Monday, November 19, 2012

A perfect day in South Africa

Part 1 of breakfast at the Mount Nelson Hotel.
We always have part 1 and part 2 of breakfast,
with part 2 being the hot food orders.

What a nice day today was in South Africa, living a TRAVELIFE.

We began with another one of our long breakfasts at the Mount Nelson hotel in Cape Town, a lovely Orient-Express hotel which is one of the city's iconic landmarks.

That's all our luggage for two weeks in South Africa,
being loaded into our car after checking out of the Mount Nelson...


Then we checked out of the Mount Nelson and drove out early to the waterfront for lunch at Reuben's, a very nice bistro in the ultra-luxury One & Only Resort in Cape Town.

It was slightly early so we got the valet to take our car, and then we actually went to the aquarium next-door for about an hour.



Cape Town has an award-winning aquarium by the waterfront.

TWO BUSY PEOPLE IN AN AQUARIUM

The aquarium was fun but it was rather surreal, considering that The Boss and I, two very busy people running businesses (and in his case, lots of businesses), were walking around an aquarium like two kids.

But this is what we did, and it was nice.



Then we went back to One & Only for lunch.

I'll write more about this delicious lunch in a later blog because I really enjoyed every single dish I ate.

Yes, it's been long breakfasts, long lunches and long dinners throughout this trip.

Lunch at Reuben's was delicious
You can imagine what havoc that's done in terms of calories and kilos, but I haven't dared stand on that weight scale yet, since I set foot in Africa.


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THE BEAUTIFUL WAY HOME

But during this lunch, we happened to talk with one of the hotel staff about driving routes between Cape Town and our next hotel in the winelands of Constantia.

She suggested that we drive by the beach.

Reuben's at the One & Only Cape Town
What a wonderful suggestion that was, as otherwise we would have taken the inland road.

It was a perfect day for driving by the beach, and the scenery that awaited us in this part of South Africa was truly magical.

I can't ever forget this day, even just for the beautiful scenery and the sight of Cape Town's famous Twelve Apostles in the sunshine.

This has got to be one of the most beautiful drives in the world, especially on such a perfect day as today.

I took this from the front seat of the car,
as we drove the coastal route of Cape Town

THE LAST, BUT DEFINITELY NOT THE LEAST

Then we finally arrived at our amazing hotel, the Steenberg, which is the last in the long series of hotels we have stayed in for this South African trip.

It's located in the wine and horse region of Constantia, only 20 minutes away from Cape Town but an entire world away.

I have to write about this hotel in a separate entry. But needless to say, it took our breaths away in a very understated way.

Both the Boss and I have stayed in some of the most beautiful hotels in the world, but both of us were quite floored by the understated elegance we found here.

We both loved it. That really says a lot.





We spent the sunset hour doing a wine tasting and just exploring the property. Then we had dinner at one of Constantia's best restaurants.

Constantia has at least three excellent restaurants, including one world-famous one called La Colombe. That's where we're eating tomorrow.

And tonight we had dinner in one of the top three: Catharina's at Steenberg. It was a Monday night but it was very impressively full.

Before dinner, we did a wine tasting at a really cool winery.
The structure and the scenery were beautiful,
and for a moment we didn't know where we were in the world.

JUST A LITTLE BIT DIFFERENT

Maybe this was because it was the second to the last night before heading back to Manila, but we were pretty sentimental over dinner.

We toasted countless times to such a happy trip, full of amazing experiences, and talked about our favorite memories of it so far.

We also actually had a pretty good conversation about all kinds of things.



ANOTHER TRAVELIFE?

Then the Boss said something like: "Want to do a Travelife again next year?" I can't remember whether these were his exact words now but it was something to this effect.

I just smiled and said: "We can do that."

We'd had such fun on this trip, and there was never a dull, stressful, difficult or angry moment in our two weeks in Africa.





Thank goodness everything turned out so nicely as well. 

We both so needed this holiday and it was short of a minor miracle to put this trip together and to find the common two weeks to do this.

As early as May, we'd penciled in this trip in November, and the travel machinery -- The Boss and myself, and our respective staffs -- started working on this from June when we'd decided on the country to visit.



I still remember that I was in the Czech Republic in June, and he was somewhere in the Black Sea, and by BBM we'd decided to go to South Africa in November.

For a couple of weeks, we'd been looking for a country we'd both never been to before and that we both wanted to go to, and that was pretty hard to do. Eventually the shortlist became Peru or South Africa.

And after looking at the distances and times involved, South Africa won out in the end.

THE TOP OF MY BUCKET LIST

So anyway, The Boss asked me: "Where shall we go? Namibia? Tanzania?"

We'd fallen in love with Africa, and much of the trip we'd talked about the other amazing places to visit in this continent.

And he knew Namibia was at the top of my bucket list at the moment -- along with about a hundred other places.



I want to do a different kind of safari in Namibia, as well as see the amazing sand dunes. In Tanzania, I want to see the Ngorongoro crater and the magical island of Zanzibar.

As for our two weeks in South Africa, we both certainly needed a good break from the real world, even for a moment.

And what a wonderful holiday this has turned out to be.

Good night for now from a most amazing place, and an almost unreal world, living a never-endingly eventful TRAVELIFE.






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