Thursday 5 June 2014

Last Stop: Cape Town

Cape Town is a beautiful city.  We enjoyed our visit.  It is winter time now and many people we encountered asked why we visited in the winter.  Short answer is we planned the trip around our various safaris and as a bonus we would be in Cape Town during the Food and Wine Show.
Thus our expectation was for wind, rain and cool weather.  The weather turned out better than we had hoped.  We had wind (which prevented us from visiting Table Mountain) and made our return trip from Robben Island an hour long journey buffetted by waves and wind.  We had some rain showers that were brief and periods of brilliant sunshine that gave us great photos with colorfully lit clouds, mountains and landsacapes.  In a nutshell - the weather was variable and changed frequently but was not a factor except for the winds and the mountain.
The winelands and  peninsula tours were a nice way to see the natural beauty of the area and experience what the area offers.  Really enjoyable.
What we really wanted to do is visit Robben Island and The District Six Museum.  We did both and that gave us some more context and history - essential for understanding for where we are today.
As I mentioned the ride back from the island was long and rough.  It was on an old tug boad (the Dais) and most of us sat in the seating area below deck.  Most of us were glad to be on solid ground after the ride. 
A few people told me that the tug was used in the past as a cargo and prisoner transport ship to Robben Island.  Then, really how can I complain about a rough hour's ride when a similar ride for many was the beginning of years of confinement and deprivation.
The visit to the island gave us a better understanding of the island's history and past and current use.  The tour of the Island and the prison gave us a glimpse into history and the first hand experience of our guide made history alive.
Our visit to the District Six Museum was equally fascinating - in large measure due to our conversation with Noor - the gentleman who lived through the whole district six chapter and conveyed his experiences during the tour he gave us.
The museum and the island are powerful and constant reminders of history and the dichotomy that exists today in South Africa and in fact the entire world.
Amid the bounty of the land, great scenic beauty, and affluence of the Cape area lay the constant reminders such as the Cape Flats area and townships that we as humans have a long way to go - all over the world.
While in Cape Town we stayed in the V&A waterfront area.  A very convenient location that has tons of shopping and eating options.  I think, though, one our favorate parts of town is Bo Kaap and its colorful homes and excellent Cape Malay cuisine!
Oh - the food and wine show was a nice way to spend an afternoon to sample wine and food and interact with foodies.  (Some locals told us they avoid the event because it has become too crowded.)
That's all folks.
I'll have one last post with final thoughts and impressions on our trip.

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