It's dark by the time the taxi pulls up to Observatory Backpackers. Reception is friendly, the kitchen is stocked, and the room is clean. And there is a big bed, and a door that closes! Now, this may sound very simple, but after 3 months of living in a tent and riding in a Land Rover, this is heaven. Who knew a room with a door and a bed could make me so happy!
The next day American #2 and I took a walk around the neighborhood, and instantly felt at home. Obs is a diverse neighborhood, near the University of Cape Town so it is abuzz with student life. There are plenty of restaurants, retail, and even life music within walking distance. Hooray! We found a music shop, which thankfully had 2 new purple egg shakers just waiting for me, and even hung out for a bit, testing them out with a local musician - too much fun.
After 2 days in Obs, it was time to see the area. Three of us rented a car and took off. It was my first experience driving on the left, and the nerves showed! Especially when I would mistook the windshield wipers for the blinker! No worries - off we go! We decided on Stellenbosch, with a stop at the beach on the way. Gordon's Bay was pretty close, so we took a dip. No wonder only the children were swimming - seemingly unaware of the frigid temps. Brrr! The drive to Stellenbosch was lovely, with wineries all along the roads. We stayed at the Stumble Inn, right near the center of town. There are 2 buildings, and we were lucky to get the one with the pool. The town was cute, but there was definitely an air of pretension I hadn't felt anywhere else so far along the way. Pinkies up!
The next day it was time to explore the wineries. There are a myriad of choices, but we decided to rent bikes and explore the region on 2 wheels. American #2, the German, and I got a map and off we went. Well, the first winery was closed. The 2nd winery on the map wasn't a winery. The third was also closed. So we kept biking - 2 hours, 20+km in hilly countryside, and still no wine. When we finally came upon Mont Marie, we were famished and very thirsty so we got a bottle of white and settled in to rest. There was no food, however, so as soon as the bottle was finished we kept going. We made it to Dornier for lunch, with the final tasting at Waterford Estate for a wine and chocolate pairing. Nice end to a lovely day, although none of us wanted to face the return trip!
The next day it is back to Cape Town via Simon's Town, Cape of Good Hope, the African penguins, and cliff road R30. Simon's Town is a bustling little town, with a cute harbor where I enjoyed tasty fish & chips. There is also a penguin colony close by, and if you buy a ticket you can even swim with them in the lagoon. Cape of Good Hope was beautiful, and somewhere I've always wanted to go. There were many tourists, but we hiked to the lighthouse and even got a free cablecar ride down the mountain. After exploring the National Park, we took the scenic route north and ended up on Chapman's Peak Drive. It is gorgeous, but a bit hair raising if you feel like a new driver! But we returned to Observatory Backpackers in one piece, ready for more of Cape Town.
Combining a passion for travel, the desire to make a difference and a love of maps, MaggieMaps was born. A place to share stories, resources, and a way to inspire and support others in realizing their individual travel dreams.
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Unless otherwise noted, all prose, poetry, maps and photography posted on this blog are Copyright 2013 Maggie Maps
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