Friday, 29 April 2016

CapeTown Capers

It has been several months now since the last post and whilst we have not been back on the boat we have been busy! After Italy we moved on to visiting John's brother in South Africa. I had been before and had been telling John for a while that we should go. John has not seen his brother for quite a time and then it was under sad circumstances, his Dads funeral. So after some discussion it was agreed we would meet his brother Arthur and his wife in Western Cape. John and I were there for over two weeks. The scenery was spectacular the weather great and the prices unbelievably cheap since the Rand has taken a nose dive. We spent five days touring the area around Stellenbosch and just had to go on a wine tour. It was a great day out, we visited five vineyards tasting a variety of beautiful wines, bought a few bottles to drink whilst we were there and finished off with a bottle of Port. If you go it's a must, every vineyard is different....different setting, different wine and all very welcoming.

We also went to Fishermans Wharf, Hout Bay, travelling along the beautiful coastline watching the yachts sail into the Bay,it did not look an easy sail coming in along that coast. The seals here seem to be well trained at hopping onto the quay for fish as the boats come in! The wharf has modelled itself on the area with the same name in San Francisco and whilst it is somewhat smaller it was a good place to lap up the sunshine with good food and of course excellent wine! 
After we said goodbye to Arthur and Lynne, it was so good to see them, we made our way along the coast to Hermanus. I had been there nearly thirty years and wow how it has changed! Then it was a small town where at the right time you could see the whale flipping about in the sea coming to feed off the abundant krill in the area. Not the right time for this in March but there is still lots to see regarding the whales in the area and Hermanus is a busy, bustling town with lots of tourists. We were staying outside Hermanus in a great little B&B, the Amakhosi Guesthouse, good value, a lovely breakfast and a good spot to use as a base to explore the region, and explore we certainly did.....
Off to Betty's Bay to see the penguins 

A beautiful meal in a great location up in the hills above Gans Bay, the Bella Vista, where we both had a delicious meal, a stunning bottle of red, a sweet and coffees all for the outrageous price of £33! 

The CapeCanopy Zipwire tour located in the Hottentots Holland Nature Reserve, we zipped our way across eleven zip lines into a previously inaccessible and pristine part of  this amazing World Heritage Site. Whilst I have to admit to being a little wary about the thought of zipping across ravines it was actually the journey up to the top on the van that was more scary.......and that was before we had even started our zips down! The ride across this mountainous terrain was not made any better when John noticed that the handbrake on/ brake fluid low light was on! He did point this out to the driver when we got off, but I have to say we were mightily relieved that a different bus was at the collection point to take us down from where the zip lines had dropped us off! The drive down the hill was even worse than the ride up......not for the feint hearted! However a really great afternoon. I recommend it!

We were sad to leave South Africa and politics the Western Cape is a beautiful place. I am sure we will return. We left to return to the UK using Ethiopian Airlines, not sure why we booked it....well I do, it was cheap! This meant a stop off in Addis Ababa,only five hours but I was not sure what to expect. Well we found, a busy airport with not a Macdonalds or Starbucks in sight ( that's got to be a plus!) but restaurants with open bbqs selling local produce which gave the airport lounge a different smell, but the best things was the loungers where you could get your head down for a couple of hours if you weren't disturbed by the airport workers walking past shouting out various flights....' Beijing, Bejing anyone for Bejing!' No flash airline departure boards here! Well there was something but it didn't work! The flight itself was no problem and we arrived on time back at Heathrow just in time to catch the X26 bus to my Mums and for John to have his usual rant at Londoners who do not seem to know understand how to form an orderly queue....happens every time! LOL!