Capetown Recap

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Awe-inspiring.

Length of Stay:

  • 5 days, 4 nights

High:

  • Memorable ocean views
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Muizenberg beach.

Low:

  • Getting my luggage lost by the airline and going 2 days sans clothes/toiletries

Favorite Hike:

  • Elephant’s Eye Cave (part of the Table Mountain National Park)

Favorite Treat:

  • Biltong (dried, cured meat)
  • Braai (South African style barbecue)
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[Cape] Point and Good Hope

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It was windy.

I saw wild ostriches.

The kelp anchors looked like something from a Sci-Fi movie.

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Pretty. Note the tubular kelp.

Ah, Cape Town. Existing below the equator, this South African city is renowned for its unique coastline and urban-meets-nature feel. I was bracing for chilly winter weather, but this metropolis (found at the edge of the continent) was rain-free and replete with sunshine! Having recently come from Mozambique, I was excited about the change in scenery, as well as some longed-for creature comforts (mainly hot showers and veggies).

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Of course, I had to go to Table Mountain National Park, a protected space that stretches much more extensively than I had originally anticipated. Yes, it includes the iconic Table Mountain, but this natural place also encompasses an assortment of gorgeous hikes and impeccable coast land around the city and throughout the peninsula.

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It was a beautiful drive down to Cape of Good Hope – the southwestern most part of the continent. Sure, the place was riddled with tourists, but I was able to pull away from the crowds to enjoy the crashing waves, unique cliffs, and sea-salt-infused air.

But mostly I enjoyed the sights. 

You’ll recall that Channel Islands National Park was one of my favorites. The combination of rock, ocean, and greenery was the perfect recipe (in my opinion) for an outdoor setting. Well, picture this same assortment all around. It seemed that whenever the car turned a corner or whichever direction I faced, there were impeccable vistas that absolutely captivated me.

The ocean(s), in and of itself, was sublime – this is where the Indian and Atlantic meet. The shrub-covered ground was teeming with interesting plants while the mountains served as an amazing backdrop. There were wild ostriches flocking about and some odd-looking antelope (apparently called an eland). Warning signs about mischievous baboons made me anticipate seeing one, but they must have decided to stay hidden.

Yes, the area around Cape Town is so pretty! It was a delightful place to spend time out-of-doors.

I’m glad that I came. 🙂

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Fabulous weather! The sign behind me warns about staying away from the oft-aggressive baboons.

Beach Respite

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Corolla sunrise

Beaches are beautiful. I’ve spent a lot of time on the coast this past year. From snorkeling with the fishes in Dry Tortugas to exploring tide pools in Olympic, the ocean is a magical place.

That’s why my trip to the Outer Banks in North Carolina came at an opportune time. Nothing beats the post-trip blahs like a gorgeous landscape and sunshine. As I floated on my back, cocooned by the salty Atlantic water, I closed my eyes and relaxed like a little star fish. There’s something incredible about letting all your senses be lost in a natural space. Three pelicans jolted me out of my revelry, swooping down nearby to pick up an early lunch from the sea.

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A couple days later and a couple shades more tan, I was pretty darn happy. The freckles littering my arms were a pleasant reminder of my time on the beach. If I close my eyes, I can still recall the scent of the delicious salty air…

* sigh *

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Biscayne Recap

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Beautiful trees, water, and sky!

Length of Stay:

  • 1 day

Highs:

  • Canoeing among the mangrove trees
  • Just barely missing a big load of blue heron poop as it flew overhead (whew!)
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Moments before the turds dropped

Lows:

  • The amount of trash was slightly depressing (all debris gets washed up among the trees)

Favorite Exhibit:

  • The visitor’s center had a mesmerizing display of live moon jelly fish

Favorite Treat:

  • Authentic Cuban sandwich

Favorite Random Moment(s):

  • Trying miracle berries, which alter your taste buds so that sour foods taste sweet
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Enjoying a stroll

Dry Tortugas Recap

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Located 70 miles off of the coast of Key West, this was a tricky park to get to. The expansive ocean and the grandeur of the old fort was well worth the 2.5 hour ferry ride.

Length of Stay:

  • 1 day

Highs:

  • Exploring Fort Jefferson, one of the largest and most strategic forts ever built
  • Snorkeling among the coaling piers along the moat wall
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Looking at the old prisoner cells
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Pretty fishies!

 

 

Lows:

  • slight sunburn

Favorite Treat:

  • Key lime pie and Cuban coffee

Favorite Random Moment:

  • Chatting it up with a maintenance ranger who described, in detail, the staff quarters that are built right into one side of the fort. Can you imagine crawling through an arch in the middle of the night to use your restroom?
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“Everything the light touches is our kingdom” – Mufasa