So, about 3 weeks ago, we had visitors!

First, Cousin Mike spent a few days with us… and after he had left, Nick’s brother (Dino) arrived with his two girls, Danni & Gabi.

Morgan and Joah adore their cousins and had been really missing them, so it was a very exciting treat to have the girls come to stay for a week.  Nick’s parents flew in for a few days as well.

One of the (many) things I love about Cape Town is how MUCH there is to do here.  Much of Cape Town’s life-blood is tourism and there are many, many wonderful things to do and see.  First stop was the beach.  Morgan and Joah were super-excited to show Gabi and Danni “their” beach.  There was much running, playing and burying each other in sand…

The 4 cousins high-speeding towards the sea...

The 4 cousins high-speeding towards the sea…

The sea - yay!

The sea – yay!

The girls in their element...

The girls in their element…

Gabi making a sand mermaid tail for Joah...

Gabi making a sand mermaid tail for Joah…

Family fun on Long Beach...

Family fun on Long Beach…

The following day, we decided to take a drive to Somerset West to visit Vergelegen Wine Estate.    Vergelegen is a real treat.  As with most of Cape Town’s wine estates…  it’s not just a farm with vineyards.  There’s 2 restaurants, beautiful picnic spots, wine tours and wine tasting, a kid’s playground, a historic manor house and museum… and gardens….  beautiful, beautiful gardens…. with fountains and ancient camphor trees… and so much more!

Here’s some photos:

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(Above) – This is the restaurant where we had lunch.  It’s surrounded by gorgeous gardens, fountains… and this lovely view (Joah’s bum notwithstanding):

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There’s also a lovely play area for the kids…

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After lunch, we took a stroll around the gardens.  The old manor house is a real treat and had me ooooh’ing and aaaaah’ing….  and then, there were the camphor trees.  The massive 300 year old camphor trees… (which I instantly fell in love with)…

wine estate tree

Dino and the kids on one of the camphor trees...

Dino and the kids on one of the camphor trees…

And ancient oaks too…

The kids exploring the inside of Africa's oldest oak tree (planted somewhere between 1700 and 1706)...

The kids exploring the inside of Africa’s oldest oak tree (planted somewhere between 1700 and 1706)…

And here’s a photo of the kids and I with my brother-in-law, Dino…  my mother-in-law… and my 2 nieces (Nick is taking the photo):

wine estate

More niceness at the Wine Estate (including my awesome male)… :-)

More niceness at the Wine Estate (including my awesome male)… 🙂

Another place we visited (with Dino and the girls)… was The Spice Route.

We first stopped for lunch at Fairview Wine & Cheese Estate (next door to Spice Route).  It was a truly beautiful setting…. and there was a bakery… and dairy… and a goat tower… and a shop selling all kinds of yummy delicacies.  My only regret was that we went on a Sunday – and it was packed with people.  Packed!  Next time, I’ll take the kids on a week day… and we’ll go and watch how goats are milked and how cheese is made.

After lunch, we hopped over to The Spice Route next door.  Oh – I LOVE it there!  It’s like a mini village of shops and restaurants all offering various, made-on-the-premises goodies and treats.

Cousins, fountains & fish...

Cousins, fountains & fish…

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La Grapperia pizza restaurant is one of the venues at the Spice Route… (next time, we’ll eat lunch there)…

We decided to stop over at the coffee and chocolate place – DV Artisan Chocolate, Roastery & Espresso Bar… and…. omigosh…!  It was such a treat!  I’m definitely going back (when there are less people!)…

The chocolate is made on site… and you can stand and drool next to big, glass windows while the machines churn big pots of melted chocolate before your eyes.  You can also do a chocolate tasting…  I guess it’s like wine tasting… where a clever person who know a lot about chocolate tells you all about the different flavours and textures and how everything is made.  (I would have signed up for that – but there were just way too many people that day).

We decided to sit down and order some coffee and chocolatey things…  yum!  Here’s some pics:

Joah is clearly enjoying the home-made chocolate ice-cream...

Joah is clearly enjoying the home-made chocolate ice-cream…

Some of the artisan chocolate on offer at DV's...

Some of the artisanal chocolate on offer at DV’s…

artisanal

During the same week, my mom was in Cape Town.  She was staying with her friend, but we decided to meet up for a morning, strolling around Kirstenbosch Gardens (another one of those must-do places in Cape Town).  Mom had brought along some prezzies for Morgan and Joah… and hit the jackpot with a French knitter and some wool for Morgan… (who has regularly kept at it ever since).  Here’s some pics:

Morgan with her gift-from-Granny… a French knitting gadget...

Morgan with her gift-from-Granny… a French knitting gadget…

She just kept knitting while we walked… and every time we stopped, she'd find a little spot in the sun… and knit!

She just kept knitting while we walked… and every time we stopped, she’d find a little spot in the sun… and knit!

Joah pretending to be dead.

Joah enjoying the soft grass.

Me, Mom and the kids… at beautiful Kirstenbosch Gardens.

Me, Mom and the kids… at beautiful Kirstenbosch Gardens.

It was lovely seeing my mom again.  I would like her to come and stay with us for a whole week… and I would definitely like to take her to visit the Spice Route.  Another person I’m desperately missing is my sister.  I haven’t seen Soo since late October last year!  We were packing up for our 2-month US Road Trip… and Soo was in Nigeria on business.  When we touched base in Joburg earlier this year, Soo was in Nigeria again.  So we keep missing each other – and now I really miss her!  I’d love to have a good catch up over some coffee and something yummy.

Travel has it’s many pro’s…  but missing friends and family (wherever they are in the world) is always the downside.

Anyway… before Dino and the girls headed back to Joburg, we got to take all of the kids to the aquarium and also for a boat tour around Cape Town harbour.

The cousins and the clown fish at the Cape Town Aquarium...

The cousins and the clown fish at the Cape Town Aquarium…

aquarium2

And they loved the boat tour, of course!

And they loved the boat tour, of course!

It was actually quite funny (on the day we took the kids on the boat tour).  Nick had to fly back to Joburg for a meeting so Dino and I ended up taking the kids.  The boat tour guide got the idea that I was “Mommy” and Dino was “Daddy”… and that all four kids were mine!  Eeek!

Needless to say… Morgan and Joah had a marvellous and very happy time with Cousin Mike, Yia-Yia, Papou, Granny, Nano (the name they call Dino)… and Cousins.  Now they’re nagging me for time with Matt & Erin… and Adelaide… and have told me that they also miss Isabelle and Grace (in Ohio!)… and they want to see Keren again… and why does cousin Kyra have to live so far… and when can they visit the Karoo to see Edwina again…. etc… etc…

Like I say, this travel-thing has it’s pros and cons.  Missing people is the hardest part.