foto faves

foto faves

Friday, July 8, 2011

cape town redux

we arrived late on the 4th of July- and were met by Greg Couzens - our guide for the next three days of touring in the Cape and Winelands region.

the hotel is very basic- but will do.  we have an excellent  breakfast in the morning and head out early to try to make the Table Mountain cable car- it's closed so off we go in another direction- up signal hill. good views over the city and harbor-





then off to various areas of the city and then to Kirstenbosch gardens - world renown habitat for protea and fynbos vegetation.





from there we try again for the mountain and it is still closed- no worries- we still have two more days. 
after we do a drive through the V&A Waterfront Greg drops us off in the middle of the working harbor at one of his personal favorites Panama Jack's


we cab it home to the hotel and the rest of the folks go to the Waterfront to shop.  Later we are picked up to have a home hosted meal - at Angie and Peter's house- lovely lovely evening.  their daughter is gradating from law school and their son works as a Cisco systems guy in IT at the University of Cape Town.  Peter is a former pro soccer player and Angie is in accounting.  Below Angie's mom Agnes, Peter and Angie.


the next morning after another excellent breakfast we are again off early- still no go on the mountain.  So we stop at Bo Kaap on the way out of town for some photos (I had asked Greg if we could do a stop and he was very accommodating)



then off to the cape point- via all the high end areas along the west coast of the cape peninsula and down through Chapman's Peak and into the Cape Nature Preserve where we see (and get photographed at) the southwestern point of Africa.


and below the graffiti sign:





then on to the eastern side of the peninsula and a lovely lunch at the Black Marlin before getting to Boulder's beach and the penguins and traveling through Simon's Town back up to Cape Town.



We do finally make the mountain and spend our last hour of the day up there. we finally spot one of the dassies (rock hyrax) while up top.


We have dinner at Savoy Cabbage again where the food and service remain stellar. 

Next day off to the Winelands where we go to morning tastings






and then stop in Franschoek for lunch


and then on to another winery after a stop at the Nelson Mandela Long Walk to Freedom statue located at the prison where he was serving when he won his release. perhaps later I will get to write more about Mandela but one quick note- while in Zimbabwe we heard a lecture about David Livingstone and his impact on the opening up of Africa.  The lecturer called Mandela the "living god on earth."  His story is awe inspiring- his place in history for his own country and for the world at large as an example of the overwhelming power of forgiveness and forward movement on behalf of all humans is one that should be revered.  when we were in Africa Michelle Obama and her daughters visited just a few days behind us and they were able to meet with Mandela (who is in failing health - now approaching 93 I believe) what a special moment that must have been for her and I hope her girls have a small understanding of how much Mr. Mandela has meant to all people but especially to people of color.


then one more winery and a chance for a cheetah encounter on the grounds there



and we are heading back into town- we drive through a couple of shanty towns which they now call "informal settlements" and learn more about township life.


then finally back to the hotel.  Dinner was at the Waterfront at Quay 4 upstairs- lovely but we are both tired and happily end the meal without dessert to exchange for a good night's sleep

our final day was spent completely at leisure- our flight takes off just before midnight and so we sleep in and head to breakfast late- then after some computer time and printing of boarding passes we head to the Mount Nelson hotel for high tea.  it is a lavish affair and we are stuffed with tea sandwiches and cakes




so we walk all the way home - across the city and end up back at the hotel about 45 minutes later ready to shower and pack for the long journey home- our driver arrives at 9PM.

lots more to tell about from the 28 days we were away - so stayed tuned as I go through photos and remember tales of what we saw and did.

vic falls

we arrive late in the afternoon and head out for a sunset cruise on the mighty Zambezi
River - where the highlight are hippos who show us their teeth.





the next day we sleep in and then in the afternoon Cham takes us to the falls-



it is amazing- just roars and roars in the white noise of zillions of gallons of water falling over a cliff!



then back to the hotel for our last dinner together and off again tomorrow on a transit day- some of the group end here and will fly with us only as far as JoBurg - we will head to the domestic terminal and on to Cape Town. 

more from there-

village life

we leave early for the village which is between two and three hours drive away.  it is a typical rural village in Zimbabwe.  itis many hours on the train to the nearest city - and the train comes by at 2 AM each day- if you want to go to the city you need to get the train at this station-


first we meet a few villagers on the road on the way in-


then we came to one of the homesteads and farms




then we visited a school and met with some of the teachers and students





and then on to the family of the village headman- Mr. Johnson


the men in the winter dining room during our meeting with Mr. Johnson

Mrs. Johnson in the kitchen


the family laundry - done by the daughter in law (not a good job to have in the homestead)

then finally to the local crafts market and then towards home-



we stop along the way for cheetah (who was quite lazy in the heat of the day- relaxing under the shade of the nearby tree)



tomorrow we are off again to Vic Falls- for a two night stay in semi-civilization before going to Cape Town for some more time there before heading home.