Franschhoek Uncorked Festival

What’s Up 20 Somethings!

So I am a big wine drinker, and I happen to be dating someone who loves wine even more than I do. Which is great because he’s always showing me new wines and teaching me new things. Last week we attended the Franschhoek Uncorked Festival, where most of the wine farms in Franschhoek were hosting wine tastings. Each Farm had food stalls and a live band to accompany the wine tastings taking place. It really was a vibe.

The festival took place over two days, unfortunately I was only available to attend the second day, so I could only visit 3 of the farms participating in the festival.

First Stop was Boschendal, Boschendal makes one of my favourite chardonnays, so of course I had to get myself a bottle. They also launched their 2018 Sauvignon Blanc, which was available for tasting. It was an extremely easy drinking wine, which didn’t have as much of an apple taste, as their Sauvignon Blancs have had in the past. I really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, they only allowed one free tasting and the others you had to pay for. Which was bleak. But if you do go to Boschendal, try their Chardonnay, The Black Angus and De Werf Blend.

(Side Note: Last night I drank a bottle of their Chardonnay Pinot Noir Blend and I absolutely loved it. It’s a great blend that brings out the best in both these grapes to give you a pleasant drinking experience. A safe choice to go for if you want to try something different but good.)

Secondly, we were off to Plaisir De Merle, which is a beautiful farm. And they offered wine tastings on Three wines, which was also unlimited. So obviously I had a few glasses. The wine that really stood out for me at this farm was their Chardonnay, It was definitely one of the nicest chardonnays I have ever had. It pairs really well with garlic based foods, so I ordered a pizza from one of the stalls and it was a match made in heaven.

Third but not least, we visited a smaller farm called Lynx Wines. We tried a few of the wines they had available for testing, but the one that really stood out for me was their Viognier Wine, which is a cultivar I’ve never tried before. This wine was a pleasant surprise to taste, fruity and refreshing is the best way I can describe it. I bought a bottle which I will be opening on a summer day by the pool. If you can get your hands on one, you must try it.

The Franschhoek Uncorked Festival was definitely a vibe and I will be returning next year, I do wish they had sold day passes in addition to the weekend passes, as we only attended one  day and had to pay the full R150 weekend pass rate. But If you’re looking for good wines, paired with amazing food and musical entertainment, this festival is for you.

Until Next Time!

Nadine

Road Trip Through Norway

Hey 20 Somethings,

So for those of you following me on Instagram, you’ll see that I have been doing some travelling lately. I’m currently in Norway, more specifically doing a road trip through Norway, which has been quite eventful. So I thought I’d do a little post about my trip so far and let you know how it’s been going.

First of all, Norway is beyond beautiful. Like when I say views, I mean VIEWS. Everywhere. Every town, every city, every corner. I’m staying in a different hotel every night, some have been really awesome and some have been below average- but it’s all part of the adventure I guess.

Norway is known for it’s immense greenery and fjords (lakes but like, bigger.) It’s summer here at the moment, so that means in the cities its very hot during the day, but what’s amazing is that like an hour or two out of the cities, you can see snow on the neighbouring mountains. It’s beautiful.

Yesterday I saw one of the most magnificent waterfalls, I’ve ever seen in my life. Norway is covered in the type of beauty that takes your breath away. And what annoys me most, is that the pictures just don’t do it justice. So like, just picture everything I’m showing you but like 1000x better.

So far I’ve visited Oslo, Geilo, Bergen and Sogndal. I’m on my way to a town called Alesund as we speak. Oslo is lovely, it’s got the typical buzz you expect from a city, but it’s still pretty laid back. Actually, the entire country is extremely laid back- Norwegians are super chilled. I fell in love with Bergen, it’s the cutest little city with something to see around every turn. I took a walk down the Bergen fish market, which isn’t for the faint of heart, and saw some fish I never knew existed. The city is the perfect combination of past meets present.

The problem with road tripping in a place like Norway, is that there are just so many amazing sites, we can’t help but stop. We turn 2 hour drives into 6 hour drives because we stop every five minutes to take photos. (Also can I just say how great it is travelling with my family. They’re so down for pictures all the time. I don’t have to beg to get content for my Instagram, actually my dad is the one calling me over every five minuets because he found a new backdrop that I have to pose in front of. Its pretty great. – Take notes Boyfriend.)

The hardest thing about this trip is waking up every morning, because our days are filled with travelling and activities and by the evening, I’m poofed. Also, the sun doesn’t completely go down before 1 am, So I accidentally stay up all night thinking it’s still early!

But I am having a great time, I’m in Norway till Saturday and then it’s off to Sweden. I haven’t really been doing much shopping, because I’m saving that for Sweden, when I’m in one place for a bit longer. Which is actually a good thing, if there was a Sephora in Norway, I’d be broke in a matter of seconds.

