South Africa: The Lion Park

I am so thrilled and full of energy, I can’t even wait more than 24 hours to share my experience at the Lion Park today.  Usually I allow myself a couple of days to immerse into something before I blog about it, but today was so exceptional that I just have to share before I burst.

But to back up a bit, Tony and I arrived in Johannesburg on Tuesday morning.  I came for work and Tony tagged along so we could make a trip of it.  It was our first time visiting South Africa and we knew that it would incredible, but still couldn’t prepare ourselves for what was in store.

The first 3 days, I had meetings with my colleagues, and this afternoon was my first opportunity to explore.  We were recommended the Lion Park as it is close to our hotel and – holy of all holies – you can pet baby lions.  Decision made.

It took about 40 minutes to drive from our hotel and Uber is all over Joburg so it was an easy commute.  Upon arrival, my lips started curling up harder and harder, and I swear by the end of the day my cheeks were numb.  It was fairly easy to buy tickets – we paid 500 ZAR for a tour, lion cub petting, and cheetah petting – yes, cheetah – and then climbed into the cage of a mobile to start.

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The Lion Park

At first, we saw “boring” animals.  Does that sound mean and spoiled?  Yes.  But after you have pet a cheetah, zebras and bucks and gnus are just lame.

But we did them justice by taking some photos.  We wanted to ensure all animals felt equally special.

Zebra

Bucks

Then we entered the lion parks.  There were 3 separate areas we drove through and when you see a lion so up close like this, you go speechless.  It is nature, God, Earth, at its purest.  These lions are so majestic, beautiful, large, scary, amazing – there just aren’t any more words to describe them.  They need their own dictionary.

Lion Cubs

Lions

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Lions

And lazy?  Maybe lazy is a word for them too.  Most of them slept the whole time.  Except for this one who sensed the small child in our caravan and wanted to investigate further.

Curious Lioness

After the great tour, it was time to pet the babies.  This was something I have always dreamed of, and now it was going to happen.  We were told to only pet their backs, not their heads or tails.  And even though they were so very small, we jumped a bit when they went to nip or hit with their paw.

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Lion Cubs

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It was just Heaven on Earth for me, and I could have stayed there for the rest of my life just petting them, watching them, loving them.

The final stop was petting the cheetah and this was one I was candidly very freaked out about.  These animals were fast, large (not as large as lions, but still), meat eaters.  And we were just going to pet and hang out with it?

I entered the cage cautiously, but the handlers were all up in this cheetah’s business – Sabu was his name.  They pet him and frolicked with him like he was a kitten.  He laid in the shade and we pet his head and he started purring.  Actual PURRING.  I couldn’t believe it.  He liked it!  He liked being pet, manhandled, cuddled.  After awhile he got bored with us and walked away, which is exactly what our dog does.  That alone made me feel much more at ease.

Cheetah

Cheetah

Cheetah

And that was our afternoon, one of the most magical ever.  We are headed to Thornybush Lodge this weekend to experience animals in their natural habitat and will have more to report soon.

What a gift South Africa is!

What the Missus Wore: Summer’s Over!

As I returned from Dubai, I was saddened to arrive to exceptionally cold weather.  After spending a week in the heat of the Middle East, the chilly air was welcomed, however it’s far too soon to admit summer is over in Zurich.

Regardless, yesterday Tony and I went shopping for my birthday/anniversary gift.  It was a month delayed so we could save up for it, but it was well worth the wait – I am now the happy owner of a gorgeous, orange Celine bag.  As we move into fall and go to pumpkin patches, this will help me fit right in.  🙂

Celine Bag

Even though the temperature had dropped, it was still a lovely day.  Tony and I wandered around Old Town Zurich running errands and it was a great opportunity to try out my new booties and revive my most favorite poncho.

Poncho

Navy Booties

Poncho

Navy Booties

What the Missus Wore:  booties from Anthropologie, by Splendid//poncho from Missguided//dress by Tara Jarmon//bag from See by Chloe

My favorite part of my poncho is that it is so versatile, especially when traveling.  I can wear as a poncho, or a scarf as I did in these photos.  On planes it makes a great blanket or pillow.  I will be wearing it quite a lot this fall.

Until next time…

 

Street Food Festival

I can’t believe it, but Zurich has officially become even cooler than it already was.  On Friday – Sunday, it hosted it’s first annual street food festival not far from our apartment.  Saturday turned out to be beautiful so Tony and I ventured over after a day of cleaning and packing in preparation for our trip to  Vienna.

The walk itself was very pleasant.  My Google maps app took us through a part of our little neighborhood we had never ventured before, and after not too long, we made it.

IMG_7005 It was very busy and my immediate first thought was “wow, thank goodness they laid out tons of picnic tables and seating”. One of my biggest complaints of the Taste of Chicago (in my humble opinion) is the lack of places to actually eat all of these fantastic flavors.  In true Swiss form, they had already thought of that.

The second thought I had after wandering through a bit was “wow, there is a lot of pulled pork being offered”.  There were some very interesting and unique vendors at this event (Fraulein Kimchi was my personal favorite) but  pulled pork was everywhere you turned.  Tony even had a bao burger with – you guessed it – pulled pork.  Were they going for ultra-American?  Perhaps.  But I did feel the closest to home as I have in a very long time.

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I personally enjoyed some vegan fish sticks with amazing garlic flavored french fries, and we capped off our time with gelato on our way out.  While we didn’t spend a ton of time, I really hope this event continues and would love to see it expand even further.

Until next year, pulled pork fans…