I met my husband and started a family in Cape Town, South Africa. Now we live in Venice, Italy. AMA!

May 18, 2017

I met my lovely husband in Cape Town, South Africa. He was stationed there while he was working in the oilfield. We started a family and moved to Venice, Italy.

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What are some "convincing arguments" why I should visit Cape Town? ;)

May 18, 12:22PM EDT1

Hello Kevin, Cape Town has some of the most scenic places in the world. You can't imagine them until you've seen them. Starting from the top of Table Mountain from where you can see right over Table Bay and the city and, on a clear day, all the way down to Cape Point. The people are very friendly and you'd have a great time exploring the city and its museums as well as Fisherman's Wharf where there are lively bars, restaurants and shops (wildlife includes seals). You can take a boat trip to swim (in a cage) with great white sharks or to seal island where there's a huge seal community regularly hunted by the sharks. Also, you can visit Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was held or, if you like wine, take a car and visit the winelands of Stellenbosch and Paarl. Feeling like going a little further? Then, with a car you can go to Hermanus which has a large artist community or Knysna that has very rare forest elephants. Going by car, you can go to Cape Point Nature Reserve, passing through the many scenic little villages along the way, including Boulders Rock (near Simon's Town) where you can see African penguins. Lots to see and do. Hope that answers your question and thanks for participating. :)

Last edited @ May 18, 12:32PM EDT.
May 18, 12:32PM EDT1
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Do they have oil spills in Cape Town area due to oil fields or ships?

May 18, 11:38AM EDT2

Hi Andersoncynthia, to the best of my knowledge the last oil spill from a shipwreck was in the 1990s. Cape Point, the southern most point in Africa, used to be called The Cape of Storms because of the vicious storms of the Atlantic Ocean and the treacherous rocks that lie hidden there. South Africa doesn't have oil but it does have some gas fields, about 2 or 3 hours up the coast from Cape Town. The last great spill resulted from an oil tanker that broke up during a storm in 1983. Thanks for the question. :)

Last edited @ May 18, 11:45AM EDT.
May 18, 11:45AM EDT1

Does your husband still work in the oilfields?

May 18, 7:38AM EDT1

My husband travelled a lot when he worked in the oilfield - he used to do 1 month on and 1 month at home, then it became 2 months on and 2 weeks at home. It got to a point where he wasn't seeing his family anymore so he changed jobs a few years ago and now works in Italy. Thanks for the question Billy. :)

May 18, 11:04AM EDT1
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How do you like Cape Town?

May 18, 1:46AM EDT2

Thanks for asking Justin. Cape Town's a great city and it's got some of the most fantastic scenery in the world but, personally, I prefer Venice as there's just so much to do and see every day. In Cape Town I'd need a car to get out and about to see the other interesting places like Cape Point, Boulders Rock for the penguins or the winelands. I suppose it depends on what a person likes. Cape Town's got some fine places to surf and is a very 'outdoor activities' place compared to Venice. Hope I've answered your question and thanks for participating! :)

May 18, 10:45AM EDT3
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So now you have a family, where are they now, what are they doing?

May 17, 10:51PM EDT1

Hi Barkerclaudia, our daughter was born in Cape Town but raised and schooled in Italy. She's now studying in The Netherlands which is only 2 hours by plane but it feels very far indeed to my mind! Anyway, the distance is giving her space to grow up and be independent. Thanks for the question. :)

May 18, 10:39AM EDT1
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where was the wedding?

May 17, 5:38PM EDT0

Hello Joel, the wedding was held in Cape Town. Due to the nature of my husband's job at the time, we had to organise everything in a hurry. Also, when we decide to do something we don't hang around! LOL So it took us about 2 months to get it all sorted out and have the big day! Thanks for your question. :)

May 18, 10:34AM EDT0

Do you speak Italian? other languages?

May 17, 4:53PM EDT1

Hi there again Kevinjames - it took me a while but I'm now fluent in Italian and can understand Venetian Dialect (closer to Spanish than Italian). I can read Dutch/Afrikaans/Flemish. :) Teaching English means that my Italian doesn't get used much until I'm with friends but speaking Italian fluently was a goal I managed to achieve. Thanks for your question and participation. :)

May 18, 10:31AM EDT1

How did you meet?

May 17, 5:23AM EDT1

Well Keithbruce we met through a mutual friend. We all met up in a place to have drinks, he saw me and started chatting. I wasn't looking for a relationship and was only there because my friend begged me to go. Anyway, he got my phone number from her and asked me out - he was persistent until I finally relented. :D Thanks for your question.

