Sunday, July 14, 2013

Paris Again

For a change this time our planned trip didn't have any glitches and we were ready to roll. Knowing that our trip would be hectic we boarded our plane to reach our destination Holland with a stopover at Paris just for a day. Paris stopover was just for the kids so that they could enjoy the most visited theme park in Europe - Disneyland. As soon as we landed, we dumped our luggage in the hotel and rushed to Disney World. Thankfully we had checked the weather forecast beforehand and knew that it was going to be a wet holiday for us and were fully geared with raincoats for the kids.

Is it ever possible that kids go to Disneyland and don’t have a blast… Come hail, rain or storm the kids had a great time. It was our first trip to Disneyland so let alone the kids, we were also soooo excited. The only thing the rain spoilt for us was the fireworks that got cancelled. We took park hopping tickets for both the parks and honestly we all had a blast seeing all the Disney characters come to life. Disneyland was a first for all of us. I am sure the kids were excited but am also certain the look on my face was equally awe stricken.


We all returned back to our hotel completely tired and exhausted and the journey’s sleep deprivation, the whole day’s walk and jet lag all kicked in at the same time and we all slept like babies. Next day we were ready to take our flight to Amsterdam. 

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Cape Town – The place to be

We had an early morning flight so we could utilize our entire day in Cape Town. The moment we landed in Cape Town, our travel guide was there to take us for sight-seeing.  All though the late night and early morning hectic schedule was slowly building up on us, we tried to keep our spirits high and headed to Boulders beach. Boulders Beach/ Bay is close to Simon Town on the False Bay coast near Cape Town.  It was amazing to see so many African penguins nesting with their eggs. I thought that penguins thrived only in cold places like Antarctica but man I was so wrong. We took our perfect shots and headed to the southernmost point of African Continent – The Cape of Good Hope.

After checking my dream destination Australia, the next dream in the list is Antarctica which will take a lot many years to reach. So after reaching Cape of Good Hope it felt good to know that I was standing at the land closest to Antarctica. Another interesting fact is that this is the point where Indian and Atlantic Ocean collide and one can see different shade of water on the opposite ends.

On our way to Cape of Good Hope, we saw a tortoise cross the road and lots of ostriches, baboons and antelopes in the wild. Aakaash and kids did some rock climbing while I admired the vast Atlantic Ocean and Indian Ocean merge. Cape Point is also a part of the Table Mountain National Park. Later we hiked up to the Light House from where we could see the picturesque view of the oceans – both the Indian and the Atlantic.. We also saw so many Rock Hyrax resting on the ledge of the rocks and kids were so excited to spot them.  When we climbed down we could see the beautiful mountain which looked so much like the jaws of a shark.

The next place we headed to was - the Seal Island which is completely nested by the seals. Seal Island has probably around 60,000 seals and it was our first to see an island completely covered by seals. Seals being very inquisitive by nature kept following our boat. We all enjoyed the experience.

The next morning we left to see the Robben Island where the prisoners were banished, isolated and imprisoned. Today it is a World Heritage Center and a museum preserving the pictures of the price the Africans had to pay for their freedom.  Nelson Mandala also spent part of his life in the prisons of Robben Island. There were buses that took us around the island and showed us how and where the prisoners were kept. We also met up with one of the tour guides who was a prisoner in the island and shared some sad stories about himself. At the island we saw a few penguins nesting. So the kids wanted to have a closer look and wandered a little too close to the penguins comfort, suddenly we saw one of the parent (penguin) chase after the kids. We had a hearty laugh and the kids learnt their lesson to keep a good distance while watching wild life.

After coming back from Robben Island we took a Pirate cruise. The kids enjoyed the show and the ship’s d├ęcor was as authentic as possible. It felt like we had just moved into the ship that was featured in the Pirates of the Caribbean; only a smaller version of it and we had Jack Sparrow captaining it. It was an amazing experience for all of us. The only thing in water I am dreadfully scared of is Jelly fish and on our cruise believe you me I have never ever in my life seen so many Jelly fishes in the sea as many as I saw on our hour trip. After the tour we went to the street with colourful houses known as Bo-Kaap. Many houses are still owned by the decendants of the slaves from Malaysia, Indonesia & Africa who were bought during the 17th & 18th century.

The following day we got ready and headed to the most famous Table Mountain which is also a UNESCO World Heritage Site. To our luck, the day was clear with no fog or clouds that could have potentially ruined our view. So we took the cable car which rotated 360 degrees during ascend and descend giving us the amazing view of the whole of Cape Town.  There were so many ground hogs lazing around all over the place. We hiked around for a while and enjoyed the picturesque view. So more or less our sight-seeing tour was over and the next days were just to enjoy the place and have a relaxed holiday with no hectic schedules.

The next day we went to the Two Oceans Aquarium which has
Atlantic and Indian Ocean gallery. Kids had a great time seeing penguins, jelly fish, sea horses, sharks, stingrays, penguins, star fishes, Rock Hopper penguins which are the smallest penguins, turtles and different kind of fishes. They also organized puppet show for the kids while the parents could make decorative pens for their children, so we did that while the kids had a hearty laugh watching the puppet show. Later that evening Aan did his trampoline jumps for the first time ever. In the evening we rode on the Ferris wheel and enjoyed the evening at the laid back Cape Town.

The next day we just roamed aimlessly in Victoria & Alfred Waterfront. In the afternoon we went to the Green Market Square which is one of the oldest markets on the cobbled square of Cape Town. It is flooded with clothing, jewellery, sandals, artefacts and other knick knacks.  In all we definitely had an amazing time and a memorable holiday in South Africa.