16/05/2013

It was a relief to see the familiar faces of my aunt and uncle searching for me at Cape Town bus terminal after another 20 hour bus journey. I had left Windhoek the night before after 6 days driving myself around Namibia and was looking forward to some down time catching up and cleaning up. After setting a wash on (I was so excited about having clean clothes that I unpacked my bag directly into the washing machine) and a shave (I had to go and buy a razor as neglected to bring one on my travels), my uncle and I went to pick up my sister, Kathy, who was arriving back from 6 months in New Zealand. General tiredness and jet-lag soon ate into our conversations and I sank into the comfort of a well known bed in a welcoming home.

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Chapman’s Peak Cycle – Image courtesy of Hayley Harpur

The relaxing lasted all of one night, Hayley, my other sister arrived the following day with plans for a short cycle. I reluctantly agreed so long as they would take it easy on me and we set off to meet a friend in Sea Point. Upon reaching Sea Point I thought it wasn’t such a bad cycle and was pleased with myself for keeping pace. My face dropped and my legs turned to jelly when as told me that the cycle had not started and we were actually heading up Chapman’s Peak. Over half an Argus (70km) later and I was truly broken, both physically and mentally at how fresh they all still looked, but that just made the cold beer in hand and stunning sunset even more enjoyable.

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Sunset over Sea Point. 
Some point that evening amidst catching up and making new acquaintances it was agreed that we would climb Table Mountain the following day. With an early start I was grateful they did not make me cycle to the start of the trail. The route, Indian Vensters, which was chosen by Kathy would turn out to be a good challenge with plenty of scrambling but that didn’t stop her pushing us to make it to the top well within the 2.5hrs suggested hike time. After lunch on the table it was more of a jog down than a Sunday afternoon stroll, with Hayley and her trail running buddies taking the lead. By the time we got to the bottom I was more than ready for sun-downers and decided to forgo the cycle back to my aunt and uncle’s in favour of a lift to the waterfront followed by beers lit by the long rays of the evening sun.
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Hiking Table Mountain – Image courtesy of Hayley Harpur
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Sun-downers with Hayley at the V&A Waterfront

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To end off an energetic weekend I spent the night at Hayley’s house at the Strand, the whole time thinking to myself, “This is like those places we always used to see at the beach as kids and wonder what type of people lived in them.” The morning greeted us with a misty ocean which demanded wetsuits for the morning SUP session we had planned. It was fantastic to get out on the water even if it wasn’t on a windsurfer, it brought back the enjoyment and enhanced the excitement of the Greece trip to come. The session ended with me making a 500m swim back to the shore after loosing my paddle and board when under estimating the size of a wave and catching it side on. Both washed up, saving me the embarrassment of appearing through the mist empty handed. As it was Hayley managed to grab this rather moody shot as I wandered up the beach to find her and the instructor searching for me.

The rest of the South Africa stay, aside for a trip up the west coast, followed a similar pattern and included regular tennis at Pinelands Club and one very early morning bike ride followed by coffee at a quirky coffee shop hidden down an alley only known to the local cycling crew. Speaking of quirky coffee shops, it seems to me that this is a side of Cape Town I never fully appreciated or maybe it is a side that I have only just begin to experience in earnest. Either way there was something different about this trip back to SA, it was the first time that I found myself thinking, “Something has changed, this is actually and amazing place, maybe one day I can see myself back here on a more permanent basis.”

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Early morning cycle with Kathy

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Well deserved hub cap breakfast at the cycle cafe.