Okay, Well I’ll write again later this week. Send me any questions in the comments section!

xx

Nadine

Part 3, Why Contiki?: What to Pack

So if you’re planning on travelling this year, you’re probably wondering what to pack. I learnt the hard way what I needed and what I didn’t need. But hopefully this post can make your packing stresses disappear.

  • Get a real Camera
    Listen, I know your phone camera is great, but you don’t want average pictures to look back on after your trip. I took ALL my pictures on my phone, it was only recently when I got a real camera that I realised how shitty cell phone camera quality is. You get cameras these days with wifi that connect to your phone, so you can easily share your pictures and keep your instagram alive. If you have a GoPro, pack it. There are tons of adventure activities you’re going to want to capture. Also, don’t forget your Polaroid/Instax camera, Europe is so photogenic.

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  • Leave your stilettos at home
    Listen, Europe is nothing but cobble stone streets. EVERYWHERE. Babes, I almost broke my ankle 20 times in Paris. You don’t need the world of shoes with you. A good pair of sneakers, (Because you walk A LOT.) cute sandals and/or flip flops and maybe a nice flat shoe to wear out to clubs at night.

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  • Bikini time!
    If you’re going to somewhere sunny in Europe, like Greece, definitely pack your bikini, actually pack five. But if you’re going into the main cities, you’ll be fine with one swim suit, most of the hotels do have pools, but you don’t have much time to enjoy them. But after a hot day in Berlin, that indoor pool was everything I needed and more.

 

  • Pack a Towel
    The nice hotels have towels and that’s pretty great. But we got to some of the hostels and they didn’t provide towels and when they did there where two towels for four people in the room. Unless you’re a fan of air-drying, this is a must.

 

  • Winter or Summer?
    So consider what time of the year you’re going. May- July you’re bound to experience a great European Summer. Outside of those months it gets cold fast. But even in summer, the weather can be unpredictable. I was caught in the rain in Amsterdam, Venice and Paris. Pack a light raincoat, which you can squash in your bag if you need it later in the day. Don’t pack a hoodie, you’re most likely to buy a Contiki hoodie on the trip- which is great to wear on bus rides.
    Pack a warmer jacket just in case, one that won’t take up too much space in your bag. You’re going to want a lot of shorts, I lived in my running shorts during the day because it was comfortable to walk in. You only need one pair of jeans and a pair of tights. Pack some cute dresses in too. Contiki throws a lot of themed parties in a few cities. In Austria we had a lumo party, Venice was a nautical party, Rome was a I love Roma party etc so think of where you’re going and pack some cute outfits to dress up in.

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  • Pack Enough Underwear
    This goes without saying, but still. Most girls on my trip didn’t pack enough underwear, so they spent a good part of their trip doing their laundry. Which is usually 1-2 Euros a pop.
    Just take a little laundry bag with for your dirty stuff and do all your washing when you get home.

 

  • Make Up and Sunblock
    Australian girls love their make up. They had fully made up faces at 7 am every morning before we got on the bus. So you’re going to want to keep up. My trick? My Avene Tinted Moisturiser and some eyeliner and mascara, the two minute make up look that left me looking fresh all day.
    For your nights out you’re going to want to wear a bit more make up. So pack your essentials, you don’t want to be travelling with Twenty different eyeshadow palettes. Sunblock is your best friend. So many of the girls on my trip looked like roasted tomatoes after a day in the sun. It’s harsh and intense no matter if you’re in the streets of Berlin or on top of the Swiss Alps. A lot of the girls used Dry Shampoo on the trip, this might be something to add into your bag if need be.

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  • Bags?
    Besides your suitcase, you need a backpack for all your shit on the bus- usually a change of clothes when changing cities etc. Then you also want a good handbag to use during the day, when you don’t want to carry around your backpack. I just got a cute little bag that went on my back and carried all my daytime essentials. Just be aware of pickpockets at all times and you should be fine.

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  • Medication
    The last thing you want is to get sick on your trip. Make sure your stocked up on the following:
    – Nausea Tablets
    – Tummy cramp tablets
    – Headache tablets
    – Allergy Tablets
    – Sleeping tablets
    – Viral Choice (I popped one a day to stay healthy)
    – Corenza C (If you feel sick, just take two immediately)
    – Rehydrate (I got heat stroke in Berlin, you’re going to want a little pick me up after a day in the sun.)
    – Any medication you need or use etc.
    Better safe than sorry.
  • Activities! 

You’re going to want things to do on the bus! Pack in a portable charger to keep your phone alive and make sure you’ve got loads of reading material or even a colouring book for those long bus rides!

Okay, thats all I can think of for now, I hope that helps! Please do not hesitate to ask me any questions you have and tell me what you’d like future posts to be about!

