A Travellerspoint blog

January 2019

Cheers to Stellenbosch


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  • *sadly my photos are taking forever to load tonight. So I’m not putting many here. Hopefully FB will cooperate to post them instead**

This morning there was no time to dawdle as we needed to be packed up and down in the lobby by 9:00. Breakfast eaten and some photos snapped, we got down there just as Ian was arriving. There were some problems with his tour company’s smaller vehicles, so we ended up having an entire mini bus to ourselves 🤷🏽‍♀️ Nothing like traveling in style 🤣

On the way out of town, we got to see the roads to nowhere. There are actually sections of the highway system that have been sitting incomplete since the 1960’s. Ya just look up and see the end of an overpass that connects to absolutely nothing. He said we’ve probably already seen them as they’ve been used in various movies over the years. Just so strange!

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With about an hour or so to our first stop, we had plenty of time for a history and wine making lesson. On the history side, I liked that some of the first settlers coming to Africa thought zebras were wild horses. Yeah, they didn’t have much like taming them though 🦓 As for wine, the western cape has 4300+ farms that are growing different varietals of grapes 😳 Considering the first time wine was made from cape grapes was February 2, 1659, that’s a lot of farming action taking place in just 360 years.

Grapes aren’t the only fruit grown in this area. We also drove by guava trees and olive groves and blueberries and citrus trees. It just strikes me as odd since I guess in my mind I always picture Africa as either sandy desert or wild animals 🙈🙊 That is definitely not the case.

Our first photo op stop was by the prison that Nelson Mandela was released from in 1990. Out front there is a statue of him commemorating his Long Walk to Freedom. We also heard some rather interesting and morally colorful facts about his former wife Winnie. Who knew?!

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[Disclaimer: we are now entering the actual wine tasting portion of the day. I am by no means a connoisseur, nor am I generally a lover of red wines 🤷🏽‍♀️ I’m convinced I’m a supertaster - someone who experiences certain tastes, particularly bitter, with greater intensity than most everyone else. So if you’re looking for some phenomenal reviews, you’re not going to find them here.]

But alas we were rolling into Franschhoek (the French corner) and our first stop at Lynx Wine Estate. Jason, the winery manager, took us in the back room to explain the process. Since this is a very small operation, only an 11 hectare farm, they do everything by hand. Then they contract a bottling and labeling company to bring the equipment right to the estate and handle that for them. We had the little veranda, overlooking the vineyard with the mountains in the background all to ourselves. And then we proceeded to try 5 different wines. Both Brenda and I liked the white Viognier. In terms of red, she liked the Shiraz and I preferred the Cabernet Sauvignon.

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So far so good with counting our tastings and keeping track of the number of bottles. We’ll see if that continues or not (spoiler alert...it did not).

Another couple quick photo stops helped to spread out the wine consumption. The Huguenot Monument is dedicated to the cultural influence of the French and Belgian Protestants that fled to South Africa in the 17 & 18th centuries. Then Pniel Congregational Church goes back to 1843 when the village was a mission station for freed slaves working on nearby farms.

Our second, largest and most fun wine tasting was at Muratie Wine Estate. Dating back to 1685, this is one of the oldest wine estates in South Africa. At 48 hectares, it’s also quite a bit larger than Lynx. They like to capitalize on their history and the stories that go along with it by naming and labeling their bottles to highlight certain people. Our wine helpers here were Tanya and Leland. And well this is where the count went off the rails. I think we were supposed to try 5. Ian added a 6th. And then somehow we had a 7th and maybe an 8th special treat 🤷🏽‍♀️ We had a list where we were checking them off, but neither of us seems to be able to find that list now. So yeah, we’ll have to count the bottle photos sometime 🤦🏽‍♀️

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Luckily I did take notes on what we liked, so here’s that. Brenda liked the Marin Melck Cabernet Sauvignon, where as I still liked the Lynx version better. We both loved the Amber Forever sweet dessert wine. The “Amber” referring to the owner’s mistress back in the 1940s. We both also loved the Ben Prins, Port-style liqueur wine. Not an actual Port as those can only come from Portugal. What we noticed is the sweeter wines tended to have a higher alcohol content. I gave Tanya a good laugh when I said, “well no wonder I like them then...more bang for my buck.” We liked those sweet ones so well, we actually bought a bottle of each. I mean we are staying in Stellenbosch for 2 nights so why not?!

