For the Love of Water

Bonjour, Travellers

The 2000’s is legal now.  We’ll leave it to 2018 to tell us what exactly that means! Meanwhile, I took a three-month break from blogging and focussed on exams, spending time with family and friends and re-charging for the new year.

I spent a few weeks in Cape Town over the festive season.  As per usual, I had a grand time but I felt extremely guilty whenever I used water. My time in the Cape forced me to face the reality that water is a precious and scarce resource and it is about time we treat it that way. Who’s to say Bloem isn’t next in line? We’ve already experienced a week without water last November and it can happen again. Also, how terrible does our water taste at the moment? With all these revelations, I would like to recommend a few water-saving tips I picked up in Cape Town and I urge you to start using water sparingly, as if every day will be the last day you have access to water.

Here they are:

  • Shower instead of bathing
  • Aim to stop-start shower for no longer than 2 minutes. Only turn the water on to wet and again to rinse
  • Collect shower water while you’re showering; alternatively, only collect the nearly 5 litres that go to waste when you’re warming up the water. This water can be used to fill your toilet bowls
  • If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If brown, flush it down. Use hand sanitizer instead of washing your hands with soap and water
  • Water your garden and/or fill the toilet bowl with collected bath and basin water
  • Don’t let the tap run whilst brushing teeth or washing your face
  • Wet wipes work wonders
  • Collect rainwater
  • If you’re willing and able, invest in a grey water system. For further information, inbox us at Arista Guesthouse
  • Wait for a full load before running washing machines and dishwashers. The rinse water from some washing machines can be re-used for the next wash cycle.
  • Defrost foods in the fridge or naturally, rather than placing it under running water

Put aside your convenience and get saving! These methods are inexpensive and worth it in the long run.



Speaking of run… who will be running through your mind this Month of Love?  Don’t let your love run dry. Here’s what you and your partner can get up to in Bloemtown in February:

