Saturday, December 31, 2011

Christmas in Cape Town: Getting to Franschhoek

Brian and I decided to spend our Christmas holiday in South Africa. We spent the first 3 days in the Winelands, staying in Franschhoek, and the last 3 days touring around Cape Town. The flight to Cape Town is about 9 hours all told, but seemed like much less as this trip we got tickets in business class!! WOW! What a difference a flat bed makes … and of course the complimentary champagne and wonderful food helps too. :) I could write an entire post about how wonderful it was to fly business, but I won’t bore you. Suffice to say that if you ever get the chance, take it.

We had a wonderful flight and arrived at the Cape Town airport about 8am Christmas morning. It was weird to travel on Christmas eve, but we decided that if we couldn’t be with family, travel was the next best option. We got our luggage without any trouble and headed to the car rental area. The good news is that Thrifty did have an office at the airport (see my post from Jordan about Budget), the bad news is they were either very busy or extremely unorganized as we had to wait quite a while for our car.

Our car. We (maybe I should say I as I tend to do most of the bookings) have an aversion to car rental fees, and as such always choose one of the cheapest (if not the cheapest) cars on offer. Our rentals are always tiny, lucky to have power locks, and often have a manual transmission. And this usually isn’t a big deal – Brian always drives … hmmm, maybe he should have a say in the car choice? Our challenge here in South Africa is that they drive on the other side of the road, which means the driver sits on the right, and with a manual transmission this means the driver (my hero, Brian) has to manage the gear shift with his left hand. It also means the signal indicator is on the right, which means for the first few turns, Brian turned on the wipers instead of the signal indicator, which I thought was pretty funny. We (aka Brian) have decided to upgrade our car rental choices in the future. ;) The other interesting thing about our car is the noises it makes. When we open the car doors to get out of the vehicle, there is this annoying loud beep that alerts everyone in the surrounding area that we have arrived. When we get into the car, we have to put the key in the ignition and LOCK all the doors or the car alarm will start to sound. I won’t even tell you how long that took us to figure out! J We’re thinking it must be because of the crime rate in SA and the potential for car hijacking. We’ve seen a lot of ‘Clubs’ on steering wheels since arriving and were warned before coming not to leave ANYTHING in the car, not even in the trunk.

Anyway, all sorted and off we head to Franschhoek – a beautiful drive through wine country. Here are a few of the breathtaking views along our route.

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