Merry Christmas and Happy New Year from South Africa!
Despite being away from family, we had a great holiday season in South Africa. It was still strange, though, being in the Southern Hemisphere. We’re used to cold weather this time of year, so it was a little hard to put on Christmas music and feel festive. In the same week, we went surfing and got sunburnt, enjoyed a carol’s concert, swam in the pool and opened Christmas presents. It was confusing.
I love that Cape Town still celebrates Christmas with fake snow and Christmas trees and cold-weather comfort food. Though sweating while listening to how the weather outside is frightful is very odd.
Christmas Eve, we celebrated by taking a picnic up to Chapman’s Peak drive, made homemade eggnog and attempted to watch a Christmas movie. It was our first Christmas just the two of us, and though a little lonely, it was special.
On Christmas day, some friends of ours kindly invited us to join their family for Christmas lunch. They also taught Chas how to play cricket. He’s very good.
Christmas was also the perfect opportunity to try a moonlit hike on Lion’s Head with our expat friend Chris. Every full moon, crowds of people hike to the top of Lion’s Head to watch the sunset over the Atlantic and the moon rise over the city. Since this month’s full moon was on Christmas, it was particularly special. People were even wearing Santa hats and singing carols at the top. And the view! Man oh man, I wish these pictures did any justice to it.
Some good friends of ours from the States joined us after Christmas, and we made a week of joining hoards of tourists in the city wine tasting, eating cheese, exploring, eating cheese, beach picnicking, and eating cheese. We took a day trip to see the penguins and Cape Point, though it was disappointingly wrapped in a cloud.
Chas and I had no idea how hectic and crowded Cape Town gets during the holidays. Just to get to the top of Table Mountain, for example, we had to park and hike 30 minutes up to the cable car line, where we waited in line for two hours. The city is fun this time of year, but we’re ready for the traffic and long lines to go away.
New Year’s Eve was spent picknicking at Kirstenbosch Garden listening to Grassy Spark and Jeremy Loops. None of us had any idea who the bands were, and we were way way at the back of the crowd, but the energy was high and ringing in the new year with thousands of people in a botanical garden was a lot of fun.
The holidays ended with a little road trip to Cape Agulhas—the southernmost tip of Africa and where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet. We stopped at our favorite farm in the winelands, Babylonstoren, before driving through Franschhoek Pass and staying the night in Napier. We had no idea how scenic the drive would be!
If every holiday can be spent with good friends, warm weather and lots and lots of cheese plates, I think I’ll be pretty happy (and a lot fatter).