Tuesday, May 12, 2015

The Western Cape

Disclaimer: unfortunately there aren’t any pictures in this post (yet). I know, I know, that’s half all the reason you read this blog. It’s proven to be quite difficult to transfer the pictures from the camera to my computer and was not possible this time. I’ll update this post when I’m able to do so. Until then, please keep reading and don’t exit too soon!
Our trip in South Africa is quickly coming to an end and I am in disbelief that in fifteen days, I will be sleeping soundly in my bed with only memories and photographs to remind me of this adventure. It’s a bit bemusing to think that another adventure in my life will soon be over—it’s bittersweet.
First, let me apologize for not posting after our trip to Namibia. It was a great reason to get out of the country.  We began our trip with a 4x4 sand dune adventure which felt like a rollercoaster in a car. It was fantastic and I (along with the particles of sand) was blown away. Unfortunately, Brian had to work remotely for most of the trip so it ended up being very quiet and peaceful. I’m sorry I don’t have more to report!
Last week, we had the pleasure of touring the Garden Route in the western cape of South Africa.  The minute you step off the plane, the salty scent of ocean along with gusty wind surrounds you. We spent three nights total (one in a different town) traveling from Port Elizabeth to Knysna and back.  We spent our first night in Knysna, a beautiful and quainter version of Cape Town.  We stayed at the Falcon View Manor which embodied both old charm and new luxuries, along with outstanding service.  We ate dinner at the Tapas and Oysters Bar where we tasted miniature dishes from South Africa, the Middle East, Spain, India, and Germany.  The dishes consisted of
  • Hummus—a pureed chickpea spread made with garlic, lemon juice, tahini (ground sesame oil), and spices. 
  • Chorizo and Caramelized Onions—This Spanish dish oddly reminded me of an Italian ratatouille with chorizo. Whole chickpeas dabbled the dish while small bits of eggplant made a sporadic appearance.  The smokiness of the chorizo paired with the onions and vegetables made this dish delectable.
  • Samoosas—an Indian specialty of crispy fried dough stuffed with minced meats, vegetables, potatoes and spices such as caraway
  • Frikkadelletjies—South African meatballs served in a simmering tomato sauce similar to ouma (a sauce served with pap.  It’s subtle with main flavors of onion and hints of garlic.
  • Mini Hot Dogs—Small frankfurters slashed diagonally before grilling.  Served on small white brioche rolls alongside tangy horseradish mustard, grilled onions, and old-fashioned chips

The rest of the trip was similar to the first day—eating, driving, touring, and having our occasional wine tastings when the weather didn’t hold up its side of the bargain.  Two activities that particularly stood out was walking the Storms River suspension bridge, and the Bloukrans Bridge. The Storms River suspension bridge is a two-part narrow bridge that stretches across a large gap of land in the Tsitsikamma National Park. We walked over the ocean and I couldn’t help but feel like I was placed in one of those worship music videos—one that comes to mind is Oceans by Hillsong United. The Bloukrans Bridge was a bit more of an adrenalin rush. Brian bungee jumped off it! It’s the highest commercial bungee jumping site in the world. How awesome is that? Sigh I have quite a brave husband.
Did I mention we walked with elephants? I must say, they are the sweetest-gentle-giants.  They are so humorous.  As you know, they use their trunks as hands so they’re always reaching out for food with them. One of them gave a guest a ride and during the ride, he kept reaching his trunk over his head with a “hello, can I have my snack now?” motion. Like all animals and humans included, they love to eat. They eat eighteen hours a day and sleep very little. Unbelievable!
This weekend we make our final trip in South Africa—Durban. It’s a bittersweet time for us. I PROMISE, I will let you know how that goes next week. Until then…
Cheers!



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