Saturday, December 22, 2018

John and Lynne's 2018 Overview album

2018 was a very eventful year for us. As we like to do each year, we had a month-long road trip in a foreign country, but we also ventured into places nearer home, some of which we visit quite frequently, others which we haven’t seen for a few years. We tasted some wonderful wines and a few we’d prefer not to write about; we had some wonderful meals and endured some less than delicious. But that’s life and, fortunately, most of it has been good. To make the good bits even better is that we were able to share it with some of our favourite people in real time and with our readers, many of whom have given us lovely feedback, through our electronic media
We know this might be a bit long, but we had a busy year and we left out a lot
The Page Down button works well if you want to skip bits!
Celebrating the start of 2018 on our deck with Ronnie and Loraine. No he is not a pirate,
that is Rory on the wall behind him
Our holiday in St Helena Bay, watching the fishing fleet stationary in the bay
There are problems with quotas and over-fishing which are hurting our fisher folk very badly
Our small but perfectly adequate cottage at the St Helena Bay Hotel
Having an amazing wine tasting at Nitida in Durbanville
with Terry Rodbard and the winemaker Danie Keulder
Supper at home with Liam Murphy from Ireland,
John's old Volvo rallying buddy from waaaaay back
Supper on the deck with old friends Yvonne and Peter Kampmeinert from Holland
In Kirstenbosch Gardens with Yvonne. We have known each other since we were 6 & 7
Celebrating Peter's birthday at Simonsig, with the sabrage of a bottle of Kaapse Vonkel Rosé MCC
Rain! something we have rarely seen for months, on a beautiful evening in Sea Point at sunset
This is from the flat that Peter and Yvonne rent in a block called Mimosa, right on the beachfront
We were dancing in the rain with pleasure
The wonderful RMB Starlight Concert at Vergelegen.
We are somewhere beyond the barrier in the middle of the crowded front section
Our best boy, Rory, the sweetest cat. Very independent but very loving
Loves bringing us trophies in the early hours and announces with a triumphant call. This week it was a live redwing starling
Thomas, our devoted, older fatcat, rather needy but loving too. Able to clear a room in seconds
Don Quixote and Sancho Panza statue in the Cervantes Monument, Plaza de España in Madrid
Scanned from a Kodachrome slide, photographed by John in 1971 - with an iconic Nikon F, not the camera in the picture
Perhaps significant as we prepared to embark on an Iberian Odyssey
The Angola Airlines plane to Luanda, where you change planes which takes only 2 hours
The entire flight takes 10 hours overnight and is very direct. The planes are run by Emirates
Arrival in glorious Porto to storm and freezing cold, a nasty surprise
Onward to the Douro to find its port and wine. The trip was quick and the A roads are very good, but they are tolled
We stopped along the way to see the roadside spring flowers and, unexpectedly, found several orchids
(Lynne is an amateur botanist)
A typical northern Portugal rural scene with mixed farming: vines, olives and fruit trees and a few beasts
The vertiginous Douro countryside with the river below. This is right up in the North East,
just a few kilometres from the Spanish Border. We had a marvellous visit to Quinta Castelo Melhor near Vila Nova de Foz Coa
Way below is a house, but look at the drop off from the edge. Yikes. How they farm here is heroic

Pinhao, where we rented a so called Quinta. Google Maps took us the long way round and got us incorrectly to the village at the top of the hill. We were scraping the sides of the car on the narrow streets; we were not based there..  Our house Casa Branco (red arrow), was a way below and Lynne walked down with a local child to find it. She had had enough of steep narrow roads. If you want to tour the Douro without stress, take one of the boats moored on the river below, two days up and two days down, accommodation and meals and visits to the Quintas included, with transport arranged. Expensive, but worth it we reckon after driving the length of the Valley, which was not fun
Amorim Cork owns Quinta Nova and we were invited there for a wine tasting and lunch. We were so excited and set out from Pinhao. Google Maps took us across and West along the river. We could see the Quinta from the other side, but Google then took us South, away from it. We knew it was wrong and turned back, so it guided us down river to the next bridge still going west, a matter of 30 minutes away. Then North across the bridge and into the deep countryside of small vertiginous winding roads for another half an hour until we finally got there.  Going home it took 15 minutes direct back to Pinhao going East, same side of the river. SOOO frustrating
The views of the river and surrounding vineyards are wonderful. You can take a train to the station at the bottom of the hill from Pinhao – it only takes 5 minutes - and they will organise a transfer up the hill to the Quinta – the easy way to get there. Wish we had known
The Eiffel designed Ponte Luis V Bridge over the Douro in Porto
Dinner in Porto at Le Petit Lapin on the riverside
The Champagne cork factory at Amorim
We had an impressive vintage port tasting at Cockburn's arranged by Amorim and during the tour we met and chatted to Mr Paul Symington, the MD of the company that owns 26 individual estates including Dow, Symington's, Graham's and Cockburn's
Inside the Cockburn's Port House
The view from the Yeatman Hotel in Porto,
lovely to watch the sunset with a glass of White Port and Tonic
So much history crammed into such a small space. It is a very hilly city and we walked miles
And lost 6 kilos during the holiday - hurray!
