What I Just Love goes to South Africa!

Hi dears,

 

This has not been my first time in South Africa.. It is like the third and I quite like it here. It is a nice place, full of history and great people. The food is amazing and I was lucky enough to come at spring time.. and I am a flower lover.. so you have a happy me!.. Let me share with you the highlights of this trip and hopefully it inspires you to go and visit.

Johannesburg

Probably you will be reaching South Africa from here. Sandton area is a must, you have the huge Mandela monument and the mall, with a theatre and plenty of restaurants and shops. There you have one of the Butchers -if you are from Dubai, you will know which one I mean.

Also there is a quite nice Library almost in front of the theatre.. I had to work and I am a bookworm, so my husband took me there and I spend good two hours roaming around getting excited about some findings.

Johannesburg is quite big, very spread city.. there are not many skyscrapers and I guess that is why it takes forever to cross.. you have a lot of 1 or 2 floor housing with a garden-something very british, I find. Johannesburg has a botanical garden and it is beautiful. I know it is not going to be in your tour guides but I quite enjoyed it. It has a huge pond- with ducks and guys kayaking – and areas to picnic. There is a Shakespeare garden and plenty of gorgeous trees, now in bloom.

You have to love Nature.. I do and I miss it very much in Dubai- at least until they finish whatever crime they are doing to Safa Park.

Here you have some pics

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To go out and dine there are some cool options. You have Melrose Arch area- where one Mojo is located- I tell you more about it later, you have also a Mall called Montecasino and another area called Melville. Let´s review one by one..

Melrose Arch is a mix of commercial and residential within one compound. There are restaurants and bars and one big screen in a  kind of square to watch the Springboks play ( Rugby is huge in SA!). With the security issue I won’t recommend you just to roam around freely in Jozi (nickname of Johannesburg). If the locals don’t do it, I won’t do it either but I must say, nothing ever happened to me here, I am just cautious.

Mojo is a one of a kind restaurant- high end african cuisine with great decor and service. Every single time I have been in South Africa I came to dine there…

Montecasino Mall is similar to Ibn Batuta in Dubai.. a Mall that has a sky painted ceiling and decorated like somewhere else.. In the case of Montecasino like old Italy.. It is very nice, has a casino- there you have the name- and they change the sky.. making it full daylight or starry night. There are many shops, a cinema and a hotel part of teh complex. There is a resturant there you shouldnt miss.. It is called Beira.. It is a portuguese ( or Mozambican) restaurant and the food there it is just glorious. Try whatever dish with Prawns and you will thank me later.

In Montecasino you can also buy crafts, there is a very cute store that sells pretty african crafts and not the customary “Made-in-China”, saying “Welcome to New York”.

Another place where you can buy pretty arts and crafts is at the Rosebank Mall.. There is an entrance to the specific area for crafts and arts and there you have so much choice.. For crocodile bags to african textiles, to Ostrich carved eggs to handpainted wood trays.. all there is beautiful and you will want it all. One rule though.. always negotiate with the vendors. We have a huge neon message in our foreheads saying “Tourist” and they will charge you more just because. Basically.. do and buy as if you were in the Souk.

The last two places I want to tell you about in Johannesburg are a bit hippie, rundown, uptown.. Melville and Millpark. Melville is today full of pretty restaurants and houses, it has a flavour of boho chic, you can tell the restaurants there have had a facelift but kept the hippie soul. I love it there! You have also some shops with books and antiques and african fashion.They say it is the gay quarter, well, we have Chueca in Madrid and I love it too.www.whatijustlove.com

Millpark looks like it was some sort of industrial center just few years ago and it would have been reconverted into a pleasant patio where shops and restaurants offer their best products. I has amazing decor shops but the entire thing is like a spotless cute little stage. The food was great and the strolling through the passageways deliciously pleasant. The weather was with us in this trip indeed.

There is also something you don’t want to miss.. and it is culture. The theatre freak in me wanted to go and see what was on offer and I couldn’t make up my mind between two venues.. One, called Raising Mandela in the little theatre in Sandton Square, the other a musical called Burn the Floor that seemed to be doing really good between the locals.

The dancing one won the bet and off  we went. The Joburg Theatre is pretty cool, has different sections for youth development,  2 stages and one restaurant. The show was really good with music and voices live. The dancing was spectacular with latino rhythms and english songs and with a pretty good looking singer (I think he was italian). The music was so good I was moving my feet and my hands “playing drums” in the air.. If I can make a suggestion for this kind of musicals, please allow one area where people can stand and dance if they can not hold it. To look too much civilized when you are not, it is so hard! lol

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Any ways, There are more things to do in Johannesburg. But It will be in another post, because this one it so long already!.

 

One Love from SA!

 

Araceli Gallego

www.whatijustlove.com

EL FINDE

Hi dears!

