Sunday, June 3, 2012


Well I have officially returned from Maycation, and it was beyond incredible! The holiday began by taking an overnight bus down to Capetown with three other volunteers from my group. We had a great first day walking around the city, then the second day we went to the Cape of Good Hope – unfortunately the weather was not so good – it was rainy and pretty chilly, so it may not have been the best idea to be outside for the length of time we spent there, oh well! We also saw the penguins and had a nice dinner in Simonstown. What we didn’t know… was that said dinner was contaminated. Of the 4 of us, 3 got food poisoning [the one guy who didn’t ate a burger and fries, so that’s what we get for eating healthy and having fruit & vegetables!], soooo it was a rough night for everyone at the hostel. While two were well enough to go to our scheduled shark diving adventure the next morning, I had been the sickest and was forced to miss out on that adventure. The next day the others left Capetown, and I got some kind of Strep throat deal, which meant I spent a lot of time the remaining few days at the hostel, getting to know the people there and fighting for control of the TV remote [and not winning, so watching a few too many Bollywood movies]. Cross-cultural moment happened when I made this woman from Lesotho watch “Say Yes to the Dress” with me [the American shows that get played here are so random]; she did not like it. The upside of being sick: it was SO cool to see how kind and caring complete strangers are. I really appreciated the two Americans [also from DC] who gave me something to help with the food poisoning situation, the company of the British guy who went museum hopping with me despite my really slow sick pace, the Norwegian girls and the Japanese couple who checked up on me, and the Congolese hostel attendant who got me cooldrinks and spoke to me exclusively in French. What an international crowd! Other upside – I had an excuse to spend a lot of time at the movie theater since I felt too bad to do anything else!!!!! I saw the Hunger Games twice, AND the movie theater had fountain drinks, which were just about the best thing ever! So it may have been a rough start to the holiday, but thank goodness Penicillin fixes everything and I was feeling great by the time my family arrived! Then the fun began.

View of Capetown from Table Mountain
First off, I should mention that I would have been perfectly content with not leaving the hotel in Capetown that I checked into about 8 hours prior to my family arriving. It was literally heaven. But moving on, the first day of Nowlins in Africa we took a ferry out to Robben Island in the morning, where we toured the prison that Nelson Mandela was held in for 27 years. We followed this with a trip to Table Mountain in the afternoon. It was a great relaxing first day of the trip.

View of Table Mountain from Robben Island

Day two took us on the Cape of Good Hope tour, which I had already done with my friends some days earlier. The difference this time was that we had AMAZING weather. On that note, we actually had amazing weather for the entire trip, a pretty remarkable feat, especially considering the gross rainy cold weather I had experienced in Capetown just days before they came, which is common this time of year. Our day of driving along the coast ended with a visit to Kirstenbosch, the botanical gardens, right at sunset.

Penguins at Boulder's Beach!
Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens

Day 3 we went off to the vineyards! We drove through Stellenbosch, then went to Lanzerac for a chocolate and wine tasting – definitely our favorite [obviously]. It was really cool how they paired the chocolate to the wine! We had a delicious lunch somewhere around Franschhoek, then did two more wine tastings, the last of which paired cheeses with the wine and was called Goats du Roam. Outside of the building there was a tower with billy goats… which my sisters and I were obsessed with. Being around the beautiful and colorful countryside was such a nice change from the desertscape I'm normally used to! The days were over before we knew it, and it was time to move on!
Our view at lunchtime in Franschhoek, in the winelands
Billy Goat in his tower.

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