It was time (probably past time) to get some food in our systems to help soak all that wine up. Happily the Delheim Winery, where lunch was happening, was just a short drive down a bumpy road. Yet again we were blessed with the best table...this one being outside, with views for miles. Literally miles as we could just make out the tip of Table Mountain and Lion’s Head way off in the distance. I stuck with the Cape Malay chicken curry, while Ian and Brenda went with the bratwurst and sauerkraut platter. In Brenda’s words “tastes like home.”

Since we were running a little later than expected, we just did our final tasting over in the cellar right there. Pinotage is South Africa’s unique grape varietal and we got to try three versions of it. To me they were just bitter, bitterer, and bitterest, but I don’t think Brenda minded the first one we had. Yet again the sweet Spatzendreck got a thumbs up, although maybe a tad too sweet for Brenda. And it may have won the labeling competition (if we had thought to do that) with its nod to sparrow’s poop 😝

Tastings done, finally we headed into Stellenbosch, a university town that is the second oldest in the province (after Cape Town). We are staying right in the center at an absolutely grand place called Oude Werf. I think I may have audibly gasped when we walked into the lobby. So decadent and charming with an old world British twist. There’s this show on PBS both of us watch called “Indian Summers,” and this place totally gives us that vibe. And would you believe yet again it’s all magical around here with an over the top perfect room, which just happens to have a beautiful patio right next to the pool. With temps tomorrow forecast for 92 degrees and full sun, we may just decide to partake in a bit of swimming.

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All settled in, we wandered the town for a bit looking in a few shops and walking by the botanical gardens to check hours. Neither of us being too hungry, we just could not come up with any ideas for dinner. After returning to the hotel and Brenda spotting a grocery store on the map, we opted to just head there for a dinner snack of chips and call it a night. For a while there were some serious winds going on out there, but that did not deter us from sitting on the patio again for a bit. After our busy days in Cape Town and before we’ll be up early for game drives, it’s kinda nice to have this little break in the action. No set plans for tomorrow, so we shall see where the wind blows us 😉

Posted by JackiesJourneys 14:33 Archived in South Africa Tagged wine stellenbosch Comments (0)

The Mother City


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Crazy to think that today was our final day in Cape Town. I think it’s safe to say we have both had an incredible time here. So much history and culture, great food and varying architecture, stories to be heard and people to tell them, cute animals and scary ones, and an overflow of sights and sounds. There is no way to see and do it all in such a short period of time, but we made a damn good attempt.

Since we didn’t have anywhere to be until 11:00, we decided to sleep in until 8:00. Knowing we had a busy day of walking ahead of us, we took full advantage of the amazing breakfast before heading out into the balmy 74 degree morning 😎 With time to spare, what better time passer than popping in and out of the shops. And by days end, we had done our part to help out the local economy.

We had some store recommendations from Michel (the hotel owner), and they did not disappoint. We also wanted to check out Greenmarket Square, the big flea market in central Cape Town. That thought lasted about 11.2 minutes when I was already sick of hearing “looking is free...touching is free...I give you good price.” I looked at Brenda and said “I’d rather go to the actual shops and pay more just to quit being bothered.” She said, “good, cause I’m thinking the same thing.” The final conversation that launched us toward the exits was a guy telling Brenda “my brother and I painted all these” when you could clearly see every stall has the exact same “paintings.” Ursula (the other owner) had warned us about knowing what was authentically handmade and what was probably mass produced in China 🤦🏽‍♀️ Bye bye Greenmarket Square. The only thing I want from you are photos of the madness, which we’ll snap later on during one of our tours.

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The Cape Town Free Walking tours were ones Brenda had found a few months back. The company does three different tours comprising various areas of the city. We knew for sure we wanted to do the one around our neighborhood, but were still undecided about what other one to do: the historic city or the apartheid to freedom tour. Having already gotten quite a bit of the general history from Ian, we decided to go with the apartheid tour.

Off we went with Gervais and a small group of other tourists to hear what went down during that period from 1948 to April of 1994. In the most basic of terms, it was all about separation and the minority white population systematically segregating and repressing the black and colored populations. There were 5 specific racial categories into which you could be classified. From the age of 16 on, you had to carry around documents (a dompas) listing your classification and various other work related info, or risk being thrown into jail. One of the things they actually did to help classify people was the pencil test: sticking a pencil into someone’s hair to determine how course or fine it was. If your hair was fine enough to not hold the pencil, you may be considered white or coloured, but if the pencil stuck, you were black. Gervais said the tricky part was with people like his sister, who has very light skin but would fail the pencil test every time with her thick, curly hair. Another thing I found interesting was this was purely a race thing and never crossed over into religion. He said the government did not want to offend God (well wasn’t that nice of them 🤦🏽‍♀️).

