It is an exciting achievement to have published the second book in my SwitchBitch trilogy, entitled ‘SwitchBitch: My journey of transformation in Walking the Camino, Sole to Soul’, following in the footsteps of SwitchBitch Book 1, which I launched a year ago. SwitchBitch Book 1 focused on my Physical transformation, in losing 45 kg, while Book 2 is focused on the Spiritual transformation after walking the Camino. Yesterday the Book was presented at a Preview launch at Stargarden Boutique Café in Fish Hoek.

My Book ‘SwitchBitch: My journey of transformation from Sour to Sweet!’ has been launched!

In May – June this year I walked the Camino over 21 days, starting in St Jean Pied de Port in France, crossing the Pyrenees into Spain, and reaching Santiago de Compostela 21 days later, a journey by foot covering a total of 464 km, an average of 21 km per day, mainly walked in rain the last two weeks, with a little bit of bussing.

SwitchBitch Book 2 is the story of my Camino, which was organised by amaWalkers in Durban, with a route planned for us, accommodation booked for each day, and the luggage transfer organised for each day. We were looked after by our group guide Brigitte Käse, who walked with us each day, and on most days with me, this being her ninth Camino. While the organisational aspects of the amaWalkers impressed, the owner Silvia Nilsen showed extreme unprofessionalism and non-Spirituality in her dealing with my daily feedback about the varying quality of the accommodation that she had booked for us.  

The Book advises on what to pack, and how to prepare for walking the Camino. It provides a historical background to the Camino, and details the various Camino routes. It shares what one can expect to eat and drink on the Camino. The experiences I had and the places of interest we saw on our walks are shared day by day, with distance information and accommodation feedback provided. The interesting appearance of novelist Ernest Hemingway on the Camino is shared. And footcare is addressed in particular, the most important aspect of a successful Camino. 

SwitchBitch Book 2 also shares the further Spiritual and Physical transformation which I have undergone since Book 1 was published at the beginning of this year. This includes the downscaling in accommodation, in selling my house in Fresnaye and moving into an one-bedroom apartment in Camps Bay, and the stress created by dealing with other (all female!) three owners of apartments in our small building. Significant this year was meeting Jörn Merkel, whom I referred to as #blueeyes on Social Media, with whom I could open up emotionally in German, for the first time in my life.  I placed him on a pedestal, one of German super-perfection, but I was severely disappointed, by his lack of punctuality, his very verbally abusive critical communication, and, ultimately, his nagging attempts to extract money from me! I had to end this relationship too, out of Self Love. In preparing for the Camino, and needing to measure my distances walked, I joined Discovery Vitality and bought a FitBit, which has motivated me to walk every day possible, with a minimum of 10000 steps per day, making me feel the healthiest and fittest ever. The Book explains how Discovery Vitality works, and the tremendous benefits it offers.

Part 2 of SwitchBitch contains a Memoir, dedicated to my son Alex, detailing my origin in Germany, immigrating to Cape Town as a baby, growing up in Wellington, studying in Stellenbosch, and my careers in Stellenbosch, Pretoria, Johannesburg, and Cape Town. 

Part 3 contains Restaurant news and reviews, both locally, and internationally (including JAN restaurant in Nice, as well as World’s 50 Best restaurants in France, London, and New York), one of the most exciting stories being the Eat Out Awards 2018, which saw the six-year reign by The Test Kitchen at the number one slot toppled by Restaurant at Waterkloof in Somerset West, a shock to the industry but eagerly applauded. It also contains a Review of the newest fine dining restaurant to open, I predicting that Gåte Restaurant at Quoin Rock wine estate outside Stellenbosch will make Eat Out Top 10 next year, if not its number one restaurant! Of interest to many is the updated list of restaurants I am banned from as a result of my honest restaurant reviews! 

I had eaten at Stargarden Boutique Café about three weeks ago, and was impressed with the quality of my lunch, as well as its presentation, a fabulous asset for Fish Hoek, a suburb not known for restaurants. Interesting news I heard was that Pick ‘n Pay will be allowed to sell alcohol for the first time shortly, Fish Hoek (like Camps Bay) having been known as a ‘dry’ suburb, due to a condition in a will which left land which is now known as Fish Hoek. 

Restaurant Review: Stargarden Boutique Café in Fish Hoek is a star!

My SwitchBitch Book 2 Preview presentation took the form of a Sunday Family Lunch Feast, and we were well looked after by Aldo du Plessis, following the opening of an exhibition by award-winning artist Mandy Johnston, a Fish Hoek local, at Platform 13, the art gallery a few doors away, owned by Carina du Randt. Carina kindly invited me to present a Preview of the new Book over the lunch at Stargarden, given that I have only received a Printer’s Proof, and that the book is still being printed, due to be received next week. I did a demonstration of what I looked like in my ‘fat clothes’ of two years ago, and introduced the beginning of the physical transformation in 2016, in falling in love and in starting to dance. A Spiritual transformation followed alongside this, but it was walking the Camino in May/June this year that enhanced my ability to think less with my head, and to feel more with my heart. 

Our starter was Beef carpaccio, exquisitely presented. This was followed by a generous platter of deboned roast lamb, a mix of roasted vegetables, roast potatoes, slices of butternut, and chickpeas, a chicken and chickpea curry, and a bowl of Poppadoms. Our dessert was the delicious roasted peach in a sugar case, with Barbados whipped fresh cream to which rum had been added, topped with fresh strawberries, and presented with ginger crumble. What a feast! 

Stargarden Boutique Café, 150 Main Road, Fish Hoek, Cape Town. Cell 084 639 4031 Facebook. Instagram:@stargardenfishhoek

SwitchBitch Book 2 is available by emailing chrisvonulmenstein@gmail.com, or by ordering it for Kindles from Amazon.com. It costs R200. 

‘SwitchBitch: My Journey of Transformation in Walking the Camino, Sole to Soul’, Cell 082 5511 323. www. chrisvonulmenstein.com Twitter: @ulmenstein Instagram: @chris_ulmenstein 

Chris von Ulmenstein, WhaleTales Blog: www.chrisvonulmenstein.com/blog Tel +27 082 55 11 323 Twitter:@Ulmenstein Facebook: Chris von Ulmenstein Instagram: @Chris_Ulmenstein