Milano – Art Exhibition – Pirelli Hangar Bicocca

A while ago I saw pictures from the permanent installations from Anselm Kiefer, ‚The seven heavenly Palaces‘.  It’s situated in the halls of Pirelli Hangar Bicocca, bit outside of the city of Milan. A visit was just a must for me.

As you probably know, I have an affinity for Africa, specially for South Africa. 

When I arrived the the hangars, I realized there’s also a temporary exhibition by Dineo Seshee Bopape. An artist and creator from Limpopo, South Africa.

Her work was in the first hall I entered. Big round huts dominate the room. Aside from that, big platforms of earthen landscape with different structures are laid out. A big video installation leads your mind to the element of water. But an important part of her exhibition „Born in the first light of the morning [moswara’marapo]“ is against forgetting past wars.

“Neons Corridors Rooms” by Bruce Nauman is all about narrow corridors, neon lights and the experience of space. It took awhile to enter new dimensions of seeing space differently. Luckily I was completely alone in these halls at times. It gives it an even bigger experiences, not to share the rooms with other visitors and enjoying the quietness and deep of the space on my own.

Behind a small entrance, covered by a black curtain, a deep space of blackness appears. Seven collumns of blocks raising to the black sky. At the distant walls are huge images of rough landscapes. If you look closer, the buildings seem to be instabil, shattered pieces laying around them, trashy debris scattered over the dark floor. A scene of an apocalypse.

I stand midst in this scenery, feeling little and overwhelmed. And lost. 

There was just one more person in this hall. A young girl, walking around, staring at the shattered ‚palaces‘. It felt like to be transferred in another world, another dimension, where only few people survived a disaster and searching for hope and future between the ruins. 

I’m deeply and truly impressed.

In The Boudoir With Thembi

Can we do some boudoir photography? Thembi asked me.

At least we gave it a try…

At the pump station – somewhere in South Africa

On our search of a good and cool location for another photo shooting we came across this abandon pump station on a farm. We decided for a rather shabby but sexy look. Maybe a bit like the pin-ups from the 70’s, but darker and less colorful.

Thembi got an old, stained, short trouser and a teared shirt. With her curly hair and a stern look, she posed in front of the huge petrol drum. The gas pipe in the hand she gave a self confident look to the camera.

Despite the serious look, it was all fun and we captured few shots. But decide for yourself…

Fine Art Nude In Pilanesberg

It was in a shopping mall outside Pilanesberg Nationalpark, where i met this young, beautiful lady the first time. The talk lead to photography, more specific to beauty and fashion photography, modeling and so on. Thembi admits she wants to have a photo shoot, but there wasn’t any nice location around but Pilanesberg, the beautiful national park with its stunning landscape. The idea of having esthetic photos from her body in beautiful nature raised.

From the start, Thembi was a natural talent. She felt comfortable with the environment, moved smooth and confident and gave that look of a strong woman to the camera. We had so much fun, visited different locations, where it was not only beautiful, but of course, also safe to leave the car. After hours of photo shoot, we brought home a bunch of really nice, interesting pictures, but see, and judge, for yourself.

However Thembi had so much fun, she asked me for more photo shoots, but that’s another story for the next blog. Stay tuned!

Pilanesberg National Park

It’s a long time since my last update here. However, my journey didn’t stopped, but leaded me further west. At the time i got near to Pilanesberg National Park, i thought it’s worth a visit.

Pilanesberg National Park is roughly three hours drive from Johannesburg. Situated on an ancient vulcanic area, it shows a distinct landscape with many hills, valleys and small lakes and ponds. Although the wildlife is not dense as in other national parks, it has a superb birdlife and the stunning landscape offers beautiful viewpoints.

So, i took my time for birdwatching, explored different corners in the park and climbed up the hills for splendid views. I did not encounter many other people here, except that truck got stopped by a white rhino. You can guess who got the right of way.

After a long, peaceful day in the park i still didn’t get enough from the landscape. That leaded me to another idea, together with a young lady i just met outside the park. A plan to combine her request with my fascination for the landscape in the park started to build up. But that’s another story will be told in my next post. Keep tuned!

