Tuesday, 21 January 2020

Cape Town, South Africa January 21 - 27, 2020

The morning opened to a blazing sun overtaking our room looking at Cape Town with its Table Mountain and three others reaching into the sky. One can only imagine what early Explorers thought when they discovered this jewel rounding the southern tip of this massive Continent. Today, the city is wrapped in the comfort and glory of its Bays and Mountains all provided by those incredible Tectonic Plates shifting and driving upward millions of years ago.
During and after breakfast we said our farewells to other guests and staff we had come to appreciate and headed for the Gangway. Not expected, but also not surprisingly, Captain Filip and Entertainment Director Earnest where at the bottom of the plank with stretched out arms for Terryl and the Azamara hand shake for me. Captain Filip and his wife Nickoleta had given Terryl their personal email address; they have also invited us to stay with them in their home in Greece. 

But first I'll need to call them
We checked into Mount Sierra apartments three hours ahead of time and Chantal (the front desk lady who is a gem) suggested a few sights we could see and off we went to Table Mountain, a magnificent sight outside our front window. This mountain and its Cable Car are a main attraction on this day; a very long line of ticket holders were patiently waiting to board, and, the line wasn't moving at all that we could see. Our position on the mountain was approximately 70% of its total height at the point where the lineup, that still wasn't moving, forced our decision to abort the ride to the top.
We came down and checked into our very comfortable one bedroom apartment that was fully furnished, fully equipped and met our needs perfectly.


January 22,  23, 2020

We are off on The Hop On Hop Off bus (this is routine for us in any new city) and from the city centre on the Blue Line head southeasterly on Rhodes Drive (could this be Cecil Rhodes the dude who started De Beers and his world famous uncut diamonds from South Africa in 1844?) and around Devil's Peak past Kirstenbosch and their National Botanical Gardens to our first stop. Hop on the Purple Line to Groot Constantia Wine Estate established in 1685. 763 Hectares of land were granted Simon van der Stel, and with slave labour he established this place which today is the quintessential South African Winery making 25% whites and 75% reds all in French made Oak Casks with Portuguese Corks - no screw caps or boxes sold here. Terryl and I enjoyed a tour of the estate and of course,  a wine tasting that excited our palates and our knowledge all supplied by Jacques, who really knew his stuff. The tour of the wine making and storage was given by Victor who was attentive, a little funny and a wealth of information. I asked about one of Terryl's favourites: an unoaked Chardonnay? And he replied oh yes, but we never make it at Constantia. Our casks are all French Oak. Here's a link if you wish on South African Chardonaay
We continued on along the southern coast past Hout Bay, Camps Bay, Clifton, Bantry Bay, Sea Point, Three Anchor Bay, Mouille Point and off at Victoria and Alfred for some food and walk-about (shopping). We are going back to Camps Bay tomorrow.
And so we did get off at Camps Bay and did a little walk-about and then sat down for a cool one. We are across the street from a magnificent sandy beach reaching 100 yards into emerald green water. On our side of the street there is one café after another and all of them appeared to be prospering on a sun-drenched gorgeous day. However, we had plans in Victoria & Alfred waterfront and off we went to buy some tickets to the Nelson Mandela Museum (and his prison for years) for January 25, 2020. The museum wanted to see our Passports and said in no uncertain words, bring them with you on the 25th or you'll be denied boarding for the sail over to Robben Island. We had a full day and this cough that came out of nowhere, except that Terryl had it for a week, is wearing me out; we hopped into an air condition newish taxi and told him that Chantal (of Mount Sierra apartments) wanted him to treat us very well. We were in his cab for twenty-five minutes, Donat from French Guiana is his name, and the cab fare was 850 Rand ($8.50 Canadian).

Table Mountain with the cloud sliding down like icing on a cake

January 24, 2020

Up bright and early with some OJ, coffee and fruit for breakfast, and down to the lobby where Chantal asked what’s up today. She called Donat for us and the three of us went to A Gem Store operation, secretly displayed in their driveway, and let them know we were here. The buzzers went off and in we go with Donat waiting for us while we looked at R250,000 (that’s $25,000 Canadian) diamond rings and necklaces for twenty minutes. Terryl simply stated that she wanted to think about it for a day or two. Of course I said okay and we politely excused ourselves and proceeded to the front door and out to greet Donat. Because of my nagging little cough I thought better of playing 18, or even 9 holes on Rondabosch golf course but that didn’t stop me from going there, entering the pro shop, buying the Tee Shirt, asking for a right handed 7 iron, going to the driving range, hitting 5 balls with my new Adam Bazalgette grip and swing, and in 25 minutes we went to the parking lot and hopped into Donat’s car and left to go to the magnificent Mount Nelson Hotel, only two blocks from ours.  
This place is steeped in tradition and old world style, comfort and tried and true service. We casually walked in and with Terryl at the helm they were all over us with an escort showing us around inside and out. I finally sat down in a nicely shaded easy chair while Terryl cruised with a camera in hand. When she returned we ordered a glass of local Chardonnay and beer: both were fabulous with some nuts, olives and chips served complimentary.
Our next stop was Tom’s Mozambique and Portuguese Restaurant just up the street from Mount Sierra apartments. This was lunch consisting of 3 glasses of South African white and a shared plate of Seafood & Spaghetti. We loved it, and all for the cost of R250 or $25.00 Canadian. Life is good down here. I hope you have felt that as you read. 

