South Africa 2014

Days from Departure

Thursday, October 23rd, 2014

At last we are just days from departure!  The anticipation of upcoming adventures is delicious, pushing through all the chaos of getting ready for being away from our daily lives for a month.   New places, new faces, new learning and with luck new understanding; we wait expectantly for these experiences.  Beachview Retreat has now finished it’s tenth season and for us the timing of this trip is perfect as we are definitely ready to be looking at hospitality from the other side of the fence for a while.

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Family time

Thursday, October 30th, 2014

Upon arrival we spent our first few days in the Birmingham area. We visited Stratford-on-Avon where we had a short visit with William Shakespeare. He has rested in the chancel area of Holy Trinity since 1616. The church itself dates from 1210 and it is situated very pleasingly (as you might imagine) along the banks of the Avon.

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The Lizard is not a reptile

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

No, in fact it is a peninsula that ends at the most southerly point of Britain, just a few degrees above the 49th parallel. Interestingly, the Lizard is at 49.57 degrees while the Deep Cove marina is 49.32, thus we were within a few kilometres from being exactly the same distance from the North Pole. The Lizard boasts wave-lashed cliffs & crags, ancient rock, a life boat station, an RAF rescue base, impossibly narrow roadways and fabulous views out to sea.

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Queuing up in London

Monday, November 3rd, 2014

The last time I spent any time in London was 1998. Strangely, the streets were almost deserted during our first walkabout, a phenomena that we later learned occurs only once every four years and only during World Cup and only when England is on the pitch. This year’s World Cup is now only a memory, as are deserted London streets. They were teaming, teaming with people from morning to night it seemed. Fortunately for us the same could not be said of the underground as we were there on the weekend.

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Cape Town Arrival

Tuesday, November 4th, 2014

Well the rain wasn’t lashing down quite like it was yesterday in London, but the rain and the clouds did conspire to conceal Cape Town’s most prominent feature – Table Mountain. Not until we reached our hotel did the clouds clear enough for the mountain to appear in it’s astonishing glory. Hopefully I will come up with some better photos. This one is from our hotel room when we first arrived.

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Are we still on the Lizard?

Wednesday, November 5th, 2014

While the agenda for today was to be city tour and then the cable car to the top of Table Mountain, the rain and the clouds persisted making both of these planned events less than ideal.

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The Test Kitchen

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

There. I knew I’d get a better shot of Table Mountain than that first one from our hotel. This one was taken from Robben Island.

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Cape of Good Hope

Thursday, November 6th, 2014

Today (Thursday Nov 6) we toured around the cape area, driving along a spectacular oceanside road, boating out to a seal colony, walking to a beach littered with penguins, and siting wild ostrich and other animals near the most southwesterly point of land, once thought to be the southern tip of Africa, the storied Cape of Good Hope. There were shopping opportunities, countless photo ops, a great lunch in Simon’s Town and then dinner back in Cape Town at a tapas bar called Fork located on the dreaded Long Street.

First on the agenda were the seals. Thousands of them in and around a smallish rocky island a short boat ride out of a very picturesque town called Hout Bay.

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Eating our way through Africa

Friday, November 7th, 2014

Happy Birthday Dave!

A later start this morning as we departed Cape Town for a small rural village in the Western Cape wine region. The Tulbagh Basin had been inhabited for thousands of years by Bushmen & Khoi people until their gig was interrupted about 300 years ago when the Dutch moved inland and established a small settlement here. While an earthquake in 1969 caused a lot of damage, lots of old buildings in the Cape Dutch style either survived or were restored. But I’m getting a bit ahead of myself in the chronology because I haven’t related what we did before we got here late afternoon. Lunch! That’s what we did and that’s all that we did. Oh no, I’m wrong; we also made a short stop at the prison where Madiba (Nelson Mandela) began his ‘Long Walk To Freedom’ when he was released from prison in 1990.

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On the road again

Sunday, November 9th, 2014

Willy Nelson may have been keen, but I bet he didn’t have to sit on bus travelling across the West Cape for the 7ish hours between Tulbagh & Knysna (silent k).

It started out well enough as the road wound through a wide valley that was filled with grape vines. It made the Okanagan feel puny in scale.

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