The Rainbow of Flowers in Biei and Furano, Japan by Michael Lai

retireediary

Both Biei and Furano are located in Hokkaido, Japan. For the love of flowers, we flew thousands of kilometers to  Sapporo in Hokkaido and, from there, we rented a car equipped with GPS and set out to pursue our flowers and trees.   We drove hundreds of kilometers to Biei and Furano. One thing we particularly looked forward to was viewing of the lavender fields.

Biei (美瑛町) is famous for its views of wide fields and hills. The bright colours of its fields attract thousands of visitors in the summer. Furano (富良野市), a city in the southern reaches of Kamikawa Subprecture, is well-known as a tourism destination famous for its lavender fields.

Our visit to Biei and Furano was bascially an unstructured tour, we just drove to where we would like to go, depending on where our hearts led us. We first stopped by the lavender fields.

Driving further afield, what caught our eyes  were rows and rows of carefully planted flowers in multi-colors arranged  like a beautiful rainbow.

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The Fat Croissant

My friends Natalie and Tim (little Paige too) own a lovely spot across from Sutton Park.

Located in the heart of Morningside, on the corner of Windermere and Sutton Road, you will discover “The Fat Croissant”.

Pop in before or after an early morning at the beach which is “on the way”.

Based at the Alliance Francaise, enjoy scrumptious breakfasts and light lunches in the garden area or inside the newly decorated venue with its cosy atmosphere.

The menu offers a variety of dishes, including freshly baked croissants, toasted sandwiches or health rolls, crisp salads, wholesome homemade meals and a great cup of coffee.

Although they are only open for breakfast and lunch, the Alliance Francaise arranges a list of concerts, mainly jazz, movie nights/open air cinema in the garden, art exhibitions and other events.

The Fat Croissant also caters for large bookings, takeaways, office lunches, corporate lunches and conferencing.

They provide outside catering and snacks and various functions such as birthday parties.

I really enjoy the coffee and watching Tim put great effort into each cup..

They say: “At The Fat Croissant, we are passionate about our coffee as is our supplier Colombo Fine Beverages Co, and serve a great cappuccino that is ready to drink the moment it reaches your table.

We “micro-texture” the milk portion of our cappuccino in order to enhance the natural starches and proteins in milk, making it a lot sweeter.

Our coffee’s flavour profile tends towards notes of Dutch-process cocoa and spicy accents, while its finish is full of sweet fruitiness courtesy of the carefully selected blend of three origins, Brazilian, Colombian and Ethiopian.

We provide you with one of the freshest and character-full cups of coffee possible!”

For sure I say!

Relax at the table during the week to have a break from your office. Sip on flavoursome coffees and work away on your laptop; or just sit idly in their garden. You might be able to get wireless connectivity (please ask) or at least a power point.

Read more here or telephone 031 822 8181.

I am off to go and make myself a steaming hot cup of aroma filled coffee.

Harvey’s Restaurant

It was my big day and I needed a top-spot to enjoy a great meal with my precious company.

Friends had told me of Harvey’s and I thought I would investigate. It turned out to be a very good decision.

Their “about” on the web states:

“In Durban’s bohemian suburb of Morningside, a restaurant that combined the demeanour of fine dining with a super-cool attitude and sleek modern styling that spelled instant success with its previous reputation intact and improved.

The original Harvey’s, opened fifteen years ago, has re-opened, This second incarnation of Harvey’s, has already won all the accolades the first one gathered over the years, SA Top Ten, Amex Platinum Fine Dining Awards and International Wine and Food Society best restaurant award for 2009.

Harvey’s restaurant is in a landmark building, nestled between two elegant parks in Durban’s prestigious Morningside suburb. Within its first few months it became a nationally known institution as one of Durban’s must visit venues for any visitor or local.

The venue comprising two rooms, one for dinning, named the picture room for its mass of original paintings covering the padded walls and out elegant Cocktail lounge that spills onto the veranda and pavement terrace, cheekily covered in “grass” and a pavement terrace. An open-air cigar lounge is strikingly decorated as a sort of indefinable retro-quasi-gothic-hunting lodge hodgepodge, complete with mounted buffalo trophies, padded velvet walls, gold ceilings and original oil paintings.

