Chantal on tour – South Africa through my eyes

As not many of you know yet, I’m currently having a gap year and just started traveling the world. The first stop of my great adventure? South Africa.

For those of you already following me a great century ago, it comes as no surprise that I’ve Always wanted to revisit the mother land. For all the others, I went on an exchange to Stellenbosch two years ago and have ever since said I wanted to go back. Lucky for me that time has finally come and I’m driving through the Majestic fields of South Africa on my way to Cape Town as we speak (or as I’m writing, more specifically).

First of all I must take a moment to appreciate being back, it feels like coming home, yet as if I barely ever left. The wonderful people, the beautiful nature and all of these great experiences I can never get enough of. Being back I actually did not only want to take a trip down memory lane, without seeing some of the other things this country has to offer. You see, two years ago I ran out of time and money and although I saw many other countries and amazing places, I couldn’t visit the East Coast anymore. This trip seemed like a good opportunity to do so. Now let me talk you through some of my experiences of the past two weeks.

It all started off in Cape Town, where I arrived on the 22th of January. Arriving in summertime South Africa came as a warm welcome after leaving Europe in 1 degrees celcius and rain. I quickly went to the V&A Waterfront (your go-to for whatever shopping it is that you need to do) to get some extra goodies for my big trip the day after. When I arrived back at the hostel, I was torn between having 15 hours of sleep or trying to be social and make some friends. Although those 15 hours of sleep sounded very attractive, I came to the conclusion that it was probably a fun idea to make some friends and do something nice. 30 minutes later I was a couple of shots into making plans to go out for what was supposed to be an early night in. I’d say it was worth the fun, however, the 2,5 days on a bus that followed would most prob disagree with me.

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Those 2,5 days were well payed for by my new place for the next 3 days. I arrived at Drakensberg, a place known for its miraculous hikes, breathtaking scenery and precarious weather. I’ve done some amazing hikes across the Drakensberg national park ending in rock pools, passed the waterfalls and learned many new cultural insights during my daytrip to Lesotho. I thought I’d seen Africa before, but this was a whole new deal. It looked as if I just rolled into the latest LOTR movie, but with cows. To be honest, I was somewhat surprised about the presence of these grazing creatures everywhere. Besides a tiny baby snake and one big bird, no tropical animal spotted.

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After Drakenberg it was time to hop back on the bus to Coffee Bay. Along the way I stopped at some hostels overnight. My original plan was to have a stopover at Umkomaas, which is supposedly one of the most beautiful dive and snorkling spots of South Africa. Unfortunately the weather was very depressing (for me at least, read: lots of rain), so I decided to skip this and drive straight to Coffee Bay. This was again something so different from both Drakenberg and the Western Cape. It’s in an area called “The wild coast” and it quickly shows why this is. Far away from any cellphone service or solid roads, where the kettle (again what’s up with these cows) walks across the road and there are definitely a lot less tourists. The wild coast wears its name proudly. This is a place where it’s very hard to arrive without your own transport or something like the Bazbus (which I’ve been using my whole trip). Unfortunately I only had 2,5 days, but if you’ve got the opportunity to stay longer, don’t hestitate and maybe make a little stop at Mdubi and Port St Johns as well, same beauty, different activities.

My last stop on this trip was Wilderness. I’ve been very into the wild stuff these weeks. A little town on the garden route with an almost tropical vibe. Can I say that the hostel I’ve stayed at had the most AMAZING view ever? And by that I mean I had a bed at the window overlooking the ocean and mountains. I could wake up to this every day. Of course I didn’t only came to Wilderness for the great bedroom view, although I could have. Like the other places so far, Wilderness is a great place to get moving. During my 48 hours there I made sure I did some Stand Up Paddling, Kayaking and a walk along the beach. You would expect me to be some sort of atlethe by now actually. Or at least, I expected myself to be. I wonder if it was the three-day-in-a-row pizzaday that ruined this or the good parties. Either way those snacks were worth it, this country’s food is delicous!!

