On the road again

We returned to the Helderberg area for a few days to attend Ian’s mother’s 90th birthday celebrations on Saturday 1st February.
It was a strange feeling to be “home” again with nowhere to stay.
We suprised (?) the Tuesday Talk group by gate crashing supper at Andrea and Michael’s on Thursday evening. They had prepared a lovely meal and we really enjoyed seeing our friends again. Especially Pieter and Sue van Oudtshoorn who were supposed to be in Panama continuing their North to South American journey.  But Pieter had snapped his Achilles tendon which delayed their departure until March.

We slept in Janne and Johan’s driveway that night and rocked and rolled all night from a hectic south easter.
The next day was beautiful. We played at being tourists in our home town by spending the afternoon on Bikini Beach, when along came Barbara Louw and offered us a flat for the night overlooking the main beach. Thank you so much Barbara.
We enjoyed a lovely evening and braai with Janne and Johan and downloaded a few movies to watch if we ever found ourselves with nothing to do!
We really enjoyed our stay in Gordon’s Bay. Had a breakfast at Java with Michael and Liv from Norway, snacked at Zest and supper at Al Fornos.  A perfect ending to another wonderful day.

Mom’s birthday was an emotional event. Great to see so many acquaintances, family, and her friends before our farewell. (again!)

Then off northwards at last! We’re taking the west coast route keeping to the minor roads along the coast.  A last look at Table Mountain from Dolphin Beach.

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Kite surfers at Dolphin Beach

So many kite surfers were enjoying the sea breeze. We continued to Langebaan for our first stay. That night there was a wind from the south. So cold it’s hard to believe it was February. The next day we moved on looking for a warmer place.

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Tietiesbaai

Not far was Tietiesbaai near Paternoster. What a heavenly place in the Cape Columbine reserve.

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Seekombuis

Paternoster was named by Portuguese sailors on their way to the east. They stopped here in search of food and fresh water and were so thankful to find water, they named the place after the prayer “Our  Father….”
There is a legendary pub in the Paternoster Hotel which won’t be forgotten in a hurry

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Paternoster Hotel pub

Also, The Voorstrand Restaurant shouldn’t be missed if you enjoy seafood served right next to the beach.  After lunch we begrudgingly left Paternoster.
As it was late, we only went as far as Dwarskersbos and stayed at the municipal caravan site. Not the greatest but a plus was its next to the beach. Both of us took a long walk the next morning. Didn’t swim though as the water was too cold. Surprisingly Ian really enjoyed the walk too!  We needed the exercise as a lot of time is spent driving.

Agulhas Revisited

The furthest East we travelled while on our two week trip up the  Garden Route, was Storms River Mouth where we stayed at the stunning National Parks Board resort.

Before our return to Cape Agulhas for our “official start”  we picked up our Satellite phone in Greyton from ZippiSat. Judy from ZippiSat informed us that we should be secretive about using the satellite phone in some North African countries as they were banned there because of terrorist activity. That night we camped in Struisbaai, about 5kms from Cape Agulhas, at a campsite right next to  one of the longest beaches in South Africa. In the morning Ian had a  short swim in the sea while Solveig went on a short walk on the beach

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Flag waving South Africans

Then off to the start of our incredable journey…. Cape Agulhas …. The 28th January 2014, coincidentally Anka our daughter in law’s birthday. Then we met Sven, a Norwegian visitor and chatted about our trip. We set the video camera on a tripod and captured our departure as seen here:

Afterwards we took George to a shipwreck near Suiderstrand,  a lovely resort about 5 kms west of Agulhas with tastefully designed  stone houses… A departure from the usual, even a fisherman cottage named “Southern Comfort”

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George at shipwreck

George loved the wreck and also the history of the lighthouse told to him by a wonderful lady at information.

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George at Agulhas lighthouse

She was so friendly and helpful to foreign visitors too, no wonder everyone sees South Africa as a friendly place.

Week 1

The week was spent visiting friends and family. We so enjoyed ourselves staying with Estelle and Andre, accompanied by Carol and David. We were royaly treated to wonderful meals prepared by both parties!
We loved our time spent at Katimba with Rain and the two younger grandchildren, Gabriel and Sophia. Missed the older boys who were with friends.

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Gabriel and Sophia

We also spent time with Sally and Rowan at the Lookout Deck. Good to renew old friendships and enjoy a Strawberry Daiquiri or three!

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George marveling at the sunset!

We hardly made any headway northwards with our journey , travelling eastwards instead – more or less along the 34°S parallel. We are  now at our furthest point East – another excellent national parks board location; Tsitsikama Storms River Mouth park.
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D Day at last!

After 18 months of dreaming, planning, packing, packing ,running up  and down stairs our day finally arrived. I can’t explain the feeling I have. It’s almost as if I’ve an important exam to write that determines the outcome of my whole future. 
After welcoming our new tenants, Karen and Clive, such great people, we left the house midday with a beautiful  goodbye from Belinda and Andrea.   

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We lunched with Haldane and Alison at the Deli. Alison decorated “Tortoise” our slow 4×4 mobile  home

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– just married?
It feels a bit like that, such a major thing we’re doing, life changing I’m  sure. 
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Ian made a remarkable statement to Alison; “Today is the start of my new life – Photographer, Writer and Traveller”. Is that not exciting? Solveig wonders what her new role will be…..

Said goodbye to the shop, Agnes and Martha. Off on N1 and R60 to Swellendam.. Beautiful route. Solveig received best complement ever at campsite office – lady queried her request for pensioners discount!!!! Maybe she needs glasses.  Slept well but took a while to fall asleep. Head so full of thoughts. Emotions high!!
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10 Days to go!

We’re taking strain!  Wish we were on our way already.  So many last minute things to deal with. 

George says that we’ve collected just too much stuff in our 46 years of marriage! He’s right. All we’ve done for the past six weeks is pack, Pack and PACK!

Thanks to Memory and Chris for all your help.

We’ve learnt a lot by preparing our house for a years rental. Also the preparations for living in the confined space of a motor vehicle for a year has made us more aware of what one really needs to get by. In these times of rampant consumerism we have been programmed into buying unnecessarily.

We are spending two nights in Arniston with a number of special friends who are going to be  sorely missed by us,  combining this short  trip with final testing of our preparedness and just spending some precious time with all of them. The weather prediction is rain, so we’ll be able to test the mods made since our last trip and a bit of chilling.

Three weeks to go!

Keurboomsstrand
Keurboomsstrand

It’s three weeks until our Epic Journey into the most exciting continent begins. On the 15th January 2014 we set off From Gordon’s Bay, first into familiar territory along the Garden Route for two weeks. We’ll visit friends and family along the way, staying at some of our favourite spots, before returning to Cape Agulhas where the actual journey begins.