Wednesday, December 6

Coming Back To Cape Town

Of the three places I visited last time Cape Town by far had the most to offer to the tourist. It's why we've scheduled four days here, and alas why we mostly filled it with tourism rather than social activities. That's not to say there wasn't much to remember - retreading some of the old pathways was quite poignant, if only because it reminded me of the people who took me to all the places. In summary:

  • Table Mountain was a washout. Or rather a cloudout. Visibility was terrible and it made me both thankful for the amazing views I got the last time and regretful for those with me for whom this will probably be the only chance to see Cape Town from this height.
  • Robben Island was actually not too bad considering my previous experience. Perhaps it was maturity, perhaps a better tour guide, but it does seem that experiences can vary on such a small island.
  • Fish in the Rocks down in Hout Bay provided more nostalgia, but alas still decent (versus amazing) fish and chips
  • Cape Peninsula is still deceptively small and took the whole day to drive around. Chapman's Peak still offered amazing views, and we also got to see random lighthouses, ostriches and penguins.
  • Cape Point appeared as ordinary as it did last time; furthermore I didn't get to go down to Dias Beach, which was actually one of my favourite spots from my last visit to Cape Town.
  • The drive through Simon's Town was nice, if only to help us realise how immense False Bay was.
  • I got a better chance to see historical Cape Town by going on a walking tour of Parliament, the Company's Gardens and the Grand Parade.
  • The District 6 Museum is still worth going to.
  • The Gatsby is still worth eating.
  • Bo-Kaap is still cute and such a quick win to walk through, particularly while the Adhaan is being called.
  • New for me was the V&A Waterfront, which seems like a wonderful place to just sit at to enjoy live music and good weather.
  • Also new for me was the Botanical Gardens. We visited this on the way out of Cape Town so it's arguable that we didn't give it as much time as we should have... but for me a couple of hours was more than enough (if not too much).

The clear difference between this and my last visit was us being on our own while also having access to a car - the peninsula alone presented a whole different experience because of the driving and map following. I do feel like I now know Cape Town a little more intimately.

Nevertheless, the overriding feeling was of slight disbelief, that I had returned to a place I never thought I would... while all the time acknowledging that it was indeed a very different trip.