Milano – a touristic perspective

So many times i passed Milano, the big, fashionable city of the North of Italy, but never stopped by here. Till now. At least getting a glimpse of the city, i thought. But why i come in the cold autumn, i asked myself after a cold night looking into a misty, cold morning.

First comes first. A real cappuccino with marmalade filled croissant in a typically Italian coffee bar. What a delight. Although this has not lifted my mood for a city walk, i have to admit.

But since i’m here anyway, i approached the famous Cathedral of Milano. At its wall i discovered a relief with the scene of the expulsion from paradise. Paradise, as i would define it, a bright, peaceful place with enough space and food for everyone, and warmth. Instead i found myself between huge pillars in a gloomy dark and cold room. People scurry by, whispers floating in the air, swallowed by the flickering candlelight and incredulous prayers are sent to the unreachable dome. Only the beautifully windows brings some bright colors into that dark mystic room and tells some stories of hope and light.

Talking about places of worship, there's this huge 'Galleria Vittorio Emanuele II'. A palace of consumption, excess and decadence. Just next to the catholic cathedral, also equipped with a huge dome, people flock in to get lost in shopping. Those who don't believe in their prayers for luck only, has the change to get some more luck by placing their heels on the balls of a bull figure on the floor and turn themselves three times around.   

My walk lead me to the famous 'Teatro alla Scala'. There i passed the statue of Leonardo, certainly one of the most famous person of all times. Finally i reached 'Castello', but didn't visit it, took some time in the big park behind it, where joggers run between trees and lovers meet up at the bridge, where they hope to lock their love at the rail.

I need a break, i decided, and rattled towards my camp by public transport...

Crossing The Alps – New Journey Starts

It’s already late this year.

My feet got more and more itchy. But finally my #TinaTortuga is ready to take her out for another, bigger trip.

The decision for a destination was hard to find for this winter. There’s no lack on ideas and opportunities, tho. But where to put the priority?

Traveling by my Landrover #TinaTortuga.

Heading to warmer places.

Explorer new regions.

So, let’s start by crossing the snowy Alps, having a coffee in Italy first…

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…

 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 🙂

Back In South Africa

Many times I hear or read people saying, it feels like coming home, when they turn back to a favorite holiday destination of them. In my ears, it sounded often pathetic and unreal. But arriving at farm of my beloved friends, meeting all family members and seeing my Land Rover again comes this feeling very close. It’s not exaggerating to call my Land Rover my home, since it’s not only my travel car, but also my house on wheels for many months every year. 

This time was a long waiting to get back, due the pandemic situation. Finally I landed in Johannesburg, had to spend a night in the city, but caught the first bus in the morning to the province of Limpopo. There was a warmly welcome by my friends and family, and much to talk about. Only one person was really missed, the head of family passed away, caught by that spreading disease and leaves a big void. The good memories remains and despite the difficulties, there shouldn’t be untried to collect more. In such a warmhearted family I have no doubt of it.

There it stands. My Land Rover is parked under a roof just next to the farmhouse. One of my friends was so friendly to replace the broken starter battery, and so it starts with the first try. A new journey can begin, actually. But first I want give my travel car a proper service and maintenance. 

And despite my refuse over all these years, i consider again to give my Land Rover finally a name. I carry already a name for it with me since many years actually. 

What are you guys thinking? Does it deserve a name?

Any recommendations?

Please give me your opinions in the comments below 🙂 

Should my Land Rover get a name? Yes or No? Recommendations in the comments please 😉

Rough Road To Kenya

I could take the nice tarred road out of Uganda, but the scenery on the northern slope of Mount Elgon was to tempting. The road became more bumpy and dusty with every mile, but bigger also the people smile. From time to time i had to stop for a photo, or just for the stunning view, or simply to give way to a big truck on narrow roads. Time schedule got lost. Instead of a few hours drive i needed all day to reach the Kenyan border post. The last village before frontier i found a fuel station where the diesel pump worked by hand. Can’t remember when i had such a laughter with tank guys filling up my diesel tank.

Tsavo West National Park

Surprised by the atmosphere, i didn’t regret to get up so early to reach the park entrance. Mist floats over a hilly area, birds chirping in the bush and the old volcanos looks promising. I’ve hardly seen any other vehicles in the park, but got on very remote tracks on top of volcano or in deep bushland. Stunning views and the loneliness of the place will keep in my memories. Most impressive was the last hour, actually on my way out of Tsavo West. A bit disappointed not having enough time to spot black rhinos in the rhino sanctuary, i got a clear view on a leopard, but missed to take a photo. Another leopard crossed my way around 20km further. This time i had my camera quickly on hands. Unfortunately, the light was already dimmed and my camera setting didn’t allowed a clear shot. It’s unbelievable that i got sight of a third leopard this day. It was next to the road, roaming slowly next to my Land Rover and allowed me to taking series of pictures of it. Sometimes the luck don’t come once, but trice 🙂