Oh my, what a whirlwind weekend this has been!
It passed in a blur of World Cup football with all four quarter-finals jam-packed into two days, a social function at the Castle of Good Hope to meet some of the people involved behind the scenes of the Cape Military Tattoo, a quest for the perfect toaster, a very brief but exhilarating experience of the Fan Walk, and a drive to Stellenbosch and Franshhoek with a group of friends from Dresden in Germany. (You can click each of these links to read the five separate posts.)
Friday, 02 July
It all started on Friday afternoon at 16h00, with a fast-paced soccer match between Brazil and the Netherlands at the Nelson Mandela Bay stadium, which had us on the edge of our seats, until the Dutch team triumphed 2-1.
We had no time to recover from the excitement of the match, before I had to rush down to the magnificent Castle of Good Hope, where I had been invited to attend a function. It was a meet-and-greet social arranged by the committee in charge of organising the Cape Military Tattoo in preparation for the big event happening in November this year.
After the function, we returned to Mum’s at 20h30 to watch a nail-biting and thumb-chewing match between Ghana and Uruguay. Ghana was the last surviving representative of the African continent in the World Cup, and all our hopes were on them to make it through to the Semi-Final. Sadly, it wasn’t to be, and they were defeated 2-4 in a penalty shoot-out.
After all that drama, it took us ages to settle down and fall asleep on Friday night.
It didn’t help that Tuffy was in a restless mood herself, calling me to the kitchen for a long-before-dawn fill-up of the food bowl. (Her bowl still contained plenty of pellets to tide her over until actual sunrise and beyond, but I suspect that she actually enjoys the thrill of power that comes with miauwing one of us from the warm bed before the alarm goes off!)
Saturday, 03 July
By the time we got up to make breakfast on Saturday morning, we felt as though we had hardly slept a wink. We spent two hours walking around Canal Walk, not for fun, but because our toaster had given up the ghost more than a week ago, and toasting bread and rolls in the oven was using too much electricity. We needed a new one, and you can read about that here: A quest for the perfect toaster.
Over a pleasant lunch of toast and tea, I read the last chapters of Kevin O’Hara‘s Last of the Donkey Pilgrims: A Man’s Journey through Ireland. In 1979, Kevin walked around the entire coastline of Ireland, both the Republic and the North, with a nut-brown donkey named Missie, who is hitched to a cart. Originally, Kevin had planned to sit on the cart, but after some hilarious and unsuccessful attempts, he decides that it is more prudent – and better for everyone’s nerves, to walk next to his stubborn but lovable Missie.
It takes them from the end of April to Christmas Eve to travel 1800 miles, starting from his native county of Roscommon, down to Galway City on the coast, and anti-clockwise all the way around the island and back again. As a lover of Ireland, I thoroughly enjoyed his rollicking romp around the countryside, and his descriptions of the people and places were so enchanting, that it made me want to pack my bags and set off in his footsteps. Well, perhaps not on foot though. 🙂
By midday, the pace of life accelerated once more.
Friends from Germany were due to arrive at Cape Town International Airport. They had arrived in Johannesburg the previous day, just in time to go to Soccer City for that lengthy humdinger of a match between Uruguay and Ghana.
They had tickets for the Saturday afternoon game (hm, one shouldn’t really call it that, because a *game* it certainly wasn’t) at the Green Point Stadium between Germany and Argentina – and of course were completely over the moon that they would be watching their own country play. (When they bought the tickets months ago, they didn’t know whether Germany would make it this far.)
We had offered to transport them part of the way into town, as we wanted to walk along the Fan Walk a little. You can read about that here: A brief but exhilarating experience of the Fan Walk.
After the game, where the German lads gave a proper thrashing to the Argentinians by winning 4-0, we headed back home for a little bit of a rest and some supper, before returning to Mom’s in time for the 20h30 match between Spain and Paraguay at Ellis Park in Johannesburg. This match, too, turned into a fantastic and thrilling encounter.
We had heard on the radio that record numbers of fans and visitors had been on the Fan Walk, with many going down to the V&A Waterfront to watch the live broadcast of the evening match at the restaurants there. In fact, people were being asked to go elsewhere, because all the restaurants were chockablock full and turning visitors away.
We were concerned about our German friends, and whether they would be able to get home, given the sheer numbers of people needing to use public transport. So, after a couple of SMS’s (thank goodness for cellphones), we successfully picked them up from the Waterfront, where they had been celebrating their country’s victory at the Green Dolphin, and drove them out to their guest house Milnerton.
Sunday, 04 July
On Sunday morning, we met up with our friends once more. They were keen to explore some wine farms in the beautiful Stellenbosch and Franschhoek areas, so we ended up at Neethlingshof for a wine-tasting, and at the Hillcrest Berry Farm for a leisurely lunch, before returning home in the late afternoon, pretty much worn out.
You can read about our little excursion here: A Sunday drive to Stellenbosch: Wine tasting at Neethlingshof and lunch at Hillcrest.
What a whirlwind of a weekend this has been!