May 18, 10:27AM EDT1
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How do you like Venice?

May 17, 5:22AM EDT1

Hi Susan, in the beginning it was very hard for a couple of reasons. Firstly, the language barrier that was frustrating plus people also speak Venetian dialect which more like Spanish than Italian. Secondly, Italy's got a lot of bureaucracy that can be irritating. Thirdly, my child's always been very tall so carrying her up and down the steps nearly did me in! LOL Now, however, Venice's definitely my home and it's such an interesting place to live. Love it! Thanks for asking. :)

May 18, 10:24AM EDT1
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Allot of South Africans have left in recent years due to the political issues the local currency. Is this why you're in Venice too?

May 17, 4:13AM EDT1

Hi Wilsonmichael, many South Africans have left because it's becoming increasingly difficult to find work and consequently live there. In my case, however, I married an Italian and so came back to Venice. I dodged marriage for as long as I could but it got me in the end! LOL Thanks for your question. :)

May 18, 10:19AM EDT1
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How long have you been in Venice now, do you feel at home now?

May 17, 3:36AM EDT0

Thanks for asking Maria! It took me a long time to get used to walking everywhere and, especially in summer, dodging tourists. :) Now, after over 20 years, I feel like a local and speak Italian too. :)

May 18, 10:16AM EDT0

I'll be in Venice next year (cross fingers!). What are some things to do?

May 17, 1:52AM EDT1

My fingers and toes are all crossed for you Pamela! Well I think the first thing to do is to take a stroll around the city and as you go you'll see many spots you might want to stop and inspect more closely. Depending on the time of year, there are many exhibitions and festivals to enjoy too. On the 3rd weekend in July Venice celebrates the Festa del Redentore in honour of being freed of The Plague, so a special temporary bridge is built and in the evening there's a massive fireworks display and many VIPs like Bill Gates 'park' their mega yachts right close to St. Mark's Square! You can take a water bus to some of the nearby islands - Murano to see glass blowing, Burano to watch ladies making lace or to Torcello which is relatively wild and only has 10 residents. Venice's got many unique buildings such as the Bovolo (see my photo in a comment below) that you can visit. Climbing the Bell Tower in St. Mark's Square will give you a magnificent view over the entire city and out onto the lagoon. So many things, so little time! One piece of advice I can give is that you need really comfortable shoes - you've got to do a lot of walking. ;) Thanks for participating.

Last edited @ May 18, 11:30AM EDT.
May 18, 10:12AM EDT1
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What are some romantic spots you would say in Venice, Italy?

May 17, 1:32AM EDT1

Thomas I think the whole of Venice is really romantic and charming. That said, simply taking a stroll around the city at night when the 'calle' are empty and it's quiet is super romantic. Early morning is also lovely as you see the city waking up and readying itself for another busy day. :) thanks for your question!

May 18, 10:01AM EDT1

What do you do in Venice?

May 17, 1:17AM EDT0

Hi Elizabeth, I'm not too sure what you mean by the question but if it's regarding work then I'm an English teacher to children and adults. I work throughout the day depending on students' schedules. :) Hopefully I've answered your question and thanks for participating. 

Last edited @ May 18, 9:57AM EDT.
May 18, 9:35AM EDT0

Would love to see some pics if you have something to share? tia.

May 16, 11:59PM EDT0

Hi Sydney, I've got a few photos and hopefully you'll like this small selection! Scrolling down the page, you'll see: an island called San Giorgio Maggiore (in front of St. Mark's), the Dogal Palace, St. Mark's Square from the Bell Tower, Rialto Bridge in fog, Palazzo Contarini del Bovolo, a gondola traffic jam, Bridge of Sighs and a view of the Grand Canal. :)

Last edited @ May 18, 10:59AM EDT.
May 18, 8:02AM EDT0
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Never been to Venice but it's on my map. Can you describe the place? Thanks so much in advance!

May 16, 8:42PM EDT0

Hello Princedavid, Venice's an island upon which a small but unique city has been built. Today the population's about 30 000 - about half of what it used to be. The buildings are all connected or extremely close to one another, resulting in narrow/very narrow 'calle' (streets). The first thing you realise upon arriving on the island is that there are no land vehicles - not a single car/truck in sight but instead there are canals with gondolas, water buses, water taxis, small private boats and large 'mototopi' for transporting goods, etc.! After that you look at all the buildings in general then, upon closer inspection, you start to notice that the shape of the windows, doors, chimneys are all different. And you haven't even stepped into a museum yet! You are literally surrounded by history at every turn - this is what  remains of the great Venetian Republic. There's no other city on earth quite like it. But there's so much more because Venice's surrounded many tiny islands nearby such as Murano (glass), Burano (lace) and Torcello (only 10 residents) to name a few. My answer doesn't seem to do Venice justice! To help give you a visual idea, here are some links:



Remember, if you fly in to Venice's Marco Polo Airport, make sure to get a window seat for a marvellous view of Venice Lagoon and all the islands. Thanks for the question. :)

Last edited @ May 18, 11:34AM EDT.
May 18, 7:22AM EDT1
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What do you do for a living?

