Let’s visit… Iceland

Why Iceland? I really don’t know! Maybe it is the fact that my mother in law came to visit for a few days today. Thinking of cold and hard, with sudden bursts of red hot lava scalding everything in it’s path…  Actually- I am the one lucky guy in this world regarding mother in laws- mine is none like that!

I saw a bit of Iceland in a James Bond movie–  how could I ever forget that Aston Martin drifting across the ice, and disappearing in front of the Ice Hotel in Die Another Day.

I have read about Iceland in the National Geographic, and the place really fascinates me! A land with so much ice and snow, and also volcanoes and lava. When I went to Spain 2 years ago- we had to pray that the Iceland volcanoes would behave itself, for the month before they really played havoc with air traffic in Europe…

It would be a LONG Camino starting the walk in South Africa, walking up to Santiago de Compostela-   I dont think we would get pilgrim meals and cheap albergues along the way, and nobody would greet us with a Buen Camino, more likely: “Give me your wallet and phone!”

But this post is not about the crime in Africa, but the beauty in Iceland….

I would love to see the Aurora Borealis there- we don’t get to see any of those amazing light shows in Southern Africa…  Jibber Jabber posted this beautiful picture, from Extreme Iceland’s website today…Image

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I think the CapitalReykjavic, is one of the smallest Capital cities in the world. But it looks beautiful to me: investarchitect.blogspot.com put up this awesome photo:

Clearly some architectural interest in the city!

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It just looks so cold to me, living in a town where there were never any snowfall in human memory! My wife has never experienced any snow in her life, only seen it on television!  But in spite of the snow, these hardy Vikings still goes swimming in winter! Outside…!

What would I like to do in Iceland? Taste their food!

Well, maybe not these… I would need a lot of beer or wine to even go sit at a table with that dish on the table. Have anyone reading this tasted it? Would you recommend it?

I read that the drink of Iceland is Brenniven- a kind of Schnapps: And where to find it? Read this review in the Globe and Mail.

So- you would visit Iceland for spectacular scenary, warm hearted people in a very cold place… .

And beautiful ladies!

If you really want to read all about Iceland, try Wikipedia! 

Do you want to see something awesome of Iceland, see this painting by

Andrew Reid Wildman

So- dear readers who live in Iceland, or have travelled there-

  • what makes Iceland worth visiting?
  • What is the favorite food to eat there?
  • What do you like to drink? Where do you hang out?
  • What nature scenes should a traveller not miss while there?

Behind the closed door…

Yesterday actually started in a light mood, but then I had one of the worst case scenario days in ministry…

Today, I am still feeling a little shell-shocked. Compassion fatigue. Call it what you may. I love people. And I hate it when people gets hurt in life.  So today, I am not in that light hearted mood.

So I decided to just share a photo from my Camino de Santiago in 2011 with you all.  I took this picture somewhere in the streets between the cathedral in Léon and the route out further on to San Marcos…

I stress it again that I know nothing of the people staying behind this door… it is just a beautiful old door on the Camino, somewhere in Léon…

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If I walk through ancient places like the smaller towns and cities in Europe, I love to see the people’s doors.  And I imagine what is happening behind that door.

It is obviously an old door, maybe it opened and closed for several generations of a family living there…

  • Most probably a bridegroom carried his bride over the threshold when the house was first built for a newly wedded couple…
  •  Through it the doctor came rushing in, or the expectant mother came rushing out to go to a midwife/hospital to deliver a baby…
  •  This door was closed with great care so that toddlers would not wander off into the street and alleyways…
  •  This door was slammed by more than one teenager, furious for parents who does not like the “significant other” that they love so much with their whole being. When the door slam shut, the universe trembled.
  • There was some decorations on the door, when that teenager brought the right one home, and there was a wedding celebrated.
  •  There was the solemn knock of the priest on the door, bringing the news of a grandparent who passed away.
  •  The door remained shut through illness and diseases that held the family in bed.
  • It swung open happily to let friends enter, inviting them to the dinner feast, celebrating love and life, friendship and good times.
  • It finally admitted the undertaker, and swung slowly shut when the owner of the house passed away…
  • To be happily opened again by a young couple, who bought this house as their first home, to love in, to grow, to celebrate…

From age to age this door swung open, and shut again, ringing in the good times and the bad, in what we call the human existence.

