Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Fourth birthday

This little stinker turned four in May.  Here she is waiting for her guests to arrive.

Lining up for the pinata 

Delicious birthday cake!


On the last couple of days, I went to see the vineyards.  Apparently, South African has the perfect climate for them.  One day, I went to Groot Costantia, which is super close to the city and I just took a bus there.  It is the oldest vineyard in the country and it is from 1685.

this was the home where the owners used to live.

We ate a nice lunch at this restaurant.  

On my last day, I went with a tour group out to Stellenbosch.  They have a super cute little town with historical sites, as well as art galleries and other shopping.  Here's an Dutch Revivalist church in town.  

After exploring the town, we got back in the tour van and drove to the vineyards.   I mean, it's no Falcon Crest or anything, but was lovely.  

Next we went to Franschhoek and another vineyard.  

We ate at this restaurant.  

I had ostrich.  My supervisor at work asked before I went if I was going to try it, and I said.... "Uhhhh.... I'm kind of a picky eater."  But we went to this fancy-ish restaurant and I asked the waiter if anyone every regrets it after they order it.  He assured me that I would like it, and I did.  

And that is pretty much it.  
Next up:  Cuba! (in July)

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Table Mountain

We took the cable car up to the top of Table Mountain and had lunch.   The view was great.

Monday, June 19, 2017

Cape Town

One day, we took a half-day tour around the peninsula with a stop at the Cape of Good Hope.  

Some baboons on the side of the road.  (we were in the van with the doors locked.  apparently, they have learned how to open doors.)

Before I got here, I thought that this is the place where the two oceans meet, but I learned that it is not.  But it is the most South-Western point on the African Continent.  

After the Cape of Good Hope, we stopped at Boulders Beach, where the penguins live.  

Afterwards, we were dropped off at V&A waterfront shopping center.  It's kind of like South Street Seaport in NYC.  We ended up going here a lot because the rest of the city is super quiet after dark.  A lot of people go here, so it's a safe place to be with lots of shopping and restaurants.

This is their version of the cronut.  NOT even close.  

A different day, Julia and I met here and had lunch between her work stuff.

The view from our table.

 fish  in some yummy sauce with mashed potatoes

They had these corny things all over the place.  I posed with this one. 


The Ferris wheel by night.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Cape Town

After three days in Amsterdam, I flew to Cape Town.  My friend had a work conference in Cape Town and invited me to tag along (same conference I attended with her when we went to Sweden and Denmark 6 years ago).  I decided to stop in Amsterdam on the way over because it s a hub for Delta/KLM flights, and since I would be stopping there anyway, I may as well stay a few days.  

this is the view from our window -- that's Table Mountain in the back

One day while my friend was at her conference, I was hanging out at the hotel.  I thought I might take a shower and just then this happened.  

Just a window washer, but I was very happy that I am a procrastinator and hadn't started my shower yet! I waved and then took his picture.  

This is a piece of the Berlin wall, which they gifted to South Africa after the end of Apartheid.  

There was a courthouse around the corner from our hotel that people could go to in order to have their classification changed.  If their hair was not too kinky and their complexion light enough, they could go from non-white to white.  Of course that meant that they couldn't talk to their families anymore, but I guess that is the price some were willing to pay.  These are the benches outside where people waited to meet with the judge.

These brightly painted houses are in the Bo-Kapp neighborhood.  My guide told me that these homes were painted bright colors because the people that originally lived there were not allowed to wear colors, so they painted their homes to reflect a brighter mood.  I went on a different tour on my last day there, and that guide said that story was a myth.  These homes were painted bright colors after Apartheid ended in 1993 and Cape Town became known as the Rainbow City.  He also told us that there is a town in Brazil that was having economic troubles.  They painted their homes like this and the city became a huge tourist attraction.  These homes were originally slave quarters, and after slaves were freed, they continued to live here and passed them down to the next generation.  Now, of course, these homes are becoming a hot commodity and people are selling their ancestral homes for millions of Rand because they are located close to the downtown area of the city.  

this street is known as "Hollywood" because so many pictures are taken here.

They were filming something in this home -- a movie or commercial or something. 

Monday, June 12, 2017

Anne Frank

Here's a statue of Anne Frank around the corner from the home where she lived in the secret attic.  

I wasn't sure if we were allowed to take photos because no one was.  But I took a picture of this door that led to the upstairs, which was disguised to look like a book shelf.  On the back, there was a bolt lock that they could unlock to let the people up that brought supplies.

Amsterdam food

Fries were apparently first made here and they are sold all over Amsterdam.  I bought these from a food truck.   They put mayo on their fries, and it is supposed to go in that cup at the top.  I ate mine plain, just like I always do.  

I follow some random food accounts on Instagram, and one of them posted a picture of one of these cookies, so I put it on my list of places to go.  There was a line out the door.  

And of course, waffles are everywhere.  I am not sure what was on these waffles, but I took a picture anyway.  

One of my friends told me to go to this pancake place.  I planned to go once for a savory pancake (see below) and again for a sweet one, but I never made it back the second time.  

It doesn't really look like anything in this picture, but it was ham and cheese in one giant pancake.