C is for Cape Town

Photo Credit

Welcome back, to the letter C of this year's A-Z challenge! 

Yesterday we explored not only Boston, MA but also Berlin, Germany. Today it's time for the letter C, and there are so many locations to chose from!

I've been to Chicago, IL many times, it was my first thought when I brainstormed "C", and I LOVE this city, but today is a rare opportunity to present an African destination, so I am going to talk about Cape Town, South Africa. 

It's where my late father in law grew up, so apart from it being an absolutely gorgeous area, it also has a special meaning to our family. We even took half of his ashes to the beach. 

So what is it about Cape Town that makes it so special?

For me it's the contrast of surf and turf - the Waterfront and the Table Mountain, 

the authentic and the modern, or shall I say African vs Western? Even so, "African" isn't just African. There are British and Dutch influences that you may detect. 

So not only is there a potential for conflict between black and white, (which makes it a conflict between poor and rich) but also within the white. Sad.

So if you live there as a white family, your property is fenced in, and your neighbourhood can only be accessed with a batch or face check - conducted by a trustworthy black guy. 

Let's not go into politics, though. 

It is a beautiful country to visit, for a European city person like myself it's completely magical, and as we get to the letter K you'll see why even better.

Our first accomodation in the Cape Town area was in Fish Hoek, a pretty little fishermen's town at the Eastern part of the Cape and halfway between Cape Town and the Cape of Good Hope. I loved the colorful locker rooms at the beach!

Before dinner we went to see the penguins in Simon's Town.

The next day we went all the way South to Cape Point. It isn't the Southernmost point - if you want to go there, you need to drive another 90 miles or 150km which we did in 2006. It's a quaint place called Cape Agulhas where the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans meet. 

This time we were happy to arrive at the Cape of Good Hope. Look who was greeting us!

We had to be patient to take this picture. Busloads of tourists were ahead of us.

Isn't it awesome?

That's how far away we were.

Just beautiful!

We made our way to the Western part of the Cape. This is Hout Bay.

Actually we queued for grilled lobster. Too bad their grill was broken. (No joke - we left hungry!)

Instead we met this guy!

And were really thrilled that he decided to get out of the water! In all honesty he turned out to be a trained seal. A guy fed him fish as a reward and collected money from the picture taking audience.

We did something really touristy the next day! We bought tickets for the hop on - hop off bus! We had gotten to know this concept on our honeymoon in Sydney, Australia, and we thought it was great. The bus takes you to all the places you want to see, and you don't have to worry about driving there on your own, look and pay for parking, and when you're done, you just wait for the next bus to pick you up!

They give you earphones that you can plug in and listen to interesting facts. So many that you can't remember... Colin liked to switch mine to Portuguese or Japanese when I wasn't paying attention.

From here Nelson Mandela held his first speech as the President

This is where in 2010 they put up huge screens for all the soccer fans who weren't as fortunate as to score tickets for the stadium. Obviously thousands of people were watching and cheering peacefully here.

This is Imizamo Yethu Township aka Mandela Park. We didn't have enough time to actually get out and do the walking tour, which I regret. I'm sure it would have been interesting and humbling.

For us privileged folks the journey continued to the beautiful beach at Sea Point.

And the nice houses in Clifton

Note the trees! That's what permanent wind does

One of my favorite places in Cape Town (or anywhere for that matter) is the Waterfront. In my opinion it's more spectacular than Pier 39 or Navy Pier.

Shopping malls, restaurants, harbor view, mountain view, what's not to like? Let's not forget the ferris wheel!

We didn't take the Pirate's cruise. C was afraid he had to wear a vest. We didn't take the Robben Island cruise either. Getting tickets is the same as for Alcatraz: you need to plan several days ahead. Or overpay.

The restaurant behind the flags is the fabulous Belthazar Steakhouse

Look at that menu!

They are also famous for the large choice of wines by the glass. 

They serve your glass with a label - I kept mine so I could look it up. To my surprise there is a distributor in Switzerland that seems to carry not only Haskell but Eagle's Nest as well!

Eagles' Nest? If you think "South African wine" you probably think "Stellenbosch". I did. 
I didn't know that only a 25 minutes' drive from the city there is the most gorgeous wine region! Actually, one of the hop on / hop off routes is called the wine route!

The bus dropped us off right in front of this estate:

There were two other vineries, we chose Eagle's Nest because the name sounded nice.

Guests were invited to choose a table and make themselves comfortable.

It was in the middle of the afternoon, and I only had a sandwich for lunch, so I couldn't even finish that glass, which was a shame! Very, very nice wine! Kaylee, who took care of us, was very friendly and knowledgable. 

The steep slopes force the roots of the vines to dig deep for the nutritive soil that contains valuable minerals, she explained. Even an element that helps anemic people! I had heard this at a lecture about iron deficiency, so it must be true :-)

Let's resume our sightseeing in the city. Forget the dropping of the ball on New Year's Eve. THIS is the real Time Ball

At the Two Ocean's Aquarium we learned about sustainable seafood

This guy reminded me of a Halloween ghost

Goodbye, Waterfront!

All-right, we've been enjoying the sunshine, the blue sky, the oceans, the city, the wine and the food that South Africa has to offer. What about the language? Yes, they do speak Afrikaans and English. I bet you'd occasionally have trouble understanding what they say, though. Some terms are just British, others are uniquely South African. Let's see:

Q: What do you call the thing that turns red at which you must stop whilst you are driving?
A: Robot

Q: What green little thing do you get in your  burger?
A: Gherkins

Q: What red thing do you get in your burger?
A: Tomato sauce

Q: What fried potato side will you get with your burger?
A: Chips

Q: What do you call the thing you use to wipe your mouth when you're done eating?
A: Serviette (which is the French word)

Q: What do you call an invitation to cook meat on an outdoor fire?
A: Braii

Q: What do you call something that is really nice?
A: Lekker (Dutch word) 

Q: If you cut your hand, what would you put on it?
A: Plaster (in German it's Pflaster, very close!)

Q: Where in your car do you put your luggage?
A: Boot

Q What do you call the little orange fruit? 
A: Naartjie

Q: You've got a flat tire and you need to use a tool
A: Spanner

Q: You want to go for a run. What shoes will you wear?
A: Tekkies

Q: when a baby is crying you give them a...?
A: Dummy

Q What do you call the hair that covers your forehead?
A: Fringe

Thank you for exploring Cape Town with me, I hope you had fun! Be sure to check out the other C posts over here and come back tomorrow for D is for Denver!