The awful discovery of the break in to our car when they got all of John's camera equipment from the boot
The Changing of the Guard outside the Hieronymite Monastery in Belém, Lisbon
The Hieronymite Monastery and the Church of Santa Maria, Belém
Pasteis de Nata, from the bakery in Belém in Lisbon, the best in the world
The town hall at Sintra, near Lisbon. John was meant to meet Joaquim and friends there (we were in separate cars),
but he spent so much time driving around to try and find parking that he only had enough time to take this photograph
to show that he'd been there!
Where could we get another lens for Lynne's camera? Yes, Portugal also has Cash Converters
and a used Nikon lens was found for R800!
The famous Belém Tower on the bank of the Tagus estuary, built between 1514 and 1520
and dinner in the amazing Time Out Market in Lisbon
Famous local chefs have stands and you can buy great food for very reasonable prices from them
Lynne was convinced that she was the Corte Inglese (short English person)
We left Lisbon in a monsoon style storm
on the way to the José de Sousa Winery in Reguengos de Monsaraz, Alentejo,
where we tasted their wine with two German wine merchants
Yes, they do still use these 19th Century terracotta amphorae
The Feria gates in Seville on the last night of the festival. Such fun
The showground
A whirl of skirts as the ladies dance the flamenco
An icy cold night, so we ended with churros and hot chocolate. Lynne is finding this one a bit hot on the tongue
Sunday lunch on a pavement in Seville
Horse drawn carriages
and a very, very helpful Tourist office
The 13th Century Abd-el_Aziz portico in Seville. 800 years old and still has classical elegance
and simplicity on the way to the Alcazar palace
But first you queue for the tickets! Hot but worth the nearly hour long wait
Elegant horse-drawn carriages and a fountain in the centre of the city
we did manage to walk across the park as far as the famous Plaza de España
It's a really lovely city to spend time in. And not many hills ...
Up bright and early next morning to visit Sandeman Sherry. We wanted to visit Gonzalez Byass (Tio Pepe) but they don't open till noon. Fortunately, Sandeman opens at 10, so we had a very good cellar tour and sherry tasting there. It is time for Sherry to become fashionable again. It is a wonderful apéritif and a good accompaniment to food. South Africa used to produce some really good examples, but the few that remain cannot compete with the Spanish, sadly
Lisa, our guide who spoke excellent English and was very informative, wearing the traditional Sandeman cloak and hat outfit. She knew we were informed, so she added to our knowledge
Our companion tasters, Janet and John, were British. They added tapas for another €8 each
Calle Moriscos, Córdoba on a rainy evening. Our address for two comfortable & hospitable nights. Thank you Arantxa and Berni
They took us up to our room in the sky and settled us in
It was a small bachelor apartment on the roof of their house, next to the ancient church, Real Iglesia de Santa Marina de Aguas Santas and with lovely city views. Small but, as estate agents say, perfectly appointed with a bathroom and minimal kitchen;
it was warm and comfortable
Our terrace where we could sit and enjoy our breakfast,
weather permitting, and a sundowner in the evening
This is the patio in the Palacio de Viana, a Renaissance building. It was formerly known as the Palace of the Bars of Don Gome, in reference to one of its first owners and is an example of ancestral homes of the Cordovan nobility
On the way to the Alcazar, we caught this glimpse of a skilled guitar maker in his workshop
A view from the battlements of the gardens in the Alcazar, with cooling pools
This one was filled with huge carp
The Avenue of the Monarchs which features statues of all the monarchs who had connections with the palace-fortress, between the cypress columns
Inside the Royal Stables of the Andalusian Riding School, adjacent to the Alcazar; Caballerizas Reales de Córdoba
It was founded by King Philip II in 1567, predating the Spanish Riding School in Vienna
The Andalusian horses are the ancestors of the Lippizaners in Vienna
The Roman Bridge of Córdoba was originally built by the Romans in the early 1st century BC
across the Guadalquivir river, though it has been reconstructed at various times since
Most of the present structure dates from the Moorish reconstruction in the 8th century.