I hope I’ve given you a proper inside into my weeks so far and speak to you soon! Howdy!

Love, Chantal

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Greece through my eyes

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Hey you,

As I’m writing this I’m unfortunately not in Greece anymore, but sick at home.
As september is ending and autumn is really giving it a go, the flu season starts as well. At work almost all of my colleagues caught the flu and also my roommates are dealing with it. So it was only a matter of time before the flu caught up on me too.

However, this post luckily isn’t about the depressing moods that come with being sick, but about my point of view from Greece. More specifically, about the islands Zakynthos and Kefalonia, that I’ve visited this summer.

My friend and I first traveled to Zakynthos for a couple of days, followed by some days in Kefalonia. As the best way to travel around the islands is either by car or scooter, and neither of us have got our driving licenses yet, we decided to rent a cute little scooter for the both of us. With this scooter came the freedom of seeing the whole island, yes this includes some dirt roads (don’t let the scooter rental guy know), but also many roads with never ending views across the sea and forests. I could go on forever about the beauty of the islands, but I’ll post some must-do’s later in another post. First, I’d like to show a you a bit of Greece through my eyes.

Love! Chantal

Re-losing my blog virginity

Hi guys,

It’s been ages since I last wrote something here and I feel bad about not being present for so long. It feels as if I’m losing my blogging virginity all over again.

Again with a goal of traveling the world, yet again having a hard time to save up for it.
However, some things did change, I’ve moved to Amsterdam, tried to become better at balancing everything out and therefore being more capable of continuing to write. Overall, I tried to become better at life.

I think I’ve succeeded in this a fair bit, so please feel free to join me on my journey through the rough and expensive city life of Amsterdam, and my ways of avoiding and transforming this.

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Lots of love,

Chantal

Flu and rainy days

Hi everyone!

I hope you are all doing well in this cold autumnal weather. Here in Cologne there has been a flu epidemic during the past weeks and just when I thought it had skipped me, I woke up this morning feeling like shit. With a cold, a headache, throat ache and everything else which is flu-like.

So I’ve been trying to recover today by taking a lot of vitamins, drinking some lemon-ginger-honey tea and taking it slow. I even borrowed some nice bath oils from my roommate so I can take a nice warm bath and go to bed early tonight. And then all I can do is hope, pray and keeping my fingers crossed that it’ll be a lot better tomorrow, because I really don’t have time to be ill. Especially since I’ve found out I have to write 4 papers and prepare 3 presentations before the end of the month, one’s gotta love studentlife!

But I must also admit that having a decent excuse to not do anything and sleep feels kindof okay if it’s just for a day, finally a reason to do what I always love to do, haha. I sound a bit too lazy now I guess.

Anyway, I hope to be able to get back to you soon with some nice and healthy updates! Oh, and if you guys have any anti-flu tips, PLS SHARE!!

PS. The book I’m reading -hearing vision, seeing voices, is a very interesting book and I can definitely recommend reading it! However, I bought it in South Africa, so I’m not completely sure if the bookstores elsewhere sell it as well, but here’s a link to amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Hearing-Visions-Seeing-Voices-Mmatshilo/dp/1919931511

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(Very) Long time no see

Hi everyone!

I should be very ashamed, and I am. It’s been over a year since the last time I wrote something here. Not completely without reason though, because even though I’ve loved everything and anything in South Africa and I would have loved to share it with you, there are always some drawbacks you’ve got to learn to adjust to. One of those was the fact the wifi was completely shit. Like I-cannot-even-look-at-this-snapchat-shit. So you can imagine that to upload photos you had got to be some kind of magic worker, and magic has never really been my passion, nor my strength for that matter. Another reason was that unfortunately my phone and other important stuff got stolen, so I was trying to work that out, calling back and forth with home and trying to get my new stuff to me in South Africa. These things made me a little reluctant to write, unfortunately. Despite these two unfortunate events, I have lived probably the best six months of my life so far in South Africa  and I can only recommend everyone else to also go there and explore.

