Friday, March 23, 2018

Tjoekepaf, here comes the Apple Express

A busy schedule, working till just before Christmas and all kinds of other excuses led to us only being able to go on the Apple Express on the last weekend it was running in January.  And it seems I placed the photos in a folder to edit and totally forgot to do so.  

After nearly 8 years of inactivity, the first fase of the Apple Express' comeback took place in December with a partnership between the operator, the municipality and Transnet.  The interest in the train was unbelievable and even though it only did a short trip up to the airport and back to Kings Beach, something like 6000 people went on the trip during the season.  The process is on the go to get everything in place and back on track on a more permanent basis and to make this little historic steam train a more regular sight again.   

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Sunday stroll at the beachfront market

On Sunday at about lunchtime, the Damselfly and I headed down to the beachfront for a walk along the stalls at the Kings Beach Fleamarket.  I'm sure many will agree with me that the flea market isn't what it used to be anymore, BUT... and I have to add this as a counter for everybody who keeps saying that going to walk at the flea market is a total waste of time.  Taking a walk through the flea market still is a very enjoyable thing to do, especially on a nice sunny day.  There are so many other markets selling handmade items these days that it really doesn't matter to me what is being sold.  In actual fact, the Kings Beach flea market is ideal for visiting international tourists to pick up some African craft, gifts and souvenirs to take home.  

Thursday, March 15, 2018

St Mary's front and back

On Tuesday I posted a picture of St Mary's Cathedral in the Port Elizabeth city centre.  I realised that although people may know what the cathedral looks like from the outside, that not many may have been inside the cathedral yet.  So today I'm posting two pictures taken inside the building, one looking to the front...

... and one looking back at the pews.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Cathedral Church of St Mary the Virgin

Before the arrival of the British Settlers in 1820 the needs of the British garrison in Algoa Bay were served by chaplains in passing ships. By 1825 the town of Port Elizabeth had grown to about 500 people and Revd Francis McClelland was appointed Colonial Chaplain.  The foundation stone for the Collegiate Church of St Mary the Virgin was also laid that year.  The church was finally opened for worship in 1832.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Looking up the Campanile

I wonder how many people visiting the Campanile look up before entering and think to themselves, "Self, how am I ever going to climb all those steps to get up there without dying?" Yes, there are 204 steps, but if you take it easy, visit every level and don't think about it too much, you'll be at the top before you'll know it.  Or just take the lift if it's working.  But ascending the Campanile with the lift just isn't quite the same as being able to say, "I climbed the Campanile."

Thursday, March 1, 2018

Wine made in PE

I'm not much of a wine drinker, but I do enjoy tasting wine.  Here I'm tasting one of Port Elizabeth's own wines, proudly produced at the Theescombe Estate Wine Farm.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

Under the freeway

Strand Street under the Settlers Freeway isn't really a place where many of Port Elizabeth's suburban inhabitants wander but if you do you'll encounter interesting scenes, vendors and shops that you won't really find anywhere else. The painting on the freeway support pillar is one of a series of colourful and evocative portraits that depict young South Africans from a range of cultural backgrounds.  It forms part of Route 67 and is called IDENTITIES.

Friday, February 23, 2018

A wine farm in PE?

Everybody knows the Winelands in the Western Cape based around Stellenbosch, Paarl and Franschhoek. Then there is the rapidly developing Plettenberg Bay Wine Route.  But did you know Port Elizabeth also have a wine farm?  The Theescombe Estate Wine Farm is located on a 2-hectare smallholding in the Theescombe on the western side of Port Elizabeth.  It's not quite a big commercial wine operation yet, but they do make wine and sell it from the farm.  But why is it called an Estate Wine Farm and not a Wine Estate?  It is because they make all their own wines on the farm using only grapes from the farm.  This means that they don't bring in additional grapes from other farms nor do they send their grapes somewhere else for the wine to be made.  Now you've also learned something today.   

Friday, February 16, 2018

The 76 Youth remembered on Route 67

As one follows Route 67 from the city centre up towards the Donkin Reserve you pass the Public Library and St Mary's Cathedral before climbing a set of steps up to Winston Ntshona Street (previously Chapel Street).  The art piece on the wall by the steps is a statement about the 76 generation (referring to the 1976 Soweto uprising) and represents the spiritual journey undertaken by those who fought against oppression.  The art piece takes the form of a pile of newspapers being blown away in the wind and the pages tell the story of the youth. 

