The turning over of a new leaf

Ola friends

You know spring is here when you wake up to the chirping of birds and with an uncontrollable urge to clean out your closet. September, synonymous with spring, is a month of renewal, fertility and (for most of us) the turning over of a new leaf.

With a fresh start comes new experiences, new people, new places, a new wardrobe and a new you. It is also the perfect time to reflect on where you come from, who you are and where you are now. What better time to reflect than on Heritage Day, the 24th of September?

Heritage Day is so much more than “National Braai Day”. It is a day set aside in recognition and celebration of the diverse cultural heritages of all South Africans. And South Africa is a true melting pot of heritages. Our heritage forms part of our identity. The importance of diversity and recognizing and respecting our differences in culture, beliefs and traditions cannot be stressed enough. Imagine how dull life would be if we were all the same? I cannot. Furthermore, we need to recognize one another’s differences in order to enable us to be empathetic towards one another. And we must respect one another’s differences so that we can (continue) to live in beautifully diverse harmony. What does your heritage mean to you?

My maternal grandparents were Portuguese immigrants from Madeira. They took so much pride in being Portuguese and instilled that sense of pride and carrying forth of traditions in their children and grandchildren. I could listen to stories of their past for hours on end and took a great interest in their ways of life in general. So much of Madeira lived in their homes and in their hearts, and it continues to live in my home and heart too.

Madeira is known for its Bailinho da Madeira (a traditional dance with the accompanying song), beautiful flowers, and elaborate firework shows over New Year’s. Don’t get me started on the food and drink…: Bolo de Mel (honey cake), custard tarts,espada, espetada, poncha, Brisa. My mouth is literally watering right now. On Heritage Day my family tries to get together for lunch. On the menu will usually be espetada, boiled potatoes and a salad. My uncle Joao makes the most delicious poncha; strong and sweet just how I like it. There will be the occasional playing of Portuguese music but we don’t dress up and perform the Bailinho… We leave that to the experts on the Portuguese channel RTP.

I’ve shared with you how I celebrate Heritage Day. How do you celebrate? Do you celebrate Heritage Day/Month? If not, we have a few suggestions for you:

2 September / Market Day- Free State Art Symposium / André Huguenet Theatre 9AM-2PM
2 September / Youth Concerto Festival / Odeion School of music/ 7.30PM
2 September / Boho Birthday Bash with DJ Shaxe / Boho Bistro/ 11PM
3 September / Journey to the stars / Naval Hill Planetarium / 4PM
3 September / VEUVE Clicquot Picnic CHIC/ Kobose Luxury: The Luxury Events Company
4 September/ 2017 Phatshoane Henney New Breed Art Competition/ Oliewenhuis
6 September/ Happy Valley& Oliewenhuis Art Museum Trail Night Race/ Oliewenhuis/ 5.30-8PM
7 September / Fashion Show Child Welfare / Ramblers Club
14 September / Jazz Evenings featuring Mlungisi Gegana/ Coco C / 7.30PM
22 September / Pilates Mat Short Course / Ramblers Club / 9AM
23 September / The Craft Festival /Ramblers club Bloemfontein / 12-10PM
23 September / PARTY@PLENTY/ @59 Plenty / 7.30PM
24 September / Special Heritage Day Programme Myths and Stories in the Sky / Naval Hill Planetarium / 4PM
27 September / Startup Grind Bfn empowered by Google/ @59 Plenty/ 6-9PM
29 September / No Limits / Mystic Boer Bfn / 8PM-4AM


Traveller’s friend


Hike Along the Kiepersol Koppie Trails

At the end of last year I cancelled my gym contract in an attempt to save some money over the summer break. I vowed to make use of the many yoga DVD’s at home for the time being and to renew my gym contract at the start of the new semester.

Fast-forward to May and needless to say, neither of my vows were kept.  I decided to take on an alternative activity in Bloemfontein to redeem myself. My list of options included Park Run on Saturday mornings, wall climbing at the University of the Free State and hitting golf balls at the driving range. I opted for hiking at the Free State Botanical Gardens.