Side note: Not exclusively for singles. 😉

6 Feb – 59Plenty’s Cake Table Special, 59Plenty @9h00

7 Feb – Girls’ Night Out: ‘Fifty Shades Freed’, Nu Metro Loch Logan @19h00

7 Feb – Movie Night, CoffeTalks Café @19h00

7 Feb – Mini Food & Wine Paring, 59Plenty @18h00

7 Feb – Bloemfontein Business Women’s Networking Event @7h30

10 Feb – Stellar Brewery Tasting with Down South, Blend Restaurant and Bar @17h00

10 Feb – Kloppers Marathon 2018, Bloemfontein Achilles Sports Centre @5h30

14 Feb – Candy & Cognac Valentine’s Day Dinner Dance, Windmill Casino @18h00

14 Feb – Valentines outdoor movie, Emoya Estate @17h00

14 Feb – Valentine’s Day “Make a Wish” for Couples, 59Plenty @18h00

14 Feb – Valentine’s Day at The Beach, Kaya Beach Bloemfontein @10h30

14 Feb – Valentine’s Charity Ball, Monte Bello Estate @18h30

16 Feb – Varsity Jam Bloemfontein / The Other Venue @20h00

16 Feb – 21st Birthday, Mystic Boer Bloemfontein @21h00

17 Feb – BLOEM LIFESTYLE MARKET, Bloem Showgrounds @11h00-22h00

17 Feb – Valentine’s Day Movie evening: showcasing La La Land, Oliewenhuis Art Museum @17h30

17 Feb – Vintage & Hobby Market, Reizis Square @9h00

17 Feb – Jack Parow Live at University of Free State @19h00

17 Feb – Hip Hop Poetry Extravaganza, TheHide-Out  @20h00

20 Feb – Drumability Workshop #3, CoffeeTalks Café @18h00

22 Feb – February Chocolate Workshop, 59Plenty @18h00

23 Feb – Tasting With DIE MAS – Gin , Wine and Brandy, The Tredenham Boutique Hotel @18h30

23 Feb – Gypsy evening with ‘Unlock the Gypsy Within’ workshop, Gallery On Leviseur @18h00

27 Feb – Bookbinding Workshop,  Oliewenhuis Art Museum @9h30

28 Feb – Startup Grind Bloemfontein Hosts Jaclyn Engelbrecht, Mazars @18h00

28 Feb – Sweat Gear Happy Valley Trailrun Night Race – #TrailrunSeries2 @18h00

28 Feb – February Sushi Workshop, 59Plenty @18h00

Masha and I wish you and your loved ones a twenty-great-teen and hope you’ve managed to tick a few items off of your resolutions list. Now would be a great time to add “save water” to the list. We look forward to sharing more Bloem adventures with you.

Startup Grind Bloemfontein

Startup Grind Bloemfontein

Hello Wednesday,


Bloemfontein is often mistaken for a big town, as we move at a slightly slower pace in this part of the country. Lesley Jennings & Masha Gubkina are passionate about the growth and development of Bloemfontein and have therefore decided to up the tempo by piloting the Startup Grind Bloemfontein Chapter in November 2016.

Startup Grind is a Google empowered forum which serves as a catalyst for change in the world of business and entrepreneurship. The forum is active in over 250 cities across the world and is all about educating, inspiring and connecting. Each chapter hosts monthly events where they interview inspirational and dynamic entrepreneurs and facilitate networking between people in business before and after the interview.


Masha Gubkina & Lesley Jennings

The Bloemfontein chapter has hosted 10 events up until now, featuring successful local entrepreneurs in interior design, construction, entertainment, law and the like. These events are truly a wonderful opportunity to learn, make friends, help others and give back. Lesley and her right hand, Masha Gubkina ensure that with every event that they host, they make use of local venues and services (including the make-up, photography, videography, sound and catering teams).

Be sure to look out for their Oktoberfest themed event on Wednesday, 25 October 2017 at the CUT Idea Gymnasium. Miles Kubheka, owner of Vuyo’s Restaurant, will be joining them for an evening of good food, beer and company. They are turning 1 in November and have very exciting plans for that too. I hope to see you there!


The keyword is local and if the local community can continue to work together and support one another, by making use of platforms such as Startup Grind Bloemfontein, I can only have an enthusiastic outlook on the future of our CITY. Bloemfontein is a developing city and the possibilities are endless.

And as they say, #keepgrinding



A Traveller’s friend

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


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


             Greetings All


There is an English saying that you can’t teach an old dog a new trick, well this “old dog” learnt one last week.

I was hosting a foreign group who have specifically come to South Africa to look at our old steam locomotives. I was totally unaware that here in Bloemfontein there is the only workshop in South Africa dedicated in repairing and preserving these by gone relics.

I have once read that Bloemfontein had the largest workshop in South Africa for repairing locomotives, but I never really followed up on this. I was flabbergasted in what I saw and I regret in not taking more photos, there are about 10-15 perfectly restored steam locomotives and various other railway paraphernalia in various stages of development. Two of the locomotives are to be shipped out to New Zealand and others are used here in the Free State at Sandstone Estate near Ficksburg.


If you have ever had the opportunity to visit the Transport museum in George and seen all the old trains there, then the chances are it was restored here in Bloemfontein. This is a wonderful opportunity for any steam railway enthusiast to view these machines (I think it’s a man’s dream world) and is a wonderful attraction here for those who are interested. One has to book in advance to make the necessary bookings but I can recommend a visit to the workshop and will add value to my city tour.

I know that April will be a bumper month for the tourism industry with the Angus Buchannan conference being held soon. I think that we can compare this month to October when the Macufe festival attracts people from all over South Africa and all the accommodation places are fully booked. I do have some concerns with the logistics for this conference but I hope that everything will run smoothly and professionally and perhaps Bloemfontein can host it again next year.
Please contact me if you have any tour guiding requests or in need of transfers.

Thank you
Yours in Guiding
Tony Horn



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