Honeymoon Travels

I’ve come to realize that the saying comparing the world to a book, explaining that those who don’t travel, read but a page, is so very true! In the past few months I’ve been blessed with travel opportunities beyond my wildest dreams, starting with a visit to some of our top clients within the BON Hotel Group and ending off with champagne on the beach at the Kempinski Seychelles Resort.

Yup, I got married! And our honeymoon was one for the books. I was taken by surprise with how well my man knows me, kicking off our travels with a visit to one of my favourite parts of South Africa: the Freestate. Many people describe this part of the country as boring, flat and as a place with nothing to do. But that’s just it! Within its “nothingness” lies so many stories, small, beautiful things and the most generous and humble people I know. We stayed at Woudzicht Guest Farm, just off the N3, and what a treat! It is a typical Freestate home with the kind of hospitality we now try to bring back and teach. From “soetkoekies” (sweet biscuits like my grandmother would bake them) and a complimentary bottle of wine, to a delicious cheese platter with the wide, open fields behind us, to a delicious home-cooked stew for dinner and a colourful plated french toast breakfast – this was the ideal kick-off for what was to come.

Woudzicht

On the airport I was informed that Amsterdam was our next stop! I loved the mystery of it all – not knowing where we were going next. We stayed at the Ibis Hotel Amsterdam Central, which was conveniently located and offered good service. In this lovely city we had beer, walked through the red light district, stood in awe of the ‘Oudekerk’, shared fondue, visited a local market, went on a canal cruise and much more.

Amsterdam

Bruges was our next stop and one of my favourites from now on! Lace, chocolate, swans, cobble stone roads – it was the perfect romantic spot. We ate ‘Boem-Boems’ and delicious tomato soup, took a stroll to the lovers’ bridge, wished we could stay in one of the houses bordering the canal, visited the chocolate museum and saw the “Madonna and Child” by Michael Angelo. It might not be so big, but Bruges has a lot to offer!

Bruges

From there we went to Paris. Now, this place boomed with tourists and it was busy at all times, but still an unforgettable and beautiful experience! From the Notre Dame, the Eiffel Tower, the Sacre Coeur and the Moulin Rouge to the Louvre and many other buildings and structures of which the hours and years of workmanship I just couldn’t grasp.

Paris

The end of our honeymoon was an absolute statement of love and happiness: Seychelles. Although it was quite expensive (almost R200 for a glass of South African Sauvignon Blanc) it was still an experience I would not trade for anything. We beach-hopped from the one white stretch of sand to the next. We lay low at the Kempinski Seychelles Resort, reading, snorkeling, sleeping. We hired a car and explored the island on our own. We dined like royalty. It was a feast and definitely a place to visit again.

Seychelles

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We want to know the story

Isn’t it true that you always want to know the story of the destination you visit? I want to know where the restaurant’s name came from, where the photos on the wall were taken and who the old “tannie” was who’s recipe is used in the signature dish.

We all want to know.

One place that got the message loud and clear is OJ’s, a small, quaint restaurant that could easily be mistaken for a take-away shop on route through one of the Freestate towns, Heilbron. From the outside it doesn’t promise much, but believe you me, on the inside it’s a completely different story – literally.

Do you remember the time when all South African cars had yellow coloured number plates? The time when towns could still be identified just by looking at one’s car? Well, that is where OJ’s’ story begins. OJ was Heilbron’s number plate code. Today these number plates are part of the name and décor in one of Heilbron’s finest restaurants. It tells stories of days gone by and paintings of old cars with OJ number plates hang proudly against the walls. The menu has also been carefully planned – catering for the farming community that it is, but also for those who appreciate that extra touch. Still, the community can identify with its story, which is why many of them will keep coming back.

OJ's

OJ’s

Tips on how to tell your story:

  • Use the town’s history as a theme and a timeline.
  • Involve the community.
  • Be creative and use old things to create new things.
  • Include the theme in your décor, your name and your menu items.
  • Add items to the menu which you know the community will enjoy and then just give it an extra touch to make it look more appealing.

So…what is your restaurant or destination’s story?