May the people behind this door do everything to celebrate life, and love, and happiness.  May the hate, and the anger, and the hurt stay outside…

May that also be true of YOUR door…

Where peaceful waters flow…

One of the most beautiful mental pictures I find in the Bible is the one David used in Psalm 23– where he says the Lord leads us beside quiet waters…

In my life, I have found much of the peaceful moments next to streams, waterfalls and pools. This makes a lot of sense if you grow up in a hot and dry country. When I go on holiday with my family, I love camping near water…

While I was browsing through some old photos, I came across these I took on one of our family holidays, taken in 2008. The place: The beautiful Royal Natal National Park, Mahai Campsite…

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May there be peace on earth!

Monday Morning Travel

Today, I wish I woke up with my bags/suitcase/ backpack already packed, the tickets/travel vouchers/ passport laying on top at the front door, ready to go.

But alas, sometimes it is necessary to do some work, to collect holiday time and money.  How would it be to be Paris Hilton, jump in daddy’s jet and fly off to daddy’s hotel  on the other side of the world, for their high tea is so good…

This is the Monday morning blues speaking. I feel grumpy, and jealous, irritated and frustrated this morning. That is why I usually spend Monday mornings behind my desk in my office, and not on appointments with real people… Monday morning I need help myself, I am not able to give help to others…

My reading of other people’s blogs do help though. Just to imagine there is a big, wide world somewhere behind my back door, and someone else, like you, dear reader, is sittng at totally the other side of the world, and reading this grumbling blog before going out to a party with friends on the beach, around a huge bonfire… Do you hear the sobbing in the background? That’s me… Image

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Other readers are saddling their motorbikes for a drive around South America. Actually- they would still be sleeping… Sherri Jo’s KTM is fixed and ready to go! She is on her way to the Iguazu Falls in Brazil today… http://sherrijosbecauseicanworldtour.blogspot.com/2013/04/on-road-to-iguazu-falls-brazil.htmlImage

One dude has painted Mount Fiji… http://pursuingwabi.com/2013/04/28/mt-fuji-from-lake-kawaguchi/

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Megan  is out on the Appalachian Trial, doing her dream walk meeting some weird people…

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While Niceguy is floating on a boat/canoe/ship/yaught/ battelship/cruiser/dingy somewhere in paradise in the East: http://niceguysphotographer.wordpress.com/2013/04/29/surat-thani-seeking-paradise/

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 Yes, today would be much better spent trying out some totally foreign (to me) cuisine like the street markets of China, you know- eating Maltese Poodles and such stuff… http://sammydesign.ca/2013/04/28/06-yichang-a-small-city-in-china/
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 But if I could really, really have one dream come true- oh come on, bear with me, I need to survive today somehow! One dream I would love to come true- hmmm (long pause, making coffee…thinking so hard that the smoke tendrils are coming out of the ears…)

Yes! This is it… Swimming with dolphins in Hawaii! And no, I am not that old… geriatrictraveller.com

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What would you rather do today, if it was totally up to you, and money was no concern? 

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The early worm gets caught… Daily prompt

Daily Prompt: Your time to shine… Early bird, or night owl? 

