Daily Archives: June 14, 2019

19 May: Bye bye Africa, back to Dubai

Lucky Brett rung the reception at 6:30 re wanting the bike boxes early – as they were actually storing them at another hotel! We also rung the transport firm to check they were expecting 2 bikes in boxes, which they were. The shuttle turned up with a trailer which was the perfect size for two bike boxes.

When we were leaving the hotel I was walking along the corridor and I turned quickly to ask Brett something, and stood on my tip toes on my right leg – and managed to pull or tear my calf muscle so I am now limping.

We got to the airport with heaps of time to check in . I was overall under the weight limit but had to take 2 kg out of my checked baggage and put it into carry on. Doesn’t seem to make good sense to me, as it is in the same plane! Initially Brett was told he was 12.5 kg over, but after a bit of discussion they agreed to accept his Qantas allowance.

We had a meal at the airport before getting on the plane. The plane was not full, so Brett and I had 3 seats. The plane ride was uneventful, 9 hours to Dubai.

Pleased to be having a break in Dubai and don’t have to get straight onto the 12 hour flight to Sydney.

It took ages to get the bike boxes, then we found we were waiting in the wrong place. Once we got the boxes we then had to check into “left luggage” then make our way to the travel company Arabian Nights, who were taking us out to our hotel in the Palms. The Palms is a man made area of reclaimed land in the shape of a palm, and each frond has houses and hotels with mostly direct beach access.


Photo credit: Wikipedia

It was 2:30am by the time we arrived at Aloft hotel, and we were told there was a problem with our booking. If we checked in now we would have to check out at 2:30 am tomorrow. We explained a number of times that we had a 48 hour booking, and we were not being picked up until 6:30am.

Eventually it got sorted out, then the room key card was broken! We eventually got to our room and ordered room service, which took about 45 minutes to arrive. The person who delivered it was very insistent that it was paid on the spot, not put on the bill. Luckily I had got some cash at the airport.


Departure day in Cape Town, final chance to offload some stuff

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18 May: Back to Cape Town, visit to Robben Island

Today we left just after breakfast to get back to Cape Town and check in at the hotel before our trip to Robben Island. We were booked on the ferry at 1pm. Luckily our room was ready when we got to the hotel.

We caught the ferry to Robben Island, which is 6.9 k from Cape Town.


Back in Cape Town and ferry out to Robben Island


Cape Town and Table Mountain which constantly taunted the prisoners on Robben Island.

In 1846 Robben Island was a Leper Colony, from 1961 to 1991 it was a maximum security prison for enemies of apartheid. In 1997, 3 years after the end of apartheid, it was shut down as a prison.

Nelson Mandela was a prisoner here for 18 years from 1964 to 1982. The cell that he slept in had a light bulb burning 24 hours a day, and he could walk the length of his room in 3 places. There was no bed to sleep on – it was a mat on the floor, and the toilet was a bucket.


Robben Island Prison

We had a tour around the Island and an ex-political prisoner was there giving a talk about his experiences. Overall it was a pretty sobering tale, but one where hope was never lost and where the inmates had many years to talk and debate about how South Africa should be governed for the benefit of all its citizens.


Robben Island Prison



Robben Island Prison


Robben Island Prison

After Robben Island we stopped at a Belgium restaurant. I had Fish soup plus pate. The soup was quite nice but the pate was more like a terrine than a pate that I am used to, and I didn’t really like it.

Back to the hotel to go through my gear one more time to see if there is anything else I don’t need, to try and get under the weight allowance.

Then an early night to make up for expected lack of sleep on the 9 hour plane ride to Dubai tomorrow.


Back into Cape Town from Robben Island.

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