For my birthday, Kelsey and I flew down to Cape Town to hang out with our great friends Tyler and Cornel Faith.
We barely recognized Tyler, because he was without a baseball cap, had a collared shirt on, and wasn't wearing his jeans from 8th grade, but Cornel looked as lovely as ever.
Joburgers LOVE to talk crap about snow - how it blanketed the Wits campus in July 2012, how they wish that there'd be snow THIS winter, yada yada yada. After living in Syracuse, we don't really have much desire to see snow ever again, but we were very impressed by these delicately encrusted Cape Fold beauties!
This is the view from Tyler and Cornel's balcony, in the City Bowl of Cape Town. The Lion's Head is the peak above the tower. As you can see, it was quite sunny and pleasant on the day we arrived. We were informed that the balmy conditions were a rarity for Cape Town winter, unlike sunny Joburg.
So within an hour of landing we headed out to hike Table Mountain, a vertical kilometer of ancient sandstone steps that require buns of steel, the feet of a goat, and preferably a change of shirt.
Here's the view from about halfway up, with the Atlantic in the background and the City Bowl just inland.
Nearing the top, we realized we were actually hiking up a huge crack in the mountain. You can see the steps in the foreground.
The view from the top of Table Mountain, looking over the City Bowl and Table Bay.
High ice crystals in the atmosphere made this cool halo that we saw when we reached the summit.
The next day, Tyler and Cornel took us to the Cape Town version of Neighbourgoods Market (you've seen us post on its Joburg cousin here)
We indulged in a few birthday oysters, curries, 'flat whites' (like a latte), and a glass or two of champagne before heading out to the winelands of Stellenbosch.
Our first stop in the winelands was Delheim. It was just a bit past harvest time, so the vines are looking quite barren. In the background, you can see the beautiful Jonkershoek Mountains.
And here are Kelsey and Cornel at Kanonkop. For those of you who came to our wedding, this is the red wine we served.
The serving sizes of Kanonkop. From left to right:
Standard, Magnum, Jeroboam, Rehaboam, Methusaleh, Salmanazar, Balthazar, Nebuchadnezzar.
If you've been to Trader Joe's, you might have purchased a wine called "Goats do Roam". This wine is made at Fairview, and the goats do indeed roam the grounds, although they tend to stick to their turret.
The nice part about stopping at Fairview is that you get to indulge your drunk munchies on a pretty good cheese round.
And photobomb your friends.
Believe it or not, we actually made it to a fourth vineyard after Fairview, but we're NOT showing you pictures from that one.
The next day, Tyler went off to a job interview and Cornel took us out to Simonstown to see the penguins. Although the prohibition on vuvuzela blowing and megaphone use is really for the penguin's sake, it benefitted our hangovers mightily.
Well what did you expect? There's a shitload of penguins. African Penguins.
I also had the chance to do some work at the Iziko South African Museum. This is the premiere Natural History Museum in South Africa and has some incredible specimens.
While Jonah was working, Cornel and I went to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens to check out the Boomslang, the new Canopy Walk. Boomslangs are actually bright green arboreal, venomous snakes. At the end of the canopy walk, there is a sign that warns you of real boomslangs, but don't worry - the birds will alert you to their presence.
From the Boomslang, we had a fantastic view of Castle Rock.
Despite it being winter, a lot of flowers were in bloom...and they were beautiful!
On our way back to the car, we searched the cycad forest for this mountain spring pool that I learned about while here in January during a conference. It was built for one of the original landowners who liked to come down and relax. The water is directly from the mountain and is extremely clear.
The wintry weather came back strongly on our last day, and soon we were back on a plane heading for sunny, dusty Johannesburg.