I could never be described as an early bird.  I hate waking up before the sun.  Fortunately I don’t live near either of the arctic regions where the sun could disappear for weeks on end! I love waking up due to natural causes. There is a historical reason for this state of affairs. And it goes like this:  I always loved having a little bit of extra spending money. You know- that extra few litres of fuel for my motorbike, to see more of the world with. Money for another book, to take me places I have never been. A flower for another beautiful girl… okay, that last one is just fantasy, if I get to do it all over again that one would get more attention…  So, to afford it all as a schoolboy, I had a newspaper route. In summer it was good, the sun rises early, and the morning air was not that hot yet. But in winter, riding around on the frosted grass, with freezing fingers, nose and ears- that cured me forever of being an early bird. As you know, it is the early worm that gets caught by the bird…

Image photo: poems.easybranches.com

I usually wake up around my third cup of coffee. This can be quite dangerous, because my body would have left the bed without me, sometimes to go cycling, or doing other early chores. Sometimes my body even interacts with other people while I am still sleeping.

After the third hit of cafeine: BAM! I am awake. Now I am ready to change the world. A long and productive day follows, and then, after 11pm, I go to bed.

I would much rather be described as a night owl. Once the hamster is steadily spinning the little wheel inside my mind, it is difficult to stop it.  Around and around and around it goes.

Image Graphics: www.empowernetwork.com Spinning it’s way through all that I have experienced that day- while being awake, that is…  Thinking of al the good things I have seen that day. Beautiful people, beautiful places, inspiring songs or words.  The dark thoughts also creeps up on me- the sad things I have seen, sad people, the hate and cruelty some people causes in this world.

I have read somewhere that it is healthy to have a mental enema before going to sleep- to leave all the negative thoughts and actions of that day behind in the past, just keeping the positive that happened for the journey of tomorrow. I try to do that.  Sometimes it is just so hard, kicking some bad things out of the mind.

I try to read something good before bed. Or listen to something good. Or… have you ever read Solomon’s Song of Songs book in the Bible? What a good book! What a way to end the day…

So yes, I am for the nighttime. I am alive after five… pm…

Marc Chagall: Song of Songs

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Thinking of all on the Camino de Santiago today!

I read the blogs of quite a few peregrinos. In fact, I read all in the WordPress reader that have the Camino tag displayed- in English/ Afrikaans or Dutch. Sorry, no hablo Espanol…

As a pilgrim in 2011, this was one of the journeys that changed my life. And every time I see some photos of the Camino Frances between Léon and Santiago, it takes me back in my memories. Thanks for blogging about it!

May the pilgrims meals be good, and the blisters very small!

Buen Camino!

ImageI forgot my hat on my very last day,  in the coffee shop next to the highway, just underneath that last climb to the airport of Santiago…  I really wish my hat was here in my office with me! But it decided to stay behind in Spain… oh well…

South American Virtual Tourism

First things first- Yesterday was the best day so far with viewers coming to visit my blog- thanks to all 123 of you! I still have a long way to go to reach the 341 best of my previous blog, but we are getting there…  I miss the Donkey!

Yesterdays travels was quite informative. I did find a lot of English blogs on Venezuela, and Peru, and Chile. Life in South America looks very interesting to me. Yes, the border crossings are just as bad as Africa’s. There is also huge poverty.  But the landscape is spectacular in many places, and the people look very interesting.  Maybe it is time to brush up on the Spanish, and figure out a way to get one of my two motorbikes over there, with myself on it…

What would I like to see?

Maybe a good starting point would be Rio de Janeiro. It is so beautiful on photos.  I would like to see the Christ the Redeemer statue in real life! At night, with the lights of Rio down below. The nearest I came to that experience, was Cape Town earlier this month, when I went up Signal Hill to show my two youngest kids the city lights at night.  Rio at night- awesome!

This is the best picture I found on the internet- as a Christian it says much to me…   photo from www.rentanapartmentinrio.com

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Rio would be the most fun during Carnaval. I know a lot of my colleagues would not agree with me here, saying things about sin and drink and such things. But it is so interesting to see people at play. People having a festival just to celebrate life. Yes- this must come on the Bucket List!

