Friday, January 30, 2015

Road Trip...

On our bucket list of things to do before we leave South Africa is a road trip to the Western Cape.  Getting away is not easy, but we decided the best time to go would be while it is still summer here and before Seminary starts.  We packed our bags and off we went.  Cape Town was our final destination which is a thirteen hour drive.  We broke it up in to two days.  

We stayed the first night in Knysna at the Bridgewater B&B.  It is lovely.  Knysna is lovely.  We had already explored this area so we were on the road the next morning to Cape Town.

Had just a little delay as we had to purchase a new battery.  Glad it happened where it did and not in the middle of Tim Buck Tuu.  (Where is that anyway)

 On the recommendation of the "locals" we took Route 62. (minus the liquor zone) It is much like America's Route 66.  And boy, were we glad we did.  It made our drive a few hours longer but every turn and town was worth it.

We drove through majestic mountains with the clouds rolling over them.

 We found beautiful little valleys with acres and acres of fruit and nut trees.  The picture below vines growing "hops".  I don't know if that is the correct spelling but "hops" is what you make beer with.

This valley had miles and miles of vineyards.  This picture of the vineyard is fronted with cactus and beyond that the vines go on for as far as the eye can see. 
 As we drove around one particular bend, this quaint little village came in to view.  We truly did drive through the breadbasket of South Africa.  We viewed a variety of scenery that was reminiscent to us of the desserts of Nevada to the vista's of the Tetons.  Truly a sight to behold.   

We were fascinated as we drove through each little village to see the bold towers of the church rising above the homes signaling their devotion to God.  

A Long Walk To Freedom...

Day one in Cape Town started with a tour of Robben Island.  We joined our good friends, Elder and Sister Blatter who were spending the last few days of their mission there.  Sister Blatter and I always said it was a good thing that we did not serve in closer proximity to each other or our missionary work would have faltered.  We have a great time together.  In the second picture you can see us gabbing.  Elder Blatter said to President Wheeler, "If you took everything these two women said that is of worth it would fit on a postage stamp!"  He is correct, and I love it!

 This is the ferry that was our ride over to Robben Island.  President Wheeler and I both just finished reading Nelson Mandela's book, "The Long Walk To Freedom".  We both highly recommend this book.  The Lord puts certain people in place to change the course of history.  Nelson Mandela was one of those chosen men.  Not only did he change world history but because of his efforts the LDS church is here in South Africa.

This professional mural was our greeting as we entered the island.  "Freedom cannot be manacled".  "Repression, Release, Respect." 

 The sign below was made by the prisoners.  Robben Island was opened in the 1600's and has been used to house convicted criminals, a hospital for lepers, and political prisoners.  Our tour guide was a former political prisoner who was there with Nelson Mandela.

This is a view of the courtyard where prisoners were given the task of chipping lime rocks for building purposes.

Eighteen of his 27 years in prison were spent in this cell.  Cell #7.  Building B.
Sleeping arrangements were these two mats.  The mats were similar to wool carpet padding.  Bunk beds were provided at a later date.

When the prisoners were released in 1997, and the facility was closed, and a reunion was held at Robben Island.  What is pictured here is the limestone quarry where day after day they hammered, chiseled, and chipped at these rocks.  The glare of the sun off of these rocks made some prisoners go blind.  As the group left the quarry, Mandela paused, turned back and placed a single rock in the middle of the workspace.  One by one, each former prisoner picked up a rock and placed it.  This stone monument has come to represent all shapes, colors, and sizes of those who spent time on Robben Island and fought to end Apartheid.

On leaving the island we noticed these walruses basking in the sun on the cement barriers.  (you will have to look closely)

It's A City Life….

Next stop was the VA Waterfront.  This is a beautiful shot taken at night with Table Mountain in the background.  Cape Town is a city of four million people.  We live in a town of 25,000 people.  Being in the city was exciting.  The Waterfront reminded me of Pier 49 in California, with all of the sounds, shops, and plenty to taste.

 And of course…The Wheeler's had to ride Cape Wheel.  The cars had a flat screen TV in them and air conditioning.  The VIP car even served food while you cycled around and viewed the majestic sites of Cape Town.

Several bands were performing for our entertainment pleasure.

The artwork was imaginative.  This wooden sculpture had all of the big five (Elephant, Rhino, Hippo, Lion, and Cheetah) carved in it along with different tribesman/hunters.

 A six foot alligator carved from a wooden log.

We should have snapped a close-up of the elephant in the background.  He was made entirely out of little tiny beads.  The one in the front was welded with some kind of metal.

This gentleman that President is standing by is also made entirely out of beads and wire.  He looked like he could have just come from New Orleans.

These Mama's and their children are carved from stone.

Docked in the bay is the Exuma Charter Yacht.  Talk about luxurious.  She holds nine passengers, nine crew, a swimming pool, an extra boat, work-out room, state-of-the art electronic equipment and more.  She can be yours for a $23,000 per week.  Who wants in???  If you have an extra minute, check this one out on google.  Stunning.

I think this little floater is more in line with our budget!

The Caped Crusaders...

Cape Point, Cape of Good Hope, and Cape L'Agulhas.  We were able to visit all three!  When following the western side of the African coastline from the equator, the Cape of Good Hope, and Cape Point marks the place where a ship begins to travel more eastward than southward.  This was once believed to be the most southern tip of the continent where the Atlantic Ocean meets the Indian Ocean.  Not so.  Cape L'Agulhas has that honor.  Read on. 

This was the view from "Two Oceans Restaurant" where we were served gourmet food.  While dining, the waiters had to keep fighting off Baboons that would jump up on the balcony and try and get our dinner.  No way was I relinquishing these delicacies to those pesky beasts.

Would you give up these delightful treats to a Baboon?  I don't think so!!!  And by the way, they were as good as they look.

 We hiked to Cape Point Lighthouse and also the most southern tip of the Cape.

 We think the picture below was a look-out tower built before lighthouses were in place.

  Bartolomu Dias (Paul wondered if his wife was named Cameron) first rounded this Cape in 1488.  Can you even imagine his delight as this view came in to sight.

These signs are posted everywhere!!!  I know these guys can be pesky, but….
Just look at Betty Baboon nursing Bob.  Ahhhhh…..too cute.  We were able to get just two feet away from her and she didn't even blink.

But these naughty little monkey's were climbing all over this tourists car!

 Penguins!  Lot's of them!
 Just out for a swim!

Our last Cape was L'Agulhas.   It is the geographic southern tip and the official dividing point between the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. Historically, the cape has been known to sailors as a major hazard on their routes.  Hundreds of ships have been lost on this point. 

 Right hand pointing to the Indian Ocean.  Left to the Atlantic!

 Warming my feet in the Indian Ocean.

Cooling my feet in the Atlantic