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We went by St. George’s, or the “People’s” Cathedral and heard about Desmond Tutu. He’s the Nobel Peace Prize winning former Archbishop of Cape Town famous for his anti-apartheid work. There was also talk of Nelson Mandela and the 27 years he spent in prison for his anti-apartheid involvement. We passed through District 6 to see today the area where some 60,000 inhabitants were forcibly removed from during the 1970s. In order to ensure they would not try to return, they bulldozed all of their houses. But on a lighter note, we also heard about an amazing little bakery there that makes the best chocolate cakes.

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It was quite the interesting and eye opening tour. It’s kinda strange to think that so many people in so many places around the world have gone through such similar experiences. And yet somehow we humans still keep finding ways to muck it up over and over again.

Tour over, it was definitely time to find that cake! So off to Charley’s Bakery to visit the Cake Angels we went. Super chocolate fudgey brownie for Brenda and double chocolate cheesecake for me. If you’re gonna have cake for lunch, you might as well make it worth while 😝😋

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More shopping followed, along with a quick stop by the hotel to unload before we were back at the free walking tours. This time around was the Bo-Kaap, the vibrant, little neighborhood of our hotel. Turns out the place is more than just rows of colorful houses, but also the center of Islamic culture in Cape Town.

At one time the Bo-Kaap was 100% Muslim, and inhabited by the slaves that the Dutch had imported from Malaysia. Because they were slaves, they were not allowed to wear clothing of color. So in order to express themselves, they would paint the outsides of their houses. This tradition continues today with some residents painting a particular color to mark a significant event. Like the one house was painted blue in honor of the daughters wedding. Containing 11 mosques in this small neighborhood, it’s also known for its spices and aromatic Cape Malay cuisine.

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Our guide for this tour was Matthew, and he also chose to impart some interesting trivia. For instance, roughly 20% of drivers in Cape Town don’t actually have a license. Hmmm....that explains quite a bit. To go along with that fact, there was one year in South Africa where the festive season yielded 1755 deaths in roughly 31 days. So I guess we should consider ourselves lucky for having survived Cape Town traffic. There were quite a few times when we felt like it was a bad game of Frogger trying to figure out just how to get across the busy streets.

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Tours done for the day, we enquired to Michel any recommendations he may have for a Cape Malay dinner spot. He called a restaurant, got us a reservation and told us how to Uber there and taxi it back (as it was quite a hike uphill and not exactly the best of places to be walking around at night). So off we went to Bo-Kaap Kombuis for what turned out to be quite the spectacular dinner. First off, we got the best table in the place...the window overlooking Table Mountain. Second, it was buffet night, so we got to try all sorts of different dishes, many of which we had no idea what they were exactly. Third, everyone started with the same plate of 4 appetizers with an apricot chutney. Yeah, these little deep fried pockets of deliciousness may have been my favorite part of the meal. Forth, chocolate cake and ice cream for dessert. And last but not least was getting to watch Cape Town light up as night fell. I don’t think we could’ve choreographed a better ending to our stay if we had tried 😍

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So there ya have it, our day through what is commonly referred to as The Mother City (damn how I wish I had stopped for that photo op in the airport night one). Mother, as in the first city of South Africa. Also in reference to it being a metropolis back in the 1930s (“metros”=Mother “polis”=City). Or maybe it’s the tongue in cheek idea that it takes 9-months to get anything done around here. Any way you look at it, I say thanks for being such a wonderful hostess.

Posted by JackiesJourneys 15:44 Archived in South Africa Tagged cape_town apartheid bo_kaap Comments (2)

Earth, Wind and Fire


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Whew...yet another full, exhausting day over here on the Cape with our private peninsula tour. After our amazing breakfasts, we were ready to meet Ian in the lobby at 9:00. Ian is the same gentleman that picked us up from the airport. He kinda reminds me a little of my dad and kept us entertained and informed for almost 9 hours straight...which is no easy task when we’re firing questions at him left and right. On the way out of town, I enquired if we’d be going through Camps Bay at all and if it’d be possible for a super quick pit stop for Hard Rock pins. Request granted and we were off and running.

