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Archive for the ‘Parts Unknown’ Category

The end.

It’s here. Our last day. In some ways I feel ready for our visit to be over. It’ll be nice to get back to routine, our space and our home people. In so many other ways I’m terribly sad it’s over. This place and these people are so special to me that it’s always difficult to say goodbye. Plus it’s winter at home and we all know how I feel about that.

For our last full day we headed to Boschendal in Franschhoek. It looked gorgeous, had a huge picnic lawn with bean bag chairs and plenty of trees, a playground and a splash area. The full package.

We had a great morning. The kids have gotten really cooperative leaving the house in the morning. Which is actually a really big deal for these kids who are the slowest moving humans in the world. We got settled in with our bean bags and lunch and the kids played on the playground. Nora fell asleep in the stroller. Jacob was collecting our wine when everything took a turn.

Charlie got stung by a wasp on his foot. We didn’t think too much of it at first really. We took some ice out of the wine bucket and put it on the sting site and all seemed to be fine. At Charlie’s request we packed up and headed for home skipping the splash area. And it was a good job we did. By the time we got everyone packed up and in the car his face had started swelling up. One of his eyes swelled completely shut and by the time we were home he had itchy lips and a slightly swollen tongue. I gave him some Benadryl, had a mild panic attack, researched the best hospital nearby and called Wendy to tell her we’d be late for dinner.

The Benadryl worked it’s magic and the swelling went down and so we headed to our final braai. We had a great last evening with our people. Saying goodbye was terrible as it always is. It will likely be a few years before we are back in SA so it felt particularly hard to leave them this time.

We rounded out our final morning with one last visit to the grocery store park and Doodles restaurant before heading to the airport and starting our trek home.

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Our time here is quickly coming to a close so we have been busy soaking up as much sun, summer, family time and wine (to help dull the pain) as possible.

Monday we came good on our last promise to Charlie and Madeline and headed back to the V&A waterfront to take a ride on the Cape Wheel. The Cape wheel is Cape town’s version of the big eye. The kids had a great time on it – they were more impressed than I thought they would be which is always a pleasant surprise. We even managed a hilarious family green screen photo to complete the day.

We had really been hoping for some more beach time but the winds have been outrageous so Tuesday we packed up and headed to wine country. Not a terrible plan B. We went in search of a wine farm that offered grape juice tasting for the kids alongside the wine tasting. We had read on a few blogs about Lourensford so we decided to check it out. It is in Somerset West which is a relatively unexplored area for us so we thought it would be fun to try something new. Unfortunately for us, they had discontinued the juice tasting and it was deadly hot in the play area. After a lot of crying Madeline cutting the bottom of her foot open we packed it in and headed to Middelvlei in hopes of saving the day.

Luckily we have air conditioning in the car and all three kids had a nap en route. With everyone cooled off and rested moods were significantly improved. I don’t know if it was Middlevlei itself or the naps or just a stroke of luck but we ended up having the greatest afternoon at the farm.

It is the cutest wine farm. You feel like you’ve been invited to someone’s house for the day. They have these picnic tables that overlook the vineyards and what should be a little pond (it now looks like a large puddle because of the drought). They have huge blocks for the kids to play with and a sandpit. Charlie Madeline and Nora had a blast. They played together the whole time we were there.

Middlevlei is also one of the wine farms that offer juice tastings for the kids and it did not disappoint. They did an adorable pairing of four juices with four candies. The kids loved it. To top it all off they have a little farm where you can feed a potbelly pig, goats and turtles. We were sad to have only had a couple of hours at this place.

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Seriously, this weekend, swoon.

We kicked the weekend off Friday night at Nollie’s for an awesome braai. Nora fell asleep, the kids watched a ton of tv and Jacob and I got to kuier with our friends. We sat outside, enjoyed the heat, made a nice big fire had some drinks and finally ate.

Saturday we met up at Spier which was on just about every “best wine farms for families” list I came across They were all right. They have these gorgeous grounds littered with huge willow trees that surround a dam. They had a great play area tucked away at the back so we really just felt like we were in our own backyard. We collected our picnic basket, blanket and several bottles of wine and set up camp for the day.

Sunday we headed back to Melkbosstrand for an all day beach and braai at Janelie’s amazing house. By some incredible stroke of luck Madeline fell asleep on the couch, Nora went to sleep easily and I got to actually finish conversations and glasses of wine uninterrupted.

This weekend was the most relaxed I’ve been all trip. I so so so love these people here and it’s always so hard to believe we will have to say goodbye to them. This weekend makes it that much harder to leave, but it has given me so many beautiful memories to hold on to until next time.

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Table Mountain

This is our fourth trip to South Africa and third to Cape Town and we still hadn’t been up Table Mountain. We fixed that on Friday.

