Thursday, March 10, 2016

In Heaven, Cape town and around

I have often thought about a place that has it all: the sunny weather, the good food, where you can paraglide, hike and surf, drink good wine, sail, hire help without breaking the bank, live cheaply. A place where English is widely spoken and there is cultural and city life. Well, I found it. South Africa, especially Cape Town area is all of that and more. It's heaven.
I had the chance to visit heaven when the weather was grey and miserable in the Netherlands which made me appreciate it even more.
And what is not to like. I random order
The Wine, ah the wine. 
Visiting a winery in South Africa especially the Stellenbosch area is like opening the gates to continues lasting pleasure. Even right outside of Cape town in Constatia, I have had unbelievably good experience. Probably visited around 7-8 wineries but Nederburg winery in particularly took my breath away. I can't get enough of the liquid happiness of their Motorcycle marvel red, a blend mixed in a godly manner. In Morgenhof estate I had damn amazing lunch, set in a rustic quiet farm yard,
Constatia Glen wine tasting and cheese was one to remember. For a wine-lover like me, I have found myself.

Basically one of the best, most picturesque place I have ever flown was from Lion's head above the city of Cape Town. I was scared shitless from the predominantly turbulent flight but maybe even because of that I just thought I have seen pure beauty from above and my heart will forever stay in this moment just a bit. One day, on my death bed if I am senile at all, I will be looking back to that moment and think to myself, man I lived, I really did. And I landed by the Bungalow which is my number one favorite sunset watching restaurant spot ever since.
Soaring in Paradise beach was awesome too, Wilderness that is. I just have to return and fly more in South Africa, it has been decided.

When we talk about it, Dining, is a whole different chapter, especially for a culinary experiences starved Amsterdammer I have become. First of all, pretty much everywhere I have been the food was outstanding. Too many good experiences to share but let me just mention two: Hout Bay Market for a weekend lunch is coming to mind as a must. And then for fine dining Tintswalo Atlantic was just a jaw dropper with it's perfect location in a secluded premises, right above the sea and impeccable service.

Bungee Jumping
I know myself quite a bit and I am quick to convince myself in the most impossible things and do them. Things that have ranged from intimidating, frightened me or terrifying me. And it was all ok, until this. I have never sweated out something so much before. I thought skydiving all by myself was scary. Wait until you walk on that bridge all tight up like a lamb about to be slathered. But I am not a quitter, I did it. I jumped.
And then it was the triumph. That rush that's incomparable. The feeling alone that's worth living for.

Road trips
Garden Route is one of the most scenic rides in the world. Enough said. It was nice to be at the most Southern point too, ever since geography lessons I thought that place must bring Good Hope

Knysna sailing is worth the trip to Africa all by itself. Pictures couldn't tell this story at all. It's like the Amalfi coast only wilder and less commercial.

There are many life stories that have been inspiring to read and know and many lessons to be learned from heroes, but if we must elect 10, my vote is for Mr Mandela, who changed the course of history with his tenacity to fight for what's right. A true worldly inspirational hero.
The sun setting in the sea is always a magnificent spectacle, but even more so at Chapman's Peak.

Even though I only went once, it only raised the appetite for more, World class spots
Other reasons to visit the country come to mind too, Hiking, Wildlife, Nightlife, Quirky cosy little hotels, How cheap everything is, world class hospitality, friendly curious inviting society. It's just Heaven, that's it.
My plan is like this. 20 more years max and I am going to move to cyprus permanently but spend winter in Cape town. That's it, decided. :) For any detailed tips, shoot me an email.
And ok, the down sides.
There are not many really. It's a bit iffy with the wifi in many places, although easy and nice to get a local sim and lots of MB for next to nothing. And ok, not all areas are safe, but also never really felt unsafe. We went to several places that were considered a dodgy areas and it was really not much different than same areas in any other big city. Common sense brings you far.
Now that I am thinking about it, I should pay another visit.