Sunday, October 27, 2013

Wild Horses, Ghost Towns and Canyons of Southern Namibia

Over the long South African 'Heritage Day' weekend, David and I hit the road to Namibia for some adventure and a new stamp in our passports.

The South African - Namibian border is about 8 hours from Stellenbosch. We spent our first day traveling north and watching the scenery change from mountains covered in rain clouds to the dry, sunny desert. We crossed the Orange River, the natural border between the two countries, late that afternoon and rested up for another long day on the road the following day.

We set out bright and early Saturday morning along a long dirt road that hugged the Orange River before heading up toward the town of Aus. Aus is known for a herd of over 100 wild horses, possibly abandoned by the German army during the first World War.  We were lucky enough to catch them just at the right time as they crossed over the road, one by one, in front of us.

After watching these horses for a couple of hours, we continued on our way, through the wind and sand, to the coastal town of L├╝deritz. 

Sunday we visited the ghost town of Kolmannskuppe, a German diamond mining town abandoned over 50 years ago when bigger and better diamonds were found further south. It was absolutely amazing to walk through these houses and town buildings that were once full of life but now are only home to sand dunes and a few desert animals.

The next day we took the long road back to the border so that we could swing by the Fish River Canyon. It is the second largest canyon in the world; second only to the Grand Canyon.

I even learned to drive our standard rental car as we took in all the sights of southern Namibia. For a spur-of-the-moment and relatively short trip, our Namibian adventure far exceeded our expectations.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Cotton Fields Back Home

"When I was a little bitty baby
My mama would rock me in the cradle
In them old cotton fields back home. 

It was down in Louisiana, 
Just about a mile from Texarkana, 
In them old cotton fields back home. 

Oh, when them cotton balls get rotten, 
You can't pick very much cotton,
In them old cotton fields back home.

It was down in Louisiana, 
Just about a mile from Texarkana, 
In them old cotton fields back home."

Growing up in Texarkana, one would think that I would be somewhat familiar with this song. Must have been before my time, but the only Creedence Clearwater Revival (CCR) songs that I had heard were from popular movies such as Forrest Gump and Remember the Titans.


But here in South Africa, it seems like everyone, young and old, is familiar with this song. As a result, when we say we are from Texarkana, almost every person has heard of our small town although most can't point it out on a map.

I may not have known much CCR before coming to South Africa, but now, thanks to David (who felt it necessary to download their entire Greatest Hits album), I will be well versed by the time we get home!

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Green Family Reunion - Then There Was Four

After saying our sad goodbyes to Dad, Shannon and Hunter, the four of us took a drive down Chapman's Peak, a beautiful drive along the coast of the Cape Peninsula. We ended up at Cape Point for sightseeing and hiking up to the lighthouse and out to the point.

David, Emily and Clint went over to Franschhoek the next morning for a day in the little French town. They drove up to the pass, bought a rare black springbok rug and spent some time at Babylonstoren.  

On Wednesday, we headed in to Cape Town to hit up a few of our favorite spots – The Old Biscuit Mill for shopping, The Yard for a taco lunch and Signal Hill. That afternoon we stopped by Triggerfish Brewery in Somerset West for a beer tasting before soaking up the last few rays of sun as we watched it set over False Bay and Table Mountain.

The next day we took a bike tour through Cape Town with AWOL Tours. We started at the Waterfront and biked through De Waterkant, Bo-Kaap, The Company Gardens, Downtown, St. George's Mall, Green Point Park and ended back at the Waterfront for an evening of shopping and sushi.

We took it easy on Friday and showed Emily and Clint around central Stellenbosch. We walked through the cute shops along Church Street and Andringa Street and stopped for a tasting at Brampton Wines.

On Saturday we were up before the sun to make the drive down to Gansbaai for the guys to shark dive with Marine Dynamics. Emily and I decided to stay warm and dry and drove in to Hermanus for a cup of coffee and whale watching. That afternoon the four of us drove even further south down to Cape Agulhas – the southernmost tip of Africa. We had a delicious seafood dinner before heading on back home.

Sunday morning we went to church at St. Paul’s and then visited the Blaauwklippen Market. That afternoon we celebrated our joint anniversaries – Emily and Clint’s 1st and our (almost) 3rd – with a fabulous four course meal and wine pairing at Clos Malverne.

David, Emily and Clint did a little exploring around Stellenbosch on Monday morning and I met up with them after work for a visit to Ernie Els Winery and Annandale.

On Tuesday we went out for breakfast to try and squeeze in one last thing before taking them to the airport. After a couple of long hugs and a few tears, we said goodbye. But it is only goodbye for a little while! We had an amazing time with our family and are looking forward to seeing all sides of our family in just a few short months.