I read the blog of a young lady travelling South America with her friends. One of them got robbed in RIo. She said everybody gets robbed in Rio. That one I would not enjoy so much- we South Africans get robbed enough, mostly by our own government…

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From Rio,  where next? I would love to travel up the Amazon river, and see some of the nature there… these huge trees that keeps us all alive. The magnificent bird life- macaws flying free in the wild…  (from letsgetlostandfound.blogspot.com)

I love birds, macaws are so beautiful. But they need to be in nature, not in a cage- their sound indoors is nerve-wracking!  But to see them where they are supposed to be- that would be something indeed!

I would also love to see the tango in Buenos Aires. This looks like such a fun and vibrant city to visit.  The tango is such a sexy dance! Beautiful to watch. I would love BA at night…

Photo: www.dailymail.co.uk

But then, I would also love some history in my journey to South America- The Incas and the Mayas, and those huge, bloody civilizations they built long before the Spanish arrived on the scene..

I would head to Peru for a visit to Machu Picchu.  I would love to see this place in real life!  To walk between these ancient stones, and think of the time it was

a city full of people, all just trying to make a living, raise a family, trying to love and be happy.  This also needs to be seen by me!

From Peru, I just have to go to Venezuela. Angel Falls!  And then the beach .

Photo: www.guardian.co.uk

Photo: www.thebestbeaches.org

While I am in South America, I will have to travel to the roof of the world in Bolivia- like Sherri Jo Wilkens has done so inspiring… (this is from her blog sherrijosbecauseicanworldtour.blogspot.com )

And then I just have to see the most narrow country in the world- Chile.  I need to see the desert where there is no rain. But then I also want to taste their wine, to see if it matches up to the good old Cape of Good Hope’s Cabernets…  photo by www.travelagentcentral.com

I can’t get there by motorbike, but I see the Easter Islands are also part of Chile… This statues would be such an experience to see in real life: (wallpoper.com I

In most of these place I have found bloggers blogging in English- telling their stories, showing their photos… Thank you for writing your blog, it really enriches my life.

And now, dear 123 readers- what am I missing in South America? What would you recommend if I ever do get the chance to ship my bike to South America- what should I definitely go see/ experience/ taste?

PS, after writing this I came across this photo on a blog, and for some reason it blew my mind- it is exactly the feeling I have at the moment. This is what I am longing for in my study in Waterberg, South Africa at the moment!

Travelling to exotic places through other’s blogs

I often have a few moments between appointments, or while taking a break when reading exciting ancient texts.  In these quiet times I love to travel. Maybe that is why I am such a big Doctor Who fan- the idea of jumping into the Tardis, and going off to some place at a certain time, visit it to hearts delight, and then arrive back two minutes later.

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Well, I found a way to do it, thanks to WordPress.  One of the apps on my blog is the “Live statistics” world map from Revolver. If you click on it, the earth map becomes a revolving earth ball. On it there are red dots, from where readers of my blog connected.  Yesterday I saw there were still entire continents left, with no red dots on it. Like South America.

Well, I do love travelling with a passion. I only do not have the budget to do it often, it is quite expensive raising 4 kids in South Africa on a pastor’s salary.  I also do love people and their stories intensely.

So this is my new game. I go to the WordPress Reader. I enter the country where no one has seen my blog yet- like for instance Venezuela yesterday. I know Venezuela is a beautiful country with such magnificent natural beauty- like the Angel Falls. I also know Venezuela have some of the world’s most beautiful women- look at how often they win the Miss World beauty pageants.  I often imagine how it must be to live in a country, what the people are experiencing every day, what they eat, how they live, what makes them happy…

So I entered Venezuela in the reader, and started reading all the English blogs, sincerely commenting on a few.  And there it is- a red dot on Venezuela- someone there also have returned the favor and came to visit me- what an honour!

Venezuela, it seems, is on the brink of a civil war, after the death of President Hugo Chaves.  I really pray for peace and happiness for the good people of Venezuela. And I would love to visit your country one day.

