Today was our first full day in Cape Town, and we had no idea where to start or what to do. We decided to lather ourselves up with sunscreen (it’s summer down here) and walk down to explore Camps Bay. As we continued to walk along the beach towards Clifton, we found ourselves on a path right alongside the winding road along the coast. Every 15 minutes or so, we would see a double decker tour bus go by. We decided to give it a try, and hopped on at a stop it made as we were walking – what a great decision!
Even though they exist all over the world, we had never experienced this genius concept – they handed us head phones, and we listened to facts about Cape Town’s numerous landmarks as we drove from stop to stop. Cape Town is surprisingly small – maybe about the size of Boston. You can cover a lot of ground in a relatively short amount of time.
We decided to hop off at Green Market Square and do some shopping in the local vendor market. It was a lot of fun seeing all the items for sale. We spotted some carved ostrich eggs that were absolutely stunning. As we were leaving, some street performers put on a show in the center of the square, which was a lot of fun to see.
We hopped back on the bus and headed to the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, one of the best gardens in the world. The north side of Table Mountain gets a lot of rain, so a sprawling garden was built that houses every single natural plant in South Africa, and more from other parts of the world. It was breathtaking walking around – endless fields and streams weaving throughout millions of different plants. We almost felt like we were in a different time period.
After the gardens, we took the bus along the coast from Hout Bay back to Camps Bay beach and got ready for dinner. The restaurant was pretty trendy – you actually eat with your feet on the beach, in the sand – St. Tropez style. There were disco balls all over, including a giant one on the beach. The crowd inside looked like something out of Gossip Girl South Africa.
We got home to a surprise bottle of champagne from the hotel and some strawberries, which was a lovely ending to a fun first day in this beautiful city.
xx – G
Today was a day of transit as we flew 9 hours from Dubai down to the south tip of Africa. We flew on Emirates airlines, which was an interesting experience. They have a different level of service in economy than most airlines in the US – it was pretty great!
Arriving in Cape Town was so exciting – we both have never been to Africa, and seeing it for the first time from the plane as we landed was very special. A driver took us to our hotel, which is nestled into Camps Bay – it’s so charming and perfect. We watched para gliders float along the horizon as the sun was setting – so incredibly gorgeous!
For Valentine’s Day dinner, we went to a fun restaurant called the Codfather. You pick out the local fresh fish you like (as well as the amount) from a refrigerated area, and then they cook and prepare it with local spices. It was really memorable, and the local fish we had was delicious.
Hope you all had a great Valentine’s Day as well, and I look forward to sharing more tomorrow!
xx – G
Today was our last day in Dubai, and by far the most exciting.
In the morning, we headed out to Ski Dubai, an indoor ski mountain in the center of the city at the Mall of Emirates. The experience was a lot like your first time at the Venetian in Las Vegas, taking a gondola through the make believe canals of Venice. We took the chair lift around while I photographed the slopes. Overall, it was quite a scene – so many skiers were in burkas and garb with winter coats on over their clothes.
In the afternoon we went to the private plane terminal at the Dubai airport for my helicopter ride over the city. It’s hard to explain the situation, but not one moment of it was like anything I have ever experienced.
We were met at the police entrance and had to give our passports in exchange for access badges. Then we were met by a representative of the production company I had to hire to file all of the paperwork associated with doing an aerial flight over Dubai. After walking through multiple private plane hangers, we found out that the jets all belonged to the Sheik (president) of Dubai – the man has like 17 full size Boeing planes!
Upon arrival at the helicopter hanger, we found out the normal helicopter I had chartered had maintenance issues, and that they were flying us in a gigantic military helicopter at no extra charge!
Get this – we flew with a military staff of 4, two pilots, one official ,and one military police who watched every image I took to make sure it was of the designated locations that were pre-approved by the Civil Aviation Authority. Besides all the red tape, the flight was absolutely stunning – a moment in time we will never forget. The beaches, the man-made Palm Island, the resort pools, the buildings – it was all so spectacular!
I wish I could share more, but I have to get some rest as we leave for Cape Town first thing in the morning! So much more to come!
xx – G