we were taken back a little by how much we loved cape town. such a neat town.
we started our exploring at the victoria & alfred waterfront before we headed our on a ferry to robben island. the waterfront is really darling, and the views of table mountain from there are superb.
our visit to robben island (where many political prisoners, including nelson mandela for 18 years, were held during apartheid) was pretty incredible. all the tour guides there are men who were actual inmates in the maximum security prison. we learned a lot.
^^ this is the rock quarry, where prisoners performed back-breaking work crushing rocks each day. the first time mandela returned to robben island, he began this pile of rocks, which has been added to by many ex-prisoners each time they return to the island. the heap stands as a simple memorial to their years of hardship on the island. ^^
^^ amazing views before we went inside the prison buildings. ^^
^^ here is our wonderful tour guide, in the very room where he was kept as a prisoner for standing up for what is right. he was such a sweet, quiet, lovely man. at the end of our tour he told his story – explaining that he endured torture beyond what we can imagine, and that he was held in prison for nearly a decade. at the end of his story, he talked about south africa’s effort to move forward from the terrible past, and boldly declared, “i hold no grudge.” this incredible manifestation of forgiveness filled up my heart with love and my eyes with tears. really, really amazing. ^^
^^ some views of the halls of solitary cells. the one here on the right was mandela’s cell, all those years. ^^
^^ views on the ferry ride back to cape town! ^^
after lunch, we headed up the hills to take the cable car to the top of table mountain, a definite must when visiting cape town! as we were driving, fog started rolling in very quickly. look at how crystal clear it was earlier in the pictures above! – but within minutes the mountain was totally shrouded in clouds. the cable car wasn’t even running. we were pretty disappointed, because we were headed to cape alguhas the next day and so that afternoon was our one chance to be on top of table mountain. big bummer, but also a big reason to come back to cape town one day – we fell in love with the city, so we’d love to! we did take in the views from the cable car station though (i know, doesn’t look very cloudy looking that way, huh?!):
we decided to go to kirstenbosch national botanical gardens. it was so so beautiful there, and i think the fog made it even better :) clearly i enjoyed the unique and gorgeous flowers!
we came back towards the city center and drove up signal hill to catch the sunset, which came through the hanging fog so sublimely. it was otherworldly, unlike any sunset i’ve seen before.
the next morning, despite our hopes for clearer weather, was fogggggy! we went for another city sightseeing bus tour through the misty streets of cape town. we saw and learned cool stuff.
^^ where the bus picked us up. i tried hard to imagine what the beaches alongside this lighthouse look like in the sun! ^^
^^ we had to keep bouncing between the top deck and inside the bus as it kept sprinkling rain on and off! :)
we got off the bus at this neat market in a big city square. i loved all the handcrafts, but mostly i loved, loooooved the flowers for sale. so i took a billion pictures. but seriously…! can you believe those blooms??
we headed back along the beach as the fog started to lift and lift…
just in time for us to have to take off to drive south towards the southern tip of africa and the great white shark breeding ground where we were booked to have a pretty epic adventure the next morning. so even though we were hoping all morning to get weather good enough to go up table mountain, we struck out on timing. since weather had affected our plans so little the entire trip, we sure didn’t complain! :)
and we got to enjoy the clear weather on our drive down the coast. it was spectacular! one of those things you just give up on attempting to capture with a camera.
yeah, cape town is super cool. we are excited to explore it more one day.