Today, I am travelling to Italy. I love Italy a lot. I have been there for 3 days when I was 16 years old.  I was in love with Rome, even more today, now that I know quite a lot more about the Roman Empire. I would dearly love to go back there to see it all again, this time knowing the rich history of the place. I have stood in awe in front of Michelangelo’s Pieta statue in the St Peter’s Cathedral in the Vatican, thinking that this is the most beautiful artwork I have ever seen…

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I also visited Venice, although it was in the ebb- tide, so everything was under water.  We visited one of the many glassblowers, and it was so awesome to see that art being created right in front of us.  I remember thinking that the romantic canals were really dirty…

We also did a walkabout in Florence- beautiful city.

I would love to go back to Italy with my wife. I love the scenery of Tuscany, which I only have seen in movies like “UNder the Tuscan Sun“.

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I also love Italy a lot for creating one of my two motorbikes. My Aprilia Pegaso is a beautiful little bike, built with such an eye for beauty and functionality. The Italians do have a good eye for beauty in everything they do.

So today, when I get a minute or two, I am going off to Italy, reading what other bloggers experiences there.  I wish I could taste the food, drink the water from the stream, ride the roads on my bike,  looking at all the beautifully clad women from the sidewalk cafés.

Yes, Today I am off to Italy. Maybe I should have pizza tonight to celebrate- with olive oil, sundried tomatoes, rosemary…

Daily Post: Clone Wars!

The question was asked: “If you could clone yourself, how would you split up your responsibilities?”

What a good few minutes of daydreaming followed after hearing this challenge. Because who of us really feel we have enough time in our lives? Cecil John Rhodes famously said on his deathbed: “So little done, so much to do.” And he only wanted to conquer the whole of Africa for the British Empire…

I have a job where it is possible to work 12 hours a day, for 7 days a week, and still never be done.  There are always more unhappy people in this world that need a shoulder to cry on, more hungry people that need to be fed.  Time management is the one big challenge in our work. We need to draw the line somewhere, and go home, and be with our families without feeling guilty.

So, one day my doorbell rings. It is the delivery of my clone- Beta-Me.  He looks exactly like me, with the same abilities.

Immediately the phone rings.  His job has just started. He handles whatever is on the other side of that line. Some husband is beating his wife. Beta-Me goes to sort it out. Actually I wish he is much stronger than I am- he goes to beat up the scumbag who dare to lift his hands against a woman!  He also goes and visit all the lonely people in town, who just need someone who will listen to their stories. He goes out to fix the leaking water pipe behind the church, he visits the people in the Alzheimer’s part of the retirement village. He goes out to those people who has been married for 7 + years, and now hate each other.

And Alpha-Me, that being me- what do I want to do? I take the opportunity to eat every meal at home with my wife and kids. I get to play more ballgames with my sons in the afternoon. I get to sit on my bench in the garden, and read the book I want to read for so long time now.

And yes, I also want to do some of my work. I get to teach the Bible study classes, interacting with positive people. I get to visit all the young couples who just had a baby in hospital. I take the people who wants to get married soon, on a journey of discovery about themselves, their personality, their communication skills, conflict handling… You catch my drift? Alpha Me handles everything that is about love and beauty. Beta Me handles the hate and ugly parts that I have to deal with professionally.

While doing all that, Alpha Me gets to be superfit, riding his bicycle every morning while the kids are at school. I also get to be a much better than average motorbiker, because I get to spend more time on the twisties…

It is so good to think about these things today. Because that doorbell will not ring and bring the clone- I will have to do all those things by myself.

But it teaches me to prioritize.  I need to work on my own marriage, and make it a nice place for my wife to be. I need to be an attentive dad, sharing good times with my children, because the time they spend in my house is running out so fast.

I need to stop and smell the flowers along the way. I have to get better coping skills in place, to handle it better when I am confronted by the violence and hate in some people’s lives.

A clone would be good, but till it arrives- I just have to make the best of every single day of my life! I need to make a difference for the world to be a better place…

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Picture from: www.coloribus.com (Greenpeace– yeah!)