To start things off, he gave us a little bit of his background and a whole lot of info on Cape Town and South African history. This all rolled right into our first stop at Hout (meaning timber) Bay. Ah yes, he offered up the option for scenic lookout points and as Brenda said, “Jackie will never turn down an opportunity for a photo.” So stop we did...over and over again 😀 The day had started off cooler (like 73), windier, and a tad overcast, but by the time we stopped, the skies had cleared out pretty well.

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Lucky for us, Chapman’s Peak Drive was open today. It is considered one of the most scenic drives in the world that is super twisty and narrow with sheer rock face on the one side and plunging cliffs on the other. Add onto that it is a haven for cyclists and for us it feels like you’re on the wrong side of the road, and well it is quite the harrowing experience. But there are phenomenal views for miles!! Ian was telling us there is actually a huge cycle tour through the area where they cap it off at a max of 35,000 riders 😳 I can’t even imagine!! At various spots along the drive they also take full advantage of the winds for kite surfing. So we got to see some of that taking place at a distance as well.

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All this earth we were covering was leading us down to the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve. This is the area at the southern tip of the Cape Peninsula where the two ocean currents meet. There are some 8200 species of plants in the Cape’s floral kingdom, making it the smallest but richest in the world. All along the road, there are signs warning of the baboons and how to encounter them (not exactly signs we’re used to seeing in the US, so Ian made sure to get me a front row photo op of the sign...and later on the baboons 😝). Neil had actually mentioned the crazy baboons to us the last time we talked to him. And well, he was not kidding in the slightest!! They look so cute and fuzzy...until you see their teeth as they stop in the middle of the road and just stare at the cars. I swear the one stood up on his back legs with his hands out like he was just waiting for someone to hand him a snack. Thankfully no one was dumb enough to try that, and I quickly shut my window as soon as we saw the first one near the cars.

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We made our way down to the tourist area with the sign everyone takes photos at...I mean we didn’t come all this way not to have proof of it right?! It was also nice to move away from the tourists and just stand and listen to and watch the waves crashing around. Just gorgeous blue water and all sorts of white caps...and a giant rock with African fur seals sun bathing in the middle of it all. We didn’t bother to go up by the real tourist trap...the defunct Cape Point Lighthouse that was a dud from concept through construction and now is basically tourist central according to Ian. Instead he took us off the beaten path to where there is a monument to Portuguese explorer Dias, as well as some more incredible views.

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Then we were off toward Simon’s Town and our lunch stop. He took us to this great restaurant called Seaforth that is right on the water, with some absolutely delicious food. It was far too windy to be able to sit outside, but that would’ve been really incredible. I am not a fish person at all, but even I thought the kingklip fish of the day Brenda had was phenomenal. I followed Ian’s lead and went with a local Cape Malay chicken curry dish that had such tasty spices and came in the cutest little pot. 😋

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And then it was time for Boulders Beach and the African penguin colony 😍 The members of the town thought it was oh so cute back in 1982 when 2 pairs of breeding penguins decided to set up house on their beach. Fast forward to now, when some 2200+ penguins have overtaken the place, and not everyone is still so enamored with them. They have raised walkway platforms where you can go to see the cute little guys just frolicking in the waves, walking around on the white sand, or sitting on their eggs trying to mind their own business. My favorite was watching them ride the waves into shore, then waddling up and shaking off the water. Day made!!

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From 🐧 to 🌸 we were on the move again. Even though the weather had heated up, Brenda agreed to take a quick jaunt through the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden. Luckily we were able to find her enough shade that I don’t think it was too painful. I on the other hand am always up for a Garden and the sunnier the better 🤷🏽‍♀️ Sadly it wasn’t nearly as colorful as I would’ve liked, but with the giant, imposing mountain as a backdrop, I was still very impressed. By that point we were almost back to central Cape Town. After winding our way through the traffic, Ian dropped us off and will be back Thursday to collect us one more time.

