Monthly Archives: September 2013

Dîner en Blanc Johannesburg 2013

We spent Friday night at the very first Dîner en Blanc Johannesburg, which was also the first DeB in South Africa. It was fantastic! There are more photos on the Facebook page as well.

All  images by the author: © catterflyworx 2013. Please contact me if you would like to use any images from this site.

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Budgeting for Europe

In April 2012, we spent 22 days in Italy, France and the Netherlands. One of the toughest things to budget for was the average amount of spending money we’ll need per day. Bookings flights, hotels and car rentals before-hand meant that these costs were already accounted for. We also managed to book a great number of attractions online. What we were left with, are general day-to-day, cost of living expenses.

We are currently in the preparation phase for our next trip, and it seems that we’re again down to the cost of living expenses. This time we are however armed with the knowledge learned from our previous trip, and I would like to share some of it here. As a traveler, I know how hard it is to find accurate information on this.

When we arrived in Italy last year, our biggest shocks were how much things cost when converted to South African Rand. We quickly learned that this is the wrong way to approach purchases. Instead we took the spending money  we had, and worked out a daily allowance for the duration of our trip. To check ourserlves, we took notes of every single item we bought each day, and made sure that the average spend throughout our trip did not exceed the initial daily budget we had set.

Here is a short breakdown of what our average daily costs were, with a brief description of typical items bought. I’ve broken these down into two sections: costs with and without a rental car. The cost for the rental car is not included here, but associated costs like tolls, petrol and parking have been factored in.

In total, our average came to €74.83 per day for two people.

A summary of our expenses in Italy, France and the Netherlands in April 2012. Click the image for a bigger version.

A summary of our expenses in Italy, France and the Netherlands in April 2012. Click the image for a bigger version.

WITHOUT A RENTAL CAR

Eight days in Venice, Assisi and Rome | €78.74 per day for two people
Water taxis in Venice, souvenirs, groceries (bread, cheese, salami or other cold meats, fresh fruit and veggies, pasta, canned goods, butter and other spreads, yoghurt and breakfast cereals, some beer and/or wine, snacks like chips and cookies), entrance to museums and basilicas, Pompeii entrance fee and maps for Pompeii and Assisi, guided tour of the Vatican with audio-guides, bus and metro guidebooks in Rome, five-day metro passes in Rome, eating out for dinner at reasonably priced restaurants, coffee at cafés.

Six days in Lyon, Paris and Amsterdam | 74.64 per day for two people
Metro passes for Paris and Amsterdam, groceries (bread, cheese, salami or other cold meats, fresh fruit and veggies, some beer and/or wine, snacks like chips and cookies), artwork and souvenirs, entrance to museums and the Eiffel tower, dinner out in Paris, coffee at cafés.

WITH A RENTAL CAR

Five days driving from Rome to Florence via Pisa, Florence to Genoa, and Genoa to Turin (Italy) | €94.30 per day for two people
Single use bus tickets, groceries (bread, cheese, salami or other cold meats, fresh fruit and veggies, some beer and/or wine, snacks like chips and cookies), toll for use of all highways, diesel to refuel the rental before returning it, guidebook to the Ufizzi gallery, entrance to Medici chapel, cold & flu medicine, lunch and occasional coffee at cafés.
Note: These costs also include a dinner out for my birthday, as well as two birthday presents for me: a leather jacket and a pair of leather gloves.

Three days driving from Chambery to Chamonix, Chamonix to Bourg-en-Bresse, Bourg-en-Bresse to Lyon | 36.66 per day for two people
A taxi between train stations in Turin, a small amount of groceries, entrance to monasteries and cathedrals, two bundles of washing at a laundromat 🙂

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So this is what the end of the world looks like

I discovered this site last week and am loving every bit of it. This game in particular has caught my fancy and it’s a Kickstarter I’d love to see succeed.

1001-Up.com

Hinterland Studio Inc’s project for their first-person post-disaster survival simulation The Long Dark has a funding deadline of 16 October 2013 on the Kickstarter website. At the time of writing it has already received $54,692 CAD of its $200,000 CAD target and, with over three weeks still left to go, we’re getting behind this curious title.

Title - So this is what the end of the world looks like

I initially came across The Long Dark on Emily Clare Afan’s blog earlier this week and then headed over to Kickstarter to take a closer look. To be honest, I can’t say I’ve played many survival games and I’ve found the recent influx of post-apocalypse titles uninspiring (take a look at our Zombies have feelings too video if you haven’t seen it yet). But to come across something in the genre that doesn’t feature the undead – and looks absolutely stunning to boot – then count me in.