But now I am back, or actually, I am in Cologne in Germany at the moment. A little less adventurous, but nevertheless also beautiful, just very different. At least my wifi is good enough to post pictures and I can eat a lot of bratwurst. So allow me to virtually take you to all of my favorite spots in Cologne, through all of my streetstyle fashion moments and of course some new money-saving challenges. Now that one trip is over I have got to start saving for the next ones. Who made traveling so addictive and expensive?!

But first, let me take you through my SA highlights, so you can enjoy just as much as I did. Okay, almost as much.

Springboks and culture shock

Hi there! (English below)

Ondertussen zijn we alweer anderhalve week verder sinds m’n laatste post. Die anderhalve week voelt als anderhalve maand en langzaam probeer ik me een weg te wanen naar het local zijn. Dat ging tot nu toe heel goed, ik had nergens last van, voelde me helemaal thuis en had zelfs geen ochtend humeur meer. En dat terwijl je in Nederland tot een uurtje of 10 ‘s morgens toch echt beter niks tegen me kan zeggen. Kort gezegd was mijn culture shock ver te zoeken. Top! Dacht ik.
Maar toen kwam gisteren, een donkere wolk sinds m’n zonnige tijd hier. Het begon al met een humeur om op te schieten, maar eigenlijk is er de hele dag zo ongeveer niks goed en het Zuid Afrikaanse school systeem en ik zijn tot nu toe geen vrienden. Het voelt alsof ik weer in 4 vwo zit, met bizar veel opdrachten verplichte colleges. En dat terwijl het aanwezig zijn bij colleges de afgelopen drie jaar toch niet bovenaan mijn to-do list stond en mijn leerschema’s bestonden uit 8 weken rust, 3 weken knallen.
Helaas gaat dit uitmuntende systeem tot nu toe niet op voor me en essays en andere testjes zijn dan ook aan de orde van de dag. Ook hebben ze een heel ander ritme, wat zo ongeveer begint om 8u en moet je er eigenlijk nooit vanuit gaan dat er iets werkt.
Ik denk dat dit wel redelijk door borduurt op de load shedding.
Nee, het niet hebben van een culture shock was een mooie droom, maar ging toch niet helemaal op.

Gelukkig heeft Zuid Afrika toch ook nog steeds hele mooie dingen te bieden en wil ik gelukkig nog lang niet naar huis. En na een hectische dag gister was het toch heerlijk om even een afspraak te maken bij de schoonheidsspecialist, want dat kan hier wel lekker goedkoop! Daarnaast blijf ik me verbazen over de natuur hier, het is hier zo mooi, ik hoop stiekem dat ik hier niet aan wen zolang ik hier ben. Vooral afgelopen zondag, toen we met de auto langs Gordon’s Bay gingen, lekker cruisen langs de bergen en overal waar je kijkt je blijven verbazen. Gelukkig waren er uitkijkpunten om even wat foto’s te kunnen maken, al hebben we daar misschien een romantische date mee verstoord. Verder ben ik nog naar Kaapstad geweest, in eerste instantie met het idee om te gaan winkelen, maar toen na 2 uur wandelen bleek dat we toch echt aan de verkeerde kant van het centrum waren, was een borrel en diner wel op z’n plaats. Gelukkig gaan we aankomend weekend weer, dus geen gemiste kansen hier.

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Arrival in Stellenbosch

Hi there!(English below)

Ik zit nu een paar dagen in Stellenbosch, Zuid Afrika, en er zijn me een paar dingen opgevallen. De tijd vliegt hier, of het voelt in ieder geval alsof er een week voorbij is, terwijl dit pas m’n tweede volle dag hier is.  Dat zal vooral komen omdat ik van de ene activiteit in de andere val.
(Dat geldt overigens niet alleen voor nu, maar ook de rest van de afgelopen anderhalve maand, love tentamens en afscheidsfeestjes en andere feestjes)

