Day 2 + 3
After a bit of a lazy lie in (the first one of the vacation), we had breakfast at the hotel before getting on the Blue Line of the Big Bus to take us to the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens for a casual stroll around this world famous site. The journey from the Waterfront takes you along the main road past Table Mountain on your right and the various beaches and bays of Cape Town on your left. We arrived at Kirstenbosch at just past 11 and decided we could catch the bus back to the Waterfront at 14:40, giving us plenty of time to have a look around the gardens and have some lunch as well. The weather was beautiful and being a weekday during the school term, there were just enough people to make the park feel busy, but too few for it to feel crowded.
We stopped for lunch at the Kirstenbosch Tea Room inside the park, and having already decided on a restaurant for dinner this night (and what I was going to eat), I was contemplating having something small and light. I opted for soup, but since I was torn between that and the waffle, I ordered the waffle for dessert. Big mistake. The waffle was enormous, served with whipped cream and berries. Probably the best waffle I have ever had. Kim had quiche and tea and scones. Again, too much food but it seemed like the right choice at the time.
The main draw for me at the Gardens was the “Boomslang”, a walkway that takes you above the canopy of the trees and winds its way down again like the snake it was named after. Naturally, after having spent a day with a photographer and learning about lines and shapes, I could not take a normal photo of this feature of the park. I am quite happy with the results though. The Gardens are a great place to spend a lazy morning or afternoon, and during the summer months they hold frequent concerts and other events. With the hustle and bustle of Cape Town only around a few bends of the road, this quiet sanctuary should definitely be on a must do list of the Cape Town area.
The bus picked us up again and we began the long journey back to the Waterfront. The bus runs in one direction only, so we had to continue on the rest of the journey – past the wine lands, the townships, the little bays and inlets, until we reached Cape Town again. We drove up along the coast past all the little suburbs that make this city so amazing. The homes on display are dazzling, the beaches even more so, and all the while Table Mountain acts as the most picturesque backdrop you could wish for. Even the new stadium, built for the 2010 World Cup doesn’t look like an eyesore as you drive past it. Somehow, they made it work.
We decided to check out the Two Ocean’s Aquarium before heading back to the hotel. Even though it closed in around 90 minutes, there was still enough time to look around it without feeling rushed. I managed to not buy every bit of penguin memorabilia in the gift shop before leaving too!
We had a bit of a freshen up before heading to the City Grill for dinner. We sat outside near the water (and a space heater as it was quite chilly), and ordered dinner. Kim had chicken cordon blue (pretty much half a chicken wrapped around a good chunk of pig). I had the special skewer of 5 game meats containing crocodile, ostrich, impala, springbok, and warthog. And you got a big portion of each. Naturally it was served with mashed potatoes and veggies. I even managed to eat most of the veggies.
Kim had a friend in town – the tour guide on a couple of her previous trips to Africa, so we met him for a few drinks at a restaurant and bar called Mama Africa’s on Long Street. He was due to start a new tour in the morning so was there with his group (who had met each other for the first time that day). They were still in that awkward “I don’t anybody so I won’t say a word” stage that many travelers get. I’ve never understood this myself. Mind you, I am the blogger most likely to fly around the world to say hi to another blogger so what do I know?
After a few drinks it was back into the taxi and back to the hotel. We would be leaving to Johannesburg the next day. The day after it would be home time.
The third morning in Cape Town was a quiet one. Another lie in, breakfast at the hotel, and then a quick trip to the V&A Mall to pick up some last minute things we thought we couldn’t live without. I am addicted to these spices that a food shop called Melissa’s sells so I bought 4 containers of them. Kim bought a couple of shirts and some jewelry from the African store. And I caved in and bought yet another new watch. Seriously, I’m so weak. And the sales girl wasn’t even rocking enormous amounts of cleavage either so I can’t use that as an excuse.
It was on to the airport, then a hotel in Johannesburg where we ate in the restaurant at the hotel and took advantage of free DVD rental and stayed in. Johannesburg is not my most favorite place in the world. Friday came too quickly and before I knew it, I was on a plane back to Dubai and the real world. Kim was on a plane back to Australia and the real world.
But Africa, as always, was amazing.