Cape Town was a really cool place. We stayed in a condo right downtown, where we were able to take daily strolls down to the waterfront. There was a little shopping mall right on the edge of the city called the Victoria and Albert Waterfront. That’s where our little grocery store was, so we found ourselves there nearly every day. It was also nice that I got multiple chances to buy souvenirs, which was good, because I bought many.
In Cape Town we ate lots of food, did some walking around, saw some monuments, rode a giant ferris wheel, and eventually (once the weather cleared up) got to ride the cable car to the top of Table Mountain. We spent some time moseying around Greenmarket Square, where I had my first experience haggling for goods. I wound up buying a hat, scarf, and a bag. We picked up some souvenirs for the family as well.
We had wanted to visit Robben Island, where Nelson Mandala was imprisoned, but because of the rain and choppy waters, our reservation was canceled. I was sad. It was going to be like African Alcatraz. Oh well, I still have that image in my head. We also got a historical tour of the city, and learned a lot about its colonial ties and its diversity. South Africa has come a long way in the past century, but still has far to go.
On our day trips from Cape Town, we got to see tons of sights. We visited four vineyards in one day. One was build in the 1600s, one was owned by Ernie Els, the professional golfer, and the other two were nice but I remember nothing specific about them. I remember after the second winery, I was stumbling and ready for lunch. At age 20, I was not an experienced wine drinker. We stopped in Stellenbosch, a little village in Cape Wine Country. It was originally a merchant town from the Dutch colonization of South Africa. These days it’s a cute little shopping and dining attraction. One of the more famous shops is Oom Samie and Winkel, an old general store that’s been open for over four centuries. If I recall, it was the first general store in South Africa but I could be making that up. Writing a blog in hindsight is hard. Regardless, I bought two paintings and a bar of soap.On our next adventure, we headed down to the Cape of Good Hope, the southernmost tip of Africa! Yup, that’s right. I’ve been there. We took the obligatory picture in front of the sign and stared at the point in the water where the Indian Ocean met the Atlantic Ocean. On the drive down and back through the national park, we kept seeing signs warning us about baboons, which are apparently ferocious. We didn’t see any, and I’m glad we didn’t, because they sounded really scary. We did see some ostriches though. They were harmless.
After the Cape, we made our way to the famous Boulders Beach, land of the penguins. Oh yeah. Penguins. Hundreds of them, waddling around and swimming in the ocean. I really wanted to run up to them and snuggle them but we weren’t allowed to. I also think the penguins wouldn’t have appreciated it that much.We took the scenic route back, which was a pretty drive, but I was getting pretty carsick. The good news was that when we got back, we were finally able to go up Table Mountain! We hadn’t even been able to see it after multiple days of rainy weather blocked our view. But for one afternoon, the clouds subsided enough to where we were able to ride the cable car up and take a look around. We even got to see Robben Island! From far away, but we could see it!