Still carrying traffic after 1300 years
After a long, hot day of walking in Córdoba, this was the perfect refreshment. Actually, we were gasping
An evening walk in old Córdoba on the way to
our last supper in Córdoba at La Taberna la Sacristia
More Castles in Spain as our journey continued from Cordoba to Granada through beautiful countryside
We needed to stop for lunch and it was this castle that drew us to the small town of Alcaudete in the province of Jaen
We stopped in this flower meadow high above the town for the best view
The mountains are covered in olive groves
The mountains 20 minutes away from Granada are the Sierra Nevada and they had a very good covering of snow
The river Genil was in spate from the snow melt
We walked down the river looking for somewhere to have dinner and found this very historic restaurant, Las Titas
Those are not clouds above the mountain, but the snow. It was chilly but bright
It was the weekend and we were in the main tapas area in Granada
We were so lucky to get a table so quickly, most places had long queues
We had tried fruitlessly since January to buy tickets on line for the Alhambra with absolutely no luck. None of our three days in Granada had ever been available. We tried for cancellations at midnight, religiously, without any luck. We took the bus up to the castle but they were not available there either. Only 7000 are sold every day and we suspect that most of them go to the tour guide companies who add their fees. So €15 if you go on your own or from €43 up to €86 with a tour guide; that is per person and it doesn't guarantee that you will see the entire palace, as friends of ours found before us. Far too rich for our blood, but they were all full anyway. And we were not even in season. Very commercial, and very, very disappointing. When John went there in 1971, Spain was obviously a much less popular destination and there was no entry fee and also no restriction on the number of visitors. One pays a separate fee now for each of the different areas of the Alhambra; on the earlier visit, everything was open
So we walked down the hill path which runs round the boundary of the Alhambra
Part of the outer walls of the Alhambra. It is very beautiful, but tantalising
as you can see bits of what you are missing from the path. You have views of the city as you walk down
We needed warmth, something to drink and lunch and it was rather late. We chose this restaurant, Las Copas, because it says Taberna Gastronimica the kind of name that always attracts us; it was one of our best gastronomic experiences on the trip
The menu has pictures!