Happy Packing!
Nadine

 

Eurotrip: Paris

We all know Paris is a dream city and it didn’t disappoint me one bit when I arrived there. I knew I loved the city, the moment I stepped foot in it.
We had some time at our hotel to get ready before we went off to the Basilica of the Sacred Heart of Paris, which sits on top of a hill overlooking the entire city. It’s views for days guys. It’s a great place to watch the sunset while drinking a beer or some wine on the hill.


We then walked down to the Cabaret area of Paris, basically Paris’ own red light district. We got to watch a traditional French Cabaret, which blew my mind. If you’re in Paris, it’s just something you have to witness for yourself. Girls in can-can skirts, men kicking their legs past their heads! And special effects acts that will knock your socks off. And this is all accompanied by a bottle of Champagne for you and your company. We watched a show at a theatre called La Nouvelle Eve. Of course there’s the Moulin Rouge, but tickets are insanely expensive, so be ready to pay if that’s what you’re after. 


We ended our first night there at an Irish Bar called O’Sullivans. It gets very crowded on a Saturday night, but the music is really good. 


We woke up to a city tour, on our bus because it was raining. We then visited a traditional French perfumery, where we found out how Perfume was made and got to do some perfume shopping. 


We then had some time to explore the city and get some shopping done. We then went to the Arc De Triomphe, you can go up to the top for €8 and get an amazing view of Paris. Then if you walk down that road (Champs Elysées) you will see some of Paris’ main shopping spots and cafes. This street has everything you need to get through a full day of Paris shopping.


We then had a traditional Parisian Dinner, where we were served French wine and Escargot. We watched the sunset behind the Eiffel Tower. If you hang out by the Eiffel Tower around 11 and 11:30PM you’ll get to see it light up and sparkle for a few minutes. It’s beyond amazing. 


For more shopping, there’s a huge mall called Galeries Lafayette that houses all of the world’s biggest brands in shopping.


I had two extra days in Paris, I got to explore a bit more and take in more of the beautiful city. I left my heart in Paris. It was the perfect way to end off the trip of a lifetime. Thank you all for following my journey. I can honestly say this trip has changed me for the better. 

Until my next adventure!
Nadine 

Eurotrip: Swiss Alps

Next stop on my journey was the Swiss Alps in Switzerland. Where we would spend the next two days nestled in between the beautiful Swiss Mountains and waterfalls.
On the way we stopped in a city called Lucern, where we got to do some shopping and attended a Swiss Army Knife and watch demonstration. If you’re planning on going to the Swiss Alps but wanna stay in a city, then Lucern is a great option!


We then began our drive up a few more meters above sea level to reach our destination: Camping Jungfrau, Lauterbrunnen. What a beautiful little campsite, it’s walking distance from the train station that takes you up into the mountains and it’s close to town.


The day after we arrived, we went up the Jungfrau mountains, where we would stand at the top of Europe and get to play in the snow. I promise you, this is one of those places you have to see before you die. The pictures do not do it justice. 


Once you’re at the top of the mountain, there are loads of activities to take part in, there’s a zip line, tubing, skiing, an ice sculpture museum, souvenir shops, exhibitions and you can go up to the top of the sphinx for the view of a lifetime.


We spent our time up on the mountain, throwing snowballs, playing in the snow, taking topless pictures and just enjoying having our fingertips freeze off!

A group of us went tubing down the mountain which was lots of fun, it’s just a bit of a bumpy ride, but oh my goodness- is such a rush! 


The train ride up and down the mountain is quite long, I caught a nap on the way down! This might sound weird but, wear sunscreen! You may be in the snow but the sun is still harsh up there and a lot of people came down with red noses and foreheads! Not a good look at all. Don’t forget your gloves and a warm jacket because it’s freezing up there. 


We ended our time in Switzerland with a party in a bomb bunker, underneath the campsite! It was such a good time!
The final stop on the tour was Paris and I could barely contain my excitement! 

Eurotrip: Florence

We only had one day in the beautiful little city of Florence, but it was great. What a pretty little city. The heart of Italy’s artistic past.
The views are to die for, I suggest wondering through the city by yourself to get the most of it. There’s beauty to be found around very corner. We did a walking tour through the city, where we got to see the Statue of David, as well as the other magnificent statues surrounding him. 


We also attended a Leather Demonstration, which is Florence’s specialty. We learnt how leather is made and how to identify fake leather items. It was extremely informative and we were able to do some shopping afterwards. 
A few of the girls bought, what we called, puzzle rings. They’re a Florentine specialty. The ring is perfect when you wear it, but if you take it off, it will fall apart into four pieces. It’s quite complicated to reassemble. The story behind the ring is that a Florentine king knew his wife was cheating on him, so he gave her a ring that would reveal when she was being unfaithful (she would take her rings off to commit adultery!) it’s a fun little gift to get someone back home!


