Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Cape Town : Too many days to count (10 & 11)

Good morning, good day, and good evening world!
Well we've come to realize that we are starting to get a bit behind on our posts with this blog as we now have quite a backlog of days. The problem now of course is that we have now packed the last couple of days chock full of activities so we'll try our best to write about as much as possible below.
Beautiful wine country! Just looking at this view can make you thirsty!
Mike dipping his nose to smell the wine's bouquet.
He was surprised his big nose didn't land in wine itself
Our Saturday was a wine filled afternoon as we made our way to Stellenbosch, the wine capital of South Africa, and when in Rome, drink like the Romans! We started at the Spier Winery where we drank 5 varieties of white and red blends of different types of wine and, upon completing a "brief" survey, were treated to a complimentary bottle of wine. We went to two other vineyards on our tour, Boschendal and Solmes Delta, and drank even more samples of their delicious concoctions. I swar, weve nevr drak so mush wine in owr livves! Ti tasted greet! We dont know how we'll chose wish of the tipes to bring back since we can only bring back 2 botles. In fact, i think we maay haf to go bak and do it again before we go!! *hic*
Maja pre-wine. She's pretty excited!
Round 2! FIGHT!

Once we sobered up a bit, we drove another small town outside of Cape Town called Franschhoek for lunch and souvenir shopping. It's quite the quaint little town with several enticing specialty shops along it's main street. In fact, Mike has really fallen in love with the smaller towns in South Africa and he prefers them much more than the hussle and bussel of Cape Town. This would be one of our biggest recommendations when visiting South Africa, make time for the smaller towns. We suggest perhaps using the large cities as a base or hub, but then follow our example, rent a car and make your way out of the city.
What are you doing just standing around people! There's a giant Mantis on the loose! RUN!!!!!!!!
Mike was very smelly after his shawarma
Upon our return to the city, we learned that the Cape Town Carnivale was underway that evening. This is a relatively new event in Cape Town but it is similar, in idea, but not so much in size, to the Rio De Janero Carnivale. It was full of local residents dressed in elaborate and flamboyant costumes, live marching bands, huges floats and dancing girls. We weren't planning on staying too long into the evening but the magic of the atmosphere and the rhythms of the musical beats lured us there for most of the night. The most impressive sight by far were a group of African drummers who balanced enormous drums on their heads and would pound both the front of the drum and the sides in order to produce a rhythmic musical beat. How they never managed to knock one of these drums off their noggin is beyond my comprehension. It was a spectacular time! We ended the night with Mike's travel tradition. Everywhere he goes he has to try a shawarma! The reason this is so important to him is because he has found that every single country seems to have their own version of his favourite Middle-Eastern dish! Not only are they delicious but they are always unique too and South African shawarma didn't disappoint.

These guys were just plain awesome, there's no doubt about it.

Day 11 begun with some typical tourist trappings as we went souvenir shopping. We won't bother you with the details but we will say that now Mike is in possession of some pretty awesome South African rugby and cricket gear! We were lucky enough to be invited for lunch at Sanjin's girlfriend Amy's house where we sat down and broke bread with her parents, her brother (who is quite the proficient Jazz bass player) and his girlfriend. Amy's family laid out a truly amazing spread for us, with pasta salad, hake salad (just don't ask Mike how it tasted, he doesn't eat fish), beet root salad, pootjie (which is like a lamb chop stew with full veggies, like potatoes, corn on the cob, and peppers and beans), and boerewors (which is a traditional South African sausage).  All of the food was delicious and the company, equally pleasant. We were well stuffed and ready for our next adventure, off to Simon's Town, home to Boulder's Beach, or as we like to call it "Penguin Beach."

Hilariously awkward creatures
The roads leading to the beach were full of Yield signs with little penguin silhouettes on them, warning drivers to be on the lookout for the little munchkins. I think the city of Ottawa would have far more success with their yield signs if they decided to put penguins on them as well (or maybe it would just cause more accidents as drivers would be searching for penguins around them, who knows... ok it's a bad idea). At the beach, we were absolutely surrounded by penguins! Maja said the beach had changed significantly since she first visited, as they were able to go onto the beach and walk through the penguins, while now tourists are separated by an elevated boardwalk. While this isn't as fun, it's probably for the best as the penguins are an endangered species. Mike had an absolute blast and he embarrassed himself by pointing and laughing out loud as he watched the penguins waddle on the beach, not realizing he was surrounded by strangers. He just couldn't help it, penguins are HILARIOUS when when they walk. As this was a little after mating season, there were also numerous baby chicks throughout the beach which were equally adorable!
"It's too damn HOT for a penguin to be just be walking around! I gotta send him back to the South Pole!"

A beautiful secluded beach at Cape Point

We ended our day with a drive to Cape Point, where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet. You may be familiar with a South African wine called Two Oceans? Well that's where it gets its name, the two oceans join in South Africa. It was a far drive and long trek up a steep mountain side (which Maja did in 4-inch heels) to see Cape Point, but it was worth it for the breathtaking view. On our way back to Cape Town, we took a spectacular road that hugs the near-vertical face of the Chapman's Peak mountain from Noordhoek to Hout Bay known as Chapman's Peak. We stopped at one of the lookouts to take some amazing sunset photos. Finally, all that walking and excitement had our stomachs gurgling so we ordered a huge meal from Nando's Chicken, a staple of South Africa (which you can also find back home in Ottawa)! Delicious spicy peri-peri sauce enflamed our taste buds as chicken, corn on the cob and rice filled our bellies!
Chapman's Peak. Views don't get much better than this...

We write this on our last day in Cape Town (on Mike's birthday!) so their may not be another update for a while, but we promise one more post to tell you about the final days of our trips (including a voyage to Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was held for 17 years, a trip to the Two Oceans aquarium, the District 6 museum and the Cape Town Castel).

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