KICKING off from where we last ended, and what a match we witnessed! Goals galore (3-1), red cards, penalties, own goals, you name it, we got it! To top it off, we sat in a stadium with 89514 other spectators so the vibe and atmosphere was electric! We were in a debacle with who to support, as we secretly wanted Real Madrid to win (having bought a scarf in support even), but being at Camp Nou, Barcelona’s home stadium, we were out numbered and decided to keep the scarf deep down at the bottom of the bag. And thankfully so, considering the terrible result the home fans got to witness. We did have a good few laughs between ourselves though, as on approaching the stadium one of us asked the rather entertaining question of “will the commentary be in English”. No need for me to clarify whom. Haha
But anyways, I thought I’d give everyone an update of the behind the scene’s that the numerous photographs or blogs prior to this haven’t covered. As well as maybe provide some tips or pointers if any one else has the opportunity to travel for as long as this!
As I write this, we are on our way to the 18th city, this including a few day trips to the small towns. Along the way we’ve both realized, and I’m sure wont stop us, that our pronunciation of the towns names, places, streets etc. are so wrong! We look back now and laugh at ourselves after wondering why we keep receiving funny looks when telling people where we were off to! I’m quite surprised we haven’t been sent in the wrong direction when asking for directions yet!
Thankfully we stick to what we know in terms of the underground metro systems or walking! And when I say walking, there hasn’t been a day yet that we haven’t walked over 10km’s, our best so far being 19km’s! The fitness levels have certainly increased and we both agree that we are getting stronger by the day! (We had several recommendations of maps to download and use and one that we use on the daily is Maps.ME, as this works offline, so long as you have downloaded the town’s map before heading out. Ryan and Kelly gave us this tip, which we are so thankful for as it’s avoided us getting lost on several occasions. We have also come to the agreement that I’ll do the directing and Lisa will ask the questions once we’re lost! Great team work!)
The initial excitement of ‘new’ food has also started to slow, so we haven’t been buying everything we see! Which has in turn, started helping with our weight. (Watch out Tom, I’m going to come back a Large and leave the XL’s here in Europe!)
Making a remark on clothing, a reality one doesn’t think about is having to do washing on a frequent bases in the best way possible. Luckily there are Laundromats all over the big towns, and fairly simple to use, so off we go, down the street, black bags filled with dirty washing, only to return and hour and a half later with clean washing, hopefully to last at least 2 weeks! If there’s a shortage of socks or underwear, basin washing comes in to play, and thankfully Sandy comes to the rescue with her fold up wash line (a woven string that stretches out, something that Bear Grylls would have on his missions to mars) that gets strung across the room and everything gets hung out to dry. Let me just add, the room at this stage now looks like Trump has something against us and has dropped an Atom bomb.
When traveling for as long as this, one needs to be very careful with money and how they spend it. Put a budget into simple terms: Daily meals, transport and activities. From there, prioritize on what you would like to spend your money on. The obvious one for us is food. And magnets? We have bought a magnet from every place we’ve been so far, to put on our fridge when we return, so that we are constantly reminded of this amazing trip we’ve been on. (I mean where better a place to constantly remind us right?)
In terms of food spend one start’s to get clever. We buy one item that lasts a few meals, just utilized in different techniques. Unfortunately things like coffee become a treat (so if you’re staying somewhere that offers coffee, take advantage haha!). I walked around for the first month with olive oil and Balsamic vinegar in my bag, and still have the original salt we bought back on day 1). If you have the luxury of space, buy the every day items and carry them around with you, it all helps, but don’t over commit and be left walking around with the whole shop and its kitchen sink (like we did at first). As for the spoils of a drink, we’ve gotten into a good routine of once a week spoils of having A, (Yes only one) drink out. And invariably it’s always during happy hour so we get it at half price haha!
We’ve found the best way to watch the budget is draw yourself up a daily budget of what you can afford to spend, and limit that to what you can buy and do! It really makes you practice self control and restraint. Something both of us struggled with at first, especially when it comes to food.
It really doesn’t help with the currency that we travel on, but there’s no point in complaining. We’re still here, and loving life! Talking about home, and we’ve both hit a few days of missing certain things back home, I’m not going to call it home sick, but rather a longing for certain things! We’ve both been craving a really good rump steak straight off the braai, a crispy pork belly fresh out the oven or even a roast chicken with all the traditional roast condiments. We picture having these meals in the places we love most: Dullstroom or Hoedspruit with friends or family!
We ventured off to Restaurant Jan (first South African chef to receive a Michelin star) for lunch today, so got to get a little taste of home! (I’ll let Lisa do the elaborating) .But it hasn’t only been about the food! It’s also about the small things, like the attention from our pets. We both miss the cuddles from our cats, or taking Gunner the Dalmatian to the park for walks, even though he walks us most of the time! Thankfully we receive countless videos from Sasha keeping us updated on the “the days of their lives”, and let me tell you, its bound to turn a bad day or situation around, leaving both of us looking like freaks smiling away at a cellphone screen.
I think as this trip progresses and time moves on, we are both realizing a lot about ourselves, our directions and where we are headed with life. We chat about the future a lot, and the more we do so, the more the excitement builds! As time progresses we’ll start sharing the ideas that we’ve been working on and hopefully get a lot of you excited as well. All I can say on a ending note, is that we count our lucky stars every day that we’ve been given this opportunity to do what we are doing, we are taking in every last bit of information and experiences that we can, and hope to share these memories and experiences with you back home someday, be it through food, writing or even stories.
A quick congratulations to two couples close to our hearts! Cherri-lee and Chad, Congrats on tying the knot. We wish you both many happy years together and the best for the future to come. Sorry we weren’t there to spend the special day with you guys.
Paulo and Lee-At, new to the parenting world. Congratulations on the birth of your beautiful daughter Luna. You guys will make wonderful parents, but Paulo, whatever you do, keep her out the kitchen!