Blogging from A to Z: J is for Johannesburg

My hometown. I grew up here. Studied here. Live here. Known by many names – Egoli (city of gold), Jozi, Joburg. South Africa’s largest city, population numbers differ depending on which areas one classifies as being part of Joburg. According to Wikipedia, the urban agglomeration of Johannesburg has over 8 million inhabitants and is one of the fifty largest urban areas in the world.

It is also the largest man-made forest in the world. You can see a glimpse of that looking north. The best views are from halfway on Munro Drive on Houghton Ridge. I took this pic from a terrace on the 20th floor of a hotel in Sandton.

A to Z challenge Johannesburg
©2021 Regina Martins

The Joburg CBD is one of my favourite places and also one of my least favourite (the traffic).

The streets of the CBD.

The Johannesburg Public Library. The building behind it (the Bank of Lisbon building) was gutted by fire three years ago. It was so sad – three firefighters died in the process of putting out the fire.

A to Z blogging challenge
©2021 Regina Martins

A mosque in the centre of town.

A to Z blogging challenge
©2021 Regina Martins

The Nelson Mandela bridge spanning the rail tracks and connecting the CBD with Braamfontein.

A to Z blogging challenge
©2021 Regina Martins

I love this pic of the trains. Depending on how they are parked the colours create a beautiful canvas. The elevated highway in the middle of the pic is the M2 and traverses the CBD connecting north with south. It is a bit of a bottleneck during peak hours though. Outside of the photo is Park Station, the main train station.

A to Z blogging challenge
©2021 Regina Martins

Coming in to land at OR Tambo International Airport, you’ll be treated to different views depending on which direction the landing is and which side of the plane you’re sitting on – you can get a stunning vista of the Joburg skyline or the southern suburbs, or the northern suburbs – the pics below show the gold mine dumps east of the city and land used for agriculture.

A to Z blogging challenge
©2021 Regina Martins
A to Z blogging challenge
©2021 Regina Martins

Joburg has some amazing coffee shops. My favourite is Cramer’s Coffee. It’s been around for ages and still going strong. All the pics I’ve taken have people in them so this one will have to do. You’ll just need to trust me on how amazing it is 😉

A to Z challenge Johannesburg
©2021 Regina Martins
A to Z blogging challenge
©2021 Regina Martins

There is so much more to Joburg. The pics here are a mere 10% of the city and surroundings. When it’s safe to travel again, you just need to come for a visit and see for yourself.


Blogging from A to Z posts – my favourite one so far is D is for Durban:
I is for Istanbul (Magnetic Istanbul)
H is for Hua Huin (party town)
G is for Ghent
F is for Flic en Flac
E is for Erawan Falls
D is for Durban (Memories)
C is for Chiang Mai
B is Bangkok
A is for Ayutthaya

Blogging from A to Z: I is for Istanbul (Magnetic Istanbul)

Wow! Istanbul evoked SO many emotions and not all of them pleasant. We had a great time and a not so great time. No one warned us about how tough it would be a tourist in a country where I didn’t speak the language. I can’t say I’ve ever experienced this in all my travels. Ok, maybe in Paris, a bit, but at least there I had my smattering of school french to see us through. I usually manage to make myself understood and try to understand those around me.

We arrived at Taksim Square on a bus from the airport with the address of the Airbnb written on a piece of paper. The first taxi driver we approached looked at it, shook his head and walked away. Chè and I looked at each other in trepidation.

Another taxi driver approached us and while we were talking with him another taxi driver approached us and tried to lure us away to his taxi. The two taxi drivers then proceeded to shout at each other and almost came to blows – I think – because Chè and I didn’t hang around to find out.

We did find someone to take us to our flat but only after he helped us understand that we were on the wrong side of the road to catch a taxi to where we wanted to go! Well… if we knew where things were then we would’ve gone to the right side of the road. But first time in a city and I honestly have no directional perception.

BUT …

Istanbul is vast, diverse, the clash of cultures visible for all to see, and magnetic in a totally unexpected way. It’s a world all on its own, much like New York. Who needs to go anywhere else when you have everything on your doorstep.

It’s a city of contrasts: new and old, kind and brash, fast and slow. I’m not going to post the usual touristy photos – there are probably so many of them out there. I’m going to post different scenes that caught my eye and evoke a memory or a few instead.

The Bosporus, a major channel of communication.

blogging from A to Z - Istanbul
©2021 Regina Martins
blogging from A to Z - Istanbul
©2021 Regina Martins

The famous Hagia Sofia (I had to sneak a touristy pic in) 😉

blogging from A to Z - Istanbul
©2021 Regina Martins

I wish I knew how old these ruins are.

blogging from A to Z - Istanbul
©2021 Regina Martins
blogging from A to Z - Istanbul
©2021 Regina Martins

Through the trees.

blogging from A to Z - Istanbul
©2021 Regina Martins

Taksim Square – the scene of the taxi driver drama.

blogging from A to Z - Istanbul
©2021 Regina Martins

More Taksim Square.

blogging from A to Z - Istanbul
©2021 Regina Martins

The view from the roof of our Airbnb.

blogging from A to Z - Istanbul
©2021 Regina Martins

Blogging from A to Z posts – my favourite one so far is D is for Durban:
H is for Hua Huin (party town)
G is for Ghent
F is for Flic en Flac
E is for Erawan Falls
D is for Durban (Memories)
C is for Chiang Mai
B is Bangkok
A is for Ayutthaya