In the morning, I went for a final little walk along the waterfront, trying to soak in the views, scents and sounds one last time. Then I met up with most of the group at Bootleggers. We discovered this place later than I would have wished. It’s in the opposite direction of town and the main strip of restaurants and stores. We had seen it when driving, but didn’t know how good it was from looking at it from the outside. Their almond milk mocha was dreamy (I’m still dreaming of it) and the atmosphere has a beach town vibe. It’s constantly filled with cyclists, stopping off for a coffee break while cycling along the coastline. The main down side is that there’s no view of the ocean from there. But we enjoyed it thoroughly and were happy to make it our last stop before walking back to the house to pack up and head to the airport.
The return trip to the airport was a lot less harrowing than the arrival night had been! It couldn’t have been more different. By now, David was very accustomed to driving the 10-seat van on the left with the left-handed stick-shift. It was daylight, rather than dark, and we understood the traffic patterns and customs and were more familiar with the roads themselves. Plus, we had finally managed to get my GPS to work, so we weren’t blindly trying to figure out when to turn if we couldn’t find a street sign. We were all remarking on the difference and reminiscing on that insane experience our first night in Cape Town.
We had allowed extra time in case of traffic and to fill the tank and drop off the car. As it turned out, there was a massive traffic back-up on the opposing side of traffic, but everything ran smoothly and efficiently heading in our direction. Dropping off the car was quick and simple, unlike our long wait to pick it up. So we ended up at the check-in too early to check our bags. Thankfully, there’s a nice selection of restaurants on the second floor overlooking the check-in area. So we enjoyed a nice lunch in Primi, one of the chain restaurants we had enjoyed by our house, then checked our bags and went quickly through customs and passport control. We had about a 4.5 hour long layover in Johannesburg, but were able to spend the time doing some shopping in some fun stores with African-made items (including some tasty gluten-free and dairy-free chocolates!), getting a massage to prepare for the 16+ hour flight back to Atlanta, and eating another meal. It’s a good thing our trip was so active because we indulged in many great meals and thoroughly enjoyed the local wines/beers/cider/cocktails (each of us having our own preferences for what we like to drink).
David asked everyone what their favorite part of the trip was. Some said golf, some said climbing, some said surfing, but I think we all agree that just driving through this southern region of South Africa, enjoying the beauty, seeing the animals, experiencing the food and drink and eclectic mixture of people has enriched us all and left us with too many wonderful memories to count.