It's sad though to see that a number of the newspaper sheets have been removed from the lower section of the piece.  Very disappointing to see their remembrance defiled like this.

Monday, February 12, 2018

The Campanile clock and bells mechanism

Ascending the Campanile you don't just get to see the original bell clappers, you also get to see the original clock (below) and bell (above) mechanisim.  

Friday, February 9, 2018

Campanile bell clappers

During the renovation of the Campanile bells, the original clappers were replaced with more modern ones that could "reset" to ring the bells a lot faster.  The old clappers have been renovated themselves and have been put on display on one of the levels as you go up the tower.

Thursday, February 8, 2018

Export cars on the PE Harbour

Looking down onto the harbour from the Campanile observation deck, one just can't help but wonder where in the world these cars are being exported to.

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

A Carillon of bells in the Port Elizabeth Campanile

At the top of the Campanile there is a glass trapdoor you can actually see the bells through.  I was lucky enough to go on a tour up the Campanile with somebody from the Mandela Bay Development Agency who was in charge of the renovations and he opened the door for me and allowed me to stick my camera inside.

The Campanile originally had 23 bells with another two being added during renovations making it a carillion of 25 bells. 

A carillon is a musical instrument that is typically housed in the bell tower of a church or municipal building. The instrument consists of at least 23 cast bronze, cup-shaped bells, which are played serially to produce a melody, or sounded together to play a chord. A carillon-like instrument with fewer than 23 bells is called a chime.

Friday, February 2, 2018

The Public Library renovation finally got going

The historic Port Elizabeth Public Library in the city centre has been closed to the public for over three years now with promises of renovations but excuses of no budget.  Well, if you had to pass the library today you won't be able to see the scene in the photo.  It is because the library has been closed off and work seem to have finally started.  Or at least I hope.  An article in the Herald about two weeks ago says work on the structure has no finally started with the completion date around mid 2021.   

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Campanile Frieze and Wall of Texts

If you started a walk along Route 67 at the Campanile then the Campanile Frieze and Wall of Texts would be one of the first art pieces you'll see.  Both of these are done by artist Mkhonto Gwazela.  The frieze at the top celebrates the indigenous heritage of Nelson Mandela Bay and the Eastern Cape with the sculpted visual image being cast in concrete along the curved wall.  The poem just below is engraved into locally-sourced granite.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

The Port Elizabeth harbour wall

The Port Elizabeth harbour achieved "port" status for the first time in 1825, long before a proper harbour even existed.  Back then a harbour master was appointed to regulate and oversee the offloading of ships anchored offshore with goods and people being brought to shore in rowboats.  An official surfboat service was established in 1836 and this was followed by the construction of the first jetty in 1837. It wasn't until 1933 and the construction of the Charl Malan Quay (No.1 Quay, now used as the Container and Car Terminals) that Port Elizabeth had a proper port.  

Due to security one can't explore the harbour properly, but you can get to the harbour wall at the bottom end of Kings Beach.  Just remember that you're not allowed to walk onto the harbour wall because if you do you're going to have a security guard on your case very quickly.  The view back along Kings Beach with the beachfront in the background is magnificent though.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Nr 7 Castle Hill historical museum

One of Port Elizabeth's favorite museums is No 7 Castle Hill.  The history of the building goes right back to the early days of Port Elizabeth with Rev. Francis McCleland building it as his parsonage and family home in 1825.  The house is one of the oldest remaining dwelling houses in Port Elizabeth and is furnished as a mid-Victorian period family home. A lot of the furniture and items in the house comes from the 1840–1870 era to show visitors what life was like back then.  The house was declared a National Monument in 1962 and became a museum in 1964.

Friday, January 12, 2018

St Mary's front on Govan Mbeki Road

Anybody who knows Port Elizabeth and has been down to Govan Mbeki Road (Main Street) in the city centre, would know St Mary's Anglican Cathedral near the Public Library.  But not just know it.  Also be aware of the old United Building Society building that stands on the corner in front of it blocking a proper view of the whole church and causing the front of the church to look like it's standing on its own between the high rise buildings away from the rest of the cathedral behind.

