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I’ve been on leave for the last few days and, due to the fact that I work in retail, this is the last opportunity I will have for a break until after Christmas. After having my nose to the grindstone for the last little while, I have found myself to be very drained and quite short tempered with everyone about everything. Not a good mental space to be in!
While standing on the balcony a few minutes ago, I realised that I hadn’t experienced proper joy in a while, and there is nothing like feeling uninspired to make you stop writing. Which is probably exactly the opposite of what I should do. Writing is actually one of my sources of joy, but I forget how good it feels to get these words out of my head, so that weighs me down and the vicious circle starts again.
If you follow us on social media, you would have seen my post from earlier today about finding new spots to explore, despite everything we have already seen and done after spending our lives in Cape Town. These last few days of stay-cation have been great for the budget and has done wonders for my soul, so let me tell you a little more about it.
Simonstown is a tiny town situated at the end of the Southern Suburbs railway line. The town is still mainly a Naval Base and, while we have explored it a few times already, we hadn’t actually done much walking along the mountainous areas surrounding it. If you have ever found yourself on Jubilee Square, you would have found a statue of a Great Dane called, Just Nuisance. You may even have possibly heard the story of how he made it his job to escort the seaman from the train station and back to the base after the weekend exploits. But did you know about his burial site?
I had heard about it spoken in passing and, for some reason, always thought that the site was close to town. So, when I thought about visiting the town to get our Green Card again, I decided that visiting the site would be a nice addition and a goal for the journey. Thankfully, Google Maps came to our rescue and guided us right to the spot which is actually situated on the campus of the South African Navy Signal School.
Just Nuisance Burial Site
With hairpin bends to rival the Monaco F1 racecourse that winds you up the mountain, the view is stunningly beautiful. The campus is set in something similar to a national park and there is just flowers and fynbos everywhere! Once you have parked next to one of the more run down buildings, there is a short walk to the grave and you are invited to sit down and think about life and death or whatever is on your mind at the time.
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Just beyond the grave however is the true treasure. Just through barbed wire topped gate, there is a path that leads all the way back down the mountain again. We weren’t quite sure if we were allowed to walk there, but a fellow hiker assured us that it was fine. Since we weren’t wearing the right shoes or included any water or warm clothes, we didn’t walk too far, but have made a note to visit again soon, so that we can see where the path leads.
After enjoying the beautiful views, we hiked back up the hill and reached the car just as the skies opened. We headed down the mountain and found a place to park in town so that we could do some more exploring on foot.
Another spot we had on our to do list was the Simonstown Toy Museum. We weren’t really sure what to expect, but we paid our R10 entrance fee and headed inside. It was like stepping into the past with cabinets full of toys from a bygone era. The museum has been in Simonstown for the last 30 years and the 86 year old owner is a treasure trove of information.
After watching the trains travel along the tracks, we headed back outside where the kids were keen to find a place to spend their birthday money. We popped into the cleanest public toilets I have ever seen and headed down the road to the square which is home to a few local vendors selling curios, jewellery and pieces of art.
After some bargaining and interesting conversation, Z2 walked away with a clever jewellery box, while Z1 trailed behind with his lip on the ground, since he didn’t have enough money to buy what his heart desired. Ah, well.
We were surprised to find that there weren’t many reasonably priced food options in the area and, with the kids starting to bleat about how hungry they were, we headed back to the car to go and find something delicious.
All in all, it was a lovely little trip and I would highly recommend that you visit soon. There are many interesting antique-type shops and 2nd hand clothing stores and all the store assistants are very welcoming and helpful.
Have you visited Simonstown before? Let me know in the comments about your favourite sites to see and things to do.