When we lived in Korea with all these South Africans we heard a lot about table mountain and to be honest I never really understood the fascination. I thought it sounded nice and the pictures looked beautiful but how spectacular can a flat mountain be? Let me just say it lived up to its hype.

Table mountain is one of those things that you just end up staring at. It’s omnipresent; you can see it almost everywhere you go. The clouds seem to play on top of it. From Bloubergstrand it gives the impression that it’s an island but really the city surrounds it’s base.

We bought our tickets and got in line. It took quite a while to get through but that was probably just poor planning on our part as when we were leaving there was no line at all. The kids loved the cable car ride but found it quite windy at the top (which it was). We had some lunch did a little tour around the top and headed down.

I’m glad we finally made it up to the top of the mountain but I think to fully appreciate it one should hike either up or down or at the very least spend some time exploring at the top. Next time!

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Jacob loves oysters. A lot. So we figured we should include an oyster related activity into our vacation plans. Jacob knew of an oyster farm in Saldanha Bay – just up the coast from us – via Instagram. He contacted them and arranged himself a little tour. The kids and I fended for ourselves while Jacob was comparing notes. We grabbed a cupcake and spent 6 minutes on the dirty city beach then waited at the wharf. Let’s just say Saldanha Bay won’t be making my must revisit list.

After the tour we decided to grab a drink and a small bite at Damhuis. The play area is just so great. Jacob and I managed to have almost our whole drink and app uninterrupted πŸ™Œ

That was Tuesday, on Wednesday it all went to shit, literally. Both kids and Jacob got quite sick. They all spent the day on the couch while I ran off for some alone time at the beach in the afternoon. Nora and I snuck out later to Klein Roosboom to meet up for some wine with Wendy. Now I’m not saying I’m glad the kids were sick but it was awfully nice to get some time alone or with only one child. Wendy and I actually got to have a full conversation and I didn’t have to chase anyone around the restaurant.

Thursday we hired a cleaning lady to come in and disinfect the cottage. She spent the entire day scrubbing this place so we had to come up with some ways to stay busy outside the cottage. It’s just not big enough to hold everyone. We headed to Eden on the Bay for breakfast where everyone whined for an hour before we finished eating. With still almost an entire day to kill we headed into the city to find a relatively low energy activity. We gave Charlie the choice to go on the V&A Ferris wheel, Green Point Park or the Blue Train, he chose the train. All three kids really loved the train actually and for three blissful minutes there was no whining. Luckily it takes about 35 minutes each way to drive into the city so we successfully burned almost an hour and a half.

We came home and completed the second round of antibiotics, took a rest and headed back out (Monica still wasn’t done!). We were just going out to grab some supper for the kids and let them whine at a Wimpy’s play area when we stumbled upon 23 Jump Street. The kids played for a whole hour before anyone cried and finally the day was over.

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Charlie might be part fish. This child loves to swim in all manners. He has been looking forward to going to the water park since we gave him his water park ticket at Christmas time. Unfortunately, on many levels, there is a rather serious drought happening in Cape Town which quickly kills the water park dream. Fortunately there is not a drought in Knysna and they have adventure land.

Not shockingly water parks are not really my thing – this is why I hang out with fun moms like Jackie πŸ˜‰ – but Charlie had the time of his life. The only reason we were able to get him to leave is he was no longer able to form sentences he was shivering so much. Madeline went in the pool for about 3 minutes and then decided water parks were not her thing either. She still says she had a great day though.

We went for a family stroll before dinner in search of coffee to get me through to bedtime. We thankfully found a cafe right next to a bridge that the kids happily ran up and down before Nora spilled my cappuccino all over me.

Our last day in Knysna was freezing. Well not really, but close enough. After we put on all the warm clothes we had we set out to the Heath It’s a cute little artisan complex with a cafe, a couple shops and a killer play area. If it hadn’t been so cold we would have spent a lot more time there. We enjoyed our time in Knysna. It was fun to get to see a new part of SA. We hadn’t really counted on the weather not cooperating so I don’t feel like I got to fully experience what the area had to offer. I’m sure we will be back another time.

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Knysna Elephants

We left Cape Town on Monday and have been living it up in Knysna for the last couple of days with Dene, Jaco, Lienka and Ian. We have this stunning house rented on thesen island that has its own private jetty and a spectacular view. We are definitely being spoiled right now.

We took it easy the last two days, lazing around this spectacular space, going for some walks, finding some play areas and eating ice cream. Today we decided it was time to become a tourist again and visit the Knysna elephant park.

The park hosts a number of elephants coming from zoos, circuses or otherwise abusive environments. They now live in a rather large reserve but because they have some human training you can get right up close and personal with them. We got to feed, touch and Charlies favourite – hug their trunks. The kids loved all of it and were surprisingly well behaved. I was probably the most timid of anyone.

We ended the day with drinks and the most incredible lightening show.

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