Friday, 3 January 2014

Cape Town 2013 - Part 2 - Stellenbosch and Franschhoek

After the long train ride and crazy commotion to fetch the car we finally arrived at my uncles place, a poorly maintained house filled relics from a long lost age, the age of which can be measures by thickness of the dust that it has accumulated on them. The house conditions were such that you really didn't want to stay there, always a good motivation to get out of the house. Needless to say we left everyday early morning and arrived back late afternoon.

So the first thing we did was explore Stellenbosch University since many have always called the best looking university, in fact the person that helped me get into climbing did his bachelors there. And to be honest the town itself revolves around the university since we went during holidays the area was pretty desolate. But the old architecture and variety there of, not to mention openness and lush environment does certainly make the area very scenic, and wonderful to explore. 

The proximity of the buildings the area around it seems to create this atmosphere of a nice integrated community, that is until you reach the engineering department, where all of a sudden its like entering a different country, modernised and industrialised, it just looks like its trying to be different and excluded. As if engineers needed more of that.

After that we went straight to Franschhoek just as the clouds were leaving. As a result I realised just how hot that sun can get in Cape Town, tourist shirt tan line hot that is. So Franschhoek is a tiny little place about the size of a small street filled with properties and sidewalk restaurants littered by tourists, but the place it self it spotless. At the end of the street is the Hugeunot Monument, entry costs R5, and to the left of it is a museum that will tell you all about the history of the place. Entrace fee or the museum was about R10. 

If you're ever in the cape area Franschhoek is most certainly a very beautiful place to visit and spend a day. And help the community by visiting the monument and restaurants.

Hugeunot Monument
Hugeunot Monument
Afterwards we returns to our uncles forgotten cabin in the suburbs. Until the next day

Thursday, 2 January 2014

Cape Town 2013 - Part 1 - The Journey down

So on closing the chapter of studying and entering the new one of working, which every hates apparently. I found the initial transition quite daunting with no idea what to expect, the problem is always can you handle the unknown and most people are afraid they can't. But if one is to grow then one should get comfortable doing things that makes you uncomfortable. 

Thus on the 2nd on January I hopped on a train to cape town, after I had hopped on to the Gau-Train heading to the train station. The train station it self looked a bit worn out and shabby but the number of people there was quite staggering. The dimly lit boarding station was paved with concrete and had copious amounts of bubble gum bonded with it, and not as a result of a genius plan to reinforce it. A fence 3m tall spanning the whole platform prevented the entertainment from idiots with death wishes from stepping onto the rails. I would have taken photos but doing so would likely result in me no longer in possession of the camera or phone.

Given the poorly maintained boarding station my expectations of the train it self was not exactly high. Luckily the train(the Shosholoza Meyl) itself was it could good condition, aside from the few scribbles on the walls. The journey was said to take 27 Hours, so obviously I packed a few books to read(I know some of you are surprised that I can read given the poor grammar of my content, but those error are there to keep your wits about).

Me reading Robert Rankin's - The arbitrary title that's too long for me to remember
I also made use of the restaurant on the train which was quite good, for a restaurant on a train, had clean bed sheets and pillows to sleep on, for which you do have to pay R50. And mingled with our neighbours.
Meet the neighbors 

As the train made its way to Cape Town stopping every few hours at another station, we saw some interesting sights as well as lots of bland unsightly sights. Such as this mysterious tower which I believe to be host creatures who are plotting to take over earth, or just a mine shaft but that would be dull.

Night time on the train is quite different the whole atmosphere changes, and everything becomes eerie, walking from cabin to cabin is mysterious, the stations stops become more scenic and the noises the train make become more noticeable, which is a wonder I slept like a rock given the sound volumes it pumps out, I could hear the train in my dreams.

When we arrived at Cape Town we were met with a neatly kept train station that made us feel like we were in another first class country, like Sweden. Equipped with only our luggage we set off to find the car hire company. We could have been equipped with more stuff, like you know, a map or a gps, but where would the fun in that be! Instead we looked like a bunch of hitch hikers running around like we've just committed a murder and was looking for a place to hide.

When we finally got to the car hire outlet, and old saying of Cape Town rang true, "In Cape Town everything oozes along" meaning they are in no hurry AT ALL to help. It took us about an hour to actually get a car, a Hyundai i10, I actually liked the car, we headed of for our uncles home where we would be lodging for our trip.

To be drawn out longer...