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US: Richmond, VA – Buz and Ned’s Real Barbecue, a Richmond Tradition Since 1992

Can you Handle 2017-09-25_11-23-48Some men are driven by a need for fame. Some men seek glory. Buz has always sought out the perfect barbecue. Not that par-boiled, mass-produced, liquid-smoke injected kind, either. Nothing but real barbecue will do. Food 2017-09-25_11-02-51

It took a NYC guy to literally work his way thru kitchens in BBQ havens in Texas, Kansas City, Memphis and Lexington KY, and then merge all that expertise with Ned’s 150- year old family recipe to perfect the art of the pit and his own scrumptious BBQ.

BuznNedsFor the past 25 years, his ribs (baby back, spare or beef) have been a hit, there’s hearty Brunswick stew (chock full of corn, string beans, carrots, and potatoes), killer chili, Sandra’s favorite: beef brisket, and you-could-eat-alone sides of chunky smokey baked beans, cukes & onions, sweet potato fries and, of course, hush puppies. Wash ‘em down with root beer and Cheerwine. 

On the last Monday of every month Buz and Ned’s is featuring Pig Pickin’ Mondays  at their 8205 West Broad St. location only. The traditional, down-home, country PIG PICKIN’ starts at 6 p.m. until 8 p.m. (or earlier , ’til they run out of pig). It’s a first-come, first-serve, all-you-can-eat meal featuring an amazing 100% wood barbecued whole pig cooked slowly using only freshly-cut hickory log, served with Buz and Ned’s barbecue sauce on the side. The buffet will also include: hush puppies, freshly shredded cole slaw, sandwich rolls, three bean baked beans, sour cream red skinned potato salad and freshly-brewed iced tea.Instagram BuznNeds

With a whole-hog knowledge of ‘cue, meat-eaters will agree that Buz and Ned’s Real Barbecue is a Southern authority on smoke. Go on in and eat like a local.Sign 2017-09-25_9-56-12

Boulevard Location: 1119 North Blvd., Richmond, VA 23230 (Directions)
Hours: Sun-Thurs: 11am-9pm · Fri-Sat: 11am-10pm
Tel: 804-355-6055
West Broad Street Location: 8205 W. Broad St., Richmond, VA 23294 (Directions)
Hours: Sun-Thurs: 11am-10pm · Fri-Sat: 11am-11pm
Tel: 804-346-4227
buzandneds.com
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: visitrichmondva.com

US: Pawtucket, RI – Dragon Boat Racing & Taiwan Day Festival in Blackstone Valley

Now in its 18th year, the Rhode Island Chinese Dragon Boat Races & Taiwan Day Festival is an extraordinary event for the whole family to enjoy.  Join the thousands of people who attend each year for exciting competition, family-fun, and a great opportunity to learn more about Chinese culture.RI Dragon Boat 2017-07-31_11-03-41

Racers continue to use the fiberglass Taiwanese-style dragon boats gifted to them from the Republic of China (Taiwan)  and incorporate the skill of flag-catching in each race.

The course length is 1,000 feet long up the Pawtucket River, with three boats racing at a time. A unique element to the races is the larger Taiwanese-style dragon boats, wood paddles, and the flag-catching in each race. If the flag is missed a penalty is added to their time.RI Dragon Boat- crowd2017-07-31_11-05-27

Sanctioned by the Eastern Regional Dragon Boat Association, the RI Chinese Dragon Boat Races consist of two divisions: the Mixed Division, which requires a minimum of 6 female paddlers, and the Open Division that has no gender restrictions.

In addition to the exciting boat races, under the giant tent you will find Taiwan Day festivities with some top notch entertainment including  cultural performances, many art & crafts tables, and the ever-popular dumpling eating contest. The festival also has a great selection of vendors, interactive activities, and food trucks.RI Dragon Boat dancers2017-07-31_11-08-34

Don’t miss the great entertainment throughout the day including:

  • The popular Chinese dumpling eating contest
  • Taiwanese arts & crafts tables
  • Lion dancers
  • Yo-yo performances
  • Interactive games and activities
  • A fun (and messy) watermelon eating contest
  • Food trucks
  • Vendors

With so much to see and do…the Taiwan Day Festival is truly a great opportunity to witness some wonderful traditional Chinese and Taiwanese entertainment.

