“A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination.” – Mandela
We were a little bummed when we realized we wouldn’t be able to go to Mozambique. Visa and transportation issues just didn’t make all the effort seems worthwhile, especially after our recent marathon travel to Lake Malawi. So with about 2 weeks we were deciding what to do. Looking at flights, they all seemed to stop in South Africa and so our choice was made. Call me crazy but I’ve never been drawn to S. Africa. I know many people who’ve been and raved about it, but it just never had an appeal for me.
So we flew into Cape Town and to be honest my first impression was not great. I suppose our first day out was a Sunday and many shops and restaurants were closed. Being cold and rainy also didn’t help. It gradually improved but it just sort of felt like any big city. Albeit a big city with a really cool mountain as the backdrop.
We quickly realized we were staying in an inconvenient neighborhood but we checked out the City Bowl, Bo-Kaap and the District Six Museum that spoke of the community removed during apartheid. It was difficult to wrap my head around the disparity I was seeing between the classes and races. It was bothersome. It had a completely different flavor than other African cities I’d been to. Which was nice being a white tourist but also made me feel a little icky.
We took the train out to the Winelands (which I will talk more about in my next post) and after imbibing our fair share we headed back to Cape Town, but this time we headed towards the Waterfront. And what a difference it made.
It was a great area to venture out. We spent a day driving to the Cape of Good Hope and little fishing towns. We saw gorgeous flowers and vistas of the coast.
The Western Peninsula was absolutely lovely. It has everything. It reminded me a lot of the Pacific Northwest. Just spoiled with natural beauty and an abundance of activities. We even started scheming that we should buy some property in the Winelands. Don’t worry mom, no plans in the near future. But what a change from my first impression just one week before.
Channeling his inner explorer – Ezra was born in the wrong era.One of the last things we did was head out to Robben Island where Nelson Mandela spent many of his years in prison. This was one of the activities we sort of felt like we had to do but also sort of didn’t feel like doing. The boat trip over had pretty great views and once on the island it felt pretty depressing and desolate.Nelson Mandela’s cell and the quarry where he worked.
It pains me to say it, but this was perhaps the worst tour we’ve ever been on. To be fair, I think it may have just been our guide. There were so many people being hearded around, and we couldn’t understand what was happening or what was being said, and this was an expensive tour. I thought Ezra, who is normally so patient and calm, was going to lose it. These pictures just make me want to laugh.
The 10 days here felt like a tease. Hopefully there will be a next time, and we can rent a car and scout out more of the area. I will also be reading more about the history so I better understand this country.
How many countries can boast this array of signage?