Happy, smiling and helpful. Selim is from Morocco which may be why he speaks such good English
He has always been in the tourist industry. His father-in-law owns the restaurant
We ordered the tapas plate, as that was what most people were eating. Huge gambas (prawns), deep fried calamari, small sardines in batter (very fishy tasting with bones, you either love these or hate them), picante deep fried green peppers, Hot spinach croquettes, huge green olives, Salmorejo topped with jamon, pork in a Pedro Ximenez sauce with tomato and garlic, pimento red peppers with onions - absolutely divine, and a Russian salad with lots of mayonnaise. We had hoped to order more food after this but it defeated us. A lovely meal; so different from other less exciting tapas on the journey
The riverside walk is very popular
John wanted us to stop in Valdepeñas in Spain to taste some of their wines, this being one of the largest wine growing areas in the country.  It was an adventure, but we were not successful in tasting any wine. They have not yet discovered wine tourism; you can buy wine at the wineries (well priced) but not taste any before you buy.  There was no AirBnB or accommodation available for the night we needed, but Lynne did find a roadside motel in Santa Cruz de Modela
We set out to explore the area and find out what the wine was like. And had no success at all,
despite driving many kilometres and stopping at two commercial wine plants
Lunch was necessary after our small breakfast in the motel, so we drove into Valdepeñas. It was raining and extremely cold; everything was closed for lunch. We asked a local and were given directions to the central square - Plaza de España with these historic buildings which house two separate (owned by the same people) restaurants. It was Monday and they were very busy, as most of the smaller places were closed
We resumed our drive through the ancient vineyards of Valdepeñas and took photos of these old bush vines
We've always thought of this type of viticulture as particularly South African, so this was an interesting find
So carefully planted in this stony clay soil, in precise rows
Lynne took photos with her Kindle Fire
And then the storm hit us.  As we went through this small village it was snowing and had laid down a couple of inches of snow in a couple of minutes. On the exit to the town, there was no snow and the road was dry, so localised and so fierce were these storms.  We were off to Toledo
Toledo's old city wall and the Alcazar
The old city of Toledo dates back about 2000 years. It was built on top of a steep hill, a challenge for old, tired legs

To help, a seven stage escalator system was built on the east side of the city and another in the west to take pedestrians
from the new city at the bottom of the hill up to the top. It was opened by King Juan Carlos I in 2000
We headed for the Charles V Hotel which has a rooftop bar with a view and were shown, after a short wait,
to a table on the side with great views of the old city and its rooftops, looking toward the Church of San Lorenzo
For lovers of Iberian ham. Hams hanging from the ceiling of a Charcuterie shop
John thought we were going to have another café Menu del Dia. But Lynne thought it was time we pushed the boat out
and she'd spotted this hotel restaurant on our way to the museum. The draw card was the 7 course degustation menu
She was missing complex food. We were reverting to type!
Described as red tuna belly, the small shavings of fish were delightful but the three slivers disappeared in an instant. It was placed on wafer thin prawn crackers, guacamole, samphire, lime and lemon spheres and pansies. Absolutely delicious, but only a moment's satisfaction as it was so minute. More tuna please chef. That is their local olive oil in the background
the El Greco museum is a supposed replica of the house of Doménikos Theotokópoulos, widely known as the artist El Greco. We wanted to visit it, but need to let you know that not all is what it seems. It is in a house in the Jewish quarter in which they thought he once lived. It turns out that it is not his old house, but it has been turned into his museum. Entrance was free for us (not sure why but probably because we looked ancient and pensioners get in free of charge). The paintings are copies of El Greco's work by other local artists and works of his pupils
You can visit the cellars which have been excavated beneath the building. Apparently they are all that remains of the palace built by Samuel ha Levi in the mid 14th Century. He was the treasurer of king Pedro I "the Cruel" of Castile and founder of the Synagogue of El Transito in the Jewish Quarter of Toledo
A Toledo turner at his lathe, turning a ball from a block made up from different coloured pieces of wood
So good to see a real craftsman and his tools
