Tag Archives: Cape Town

Cape Town: The City of Animals

15 Dec

Baboons run so freely in Cape Town that the city has employed official "Baboon Watchers" to help guard and protect the citizens and their homes. Sneaky little monkeys they are...with their red fannies out for all the world to see!

For an animal lover like myself, Cape Town is truly a city of angels (wild animal angels that is).  In addition to the jaw dropping beauty that the city has to offer, it seemed that at every turn in the road, another furry or feathery creature appeared.  Although, I must say that there is actually nothing that angelic about a baboon.

Our tour of the Cape began at Table Mountain, a flat top mountain that offers gorgeous panoramic views of the entire city.  A cable car takes you all the way up to the top – but the lines can be out of control.  Tickets can be purchased in advance online at http://tablemountain.net/ – but I suggest having your hotel buy them for you right before you go in order to be sure that the cable car is operating and that the mountain is open.  Unpredictable winds play a big factor in cable car capability.  We also suggest hiring a driver that is not above offering a small bribe to one of the workers to sneak you up the back elevator.  I bet we saved at least an hour!  By the way – if you are traveling with children, they are a free ticket to the secret elevator ride.  But be careful on the cable car…the floor moves like one of those  revolving restaurants from the 1980’s and it unexpectedly reveals open windows at times.  One father almost had a Michael Jackson moment with his baby girl.

Brett taking in the view and sipping on wine at Table Mountain Cafe

The ride to the top took less than 10 minutes, and the temperature dropped what felt like at least 10 degrees.  We had been forewarned that it would be chilly up there…so I sported my own cape in honor of THE Cape.  After admiring the view and taking an acceptable amount of photos, we stopped in at the Table Mountain Cafe (a surprisingly cute and trendy spot) to enjoy the scenery (free from the wind) over a glass of fine South African wine.

Typical honeymoon solo photos! On top of Cape Town's Table Mountain...in a cape!

The reality is that Brett and I are not the greatest at sticking to a schedule during vacation.  So when we made it back down the mountain an hour late…our driver was a little frazzled.  In his defense, our expectations were very high on the amount of things we wanted to see in one day.  So…our tardiness – due to newlywed giggles caused us to miss out on the boat trip to Seal Island.  While we hated to miss out, it was our driver who fell into a short-term depression over the miss.  He was determined to for us to see some seals.  He didn’t disappoint.

I even got to feed one! Feeders beware though - we learned that seals actually bite!

After the seal feeding and baboon sightings, we couldn’t wait to see what other animals might emerge.  Again, Cape Town did not let us down.  And, as we turned the corner heading to the Cape of Good Hope, a lady ostrich chilling by the sea raised her long lovely neck.

Sunbathing Ostrich by the Sea. You just don't see this everyday in Beijing...or New York...or Murray, Kentucky...or Columbus, Ohio for that matter!

Morgan and Brett Hutchinson at the Cape of Good Hope

Posing by the sea at Cape of Good Hope before climbing to the top

On Top of Good Hope

At the very top! Only 12,933 kilometers to Beijing!

Brett on top of Good Hope. I was trying to be artistic with the new camera... What do you think?

After a tasty seafood lunch (late lunch I should say…we were actually hungry when our dishes arrived) and a not too shabby whale sighting from our seats at the restaurant on top of the Cape of Good Hope, we headed back in the direction of One & Only for our grand finale stop of the day.  Cape Town’s very own flock of beach penguins!

Seriously - two of the greatest things ever...Brett laughing and beach penguins.

A feathery angel in a tux. Obsessed.

Falling in love with the strange and seemingly misplaced little sunbathing birds...

I think I found a true connection with the penguins of Boulders Beach. As a Blonde in Beijing…I often feel misplaced myself!

Cape Town is an exquisite city.  We had no idea how much we would fall in love with it, and we hope to be able to go back. It is a bucket list destination for sure.

Up next…Our trip to the Delaire Graff Estates and Winery in Stellenbosch.  Wine, art, and diamond lovers stayed tuned!

The Trip of a Lifetime

14 Dec

At the Beijing Airport - Ready for Take-Off!

