Monday, August 30, 2010

Cape Town

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We got back from our trip to Cape Town and surrounding areas yesterday. We spent the first few days in Cape Town itself, wandering around the water front area and visiting Table Mountain. The water front is fun, and there are 2 local brew-houses with good beer available (Mitchell's and Paulaner), not to mention excellent german food at Paulaner.

Table Mountain was incredible. We hiked about 3km on the top and had a blast. The weather was perfect and we were incredibly lucky as high winds had closed the cable car for the previous 7 days.

We were able to visit an online friend of Kerri's the next day, as well as head down the Cape Peninsula and see the Cape of Good Hope, Cape Point, penguins, and take a trip out to Seal Island where we saw seals and a glimpse of a great white shark attracted to a research vessel for tagging!

Next we headed off along the southern coast line to Hermanus where we spent several days walking along a coastline path and watching the many whales that swim in the bay. We also visited several nearby nice locations, including the Birkenhead brewing company, another small micro-brewery, and sampled the local beer and wine. The beer wasn't quite as good as the locations in Capetown, but the wine was excellent.

Heading east and north, we ended up in Outdshoorn and ostrich country. Outdshoorn was a nice little town, but we spent only one night there before heading several kilometers east to a small farm where we spent 3 days. It was our favorite location (Rolbaken) and we had a great time there. Dick and Mary were our hosts and cooked a great breakfast and an incredible birthday dinner for Kerri.

Unfortunately, Kerri came down with horrible sore throat and we ended up having to go to a doctor to get some anti-biotics which cleared it up after several more days. Of course, this happened during our 10 year anniversary and her birthday! Ah well...just means we get to do it again to make up for it...

While in the Outdshoorn area we also visited the nearby Cango cave complex and an ostrich farm where we got to ride ostriches! BTW, properly cooked, ostrich meat is our new favorite.

Then we went back west towards Cape Town and landed in wine country. We stayed at a small vineyard named Tanagra for 5 days. This was supposed to be the most relaxing point of our trip, but unfortunately the very large puppy was too rough for Rowan and he couldn't enjoy being outside much, and the area around there is full of ticks (we found over 10 in our room and clothes) so we brought them in with us after walks. Other than that it was lovely and we enjoyed shopping for groceries and cooking for ourselves for a while.

It was at this time that we thought to check our email after over a week with no internet. Our debit card had been declined recently and we figured it was just a matter of our bank forgetting that we would be in South Africa for a while. Much to our horrified surprise, we discovered our bank account completely empty and our overdraft protection line of credit fully maxed out. It appeared as if someone in Cape Town had managed to get all of our information from our card and duplicate it somehow. We were able to call our bank and start the process of correcting the mess, but it was quite a shock to us at the time. Apparently this is common in South Africa and it is highly recommended that when you pay by credit card you should not let the card out of your sight! Nice to know now.

We had a couple of days left so we headed north of Cape Town to the Langebaan area. There was a fossil park there that we thought Rowan would enjoy. Unfortunately the surrounding area wasn't all that nice, so we didn't really do much other than the West Coast Fossil Park (which was pretty's an ongoing dig site and you can see the dig area itself with all the bones still in the ground!).

We drove back to Cape Town our final day and drove to the western areas that are between Table Mountain and the Atlantic ocean. This area was delightful and we wished we could have spent more time there.

Our flight back was delayed at Jo-berg and we missed our connecting flight from Doha to Kuwait, so we got to spend an extra 6 hours or so in the airport there. None of us slept for about 36 hours straight and we were very grateful to collapse into our beds last night. 12 hours of sleep later and we are doing great! I'll be heading to work tomorrow and back to life as normal.

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