Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Garden Route Rocks!!

In a nutshell, the Garden route :

- is the most beautiful car trip I have ever been on
- spans the coast to mountains, hills and plains, rocks and vinyards.
- is breath-taking on so many levels
- contains cool animals such as penguins and ostiches (thumbs up!)
- is fantastic!!!!

Well let's also talk about Cape Town which, for those of you have seen the pics, is an absolutely beautiful city-- a perfect storm of sun, surf, and mountains. I really loved the city, and plan on starting a petition to get the CIVICUS office moved there. Striking when we first got there was also the lack of security measures. You could go around MUCH more easily than in Joburg! You could walk in the street!! It was such a weird feeling after two months living in such a security-conscious city, and very welcome!

In the middle of Cape Town is a giant mountain. I am not sure what the logic was in settling in such an awkward location, but nowadays it makes for some pretty amazing views. It is a flat mountain (hence the name, Table Mountain) which you can see from wherever you are in the city, and which is sometimes covered in a layer of clouds, called the table cloth (wokka wokka) . On one side of Table Mountain you have the city and the harbour, and on the other you have some amazing views and spectacular beaches. Awesome awesome awesome. Again, pics say it all, but it really a very nice city, and is so close to so much other natural beauty in the area.

Which leads me to the Cape of Good Hope. After about three days in Cape Town, we then rented a car and started our drive to the Garden Route, starting first with a drive down to the Cape, which as everyone knows is the southern most point on the continent. And seriously--- as cheezy as it sounds, to stand on the edge of this continent, knowing that the only thing between you and Antarctica is, well, nothing--- that was really special for me. And in any case, aside from any surreal import you may assign the place, the scenery is amazing. Again--- check the pics. Blue sky, blue water, white beaches, rolling hills, jutting mountains. Stunning.

From here we went to the wine region of the area and imbibed accordingly. Stunning, almost pastoral views, relaxing vinyards, delicious wines, etc... Took another day along the coast, saw penguins (thumbs up!) and meandered around the rolling waves and rocky coastline. Next day headed up the Overberg through Route 62, which took us inland and into the mountains--- more like an altiplano really. Stunning in its big-sky-ness, wide expanses, we drove through the clouds at some points, etc.... Lovely. Back down to the coast for most of the rest of the trip, before heading back to Joburg on a plane from Port Elizabeth.

So that it is the trip in a nutshell, itinerary-wise. (If anyone is travelling here and wants a more detailed idea of where to go and what to do, let me know--- i have LOTS of ideas!) But there is no way to talk about the amount of breath-taking scenery you can see in this area. They say it is one of the most beautiful places on earth, and i can totally see why. Seriously. Awesome.

Otherwise, things are good. Big news on the day-to-day front is that i have a car! I decided to chicken out and go for an automatic--- i just couldn't see myself learning to drive a standard car on top of the security and driving on the other side of the road, etc.... I am happy with the decision. So got a '91 Honda--- a bit of a beater, but drives well, and am hoping it will last for awhile. Got some help from a friend of a friend who is a mechanic, so feel like, with his help, i at least made an informed decision. So now in the process of registering it in my name, getting insurance, etc.... Weird to think i have a car now. Still getting used to the idea! :)

Anyway, nothing much else going on. Am happy and healthy and doing well. Lots of get togethers, parties, etc... One of my roommates moved out last week, so we had a big bash for her leaving. Now have a young British kid in her room--- he is nice, easy going and should be a good addition to the house. Have another potential vacation break at the end of this month--- can take 2 vacation days off, and then with the public holidays, get 10 days off total. Seems it would be a waste not to take advantage, so i will see if i am able to resist the temptation (I doubt it). I looked at one point into going to MAdagascar, but couldn't get the flights to work date-wise. Bummer. So may go safari-ing in Kruger park to the north east of the country, or to Mozambique. We shall see!!

So that is my update. Hugs and hope all is well with everyone! :)

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