore and Graaff-Reinet we reach the small Karoo town of Tarkastad at about 11:30am.   When I was a lot younger my grandparents used to live here.   It was very cold and windy outside.   There was still some snow on the mountains from the cold weather earlier in the week. Tarkastad was established in 1862.   The town has the most beautiful Dutch Reformed Church.   The congregation was started in 1863.  

Grahamstown : Anglo Boer memorial

After our visit to the Commemoration Methodist Church we walk across the street to the traffic island in High Street.   Luckily it was Sunday and the streets were quiet. On the traffic island is the winged figure of Peace.   This is a monument to “The brave men of Albany who died for the empire during the Anglo-Boer War, 1899–1902”. The sculpture is by Stanley Nicholson Babb and Rudyard Kipling wrote the inscription.    The inscription is very difficult to read because of vandalism .   “THEY CAME OF THAT SAMESTUBBORN STOCK THAT STOOD AT RUNNYMEDE FOR FREEDOM WITHOUR FEAR WHEREFORE THEY GAVE THE TREASURE OF THEIR BLOOD TO STABLISH FREEDOM HERE”

Day 6 : Rome Italy (19 June 2008) Cont

After stopping at Piazza Colonna we continued with our walking tour of Rome. The next stop was the Spanish Steps. 4.                   Piazza di Spagna and Spanish Steps The Spanish Steps got its name when the Spanish Ambassador lived here in the 16 th century.   The steps lead to the church Trinita del Monte and in the piazza there is a boat shaped fountain. We filled our water bottles at the fountain with the nice cold water.   5 .                   Fontana di Trevi This fountain is in a very busy square with hundreds of people.   It took more than a hundred years to built thee fountain and it was finished in 1751.   In the center is Neptune with two seahorses.  We followed tradition and each tossed a coin over our shoulder into the fountain and if it works we will return to Rome again.   6.      Piazzo Venezia We then walked to the Piazza Venezia and saw the Victor Emmanuel Monument.   It was bui