Parking and shuttle buses: Parking and shuttles for teams and attendees will be located at the Blackstone Valley Visitor Center‘s lot, 175 Main Street, Pawtucket, RI. Shuttle buses will start at 7:00 am and run until the awards ceremony has been completed.

Photo credit: James Toomey/Blackstone Valley Tourism Council

Location: Festival Pier, Pawtucket River, Pawtucket, Rhode Island.
Date: Sat, September 9, 2017
Time: 8am – 5pm
Tel: 401-724-2200
dragonboatri.com
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: tourblackstone.com

Canada – Winter Break Idea: See Wildlife Up Close in Canadian Safari at Parc Omega

If  you’re in the Montreal or Ottawa area,  you are only 1 1/2 hours away from an exciting safari adventure. Parc Omega is the perfect day outing for kids (and folks) of all ages. It’s an 800 hectare park where the animals roam free and you are “caged” in your car. It’s such an easy drive to be able to come face to face with Canadian wildlife: reindeer, elk, arctic wolf and fox, bison, musk ox, turkey, boar, coyote, black bear, and many kinds of deer.IMG_0362

Along a 12-kilometere safari nature route which takes you past lakes, meadows, small valleys, forests and rocky hills, you meander at your own pace. You can pick up bag of carrots at the visitor center (or bring your own), and as you slowly make your way through, you are allowed to open the windows to feed the wildlife. Kids are thrilled that they do not have to be in their car seats here and can flit from side to side of the vehicle to say hello to the animals.

You tune your radio to a station which fills you in on all sorts of information about the species you will be seeing.

  • We learned which males are good daddies and stay around to raise the youngsters and which ones only show up for mating season.
  • I never knew that the musk oxen’s heads are strong as hammers and they butt and knock everything down. Their quarters are specially built to withstand their strength.IMG_5699
  •  You pass by low slung “condos” for boars designed to keep the big predators out.
  • Coming here in winter gives you the opportunity to see how the arctic fox blends into the snowscape.

About 2/3 through, there’s a place to stop,  get out to stretch legs and visit some wooden buildings for bathrooms, gifts, food and hot cocoa. Friendly deer are in the parking area to get a snack too – those carrots – buy lots.

This is one experience that all Canadian families should take advantage of. It’s not only educational and fun, but will bring lasting memories for the whole family.IMG_0369

Location: Parc Omega is a safari park in Notre-Dame-de-Bonsecours, Quebec, Canada
Address: 399 Route 323 North, Montebello, QC J0V 1L0 Click for map Google Map

Phone: (819) 423-5487
www.parcomega.ca

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US: Savannah, GA – Eli Whitney Slept Here

Why not stay at a hotel that has embraces a piece of Southern history –   Inn at Mulberry Grove. Mulberry Grove was the name of the plantation where Eli Whitney arrived as a tutor for widow Mrs. Nathaniel Greene’s children. Her hubby was 2nd in command to Washington, and had been given The Mulberry Grove Plantation as a gift from the spoils of the Revolutionary War.

Whitney was no average tutor. A Yale graduate, he tinkered with inventions, and recognized the need to speed up the process of separating cotton seeds from cotton fibers. He gained worldwide recognition for inventing the cotton gin, which revolutionized the South’s cotton industry. During the Civil War, General Sherman burned down Greene’s original house, but now you can stay in this Inn on the same land.orig_cotton_gin

There’s a touch of European elegance here, with gilded mirrors and dark wood furnishings. The hot breakfast with sausage, biscuits, grits and waffles can be taken in the courtyard. There’s a guest laundry, and it’s budget friendly.

