Monthly Archives: March 2014

Blue-sky vineyards

Blue-sky vineyards
I think it's the order (how the vineyards are designed in geometrical shapes with perfectly-aligned rows of vines) that appeals to me. That, the array of green-yellow-orange colours, and the promise of wine. :)

Barren fields and wild game

Barren fields
This field lies diagonally opposite the field that I posted in my previous post. Quite a stark contrast, don't you think?

If I recall correctly, I spotted a number of buck (perhaps springbok), as well as two or three ostriches scouring the field for bits and pieces to nibble on. I'm not sure, but I think this field belongs to Clara Anna Fontein, a private game reserve just outside of Durbanville.

I've actually never visited the reserve, but if you're in Cape Town and don't have time to visit our country's larger reserves, then consider doing a game drive at Clara Anna Fontein. I don't believe they have any of the big game, well, unless you consider blue wildebeest big game - but they do have zebra, springbok, ostrich, bontebok, eland and a variety of other wildlife roaming their small part of the Renosterveld.

Golden-orange vineyards

Golden-orange vineyards
The Durbanville farmlands can be really pretty at this time of year. I don't really enjoy them during our hot and windy summer months - mostly because it gets really hot and really windy. :P

Seriously-speaking though, walking about on farmlands dirt roads in dry windy weather leaves one covered in an uncomfortable grimy-feeling layer of fine orange powder mixed with perspiration. Autumn's cool ~21°C weather is far, far, more desirable - and besides, the skies are bluer and filled with billowing clouds, and the farmlands are a beautiful mix of green and orange.

Shriveled black grapes

Black 'n all shriveled
In my previous post I mentioned the black and shriveled grapes that I tasted directly from a local vineyard - these would be them. Okay, so I didn't have one of the most shriveled - I'm not sure they would be so pleasant, but the moderately-shriveled ones, hiding behind the very shriveled ones - they were pretty good. :)

Tart red / sweet black

Tart red / sweet black
I noticed plenty of old black grapes hanging from this vineyard as I walked along the perimeter. Many were shriveled as if the moisture had been sucked out of them, but this little bunch was still fairly red, and young-looking.

I decided to try one of the black and one of the red ones - just to compare. The black, slightly deflated, grapes were fairly sweet while these red ones were pretty much the opposite - a little tart. So, i had another slightly deflated black grape. :)

I'd never actually walked along a vineyard, eating grapes, and while I only had about 5 in total, I have to say that it was a somewhat pleasant experience. You should try it some day.

Has autumn arrived?

Has autumn arrived?
I do like summer, but given the brownery covering this sidewalk, I suspect we can no longer deny that autumn has arrived in Cape Town. Despite the cooler weather, autumn really is a pretty good time of the year here. We don't normally have a great deal of rain, the wind calms down somewhat, and the landscape turns to beautiful shades of brown. Expect to see a few pretty photos over the next two months. :)

Milkshake no more

Milkshake no more
I probably should have taken a photo before I drank the lemon cheesecake milkshake. But, as it arrived my mind emptied and became consumed with the thought of using that red Nimitz-class straw to funnel the creamy goodness into my tummy. No seriously, that's the largest straw I've ever had the pleasure of using. In fact, I understand that oil rig we've become used to seeing in Table Bay harbour was recently fitted with one of these to dredge oil from beneath the seabed.

Visit Royale Eatery. Have a burger. Drink a shake. You're sure to enjoy it. :)

Jugs ‘o water

Jugs 'o water
Kerry-Anne commented on the fact that in the USA we're always presented with glasses of water upon arrival at a restaurant - which is probably always a good thing as it's believed that people are in a permanent state of dehydration.

It's interesting how this norm in America is most often not even a consideration in South Africa, and how at times one has to ask for water more than once before it arrives - almost as though the staff delay the free drink so that one orders more paid drinks.

Our milkshakes bring all the boys to the yard

Royale's best milkshakes
To continue with the sentiment of that song - they're damn right, their milkshakes are the best in town.

After leaving our breakfast spot where the food was ok, but the service and general vibe was unfriendly, we visited Royale Eatery for lunch; and milkshake of course! Royale are known for their lovely staff, gourmet burgers, and (as you can see from the photo) their interesting and delectable milkshakes.

Kerry-Anne, having had only a pickling for breakfast, had a Bergerac burger and since I'd already had a reasonable breakfast I just had a plate of sweet potato fries and a Lemon Cheescake milkshake (which, I recommend you try; if you like the feeling of pure bliss, that is.).

Our waitress more or less convinced me that next time I should try the Avocado & Mint milkshake. Have you ever heard of, and more, had such a thing? Avo in a milkshake? How strange.

Cinderella’s shoe of beads

Cinderella's shoe of beads
It's probably not that comfortable, but it is kinda pretty, don't you think?

I marvel at people ingenuity - being able to picture a shoe, or a bird, or a lizard in their mind's eye, and then being able to make it appear into existence using only beads and wires.

Blues, a personal white elephant

Blues, a personal white elephant
Blues (right ahead, on the first floor of the Camps Bay Pavilion) is, arguably, one of the best known restaurants in Cape Town, and probably the best known one in Camps Bay. The strange thing is that even though I've lived in Cape Town all my life, and I've visited Camps Bay dozens of time for breakfast, lunch, and dinner - I've never visited Blues. Not for any nefarious reason - it's just that I've never felt particularly interested in going. :-/

Palms on Victoria

Palms on Victoria
Our evenings have started cooling down, the warm days are numbered, and autumn's around the corner. Soon I'll be filling your photo stream with the orange hue of falling leaves, but until then, here's photo one of the more popular places to be in summer.

