The year was 2006. I’d been dating a guy I’d known for a year for about four months. And for some crazy reason I took seven flights to visit him in South Africa over the holidays. We planned it mind you…I didn’t just show up! I’d been to South Africa once before, but only to Johannesburg, and briefly, so that didn’t really count … this trip was my first proper introduction to the amazing beauty of South Africa.

A few days after Christmas ’06 I was on a flight from Raleigh, NC to New York (La Guardia) to Shannon to Dublin to Edinburgh … a brief pause to visit my flat in Edinburgh, shower, change clothes, change my suitcases from winter gear to summer gear, nap and head back to the airport … to Paris to Johannesburg to Cape Town.

What’s love got to do with it?

Probably everything.

Eventually Kulula encouraged me to slide that seat belt around those gorgeous hips and get ready for take off — me and all the other passengers listening to the pre-flight announcements — and I was on that last leg of the journey…six flights behind me, Table Mountain ahead of me…and so, so much more.

I thought this Travelling Tuesday I’d take you for a little travelling stroll down memory lane from just a few years ago. And it all started here. And I’m not sure why Julie’s not smiling, cos she’s a happy gal.

Upon arrival in Cape Town, Hero Hubs (who wasn’t Hubs at the time) planned for us to take a wee sunset cruise. He thought it would be a lovely transition from seven cooped and confined flights to spacious open seas, and incredible views of one of the potential New Seven Wonders of the World, Table Mountain, and the city she presides over.

Normally, late December in SA is summa summa summatime. Sadly my friends, the southeaster, she was a blowing. There was a blustery nip in the air, which I was prepared for with trousers and a jacket.

But then what had happened was…

The catamaran’s captain took a sharp turn just past the harbour wall. Did I mention the southeaster was a-blowing? The sea was angry that day my friend. And in that one sharp turn, we were down a deep and watery trough, and up the other side, but heavily, heavily splashed in the interim. Soaked.

So for the next hour or two of the sunset cruise, we were too shivery to enjoy our drinks, and too seasick to enjoy the scenery. Did I mention the southeaster was a-blowin’? But I was so happy to be in SA with my (unbeknownst to me future-) HH, I was not terribly despairing and we laughed at the thought that it could only get better from there.

And it did.

We spent the next few days, staying with HH’s aunt and uncle, and adventuring all over the Cape Peninsula.

Our wee rental scooter took us to Camps Bay Beach.

And to HH’s favourite beach in the world, Llandudno. (Not to be confused with the original Llandudno in Wales. My guess is this one is slightly more picturesque.)

We scooted along Chapman’s Peak Drive

and two weeks of soaking in of some of the most amazing vistas my two and a half decades had ever afforded me commenced.

On New Year’s Eve, we joined some friends to celebrate at the Twelve Apostles Hotel and HH (to-be) kept saying he thought he was hearing bagpipes. I politely reminded him that we were very far away from Scotland and that it was highly unlikely, and it must’ve been the Muzak playing. But as I stood up a few minutes later to find the loo, I glanced out the window and saw…

A piper in full regalia reminding us that in a few weeks we’d be back in chilly, wintry Scotland. Enjoy every moment! the pipes seemed to say.

On the beach, under the stars we rang in the New Year.

Our little scooter allowed us to pass the incredibly long queue of cars waiting to head up Table Mountain on New Year’s Day.

And we enjoyed some incredible views from the top.

After a wonderful couple of days in Cape Town, our road trip up the country commenced! We stopped off in Hermanus to visit some friends. {Remember Hermanus and the mischievous dassies?}

As the story goes, a South African and an American met in Britain…

And then we overnighted in Knysna, a place I introduced some of you to just a few weeks ago!

And though the reminders of Scotland continued…

We were on our way, for my first-ever visit to Bloemfontein, where I (unknowingly) met my future father- and mother-in-love for the first time!

The adventures of that first week in SA hold too many wonderful memories to fit into a single blog post. And though our arrival in Bloem meant about a week of my time in SA had passed, the greatest adventure of my first proper slice of South Africa was still ahead.

Can you tune in next week to hear the tale? {It’s right here.}