Our Preparation for the World Cup Second Round

Another fine night’s rest at another splendid B&B (based on the pricing of backpackers and B&Bs, the outrageous exploitation of the backpackers means the difference in cost is less than normal, and the amenities and hospitality at the Afrikaner B&Bs have been top notch). We were up early as we had to return the car to OR Tambo as our booking had run its course. However, with our change in venues for the Round of 16 match for the US match, we now needed another car as public transportation would not be feasible for getting to Rustenburg. After experiencing the organization of Ellis Park in Johannesburg, Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria, and the stadium in Bloemfontein, it made much more sense to us when South Africans refer to Rustenburg as a small town. I wonder how games at Polokwane and Nelspriut were taken in as they are both small towns compared to the big cities of Durban, Cape Town, and Joburg. However, both of those towns had brand new stadiums, and looking at the layout of the security on our booklet from FIFA with our tickets, it looks like the design makes much more sense in terms of getting in and out. Rustenburg has hosted four more matches since England and the United States opened up on the second day of the tournament, thus hopefully they will have gotten their act together, as making the front page of a national newspaper for having fans walk 3k+ (like we did) to get transport must have not gone down well with organizers.
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Good Bye Bloemfontein, Hello Rustenburg

June 24

This day has gone by so quickly!

We slept in this morning after our late night of celebration and by the time we were completely ready to check out of the Guest House it was a little after 12 pm.

We had planned to go to the Voortrekker museum, but changing our plans from Bloemfontein to Rustenburg occupied most of our day. Luckily it looks like we will have several extra days that we had not planned for in Joburg/Pretoria area so we are going to visit museums and monuments when we get back from the USA-Ghana game.

Went to the Translux ticket counter at the Joburg bus station this evening to inquire about refunding or exchanging our tickets that we had purchased from Joburg to Bloemfonetin. We have not had a lot of success with refunds thus far in South Africa (Gemini & Computicket), so I was not holding my breath. However, a lady at the Translux ticket counter was wonderful and quickly with no hassle agreed to refund our tickets cash back. Thank you Translux!

Alex from England contacted Alex this morning about meeting up to exchange our tickets and it was agreed upon that we would meet them half way in Kroonstad on Saturday to make the swap. I never thought I would ever get back to Kroonstad, South Africa in my life and I am going for my second time in a week period. Once we make the switch Alex and I are driving from Kroonstad to Rustenburg for the 8:30 kick off.

We had a delicious dinner (avo/bacon burger and surf&turf) at Mikes Kitchen where once again our iPad attracted some South Africans attention. Our meal was completed with two delightful after dinner drinks- Alex had hot chocolate with Amarula and I had Strawberry Cape Velvet with Amarula. Mo if you are ready this YES it was amazing; we forgot the camera tonight but will send a picture soon. Tonight we are staying at Leliewijk B&B in Benoni, which is quite lovely.

Tomorrow morning we are off to the airport to return our car and hopefully rent a new one that is not a Chevrolet. I’m crossing my fingers for a Toyota Corolla 🙂

US – Algeria Recap & The Return to Bangkok Wok

An early rise was required today to make the 500km trip north to Pretoria, so on the road by 720 and we made the return trip up the N1. We hit some of the densest fog I have ever seen in my life just as we ended the highway in Bloemfontein. Then we actually drove through piece that was being windswept by the Sun and burning off. Then we hit another fog bank, but the road took us beneath it. It was an extraordinary side, being in a small valley with a think bed of clouds directly above us, with the morning sun stating to cut through an illuminate the lowfeld. Quite a start to our day, and we arrived in Joburg just after morning rush hour, allowing us to do the quick jaunt around the western bypass and up to the Pretoria suburb of Waterkloof where our B&B was located.

It took a bit to get inside the place, as the domestic workers knew nothing of a guest house nor the name of the place we were at, but two young girls arrived who apparently knew of our coming arrival, and helped get us our room and then offered to take us to the game as it was just a 4km drive down the ridge. We thought this was very generous and would allow us to avoid the hassle of the park & rides. This would have consequences though for us post-game. Continue reading

South Africa vs France

ZA vs. France – Match Day

After a great sleep in a comfortable bed with an electric blanket and a hot shower I didn’t think it could get any better at La Porte Vase B&B, but I was delighted to be wrong. The breakfast was delicious and quite filling. We had fruit salad with pineapple, papaya, and grapes to start followed by Yogurt and cereal for the second course. Our third and final course was scrambled eggs, 2 sausages, a slice of bacon, grilled mushrooms/tomatoes and toast. Although Kroonstad is not a typical place for foreign tourists, if anyone is driving the N1 in route to Port Elizabeth I would highly recommend La Porte Vase as a sleep stop. It was well worth the money.

It was only a two hour drive to Bloemfontein, so we arrived at Grace Cottage just after twelve in the afternoon to check in. In our room the owners had prepared a very helpful world cup packet with all the information we needed on parking.  Bloemfontein was offering a park and walk option which we decided would probably be easier for exiting the game later. We noticed a big store with a sign saying “uniform store designs custom sports uniforms” that caught our eye and would later visit.

Face painted and anxious to get there we arrived at the park and walk 3 hours before kick off. It was the first FIFA parking to ask to see our official match tickets for entry. I don’t know how it is possible that every time we have parked it has been completely different, I thought they all were supposed to be following the same protocol.

We had a lovely scenic walk to the stadium, passing by the Bloemfontien zoo and Kings park. Bloemfontein is known as the “city of roses” because of the over 4,000 roses bushes in the park and around the rest of the city. Continue reading