Our final stop in Spain was Madrid and we had no idea how much this city had grown. Put it in the same bracket as London and New York - it is vast. We had to exit the motorway half an hour before we even saw the City and entered a rather daunting series of ring roads to get to our AirBnB, which was on the other side of the city. We had purposely booked somewhere on the outskirts as it had good rail connections to the city and we had no desire to drive into the centre. Probably one of the nicest places we booked on our tour, it was a small apartment attached to a large house with a kitchen, diner, lounge, bedroom and our own sheltered courtyard. It was a sunny courtyard some of the time, as we were still being plagued by Europe's very wet and chilly Spring! The owners are English and Dutch, so communication was no problem and they were very friendly and helpful. They have lived in Spain for many years
The comfortable lounge area. We had TVs in most of the places we stayed in, but rarely turned them on except to see the news
Our courtyard
Exiting the Plaza Mayor onto a side street
and we found, we must admit by accident, the longest operating restaurant in the world, according to the Guinness Book of Records. Botin has been open since 1725. Lots of tourist groups were going in and it did look charming until we saw the menu. It looked good, but the prices were scary; even the menu of the house which was about three times the price of our normal lunches
And round another corner, a Mercado. It was just about to close for lunch; we ran in and explored quickly. We so wish we could do this in South Africa, but we just don't get it right. All that is sold here is food to purchase and take home to cook. So fresh and tempting
The Royal Palace of Madrid, another with architectural references to Buckingham Palace
and John took us on a return trip after 47 years to the famous statue of the Man of La Mancha,
part of the Monumento Cervantes in the Plaza de España
And finally on our list of sights to see for the day, the Temple of Debod presented in 1968 by Egypt to Spain in gratitude
for the help provided by Spain in saving the Abu Simbel temples from being buried beneath the waters of the Aswan dam
Sadly for us, it was closed for renovations
We had a lazy morning, the end was nearing and we were becoming a little weary of travel
We then went to another local restaurant in our area, which was Fuencarral. We began with a refreshing ale
A special tip if you are heading for Madrid. Turn up at 5 and get into the queue; they open the Prado museum to 500 people for two hours at 6 each evening, free of charge. You might have to wait an hour, but not more, and queueing beneath the trees is quite pleasant. Just take hats and water. You can try to turn up later, but the queue is long and you might miss the cut off
It is a most impressive building
We got our free tickets and entered at 6
We had marked on the programme the pictures we most wanted to see, like this El Greco and the Goya collection
and had to really motor through the museum to see most of those. It is huge, just like the Louvre; make a plan beforehand
or you will wander aimlessly. (Strictly speaking you are not allowed to take photos....John sneaked this one with his phone)
Coming out at 8 pm, having seen Rembrandt, Rubens, Titian, Goya's Naked & Clothed Majas, Tiepolo,
El Greco and Velasquez as well as some works which were new to us, we were quite Pieta'd out and exhausted
We sorted out which track we were supposed to be on and arrived back in our neighbourhood to see a lovely sunset
It was time to leave Madrid and head back to Portugal. We left early in the morning of May 6th, as we had several hours drive ahead of us. At lunchtime, we stopped in the small town of Ciudad Rodrigo near the border which is the last stop at which we could buy petrol in Spain, where it is much cheaper than in Portugal and we were after some lunch. Well, we got the petrol.... and then encountered this religious procession celebrating Spanish Mother’s Day, we think, which is why they were carrying statues and banners of Mary
It was poppy season
Finally, at about 4, we arrived back in Porto, to stay in our third AirBnB there, this time right  by  the  sea, which we  had  been  missing  (We  booked  three  different places, specifically  so  we  could  see  different aspects  of  Porto). If you live by the sea, it is like an essential part of your life and when we travel inland, we feel its absence. It was Sunday afternoon and the scene was so familiar. Everyone was out walking on the promenade of Lavadores in Vila Nova de Gaia
The sun was out, it was warm; you could smell the Atlantic sea salt and ozone and hear the waves. So we got a table,
sat down and had something to drink - a beer for John and a gin and tonic for Lynne while we waited for our landlord
to say our accommodation was ready
A comfortable and calm bedroom and a nice spacious flat. Our landlord, Gergely Suto, is a Hungarian who has lived in Portugal for many years.  He is a professional musician who plays the clarinet in the Orquestra Sinfónica do Porto and was a mine of information about the area and where to shop and eat.  He told us of a local restaurant where we could eat fresh fish and seafood very cheaply
