Sunday, 30 December 2012

Arrival in Cape Town...

Candace and I left London on a Lufthansa flight bound for Munich. Here we changed planes and flew onward to beautiful Cape Town. We arrived safely in Cape Town on the morning of the 7th December. We were treated to a beautiful sunrise as we flew over Africa and soon enough we were descending towards Cape Town International Airport.

It's been an amazing trip with many fantastic memories, and we look forward to good times here in South Africa. December has been an eventful month and I will share some of our stories in the next few weeks. We also have an exciting opportunity to continue serving with Mercy Ships from here in South Africa. More on that later next month. :-) Have a Happy New Year!

 Looking down at the Orange River, the natural border between Namibia and South Africa.
 Here's a closer view.
 And another one.
There was plenty of cloud about as we approached Cape Town.
 We descended through the cloud and there was Cape Town!
 Flying over the Cape Flats.
 Touch-down at Cape Town International Airport.
 The famous Table Mountain is somewhere behind all the cloud in the distance.
Main airport terminal building.

Saturday, 29 December 2012

Farewell England...

After a fantastic few days in England, it was time to say farewell to many friends. We had an amazing time with the Peet family and really enjoyed catching up and reminiscing about Mercy Ships. Olly drove Candace and I to Sherborne train station and we caught our train to London Waterloo. The photo here is of Olly and Sally's house in Sherborne.

At Waterloo we met up with another Mercy Ships friend from South Africa, Lourens, and his parents. We had coffee together at the station before Matthew arrived from a meeting just around the corner. Candace and I then travelled with Matthew back to his house, had lunch, picked up our large bags, and then Matthew drove us to Heathrow. Photo here of Matthew's house.

Our time in Europe had come to an end, but we both feel so privileged to have had this opportunity to expand our world-view and see so many new sights. It was certainly a blessing!

  We also visited the Elsworth family, friends from Cape Town, now living near Sherborne.
 Family photo with the Peets.
 With Lourens.
 With Matthew.

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Visiting Stonehenge...

Olly, Candace and I drove through to Wiltshire, one of the surrounding counties, to visit the site of Stonehenge early on Wednesday, 5th December. It was fantastic to see this ancient monument and to listen to the audio guide, although there were no real answers to the pressing questions: How Stonehenge was built, and what it was used for. It was another great day in the freezing cold of the English winter!

 The Information Board at the entrance to the site.
 This is the closest that you can get to the monument.
 The two of us in front of Stonehenge.
 Stonehenge is located on Salisbury Plain.
 There are many ancient burial sites, called barrows, in the surrounding countryside.
A Westland Lynx helicopter flies past, heading towards Yeovil. There is a large Westland helicopter factory there.

Wednesday, 26 December 2012

Exploring Sherborne...

We left Matthew's house at around noon on Monday, 3rd December, after a lovely day enjoying their hospitality. It was certainly a blessing to be able to leave the majority of our luggage at Matthew's house, since we'd meet up with him before our flights on Thursday again.

Matthew dropped us at Stamford Brook Underground station and we caught the tube to London Waterloo Station. Here we boarded our South West train to Sherborne, Dorset. After a journey of around two hours or so we pulled into Sherborne where Olly Peet, one of my Mercy Ships family members, met us at the station. We had a quiet afternoon and evening enjoying catching up with some of our favourite former Mercy Shippers.

Olly had taken some time off work and so he was our tour guide for our time in Dorset. The next day, Tuesday 4th December, he drove us to the Hayne's Motor Museum where we enjoyed looking at the interesting exhibits and many old cars.

We then headed back to Sherborne and explored the ancient Abbey. I love how there is so much history in Europe, and places like Sherborne Abbey inspire awe in me, since it was built hundreds of years ago without any modern equipment. There were also beautiful stained glass windows in the old church.

We enjoyed a pub lunch, walked in the quiet pretty streets, and then watched Olly and Sally's daughter, Anna, in her school's Christmas nativity concert, before heading back home. We ended the day with a lovely roast dinner and a game of Settlers. It was a great day!

 I love the narrow country roads, hemmed in on either side by a thick hedge.
 1934 Austin 7 Saloon.
 Michael Schumacher's 1996 F1 Ferrari.
 Candace shows Olly where Indiana is, with this large map of US state licence plates.
 Cute little pedal car.
 My Dad once had an MG-A like this one.
Early motor car from 1903.
Sherborne Abbey.
 Stained glass window.
 Inside the Abbey.
 Sherborne Abbey flags.
 Candace and I outside Sherborne Abbey.
 This is the cycle shop we went to - I was looking for cleat covers for my Dad.
Two gold postboxes to commemorate Sherborne's two Olympic Gold medalists this year.
Sherborne main street.

Monday, 24 December 2012

Happy Christmas 2012...

Just to interrupt my recounting of our European adventures to wish you all a blessed Christmas and an amazing New Year! Much love from Cape Town, South Africa - Candace and Murray :-)

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Exploring London...

After an amazing three nights in Germany, Candace and I were up early to catch our high-speed train from Stuttgart to Frankfurt. It was a bit stressful carting almost 50 kgs of luggage each, but we managed okay! We've decided to travel light next time we travel - but this time we had no option since we were carrying our lives with us! Once at Frankfurt Airport, after a delay of an hour or so because of snow and ice and our plane having to be de-iced, we were heading to London and arrived at around lunchtime on Sunday, the 2nd of December. My high school friend Matthew met us at Heathrow and we drove to his house near Ravenscourt, not far from the airport.

After dropping our bags, we were eager to explore London and so we walked to the London Underground (henceforth tube) station nearby and headed into Central London. Matthew was an awesome tour guide and we had an amazing time walking past historic places such as the Wellington Arch, the new Bomber Command memorial, Buckingham Palace, Green Park, Big Ben (The tower itself is Elizabeth Tower - the bell inside is nicknamed Big Ben) and the Houses of Parliament, the Thames River, the London Eye, and St Paul's Cathedral. We also walked through the Christmas market on the embankment.

We caught the tube back and alighted someways from Matthew's house, and so we were able to have another London experience by catching a red double-decker London bus! Matthew and Kelly treated us to a lovely roast once we were back at their flat. It was a great way to end a productive day's sight-seeing!

Thanks to Matthew for taking lots of photos of Candace and I in front of historic London sites!

 Wellington Arch.
 Bicycles for hire in London.
Bomber Command memorial - dedicated to those Royal Air Force pilots and crew who lost their lives in WW II.
 The crest of the Royal Air Force's Bomber Command.
 The Queen Victoria monument outside Buckingham Palace.
 Candace and I in front of Buckingham Palace.
 Beautiful view in one of London's parks.
 Traditional lamps still burn on gas - not electricity!
 The Mandela monument near the Houses of Parliament.
 Westminster Abbey.
 Holding up Big Ben!
The Houses of Parliament and Big Ben at sunset.
 Under the London Eye.
 Tower Bridge at night.
 The reconstructed Globe Theatre - where Shakespeare's plays were performed - on the bank of the Thames River.
 Traditional London Phone Booth.
On the bridge as we approach St Paul's Cathedral.
 The dome of St Paul's Cathedral.
 Another view of St Paul's Cathedral. We caught the tube back to Matthew's house here. What an amazing day!