Central European Road Trip 2016 Part 4: Let the wheels roll

After our truly magical lunch in Barneveld (previous post), our road trippin’ started in earnest. We left the magic of the Netherlands behind and entered Germany with gusto.

First overnight stop was pretty practical. Hanover is sort of mid-way from Amsterdam to Berlin. We did not plan any touristy-shenanigans and so, after checking in at Hotel Wagner, ended up sitting outside the hotel, sipping beer (my first…) and watching the world go by.  An extremely civilized intro to my schnitzel dinner with Calvados sauce, nogal. When in Rome and all that jazz.

The hotel was perfect for an overnight stop and the breakfast I though was quite impressive but completely wasted on me. Just can’t do all that food first thing in the morning. Give me coffee and a fag and I’m good to go. Maybe throw a boiled egg into the deal and I’m ready to rumble. I did thought though, that the honeycomb slab dripping golden deliciousness was good enough to smuggle out the door. Messy business.

Onto Berlin, the design-hub of Germany I’ve been told and I had high expectations of the brethren.

We arrived in the late afternoon on a Sunday and it was damn hot. As in unexpected-but-this-is-Europe-not-Africa hot and it’s middle of September for goodness sake.

Checked into our hotel, NH Collection Berlin on Friedrichstrasse, in Mitte. Not bad overall and I did find the interiors (lobby and rooms) full of interesting details of which of course I did not take a picture for future reference….sigh.

My planned walkabout itinerary for the next day was promptly butchered as we realized that I had nothing sight-see-e planned on the day of our arrival. Ooops. None the less, I was able to hush the more controlling part of my psyche. Off we ambled to Potsdammer Platz and made our way back to the hotel-hood, via Tiergarten, to sip on some extremely sweet marguerites, before heading out for dinner.

Side note about Potsdammer Platz: The Kolhoff Tower has apparently the fastest elevator in Europe and the views from the top floors are a must see.

My culinary experience the evening at Sophieneck, included a Beef Knuckle with the obligatory, ginormous helping of sauerkraut, washed down with a very respectable Riesling. I have to admit, the portions did get the best of me….if you’ve never had a beef knuckle, imagine a pork knuckle on steroids. And man is that hunk of meat tough to eat with grace and poise.

Service from the nubile waiter was snappy and the restaurant itself is quite pretty in German terms. We were lucky enough to grab an outside table to enjoy the balmy evening air and to watch the excitement at the hospital down the road.

The next day dawned even more steamy but seeing that we only had one full day to see and experience as much as possible, we loaded up on anti-perspirant and set off along the Spree, destination: East Side Gallery. 6km later through a rather dodgy area of town, sweaty and close to a sense of humour failure, we arrived at a very disappointing ‘gallery’. I have no idea what I was expecting but the last remaining piece of wall, adorned by graffiti, behind a fence, was not ideal for the dramatic, emotionally loaded picture I was planning to take.

We made our way back to Mitte, thanks to Uber (the excuse was that I was getting a blister), for a spot of shopping, only to realize when we got to our first stop, that most shops only open from 10:00am onwards. That’s what happens when you start your day at 6…ten feels like it should be lunch time already!

Time to waste so let’s drown our disappointment in beer! Okay and we did have something to eat to look slightly more civilized.

Shopping take 2.

Both the Happy Shop and The Store on Torstrasse was either permanently closed or have moved to an undisclosed location. We could not find either one.

We did manage to find Adddress, a shop that stocks local fashion. After trying on all the clothes and shoes in the entire store, I finally bought something. But I must be honest though, I really battled to find an item that appealed to me…that something special or an interesting detail. Hopefully, the very pretty young lady that ran around like a blue arsed fly, trying to find something that would make me happy, earns commission.

Next stop was Konk, also a local fashion store, tucked away on a very pretty side street called Kleine Hamburger Strasse. Now they had extremely interesting stuff! I can definitely recommend, when you are in Berlin and you want to support local design, to pop in there for clothes and jewellery.

On our way back to hotel, we detoured via the Reichstag and swinged by the Brandenburger Tor. Entrance to the Reichstag is free, if you want to view the city from under the glass roof. We didn’t. ‘Cause sometimes you are tired and you want to get back to hotel and take your shoes off and sip a beverage and de-people yourself. There.

We ended the day at a restaurant called Leon, just a hop, skip and a half-hearted jump from the hotel. Nothing like a bratwurst to end off a sightseeing/shopping expedition in Berlin. Don’t forget the beer to avoid dehydration.

I was expecting more from Berlin design-wise and was hoping that the research I did prior to our visit, was enough off the beaten track to sniff out fabulous design or architecture and that I would leave the city, filled with inspiration. Maybe I just did not look in the right places to find innovative design?

The city’s history though is interesting and I did appreciate the subtle differences between what was and what is now.

Love & Light

An elixir to beat the dimples: Coffee

My most golden moment is first thing in the morning, when I have my lukewarm glass of water and freshly squeezed lemon juice. It is a fleeting self-congratulating moment and even though I have the best intentions and promise myself that I will be consuming only alkaline food & drink every single morning, I promptly follow that glass of water with a cup of coffee. Every. Single. Day. So much for good intentions.

