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Paris in the Morning

Packing done, breakfast done, car ordered – nothing more to do but to spent the last hour aimlessly walking around the little island we stayed on in the centre of Paris.  What a treat this place was and our gracious host Carol always had a story to tell.  Great time.  These photos are from the […]

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Finally in Paris

What a gong show this journey was.  Long story short British Airways cancelled the flight after an issue with the engine – so we got stuck in Seattle.  We were booked to go through Houston, then London but by the time the reservation was confirmed, printing issues, we were too late to go through security. […]

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Pizza Class

There are a few things that are easier to make than pizza.  Apparently, things which appear simple are quite complex if you break them down.  Long story short – I have been doing every aspect of the pizza making, right down to holding the dough all wrong, absolutely every single part, all wrong.  This was […]

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Tuscan Splendour

On the way back to Sant’Anna in Camprena from Montalcino we stopped a few times to take in the magnificent vistas and enjoy the serenity of this spectacular landscape. This truly is a wonderful place and the pictures simply don’t do its justice.

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Montalcino for Lunch

There appears to be about a thousand wine shops in this village.  There are places where you can sample over 100 wines in a single wine store.  It’s bonkers!  However, our search is for some food, because it has been at least 3 hours since our last meal, and to find another gelato place, because […]

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Paggio Dell’Aquila

Promptly after breakfast today we drove out to a small family run winery nestled just below the quaint town of Montalcino.  This place produces only 18,000 bottles of wine one Rosso and one Brunello, (read no cheap and pricey)  The local oenologist, Maria, who is Spanish, gave us a great tour and a great wine […]

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San Gimignano and Gelato

San Gimignano is synonymous with the very finest of gelato, some great artisan shops and phenomenal galleries.  There is no shortage of the run of the mill tourists traps like the Museum of Torture and other junk stores but for a refined gelato junkie this place is a paradise.  True to form, we parked the […]

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Sunrise Hunting

The idea was great, the plan brilliant, the execution none of the above.  We did not find the right hill to see the sunrise, I guess you have to be in the know to be in the right spot at the right time.  We will do better next however as we have acquired a map […]

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Back to Siena

We are back to Siena.  Unlike our last time here, this time it is all about sitting around and taking in the sights.  We did go and visit a couple of places, but mostly we just ate, sat around and admired the views – including the Piazza del Campo and Siena Cathedral.  

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Tuscany – The Scenic Route

We are taking it easy today – in the plans is the short trip to Sienna. Instead of the regular Autostrada we are taking the SR2 which is essentially a local secondary road that winds through the Tuscan country side.  Slow and enjoyable, lazy morning drive, it’s perfection.

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Sunset in Pienza

About 10 min drive from Sant’ Anna is Pienza.  A small town that came to prosperity and prominence under one of the Popes.  But we did not came here for religion, we came to experience something much more spectacular, something much greater than god – a stunning Tuscan sunset.  We also scoped out some places we would […]

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Orvieto

Today we are travelling to Sant’ Anna in Camprena. We stayed here last year in the spring and loved it so much we thought we would come back and bring some friends with us to enjoy.  However, because the drive from Rome to Camprena is not long we are taking some detours.  First on the […]

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Last Night in Rome

Today is our last day in Rome, tomorrow are going to pack up and head for the Tuscan Hills.  Having said that though, there are still a lot of places to explore.  This morning we started with Eataly and a lot of food sampling and a huge lunch – naturally.  Then we wondered around through […]

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Hyenas

This is our final game drive – and once again it exceeds our expectations.  You always hope or wish but certainly never expect that city slickers like us would happen upon some hyenas and vultures feeding on a small giraffe that a pride of lions has taken down a night before.  This is some National […]

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Hippos Hippos Hippos

This morning we are mixing things up a bit.  Up at 6am, quick coffee and a cookie and out in the car by 6:15am.  We did not even get 20m into the drive when we spotted a couple of giraffes and then another 10m later a herd of elephants.  They really are not kidding when […]

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Eagle View Camp

After about a 90 min drive we arrived at the Eagle View Camp – literally in the middle of nowhere.  Perched on the top of the hill is a little slice of paradise.  From the lodge and the rooms you can sit back and enjoy amazing vistas below where animals come and go in all shapes […]

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Baby Elephant

This interaction literally lasted about 10 seconds, too fast for the camera to focus and for us to do anything other than be frozen in amazement.  The baby elephant, which is about the size of the Land Cruiser tire, got up, charged at the car, either wanting to play, or pretending to scare us.  The mother trumpeted […]

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A Pride

Manfred really stepped it up today when out of nowhere in the middle of nowhere under some ordinary unassuming bush he found a band of brothers, well fed and sleeping.  They did not even raised their heads when we pulled up.  Having said that, I think the only thing that stopped the lions from eating […]

