As we type our latest update to you all, we've realised that we have now moved into our third week away.
Before = holiday; Now = travelling.
Days in: 16
Beds slept in: 7 (8 if you count tonight's)
Average time waiting for our Baz Bus (supposed "hop-on-hop-off convenient travel"): 3 hours
Average Baz Bus journey time: 1 hour
South African chocolate bars sampled: Many! Yum
State of tans: Tentative, to say the least
Missing most: Tetley's tea bags (and you, of course)
Best taste: Biltong (Ben), Borewors (Han - although secretly, the double decker MilkyBar is up there!)
Best SA vocab learnt: Yohhhhhh (say it with feeling, it means ohmygoshthat'samazingfabcool all in one small syllable!); lekker (used already, again means 'nice' but sounds SOO much more); Baie dankie (thank you very much - important to know this!)
We left Camps Bay on the 7th Jan to start the Garden Route tour using the infamous Baz Bus, a hop-on-hop-off service we're taking all the way east from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth. This means lots of stops, in and out of hostels and plenty of new scenery to take in.
(We've updated our itinerary on the Profile Page showing our specific stops if you'd like to see and know more)
First Stop - Stellenbosch
A short bus journey away from the coastal breeze of Cape Town is the university town of Stellenbosch. One main reason drew us here; Han's old colleague, Chantelle, who now studies there, and her fiance Keith. They were good enough to chauffeur us around town, show us the sights and put us up for the evening. The perfect hosts.
Stellenbosch is famous for its very old and very beautiful Cape Dutch architecture (Al would be in his element; everyone else will need google images to see what we mean). It was swelteringly hot inland, so there was only one thing for it... Wine Tour!
The scenery was stunning and the Rose good enough to buy a bottle. Next stop, cheetah reserve. Then back to town to our new favourite bar, The Trumpet Tree (under a canopy of leaves and branches, water is sprayed in regular mists to cool down guests. Needed!). We were then treated to a traditional South African braai (BBQ). A starter of springbok biltong (dried meat which Ben loved; Han not so much) was followed by lamb and borewors (beef sausage), and pudding of koeksisters, a local delicacy. Yohhhhhhh, it was good and it felt cool to be living like locals!
This meal set us up perfectly for a night out on the town. Not quite Fez in Putney though - something much better.... Chantelle & Keith (or should we say Aliona & Harry?!) took us and some friends to a very traditional dancehall for OPSKOP. Somewhere between a club and a schooldance, people come to show off their best Sokkie moves (a local dance learnt by every child at school). It was quite a sight, with couples swirling and spinning round the floor to traditional Afrikaans music; broken up by bursts of Usher, Rihanna, and other KISS tunes and much more familiar club moves.
We got the club moves fine (some more lekker shapes were thrown - correct spelling this time I hope, oops, thank you Chantekke!), less so the Sokkie. But we had a go and each had a spin with a very good instructor (our hosts of course)! We managed to nail one circuit of the hall, spins and all, and on that note decided it was time to retire for the evening. End on a high.
What a night and before we'd had time to recover the next day, we were whisked off for more wine tasting. This time, bubbly! At no less than Jason Derulo's very own champagne estate (aka the JC Le Roux sparkling wine estate... yum).
A final pit stop at Trumpet Tree and then off on a roadtrip to Hermanus with Chantelle, who kindly saved us from Baz Bus failings (no free bus for the next leg of our journey) and changed her plans to drive us. LEDGE.
Second Stop - Hermanus
The whale-watching capital of SA. Only it's out of season for whales. Oops. Come back in October please. Forget the beaches, this place was all about coastal cliff-top walks and incredible sunsets.
A far cry from the city life we'd encountered previously, it was a welcome change of pace. With no whales to keep us company, we had plenty of time to contend with the temperamental internet and upload some photos. Hours of faffing later, we'd only managed 28 in all... so it might be some time before we try that again. Sorry, we know we're tempting you...!
Whisked off again for cocktails at Cocos with Chantelle and a friend, it was time to say goodbye for a little while :(
TO BE CONTINUED...