Anyway, de intro is pas net begonnen en heb al bijna geen vrije tijd meer. Enkel op een goede manier gelukkig! Ik woon hier met z’n vijftienen in een huis genaamd The Beach House, en ja, het heeft een soort van beach. Of in ieder geval een zwembad, daar doe ik het ook voor. Helaas is er nog geen kans dat we dat zwembad binnen een paar weken kunnen gebruiken, het is hier namelijk winter. En nu denken jullie waarschijnlijk hetzelfde over winters in Zuid Afrika als ik, hoe erg kan het zijn?!, maar niks is minder waar. Ik ben vanmorgen naar de uni gelopen onder het genot van 2 graden celcius. Overdag is het gelukkig wel wat warmer, zo’n 15 graden, maar hoop wel dat het snel warmer wordt.

Een andere kleine eigenaardigheid is het feit dat de Afrikaanse regening blijkbaar een policy heeft ingevoerd dat ze in verschillende delen van Zuid Afrika af en toe af te sluiten van elektriciteit. Jaja, je gelooft het niet, maar dat kan gewoon. Tijdens de laatste stroomstoring op de zuid as zijn er verschillende zenuwinzinkingen en hartaanvallen geweest, maar hier in Stellenbosch is het absoluut geen probleem. Het werk gaat hier allemaa al een tandje langzamer, dus als de stroom weer uitvalt, dan doen we toch allemaal gewoon nog net iets rustiger aan. Maar hoewel ik nog niet helemaal kan wennen aan de stroom uitval, bevalt dit rustigere tempo me wel, ik doe enthousiast mee.

Waar ik ook erg aan moet wennen is dat alles hier beveiligd is en dat zodra het donker is, om 6u ‘s avonds, je niet meer alleen naar buiten kan. Het alarm is al zeker 3 keer per ongeluk afgegaan sinds ik hier ben (niet alleen door mij trouwens). Al durf ik na de ‘safety lessons’ sowieso niet echt meer naar buiten, dus veel van de stad zal ik niet zien. Nee, uiteindelijk is het wel een handige manier om sociaal te zijn, want je mag nooit forever alone zijn!

Verder heb ik het hier gewoon heel erg naar m’n zin, de omgeving is echt super mooi, de mensen zijn heel leuk en de wijn is belachelijk goedkoop, en smaakt ook nog eens prima, wat wil je nog meer?! Een ander groot voordeel is dat de feestjes hier eerder eindigen dan in Nederland, en dus ook eerder beginnen, lang leven goede feestjes en goede nachtrust. Ik hoop maar dat tegen de tijd ik weer in Nederland kom, ik het nachtleven daar nog wel aankan.
Dat was het wel zo’n beetje voor deze week.

Xoxo

Hi there!

A couple of days ago I arrived in Stellenbosch, and it is so beautiful here! But first things first, the fact that I am in Stellenbosch mostly means one thing. It means that I’ve completed my biggest challenge through the last 1,5 ’ve completed my biggest challenge through the last 1,5 years, which was travelling to South Africa to complete my study there. I’m so happy it finally worked out! But back to being in South Africa. Now that I’m finally here there is also much more interesting things to talk about other than just uni. Nevertheless I haven’t done too much since I’ve arrived on Monday. I was really tired from my flight and the parties I’ve been to lately and all the new impressions. But what I do know is that it’s really beautiful around here, but also really cold. I’ve always thought that winters in South Africa would still be really nice, but I know better now.

Another interesting thing about South Africa is the fact that every now and then, the government decides to stop providing electricity in a particular district for some hours. I can’t imagine many other places where things like this could happen, but since everybody seems to be extremely fine with it, I’ll probably find a way to live with it as well.

Below there are some pictures of my place and the city.

Speak to you soon! xoxo

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The campus (yes, it looks much warmer than it actually is)

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They’ve got the best cupcakes around here

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My first South African “Braai”

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Bad blogging period

Hi everyone!

