Monday, July 30, 2012

We travelled from Capetown to the Cape of Good Hope along the most spectacular road which follows the coastline.  The morning was overcast so we didn’t get to see the view at it’s best as we had done on our bike tour last year.  On one side were the peaks of the mountains on the other side was the ocean shrouded in fog - just a beautiful drive.  
The cliff drops from the side of the road straight down to the water
The Cape of Good Hope is directly behind us
Then it was back into the coach and off to lunch at the Black Marlin Cafe which perched at the water’s edge.  We had been told that we might spot some whales while we ate our lunch but I don’t think anybody told the whales so we didn’t see any.

And this is just a single serve of fish wrapped in bacon served on a skewer
Not far up the road we stopped to see the Penguins at Boulder Beach.  There weren’t a lot of penguins ashore at the time, as they were probably out fishing, but there were several babies still sporting the downy fluff.  They look like they don’t know what to wear - they have half their baby feathers and half their adult feathers.  

Handsome little fellows in their tuxedos
In the morning we were on the road to Oudtshoorn, where our beds for the night were at an old farming property.  The main house was built in the 1800’s with walls about a foot thick,  probably because the temperature in this part of the country is pretty cool.  Next morning the manager told us the temperature had dropped to 2 degrees when we woke up so it was pretty chilly - I don’t think I warmed up till lunchtime. 
It's a chilly start to the day, even the AC couldn't beat the cold
In Oudtshoorn the farmers don’t grow  vegies but farm ostriches.  We visited an Ostrich Farm for our education in the difference between breeding for meat and ostriches bred for their feathers.  Now you can ask me all about the fascinating life of ostriches

Look Mum, I can stand on Ostrich eggs and I don't break them.
Unusual colouring for a feather duster
Our travelling days are pretty full and in the afternoon we visited Monkeyworld which is a sanctuary for endangered apes.  Some of the apes are from laboratories, some have been orphaned but they seem to thrive in this protected environment and while I’m not a great fan of monkeys it was lovely to see them up close and swinging through the trees.  It was hard to get a photo of them as when you think you’ve got them lined up, they move.  It was a bit like some of the photos I’ve tried to take of Isabella.

Madagascan lemurs share a fruit salad snack
Not sure what this guy is, but he was a handsome fellow
Same guy showing off as he swung across the suspension bridge

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Well we're in South Africa and presently in Capetown having enjoyed a relaxing (almost) overnight train ride from Pretoria on Monday and arriving Tuesday afternoon.  We travelled on the Blue Train and had a few problems with the train itself which caused us to arrive in Capetown about 3 hours late.  To catch up lost time, the train hurtled through most of the night at what seemed like breakneck speed causing lots of rocking and bumping and thumping.  Not the best setting for a pleasant night's sleep, but  the service and staff on the train were excellent and they couldn't do enough for us.  The food was amazing and so of course we ate more than needed and drank more than we would normally do, but that's what you do isn't it? 
Ready to roll
Silver service, crystal glassware, a menu - doin' it tough
The Lounge Bar on the train

Sadly we've seen several of these shanty towns as we've travelled through the countryside
It seems that because we are two women travelling together, people assume we are an item and in both of the hotels we've stayed in so far, we've had to ask for twin beds as our rooms have been set up with a massive king-size bed.  We laugh about it now, and I'm not quite sure why it's assumed that we're a couple! 
Our shack before we had the bedding configuration changed - it's pretty comfortable
This morning we toured Capetown by bus, but were disappointed to learn that the cable car to Table Mountain was undergoing maintenance so we would miss that landmark - Paddy was really upset as you could understand - it should be one of the highlights of any visit to Capetown.  
Colourful houses in the Malay Quarter in Capetown
As well we learned that our tour of Robben Island wasn't going to happen, so instead we settled for a tour of the Stellenbosch wine area.  Again, not what we had hoped to be doing, but we enjoyed the beautiful scenery and enjoyed sampling some of the local wines and cheeses.

A few barrels maturing so that we can enjoy the hint of blackberry and mocha in our next glass of vino

Thought my motor bike friends might appreciate this - the sign behind says 'Caged - a mid-life crisis' I'd hate to think what this is worth!
Anyhow, 3 days into our tour and the jet-lag has almost gone.  Tomorrow we're off to the Cape of Good Hope - I hope.  More to follow soon.