Location: Inn at Mulberry Grove, 101 O’Leary Road, Port Wentworth GA 31407
Tel: 912-965-9666
innatmulberrygrove.com
For Regional Information, Restaurants & Attractions: visitsavannah.com

 

US: Lincoln, MA -See Bauhaus Home Furnishings In Bauhaus Home – National Historic Landmark

If you’re a fan of architecture and design you’ll want to check out The Gropius House. Walter Gropius, the founder of the highly influential Bauhaus School and one of the most prominent architects of the 20th century designed this striking home in 1938 after moving from Germany to Massachusetts to teach at Harvard’s Graduate School of Design.gropius-house

Modest in scale, the house was revolutionary in impact. It combined the traditional elements of New England architecture — wood, brick, and fieldstone, with innovative materials rarely used in domestic settings at that time: glass block, acoustical plaster, and chrome banisters, along with the latest technology in fixtures. gropius-house-furniture

At the Gropius House, Bauhaus ideals remain alive, and throughout Gropius’s life, he and his wife Ise continued to add newly designed furnishings that reflected their belief in the marriage of design and industry.  In keeping with Bauhaus philosophy, every aspect of the house and its surrounding landscape was planned for maximum efficiency and simplicity of design. gropius-house-study

Two years after Mrs. Gropius’s death in 1983, the Gropius House opened as a historic house museum. The house contains a significant collection of furniture designed by Marcel Breuer  and fabricated in the Bauhaus workshops. The house also contains works by Eero Saarinen, Joan Miró, and Herbert Bayer that were given as gifts to Walter Gropius. With all the family possessions still in place, the house has an cohesiveness rarely found in house museums.

All images are “Courtesy of Historic New England.”

Location: Gropius House. 68 Baker Bridge Road, Lincoln, Mass. 01773
Dates: Sat and Sun, until May 31
Hours: 11 – 4pm, Tours on the hour
Tel: 781-259-8098
historicnewengland.org/historic-properties/homes/Gropius%20House
For Regional Information, Restaurants & Attractions: merrimackvalley.org

US: Newburyport, MA – Xmas Tree Bonfire Party with Music, S’mores & Flashlight Treasure Hunt

This is no ordinary Bonfire, it’s a 3-story community bonfire where Greater Newburyport’s residents burn their well-loved Christmas trees, and boy can those babies burn and it gets hot, real hot! newburyport-bonfire

In honor of the original purchase of Newbury, MA in 1701, It’s the 6th Annual Christmas Tree Burn Fundraiser/ Old Newbury Bonfire  to benefit the Newbury Volunteer Fire Department. Why not support this community and enjoy the local entertainment with music, games, food and fun at an event that is becoming a Greater Newburyport Winter tradition.

In addition to the bonfire, there will be tours of the 17th century stone and brick manor house at Spencer-Peirce-Little Farm,  and you can participate in a  flashlight treasure hunt and other children’s activities. Enjoy great food and drinks from local businesses, roast marshmallows or make S’mores.  At 5 PM there’s an  auction to be one of the two official bonfire lighters. Other prizes include a ride to school on a fire truck, cords of wood, local art and other surprise. Admission FREE, food and drinks available for purchase. Parking: $5 at Spencer Peirce Little Farm.

Location: Spencer Pierce Little Farm – 5 Little’s Lane, Newbury, MA 01951
Date: Sat, Jan 14, 2017
Time: 3 pm  – 9 pm w/ Bonfire Auction at 5 pm, lighting to follow – See more at:
newburyport.com/old-newbury-bonfire/
Tel: 978-462-2282,  978-462-2634
For Regional Accommodations, Restaurants & Attractions: newburyportchamber.org
newburyport.com

Canada – Ontario Weekend Getaway: Low Fat Donuts, Fair Trade Coffee, Chainsaws and Friendly Alpacas

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Why not get away with your family to Almonte, ON, just west of Ottawa . The very first reason is that Ed Atwell of Healthy Food Technologies (hft) has figured out how to make low-fat donuts that are scrumptious. He “tricks” the donuts by frying them (in zero trans fat oil) for 1/2 the time and then baking them at the same temperature. Watch the video to see him explain the process he invented.

Now take a walk around the corner and pick up your to-go-with coffee at fair trade high quality Equator Coffee Roasters. They roast the beans right there, having bought them from small-scale farming communities and paid the farmers well. Do not  miss the Oh-so-Canadian maple-flavored latte. It’s worth driving there just for that! Kids can enjoy the hot chocolate.coffee


