Tag Archives: Golf

The one with the Perth International (and another move…)

If there are two things Barr and I have extensive experience in it’s:

  1. Clearing our weekends to attend (or just watch) golf tournaments
  2. Moving

We’re exciting people. Clearly. But the two aforemetioned items were a major part of our weekend last week (aside from Halloween partying of course).

First up: a  new house in Perth. To give you some background, we initially moved to Perth thinking we’d be here for three months, return to Dubai in August, and back to the states in September or so. Well, life takes funny and unanticipated turns, and after a whirlwind trip back to Dubai in August (where we packed, cleared out furniture, and officially left the UAE), our time in Australia was lengthened from 3 months to more like 9. Unfortunately, our lovely AirBnB case in South Perth was only ours until the end of October, when it’s owners returned from a 6 month trip, so when we decided to stay in Perth through the end of 2014, we subsequently had to scramble to find accommodation for 3 more months. And while we’d have loved to rack up some much needed hotel points, the hotel situation in Perth is a bit…shall we say, lacking, so back to the housing drawing board. Nothing on AirBnB really fit the bill (or timeframe) this time around, so we found a perfectly adequate townhouse for the next few weeks. And while it’s a tad “tired”, what it lacks in homeyness, it makes up for in location and the fact that it has a DRYER. Y’all, I have been without a clothes dryer since we moved to Dubai, and boy, do you not fully appreciate one until it’s gone!! (Side note: I also miss garbage disposals. Desperately.)

Anyway, last week (and weekend) was full of packing up clothes, deciding what would be sent back to the states vs. staying with us, organizing a new house, etc etc. Each move gets a little easier as we continue to whittle down our belongings…the Blantons officially have “stuff” scattered across the world (thank you to our parents who generously house said items until we return…)

After this lovely transition (I am soooo good with change *sarcasm*), we decided to hop on over to the Perth International golf tournament (co-sanctioned by the European Tour and the PGA Tour of Australasia), which was right up the road from us. The week before, Barr actually ran into Jason Dufner (an American PGA Tour professional) who played in the tournament, on a flight from Sydney to Perth. Unfortunately, Dufner didn’t play too well, but there were a handful of notable players in the field at the Perth International (and some perhaps lesser known European Tour players that we had enjoyed watching at the Dubai Desert Classic and the Race to Dubai).

Race to Dubai

Dubai Desert Classic

Dubai Desert Classic

The Perth International was a great little afternoon activity, and I do love the smaller galleries and more manageable crowds/lines at the European Tour events! And no matter what, you always see a handful of little kids dressed in their orange Puma gear as little Rickie Fowler’s. 😉

Congratulations to Thorbjørn Olesen on winning the 2014 Perth International, and enjoy some shots I grabbed this past Sunday at the tournament. Until next time….

Nice little Perth/Emirates combo - we cover all the bases, y'all! :)

Nice little Perth/Emirates combo – we cover all the bases, y’all! 🙂

You can (kind of) see Perth CBD peeking out in the distance.

You can (kind of) see Perth CBD peeking out in the distance.

Peter Uihlein (U-S-A!) hitting one of his many tricky shots of the day

Peter Uihlein (U-S-A!) hitting one of his many tricky shots of the day

The Perth International

The Perth International

 

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The one in Margaret River: Golf, Wine, ‘Roos & Views

We drove down to Margaret River on Friday afternoon, arriving just after sunset.  The trip was broken up into two hotels since we booked a tad late, and Friday night’s accommodation was the Rosewood Guesthouse – a charming B&B right in the village of Margaret River. There were even some other Americans staying there! It’s so rare to find tourists from the USA, given the long flights, but y’all: it’s worth it, trust me. 🙂

Saturday morning, which was Barr’s actual birthday, the birthday boy had his B&B special waffle (much better than any breakfast I could have prepared!), and then embarked on his annual tradition of birthday golf.

Birthday waffles at the Rosewood Guesthouse

Birthday waffles (and cereal, of course!) at the Rosewood Guesthouse – nom nom nom

I met him on the back nine and loved all the kangaroos that lounged around the course – they were everywhere, and we could literally be within five feet of them without them stirring or moving an inch.

This one is like me on the golf course: always in the bunker

This one is like me on the golf course: always in the bunker

Love this shot Barr caught

Love this shot Barr caught – it’s like they posed for him!

After the birthday golf, we headed to some wineries. Given its Mediterrean-esque climate, the Margaret River wine region is known for their Sauvignon Blanc Semillon and Cabernet Sauvignon wines.

Our first stop was Leeuwin Estate – it was really busy there, but the pourer was so congenial and took a lot of time to walk through their different vintages.

Leeuwin Estate tasting room and restaurant

From Leeuwin Estate, we drove back up north to Vasse Felix for lunch. We’d heard their food rivaled their wine, and we weren’t disappointed – one of the best meals I’ve had in Australia so far!

Our view from lunch at Vasse Felix

Our view from lunch at Vasse Felix – the weather was *literally* picture perfect!

