Stellenbosch

Saturday kicked off the weekend in wine country. Destination: Stellenbosch. Mission: Drink and Be Merry.

Our friends, Tom and Gabby, came around our place at 11am and we headed off east. 45 minutes away and we were there. Yep, it’s that close. Can we please move here already? We checked into our Life & Leisure guesthouse and set off for food and wine. We stopped in Wijnhuis for lunch. Easily top 5 bread I’ve ever had in my life. I live for those moments where something is so good you can list it in your top 5. Probably why I like to travel so much.

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Post lunch was a stop by the Brampton Wine Studio for a tasting as we waited for our driver to arrive at 2pm. We were served our 3 wines slowly as the driver arrived. He honked. We acknowledged him. Tom got up and told him we were waiting on the bill and we’d be there in a minute. Literally a minute went by and the driver honked again. Mind you, we had arranged a private driver to take us to 4 wineries with no expectation of timing. What’s the rush? Turns out there were two others in the car and they were waiting on us. We got the bill, downed our final glass and we were off.

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First stop, Glenelly. A chic, modern building with an almost sterile feel to it. The wines were very good. The scenery was amazing.

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Next stop, Knorhoek. A nice secluded winery amongst some trees. Again, amazing place to spend an afternoon. They even have a guesthouse to stay in. Mental note. More wine was enjoyed despite a somewhat grumpy server. Tom and Gabby declared the cheap wine so tasty they bought a whole case for 250 Rand (roughly $30). More sober tastebuds may prove otherwise; however, I still declare it a steal.

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Next desired stop, Quoin Rock winery. I say desired because it was closed.

Next real stop, Meratie. No tasting, but they were happy to sell us a couple of bottles. Nice picnic tables with rolling hills of vineyards; ok!

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Next stop, Peter Faulk. I’m glad the other place was closed. Sure we were told they weren’t serving anymore, but cooler heads prevailed. Note to all you travelers, if they say it closes at 7pm, it actually closes at 6pm. I’m still failing to see the logic here, but nevertheless we were able to secure ourselves at least a full glass of wine. The joy of this place was the lawn full of giant bean bag cheds. Yep, it’s my new word: ched (chair + bed). Moving along. We enjoyed the sunset and view for about an hour and contemplated life and why we live in places that don’t look like this.

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I declared this day a success.

Indaba Design Film Festival

Friday night kicked off the weekend with a quick dinner at Feast right down Bloem street from our place. Apparently it’s now an Indian place (good to know). Got a great R50 buffet and headed off to the Indaba Design Film Festival. We weaved our way through the streets of Cape Town (after forgetting the tickets, thank you iPhone) and arrived on Canterbury street. The event was held in the offices of a local design company. I should say, on the roof of the offices. It was great. Rows and rows of cheap neon plastic chairs ready for my buns to sit and enjoy the giant screen they created on the neighboring building. They served wine and cocktails, provided freshly popped corn kernels and free blankets. The backdrop wasn’t too bad either as it was table mountain. Unbelievable.

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The movie we saw was called The Big Easy Express. It’s a documentary about a tour taken by Mumford & Sons, Old Crowe Medicine Show and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes. The unique thing was that they took this tour on a train from San Fran to New Orleans. Amazing music and definitely worth watching. We dodged the bad parts of town on our way home and went to bed early.

I decided it’s nice being in a place for a long time because you don’t feel like you need to cram so many activities in a short period of time. Note to self: I need to find a job that allows me the flexibility to work anywhere for a few months at a time.

The Office in Cape Town

Here’s the 88mph office in Cape Town:

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Cape Town is Africa Light

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I’ve drawn a comparison between African cities/nations and beers. This has nothing to do with skin color mind you. This has everything to do with the development, grittiness and level of chaos.

You see, Cape Town is Africa Light. Probably a Bud Light or maybe even something lighter.

Kenya I would say is a straight up Ale. Just Africa. The right amount of flavor and moments of taking you to the deep end.

Egypt varies but when I went, it was a lager. Now, it’s probably into the realms of an IPA.

I haven’t been, but I’d say the Congo is probably on the level of the darkest and hoppiest stout you’d ever have in your life. Perhaps something even stronger because I’m not that knowledgable of beer types.

Despite this comparison. I’d say that I love them all. It all depends on the mood. Just like my taste for beer.

Camps Bay

The weekend wasn’t filled entirely with just exercising, we also took some time to enjoy the beach.  Sunday morning rolled around and we decided to head out for Camps Bay.  Blue skies and not a care in the world.

We grabbed a cab down the road and headed on over.  It’s on the same road to Table Mountain.  You go up the hill from where we live just a bit and then back down over the ridge.  It’s a pretty spectacular sight and definitely feel some envy for the folks who live there.

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Our feelings were mutual in that we really felt like we can’t be any more fortunate with where we currently are.