My name is Lani and I am a coffee addict. And no, I don’t drink countless cups of coffee everyday (two cups are my maximum) but there is no way that I can say no to that morning brew. And that is addictive behaviour, right?

So be it.

A few weeks ago, I bought a new brand of coffee online (my favourite way of shopping) and after the current beans in the machine ran out, it was a good time to test drive Black Insomnia. Now the name should have given me plenty of warning but I thought that my caffeine tolerance was more than enough, seeing that I have my regular dose at least once a day.

Boy. Was I wrong.

The heart palpitations and shaking finally stopped just before lunch after having ONE cup at 7 o’clock that morning. I think they should change the name to ‘ritteltits.

Needless to say, that was my first and last cup…just too shit-scared. I was thinking though, that if the caffeine made my heart go pitter-patter at the speed of, well, Speed, then it can only do marvellous things for my non-existent circulation. The plan is to grind the buggery-beans and scrub my dimply thighs and just maybe, the cellulite will be scared off into oblivion.


If you feel brave, head over to Black Insomnia‘s site and spoil yourself with their extremely potent brew. They also have other pretty cool stuff – and I love that logo! Me personally, am sticking to my current favourite Lavazza and will get my rocks off in some other way.


Love & Light

Central European Road Trip 2016 Part 3: Kippenvel

When find yourself, slap-bang in the middle of The Netherlands (no jokes – Barneveld is really in the middle of the country), stop for lunch at Ina’s Eetkamer.

This was our first pit-stop from Schipol to our overnight stop in Hanover, Germany. The town of Barneveld is very conveniently located just off the A1, about an hour from the airport.

A bit about Barneveld: It is known for its egg production and poultry farming and one of the Dutch’s most popular breed of chicken, is named after the town…or the town was named after the chicken….

From hundreds of restaurants that came up when we searched for a place to eat and more importantly, to have some liquid refreshments, Ina’s was the place I decided on. Why? I cannot tell you….but when these kinda things happen, I just go with the old trusty gut feel.

The ‘eetkamer’ is owned and run by the magnificent, yup, you’ve guessed it: Ina. There are about thirty seats in the cosy dining room and plenty of seating outside, which was absolutely damn marvellous for us. Fresh air and sunshine after the crossing over Africa, was indeed welcomed and apart from possibly the best bitterballen in the world and plenty of tipple, best of all, I made a new friend.

Surrounded by happy bees pollinating the rose garden next to our table, sipping on a complimentary bottle of wine, Ina and I were able to cover a vast range of topics in the time that we visited. From travel, to plastic surgery, to mierentietjes (the most stunningly visual word I’ve heard in a long time).
Her, in her beautiful, descriptive Dutch and me in my sucky Afrikaans, peppered with English. I cringe when I think how bad my moedertaal has become!


It was a simply stupendous way for us to start our road trip and all the thanks goes to Ina and her generosity.

Ina, als je in Kaapstad bent, zal ik extatisch om uw gastheer te zijn en zou de mogelijkheid om uw warmte, openheid en vriendelijkheid terug te betalen waarderen.

Love & Light

Central European Road Trip 2016 Part 2: Packing like a pro

If you are a just-in-case-packer like me, you will understand the difficulty in choosing what to pack for an iffy climate. Over and above that, I do have an intimate relationship with my clothes and miss them when I’m not surrounded by all my favourites.

After scouring the internet and finding a heap of ideas for backpackers, I realized that there are no suggestions really, for a fashion conscious, almost always stylish (we try), non-backpacking 40+ woman, who prefers to hide her slightly lumpy legs and jiggly upper arms and do not like T-shirts (that bra-muffin on the back is one of my least favourite looks).

Considering that the autumn (or spring) weather in Europe could be fickle, it was daunting to decide on what to pack and not look like a slob and scream “Hello, I’m a tourist!”

And so my own traveling wardrobe was born.

4x Bottoms
Jeans: this is always a staple and if you have a pair that you’ve broken in, they are super comfy when travelling.

Black Pants: I chose a pair of palazzo pants that fits snuggly in the waist. These I can either dress up or down.

Stone Pants: My only concession to not only pack black & white (my favourite combo) and the neutral colour will go with everything.

Black & White Pants: ‘Cause we all need a pair of skinnies in our favourite colour, when we see the world.


10x Tops & Shirts
Now, if you like colour and patterns this is where you can go wild and unleash the multi-coloured demon. Me, on the other hand, prefer the classic black & white with a splash of grey and if I’m feeling terribly exited, I indulge in a dab of brown. Whatever your poison, make sure that all the tops can be worn with all the bottoms and that the whole shebang, work both on a sightseeing trip or spoiling yourself at a fancy eatery. These tops should be a combination of short and long sleeves as well as a sleeveless number for those extremely hot days – who knew Berlin can get to 36° C in September??


