Cape Town South Africa: April 2017

The planning was in full swing. This post was supposed to be about the planning of the wedding but in the end I got carried away with the eating and exploring that came before,  so I won’t be upset if you choose to skip this part, BUT its also a great way to armchair travel from Cape Town to Aberdeen and then onto Italy.

In May 2017, we said good bye to Dylan, my son. He had decided to go and live in the UK. ( a story to be told on another post).We were  accompanying him to the London to settle him in. I had planned to go to Italy with my soon to be sister-in-law Helen and arrange the final details. Of course with Chris around it was impossible to stick to just 2 cities, he decided we needed to fit in a trip to Aberdeen, Scotland to see his Dad and Eileen.

London United Kingdom : April 2017

London is always a whirlwind of seeing people we love and finding time to explore new places. This trip was no exception. We met up with our friends Gillian and her daughter Georga to mooch around Kensington and pay a visit to Whole foods of course. Then for a stroll through Hyde park. I love the parks in London with the flowers always looking glorious and all the flower beds so neat and tidy.

Another find this trip was the Boxpark in Croydon. ( we had visited the one in Shoreditch before) This is a indoor type market showcasing food stalls from around the world. The lovely interior makes it a fab place for each person to choose a meal from a different stall  and sit down at the communal tables to enjoy. This has become one of Dylan’s favourite places as he really enjoys choosing something new each time.

Boxpark Croyden

A visit to London is also never complete without a meet up and drink with our friend Andrew. This time he took us to a place we had never tried before. A bar right next the Victoria Embankment Gardens called Gordon’s Wine Bar. A real gem of a place, 19th Century with a vaulted ceiling cellar , and all candle lit and full of charm.

Next stop was Aberdeen, to visit the folks. Chris’s dad Alan and his wife Eileen live in a beautiful retirement estate, called Inchmarlo,  just outside of Banchory. Their house is surrounded by pretty woodlands and magnificent gardens. Each time we visit we marvel at the sheer beauty of the surroundings and we feel happy that they are living in such a secure and beautiful space. A highlight is always the drive around admiring the countryside and this visit we ended up at the Feughside Inn for a Sunday lunch.

The next day with all of us loaded up in the car we set off for a drive to Stonehaven. Stonehaven is a pretty little town on the northeast coast, and was historically a fishing village so the old town has a lovely walkway along the coast from town to harbour. Unfortunately it was very very freezing cold with a cruel cutting wind, so we forgo the walk and drove to the harbour. We had decided to eat fish and chips at a well known local eatery, but when we got there the queues were so long. Chris is also not a fan of the Scottish tradition of buying fish and chips and then eating them outdoors in the cold wind! We found a place to sit down and have our lunch in warmth and comfort and everyone was happy, especially me with my lovely glass of wine and good company. Good byes were said and we were off back to London.

After some lovely catch up with all the siblings it was time for Chris to go back home to South Africa, and for Helen and I to go on our mission

Fun with Kiran and Selena in Dulwich
Fun with Maxine & Dylan in Reigate
Tabiano Italy : May 2017

So what happens when 2 girls ( we are still girls) decide to go on a trip to Italy. They rent a car, when neither of them has driven on the righthandside of the road before. Rose is driving a manual car when she only used to an automatic, and we have no idea where we are going! Well is was great fun, think Thelma and Louise ( ok not the young guy and the murder part!) Just getting out of the rental car park in Milan airport was a hoot, with both of us in fits of laughter trying to work out the car controls as well as ensuring the Tom-Tom(Thank GOD for the Tom-Tom) was taking us to right place. But for all you doubters, we did just fine. On the road and off to Tabiano without a hitch or one wrong turn. See 2 girls and a car in Italy no problem.

We checked into the hotel Antico Borgo di Tabiano and were given a majestic suite in the lower building. Its really lovely the way all the rooms are slightly different to one another and the views from the windows were like paintings. It has a cute kitchen area where you could prepare a cold meal or antipasto and chill out, but our fridge had only one use, Wine!

Our next few days were spent planning and doing a thorough recci ” reconnaissance ” to those who don’t know. You should of seen us motoring around Tabiano  – within 2 days we were like locals zooming around corners and navigating those small narrow roads. It was such fun.

So for accommodation we can recommend the hotel in the estate, as I have told you about before, The Antico Borgo di Tabiano but we also visited the small town of Bagni di Tabiano. It is a spa town and its a little tired but really quaint and the hotel offering was quite broad. It also has the best ice cream shop which not only sells amazing gelato but also award winning focaccia.( They have a very similar shape to a Panetonne but they are  softer,  and eaten all year round. Its called Pasticceria Tabiano, and a must visit when you are in this area. We also visited a caravan park , and don’t laugh it was a great place. I would also recommend it for a lovely family holiday in this area. It was well laid out with spaces for motor homes, chalets and bungalows to rent. It had a small bistro where they served light meals and drinks. Its called Camping Arizona.



Our first night was a Sunday and its not so easy to find a place to eat on a Sunday in a small town in Italy but we found a exceptional local eatery. We got directions from the receptionist at the hotel but we drove past it twice before we realised this small little place was the restaurant. Its called Trattoria del Sole, but don’t try finding it on google as its not the place to have a website. Helen and I must have stood out like sore thumbs as we were the only tourists in the restaurant. Everyone else was eating a 5 course meal and we only wanted to eat some antipasto. Of course no one spoke English so by pointing and saying words we hoped sounded Italian we managed to order a feast. The meal was awesome, the service lovely, the people watching  – priceless!

Once of our touristy stops was Vigoleno, a hill top town close by. We wandered around the cobblestone streets peeping into quaint little shops and admiring the views from the castle. The restaurants looked interesting but we did not have time to try, just one gelato and one we went!

Ok I promise you we did do some planning. Our first stop for planning was for Giacomo to take us to the local tavern.There we were served a refreshing drink of champagne with Campari and a wedge of orange, it was delicious. On the bar is plates filled with bread, meats, olives and anchovies for everyone to help themselves. Next door the owners wife sold meats and cheeses from her home town. Its just lovely the sense of community that you can experience in this wonderful place.

We met with the chef from the hotel and decided on the menu. We chose to use local ingredients and to stick to the traditional Italian formula of antipasto , then pasta like tortellini in brodo followed  by meat dishes of lasagne bolognese and veal and other meats barbecued on the grill with of course lots of salads and vegetables. My mouth waters just describing these delicious dishes.

The flowers were also a point of discussion and when I got to Tabiano and I saw the array of brightly coloured roses all over the estate, I knew I wanted those for the wedding. I did not want formal arranged flowers, and I was lucky to be able to have Ray, the resident gardener, to arrange the flowers for me. See the pics below of the exquisite colours of the roses all round the estate. I was totally spoilt for choice.


I had sorted out the accommodation options, the food and the flowers…..and the shoes!

Now all thats left is to get everyone including my husband to the wedding in June …easy peasy.

Roses in the estate of Tabiano Castello




3 thoughts on “From South Africa to Italy with Scotland In-between

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