Onward from Vasse Felix! Just a few minutes beyond, we made a quick stop at the Cape Lodge. We stayed at this breathtaking boutique hotel when we came down to Margaret River in 2007 (most of the pictures from yesterday’s post were from our time at the hotel). Anyhoo, we thought it would be fun to make a pit stop and reminisce!

Our Cape Lodge pit stop

Our Cape Lodge pit stop

Cape Lodge

Cape Lodge grounds

We then headed to our Saturday night accommodation, which was near Dunsborough: the Pullman Bunker Bay Resort. I don’t know what I was anticipating, but it wasn’t this:

Cape Naturaliste, near Margaret River

Cape Naturaliste, near Margaret River

The hotel was comprised of individual villas, all tucked into the greenery, with partial ocean views. There was even a heated pool which overlooked the water as well. And just a quick walk down from our room was this:

The beach on the Pullman resort

The beach on the Pullman resort

and this:

A lone surfer

A lone surfer

And around the corner from the resort, you got views like this:

I mean..

I mean..

and this:

MargaretRiver016

Cape Naturaliste, WA

and this:

So many different shades of blue :)

So many different shades of blue as the waves roll in

We really lucked out with the weather and our stays – beautiful all around!

The birthday boy taking it all in

The birthday boy taking it all in

Sunday was our whale watching day – eeek! …Stay tuned. Until next time…

Birthday weekend cuddles

Birthday weekend cuddles – he’s the best

DP World Tour Championship

Another fun weekend down in the books! Barr and I headed off to the European Golf – DP World Tour Championship here in Dubai at Jumeirah Golf Estates (I also went Thursday with some friends :))

The ladies enjoying day 1 of the tournament

The ladies enjoying day 1 of the tournament

Thursday held another special surprise: some storm clouds and a few drops of rain – something I havent seen in Dubai since we moved here two and half months ago…

Hold up...is that...could it be...a RAIN cloud?!? In Dubai!? Lo and behold: it WAS!

Hold up…is that…could it be…a RAIN cloud?!? In Dubai!? Lo and behold: it WAS!

Friday, it was a Barr/Abby day. Now we’ve been to a number PGA and eGolf Tour events in the states over the past few years (our first date was actually the Wyndam Championship in Greensboro, NC back in 2005), but this was the first time attending a European Tour event for both of us. Verdict: a blast! The galleries were smaller, so you could get a lot closer to the action, and my personal favorite: beer wasnt the predominant alcoholic beverage served on the course: wine and Prosecco stands aplenty for the win! But all (semi) joking aside, the best part of the day in our opinions was hearing Ivor Robson announce the players on the first tee. Yall, I love watching the British Open each year pretty much solely to hear Ivor Robson announce each of the tour professionals’ names at the first tee – his voice is one of a kind! Tiiiiiger Wooooods! 

Bucket list item, completed: the one, the only Ivor Robson

Bucket list item, completed: the one, the only Ivor Robson

So after that excitement died down a bit (clearly I’m easily entertained), we enjoyed the cooler Dubai temps (only the mid 80s, but MUCH less humidity than we’ve experienced in the past few weeks) and the beautiful course. Barr actually made a very interesting comment when I said I wanted to capture the picture below: after he played Jumeirah Golf Estates on his first weekend in Dubai, he saw that view and remembered thinking, “This is such a desolate sight – look at all that sand and power lines!” Funny what two months will do to one’s perspective, as both he and I were quite taken with the juxtaposition of the desert against this golf oasis – I can’t fully describe what a sight Dubai is: this almost other worldly concrete jungle/beach haven/sometimes green oasis aside the desert, sprinkled with power lines; and to think, most of it didnt exist 20 years ago.

The lush Earth course, bumping up against the desert

The lush Earth course, bumping up against the desert

But I digress…back to the golf!

We watched Rory, Henrik, Martin (sigh), Ian, Justin, Lee (man booty!), G-Mac…totally on a first name basis with all of them, obviously. And of course, the American in the field: Peter Uihlein.

Such a great day with this guy

Such a great day with this guy

You read it here: the UAE loves Jimenez!

You read it here: the UAE loves Jimenez!

Henrik Stenson dominated the field with 64’s on the second and final days, winning the European Tour Championship, on the heels of his FedEx Cup victory in the states…pretty good year, I’d say 🙂

On that note, wish me luck tomorrow; I’m joining a local ladies golf group here, playing my first round since this past summer in Charlotte – FORE! Until next time…

Such a geedy shot, courtesy 7DaysUAE

Such a geedy shot, courtesy 7DaysUAE

Cape Town: The Grand Finale

Grand finale – it’s a big statement to make about our final full day in Cape Town, but it’s 100% accurate in this case. As if Robben Island, Table Mountain, the fantastic food, Cape of Good Hope, the penguins and seals, and shark diving wasnt fantastic enough, our day in the Winelands of South Africa was icing on the cake. And no, it wasnt just because I love my wine (and no, I do not have a problem ;)).