 Overlander Car Issues With ‚Tina Tortuga‘

A bright lamp enlightened all the issues of my newly named landrover Tortuga, #tinatortuga. I was standing under the lifted car with a mechanic to check the state of it. There’s an oil leaking and some unsolved problems with the prop shaft, what brought me to this mechanic. The source of leaking was founded quickly, but as I requested we went trough the entire vehicle, more or less.

Beside the leaking from transfer box there’s also leaking from oil filter housing, Even the tank is leaking and had to be repaired as some bushes and hoses has to be fixed and replaced too. Despite there isn’t much electronics in that vehicle it turned out difficult to find the bug which is blowing my indicators and hazard lights continually. In short, quite an overhaul.

I need a stay for the time of repairs. The estimated period of four to five days was doubled, as the costs of repairs was too, due some difficulties, mainly with the transfer box. All bearings of that part must be replaced. I didn’t care so much about the time, since there was heavy rain predicted. All i needed was a quit and dry spot to be.

Luckily I found a beautiful place outside town of Mbombela/Nelspruit. Friendly hosts welcomed me and showed me around the self catering house where I got a nice room with a glass door towards pool side and amazing view to the valley. That’s the place to stay for a few quit days. Reading, writing journal and sorting photos next to the pool. Having a beer or a glass of red wine in the evenings, after cooking myself a tasty meal, and chatting with the owners, while waiting my car got fixed. That’s all part of traveling too and must try to use the time as good as possible. 

Just the day before I could pick up ‚Tina Tortuga‘, another Landrover Defender arrived at the Lodge. Same model as mine and even the same color. A couple got off the car and settled in the accommodation. It turned out they are from Brazil and already four years on the road. So there was lots to chat about and share travel stories and experiences. And of course, as a Landy driver there’s also about workshop stories. That lovely couple gave me a lift to the landy-workshop and get a oil/filter change for their ‚Pandora‘ too. Who wants to see more of the journey from Eduardo and Rafaela visit their website: www.pandoraontheroad.com.br

Ten lazy days later I checked out of ‚Highland Creeks‘ and got ‚Tina Tortuga‘ back from the workshop. Since it was late of the day and weather forecast predicted another storm with heavy rain, I decided to stay another night at an apartment on my way out of town. Another jewel in the mountains as I found out. After all, the day ended beautifully with a glass of wine and a bath in a tube with a view. 

May I Introduce You: Tortuga, Tina Tortuga! 

Cars, especially travel cars and camper vans, needs to be named by their owners. I always denied this practice for my vehicles. Officially. But since many years I used to think, and tell in secret, if there’s a name for my beloved Land Rover, it must be „Tortuga“, the Spanish word for tortoise. 

„Tortuga“ is not beautiful, but adorable, slow, but strong, nice green, but colored inconspicuous. 

My friend Christa told me from a lady, who makes stickers for cars. After a few gin tonics and nice talks, I decided to give my motorized travel companion finally an official name. Now it was to find a nice turtle pictogram or drawing to put it on Tortuga as a sticker.  It should be simple, rather cute, but not too childish. I found something appealing, I think. Watch the pics and tell me your opinion on the comments, please.

Marloth Park, the place for the official naming ceremony, couldn’t be better. Free roaming wildlife all over the estate. Lots of green, lush trees and a beautiful riverside to walk or having a sundowner with friends. A spot which means freedom, security and lifestyle at same time. 

My friend Christa honored me to be the godmother of Tortuga for this event. After she helped me with the stickers, we got a bottle of sparkling wine to celebrate that event. From now an, my Land Rover discovering the world with me not nameless anymore, but as 

Tortuga, Tina Tortuga! 

#tinatortuga

Tina Tortuga (#tinatortuga) is officially named 🙂

A Very Special Christmas In South Africa

Talking about hospitality and friendship, I always think first on my dear friends in South Africa, who not only taking care of my Land Rover when I’m back in Switzerland, but also introduced me to the entire family and thought me a lot about the country and their business, farming.

Every time after I arrived the country, I was invited to stay at least a few days on their farm. I was taken around, got to see what’s changed since my last visit and spend also time with their sons and their families or friends. There’s no warmer welcome possible, since they make me feel as part of the community, almost family, but not as stranger anymore. It went so far, I got invited to the big family reunion for Christmas two years ago. 

When I came back this year, I was missing my old friend H., who sadly passed away last January. That terrible covid-pandemic got another victim. A big man with big heart let behind not only a beloved wife, but also five sons, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. 