We found a really amazing spot, overlooking the city for a group photo! It was extremely windy up there, but I think we got Florence on a stormy day. 


The evening started with a traditional Florentine Dinner, which was delicious. SO much food! The Italians love to feed you, so if you’re eating out, don’t over order- check the portion size first then decide if you need more!


We ended off at the Red Garter, a local karaoke club in Florence. Bad singing, cocktail jugs and a dance floor? What more could you ask for?!


Florence is so beautiful. I wish we had had more time there, but our next stop was the Swiss Alps- so we had to get going! 

 

Eurotrip: Rome

Rome is just one of those cities you HAVE to see before you die. It’s like being in a time capsule and being able to experience the way the Romans lived in the past, because so many of their ancient buildings are still in tact. 
My time in Rome was filled with Gelato and lots and lots of pizza, accompanied by walking- so much walking! The city is huge, we had a day and a half to fit in all the big sites. 


We started with the Vatican City, we had a guided tour through the smallest city in the world. Our tour included the Sistine Chapel, which is amazing- it should definitely be on your bucket list. Our tour guide explained how Michelangelo designed and painted the ceiling of this beautiful chapel. After the Tour, we got to enter the Basilica. If you wanna see the Vatican, I suggest booking in advance to skip the queues (which go all the way around the block) or book a tour as part of a group. I could think of nothing worse than lining up for hours in The Roman Heat!


We then took a walk down to the Trevi Fountain and tossed some coins! (1 coin means you’ll return to Rome, 2 means you’ll find a new love and 3 means you’ll get married- I’m not telling how many I threw in!)  


It was then off to the mind-blowing colosseum, where we had a guided tour of the floor where the gladiator matches took place! It’s amazing how centuries later, this building is still in tact (with a few bits missing here and there) and standing. We had a few minutes to wander around and I managed to snap some awesome pics! 


Rome is referred to as the Lasagna City, because it has so many layers- this was evident during our tour of the Roman Forum, as we wondered through the ruins of Ancient Rome, my breath was taken away but how advanced the ancient Romans were regarding architecture. 


This time of the year Rome is extremely hot! If you’re going to be doing as much walking as we did, don’t forget to pack sunscreen and dress appropriately. For the religious cites, women need to have their shoulders and knees covered and men may not wear hats and should also be dressed respectfully. 
All in all, Rome was a great time. It was just too hot for me! Which is why I was glad to hear, that our next stop; Florence, was a bit cooler! 

Eurotrip: Amsterdam

I knew the moment I arrived in Amsterdam I was going to fall in love with the city. It’s such a pretty city, and I’m probably gonna say that a lot on this trip. But still. It’s amazingly pretty.
From the green trees, to the old buildings, to almost getting knocked over by cyclists, the city definitely has a charm of its own.
I spent the day exploring. Vondelpark is near the city center and is a must see on your trip to Amsterdam. It’s beautiful and filled with people doing yoga, karate and other organized group activities. It’s got some good locations for pictures if that’s what you’re after. 
The first night started with a bang, the tour group visited the infamous Red Light District. If you’re of age, it’s a great time. Experiencing the culture in Amsterdam at its core. We visited an adult club which put on a special show for us. We then spent the rest of the night visiting the local pubs and bars, and even stopped at The Bulldog, which is the first Coffee Shop in Amsterdam.


Things to know before you go:

– always pack a jacket, Amsterdam is known for its rain.

– Look out for cyclists and stay out of the cycling lane!

– No pictures in the RLD, your phone will end up in the canal.

– Hold onto your valuables, the city is known for its pickpockets.  
On our second day in Amsterdam, we went out to the country side- Edam. This part of Amsterdam is known for its cheese and clogs. We started the day with a beautiful bike tour through Edam. The bikes that most people ride in Amsterdam are Granny Bikes, which have no gears and are pretty hard to get the hang of if you’re used to a traditional mountain bike. 


We then went to see how Cheese and Clogs were made by the natives and did some cheese tasting and souvenir shopping.
The afternoon was spent exploring the city and doing some shopping. We visited the I Amsterdam sign, which was extremely busy and almost impossible to get a decent picture. We went shopping in the area around Amsterdam Central which was buzzing on a Saturday afternoon. All the big names in shopping are there, it’s great if shopping is your aim! 


The evening started with a Private Canal Cruise, this is something you must do in Amsterdam, so you can really experience the beauty of the city from the canals.


We then headed off for dinner in the traditional town of Volendam, where I had a traditional Dutch meal. Try the fish. It’s delicious. The night ended with us partying into the early hours of the morning. There are lots of great night club spots in Amsterdam and you’re bound to find something you enjoy.


All in all, Amsterdam gets an A+ from me and has moved up on my list of favorite cities. I plan on retiring here- that’s how much I love it. 
Now we’re off to Berlin! Woohoo!