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Weekly Photo Challenge – Path

As we stood at the base of Table Mountain, we could see paths leading up the side. Once we got to the top and looked down, we saw these. The almost look like veins, don’t they?

View from Table Mountain

Table Mountain Path

Travel Photo Thursday: Table Mountain

Table Mountain was not on our itinerary, not for that gorgeous day. After an emotionally charged visit to Robben Island, all we wanted to do was have a meal and take a nap.

But Ian, our guide, insisted. The weather was perfect, he said. There was no guarantee we’d have another one, best to take advantage. If the clouds came in, visibility on Table Mountain would be reduced. I know this mountain, he said. You only have five days, why wait for tomorrow when you could see something else? We’re so close.

We insisted. We huddled among ourselves. We were adamant. We didn’t want a tour guide to commandeer our vacation. After all, for more than a week, we’d had people telling us what to do and when do it. And after Cape Town, we’d have another tour guide shepherding us around. Independent people, we wanted our freedom or a least a little latitude.

I can’t remember now what Ian said that clinched it. But I’m glad he didn’t give up. It was the best decision we made that day. As it turned out, it rained all day the next day and for several days after that, Table mountain looked as if a crisp white tablecloth had been spread over it.

View of Cape Town from Table Mountain

From that moment, we never objected to anything Ian recommended.

How about a braai?

About an hour after we left Durban‘s King Shaka Airport, we were at O.R. Tambo International Airport in Johannesburg. Though only a short distance away, it felt like a different world.

As we exited, we noticed Stefan looking anxiously towards the arrivals gate then at his cell phone, as if trying to decide whether to make a call. We shouted his name and he turned and smiled widely. It was wonderful to see his familiar face.

Despite the fun we’d had in Victoria Falls, on safari at Hwange National Park, in Cape Town and Durban, Johannesburg felt as if we were returning home.

As soon as exchanged hugs and settled into the jeep, we – Sandra, Judith and I – began chattering all at once, like giddy teenagers tripping over each others’ words eagerly trying to get the stories of our adventures out to Stefan as quickly as we could.

Stefan had some news of his own. While we were gone, Shepherds Court, the guest house he owns and where we had stayed when we arrived in Johannesburg, had seen a flurry of new arrivals and was fully booked so he decided to put us up for our last night in Joburg at his pool house. He dropped us off then left to do some shopping.

We settled in and made our way to the kitchen of the main house and opened a bottle of Tall Horse, a local wine we had fallen in love with. The door bell rang unexpectedly. It was Thope. She had several bottles of wine with her and told us that Stefan planned to have a braai – a kind of a barbecue – for us before we left. A braai? We were excited!

In our two weeks in Southern Africa, we had not been to a braai. We hadn’t thought about it — it wasn’t even on our must-do list.

Finally, Stefan returned and more friends arrived. The men went about setting up and cooking ribs, pork, beef and boerewors (sausage) while we women remained inside drinking and chatting.

Once everything was ready, we moved outside to the covered porch area where the huge braaier was located and the party began.

We had eaten so much beef in Southern Africa, we’d joked among ourselves that we’d  have to take a vacation from meat when we returned to the States. But what’s a braai without meat? The beef was surprisingly tender and flavorful and hours later, almost all of it had been washed down with several bottles of South African wine.

After the braai

And several bottles of wine

Just before dawn

If we didn’t have plans to go to Soweto later that morning, we would probably still be there, chatting and laughing. We had a fabulous time. It was about 3 a.m. when we finally stumbled into bed on our last night in South Africa.

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Cape Town Winelands: Everywhere a Vineyard

We saved our last full day in Cape Town for our trip to the winelands.

Our first stop was at KWV Wines, a 90 year old brandy and wine emporium located in Paarl, one of the three popular wine regions – Stellenbosch and Franschhoek being the other two. We did a tour of the cellars followed by a wine tasting, then a brandy and chocolate tasting. I don’t like chocolate so that pairing was lost on me but Sandra and Judith enjoyed it. Overall, we had a blast at KWV (I’m sure Manfred is still talking about us.) and came away with several bottles of wines and brandies.

Wine country

Lunch was a relaxing affair at the Seidelberg Wine Estate, a winery, restaurant, glass studio also in the Paarl region.

Seidelberg Wine Estate

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