I spent some time with my lady friend A., the widow and sharing good memories about Sir H. And listen to interesting stories from the past. Although I had other plans, A. Invited me again for Christmas to join the family gathering. When my plans got changed, she almost insist to come and I couldn’t deny the honor which was given to me again.

Terrible news reached me a day before the family gathering: my dear friend A. passed away. I was in shock of that completely unexpected event. She was in deep grief of the big loss of her husband, but seemed physically strong and healthy. 

To be frankly, I was not only in shock, but also got uncertain, how to deal with the grieving family. Was it inappropriate to stay on the farm? Should I arrange anything special and how can I show my deep condolences to them? But once again I felt the big hospitality of this family, which decided to gather in memory of Lady A. and welcomed me to stay. 

The festive days began early morning with a memorial ceremony of Lady A. 

All family members gathered on a viewpoint of the farm, where the bush opens to beautiful African landscape with the Blouwe Berge on the horizon. All helped making this spot special with putting flowers, oranges and candles there. I was asked to help with filming and photographing for keeping it in memory, and I was grateful to be able to contribute something

The family said goodbye with singing, reading from the Bible, sharing some memories about this lady with a big heart. It was a wonderful, heartwarming event, made me feel cry over the loss of such a good friend.

Despite this awful loss, the family knows life goes on. And in good memories, the joy of Christmas wasn’t forgotten. Children playing cricket or rugby on the grass, on the braai (SouthAfrican BBQ) is food roasting and from time to time we drove around the farm to watch the wildlife. This also included a thorn in a kid foot, which I tried to remove, or some minor sun burn after floating on the pools bit too long. 

There’s a lot of talk, laughter, play and of course food and drink. Special occasions like icing of cookies (#lebkuchenhaus), swimming in a water reservoir in the bush or delivering gifts, are not missed either. 

All in all a very jolly time, but never forgotten the two people who founded this family

You will understand, that I avoid to show clear faces, since this was a private occasion. Nevertheless, I want share some impression from these special and emotional days. Also as an expression for my gratefulness for all this hospitality and big friendship.

Lions Family Life, Krugerpark, South Africa

Early morning along a main road in the Krugerpark. A white sedan stopped beside the road. When I approached that car slowly, I saw a serious lens out of the window. Looks like there is something interesting to see, I said to myself. The lady in the car was pointing to a lioness in the bush and a small cub just disappeared in the back. 

That car went on and I was alone with the lioness, who stood up and went to the scrub. When she start to eat, I noticed that kill from this morning lying there, a zebra.

Another young lioness got there, and when I looked closely more lion heads popping out of the bush.

It needed Kenny to come, who pointed out the big male with a beautiful mane. He stopped his car bit further down and gave me a wink. As we changed a few words, two young lions stepped onto the road, slowly walking down to unknown destination. That’s rather peculiar , said Kenny, and start to follow them. Indeed, they’re too young to step away of the pack too far. But they’ve been looking very confident how they went down the empty road. 

A hundred meters or so, then the lion youngsters left the street. Just a few meters in the bush to a pond of water. Obvious they’re thirsty and started immediately to drink. Occasionally they lift their head to see what’s going on, as more cars arrived. 

From now the road gets packed with spectaculars who noticed the young lions on their going-out. Even lion teenager can’t go out for a drink without people watching them closely. So, when they had enough, or maybe felt too disturbed, they crossed the road and sneaking slowly trough the bush, back to their herd. The lioness meanwhile, was standing up and searching for their youngsters. I guess family are always the same 😉 

Leopard In Krugerpark/South Africa

It was at one of the picnic spots I made a break to brew myself another coffee. While my water was boiling, the engine of the car next to me was heating up too. The driver filled up cooling water in the system, when I asked I could help in any way. 

That’s how the conversation started. In like every talk in the Kruger Nationalpark, it’s leading to the latest sightings we encountered. That nice guy was telling me about a young, male leopard hiding in a tree. The location was in my direction I planned. Without wasting any more time I’m heading to that spot. 

Two other cars was parked in front of that huge jackalberry tree. The lush, green branches blocked the view to the big cat. I tried to get another angle, next to the other cars. And luck was with me, as the leopard stood up and changed to the branch in front of me. Despite the dense foliage we could look each other straight in the eyes …and camera lens.