Just us and another Martini
This evening we ate at Café Paradiso only 50 yards north of our luncheon. We were served by a lovely young lady named Memory. We hit it off instantly when I said I love your earrings. In a flash Terryl starting talking about earrings to match her necklace purchased in Durban that she just hasn’t been able to find. Memory said that she was going to a shopping area that has just what she’s been looking for. Here’s the deal: she is working Sunday between 09:00 to 16:00 and Terryl will see her and buy those earrings from her no matter what. Pretty nice I thought.

The seaside road cuts through miles of rock

January 25, 2020

We have an early morning rendezvous with The Nelson Mandela Museum which will include a water ride to Robben Island where he was imprisoned for a long time. We can’t wait to see this valuable piece of South African history.
Donat picked us up and delivered us on time to see a brief moving picture of several of the former inmates including Nelson Mandela. The Tour at 11:00 was a sell out. While we were in line an attendant came to me an invited me to jump the line and take a seat; at first I said no thank you, but two minutes later I was in his offered chair. We boarded a rather large Catamaran and ploughed through calm water for thirty minutes, disembarked, and loaded into one of several buses to start the tour. As we drove a fine young man spoke and referred to us as my Good People over and over again. This place, Robben Island was discovered in 1488 and has had many uses; the most important was to lock away undesirables such as Lepers and Criminals. We passed by the Leper Graveyard with numerous comments from our guide and continued right around the island pointing out building after building and their place in the order of things over all of its history. All of this was labeled Part 1 of the Museum Tour. Part 2 started when we left his bus and were introduced to a former prisoner who had spent 18 years on Robben Island. He stood before all 60 of us and told of the detail involved in sleeping, eating, labour in the Lime Quarry, toilets, punishment and silence; and silence was most important for Political Prisoners who were the last group of inhabitants. The Real Criminals had far better treatment than the Political Prisoners. Nelson Mandela served 18 years with much of it at hard labour in the Lime Quarry where his eyesight was significantly damaged. We saw the tiny cells with a 1/4 inch thick mattress to sleep on, the bucket in the corner, and nothing else in these cubicles. We entered an open sky surrounded by four concrete walls that prisoners and their visitors lined up to talk to each other for ten minutes. They were ten yards apart as well. Additionally our guide mentioned that much of ‘A long Walk to Freedom’ was written between these walls by the one man who is exalted, praised and above all, the man who gave South Africa back to its rightful owners. That man, Nelson Mandela, and the people he encouraged to follow him, had used peaceful means - despite the blows and mistreatment they endured for hundreds of years - to bring about the democracy and well being that we see today.



Africa is all sorts of people from far away and original coastal regions, and with the migration of Africans from the interior to feed the Slave Trade, the coast of this great continent is now heavily populated. The Continent of Africa lost 25,000,000 men, women and children caused by the Infamy of the Slave Trade. The people that we have met on our journey are kind, friendly, fun loving, and go over the top to please. I said that to two black men that we were talking with, and one of them said straight out, “It’s in our blood.”

January 26, 2020

Today is the penultimate day in Cape Town and we wanted to do something relaxing and enjoy some fine wine and food. We were in Donat's cab heading to Cape Grace Hotel for a little look around during the noon hour. It is spectacular, with its Dutch roots and architecture in full display: attendants holding the doors open with a big hearty welcome, and two receptionist in place to answer any questions one may have. Terryl asked for a little tour before asking for the nightly rate. The receptionist happily took us around and when we returned to her desk, she hesitatingly discussed the rate with questions like the type of room required and when that would be because the rate depends on seasonal requirements. Basically it was from 9,000 to 15,000 Rand per night. Divide those numbers by 10 to have the equivalent in Canadian Dollars. We thanked her for her help and information and quietly left this beautiful place right on the Waterfront.
Only 100 yards away is a Food Experience place that looked enticing. All sorts of different foods by different vendors in a pleasant lively atmosphere was a good start when we dropped into a Sushi Place with the various coloured bowls circulating on a moving platform. We ate two dishes costed at $10 Canadian, enjoyed it and continued to explore. We stopped for a drink at Gingha restaurant and bar with outdoor seating and umbrellas. We spent three hours having cold ones and a little food; it was perfect and Terryl excused herself for 30 minutes to buy those exclusive earrings that will be perfect with her African styled hanging necklace. (Memory couldn't find just the right pair no matter how much she tried.) All is good and we left for Lord Nelson's Hotel and a final look at their beautiful huge Nassau Pink Verandah leading to a lovely garden and more sitting areas for their guests. It was the end of a perfect day.
Donat, the perfect example of, "It's in our Blood."


January 27, 2020

It's another weather perfect day in Cape Town with temperature around 22C, an approximate temperature for their winter time. We have been on this journey for 49 days and I'm a little tired;  we know that we have seen and learned about parts of the Globe that I had thought I would never see. Now if all goes as planned and prepared for we’ll be on an Emirates flight this evening at 18:25 and land in Dubai at 05:55 on January 28. We have a booking in the Dubai Airport's ‘sleep and fly’ for 7 hours only, and then find Terminal 1 for our Air Canada flight at 23:55 arriving in Toronto at 06:05 on January 29.

When I’m in my chair in Port Credit with my Cozy Desk and a hot toddy and biscuit in hand I’ll start to think about our trip and attempt a summary of sorts. But then, is a summary necessary?
Perhaps we’ll be on another adventure while the snow flies in PC.
Thank you for your interest; you've made my day.
Sincerely, Alexander McPope





2 comments:

  1. I'm sure the crew dearly wish there were more passengers like you two! Enjoy this last leg of your epic journey.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Hey ter and gary sounds like a wonderful trip. Do u guys think u could get me 1 or more antique keys from your travels?
    If it's too much trouble dont worry. Were loving your blog Gary

    ReplyDelete

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