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After a quick chat with Michel at the front desk to get some info and recommendations, we took a short break up in the room. Then we were back out in search of dinner, wishing we had actually written down the recommendation 🤦🏽‍♀️ Thankfully Brenda pinpointed the area, and then it was just a matter of finding the aubergine (eggplant to us Americans) fries he told us about. Love Thy Neighbor restaurant, with its Greek inspired dishes it is!! We actually sat outside in the courtyard behind this big old church. A central feature of the menu is the large wood burning hearth, right out there in the courtyard, where we actually watched them make our zucchini and aubergine pizza. We of course had the eggplant fries and washed it all down with some local 🇿🇦 cider called Savanna. Unfortunately they were out of the meatballs we also wanted to try, but that just meant room for baklava and ice cream with this molasses syrup (not too shabby of a swap out).

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We got back and purchased a bottle of wine from the hotel with plans to throw open the windows and sit and enjoy the evening. We ended up going with a red wine, which sadly neither of us were huge fans of, but it still made for a nice time just soaking in the atmosphere. And quite the atmosphere when we could hear chanting or singing coming from one or two places. The only thing we could figure was mosques having their evening call to prayer. Yet again, not our everyday occurrence.

So there ya have it...today we covered quite a bit of earth, making our way through the wind, finishing off with dinner by the fire. I’d call that a smashing success 😊

Posted by JackiesJourneys 13:38 Archived in South Africa Tagged penguins chapmans_peak kirstenbosch cape_good_hope Comments (0)

Set the Table

From all the delicious tables we ate at, all the way up to Table Mountain


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Day one in Cape Town did not disappoint. I mean, I really do feel bad for all you guys suffering through the snow and cold back home. But more than anything I feel really happy to have just walked home in 73 degrees at 9:30 at night (yep, I’m that kinda mean 🤷🏽‍♀️). So good luck and can you make sure all that white crap is gone by February 9th?! Thanks 😉

Back to our day (yep, I’m selfish like that too 🤣). I had an amazing 6.5 hours of sleep, but I don’t think Brenda was quite so successful. I guess there was loud music and car lights, but I was blissfully unaware. Anyhoo, we were up and slowly moving around 7:30ish. First order of business was the hotel breakfast! We were thinking typical continental whatever, but were dazzled with baked omelets and delicious bacon and egg dishes made to order 😋 The owner, Ursula, then came over to introduce herself and give us the lowdown and answer any questions we had. Talk about amazing customer service right there!!

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We didn’t really have a plan for our free day, but with Ursula’s help, we set off toward the big red hop on hop off bus office. This way we could get transportation to and from Table Mountain, as well as a trip down to the V&A (Victoria & Alfred) Waterfront. She also gave us the scoop on the reputable ATM to use and the ones to avoid at all cost. And since this was basically going to be a picture perfect day (sorry guys 😎), we had ideal conditions for Table Mountain. You need to take this giant cable car to the top and it is completely weather dependent. Too much wind (which can be a regular occurrence in these parts), and it’s a no go.

We got on the red line no problem and were on our way toward Table Mountain. By buying tickets for the cable car from the bus company, we saved ourselves time in one of the lines. About 30 minutes after arriving, we were loaded in and on our 5 minute, 2500ish feet, climb to the top. It’s really kinda great the way there are 360 degree views and the floor spins so everyone gets a chance to see out the windowless sections.

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In 2011, Table Mountain was voted one of the New 7 Wonders of Nature. And well in a word...WOW!!! And breathtaking popped into my head more than once also. On a clear day like today, we could see for miles. Off one side is the V&A Waterfront and Robben Island, and the giant Cape Town Stadium. And then you follow the paths around and the back side has all these neat little bays and cliff faces and we think we even heard water from a Falls at one point. People actually do full on hikes and rock climbing and abseiling up there, but we just stuck to the paths and the photos we could deceptively make look dangerous. Over on the Lion’s Head side, the fire I mentioned from yesterday seemed to flare back up between the time we arrived and the time we left (so within about an hour and a half). But I don’t think it was anywhere near as bad as last night. I also wonder if they were using helicopters hoisting buckets of ocean water to put it out, as we saw said helicopters later in the day near the beach.

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Having seen all the sights, we caught the cable car back down and hopped back on the bus. Brenda stuck to the covered area, but I opted for the open air section. Once I survived the initial shock of practically first degree burning my legs on the seats, it was actually quite a nice ride. We followed the coast line around and got to see some of the beach communities. We also learned that do to the direction of the winds, the water is actually cooler in the summer than it is in the winter. But I don’t think that deterred people today from frolicking in the sunshine.