The view of the estuary of the Douro into the Atlantic from our AirBnB window
Once we were settled in, we headed for the restaurant called Café Vapor, which Gergely had recommended and found him there, also waiting for a table and he invited us to join him. It is on the riverside in the Fishermens’ village on the sea side of the Ponte d'Arrábida bridge and only about six minutes from the apartment
Loads of character,  no booking and lots of chaos. We had to stand and wait for a table for what seemed like hours (actually a bit less than an hour), but it was worth it. The waitresses are more concerned about getting the food out to customers than about who should be getting seated first, but that is how the cookie crumbles here
We started with a plate of tapas. From top left: baby prawns, so sweet; you can eat them whole or just pluck off the heads - it takes too long to take off the shells; small empanadas, a very, very good octopus salad, huge fresh mussels in garlic and olive oil
Should have had those prawns, a big regret, instead had the squid, which they do not clean
We had another bottle of wine and enjoyed the late evening air. The bill was ridiculously cheap, we split it three ways,  as requested by our landlord,  and it came to €39 for everything, so  €26 for us. Head there if you are going to Porto, but do be prepared to wait for a table, for service and for the food. As we said, it’s worth it
A great end to a very long day. Porto by night
We found and then went into the Tourist Information office and this was where we learned that the market was closed. We asked the lady where she recommended that we should go for lunch, as we wanted to eat more traditional Portuguese food. She directed us to two restaurants at the top of town that we just could not locate

But eventually, after lots of walking up hill following the Tram lines to Rua de Santa Catharina, we found  ourselves in the  area of the famous Francesinha (transl. The Little French woman) - the  Portuguese version of a French Crocque Monsieur, apparently  a  must to have  while  in  Porto. It's supposed to be steak, ham, and a Linguiça sausage wrapped in two slices of bread and then covered in melted cheese and a secret beer, tomato and chilli sauce. And it can have a fried egg on top of it. Cholesterol heaven or hell according to your health. Apparently the locals ration themselves to only two a month. But where to go, which was better? Exhaustion chose Casa Ribeira for us and the sight of these two lovely beers was inspiring
A portrait of the Photographer, looking weary
And then we spotted what our neighbours had ordered. They were a friendly couple about our age from Germany, so conversation was not difficult. They had also done a trip very similar to ours. We had to ask what this was, assuming it was a folded Tramezzino. But no, it was a rather disguised Francesinha wrapped in Pizza dough. We decided to order it, but there were two sizes on the menu. This they informed us that they had the small one! Thank heavens we knew, it was enormous. It came with chips and was indeed topped with cheese and the beer sauce. You can see the large steak, the ham and the sausage inside. Absolutely, wickedly good. But not to be repeated in pizza dough, which mostly got left on the plate. We have to try the one in bread another time
Boat tours cost from about €15 to €18 for half an hour to 40 minutes;
you go up and down the river briefly and visit one or two port houses
We decided that we had such a good experience at Sandeman in Jerez with the sherry tasting that we would try their Port tasting. That was until we found out the price of the tour, which ends with a tasting of just two ports, the Red and the Non Vintage, was going to cost us €45 each. Think of the magnificent meal we could have for €90?! (at that time nearly R1350). So we settled for a table at the bar outside and ordered a glass of each of those ports to share
Tasting portions arrived; they are not generous and they cost €7 (R105). The red was like raspberry cool drink and the non vintage was intensely sweet without any character whatsoever. Had we paid the €90 we would have been furious. Sorry Sandeman, you have to do better if you want people to drink more port, show them something worth drinking
Our flight home the next day was not till the early evening and the car had to be back by 10am. One last trip to our favourite shop before then. They tell us we don’t have a big enough customer base for them to open in South Africa. We think they are so wrong, we think most of the rest of Africa will head our way to buy the very good quality and well-designed things that IKEA sells. Each time we go to Europe, we bring things home to aid our lives. This time it was tiny LED spotlights on movable stalks for over the bed, so we don’t need bedside lamps. More space for books!
