Friday, August 3, 2012

Russian River.

We woke up to a beautiful day and it was a golden opportunity to go on a day trip and enjoy a little more of California. It did not take long to pack up the car and set off for the Russian River. What a strange name for a river situated in California. With the GPS set, our tour leader Christopher armed with his Lonely Planet guidebook and our driver Diana, all geared up,we loaded the car and off we set!

Our destination was to drop in at Burke's Canoe Trips. It was great going through a few small American towns and farmlands and to see how the country folk live.

The magnificent vineyards, groves of Redwood trees and pine covered hills were most impressive. After a brief stop and run around we piled back into the car and went looking for....?

Wineries! There are several along the way and it was decided that we stop in at Korbel Champagne Cellars.

The ivy covered walls and beautiful gardens make it such a pleasant stop.


Of course the wine/champagne tasting was most welcome in the heat of the day. Mitch our assistant was a charming young man and served us delicious wines. I was thrilled to have a glass of Blanc de noir!!!! My favorite.

Mitch also told us about the best spot to stop off for our swim. Hilton "beach" here we come. The children were more than ready to head off.

Our clever navigating team found a lovely spot where we could park and make our way to the Russian River to swim and play. This is so strange for us as back in South Africa, we are always worried about crocodiles, bilharzia or malaria in our rivers and we don't often just park off and enjoy swimming.

The water was clean and shallow so it was possible for the children to swim and have fun.

Molly has a wonderful imagination and she created all sorts of wonderful activities, which kept her busy for hours.


The big children also had loads of fun too. As it would take us an hour and a half to get back to Piedmont, we had to set off for home while the sun was still high in the sky,so imagine the reluctance of three little people!! My conclusion after this excursion is that California is a beautiful state and there is still so much to see and do!!! Maybe we will come back one day!!!

Adventure Playground.

As it is nearing the end of the school ear for Hannah a visit to the Adventure Playground was arranged by the school. Diana had offered to transport some of the children and I was invited to go along. The Adventure playground or "junk playground" is situated in Berkley and is the last of its kind. Many areas like this were set aside for children to heal and rebuild their lives after World War Two and many still exist in Europe. However this is the last of its kind in the states.

each child is challenged to find the above items. The play ground is fitted out with lots of wooden structures made from bits and pieces of wood which local builders have donated. The children are free to create whatever they wish.

There are no rules or guidelines. Each child is encouraged to do whatever they like. Their reward for finding anything off the list is the choice of hammers and a choice of paint.

It was amazing to see the little ones walking around with their metal detectors finding nails buried in the sand and then taking a hammer designed for adults, choosing their piece of wood and enjoying hammering in her nails!! She is a better "hammer a in" than I am!!

In between carrying out the challenges the children can climb, go on the zip line, play old pianos and just have fun!!

I was so taken with this playground and thought of the many troubled. Hidden who could benefit from a couple of hours here every so often!

It is also a great place for company's to dump their junk!!

After this creative play, the children had their lunch and then went down to the "beach" to look for crabs!

A wonderful day was had by all! I am so pleased to have been part of it.