Consistently crowned Durban’s best since 1994, this stylish restaurant is known for its innovative flavour combinations, excellent presentation, and efficient service. The menu changes every two months, but may feature items like crisp fried spiced calamari served on marinated aubergine with an avocado ice-cream and a roasted pepper coulis or duck confit with grilled magret served on pak choi, with a sticky red currant and pink peppercorn jus, with pear infused pomme William or an assorted berry plate that includes a rhubarb and ginger crème brulee, with a white chocolate and strawberry cake, lightened by a cherry and nougat ice-cream.

Although the menu changes every two months, Timol and I did not miss the bold-printed information above as the waiter “purred” away.

We started at the Cocktail lounge that spills onto the veranda and pavement terrace.

It was lovely to just watch cars and pedestrians go by as we slowly sipped on the bottle of Alto Rouge.

 

 

They weren’t joking about the picture room

 

Timol was not the only pretty lady in that room

 

After viewing the frame below I had doubts about my gold card being able to pay for the meal we were about to have

 

The calamari was certainly crispy

 

Timol had the Dorado on mash

 

I went for the duck

 

A present was thrown in for good measure

 

We ended with more wine and coffee on the veranda

For me, it’s now a toss-up between Harvey’s and 9th Avenue Bistro. I was properly impressed with both and did not mind paying the extra Dollars for extraordinary food.

Cafe 1999, which I previously went to, is not really my cup of tea.

I will have to return to 9th Avenue for round 4 to make up my mind.

The local telephone man

Ben Myburgh is a humble well-mannered chap. I often see him training at the local gym. He is well-built and “sticks out”.

But Ben’s photography is far more in your face.

He is forever displaying images of  lovely landscapes, interesting portraits or beautiful bodies on Facebook and other sites.

Ben, I hear, works for a telephone company and so this begs the question: Telephone man or Hot shot photographer?

The latter for sure!

Tonight I saw that he had recently won a competition on Pixoto.

His winning image is shown below.

 

It seems that if he is not shooting “gym bodies” then he is often at the seaside.

Umhlanga lighthouse I would guess

 

Westville Camera Club outing with local fire department

 

And finally to end off: in the mountains

 

Please go and visit ben myburgh photography or outdoor photo to see more of his excellent images.

One Lovely Blog Award

Cheers to Cimplicityrockss for a great site and my One Lovely Blog Award, which I am very thankful for.

As the rules go; I need to reveal 7 things about myself:

1. Love taking photos
2. Streetwise
3. Enjoy hot food – lots of chillies and spice
4. Love my dog, other animals and Timol my lady
5. Give back with interest most times that which I receive
6. Soft heart
7. Thick exterior

Now to nominate 15 bloggers (+2 bonus ones) for the same One Lovely Blog Award award:

1. http://cimplicityrockss.wordpress.com/2012/06/22/is-simplicity-a-complexity/
2. http://missjonesandtheelusivefoodorgasm.wordpress.com/
3. http://getsetandgo.wordpress.com/
4. Homemade With Mess
5. omeletta
6. See What Eye See
7. Cristian Mihai
8. the WALK and TALK
9. Bucket List Publications
10. little lady, big city
11. http://petra365.wordpress.com/
12. http://ontheluce.com/about-site/
13. http://sybaritica.me/
14. http://thefurfiles.wordpress.com/
15. http://snapshootergeb.wordpress.com/

Bonus awards:

  1. http://lickingtheplateagain.wordpress.com/
  2. conorcullen

one-lovely-blog-number

 

 

The Addictive Blog Award

Dear Readers,

Clanmother has nominated my blog for the celebrated The Addictive Blog Award.

I feel honoured, and graciously accept the nomination.

To quote from Clanmother:

“Our blogging community is about being “addicted” to bringing our world together. We may be separated by oceans, continents and mountains, but in “blogging” miles, the distance is small, even irrelevant. Conversely, our world of thought and connection is ever-increasing”.

I am addicted to blogging and list below, in no particular order, the 10 bloggers that continue to fuel this addition – no 1 being the blog that prompted me to start my own:

  1. Miss Jones… & the elusive food orgasm
  2. Clanmother
  3. conorcullen
  4. getsetandgo
  5. Cristian Mihai 
  6. the WALK and TALK
  7. omeletta 
  8. Bucket List Publications 
  9. Homemade With Mess 
  10. The Perky Poppy Seed