Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Day 11: Cape Town to Knysna, Sunday, Sept 7

Day 11: Cape Town to Knysna (nn eyes naaah), Sunday, Sept 7

But we all need to be strugglin'
If we're gonna be free.
Don't you wanna be free?

Weather: Glorious! Even Table Mountain is clear
Too late for us to get up on top

Typical trunk packing job

Up and ready to leave by 8am, we’ve got a full day of driving ahead of us. While Table Mountain is clear, there’s quite a haze (marine layer?) so the view, even if we had decided to be first up the cableway, would not be very good.

The morning is extremely eventful: huge penguin colony and fewer people in Stony Point, baboons grooming in the middle of the road,
Cute penguin videos at bottom of post

and whales right offshore in the upscale town of Hermanus (very upscale!). 

There are whales out there!

The shortcut from Hermanus to the Garden Route falls afoul of roadwork, though an adventure of sorts as we try and avoid oncoming traffic on a dirt road carved out of the reconstruction. We manage and pick up the main road only slightly delayed.

A porta-loo

Picnic lunch in Swellendam’s rose garden: sourdough, camembert, olives in lemon brine, brownies and pecan tart (all from Neighbourgood Market), BOS ice tea, maybe $20.

THB takes over the driving on the wrong side of the road, shifting with his left hand. New mantra: stay left, shift, don’t hit the cones, stay left. THB is in charge when it’s time to refuel: takes two minutes to figure out how to open the gas tank cover. $47 to fill up the tank, we don’t try and figure out the liter to British gallon to US gallon conversion.

Double shower heads

The view from our room

In the bar

Arrive at Knysna around 5:30: the drive has been glorious (wide pretty valleys, lots of farmland, tall mountains, ocean views….THB gives it an 8 out of 10). The hotel appears mostly empty, 70 units spread around 3 pools. The room is a bit musty, hopefully that will dissipate and we can enjoy the extra room and thatched (extremely) high ceilings.

Dinner on the waterfront at 34 South: THB has some form of fish that was subbed for the one he had ordered (good), shares a dozen oysters with DB (11 out of 12 very good, DB has one she’s not sure about), DB has calamari salad, and M&D share one of those gigantic fish platters, two beers, three glasses of wine, $110.

Cute Penguin videos:

Monday, September 29, 2014

Day 10: Cape Town, Sept 6

Day 10: Cape Town, Sept 6

I know that their strugglin' over there
Ain't gonna free me,

Weather: White out in morning, then raining, finally sun and getting clear in afternoon, Table Mountain cableway still in a cloud at 5pm
Heathrow not the only negative elevator!

Plan A: get up and onto Table Mountain early. Since it is fogged in the aerialway cable cars aren’t running. Plan B: sleep in (THB actually does that without knowing Plan A has gone bye-bye) and do the local giant Saturday market instead. Breakfast at the hotel of cold and soft scrambled eggs, one pork sausage and two mini-scahns, decaf, included.
Number One!


So, Plan B is to visit the Neighbourgoods Market in the Old Biscuit Mill in the Woodstock area. YOWZA!!! We had visited the Old Biscuit Mill on our first day in Cape Town, it had closed up for the day (at 4pm) and we had an early meal at Burrata. 
Creative sushi

Paella being started

Local brewskies well represented

Mushrooms fresh and kebab'd

Today, 100s to maybe a few 1000 are coursing through two inter-connected food courts, with communal tables down the middle. Most of the booths are selling prepared food: sandwiches, curries, dim sum and noodles, falafel, and on and on. A few olive vendors, several bakeries, lots of sweet spots, craft beer, wines, cheese vendors, and on and on, and crowded.
Biltong done long


Woodstock Bakery...equal to THB's faves around the world

How can you get more Honest than 75%+ chocolate bars

We planned for an hour, and spend 2.5 hours, finally making lunch decisions: a it-ls-not-a-pizza and mushroom kebabs for THB and DB, a shared craft beer (all very good!), a shared cc cookie, and a feel that if the fresh produce stands were there, this would be the world’s #1 Saturday market. OVER THE TOP!!!

Over craft (mostly clothes) there is a live DJ spinning away

DB supports local jewelry artists around the world

Back to food area: live band

Part of the experience: paying for parking right next door in a “lot” being “managed” by two street guys. This is common: there are pretty much always guys waiting to “help” you park and then being lightly “tipped.” The same thing happens near US ballparks when the official lots overflow.
It's after 11am, so THB is now sampling brewskies

And local juices

Lunch plate across from us

THB and DB's lunch

It's not a pizza? Sure seemed like one to THB


Then we move the car a few blocks to the Whatiftheworld Gallery, in an old synagogue; the guys running the gallery started the market. 
Whatiftheworld shares space with the newest THB fave

We very much like the current exhibit: Michael Taylor with watercolor and gauche paintings that feel very “gay” (in both the current senses of the word). Many paintings had sold including all of the big ones (priced at $7,000). The biggest one is fascinating: nautical theme and the canvas in the shape of a boat; $17,500.

We move again to tour the Bo Kamp area: cobblestones and brightly painted houses and weddings...actually, weddings optional. 

Bo-kamp buildings in color

We are accompanied by a guy who has probably smoked two joints in the morning, another two joints in the afternoon, and two more just before we showed up. He shadows us for about 15 minutes until we finally head out of Bo Kamp….not intimidating or confrontational, just in our space, making us uncomfortable. This is actually unusual, even the vendors seem solicitous without being overly aggressive.

Table Mountain still in clouds at 5pm. Looks like we will end up forfeiting our pre-paid tickets: $20pp.
It had cleared at sunset, too late for us

Dinner at Savoy Cabbage in downtown area: EXCELLENT. 

Savoy Cabbage from outside

When the waiter needs to find a wifi connection to complete the cc transaction

THB and DB share beetroot salad with orange, fennel and house-made labnah; roasted curry-spiced quail with apricot and pistachio pilaff; roasted lamb rack with garlic and olive oil mash, broccoli and pea puree, roasted garlic flan (exceptional!) and cardomom creme brulee with a (tiny) choc chip cookie. M&D have the roasted butternut and goats feta tart; rare blesbok loin with mustard spatzle, mushroom, celeriac mousse and spiced port sauce, and pan-fried veal sweetbreads with wilted greens and a carrot and orange reductiion, and chocolate and orange marquise with coffee syrup for dessert; one bottle of NV Graham Beck sparkling wine and Grangehurst Nikela 2005 Pinotage, with a small donation to streetsmart and a 10% gratiuity, $160; two cab rides, another $5 each (and both very funny rides! in one, the cabbie got out to trip the pedestrian switch so the light would turn our way...priceless).