Kayaking with the penguins, then on to the Cape of Good Hope

kayaking group - 1

Today was one the Adventurers had looked forward to. A chance to kayak and see penguins all on one excursion.

It took awhile to happen, though. Their guide Josh first made an unplanned stop in the surfing village of Muizenberg, where he grew up (and maybe still lives – or one or the other!). He wanted everyone to sample the local bakery, but having just eaten, they weren’t really hungry. They did get to see hundred’s of surfers enjoying the waves at Surfer’s Corner.

penguins in south america - 1And, of all things, L spotted a cyclist wearing a UCLA Bruins jersey (bottom photo). She was curious about where he got it, so went up to talk with him. Whoops – he didn’t have a clue what UCLA was or where it was located!

It was then on to the scheduled stop in Kalk Bay, which resembled a English seaside resort town, and evidently is populated with Enlish ex pats.

The two stops pushed their penguin adventure back from the scheduled 11:00 am start time to 12:30 pm. The tandem boats were the best they’d ever been in, and it was great to be out on the water, even with fighting the wind on their return. The bonus was getting to see the very cute African penguins swimming in the water and hanging out on the rocks.

Next up was the hour or so drive to Cape Point which was wild and windy, making their picnic lunch (at 4:00 pm!) not as enjoyable as advertised.

But seeing the old and new lighthouse and taking in the views from near the top was quite lovely.

It was another long, long day, and the group took a night off from dining together to catch a quick bit and collapse…

cyclist with Bruin shirt - 1

Kayak/from easy to moderate/two miles; Hike/easy/one miles

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A day that went sideways (well, too up) but all good thanks to vibrant Cape Town

D and L hiking Lions Head_hori - 1The Adventurers failed to read the fine print when they set of this morning to hike Lion’s Head. They didn’t see that there was an alternative hike nor did their guide Josh poll the group on what option they preferred. Instead he promised  they’d start the day with a “45-minute hike” up Lion’s Head.

That duration seemed reasonable and setting off on the uphill climb on a broad path was not unlike climbing Windy Hill. They did note that the hiking path was much more crowded than Windy. Crowded was the word that came to mind.

Protea - 1Then came the steps – hundreds of them. And then came the rocky path cut into the hillside. That’s when the Adventurers bailed; L was no longer comfortable.

Their hardy companions made it all the way to the top, using ladders and ropes to make the final ascent. The Adventurers saluted them.

After lunch at the jam-packed Biscuit Factory, which, like yesterday, offered multiple eating options, they headed to the Kirstenbosch Gardens for a lovely stroll. One of the things about traveling in the Southern Hemisphere is that you get to see plants and trees that don’t grow north of the equator. Of course there were all kinds of Protea there (right).

Dinner out was at the fun and jumping Harra’s Grill just down the road from their hotel. It was obviously a local favorite…

Hike/moderate to difficulté/two miles; walk/easy/two miles

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Enjoying the views from and a hike on Cape Town’s iconic Table Mountain

Table top view_MS - 1

After lunch at a massive food emporium near at the Y&A Waterfront, the Adventurers headed to Cape Town’s iconic Table Mountain.

walking on table top_AR - 1On their way, they stopped at Bo Kaap (bottom photo), a street of very colorful houses in a Muslim neighborhood. Strolling up a side street they could see Table Mountain in the distance.

The main feature of Table Mountain is the level plateau approximately two miles from side to side, edged by impressive cliffs. The plateau, flanked by Devil’s Peak to the east and by Lion’s Head to the west, forms a dramatic backdrop to Cape Town.

They made their way up the mountain, then took the aerial tram up to the top of the where they not only enjoyed the view but had a nice hike on one of the hilltop trails out toward Maclear’s Beacon..

It was a long but good day and the Adventurers and their fellow travelers opted for dinner in the hotel’s Leopard Bar. Another busy day ahead tomorrow…

colorful houses with table top in background_LH - 1

Top photo by Michael Sowerwine; photo middle right by Amy Roizen; bottom photo by Linda Hubbard

Hike/moderate (some steps)/two miles

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First Cape Town adventure is a visit to Robben Island

D and L on Robben Island - 1

In the 80s Archbishop Desmond Tutu made frequent visits to All Saints Pasadena bringing not only his holy self and joyful spirit but tales of the blacks struggle for freedom in South Africa. That gave the female Adventurer an immediacy when the group made its first stop on their itinerary, a visit to Robben Island.

L in Mandela's cell - 1It was there that the anti-apartheid revolutionary and South Africa’s first fully-represented, democratically-elected president, Nelson Mandela, spent most of his 27 years in prison before being released in 1990.

The tour came in two parts, the first in a van that took them to hard to reach spots guided by a former inmate. This included the graveyard of Irish people who died from leprosy (the island was a leper colony before it was a prison, the Lime Quarry there the political prisoners did hard, , the army and navy bunkers used during World War II. This was followed by a tour by another former prisoner of the Maximum Security prison itself.

It was a beautiful day on the island, which is a rather desolate place. The  seas were calm for the passage over. And it was hopeful sign for the world that people from countries worldwide took the time to visit.

They returned in time for lunch at the bustling waterfront building with food from around the world. Just outside was Nobel Square which pays tribute to South Africa`s four Nobel Peace Prize Laureates; the late Nkosi Albert Luthuli, Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu, former State President F.W. de Klerk and former President Nelson Mandela.

L like that a sea full chose Desmond’s head…

Seagull on Desmond's head - 1

Photo of L and D “framed” and L in Nelson Mandela’s cell by Amy Roizen (c) 2018

Walk/easy/2 miles 

 

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Protea bids us welcome to South Africa

protea welcome to CapeTown - 1

After their 24-hour journey, the Adventurers landed in Johannesburg shortly after 7:00 am where they discovered the Protea is the flower of South Africa. So they shouldn’t have been surprised to be greeted by a bouquet of them at their hotel, the lovely 12 Apostles located just outside of Cape Town at Camps Bay.

The Adventurers had avoided another long layover in Johannesburg by jumping on a flight that left three hours earlier than their scheduled flight, allowing them to get lunch and a rest before meeting up with their traveling companions, Haydi & David and Amy & Michael.

The six celebrated the start of their journey together at the hotel’s “real deal” restaurant, Azure, which was excellent.

They managed to get their exercise by avoiding moving walkways and taking “real” steps instead as they made their way around the various airports.

Walk/easy/2 miles

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First leg of long, long journey finds us at Heathrow

D at Heathrow - 1One can look at a long layover with a very long journey as further torture, or a chance to take your time, enjoying the rock ‘n roll exhibit in the belly of the immense airport, while walking from Terminal A to B.

It was also a pleasure to not have to exit the aircraft as quickly as possible to get thru customs and control as we were going on (and just need our passports/boarding pass checked upon entering section A.

Talking turns talking showers before heading out on the much longer air journey to Johannesburg. And never boring watching all the aircraft come and go from the Club’s floor to ceiling windows

And now a little lunch…

Airport walk/easy/2 miles

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Returning to the old (but new) path along Alpine Road

The Mag in the creek - 1

Most of the time the Adventurers park at the Ladera shopping center and head out along Alpine Road toward Los Trancos.

poppies along the creek - 1But this morning, they decided to walk along the stretch of Alpine from close by their house out to Ladera, which has recently been re-paved.

It’s a noisier walk given all the traffic that heads to and out between 280 and Menlo Park. That’s what head phones are for!

The good news today was how green and lush it was and how many wildflowers, especially poppies, lined the trails.

On the way home, The Mag was not going to be denied a dip in the creek…

Walk/easy/5 miles

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