Next you can pick up snacks for the car or yummies to take home at Dandelion Foods co-op before a 45 min. drive to Wheelers Pancake House and Maple Sugar Camp. D
andelion Foods co-op sells whole, local and organic foods and some for specialty diets. Here you can buy the famous Hummingbird chocolate bars favored by Prime Minister Trudeau. Note the PB & Joy (with peanut butter) and the spicy Mayan.  Please bring back the Empire Cheese caramelized onion cheddar cheese for me.
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For lunch and fun, at Wheelers Pancake House you can visit the Maple Museum and the Chainsaw & Logging museum and the kids can have fun in the playground. Handy men and women will be mesmerized by Mark Wheeler’s dad Vernon’s collection of hundreds of chainsaws. Everyone will enjoy his “largest collection of pure maple syrup artifacts” which help explain the history of the maple sugar industry. From First Nations wooden spigots to the plastic lines of today, syrup pour-ers, molds, pails, and everything else related to this sweet topic, it’s all here at this 38-year family business. Don’t forget to leave room for the freshly made pancakes and delicious syrup right from their trees.
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For the grand finale, we visited Keith and Elizabeth Adam’s alpacas and llamas at their  Serendipity Farm. For retirement they decided to raise alpacas for the fun of it. The couple exudes their enjoyment of spending their golden years with these elegant, fluffy friends. They’ll chatter about the little quirks of each of the animals as well as the work associated with raising them.

Alpacas produce fiber that is as fine as cashmere, soft, silky and much warmer than sheep’s wool, while also wicking moisture away from the body.alpacas
In their little shop you can buy scarves, gloves, purses, as well as fiber felted sheets, alpaca and fiber rovings and handspun yarn.

Leave some time too for the local shops which wind their way along the downtown streets. Yes there’s plenty to do in Lanark County for a low-key interesting getaway weekend. We are not sure how this area attracted so many hippie/free trade/entrepreneurial types who seem to care for the planet. You can feel virtuous spending time and money in this town.

Equator Coffee Roasters, 451-A Ottawa St, Almonte, ON K0A 1A0, Tel: 613-256-5960
www.equator.ca

Dandelion Foods, 541 Ottawa St, Almonte, ON K0A 1A0,  Tel: 1-613-256-4545
www.dandelionfoods.ca

Healthy Food Technologies, 25 Industrial Rd., Almonte ON  Tel: 613-256-9900
(HFT) https://www.facebook.com/HFTinc

Wheelers Pancake House and Maple Sugar Camp, 1001 Highland Line, McDonalds Corners(Lanark Highlands), ON K0G 1M0 Tel: 613-278-2090
www.wheelersmaple.com

Serendipity Farm Alpacas & Llamas,  929 South Lavant Rd, Lanark, ON K0G1K0  Tel: 613-259-3304 or 613-222-6303
www.serendipityalpacas.ca

www.lanarkcounty.ca

 

Canada: Montreal – Cavalia’s Odysseo is a Perfect “10”

Odysseo, the horse centric show, is awesome family entertainment which will WOW every member. If you can imagine taking Cirque du Soleil up a notch by marrying it with a team of gifted equestrians, this would be their offspring.

The show has acrobats, blade-running acrobats and horse acrobats – each team outdoing the other in their antics. However, at the same time, all the way through you will see members giving each other the high five in appreciation of each other’s work. Sweet.

There are raucous horses racing through jumps and quiet ballet-like riderless horses dancing to the whims of their female horse whisperer, Elise Verdoncq.

The carousel pole acrobatics is  a charming setting for the melange of horse and rider/acrobat but the white fabric/rope acrobatic act is the perfect “10” for each of the costume designer, set designer, lighting, and the acrobats themselves.

It’s hard to imagine it fitting into a tent setting, but horses appear on mountaintops, in ice caves, the woods, walking down hills, galloping as fast as the wind and even and splashing in a waterfront finale.

Don’t wait, book tickets now.  Great idea for Dad for Father’s Day.

Location: Odysseo White Big Top at the corner of the Metropolitan & Decarie Boulevards
1425 Dion Street, Montreal (QC), H4N 2C3
Tel: 866-999-8111
Dates: June 17-July 19
www.cavalia.net
www.facebook.com/cavalia
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Cosmos Tour: Prague Vienna Budapest – Prague Astronomical Clock

Walking through the streets of Prague, you will come across the Astronomical Clock. Each hour, the wooden figures of apostles appear in the windows and some of the sculptures move. When the apostles finish their story, the golden rooster crows and shakes its wings, the bell rings and the clock chimes the hour.
AstroClock

An urban myth which went on for centuries was that when the Prague Councillors found out that the 15th century clock maker Hanus (Jan of Ruze) was going to make another clock, they became jealous and blinded him. However in 1961, the real artist was discovered in an old document which described the astronomical dial and says it was made by Mikulas of Kadan in 1410.

www.cosmos.com/Product.aspx?trip=46050

South Africa: Visiting Robben Island, UNESCO World Heritage Site

By Adele Shapiro – March 2012.