As you might have noticed I’ve been going through a bad blogging period lately. And by ‘bad’ I mean terrible, in this sentence bad is the understatement of the year (cheers tot that). This isn’t for no reason though. Mainly it’s because I’ve been lacking time, but also because I’ve been lacking the energy and enthusiasm to write.

I’ve been dealing with studying and working moreover, but next tot that I’ve been thinking what it is exactly that I want to deliver on this page, besides giving me more reason to save for South Africa of course.

I’m still not exactly sure, but I’m getting there. I’ve been spinning my head around what it is that I like and what parts of my life I want to be on the internet. Because even though I believe everything is pretty fascinating, I can totally imagine not everybody thinks of a trip to the supermarket as an adventure. I must say though, it keeps life interesting, so I can definitely recommend this way of seeing things.

But I’m wandering now. Anyway, I’ve been planning on buying an actual personal page to work my way through this blogging life and maybe follow a course on how to become a better web designer, so I can develop and become better at what I want to do. So don’t worry, or do, see for yourself, I won’t quit writing, I’m getting ready to be back!

As for my challenge, it has been quite difficult, but I haven’t shopped yet. So that makes a week, yay! I’ll try really hard to continue, even though it is becoming more and more difficult with my birthday coming up. BE STRONG.

Speak to you soon! xoxo

Happy new year!

Hi everyone!

First of all, a happy new year to all of you! Although I must admit, I don’t think I’m even allowed to wish you a happy new year anymore. Oh well..

Anyway, with the new year come new chances, ‘an empty new book to write’ and those kind of phrases. I decided to write myself a good one, starting with the new year’s dive me and two of my friends participated in.
To inform you, the new year’s dive is exactly what it sounds like: 10.000 crazy Dutch people running into freezing cold water whilst the temperature is barely above zero. But I must say, it was quite refreshing actually! I took the dive when I hadn’t even slept yet, I even might still have been a little tipsy, but after my dive, I was totally awake and feeling so fresh, yes literally.
So we like to say this year can only be good after this refreshing great start (We had been trying to participate for 5 year already, but failed every year ‘till now)

Together with the new year, also come new fashion challenges and a new bucket list for 2015! On my bucket list is, of course, my trip to South Africa, among things like running half a marathon, sending a message in a bottle and doing more ‘random acts of kindness’.
I already did some random acts of kindness, so that is working for me so far! And in order to save some more for my African trip I’ve came up with a new fashion challenge for next month. Or, well, it isn’t exactly new, but it has been a year since I last tried this, so I thought it would be fun to try it again next month: The 30 days, 30 outfits challenge! And of course I’m not allowed to shop during those 30 days. I might extend this prohibition to 60 days, since I bought way too many pieces of clothing lately and I really may not buy any more!

Well I think I’ve said enough for today, I shouldn’t talk for all the days I’ve missed to write (moment of shame for this one)

Speak to you soon xoxo

Late birthday gift

Hi everyone!

I’m so happy!! Today must be the best day of the week, maybe even month. However, I am going to the spa tomorrow.
Anyway, I went with my mom to Amsterdam to finally buy my birthday present! Even though my birthday was in February, which is ages ago, the present made it all okay, because I got the sweetest little bracelet from Tiffany&Co. The best time of my life already started when we entered the store, it was like a candy store but a million times better.
Then, this really cute guy, wearing a suit, helped us to pick the best one. This on its own was already enough to make me happier than ever, but when he handed me the bag it felt like a moment best described in the movie ‘Shopaholic’, I refer: “Do you know that thing when you see someone cute and he smiles, and your heart kind of goes like warm butter sliding down hot toast?” Well, that’s exactly how I felt.

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But besides this great gift, I also ordered a new phone, I found this great deal for an iPhone 6 online, so this will be my new baby. I must admit though, that I mostly had order it since I managed to drop my phone into the toilet last week, so it was kind of a necessity. But that doesn’t mean I’m not excited about my new phone!
I’m only hoping that my old phone will come to life for one last time so I can make a copy of it on my laptop, I feel lost without all my information and great apps. (I know, phone addict)

xoxo