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Arty Escape & inspirations with Sara Spanier

#Escape No. 7

Sara Spanier

 Lighting designer
 Sara tells us about her special escape in South Africa

Tell us briefly about yourself

I always tended to bring out what is hidden. Surely would have had a good career as a private eye. But it didn't happen that way, I studied to become a psychologist, which I  never practiced as. Instead I went all in for my passion - photography and lighting.

I'm a lighting designer of public environments but also of private homes. With light you can control which mood or energy an environment or room should generate - calm, soft, hard, playful, focused etc. In my professional role today I absolutely  benefit from my studies in psychology and my "private eye" tendencies are nourished when putting light on what otherwise would have remained hidden

What was your latest most special escape?

Without a second's hesitation, I pick South Africa from the north to the south, from east to west. An escape for the soul, for the senses, for free thinking ... for everything! Africa leaves no one untouched - that's her magic!

What was the purpose of your travel?

A trip to get inspired and loaded with ideas while also being a family Christmas travel and an arty escape from traditional Christmas celebrations.

What places did you visit during this escape?

We flew into Johannesburg and went straight to the Kruger National Park and Umlani Bush Camp. Then to  Cape Town further on to Pater Noster on the west coast. Back to Cape Town and this time to Camps Bay, from here to  Hermanus and the wales and then to Franschhoek. We were lucky to have Malven - a perfect guide & driver and he  took us to all this places a long the coast.

Tell us an anecdote or unforgettable memory from this trip

At V & V Waterfront Cape Town there was a local band having a gig and selling their latest release - on cd. Suddenly the lead singer comes up to us, standing a little to the side, and starts singing a new version of the song with lyrics that tells a story about us standing there -  in a crazy way. The guy had an awesome voice and tons of humor. So what can you!?! You buy! And we are still playing their cd at home when gathering in the kitchen; for dinner, when laying the table or cooking and ... we dance! A happy, unforgettable  memory.

Favorite restaurant or culinary experience?

Oh my god! The food is just outstanding in South Africa. Where ever you go there is something great to eat and you feel heavenly blessed each time. From Greater Kruger National Park to Pater Noster and Cape Town to Franschhoek via Hermanus. Just to mention one restaurant Kloof Street House in Cape Town - eclectic cuisine in Victorian setting and then I recommend two hotels: Gonana Guesthouses in Pater Noster - best breakfast prepared by Thandi and La Dauphine Guest Farm in Franschhoek.
But nothing like a good cup of java. Our ranger Amos' cup - the best - I mean ever!
Umlani Bushcamp in Timbavati Greater Kruger Park 

Any hidden gems you could whisper to us?

Umlani Bushcamp in Timbavati Greater Kruger National Park. The  camp blends in with the environment and is built from natural materials - eco huts - in a traditional African style. No fences to allow for wildlife migration so you better listen carefully to the staff.

Fantastic days and nights  - the sounds of Umlani - like nothing I've ever experienced, the scents, the people and the hospitality, the awareness of you being in Africa - magical!

What not to miss?

The African design, craft and  the art - breathtaking! A close encounter with the African craft and I felt like being on a color palette! You come across carft and arts everywhere; out in the countryside, in the cities, at the bush camps, in the fishing villages ... everywhere!
At V & V Waterfront Cape Town there is a Craft & Design center where they collect and show a good breadth of South African  design and craftsmanship. 
On the west coast north of Cape Town you find Pater Noster, a small fishing village with the previously so successful crab-fish industry and today a center for African craft and art. Impressive!


What's one of your favorite travel films or books?

It all depends on where I'm going. During this escape "Out of Africa" was a given choice along with some reading about Karen Blixen. 

And your favorite travel music?

When it comes to music I'm very picky but I do have a soundtrack with classic road trip songs; Everybody wants to rule the world, Dreams, Running up that hill, Start me up, In the air tonight ... and Africa!

Can you set a scent to this escape?

Bergamot, coffee beans and African Blue Lily

What does escape mean to you?

For me, escape is an opportunity to be a guest in a culture's everyday life. Experience or discover new or different ways to deal with ups & downs and see what it brings. To receive the new insights together with your family or a close friend is an escape. And then top it off with artistic expressions from this culture and you got an Arty Escape!

Where do you look forward to go, see or taste next?

To Armenia in Colombia - the Coffee triangle.
Of course the coffee fincas allure but the Colombian culture, people, cuisine, music & art are at least as enticing. 

Your favorite vehicle when traveling?

During this trip - the bush camp jeep!

Can you set a color to this escape?

Impossible to pick just one color, so I go for the entire color range.

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