This weekend was very special, yep! It is National day today and we got yo enjoy an extra day off. Niiiiceeee!

What to do with one gorgeous long weekend like this? By the way, “finde” is the abbreviation of “fin de semana”, weekend in english. (Free lesson of spanish here, eh?).

We went to visit some very dear friends in Liwa desert area. Have you heard about this amazing place? Check the hotel Qsar al Sarab for absolute Wow-stays and some of my pics to get the idea.. Honestly, to me it is the prettiest desert in the world.. Khalas!

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Humongous huge red, orange and yellow dunes, dramatic landscapes and the beautiful patterns the wind insists on writing on the sand- maybe it is poetry that we can not decipher as yet.

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On the 1st of december my friend has birthday, so it was a perfect excuse to get together and celebrate her birthday and the 42th birthday of the UAE going to a very emirati venue. She booked us in a falcon show together with a saluki dog show in the middle of the desert. These dogs are super skinny, agile and fast. Falcons are just gorgeous and I was impressed to learn they can see perfectly from kilometers away (right, same as me hahaha).

DSC_0212 www.whatijustlove.com

To both!.. HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

Lots of Luv, cake and blessings for the coming year!

Lil

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And this is the link to join the super happy project 🙂 – the Happy-List creation in Facebook.

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WHAT I JUST LOVE.. DEAD SEA

As some of you know, recently I went to Jordan on holidays. If you have seen my photos on Instagram (@gallegoara), there is just one thing to say… What an amazing country!

Of course, the Dead Sea was part of the trip (self organised if you want to call it, when you have not planned much at all and just have a list of places you want to go see!).

The experience of floating on the Dead Sea is amazing, but be careful with your eyes. Some salty water entered mine and I have to rush to the beach to get a shower and wash it off!

The mud is supposed to have great properties for the skin, so I did the entire process of getting myself mud all over.. boy! it is so much fun!!

You are supposed to wait until it dries (or something like that) but instead one of the hotel masseurs gave me a nice massage. The mud is not like the clay masks- that it hardens. It has some grease on it, so it is great for massage. Not so much for drying in my opinion.

I bought some products of the famous Dead Sea, that I will be trying very soon. There is like a zillion brands but I liked this one (Fortune).

So this is the beauty tip of the trip..get in the mud!. The feeling on the skin afterwards is amazing!.

Luv,

Lil

Jordan, Dead Sea. In the mud!

Jordan, Dead Sea. In the mud!

JORDAN PART 1

Jordan

JordanGood day to all!

I wanted to write one post a day while staying in Jordan, but.. me being tired, us being all around, and three the some many things to do, got me busy and a bit far from my dear blog and my dear readers.

The good thing.. plenty of new and fresh content, specially if you are planning to go to Jordan. Our trip has been of 5 nights and the hotels were located in Amman, Dead Sea and Petra. From those places we did all the excursions. Some pics were also uploaded in my Instagram account (gallegoara).

Jordan is a very friendly country, from the airport to the guys at the petrol stations all are happy to see you and they even try to speak your language (in our case Spanish, but we must be very stylish that they took us for Italians a good number of times, hahaha!).

We arrived to Amman late in the night and decided to stay the first night in the city. On arrival at the Queen Alia we rented a car. It is fairly safe to drive here (only Amman is a bit more chaotic). The wheel is on the left, so same as in Spain, UAE and USA. One piece of advise, rent the GPS, even though everywhere the signs are in Arabic and English, it is a guarantee that you will arrive where you were meant to.

Our Hotel in Amman was not great, it was a 4 star hotel but not the same standard that we might be used to. If your budget allows, go for 5 Stars or international hotel chains. Stars here have a different meaning.

In the morning we headed to Jerash. The old Gerasa. This roman city is very well preserved and you can visit the hippodrome, the cardo maximo (main avenue of those times), the Hadrian Arch (reconstructed but still impressive), the forum, the theatres, the many  churches (yesss.. when Jordan became part of Byzantium the temples changed bosses but not uses!). The place is amazing and it is not far from Amman.

Here you have some pics to see.

Theatre (South if I am not too wrong).

Theatre (South if I am not too wrong).

Theatre (Stage)

Theatre (Stage)

Cardo Maximo

This is only what we did on our first day.. More post about this trip are to come!

JORDAN

Wordpress blog

Sorry for the silence, I am working on Self hosting the blog and it is more complicated that what I thought.

Also holiday time is back! This time the lucky winner is Jordan. Hubby and me will be going, starting tomorrow, to Amman, Jerash, Dead Sea, Petra and Wadirum (the place where they shot the film Lawrence of Arabia).

Jordan is very appealing so I will bring plenty of pics and posts from there.
Where are you planning your next scape?

Luv

Lil