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By the time we got to the V&A and started to look in the shops, we realized it was almost 3:00 and we should probably grab some lunch. More fresh, healthy food from this place called Pure Good was just what we needed. And ohhhh soooo affordable! Yet another of the bonuses of Cape Town is how far our dollars go. Gorgeous, giant salads for less than 5-bucks?! Yes please!!

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Refueled and ready to go, we looked through all the stalls and shops in the Watershed. This is a great market chocked full of African crafts. After making a few purchases, we were confused about where the rest of the Waterfront action was. Turns out we just hadn’t gone far enough down, so off we headed toward the clock tower and the rows of restaurants and more cute shops. They have this really crazy swing bridge that actually pivots (or swings) open to allow large boats through. At one point they had to open it and as it was closing back up, something large swinging through there caught Brenda’s eye. She pointed it out to me, and then we proceeded to see one or two more. Not quite sure what it was, we moved on to buy some gelato (vacation’s not all about healthy salads after all). While eating my cone, I walked over to read the sign about Robben Island (the place that housed Nelson Mandela for 18 of his 27 years in prison) when I spotted a sign about the South African fur seals. I waved Brenda over to tell her that’s what we saw, then she pointed out Robben means “seal” in Dutch. Two mysteries solved!!

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We did some more wandering before heading back to catch the bus. Sadly the first stop we went to we had missed the last bus of the day. So back to the other stop we went. By this point (5:30), traffic was pretty crazy and it took the bus awhile to get through there. Warm sun, long day, rocking bus...that is nap inducing circumstances right there. Luckily we did not doze off and miss our stop!!

We headed back to the hotel for a break before figuring out what to do for dinner. At this point, we got to meet Michel (Ursula’s son), who was just as kind and helpful with our myriad of questions. He was already gone by the time we made it back downstairs to search out dinner. But we had the general idea of where he had recommended, so off we went. Things were all fine and dandy, until we started to get followed by a guy begging for money or milk for his kid. All we could do is ignore him and keep walking, until he finally latched onto another couple. After they got away, he did give us a second try, but we kept our cool and ended up finding an absolutely amazing place to eat.

Initially we kinda just headed into the building to get away from him, but then we heard live music and saw this great courtyard. We asked someone what the deal was and found out there was a steak place and a chicken restaurant (Roast and Co.) that shared the courtyard. We said we were thinking chicken, and luckily the person we were chatting with was able to hook us up with a table. We each ordered a quarter chicken, split 3 different tapas type plates, and had a bottle of South African wine...all for the cost of roughly 40-bucks (total, not each!) 😳😍 And everything we tried was absolutely delicious. Nothing like a nice leisurely meal to cap off an already perfect day!!

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Posted by JackiesJourneys 14:14 Archived in South Africa Tagged table_mountain Comments (0)

Around the World in 33-ish Hours


View Africa 2019 on JackiesJourneys's travel map.

Saturday, January 26, 2019.

Actually, that’s not true as it is currently Sunday, the 27th, 12:15ish, somewhere over way Northern Africa. We are about 2.5 hours into our 11.5 hour flight on a Joon plane (never heard of this Air France partner, but it’s a nice plane). They just fed us yet again, and I thought I’d get a jump on this before I end up dozing off some more.

So let’s backtrack to Saturday morning when it all began. And if I’m gonna remember this accurately, I gotta start with those frigid-diculous temps. Brenda said it was registering -17 with a feels like of -26 shortly after she got up. That’s just plain ridiculous and thee absolute perfect time to head for warmer climates.

In the weeks leading up to the trip, we had gone back and forth and all around trying to figure out how to get to O’Hare. It wasn’t so much the drive down or leaving a car parked there two weeks (although that wasn’t so appealing either). The biggest problem was with the thought of driving home after 30-some odd hours of travel and making sure we stayed awake. I was really pushing for teleportation, but that didn’t quite come through for us. The next best thing was Brenda finding two truly amazing people who offered up their driving services (we are oh so thankful Angie and Kyle!!). One giant weight off our shoulders right there!!

After Angie picked Brenda up around 8:00, they swung by and got me, and we were on the road about 8:15ish. Another huge weight lifted was clear roads for the drive down. We made great time and headed into the terminal only to discover that the check in counter wasn’t even open yet 🤦🏽‍♀️ But no problems as we ended up chatting with a French guy in line behind us, as well as the American college student on his way to France for a semester abroad. His mom made us promise to wake him up if we noticed him sleeping in the terminal during boarding 🤣 Luckily it didn’t come to that and he made it aboard all on his own (but we did have our eyes on him).