I woke up on Sunday morning, the 7th of May, at 7am and packed the essentials. Upon arrival at the Gardens I was greeted by cheerful staff and paid my R22 entrance fee.  A guide directed me towards the trail entrances, where I decided to conquer them all: the Garden & Motshetse (roughly 2km each) and Basotho Iron Age Site and Garden View trails (1km).

The trails were thoroughly enjoyable and not too strenuous. The hike stimulated all my senses: the wild smell of veld; the chatter of the birds; the feeling of the fresh, cold breeze stroking my skin; picturesque views and the taste of my childhood as I munched on peanut butter sandwiches… Even my 6th sense tingled when I came across a wall that stood since the Anglo Boer War.  The only aspect of the hike that lacked was an ocean view; the Kiepersol Koppie had a lot of Melkbos but no Strand.

All in all, my expectations were exceeded. If I had to describe the trails in one phrase it would be, “Fairytale-like entrance and exit points with rough-around-the-edges trails.”

The Gardens’ monthly market just so happened to fall on the same day I decided to hike. Thus, as an added bonus, I walked through the market and gardens after my hike. Then, to top it all off, I had a picnic on the luscious green grass in the garden while reading a book.

Seeing as June is Youth Month in South Africa, a walk or run along the trails might be just what you need to remind or reassure yourself of your youthfulness. The trails are suitable for young and old. It is recommended to go in Autumn and Spring. Stock up your backpack with a pair of sunnies, a hat, SPF, H2O, snacks and a camera and go! Don’t forget your binoculars if you are an avid bird watcher.

Call 051 436 3530 or visit for more information.

Happy Youth Month!


A Traveller’s Friend

Here’s some of what’s going on in Bloem this month:

June 13 – Quiz Night @Copper Clover, 18:00-21:00.

June 16 – Bloem Youth Poetry Slam @Pitseng African Restaurant, 17:00-19:00.

June 16 – Asanda Mqiki Live in Bloemfontein – Youth Day @Boho Bistro, 18:00-21:00. Tickets are available at R80 from Boho & R120 at the door.

June 16 & June 17 – Youth Day Celebrations @Scarlet Room, 11:00.

June 17 – Blend Presents: Johnny Luck: The Liquor Cabinet Tour @Blend Restaurant and Bar, 19:00-23:00, R20 entry.

June 24 – Aladdin, a theatrical comedy @Sand du Plessis Theatre, 20:00-22:00. Tickets R90 at Pacofs. Call 051 447 7772.

Bloem Board Games Evenings @CoffeeTalks Cafe, every Thursday from 18:30.



Happy Mumsday

Greetings, Travellers

May month features May the Fourth, Return of the Fifth and Mother’s Day. I don’t particularly support the notion of celebrating and showing appreciation for motherhood, fatherhood and even love once a year. Days such as Mother’s Day, Father’s Day and Valentine’s Day are set aside nonetheless, so we may as well make use of them too. In the spirit the latter we will explore how the dynamic mother can celebrate motherhood in Bloemfontein on Mother’s Day and in May in general.


Veda& her mum, Serina

The dynamic mother is an entrepreneur:

  • For the entrepreneurial mother we recommend attending Startup Grind Bloemfontein’s May event. Speakers include Thandi Vellem and Leah Molatseli, two powerful female entrepreneurs making big waves in their respective fields. Catch them on Thursday the 24th of May / 6PM / Cubaña Bloemfontein. For more details on this event and #startbfn follow the Facebook link:


The dynamic mother is a foodie:

  • The ideal situation would be for your hubby and/or child (ren) to cook at least one fancy meal for you on Mother’s Day.
  • If that’s not the case and you feel like cuisine you haven’t had to prepare, head over to a restaurant. Bloemfontein has a wide selection of restaurants to choose from!


