May 1, 2014: The rally hasn’t even started and I’m already behind. So much has happened. The only negative was the long trip over. No matter how good-and only the second leg from London to Cape Town was good- two overnights on airlines is not fun or relaxing. We arrived tired and jet-lagged. But that is behind us.
We didn’t know what to expect from Cape Town but no location can be better than this. It is a clean, safe, spectacular city. I cannot recommend it enough. The Cape Grace hotel is on the harbor,(that’s it in the foreground) which is both commercial and recreational. We are a two-minute walk away from the waterfront with lots of excellent dining and shopping. Three mountains frame the backdrop, the most famous one, accessed by cable car, is Table Mountain. You can see why. From our window which opens onto a balcony, I watch this little seal frolic in the harbor each morning.
We haven’t had a lot of time to sight-see and now wish we had come earlier or planned to stay longer. We did take the ferry out to Robben Island which over the years was used as a leper colony, military base, and insane asylum but is most notable for its recent history as the place where Mandela, among many other political prisoners, was held for 18 of the 27 years he was incarcerated during the years of repressive Apartheid rule. It was a moving experience made more so by a grey, foggy day.
Back to Stewball. We expected to pick him up at the port yesterday afternoon but when we walked out of the hotel a fellow rallier told us someone had just driven up to the hotel in our car. Yup. Seems Stewball and two other cars had arrived early and were ready to go so one of the guys handling customs, who loves Beetles, drove him over for us! He is running well and is in just a good a condition as when Ed drove him into the container in Georgia.
And today he made his first friend. For some months now I have been corresponding with Dan Enslin from Cape Town who also owns a more recent air-cooled VW. I think he said 1976. So this afternoon we met face to face. After a brief tour of all the cars, Dan led us to a petrol station and we filled with leaded-gas. Stewball loves this option and is now quite happy with a full belly.
Tonight we have our send-off banquet which is guaranteed to be lively-make that rowdy-affair. We are pleased that so many of our friends from the Trans-American rally are here. Here we are with Marco and Claudia from Switzerland.
We are a bit anxious, I must admit. Driving on the right side of the road in morning traffic. I am sure we will be better at the close of day 1.
Tomorrow the adventure starts in earnest.
More from the road,
Janet, Ed and Stewball