As a child I used to visit Robben Island with my grandmother. Her son, my uncle, was a warder in the prison services there. The name “Robben”, despite sounding very English – is in fact the Dutch for “Seal” – and the name derives from the extensive seal colony that was found on the Island by the first Dutch settlers.

We would go to the Cape Town docks and from there, take a boat ride to the island, where we would spend the day with family. I was vaguely aware that there were bad people on the island, and that it was a prison…. but little did I know then of the role it was to play in South Africa’s later history. Years passed and now as an adrobben1ult, I found myself revisiting the place where “the bad people” were kept, only now I realized that some were not so bad after all.

I bought a ticket for the tour some days before the trip, (advisable, as they fill up quickly) and took time out to examine the display at the Nelson Mandela Gateway at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.

There were many photographs of the political dissidents, the calls for boycotts, the anti-apartheid marches and there was also a prison cell that had been reconstructed for the purposes of the exhibit. I strongly recommend a visit to this exhibit before going to the island as it helps to contextualize the experience.

The trip began, as in times of old, with a boat ride from Cape Town docks, but this time instead of my uncle meeting us, we had a pleasant tour guide who told us jokes on our bus trip, whilst pointing out various sights on the island. Our bus was parked under a sign that said: “Welcome. We serve with pride.” I wondered if that sign had been there when Robben Island had been a prison as it was so sharply incongruous to the environment. I hoped not.

robben2Robben Island has had a long history. First as a lighthouse to warn ships of the VOC, the Dutch East India Company (Verenigde Oostindische Compagnie), of the rocks that surround the island. But since the end of the 17th century, Robben Island has been used for the isolation of (mainly) political prisoners. The island was also used at various times as an animal quarantine station, a home for slaves, a leper colony, a hospital for the mentally ill and as a prison for French Vichy prisoners of war.

First we saw the Leper Graveyard and then house where Robert Sobukwe (Founder of the Pan Africanist Congress) had been kept separate from the other political dissidents.

It seems that Robert Sobukwe had special status in the prison. He was kept in solitary confinement at all times, but allowed certain privileges including access to books, being permitted to study, being permitted to wear civilian clothes, and being permitted bread. His children were allowed to visit him and they had their own bedroom in his “house”. Robert Sobukwe was convicted of incitement for demonstrating against and defying the Pass Laws, and in particular, for his connection to the PAC demonstration (although he was not present) which became known as the Sharpeville Massacre.

The notorious Pass Laws required black people to carry a pass book at all times when outside their compounds or designated areas, and were designed to limit severely the movements of the non-white population. This legislation was one of the dominant features of the country’s apartheid system.

Sobukwe was sentenced to three years in prison. After serving his sentence, he was moved to Robben Island for internment, as a new law called the General Law Amendment Act had been passed, which permitted his imprisonment to be renewed annually at the discretion of the Minister of Justice. This procedure became known as the “Sobukwe clause” and Robert Sobukwe was the only person whose imprisonment was extended under this clause. Imagine how special one has to be in order for parliament to pass a law just for you!

We also learned from our tour guide that the American politician and Pastor, Andrew Young, had fostered Sobukwe’s children in the USA, while Sobukwe had been in prison.

Our tour continued to the lime quarry where the political prisoners had worked. At the entrance to the quarry we saw a small cairn, and learned its history. In February 1995, (the landmark change of government was in 1994), about one thousand former political prisoners gathered again on Robben Island, but this time as free men, and to mark the occasion, each one placed a small stone from the quarry in a pile, making a small memorial to their years of hardship and struggle.

As we continued on our bus ride, we were shown a church, a hospital, a school and a mosque, and realized that far beyond our expectations, the island had supported a whole community. We duly arrived at the prison and tumbled out of the bus for our tour of “the real thing”. We were excited and filled with high spirits and I wondered for a moment where my heart would have been had I not been a tourist.

