Round The World With Grandad

Grandma’s Travel Map

Grandma has been to: United Arab Emirates, Antigua and Barbuda, Albania, Argentina, Austria, Australia, Aruba, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Belgium, Bulgaria, Bonaire, Saint Eustatius and Saba, Brazil, Canada, Switzerland, People’s Republic of China, Costa Rica, Cuba, Curacao, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Denmark, Estonia, Egypt, Spain, Finland, France, United Kingdom, Gibraltar, Gambia, Greece, Hong Kong, Croatia, Hungary, Indonesia, Ireland, Israel, Isle of Man, India, Iceland, Italy, Jordan, Japan, Cambodia, Democratic People’s Republic of Korea, South Korea, Laos, Saint Lucia, Sri Lanka, Lithuania, Latvia, Morocco, Moldova, Montenegro, Madagascar, Myanmar, Malta, Mexico, Malaysia, Netherlands, Norway, New Zealand, Oman, Poland, Portugal, Reunion, Romania, Serbia, Russia, Sweden, Singapore, Slovenia, Slovakia, Senegal, Sint Maarten, Swaziland, Thailand, Tunisia, Turkey, Trinidad and Tobago, Taiwan, Tanzania, Ukraine, United States, Uruguay, Vatican, Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, Vietnam, South Africa.
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You’re doing What! at Your Age!

Someone actually said that to JP last week. Its the first time but have people been thinking it for years? All he’d done was sit on a train for a very long time. Is there an age limit on that? True it was a long way from home- Siberia in fact and for a very long time – days on end between our stop off points but he wasn’t climbing a mountain or swimming the channel, just sitting down.

When I’d got over being indignant I wondered what the aged were supposed to do gardening?  knitting? stamp collecting?



fantasy gardengate

My fantasy garden gate

Peoples Expectations

The person who said this was a highly educated middle aged man. What will he do when he retires- be bored I’m guessing. Surely retirement is the ideal opportunity to do the things work and family responsibilities stopped you doing when you were younger. Some people love being retired and see it as a good chance to wind down and relax. I still haven’t found out what you are supposed to do all day. But I do know if I ever say” I don’t know how I found time to go to work” I’ll need shooting!

I do garden – its hard work and in my opinion not the best thing for elderly arthritic ladies. I do it because I like gardens not gardening. If I could afford a gardener I’d have one and just potter around cutting roses to put in my trug.

Got carried away there but what a brilliant thought.



I haven’t graduated to knitting yet.

but I don’t think I’ll be good at it.     crocheting

I can crochet but that only takes one needle.

The co-ordination required to use two is probably beyond me.

As for stamp collecting everyone my age did it as a child.

I remember Helveta or Swiss stamps were my favourite along with Magyar Posta

so I don’t need to go back to that.





So what to do?

 The obvious answer is more of what I’ve enjoyed doing for years and top of the list is travel. I have been lucky enough to have lots of time of to travel over the last ten years but being retired allows you enough time for the extra long journeys that have always been on the list.

A couple of months travelling around America, going to Australia the long slow way with no long flights and most recently the Trans Siberian express and on to Japan and China.

These are the journeys of the gap year for the young but the good thing about getting older is that you don’t care as much about what other people think and you don’t have to pretend to be cool.

So we do these things trundling along with our suitcases often surrounded by eighteen year olds with impossibly large rucksacks.

old map

Long may this continue.

South Africa’s Cities, Cape Town & Jo’burg

Cape Town has a lot going for it – a great waterfront, Robben Island, and of course Table mountain.

Cape Town

The V &A waterfront is Victoria and Alfred not Albert as we are used to.  Its a huge shopping area with four hundred and  fifty shops. There are plenty of places to eat and this is where you can get the ferry to Robben Island.

Robben Island

Nelson Mandela was imprisoned here for eighteen years . The guides are former prisoners who did hard labour in the line quarry. When you get off the ferry a bus trip takes you round then you are shown Mandela’s cell and exercise yard.


The Real Cape Town


The District Six museum in an old Methodist church tells the story of how the local residents were treated in the 1960’s and 70’s . 60,000 residents were forcibly removed to separate the races under apartheid. Surprisingly the museum is bright and cheerful with lots of local artwork.

A visit to a township was interesting but a bit depressing. We visited a spaza shop, a small convenience store and then a shebeen, a local bar. We saw the living conditions of the residents and its wasn’t great. How life can still be like this so long after the end of apartheid I do not know.

Table Mountain

Table Mountain is the main event. The iconic landmark of the city. Its a five minute trip to the top by the cable car. Sixty five people fit into one revolving car on the ride to the top. From here depending on the weather ( the cloud often covers the top) you get outstanding views. 80,000 visitors go up every year and walk around before taking the journey back down. A walk to see the fynbos is interesting, its a special type of shrubland. The most famous is the protea, the national flower of South Africa.




This city is South Africa’s largest but it was really just our starting point for a safari. We did manage time to go to the Apartheid museum. This is a multi media exhibition of South Africa’s history. Thee are many photos and films as you walk through history. Its very well done. Your ticket assigns you as either black or white and you enter by the gate for your colour to bring home to you how people were treated. But try as you might you will not find any mention of Mandela ever having a gun. History can be selective.