In 1843 St Mary's Church had to sell off pieces of its land to fund a building project and by doing so lost possession of some extremely valuable frontage to Main Street.  At that stage there was a servitude upon the property which prevented the stores built upon it from being raised high enough to block out St. Mary’s Church from the Main Street, but this eventually changed in later years which led to the situation we have today.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Capt Francis Evatt's gravestone

On a walk along Route 67 the other day I popped into St Mary's Cathedral and was reminded that the original gravestone of Captain Francis Evatt was located in the entrance area of the church.  Something a lot of people probably didn't know.  

Captain Evatt was commander of Fort Frederick from 1817 until his death in 1850 and is often called the Father of Port Elizabeth because of the role he played in the early years of the town's development.  Among the things he did was to oversee the landing of the British Settlers in 1820 and he laid the foundation stone of St Mary's Church in 1825.  After his death on 21 March 1850 he was given a military funeral in the Congregational Cemetery in Russell Road.  

Evatt's remains were moved to a spot outside the Fort in 1956 and a replica gravestone was erected, with the original being placed in St Mary’s Cathedral.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Trampoline park fun

The days of saying there is nothing to do in Port Elizabeth is long gone. Loooonnnngggg gone.  Yes, a lot of the activities on offer is going to set you back a few bucks, but it's exactly the same wherever you are in the world.  We've had to choose very carefully this summer holiday is everything does add up to quite a lot if you do something that costs money every day. Supertube, laster games, ice skating, go-carting, wall climbing, putt-putt, and, and and.  Another one of the once that we did take the KidZ to was the Gravity Indoor Trampoline Park.  We went on a "two hours for the price of one" day and if the KidZ could go longer they would have.  The trampoline park offers so many different options of trampolines from the trampoline field to eurotramp pro trampolines, dodge ball, foam pit, slam dunk, and lots more.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

Laser games is back in Port Elizabeth

Remember Laser Games? Wow, we used to play so often back in the days when there was still an arena at the old tenpin bowling and game centre next to Greenacres.  It's probably been a good 20 years since they closed down there so I was very excited to see that there are laser Games back in town.  Last week we took the KidZ for a game and the moment I headed into the room with the gun in hand all those memories came flooding back.  Best of all, now I can play it with my KidZ.

If you want to give it a go, you'll find LASER HEADQUARTERS at 44 Second Avenue, Newton Park.  They are open daily from 9am to 9pm and the cost is R60 for 2 x 15 minute games. All their contact details, if you need more information, can be found on their Facebook Page - laserheadquarters.  

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Port Elizabeth's Campanile tower

Although I posted a number of posts featuring the newly renovated and reopened Campanile towards the end of the year, I decided to do another one as a follow up of yesterday's post.  The first post of 2018 featured the Donkin Reserve, one of Port Elizabeth's most iconic attractions.  The Campanile definitely is another one of those.  The word Campanile comes from the Italian word campanile which means bell tower with our Campanile holding 25 bells.  Originally there were 23 bells with 2 being added during the recent renovations.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Donkin Reserve seen from the Campanile

And with that 2017 is gone and 2018 have arrived.  I have seen a lot of people say that they are glad 2017 is over and done with and I took a little time to contemplate my own 2017.  I came to the conclusion that it actually wasn't a bad year for me at all.  It was very busy though both from a personal as well as a work point of view and right now I can't see 2018 being any different.  I will just have to work smarter and not necessarily harder.  One of the things I really need to do is find some more time for both my blogs.  PE Daily Photo took a slight break in 2017 and I'm not pressuring myself to post something every day anymore.  Unfortunately I totally neglected Firefly the Travel Guy though and I really need to focus on it a bit more than I did last year.  But all in all here's to 2018.  May it be a great year full of all things nice. Health, wealth, family, friendship and all kinds of blessings. 

I'm kicking 2018 off with a picture featuring one of Port Elizabeth's most iconic sites, the Donkin Reserve.  This time seen from the top of another iconic site, the Campanile.