Once the desk opened, we were checked in and through security in no time flat (whew!). The only snafoos there were the people in the line next to us who shattered something glass all over the floor. And then there was the couple in front of us with a toddler; teeny, tiny baby twins; and an absolute butt load of things to get scanned. Brenda did also feel like the TSA agent took an inordinate amount of time looking at her passport. But she’s cut her hair since the photo, so she didn’t think that much of it. Plus there was no time to think as we were off to find lunch.

Having just been at O’Hare, I was all set to go back to the same Frontera for an amazing Mexican torta. Brenda thought it sounded good, and was happy to see they had tables to sit at, so Frontera it was. Chicken Milanese for both of us, with all the free water we could pound down. At the end it was taking a while to get our bill and Brenda remarked how the way it was set up, we could just walk right out. I said we probably shouldn’t start the trip off in airport jail, but that I may just throw my money down and then walk out. Happily it did not come to that.

From there we opted to walk from one end of the terminal all the way to the other before heading to our gate. Oh yes, and we were on the lookout for a chocolate shake for Brenda, but alas there was no McDonald’s and no shake to be had. So we get to the gate and I pull my passport out to look at the boarding pass inside when all of a sudden Brenda says something and starts reaching for it. I’m like what’s happening when she whips her passport out, only to open it up and reveal my photo 😳 Nothing like the fraud investigator committing identity fraud getting through security 🤷🏽‍♀️🤣 Turns out the check in counter lady gave us the wrong passports and we never looked and TSA didn’t figure it out either. But that did clear up why her lady studied it so long.

Airport jail avoided again and passports back in the rightful owner’s hands, we finally boarded our Air France flight bound for Paris. By the time we were on board, it was up to a balmy 13 degrees, but it had also started a little snowy sleet mix. It didn’t seem too bad, until we pushed back from the gate and off in the distance were the brigade of 20-some plows all winding a conga line onto the runways. It was quite the sight to see!! But at 4:04pm, we were finally wheels up.

We were about 3 rows from thee furthest back, but it wasn’t a very full flight at all. They fed us more than enough, and fairly tasty food at that. We both dozed on and off, but I don’t think there was any great sleep to be had. We touched down early, but then spent all kinds of time taxiing around. By 6:36am, we were getting to the gate and stepping off into 44 degree temps. Not a bad increase over where we’d started out our day...but it’s only gonna get better from there 😎

So bizarre to see Paris sunrise wasn’t until well after 8:00. As we were perplexed by that, I was also pondering how there was now food to be had in the gate area when just a few short months ago we were left to breakfast on pringles and coke. But no need to question it too much...instead just go buy some delicious pain an chocolat and enjoy the heck out of it, even though I really didn’t need it 😝 And on that note, it’s a wrap. Hopefully I’ll be able to post this tonight from Cape Town, moments before I completely collapse into bed.

Me again from the comforts of our fabulous hotel, Rouge on Rose. Just a quick note to finish up the days events before we crash hard. Not much to say about the flight from Paris to Cape Town other than it was loonnnnng!! Thankfully the tiny baby right in front of us got moved. Actually, now that I think about it, we had no baby issues on either flight. Just descent into Paris we heard one, but that was all (yay!!)

So we left rainy Paris, watched some movies, slept through some movies, ate, then ate some more...all while trying not to go stir crazy. Arriving into Cape Town shortly after 10:00pm, it was a glorious 74 degrees. Customs and immigration was a breeze. We thankfully didn’t have to suffer too long at baggage claim, and then Ian was right outside the door waiting for the “Ebel Party.” More on Ian later as we found out he’ll be our driver two other days.

Driving into central Cape Town didn’t take long at all. More on the area and hotel when my brain isn’t so sleep deprived and fuzzy (as an indication, I looked down earlier and thought to myself “it’s noon-thirty in the States.” So yeah, must sleep soon 🤦🏽‍♀️). There is one interesting tid bit. As we were flying in, Brenda pointed out a red lit trail kinda thing on what we assumed was Table Mountain. Turns out it’s not a trail but actually what appears to be several fires burning along various paths or roads. We can even see and smell it from our hotel room. Hopefully the winds let up and they get it all under control fast.

Ok 12:40am means I gotta go. Until next time...

Posted by JackiesJourneys 14:46 Archived in South Africa Comments (1)

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