A majority of the reason why our day in the Winelands was so special was our tour guide/company: Wine Escapes with John. From start to finish, this was a first class operation and Barr and I felt so well taken care of – I told John before the tour that while we (okay, me) have our views and tastes on wine when at home/dinner, we were a blank slate when it came to what we wanted to see and taste in the Winelands; we really just wanted to see fabulous farms/vineyards, top notch wine and learn about the history of the region and their processes along the way. Wine Escapes did not disappoint.

John picked us up with goodie bags in hand (it had, in addition to other things, candy – so I was thrilled from moment go), and said we would be exploring Stellenbosch that day, with trips to 3 farms and a stop for lunch as well. (Just as an FYI: there are two other large towns that comprise the Winelands, Paarl and Franschhoek – places that I hope to go back and explore next time!) 

Gorgeous Stellenbosch

Gorgeous Stellenbosch

Our first stop was Hartenberg Estate. We had an amazing round of wines and the farm itself was beautiful. I’m not a big Chardonnay person typically, but the Chardonnay here was so light – not buttery or “oaky” at all – John explained that they specifically make it less oaky as my opinion apparently aligns with the global opinion and decline of Chard consumption over the last 10 years (editor note: my palette is clearly amazing). Hartenberg is also very well know for their 1st Place Gold Medal Syrah Du Monde France 2012, the Stork, named for the original owner of Hartenberg, Ken Mackenize. If you’re so inclined, you can read more about the Stork here.

Hartenberg Wine Estate

Hartenberg Wine Estate

Hartenberg Estate

Hartenberg Estate

The next stop was Waterford Estate. Again, another home run! Here, John had set up a wine and chocolate pairing as well as a cellar tour (Barr was pumped for one of these and I was pumped for the other – bonus points if you get it correct!) This farm was originally built to grow citrus, and the drive up to the estate still has many of the citrus trees still standing (and smelling ahhhhmazing).

The citrus trees which line the entrance

The citrus trees which line the entrance

Waterford Wine Estate

Waterford Wine Estate

Waterford Wine Estate

Waterford Wine Estate

Wine, chocolate and Barr: some of my favorite things!

Wine, chocolate and Barr: some of my favorite things!

Learning about the cleaning of the barrels

Learning about the cleaning of the barrels

The Waterford Estate cellar

The Waterford Estate cellar

En route to lunch, we passed a sign for Ernie Els’ wine estate – Barr casually asked about it and John inquired if we enjoyed golf. If you know my husband, to say he “enjoys” golf is an understatement. As soon as John asked this, I (several glasses of vino deep by this time) exuberantly and proudly told him all about Barr’s time playing golf for university (and growing up), as well as just his general, overwhelming love of the game. (Side note: I too enjoy golf, but the it’s more of a love/hate thing at this point…) Anywho, John nodded and deposited us at our lunch reservation, but came in a bit later to join us and inform us that he had made an appointment for a tasting at the farm as well as a special surprise – he also assured us that the wine was excellent 🙂

Can we talk about this?

Can we talk about this?

The surprise, aside from the wine tasting, was the little chipping green and a special tour of Ernie Els’ personal wine cellar – we were in 7th heaven! Usually, they only have this set up 1 time a month, but when John called ahead, he specifically asked if they would set it up for us! Plus, if you make a “hole in one”, you got a complimentary bottle of wine – pressure was on! But back to the wine…we were really impressed with the wines we got to sample – the Proprietor’s Blend was our overall favorite there. Not to mention the tour of Ernie’s (yes, we’re on a first name basis) personal cellar was beyond cool. Here are some of my favorite shots from Ernie Els Wine Estate:

Golf nerds the (replica) Claret Jug

Golf nerds the (replica) Claret Jug

Why, yes, I did try my hand at this - see that fountain? Yeah, that's where my first ball lives now (second attempt was more successful)

Why, yes, I did try my hand at this – see that fountain? Yeah, that’s where my first ball lives now (second attempt was more successful)

The Big Easy's cellar

The Big Easy’s cellar

His hands and feet are huge!

His hands and feet are huge!

Victory!

Victory!

Loved how open and airy this estate was

Loved how open and airy this estate was

Clearly, this was a day to remember (though some points were a bit hazy…) Let me tell you again, if you ever find yourself in Cape Town and are interested in visiting the Winelands, do yourself a favor and book with Wine Escapes – you will NOT be disappointed.

So that’s all, folks, from our trip to Cape Town. Our final day was truncated and we didnt bring the camera around with us, but Bo-Kaap and the markets in downtown Cape Town were festive and a fun way to see us off. We are so glad we made the whirlwind trip to Cape Town, and as I have said multiple times, hope to go back one of these day – we should be so blessed! I also want to thank all my friends for their tips and recommendations – yall are the best 🙂

Now that the Cape Town posts are done, I guess you’re stuck with just me and my everyday life here again and for that, I apologize, but hopefully I will have some good posts and pics up my sleeve in the coming days/weeks/months. Until next time…