Players take on the role of…

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Sunday quick-fixes

After an amazing Saturday night at the zoo, we spent most of Sunday lazing about. We did however manage to tick one of the ‘to do’ items off the list, by finally upgrading a sad patch of lawn into a garden path.

We seem incapable of nurturing grass to grow here, and this section is mainly used as a walkway in any case. We used found materials from other patches in the garden, and I think this is a vast improvement. This week we start on the mammoth plan for our veggie garden.

Sunday home-DIY (that cost zero monies) FTW.

The before and after of a sad stretch of lawn in our garden.

The before and after of a sad stretch of lawn in our garden.

 

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A night tour at the National Zoological Gardens in Pretoria

We spent Saturday night at the National Zoological Gardens in Pretoria, better known as the Pretoria Zoo. They offer night tours with knowledgeable guides, focusing on nocturnal animals. The tour starts at 18:30 and ends at around 20:30, where after groups may proceed to designated picnic areas to braai and spend some time relaxing around a bonfire. If you’d like to make a bigger trip out of this, you may also book a camping tour.

The Pretoria Zoo stretches over 88 hectares (roughly 217 acres) and celebrates its 114th year in 2013. The night tour is well worth the effort, as there are only a few other guided tours in the zoo at night and there’s no jostling for a view. The tour is however very focused, so if you want to see a bigger variety of animals it might be better to visit in the day. Photo opportunities will also be better then 😉

I managed to get a few pictures, but with my ISO set to 3200 most of them are very noisy.

An exotic buck seen in a spotlight at the Pretoria Zoo A flock of flamingoes settling down for the night at the Pretoria Zoo

A juvenile eagle owl sitting on a log at the Pretoria Zoo

A male bengal tiger seen at night in the Pretoria Zoo

A view of the union buildings and the city of Pretoria in the background, with a sundial in the foreground at the Pretoria Zoo A pack of wild dogs sleeping under a tree at the Pretoria Zoo

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This first person shooter puzzle game is hot

I stumbled across this article on The Verge yesterday afternoon, and had to wait till I got home to try the game.

SUPERHOT is a free Unity first person shooter game that forces you to solve puzzles to progress through the levels.

Time in the game only moves when you do, meaning you’re a puzzle-solving time-traveler… if it weren’t for the violence, you could say this makes you the Doctor’s companion 😉 . If you’re familiar with Braid, you’re bound to like this game. If you’re not – download Braid and get sucked into the awesomeness.


I loved Braid; the music is fantastic, the artwork is mesmerising and the puzzles are mind-boggling. I even tried to incorporate the time-traveling/control aspect of the game into a D&D campaign setting of my invention, but that made my brain hurt a lot.

I haven’t been able to spend too much time on SUPERHOT yet, but I’d recommend it if you’re into FPS and puzzles.

Oh, and if you’re not a fan of gaming in a browser, it’s coming to Steam soon.

[SPOILER ALERT] If you still want more, here’s a video of a 2-minute speedrun through SUPERHOT.

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Look at those feet!

I usually get annoyed with people who post about their pets, but I can’t help it this time!

We’ve been on a waiting list for a new staffie for months now. A new litter has finally been born, and the breeder we’re buying our new addition from sent me some pics yesterday. I cannot wait to bring this little thing home! I know our 2 year old staffie, Gelos will love having a friend (other than the terrified cat).

Red staffie bitch puppy held in her breeder's hand

So very tiny and immensely cute. (Photo by Yolandi van der Linde)

Litter of stafforshire terrier puppies

Only a few days old and fast asleep. (Photo by Yolandi van der Linde)

 

Black staffie dog at age one and a half

Gelos looking attentive at age one and a half. Gelos was bred by Nickelback Staffies.

Brindle staffordshire terrier dog on the lawn

Eating a palm seed on the lawn of our flat in 2012.

 

All images by the author, unless otherwise specified: © catterflyworx 2012.

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I’m bad at updating this blog and I suspect it’s because I
a) over-think things, and
b) feel that I need to post new items that are relevant to what’s on here already.

Clearly, this approach is not getting us anywhere. Inspired by Jen Christie‘s (slightly mad) #30dayblogs challenge, things are changing around here.

Stacks of coins or change

Change is good (get it?)

I’m not quite up for the epicness of Jen’s approach, but I do need to get things going again. I have a vast and very diverse interest (and slight obsession, at times) in many things, which has not been reflected up to now.

So prepare yourselves, minions. From here on forth, there will be a great deal of #randomness going on here, which I believe will be awesome.

For the travel junkies who originally started following my Eurotrip2012 reminiscence… We are planning a trip to Iceland and Russia in December 2014, so I promise you’ll still get something out of me!

A change in Pace

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