May 16, 8:40PM EDT0

Hello Wendy42, I teach English to people of all ages and from all walks of life. The job has allowed me to get to know Italians and appreciate their attention to detail, artistic approach to the most menial tasks, their creative and inventive minds that produce such wonderful fashions, food and wine, artwork and even industrial machinery. Teaching has also allowed me to discover the wonderful Italian sense of humour. Thanks for your question. :)

May 18, 6:51AM EDT1

Why do you think Venice is considered to be the most romantic city in the world?

May 16, 8:27PM EDT0

If you walk the 'calle' (streets) of Venice early in the morning or late in the evening Richard, then you'll see and feel immersed in the history and romantic splendour of the city. Most European cities have an 'historic area' but in Italy and (especially Venice) entire cities are historic with hardly a modern building to be seen. Even walking around as a day-tripper to Venice, the city sweeps you up and carries you away. Hope that answers your question! Thanks. :)

May 18, 6:45AM EDT0

Cape Town, Venice, Love. What else is missing in your life? You got it ALL!

May 16, 3:56AM EDT1

Hi Brian - what can I say? Your question's a tough one to answer! I've had my ups and downs but overall I'm quite content with things right now. What's missing? Me thinks it's the next adventure that life will present. :) Thanks for your question.

May 18, 6:37AM EDT1
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Have you ever imagined your life to be so exciting and full of adventures?

May 16, 12:18AM EDT1

Cory, as a kid I used to think my life was fairly boring and wished for one that was more exciting! LOL be careful what you wish for. Most of my adventures have just 'sort of happened' - a bit like when you swimming in the sea and a rogue wave takes you and bounces you around. :) There's never been a dull moment and I can honestly say that, had it been any other way I'd have died of boredom. Maybe it's because I've got a short attention span. ;) Really it's only when I talk to other people that it comes home to me that my life has been a bit 'different'. :) Thanks for asking.

Last edited @ May 18, 10:46AM EDT.
May 18, 6:26AM EDT1
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The situation in South Africa is pretty bad, isn't it?

May 15, 11:23PM EDT1

Hi Robert, the situation is quite difficult but people adapt as best they can. Jobs are in short supply now and so the crime rate is quite high - it's a complicated place to live I think and something that tourists don't really see. But like most places, there are the good aspects as well as the bad. Thanks for the question. :)

May 18, 6:19AM EDT1

Is Venice as expensive as people say it is?

May 15, 6:39PM EDT0

Yes, Twatson, I'm afraid it is very expensive because everything's transported to and from the island by boat. People tend to forget that - even locals! However, you can get by not staying on the island. Hotels, hostels and B&Bs are cheaper on the mainland and you can take a bus/train to Venice. You can get by quite cheaply by buying food and drinks from supermarkets or buying pizza by the slice.  Thanks for the question. :) Here's a link of free things to do in Venice if you're thinking of a trip:


Last edited @ May 18, 6:53AM EDT.
May 17, 6:37AM EDT0

What do you do for fun in Venice, Italy?

May 15, 5:59PM EDT0

For starters, there are always lots of events going on in Venice - right now we're enjoying the Biennale (http://www.labiennale.org/en/art/). If we want to go to the beach then we take the water bus to the Lido, or, we simply visit one of the other islands such as Burano, Murano or Torcello (to name a few). We meet friends in one of the many 'cicchetterie' (restaurants/wine bars) that serve 'cicchetti' (snacks like tapas) or, we go onto the mainland and take a car to the nearby hills or other cities of art such as Padua. A longer drive takes us to the famous Dolomites! So many things to do and see but never enough time! :) Thanks for your question Gina.