Masha& her mum, Svetlana

The dynamic mother is a culture vulture:

  • Visit an art gallery such as Oliewenhuis and Gallery on Leviseur.
  • Watch a movie at home, at the cinema or at the UFS.
  • Go out dancing at Die Mystic Boer or the like.
  • Listen to live musical performances, poetry and/or storytelling at the Aasvoël Klub.


The dynamic mother is adventurous and energetic:

  • Go for a hike at the Botanical Gardens.
  • Join Parkrun on Saturdays on Naval Hill.


The dynamic mother deserves a pampering:

  • Take some time off from your busy schedule. Book a facial, massage, manicure and pedicure at a beauty salon. Masha is in love with Tselem Skin Care Clinic and confidently recommends them. She’s a regular there.
  • For further peace, quiet and relaxation, book yourself into Arista Guesthouse for one night. You will receive the 5-star treatment you deserve.


We hope that you can draw some inspiration from the above recommendations, take some time for yourself and do what you love. We love you and thank you for being a dynamic mother.


A Traveller’s Friend



13 May – Come Wine With Me, from 6pm @Greek Hall Bfn, Corner of Andries Pretorius and Bree Street

13 May – Portuguese Youth Festival, 10pm @91 St George’s Street

13 May – Sculpting Porcelain: Hand Modelling and Carving Workshop, 10am @Oliewenhuis

16 May – Ciné-Club @Equitas Auditorium, University of the Free State (Showing the cult classic: Amélie)

18 May – Brandenburg String Trio, 7.30PM @Odeion

18 May – Bloem Board Games Evening, 6pm @CoffeeTalks Cafe

18 May – Jodi Bieber: Between Darkness and Light Exhibition Opening, 7pm @Oliewenhuis

19 May – Food Market @Reizis Square

20 May –  Naval Hill Parkrun, 8Am @Naval Hill

20 May – 609th Street Store, 9am @Orchid House

20 May – Cosmic Collisions (Afr), 4pm @Planetarium

20 May – Miss Free State

24 May – Startup Grind powered by Google for Entrepreneurs, 6PM @Cubaña

27 May – Volksblad Food and Art Market @Emoya Estate

27 May – PnP Women’s Walk, 7am @University of the Free State

27 May – New Beginnings Dress Up- Dog Walk, 9AM-2PM @Tuff Top Lawns and Estate



F R I D A Y / N I G H T / F O O D / M A R K E T

As promised, here’s our “Flavour of the Month”: Neighbourhood Market à la Jack & Jill Food Co.

Masha and I attended the market last month. We both deem it worthy of your time; especially to those of you who love live music, food and socialising (I mean… who doesn’t?).

The market is located in the colourful Reizis Square under hundreds of dainty fairy lights. It was quite the enchanting experience – we arrived before sunset and stayed long enough to experience the illumination of the fairly lights as the sky turned dark. The sunset also beautifully complimented the two palm trees from which the “Neighbourhood Market” sign hangs. #pictureperfect


Apart from the aesthetically pleasing setting, I thoroughly enjoyed Simple Stories’ stellar live performance. There was a wide range of tasty treats and drinks to choose from: gourmet food, sweets and STELLAR CRAFT BEER.




I bought a few prawn rissoles, lemon meringue and a blonde beer and parked off on the grass. Masha ended off her market experience at Wiltshire and White Horse Company (a pub in the square that serves really great gin).

The market was vibrant and of high standard in terms of its food, drink and music. It was quite the drive to the venue, but so worth it. I want to describe it as a Cape Town vibe… Is that acceptable?

My advice: get there on time so that you can claim a table or spot on the grass and settle in. You want to take a jolly group of mates too! It is the perfect place to hang out with friends and indulge in pure goodness.

The market takes place monthly from 17h00-20h00.

Please find below a table of events taking place this month. Please share with us any events we should be adding to the table.

Apr-12 JAZZ EVENING COCO C 073 300 9967


Until next month!


A Traveller’s Friend