1x Dress
This was a waste to pack and my old just-in-case self, made a guest appearance. I was thinking that I could wear this to dinner once or twice, but with the black pants already packed, this was a complete waste.

3x Jerseys
Yup. I am very often cold and would almost always prefer to glow than to shiver. Plus, I was taking the layering thing very serious.


2x Cardigans
These are lighter weight than the jerseys above and were perfect to ward off the chill in the morning when I was standing like a working woman, on a street corner outside a hotel, having my coffee and fag.


2x Jackets
The leather jacket I travelled in and was great towards the end of trip when it became quite fresh in the evenings and when it drizzled. The grey jacket was perfect as a lightweight extra layer for the in between weather.


3x Pairs of Shoes
Can I please have applause for limiting myself? I stopped counting my footwear a few years ago (you know you have a serious addiction when they total over a hundred). To only choose 3 pairs took immense self-control.
I settled on a pair of white All Stars for traipsing around, a pair of red pumps for the dressier affairs and lastly, a pair of black ankle boots for the chillier days and for travelling.


4x Scarves that served both as an extra layer of warmth, as well as to jazz up an outfit.
2x Handbags – one that I travelled with (read ginormous), seeing that I forego the hand luggage and a daily cross body bag that could convert into a shoulder bag.
Uhuhm…both my own designs (perfect product placement!!)

All of the above gave me at least 25 different outfits – if I did some laundry in between – that was comfortable, stylish and age/agenda appropriate. More than enough for a 3 week holiday.

All in all, everything worked out perfect, even more so when I started to shop. Seeing that my wardrobe was very much mix-n-match already, everything that I bought, looked pretty spiffy with what I had already!

I left with a suitcase weighing a mere 14kg and came back with only 10kg extra. A definite first for me!

• Pack for a week, regardless whether you’re travelling for a month or a year. If you really need a warm coat or a pair of slinky summery heels, you have the excuse to shop!
• Layering is key to autumn/spring traveling wardrobe.
• Make sure that each piece of clothing can be worn with everything else.
• You must feel comfortable in everything. Don’t pack skirts if you mostly wear pants when you’re home.
• For us normal people: do not pack active wear – you’ll get enough exercise by walking everywhere…my lycra tights, top and tekkies came back home, without ever leaving the suitcase.

Love & Light

Central European Road Trip 2016 Part 1: Yes. I can be a princess.

Long before I even smelled jet-fuel, I was as excited as a kid before Xmas about this epic road trip and researched the hell out of it. And thank you very much for acknowledging my anal retentiveness. I am proud about that not-very-endearing quality of my personality – it sometimes does come in handy.

The Husband and I were visiting ten cities in three weeks and there was no time to dilly-dally, if we wanted to see and visit all the places that was worthwhile. I ended up compiling my own travel guide, tailor made for our taste and interest….which you would realize if you know me, rotate around food, booze and shoes. For every day that we spent in a specific location, I planned a sightsee and shopping map within walking distance from where we stayed. All neatly printed out on Google maps, indicating the distance as well (never more than 7km) so that The Husband can be emotionally prepared and won’t faint before we tie our laces. He is a trooper indeed and has stopped trying to convince me to take public transport.

Apart from our own personal travel guide, I also applied my OCD-ness to my travel wardrobe and am extremely proud of what I’d packed. For a notorious over-packer it was medal time when my suitcase weighed in at a mere 14kg when we locked the front door. But more about that in another post.

The only bleak spot on the travel horizon, was the looooong flight ahead and even for someone who loves flying and wishes she was an airhostess in the 50’s on Pan Am, this was definitely not the highlight of the trip. So I did what I do extremely well and started shopping online to make the trip more bearable.

Say hello Flight Hammock! This is a nifty gadget that makes the most of the space available for your legs in cattle class. You hook it over the tray in front of you and you instantly have a leg up. Got to love those Aussies!20161024-img_4962

Sadly (NOT), I never did get to try out this leg hammock because, darling dearest Husband, got us business class tickets. And yes it was a spoil and yes I didn’t want to know how much it cost (all shoe-shopping related you understand and that will just be devastating) but jislaaikit, it was damn amazing to travel in style!! They do make you feel special and I loved the toiletries, and the champagne and the cutlery and to actually lie flat and sleep was a nice change from drooling on the window.

Still, it is so sad that you have to fork out a shit load of money to experience what flying use to be like. Glamorous and exciting should not cost that much.

Would I jump at the chance again while I’m perfecting to be an ostrich?

Hell yes! To be a princess for 11 hours is always a good thing and what a way to start a holiday!

Love & Light

This is not my first rodeo

About 7 years ago, I had the wonderful opportunity, to live in Paris for 5 weeks. This was while the soccer world cup was happening in South Africa. I then started a blog, more to share the trails and tribulations with family and friends back home, than to share with the world my daily life.

The seed was planted though and I’ve realized that it is a pretty damn fine platform to keep track of my life and revisit the amazing places and experiences that I have enjoyed and endured.

If you feel like a giggle, visit www.boertjieinparis.blog.com and read about The Husband and I’s time in the city of light.

Love & Light