That mobile crane again

That mobile crane again
In my previous post I showed a close-up photo of this crane and commented on how it looked as though it was ramping into mid air.

Looking at the vehicle from this perspective, does it boggle your mind like it does mine to think that the crane is sturdy enough to pick anything up? It reminds me a little of how strange it is that big, heavy, airplanes manage to stay in the sky.

A safer 1m passing gap

A safer 1m passing gap
After several accidents involving reckless drivers and cyclists, and in an effort to keep our cycling community safe, the Western Cape Government instituted the 2013 Safety of Cyclists regulations that outline the responsibilities of both motorists and cyclists using our roads.

The basics of the law is that cyclists must keep left (except under specific conditions) and not ride abreast (as in this photo), and cars must be darn careful and maintain a 1 meter gap at all times (as in this photo), and may cross the solid white line to abide by this law (as long as it's safe to do so).

Below is a summary of the responsibilities I mentioned:

The Regulations Require a Driver of a Motor Vehicle to:

  1. Exercise due care while passing the cyclist.
  2. Leave a distance between the motor vehicle and the cyclist of at least one meter.
  3. Maintain that distance from the cyclist until safely clear of the cyclist. However, motorists may cross a solid barrier line to pass a cyclist provided that it can be done without obstructing or endangering other persons or vehicles. If it is safe to do so, it can and is done for a period no longer than is necessary to pass the cyclist.

The Regulations Require a Cyclist to:

  1. Make the appropriate use of pedal cycle lanes where these are available.
  2. Give conspicuous driving signals as contemplated in National Regulations.
  3. Keep as close as possible to the left edge of the roadway.
  4. Obey road traffic signs and rules.
  5. Fit and use effective front and rear lights when riding in hours of darkness and when visibility is limited.
  6. Not ride on the right-hand side of a motor-vehicle proceeding in the same direction, except when passing that motor vehicle or turning right at the intersection.
  7. Not ride abreast of another cyclist proceeding in the same direction, except when passing that cyclist.
  8. Not ride while wearing a headset, headphones or any listening device other than a hearing aid or while carrying another person on the pedal cycle, unless the pedal cycle is specifically equipped to carry more than one person.

Source: Safety of Cyclists and Blue Lights Regulations Announced

Finally, then, to clear up some confusion (that I certainly had) - the law requires a minimum 1 meter gap be maintained when passing a cyclist, but the Pedal Power association promote keeping a 1.5 meter gap. The 1.5 meter gap is probably just to play it safe, in case motorists underestimate how far 1 meter actually is (and because trucks 'n trailers sometimes have pointy bits that stick out wider than the driver may realise).

So, I reckon we try to keep that 1.5 meter gap whenever possible - and let's be a little more careful with people's lives. Ok? :)

Not so very naked World Naked Bike Ride

Not so very naked World Naked Bike Ride
Last year I happened upon the World Naked Bike Ride, but this time around I was reminded by someone's post on Facebook, and decided to go along to get a few pics to share.

The strange thing that I noticed while walking around the gathering spot was that there was (a) way more clothing this year, (b) way more spectators, and (c) far fewer riders.

Now, the reason why (in the title of this post) I'm focusing in on the fact that there was way more clothing this year is that... this is the World Naked Bike Ride, so I'd expected there to be a fair amount of nakedness - and there just wasn't, and that was weird.

The organisers made it perfectly clear that the amount of naked is everyone's choice (which I'd agree is a sensible position to take), but as a group the WNBR really wasn't a WNBR, in my opinion. :)

Come to think of it... I believe this is the first year that the ride has had an official permit - and I wonder if a more modest appearance was a proviso of the permit? Perhaps I missed the memo.

Pretty ‘n good coffee

Pretty 'n good coffee
I ordered cappuccino at Beleza - and this is what arrived. Don't you love the cup? It actually does make a difference what you drink your coffee from.

As a side note, the coffee was pretty (in fact, really) good. In fact, I found myself wondering if it was Origin Roasting's coffee (which I still judge to be the best locally roasted coffee in Cape Town).

A favourite breakfast spot

A favourite breakfast spot
I can't really explain why, but Beleza's one of my two favourite breakfast spots in Cape Town. And, if you know me you'd possibly know the other is Cafe Caprice; again for a somewhat difficult to describe reason.

But, try them both, early, on a good-weather day - you'll probably enjoy them. :)

Sweet treats

Sweet treats
Isn't it weird that a store named "Fruit 'n Veg" sell cakes and sweets and everything not healthy? These are exactly the antonym of fruit and vegetables! :)

I felt like Augustus Gloop and really had to restrain myself no to dive over the counter and smash as many cakes as I could into my mouth before store security arrived.

Keep left to avoid a head on collision

Keep left to avoid a head on collision
Unfamiliar roads can sometimes be confusing - especially if you come from a part of the world that drives on the right side of the road. I never normally need them, but every once in a while a big bold sign like this one does help avoid embarrassment or an unfortunate collision.

Into Green Market Square

Into Green Market Square
It's jam-packed with traders, and even though it's called Green Market Square, it's not really green at all. Green Market Square is a huge tourist attraction - probably because it's so perfectly located in a part of the city that's particularly interesting to explore on foot.

The sad thing about the immediate surroundings is that the restaurants are actually shockingly-poor representations of what South Africa has to offer. We visited four restaurants located around the market and found service the service either to be extremely slow and unprofessional (even though the restaurants particularly weren't busy) or the food to be somewhat disappointing.

Perhaps we just picked the wrong restaurants, at the wrong time, but I can't imagine I'll ever be tempted to have lunch at a restaurant around Green Market Square again.