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Inside we found grey walls. It was cool at midday; it was clear that at midnight it would be very cold. The communal cells were large and each had a bathroom attached.

Here we met our prison tour guide, Derrick Basson, a former political prisoner who served time on Robben Island for sabotage.

Derrick was very patient, humble and remarkably, not bitter. He answered all the insensitive questions calmly and without anger. In addition he explained the grading of the prisoners by race and also the diets that varied due to the racial classification of each prisoner. One of the curious facts he told us was that black prisoners were not given bread. As they were Africans their “natural” food was considered to be maize meal. The mixed race prisoners were allowed bread as they were considered to be more western or European and less African. The black Africans were also not allowed jam or syrup. I suppose you do not need jam if you have no bread.

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Then I remembered that Robert Sobukwe, in spite of being black, was allowed to have bread, and it struck me that this must have been because he had been a university professor, and since this is a very “European” and non-tribal job, maybe he was considered eligible to receive bread.

Derrick further explained how prisoners slept on mats on the floor and how 5 blankets had not been enough to keep them warm at night. I suddenly remembered an interview with a former Alcatraz inmate who spoke of the extreme cold and of how prisoners had learned to sleep with only their elbows and knees touching the floor, hands locked behind the head. I became very grateful for my duvet.

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We were told that in the beginning the political prisoners had been kept with the ordinary criminals, but later on, they were, thankfully, given their own “wing” and kept together. They came to call this place “The University” as they learned many things from each other and many of them also obtained degrees while in prison.

Derrick then took us to a yard where the prisoners had chopped rocks and turned them into stones, day after day in the sun. They were told that these rocks were used for roads built on the island, but no one seemed to know if this was true or not.

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We were then taken to Nelson Mandela’s cell. Mandela was a militant anti-apartheid activist, as well as the co-founder and leader of the armed wing of the African National Congress (ANC), Umkhonto we Sizwe or “Spear of the Nation”. He was arrested in 1962 and convicted of sabotage, (amongst other charges), after he admitted to manufacturing explosives and acts of public violence, and was sentenced to life imprisonment. Mandela served 27 years in prison, 18 of these on Robben Island. After his release, he served as President of South Africa from 1994 to 1999.

My very first impression was of how small the cell was. No, not small, tiny. And then I thought that at least he could stand up and lie down in it, but not much more than that. At least it was larger than the dreadful box that I had heard was used in China. But there was no toilet. Just a metal bucket with a lid. At least a lid. And no tap, so no water. And if you are thirsty during the night, what should you do? And of course there was no electrical socket and no radio nor TV. And all I could think of was 27 years. TWENTY SEVEN YEARS! There was no door handle on the inside. The door was only operational from the outside, not unlike a cage. I remembered that Nelson Mandela had once remarked that the hardest and most traumatic experience he endured whilst on Robben Island for all those years was that he never ever saw, or even heard, a child. Can you imagine that? Now he insists on being photographed with children, whenever possible.

robben10And then it was all over. We walked out to the yard, Derrick took us to the exit, and we said our goodbyes.I felt an odd mixture of elation and depression. Very happy that I had been to a UNESCO World Heritage Site of such importance, happier still that it was no longer a prison, and most happy that I was leaving. Yet also depressed and ashamed because of the suffering this place represented.

Duly subdued, we gratefully returned to our boat to ponder our feelings of inspiration and shock, enjoy the beautiful sunset cruise back to Cape Town, and watch a school of dolphins at play in the sea.

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Remember when planning a visit to Robben Island, that the tours don’t always run on time. There was no snack bar on the boat. Our boat was 1 hour late in leaving Cape Town harbour and then we were rushed through our tour, which was a pity as there was too little time for questions.

A suggestion would be to make no appointments after the visit as the timing can vary, and also, take a snack pack. A sun hat and sun block are also good ideas.

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Ferries depart (supposedly) at 9am, 11am, 1pm and 3pm, weather permitting, from Nelson Mandela Gateway, at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town. Tickets costs are R230 for adults and R120 for children (U/18). Telephone: +27 (0)21 413 4200
Fax: +27 (0)21 419 1057