Head in the clouds

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Today –  the day after NZ beat SA in the Rugby World Cup semifinal, the day dawned grey –
I guess you could say the sun did not come up…
I thought it might be a very good day to explore the Kirstenbosch Gradens here in Cape Town.
I drove in and arrived there without too much trouble. I didn’t know there was a market day just before the entrance, so I had to drive my way through cars going in all sorts of directions, trying to get into – and out of – carparks. Various men directing traffic, not always very efficiently. However once inside the Gardens, all was calm.
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The Gardens at Kirstenbosch are well spread out, with gardens ordered according to type. These are not gardens like the Hamilton Gardens, where everything is rather manicured. These are Gardens showing the wild vegetation of the Cape in its natural environment. There are Gardens of Erica, Fynbos, and Protea – among others. There are also gardens using little water, providing health benefits and of course gardens of edible plants.
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I found the King Protea ….P1050934
….and also the treetop bridge, which moved round rather disconcertingly, but apparently very safely.
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20151025_115706I also took the opportunity to climb up a large tree, which would be a child’s wonderland. No it was not always safe Mum  :)….. it took me back to when I was young and used to sit in a tree reading a book.
As I noted in my journey last week, the gardens tend to be dots of colour rather than splashes of colour.
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However the Nelson Mandela Strelitzia and the Red Coral tree make a brightly coloured tapestry effect.
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I have been to Kirstenbosch a couple of years ago, but this time I thought I would see how how high up the side of Table Mountain it goes. As it turns out, it goes all the way, though I turned back once I came to the clouds about 20 minutes short of the top. The temperature there (according to their website) was zero and visibility zero as well. I decided that I was not dressed for the cold and any adverse weather conditions. The photos below show some of my views as I ascended. As I returned, I noticed that a couple of helicopters flew past lower than I was. My watch tells me I climbed over 100 floors of stairs – I think that means 1km high at Fitbit’s stated 10 metres per floor.
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I ended up following a small ravine up the side of the mountain, with mostly very steep steps cut into the mountain and stopped when I met some people coming from Table Mountain down. They said they had taken about 20 minutes to get to where I was at the time. They were descending and were about 30 years younger (and fitter) than I, so I decided that discretion was the better part of valour – especially when they confirmed that the cloud I was in went right up to the top and the outlook was nil. I sat on a large rock next to a small tree, which was clinging literally and figuratively to life growing in a small crack in the rock and had some lunch.
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I was at the bottom again, I was very glad I had returned. The descent was harder on joints than the ascent and my knees were feeling weak by the time I reached the bottom – even though they are carrying about 10 kilos less than they were a few months ago. There is a sign that tells you when you are entering Kirstenbosch. I did not see it on the way up.
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I did see a few guinea fowl (and babies) on the descent from the clouds
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Table Mountain can wait for another (hopefully better) day.
This was a great day, with a challenging opportunity of getting my head in the clouds….
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About David Adlam

I am a conductor, composer, clarinettist and examiner for Trinity Guildhall working in Auckland, New Zealand and overseas
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