We enjoyed a walk on the beach, spicy mojitos while looking over the water, fresh seafood and a beautiful day.  Shan’s favorite part was the topless nature of the beach (note: this statement is not sanctioned by Shan).

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The walk along the beach took us from Camps Bay beach to Clifton beach.  I have to say that perhaps Clifton beach is even nicer than Camps Bay. It’s a little more secluded.  The sand is a little nicer.  It even had the multi-million dollar beach homes in the cliffs to go with it.

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The water is beautiful, but you better be prepared for some serious shrinkage.  I’m not sure I’ll be swimming much while I’m here.

Overall I can say that these beaches are a perfect compliment to an already awesome place.

Table Mountain

Table Mountain is one of the 7 natural wonders of the world. I now reaffirmed why.

Saturday, Shan and I decided to wake up early(ish) and hike up that beautiful mountain outside our window. I completed this trek once before in 2008 with my buddies Todd and Andy. I do not remember it being so difficult.

We hopped in a cab after having some breakfast and wandering the streets. We arrived at the Platteklip Gorge around 11am. The sign instructed us that it would take us roughly 2 hours to climb the 620m vertical, we should not be alone (check), we should have a hat (check), we should have a jacket (negative: it was 80 degrees out), we should have water (naturally) and that we should have hiking boots (nope).

I told Shan that I was beginning to remember the hike a little as time went along. The thing I did not remember was how virtually vertical the trail is. I thought my heart was going to pump out of my chest after about 15 minutes. This hike is not a walk in the park. I’m sorry, that’s not true. It literally IS a walk in a (national) park, but…oh never mind.

Want to know how steep it is? It’s 2000 ft vertical over .6 miles. That’s steep.

All I have to say is that no matter the pain you might go through in climbing this mountain, it is worth it. Sure, you could just ride the cable car up, but where’s the adventure in that? disclaimer: we did ride it back down, but only because there was so much more we wanted to do later that day.

Words can’t explain the sights we saw so I’ll show you some pics. Here you go.

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Rand: It’s How You Pay for Stuff

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I don’t really know anything about it other than that it’s called Rand. It’s the South African currency and it’s currently trading at about 1 US Dollar to 8.8 South African Rand. They recently unveiled a new set of notes picturing Nelson Mandela which, appropriately, the people are proud of.

Now I just need to figure out how to get my hands on more of it.

Our Home in Cape Town

Our Journey to Cape Town

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Our journey to Cape Town consisted of the following:

  • Going to CVG 5 hours early in an attempt to catch the earlier flight to Boston
  • Why? We had a 30 min connection in Boston. Meaning, the plane would arrive at 6pm and our next flight left for Amsterdam at 6:30pm. This would officially leave us with 10 minutes to get off the plane and board the next before they closed their doors.
  • Did not catch the earlier flight to Boston and thus forced to return home. This was actually nice because it gave us some time to relax.
  • Return to CVG for our 4pm flight. Flight was delayed multiple times due to a redirected Boston flight that found its way into Cincinnati. As such, we didn’t depart until about 4:30pm. I know you’re all smart, but I’ll clarify anyway, this meant we would arrive at the time of our next flight’s departure. Ugh.
  • Check for next flight to Amsterdam. The next day at 6:30pm. Ugh Ugh.
  • During our flight from CVG to BOS we discovered that our free wifi was telling us that we had a slight chance to arrive before our flight left despite the delays. Why? 160mph tailwind. Our flight was only 1 hr 20 min which I believe is normally 2 hours.
  • We arrived in Boston. Shannon pushed us to the front of the plane so we would be the first ones off. A job well done.
  • We got off the plane at 6:25pm. ‘No way’ I said. The lady greeting us once the plane door open said ‘Yes way.’ She nicely asked us to RUN! Again fortune was on our side. The next flight literally left from the next gate.
  • Board our flight to Amsterdam at 6:30pm with 238 passengers glaring at us.
  • All this ended up being much ado about nothing because our flight didn’t leave from Boston until about 7pm. Why? The same strong tailwind was going to put us into Amsterdam 2 hours early which wasn’t allowed. Flight time was only about 6 hours. Sweet.
  • What was not so sweet. Captain came over the speaker half way into our flight asking everyone to sit down (including flight staff) due to extremely heavy turbulence. What could improve this? Boy who cried wolf. Smooth flight the whole way.
  • Nice break in Amsterdam to have smoothies and bread.
  • Next stop, Cape Town. 11 hours.

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We Have Arrived

After a 22 hour trip we have finally made it. We got a nice 12 hour sleep last night to make up for the lack thereof on the flights.

We are currently meeting everyone in the 88mph offices here in Cape Town. The rest of the day will involve getting to know our neighborhood, getting our mobile phones working and relaxing a bit.

More to come soon.