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Colour Us Impressed

We had two requests this morning for Manfred, our guide and driver.  We told him that we need to up our expectations and would like to see a pride of lions and a herd of elephants – half jokingly.  Well he derived on the elephant this morning and in the afternoon and certainly in the […]

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Herd Crossing

What is better than one solitary elephant minding his own business.  Well a herd of 40 or so elephants with lots of babies.  The tiny babies were hardly 3 feet tall, hardly sticking above the grass.  So far I think this is the best and most memorable and mesmerizing experience for all of us.   […]

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Cheetah

One of the great sightings this morning was a mama and cub cheetah.  The cub was nursing at first then grooming, then playing and stretching – playing nicely for all to see.  Manfred spotted a wagging tale from about 300m.  I honestly don’t know how these guys do it, I think the animal tracking is […]

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Simply WOW!

Every time we go out for a game drive there is something new.  This morning was the best one yet.  We sit in the Land Cruiser in total amazement and astonishment as the Savannah life simply unfolds in front of our eyes.  It seems that every 3 or 4km the landscape is totally different, from […]

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Lazy Days

Our days here at Basecamp Explorer are quite lazy.  We get up at 6 am have a quick coffee and are out for the morning game drive by 6:30am.  We are back to camp at around 9:30 am and inform the staff that we will be back in 10 or 15 minutes for breakfast, at […]

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Evening Drive

Our evening game drive was quite exciting.  We got stuck trying to cross a bit of wet land and sat there for about 20 min smoking tires and rocking the Land Cruiser back and forth.  Actually the driver did all the work since we are not allowed to leave the car.  We were permitted to […]

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First Game Drive

WOW!  Simply WOW, that is the best way to describe this experience.  It is simply surreal to be in a car drive around the Savannah and see all these animals.  We were promised that we will see at least 4 of the big 5.  Those being elephant, buffalo, lion, leopard and rhino.  Rhino is the […]

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Heading to Basecamp Explorer

After spending a night in Nairobi, we set off for the Basecamp Explorer in the Maasai Mara Reserve where we are going to be spending 6 days. The journey is about 260km but takes about 5 to 6 hours.  We will make a few stops on the way to see East African Rift which is well […]

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Kenya

HookedOnEurope goes to Africa

It is spring break and we are doing something we have not done before – ever.  We are heading to Africa on a safari.  We booked this trip three weeks ago on Wednesday evening, on Thursday Evelina broke her leg skiing.  Crippled and undaunted we are excited for this great new adventure.       […]

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Ballenberg

Ballenberg is an open museum with a 100 original, century-old buildings from all over Switzerland, original gardens and fields. It is a working museum where people are in period, bake break, make sausages, make cheese and pretend they live in the centuries past. There are also 250 domestic animals on display as well.  This is […]

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Hasliberg

This is the last stop in Switzerland.  Apparently I can’t count to 5 so I booked us in for 4 nights. Needless to say a day before check out we needed to find a room for one more night.  Booking.com to the rescue and this is how we ended up in this village.  Dating back […]

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Seilpark Gantrisch

Doing something outdoorsy today – something right up Evelina’s alley.  Seilpark in Gantrisch has the highest forest adventure platforms in Switzerland – 36m – it is freaky.  There are 10 different courses to go through and 1.5km  of paths suspended  through the beautiful Längeney Forest.  We did 9 of the 10, the second most difficult one […]

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Thun

Thun is a small city of about 45,000 residents.  The area of what is now Thun was inhabited since the Neolithic age mid 300 BC. Like most Europe and Switzerland it was conquered by Rome in 58BC.  In 1819 a Military School was founded in the city, which later developed into the main military school in […]

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Lausanne Cathedral

The construction of the  Cathedral of Notre Dame of Lausanne began as early as 1170 by an original unknown master mason. Twenty years later another master mason restarted construction until 1215. Finally a third engineer, Jean Cotereel, completed the majority of the existing cathedral including a porch, and two towers, one of which is the current […]

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Lausanne

The city is situated on the shores of Lake Geneva, 62 kilometres northeast of Geneva. Lausanne has a population  of 146,372, making it the fourth largest city in Switzerland. Lausanne is a focus of international sport, hosting the International Olympic Committee, which recognizes the city as the “Olympic Capital”. Since 1994 the Court of Arbitration for Sport and some 55 international sport associations […]

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Magdalena Hermitage

Directly overlooking the Lake Schiffenen is a carved out cave measuring 120 meters which was chiseled out in the rock by two hermits around 1700.  The floor, as it was recently discovered, is actually a fossilized sandstone dune from prehistoric times. The dwelling in the cliff was later expanded to its current size by the hermit Johann Dupré and his […]

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