Time to board the Air Angola plane for home, with a 2 hour stop off to change planes in steamy Luanda; It is a really reasonable way to get to Europe and much quicker than going via Istanbul or the dreaded Dubai. From Portugal, you can take Easy Jet or Ryan Air to anywhere in Europe for very little money
We arrived back, quite exhausted, to Cape Town at about 13h30 and John had a great, inspired suggestion - that we go and have some lunch at the Spur, as we had nothing waiting for us at home and we would be too tired to go to the supermarket or cook

A Hamburger each with avo, cheese, bacon and onion rings, chips and a beer cost us R300. Almost the same as a three course Menu del Dia with drinks in Iberia! Uber home to bed, recovery and unpacking. And a thousand emails each to deal with. Happy days. What a great trip it has been, barring a few detours
Rory working out how to get to the sparrows outside the window
His adversary
Lion's Head sunset glow
Blood Moon. Lunar eclipse, Sea Point, Cape Town 22h27 27th July 2018

We celebrated Lynne's birthday with lunch at Chef's Warehouse in Constantia
We began with two lovely crisp buttery slices of layered paratha topped with lime marinated, lightly seared angelfish, resting on cream and topped with a lime chutney and coriander sprouts. The spicy chutney made this dish, it was like popping candy! The fish was fresh, succulent and a bit shy
Bottling the Sauvignon Semillon blend from the Vineyard Hotel's little vineyard (in which we have a vine) at Klein Constantia
We took 16 members of our wine club on a weekend jaunt to the Southern Cape and most of us stayed at the Stanford Valley Guest Farm, where each couple had their own cottage; some self catering, others not. It is a vast place, with a good restaurant and close to the town
  We began our weekend not with wine, but with a good local beer from the local establishment, the Stanford RePUBlic
Out on the stoep with Dr Johnnie Fisher, maxillofacial surgeon; there is not much seating. The August weather was still chilly
Dinner in the Manor house
and tasting wine at Raka
On the road back to Stanford we did get a little lost and ended up touring the wonderful Nature Reserve
where we saw so many of these beautiful pink proteas
A nasty surprise on returning home - the house had been burgled. Not much loss, but our bedroom was a mess! We think they were after guns, money or drugs...  wrong place
On heritage day, we visited the Zeitz MOCAA art museum in the re-purposed old grain silo at the V&A Waterfront. The almost sculptured ceiling was carved out of the silos. The architect who designed this was extremely creative with what must have been a very daunting space
The view from the sculpture terrace on the 5th floor, back towards Table Mountain and “our” mountain, Lions Head. The terrace has glass floors which top the silos below; not great to walk on if you have vertigo. They have applied a pattern to make it less daunting
Into the gallery. The art is intensely political at the moment, and features some art from Zimbabwe and other African countries. The exhibitions change regularly
Our friend Fred Schirmer celebrated his 90th birthday. John joined his staff at AGFA in 1978
A hot Sunday at Robertson Wine Valley's Wine on the River Festival
Perspiration cools you down. Lynne was about to go into meltdown
During the Robertson weekend, we stayed at Bushmanspad Estate near Ashton and, of course, tasted their wines
Blue cranes by the road on the way to Bredasdorp

John finished the year by appearing in a couple of Takealot TV commercials
driving an old bakkie down a dusty road and choosing a braai
and making his "wife" some iced coffee
We celebrated his 73rd birthday at the Mount Nelson with Simonsig, who celebrated 50 years of independent winemaking
Nomvuselelo (known to us as Vivian, her English name) Memani decided to retire after looking after us for 25 years
and went back to the Transkei, tired of fighting with Cape Town's troubled public transport
The 3 bedroomed house we rented in Lambert's Bay for about R700 per night
Very comfortable with all the essentials
and a view of the Atlantic across a very quiet road
The Cape gannets on Bird Island, Lambert's Bay

Sundowner on the deck
and, of course, a braai - boerewors, lamb chop (for Lynne)  and sirloin steak (for John)
The meat chef
The beach braai at Muisbosskerm is a fantastic experience
Lynne on the beach at Elandsbaai
Dressed to match the seascape
and tasting wine at Fryer's Cove winery in Doringbaai (Working!)
We visited Namaqua wines in Vredendal
These tanks (and there are plenty of them) hold about 1.2 million litres each
Winemaker, Renier van Greunen, took John up the stairs to the top
Lynne preferred the view from below
and, on our way home, a stop for an excellent lunch at Russell's on the Port in Port Owen
The Christmas tree is decorated in Crystal this year, to go with our new soft turquoise and blue walls
Christmas treats await consumption
And so another year fades off into the sunset
The years are speeding by a little too fast for our liking!
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© John & Lynne Ford, Adamastor & Bacchus 2019