Sunday, June 28, 2009

Winter Holiday

The first day of the winter holidays yesterday and the sun was shining after four days of nothing but rain. So it was in a holiday mood that we set off for the other side of the mountain, to Kalk Bay and Glencairn. We love it over there with its seaside, eclectic vibe, part of Cape Town and yet not quite of it, but for us it is a long drive: only 30 minutes to the edge of Cape Town, but then another hour in traffic on stop start roads, however beautiful the views of mountain and ocean.

We broke the journey at Canal Walk to get a refund on the new Woolies boots, which had betrayed our initial enthusiasm and come unstuck from their soles. Middle Daughter seems destined always to be a barefoot princess. We replaced them with some unstylish but sturdy school shoes with soles that are actually stitched to the upper. Fingers crossed these last out the winter.

In Kalk Bay we stopped off in Kassia and Figg. Inge has been tantalizing us on Vanielje Kitchen with photos of all the delicious baking she has been doing with her Mum in their new deli and finally we could taste it for ourselves. Those chocolate brownies really are to die for!!

It was so great to see Inge, meet her Mum and see the deli in real life. We could have stayed all day and carried on tasting, as everything on display looked delicious, but we had to move on to our friends in Glencairn, a little further on round the coast, just before Simonstown.

The children were all agog to see whales. Inge had seen them the day before from the window of their deli, so we fixed our eyes on the sparkling blue waves all the way as we drove. The house we were visiting turned out to have a grandstand view of False Bay and for the first half hour the children were glued to the window, looking for whales. And finally they were rewarded, several whale spouts sprayed up from the surface of the water. Occasionally a dark back surfaced and then sank below. Throughout the afternoon we had tantalizing glimpses of them out in the bay.

We couldn’t go all that way without going onto the beach, so while other guests came and went (it was an open house style party) we walked across the road and over the railway line to climb down onto the beach: a little sandy stretch encircled by rocks and with a man-made sea-pool creating a protected stretch of water.

The girls and I immediately started shell collecting. There were so many different types from on our stretch of coast on the Atlantic side of the peninsula.

Our son, came prepared and sat on a rock with his book, which he is totally absorbed by at the momnet, while the family eddied round him.

My husband inspired by the gorgeous light and setting went into photographer mode and took loads of shots of the girls.

Eventually he and our son departed to watch a major Springbok/Lions rugby match with some of the fellow guests, while the girls opted to stay longer on the beach.

Bright sunshine scintillating on waves, white spray as they crashed onto the rocks behind us, a treasure chest of jewel- like shells, ours for the collecting, a French Lieutenant Woman style sea wall to walk along, challenging rocks to clamber over and mountain views all around. We stayed until a chill wind picked up and shivered us into collecting up our buckets of shells and heading back over the railway track.

We returned to the house to find a new group of guests had arrived, enjoyed some more interesting conversations, and finally dragged ourselves home as the sun set, whiling away the journey with a raucous sing-along to Garth Brooks, risking the displeasure of our son, who couldn't hear the story on his MP3 player because we were too loud. We got out our beach treasures for inspection as soon as we reached home and had lit the fire, in the chill of a clear winter's night.

We all agreed it had been a thoroughly good day.


  1. Sounds like a beautiful day. Now I'm kicking myself for not finding the time to pop in at Inge's deli!

  2. Kit it was so great to see you again and to meet the whole family. Your day does sound perfect, and hopefully the fun made up for the long drive. I love the pics, especially of your son and his book. Reminds me of me as a child. Thanks for my beautiful protea from your farm, and hope to see you again soon. Glad you saw the whales!

    Charlotte, I was sorry to have missed you too. Maybe next time.

  3. I am really starting to miss Cape Town! I think a holiday down the west coast is in order.... maybe when it hots up a bit! ;)

  4. I really envy you all those different-looking seashells, and the fact that you have two oceans to choose from. How far is it, I wonder, from the Indian Ocean side to the Atlantic side? What an amazing place to live, and to think that you can actually see whales there too!

  5. It is a great place to live, Mary and the seashells are amazing to me too, having grown up in England. The two oceans meet at Cape Point, so there are some places on the Cape Peninsula where you can see both at the same time and they are not far apart. There is a huge difference in temperature though - on our Atlantic side it is freezing even in summer, whereas you can swim enjoyably even without a wetsuit in the Indian ocean side in summer.


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