Monday, 28 April 2008

South Africa 2008: Cape Town

After 4 nights at my Dad's house we moved to Camps Bay in Cape Town. This is an expensive suburb perched on the mountainside and beachfront of Cape Town's sunset coast. The beachfront strip heaves with bars and restaurants, and it is close to all the major local attractions. I have always wanted to stay there, but couldn't justify the expense until now!

On Monday the 31st March my Dad and stepmom drove us to the airport at 7am to pick up Milord's sister flying in from Australia. This meant we had to get up at 4am, and neither Milord or myself are morning people... we had every intention of snoozing all the way, but it seems my stepmom is a morning person, so she kept us chatting. Unfortunately the conversation consistently turned to suicide or diarrhea! No, I don't know why, but it kept getting back there.

After picking up Milord's sister we had to kill some time before being able to check into the villa in Camps Bay, so we headed to the Cape Town Waterfront. The Waterfront is a massive development of shops, restaurants and entertainments where working docks used to be. It is safe, touristy, and can keep you busy for hours if not days. We had coffee and champagne in the sunshine looking at Table Mountain and the bustle of the Waterfront.

We managed to check into our villa at about midday. My wedding planner organised it, and while I was hoping for something nice I hadn't bigged it up too much because I've been disappointed before. Well. What a stunning place! 5 bedrooms, 2 with sea views, 4 en-suite. Huge open plan living areas and a big pool heated to a perfect temperature.

This is the view from the deck. I spent a lot of early mornings sitting outside with a cup of coffee watching the beach, waiting for the villa to wake up - I struggle to sleep when I have stuff on my mind (after the wedding I suddenly began sleeping 10 hours a night!):

Looking back at the building, where Milord and his sister are partaking of a refreshing beverage:

Milord, myself, BestMan and ClownGirl (BestMan's new laydee, she's lovely but can't help clowning whenever a camera turns her way. I think she should get into kids tv) in the pool. The temperature was perfect, not cold but not too warm:

Over the course of the week we were joined by various friends and family members, until the villa was bursting at the seams. We had people around for drinks and nibbles, and I had a second hen night while the boys went out for dinner. Funnily enough I ended up wearing practically the same outfit on this hen night too. BestGirl and Kat had organised it between themselves (one in the UK, one in South Africa, organising the hen night for the Australian, amazing) and they laid on nibbles, cocktails, gifts and games. It was a lot of fun.

One item worth remembering was the list of questions about himself that they had sent Milord. I was asked the same questions, and if I got the answers wrong I had to drink a tot of vodka. After 10 questions and half a bottle of vodka everyone got a bit worried about me, and we canned that game - it seems Milord thought it would be funny to give false answers so that I'd have penalties! Naughty man.

The week was fairly relaxed, as Milord and I have done the tourist thing before. We caught up with people, met the planner, photographer and minister, and I had a hair and makeup trial. Saying that though, it still felt hectic - we didn't have any quiet read-your-book time, and every night was a late one.

This one tipsy evening I realised that if you took a photo without the flash and the subject jigged about you get an interesting "ghost" effect:

On the Thursday before the wedding I organised an afternoon wine tour, and we were picked up by a minibus and taken to the Stellenbosch wine region where we visited four wine farms for tastings. It was a glorious day and I had gathered 14 people which turned out to be a nice number to tour with, and of course it was great for our guests to get to know each other.

This is a typical Stellenbosch scene:

That evening, after the wine tour, Mom, Sis, BestGirl and I moved into a nearby retreat apartment to have a night to ourselves. We went out for a lovely meal, drank less wine than usual and had an early-ish night as the next day was my wedding day.

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