Last edited @ May 17, 6:33AM EDT.
May 17, 6:31AM EDT0

I don't have any question but I think you are so lucky! So I'll just ask, do you feel so too? :)))

May 15, 5:19PM EDT0

Very much so Alexander! I got to enjoy Cape Town and it's stunning scenery and then move to Venice which is simply unique. To think that I was born on a farm in Zimbabwe and loved the wildlife and all that it had to offer, then Cape Town which is so very different but wonderful and now Venice. But not just Venice, the Veneto region of Italy as a whole is spectacular as we've got the Dolomites, the sea, hills and plains. And I suppose I should mention the wine, food and the cities of art and history. I consider myself to have been incredibly lucky. Hope you enjoy my answer and thanks for your question. :)

Last edited @ May 17, 6:16AM EDT.
May 16, 7:59AM EDT0

What are good places to visit while in Cape Town?

May 15, 3:28PM EDT0

Well, of course, there's iconic Table Mountain from the of top which you get a magnificent view of the whole city and Table Bay and beyond. Lion's Head, museums and markets in the city centre, and Fisherman's Wharf on the bay that has many bars, restaurants, hotels and shops to see. By car you can see the beautiful winelands of Stellenbosch and Paarl (the latter's my favourite), Cape Point Nature Reserve (tip of Africa), all the little coastal villages including Simon's Town where you can see little African penguins. Further afield, there's Hermanus, Knysna (rare forest elephants to see) and a host of other coastal cities. In fact, you can drive up the whole coast to Durban - it's called the Garden Route and the scenery is spectacular. Hope that answered your question. :) Here's a link to give you an idea of Table Mountain and its views:


Last edited @ May 17, 6:19AM EDT.
May 16, 7:53AM EDT0

Have you been to Cape Town recently?

May 15, 3:24PM EDT0

I went back a few years ago David. It's very expensive to fly there and my family have all moved to different parts of the world now. The place had changed quite considerably in that it's modernised, become much more international, etc. Still beautiful though. Thanks for the question. :)

Last edited @ May 17, 6:16AM EDT.
May 16, 7:44AM EDT0

Was it love at first sight?

May 15, 2:49PM EDT0

No, James, I'm sorry to say it wasn't! I'd just come out of a very bad relationship and wasn't looking for a new one - at all! In fact, we met through a mutual friend who, at the exact moment when my husband started chatting to me, was busy having a drinking game with the barman (Mexican Taxi Driver cocktails). Needless to say, she won 10-4 as the barman slipped seemlessly and senselessly down behind the bar! I meanwhile asked my then future husband what an oilfield playboy like him was doing with a bunch like us. Lol he's such a 'square', he was shocked! Anyway he persisted and we got married! Thanks for your question. :)

May 16, 7:39AM EDT0

Are you originally from Cape Town?

May 15, 2:02PM EDT0

Donald, I was actually born on a farm in Zimbabwe - very different from Cape Town, which is a large city, and the climates couldn't be more different. Going from such a small place to a large one was quite a shock I can tell you - the term 'country bumpkin going to the big city lights' creeps across my mind! :D Plus Cape Town winters felt like I'd moved to the North Pole. :) Thanks for your question. 

May 16, 7:28AM EDT0

How long were you dating before you got married?

May 15, 1:27PM EDT0

Hi Amanda, we met in February and were married in April the following year! I was in my late twenties and had never really seriously thought about marriage to be honest - sounded like drudge work! LOL My mother always said 'you'll just know when you've met the right person' but I was somewhat sceptical to put it mildly. However, she proved to be right .... as usual! Thanks for the nice question. :)

May 16, 7:25AM EDT0

Is Venice better than Cape Town?

May 15, 1:25PM EDT0

Wow, that's a tricky question! :D They're very, very different cities. Cape Town's a very 'new' city compared to Venice. To my mind, Cape Town offers tremendous landscape views and you've got to take a car to the winelands and many scenic places outside the city to fully appreciate the area as a whole. Venice, on the other hand, is steeped in history and you are completely and utterly surrounded by it at every turn. I've got to admit that I'm never bored in Venice as there's so much to see and do - and you can take a car on the mainland to see many scenic and historic places there too. So you can possibly see which is my favourite.... ;) Thanks for asking!

May 16, 7:17AM EDT0

Is the immigration problem in Italy affecting life in Venice?

May 15, 1:13PM EDT0

I think it's fair to say that it's affecting life in Italy as a whole. The financial crisis hit the country really hard and many families all over Italy have been left in a precarious situation, resulting in a lot of resentment towards the immigrants. Overall, I think it's fair to say that Italians feel that their government's been looking after the immigrants very well, while Italians have been left to cope on their own. Thanks for your question and participation. :)

Last edited @ May 17, 7:02AM EDT.
May 16, 7:09AM EDT0