I have a few retrospective posts I would like to share with you all. I’ve had some fantastic travel experiences over the last year or so and it would be a shame to skip over them as I didn’t have the blog at the time!
To give you some context, my other half is South African, and he invited me to go home with him for a few weeks for Christmas. At the time I was in a job I had come to absolutely despise, where I was treated ridiculously inappropriately, bullied and pressured and paid a pretty miserable amount to put up with it all. Have you ever been in job where you are so unhappy, that you have to go and lock yourself in the bathroom at least once a day and just cry? I can tell you now, if you have been in that position or you are in that position, it effects every part of your personality and life and I cannot emphasize enough how not worth it it is! I had had enough, and made the leap to hand in my notice and picked myself up a temping job to tie me over before the trip, which we had extended to a month…
Several months down the line and we were sipping beer at the Dubai airport Heineken bar on our stop over waiting for the next part of our flight. My poor other half had been suffering the first part of the flight with the lack of leg room and his ridiculously long legs!
On the second leg of the flight we were overjoyed to find we had managed to snap up the exit seats so that the Mr could actually stretch his limbs. On the descent in to Capetown we encountered the WORST turbulence I have experienced in my entire life. Now let me tell you, since I was little I have boarded many long haul flights and I am in no way a nervous flyer. I genuinely thought I was going to die. The whole aircraft jolted up and down with such force I was actually leaving my seat, and at one point the whole plane tilted so far forward I was sure we were about to nose dive into the ocean. Apparently it’s fairly common with flights to Capetown due to the cross currents of hot and cold air. I made a mental note to perhaps suggest a road trip if we were to go to Capetown again.
We made our way through the airport (where the staff were very eager to know whether I lived close to Buckingham palace), exchanged our money, freshened up and went to meet C’s brother and his other half who would be joining us. We got a hire car and headed on up to Camps Bay. We drove past shanty towns stretching as far as the eye could see, past yellow fields of dry grass and up towards the mountains where my ears continuously popped but I was too excited to care.
After driving around the neighborhood in circles for the better part of 40 minutes we found our apartment with the host waiting. The boys oggled at his cars, and we dragged our suitcases up the winding steps to the penthouse villa we had booked. It didn’t disappoint – we had an infinity pool overlooking the beach, two double bedrooms and bathrooms, equipped kitchen, comfy lounge and a nice ocean view balcony.
We unpacked, showered, and hit the strip for cocktails and dinner at one of the local restaurants. After returning we all slept like logs. We awoke the next day to a brilliant clear, sunny morning, and quickly made a decision to make the most of Capetown’s unpredictable (often referred to as “English”) weather and head up Table mountain.
After an easy peasy climb…
Ok, after a quick trip in the cable car, we were greeted by crystal clear views for miles around. You can see the whole of Cape Town and Robin’s Island on a good day, we had a stroll and stopped at the mountain side cafe for refreshments.
We made our way back down and headed back to the villa for some food, a swim and good dose of sun bathing.
The next day we made our way down to the V&A Waterfront, where us girls bought a tonne of cute little summer dresses and the boys got some new Vans. We leisurely strolled around the mall looking at nearly every shop, and then made our way outside to have a walk around the harbor. After our walk around we ended up in an Irish bar for a pub lunch and a beer as (quite thankfully) we were told we didn’t qualify for the free coffee on offer…
In the evening, we heard some of C’s school friends were in the area, so we invited them over for a braai (that’s a BBQ to us brits), where I got to try Ostrich for the first time – which for some reason I had assumed (to everyone’s amusement) would be like chicken?! Well, for those of you that may be under the same impression, no, it’s nothing like chicken. It’s actually a very lean red meat, and it’s like a very soft steak. Cut thin, and rolled up with a centre of feta and herbs and grilled on the braai, it was delicious. We had also done marinated chicken, grilled halloumi, some disastrous ribs (turned out to be lamb and immediately caught fire because of the fat) and to the others bewilderment I had offered up a greek style salad. Apparently salads are not a general staple of a good braai. We had a good afternoon and evening of poolside laughs and food. In the evening the Capetown wind started to pick up and I was thankful to myself for having packed a jumper.
Our second day was a colder morning though we had assumed it would heat up. The mountain was covered with a tablecloth of mist and we were quite relieved we had made the quick decision to go yesterday when it was clear. Between us we had decided to make our way over to Blouberg to a quirky bar C had been to before. We arrived to a misty and rather chilly beach. The bar was a surf themed little place, where the outside tables hung over little pools of water and the benches were full sized surfboards.
Shells were strung up from the wooden beams and the waitress painted our faces with little white flowers. Too cold to dip our feet but determined to not let our spirits dampen, we ordered flatbread and dips and a round of cocktails. Unfortunately the weather improved little, but Moyo’s bar would have been fantastic on a hot day. The unisex toilets were covered in mosaics of stone and colored glass, the staff were friendly, the cocktails were good, and apparently there is also an indoor pool/bar section.
At one point the mist cleared enough for a nice view of the mountain but this was short lived. C told me there was a shipwreck off the coast you could usually see but the mist had shrouded it from view.
Following another dinner of braai food, a good sleep and breakfast on the balcony we drove to Fish hoek on our final day via Chapman’s peak with some utterly gorgeous views – and then on to Boulders bay.
Chapmans peak – breath taking but not a drive for the faint hearted or those not fond of heights!
Upon arriving in Fish hoek, we found our way down to the harbor for a lunch of oysters, mussels and chips. We then headed to Boulders Bay to see the only place in Africa where penguins nest. The reason for this is the temperature of the sea, which is literally freezing so wasn’t on my list of places to go for a quick dip!
They are adorable little things but the wind had picked up quite badly while we were there making my experience a little awkward, spending most of my time with my eyes half shut to avoid sand flying in and trying to pin my dress down so that the other tourists didn’t catch an eye full!
It was a short lived venture, though great to see, it only really took 10 minutes or so to walk up and down the wooden walk ways and have a look. I didn’t find out until months after we got home that you can actually pay extra to go on the beach with the penguins, needless to say I was devastated!
On our way back to Camps Bay, we stopped at the Cape to Cuba bar which I instantly fell in love with! It had a relaxed island sort of vibe, the floor was covered in sand, the wall were bright color with mismatched furniture and a rope swing in the restaurant. Outside were shisha pipe areas, and an outside bar with a stone pizza oven. We ordered a round of bright blue and red cocktails, some handmade stone baked pizzas and sat back and enjoyed the sun which had finally appeared.
We still had the last rays of the evening and the next morning to lounge by the pool before it was time to pack.
If I return to Capetown I would happily pay extra to be able to go on the beach closer to the penguins. I also would have liked to have done wine tasting as there are so many lovely vineyards but unfortunately we just didn’t have the time to squeeze it in!
All too soon we were back on the plane, Johannesburg bound to meet up with the rest of the family…