Our honeymoon trip to South Africa was one of the most magical experiences of my entire life.  It was 3 weeks of total bliss, and I would love to share all of the details of our adventure.  Perhaps if you have African Safari dreams of your own, then our journey and experience will help in planning your trip.  It is not an easy trip to plan, and it requires lots of outside help – but  every second spent researching or working with Intosol, our travel agency, whom we loved BTW (www.intosol.com) was well worth it.  (Please note – I truly believe that planning this trip without an agency would have been impossible!  We were very involved, but there are some things you just can’t book properly without the assistance of an expert when it comes to South Africa and Mozambique!)

Our  journey began with Emirates.  What an airline!  As first time Emirate’s passengers, we were pleasantly surprised by the free flowing Moet, the delicious Pommerol (in-flight Pommerol…are you kidding me?), the lobster, the remarkably large seats (almost like a little condo in the sky) and did I mention THE BAR?  I felt like we had stepped back in time to the days of Pan Am glamour.  Is there any better way to kick start a honeymoon than by toasting bubbly in a beautiful, fully stocked Sky Bar at 35,000 feet?

In-Flight Accommodations

The flight from Beijing to Cape Town is by no means a short one – but it certainly was a fun one thanks to my travel partner.  After nine hours in the air, we had a three hour layover in Dubai (where I learned that Wal-Mart quality L’Oreal lip-glosses are the price of Chanel and Chanel glosses are the price of…well – solid gold I guess.)  For the record, I stood in a ten minute line and then didn’t buy them.  I have my limits. I also learned that Emirate’s Airport Lounges are fantastic.  Sorry Continental – you know that I love you (and I am rather sad about the merger with United) but Emirate’s really puts your bagels and granola breakfast buffet to shame.  From Dubai we hopped back on board for another ten hours… Cape Town bound.  (FTA “for the Americans” – it is a similar travel time for you, albeit a much different route.)

Around 4PM South African time –  we were back on solid ground, rested, and ready for a night on the town.  Cape Town that is.  Upon arrival, we were graciously greeted at the airport by our driver who helped with our bags and began to share his favorite list of fun facts about the southern most and second largest city of South Africa. Population 3.5 million.  He beamed as he shared his knowledge of the Cape’s first settlers -the Dutch in 1652 – but he really lit up when we passed the recently built World Cup stadium.  Out with the old and in with the new.

After twenty plus hours of travel, my first priority was a bath.  Thanks to the wonderful concierge at the Cape Town One & Only  (http://capetown.oneandonlyresorts.com/)for the honey moon suite upgrade, on top of the upgrade from American Express Travel Services, we were greeted with the most incredible bath tub (bathroom actually – okay the entire hotel room was ridiculous) that neither Brett nor I had ever seen.  Check-in was seamless and by 5:30 we were sipping on the pre-chilled champagne welcome gift from the hotel and munching on canapés while waiting for our giant bubble bath to fill up.  Obviously there was no possible way we were hungry, as we had basically been eating since take-off, but we managed to choke down a few! I probably should have been more diligent in reminding myself that I had a wedding dress to wear in 3 days…oops!

By 8:45 we were dressed and ready.  And, thanks to the excellent team at One & Only, who had already taken care of booking a table for us a couple of weeks in advance at La Colombe, a contemporary french meets asian restaurant settled in the middle of the beautiful Constantia Uitsig winery (http://www.constantia-uitsig.com) we had the perfect dining spot awaiting us. (Please note – the restaurant is actually quite small and books early so be sure to plan ahead.)

The decor is quaint.  One very large chalkboard meun, hand written daily is personally carried by a waiter to each table during the carefully guided ordering process.  The chill in the air is relieved by the wood burning fireplace and the growl in your belly (or lack there of in our case) is satisfied by the melt-in-your-mouth tasting courses.  And obviously, the wines are quite nice.

In front of our personal chalkboard menu at La Colombe in Cape Town

More of our Cape Town time tomorrow and then on to the Safari…and then the wedding ceremony…and then the mountains..and then the beaches of Mozambique!   That’s right…the Blonde in Beijing is back.  Sorry for the lack of blogging.  Life sort of sucked the “blog” out of me for a bit – but now I am back.  Thank you so much for continuing to check-in!  Please stay tuned…

 

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