Nothing like waking up to tasting red wine…we did eat breakfast first, but the tasting immediately followed! Today we will drive to Cape Town to stay a couple of days before going on our safari. The B&B we were staying at was also a winery called Lovane, (www.lovane.co.za) and we hadn’t tasted their wines yet. We went down into the wine cellar and tasted the wines…their specialty being red, we bought our favorite, the Petit Verdot, 2006.
The drive to Cape Town was under an hour and on a normal highway. We have been to some countries where the roads are really under-developed and we weren’t sure what to expect in South Africa but so far so good. We did pass by “the slums” area…tiny shack-like boxes/houses, side by side with rusty tin roofs, and in the middle of no where. But then we drove further and couldn’t stop staring at the amazing scenery surrounding us.
We arrived in Cape Town at our hotel on a quiet residential road, everything in the area had huge gates protecting each building. We parked and rang the buzzer to get into our place called, “An African Villa” (www.capetowncity.co.za). The villa owner welcomed us and helped bring our things in from the car. The place had a really nice boutique feel, with a living room area decorated in African style decor and a large kitchen where breakfast was served. They also had a small pool in the back and the rooms were all upstairs spread out over three town-home style houses. We sat in the small office first and the owner gave us a map and walked through what areas were safe and what areas were not safe (we are after all in Africa!). He showed us nice areas to drive through, good shopping and his favorite restaurants. Then we walked up to our room which was nice and spacious. Since it was a weekend and he said it was not a great idea to walk downtown on the weekend…we drove to the main Cape Town Harbor. It reminded us of an East Coast harbor town with all the restaurants surrounding the water, and a boardwalk for visitors to meander down while looking at the cute shops. There were many large boats docked and everything was surrounded by the gorgeous South African Mountains. We felt completely safe…and had a great evening leisurely shopping, eating and taking pictures of the water, boats and mountains.
Right before the boardwalk is a African Crafts building which holds all kinds of vendors side by side selling local things. There was art, precious stones, jewelry, pottery and all kinds of other things. It was super fun finding treasures and talking to the locals. We picked up some hand-made copper jewelry, African Verdite (a local semi-precious stone) carved into an animal, and Giff found a small hand-carved soapstone piece made by a very-well known local…the symbol was for a medicine man, kind of a protector…one who cures people. The guy put it on a small piece of string and around Giff’s neck, it actually looked pretty good.
After stopping in at an art gallery for a bit, we found a place along the water for food and a beer. The service was extremely slow, but the food was fine. After eating and a bit more walking around, we drove back to our villa and relaxed at our place for the evening.
Published by Giff Kabat
I grew up in Ohio as a kid, so of course I went to college at “THE” Ohio State University. I graduated in 2001 with a major in business finance. A month after graduation, I moved out to California with my college girlfriend (whom I married in 2005)…and started my career in sales (industrial sales for 5 years…then moved into medical laser sales for 4 years).
In 2009 I was 31 years old. I had a great job, a new house, and a beautiful wife. Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better…my wife and I found out we were going to have a baby. Everything was going according to plan…and I couldn’t have scripted a better life for myself.
Then in the same year…everything changed. My wife, Brandey, called me when I was on my way to work and told me over the phone, something I never thought could be possible in a million years. My beautiful 30-year old pregnant wife was just told that she had breast cancer. At that moment, everything stopped all at once. I immediately went to her…and learned of our new plan…which began with her needing surgery immediately…and the rest we would find out later.
The day we returned from the hospital after Brandey’s surgery…my father died. He had been battling an aggressive cancer of his own…and although he was the one person I wanted to speak with about Brandey having cancer…I never told him. My sister, Brooke, had just gotten married a few months ago, and although he was weak, he was able to walk his little girl down the aisle of her wedding. On the night before my sister’s wedding, Brandey and I told him that we were pregnant and about to make him a grandfather. It made no sense to tell him that everything had changed for us…so he died in peace knowing everything was “the way it should be” for his only 2 children.
2010 was the worst year of my life. We had lost our baby…and for 12 months I watched my wife fight cancer with multiple surgeries, chemotherapy, radiation treatments, and drug therapy. It was a difficult year for us…but we made it. When you go through something like this in life, you learn a lot about yourself and the people around you. I was amazed at the strength and courage of my wife…and how many good people there are in this world. I will be forever grateful for the ones who never ceased to amaze me with their kindness during this hard time. Family, friends, and sometimes complete strangers…helped us make it through this. I am, and will always be especially grateful to my mother, who was with my dad at the very end, when I couldn’t be there, and when things were at their worst. She has been so supportive throughout all of this, and without her everything would have been so much harder for me.
It’s 2011 now…and the plan we have for our life this year…is to make it the best year of our lives. Brandey is officially in remission from breast cancer and she has a 95% chance the cancer will never come back. Besides the love that I have for my wife and family, the loves of my life are food, wine, and adventure travel. My wife and I love traveling to new places, seeing natural wonders, and meeting new people from different parts of the world. So for the next 400 days…we’ve decided to travel the world…and celebrate our lives. There are so many things I took for granted in life that I will never take for granted again. My father worked for over 30 years at the same job with the same company…rarely took time off…and died at 64 years old right after his retirement. For me, this trip is a combination of a tribute to him, along with wanting to spend the time of my life with the “love of my life.”
* The only thing I will miss while we are gone is our family and friends (who we hope will meet us somewhere throughout our trip) and especially our 3 little kitties we left with my mom in Ohio to catsit for the next 400 days. I will also miss watching “American Football” over the weekend…but I’ll do my best to check the scores in the middle of the night.
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