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Archive for the ‘Parts Unknown’ Category

Swimming with Penguins

Yesterday was a pretty chill day for us. We hung around the cottage for the morning before heading to the beach for a few hours. Charlie and I finished up Charlie and the Chocolate Factory while the girls (and Jacob) napped in the afternoon. We ended the day with dinner at Wendy’s house.

Today ended up being a bit touristy than we had initially thought. We decided to head to Boulders Beach to see some penguins and then when the kids all fell asleep en route we figured we would just drive all the way to the Cape of Good Hope since it was only an extra 30 minutes.

We hadn’t done any research at all on the Cape of Good Hope. We knew it was not the most southern tip of Africa (common misconception) so we assumed we would just drive down to a lighthouse where there’d be some pretty views. We have been to Cape Agulhas, the actual southern most tip, and it is really just a walking path with a sign. Turns out the fake tip gets a lot more attention.

The Cape of Good Hope was a whole thing. It’s a national park so you have to pay to enter and it turns out they’ve blocked off quite a large section to preserve it. The tip itself has a restaurant, cable car, curio shop, scary baboons and about nine million tour buses. We should have known it was not our thing when we hit a lineup to get in to the park. By then we had already committed to go, and Nora had pooped all over her car seat so we needed to spend some time out of the car.

Now don’t get me wrong, it was stunning. The views were spectacular and they had what I’m sure are marvellous walking trails. Problem is, we have three kids who do not enjoy being out in the heat as we learned at the lion park. Plus, someone got scratched by a baboon at the restaurant just after we left, so it was a relatively short visit.

We headed back to Simon’s town and Boulders Beach to check out the penguins. The kids truthfully were more excited by the ice cream and the beach then they were by the birds but it was fun all the same.

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Friends

Since it’s the weekend we are getting to spend some quality time with the friends that keep drawing us back to this beautiful country. We have known these girls for almost nine years now and feel so fortunate to have been able to maintain the friendship over huge distances. It’s always so nice to come back and pick up right where we left off.

We made plans to meet up at a beachside restaurant early afternoon so in an attempt to ward off the inevitable 2:00 toddler drama we stopped at the beach for a quick picnic and play.

Lunch today was at Damhuis. This is one of the most fantastic restaurants I’ve ever been to. The food was amazing, it overlooks the beach and has an epic play area. Right in the middle of the restaurant they have a sandy section with a play ship, lighthouse and all kinds of sand toys. Guys, the kids played in there for over three hours while we lunched. Three hours! They both found older kids that adopted them for the afternoon and had a great time. Now if we could just find someone to adopt Nora 😂

After lunch we took a little stroll and stopped for ice cream where Nora got to have her first taste. I know she’s just a baby. Don’t judge. She’s the third child.

We rounded out the day with a braai at our place. We put the kids to bed and had a lekker kuier. I so love these people.

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Two Oceans Round Two

For Christmas this year we gave the kids “tickets” for some of the outings we had planned for our time here. One of the tickets was for the Two Oceans Aquarium so we came good on our promise and headed to see some fish today. We visited the aquarium the last time we were here and the children remembered their visit, or at least remember the pictures from the family photo album of the last trip so they were doubly excited to go.

The aquarium is at the V&A waterfront which is like Peakes Quay with money from more than two investors. It has a couple of marinas, several shopping centres, all kinds of restaurants and a number of family focused attractions. The first thing we came across when we walked into the pedestrian area was a Thomas the Train ride. Jacob climbed aboard with the two kids and they headed out of the station for a fifteen minute tour of the area.

Jacob and I enjoyed our coffees while the kids played on the huge play structure and Nora napped in the stroller and then we set off for the aquarium. Inside we got to revisit the Nemo tunnel, the penguin exhibit, the shark tunnel, the touch tank and the kids play area. We ended up spending about five hours with the sea creatures before heading back to the cottage.

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Charlie is struggling to adjust himself to all the newness here. This little boy loves his routine and familiarity and a 6 hour time difference and switching hemispheres is not easy to handle. After we dragged him out of bed for the second day we decided to take it easy and head back to the beach. It gets him outside and burns some energy so he can start to get over his jet lag, the beach is something he is very familiar with and well I love going to the beach; a win win situation.

We set up camp at Bloubergstrand again. The kids had fun with their squirt guns, avoiding the scary water, eating sand and seashell hunting. I had fun sitting in the sun looking at table mountain. Jacob probably enjoyed himself too.

After nap time we had some time to kill before we met up with Wendy, Christo, Janelie and Nollie for dinner so naturally we headed to the grocery store. Since very nearly everything in SA is designed for families the grocery store complex has a whole play structure right outside the entrance. Madeline, as per usual, had two older kids competing for her attention at the playground and she was led around like the little doll she is.

We had dinner at Ons Huisie which overlooks the ocean with views of Robben Island in the distance. We had a great evening seeing everyone again.

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We got off to a slow start today. The kids slept until 10 when I woke them. Even little Nora cooperated and only woke up twice through the night and stayed in bed until 915. All that sleeping means it was almost 2 before we made it out of the house which really didn’t matter because we didn’t have much planned. We headed to Big Bay to get some lunch/dinner and then back to Bloubergstrand for some late afternoon beaching.

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Phew.

I am so glad that’s over. Let me just say that being in transit for 35 hours straight with three children 4 and under is not for the faint of heart or those who like to sleep. That was a workout. I want to sleep for 4 days straight.

We arrived at the Moncton airport just in time for our flight to Montreal to be cancelled.This is actually the first time we have Jacob and I have ever shown up at the airport to find a flight cancelled – it was bound to happen sooner or later. 45 minutes later we had a brand new itinerary that would put us through Toronto and London before we would get to Cape Town. This new itinerary actually had us landing 5 hours earlier than our original flight – that’s good news. However, we were losing our 10 hour hotel break in Istanbul between our two major flights – that’s heartbreaking news.

We managed to make it through London. We got into one of the lounges that had their thermostat set to sauna (maybe they were trying to acclimatize us??) where we sweated through our five hour layover. Madeline and Nora were the only ones that got some rest and we got back on the airplane.

All things considered the kids did amazingly well on all the flights. The last one to Cape Town was one of the bumpiest flights I’ve ever been on. Charlie slept for the majority of the flight. Madeline entertained herself when she wasn’t sleeping and Nora had the trip of a lifetime and got to touch me for literally 34.5 hours out of 35.

We made it to our cottage got everyone settled in where Jacob and I spent that day taking turns trying to stay awake and be patient with the kids. We were moderately successful. Thankfully everyone had a good nights sleep – the kids slept for 15 hours – and now we are slowly getting ready for our first real day in sunny Cape Town.

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The Bags are Packed

We are currently on the road to Moncton to catch the first of three flights that will bring us to Cape Town. Two of the three kids are sleeping in the backseat. The first twenty minutes of this 40 hour (!) journey are going perfectly.

This is the first big trip we have taken in two years and we are feeling the effects of our break. Both Jacob and I are far more apprehensive about this trip than we have been for others. Neither of us have been able to pinpoint the exact reason – it could be simply because we are traveling to Africa with three kids four and under 🤣.

Packing and prepping for this trip was the first time I truly felt like our adventure might be impossible. I now understand why people think we are crazy to attempt this. Thankfully I know with certainty that all of the work from the past week and all the work for the next 40 hours will be completely worth it. We are headed to our home away from home. The SA sunshine and laid back life is calling our names and we are on our way.

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