Cape Town

Departure by Air France on Nov 18th, with boarding a disaster : let us board without boarding cards, assigns 3 separates seats assuming 4 yr old Alex will take care of 1 1/2 yr old Avril for the 10 hour flight !We arrive on Monday 19th in Johanesburg, another flight to Cape Town, get a rental car and they are nice enough to give us a bigger one as all of our luggage does fit in the original one, then head to our rented flat called ‘Flatrock Suites’ idealy located on Buiten street, one of the small streets connected to Long street, one of the most animated streets of Cape Town, and also next to the famous Company’s gardens.
On Tuesday through Thursday I attend 3GSM Africacom in the Conference Center, while the kids visit the Aquarium. On Friday we visit the South African museum together with a local school of small kids (alex saw froma distance a giant T-Rex poster) can sneak in a ‘touch everything’ room, then Company’s gardens, and we spend the evening in the Waterfront.
On Saturday we go to the Putt-Putt and Blue train, heavy wind and quite some rain, then drive up to the Table Mountain cable way lower station which is closed due to ‘gale force’ winds, and return via Lion’s head enjoying some sun)

On Sunday we plan a visit to Cape Point through Chapman’s peak drive, unfortunately at Hout bay we have to stop: a rock has just fallen on Chapman’s peak drive and the road has been closed, so we have to take an alternative route crossing the cape peninsula west to east through the Groot Constantia wineyards, reaching Fish Hoek then Simon’s town were we stop to have Lunch at the “Meeting Place”. We have an appointment at 1:30 PM for what I belive is a boat ride to Cape point… but at 1:30 a Rikki (a minibus serving as shared taxi) comes, some misunderstanding with the ladyat the tourist information office I guess. So we proceed by car to Cape Point, spotting a couple Baboons and Ostrichs on the way. then we hunt for shipwrecks.

On Monday our plans to visit the botanical gardens were thwarted by heavy rain. As we were wandering in the main hall Benedetta sees a nice poster of wood carvings that someone is just about to post it: a temporary exhibition of the Western cape woodturners association ( in an aisle of the buiding. It turns out to be quite nice, similar to the type of wood crafts I had seen only in Japan, without being able to bring any back home.  Some of the members are very special, such as this brain surgeon who also uses surgical drills to drill fake worm holes in some of his bowls. After a nice chat with Eric Thornton (, +27 21 531 1559, +27 824654237), the chaiman of the association and a native French speaker raised in ex-Zaire, we decide to buy two bowls from Thys Carstens and Ken Pilkington, both members of the association. One is made of the local ‘silky oak’, which is a normal oak which grows too fast in South Africa, resulting in a special wood texture (and a tree that rots from the inside much quicker than a normal oak in Europe). As we come back in the evening to pick up the bowls after letting the kids play in the Two Ocean’s Aquarium’s restaurant playground, I spot another nice one without a price tag. Eric tells me that this is a bowl he originally started as a student project to teach them carving, but somehow he never managed to find the time to finish it, and now after 5 years it sits there, still with an unfinished bottom, as an illustration of the bowl making technique. In the end I convince Eric to sell it after the end of the exhibition, and to hand out a copy of the poster which attracted us in the morning.

On Tuesday : table mountain cable car finally open, although the weather is not totally clear, then to the botanical gardens