Return to Cape Town then onto Rome
07.07.2013 - 11.07.2013 70 °F
We returned to Cape Town to finish our SA trip and stayed at The Lions Guesthouse as before. We were surprised by Anthony and his mom who upgraded us to a suite and charged us no more than we had previously paid per night. Here is a view of the neighborhood:
And then they invited us out for dinner at the Victoria and Albert Wharf. We meet dad, Herbert, for the first time along with mom, Sybil, brothers, Anthony and Daven, all of which we knew from our first stay. (I took photos but they turned out so poorly that I had to delete them..darn)! My photographer's license has been revoked.
Th weather was excellent during our last few days, so like all good tourists, we took the cable car to the top of Table Mountain (which you saw in my first CT entry). The views were stupendous, but you be the judge.
At the top:
A tour of the peninsula via the Blue Hop On Hop Off bus took us to Kirstenbosch, South Africa’s world-famous national botanical garden. It is set against the backdrop of Table Mountain and Devil’s Peak and home to more than 22 000 indigenous plants. As part of the Cape Floral Kingdom, it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2004. Not too much was happening this time of year:
Another stop included Camps Bay, a beautiful seaside community...something like Manhattan Beach but more languages spoken there. At Houts Bay, we found a yacht club that let us buy their burgee (pennant) for our freind, Nancy. Won't she be surprised...unless she is rading this blog!
Thinking of Michele, our daughter who is a cardiac care nurse specialist, i visited the Groote Schuur Hospital where the first human heart transplant was "successfully" performed. (It should be noted the patient died after 18 days). Steve took a walk...he was the brighter one. It was an hour too long and admission too expensive. If interested, you can see my assessment on Trip Advisor. Here is the original building:
And here is a replica of the operating theater:
And then as if all of this wasn't enough, we ended our time in CT with an invitation to a braai at the beautiful home of Ros and Colin. I mentioned in my previous blog entry that we met them on the wine tram. I commented at the time i really wanted to find a braai, a traditional South African BBQ. For this tradition there is beef, sausage, and other meats cooked over an outdoor wood burning grill, along with good company and wine. We had the pleasure of experiencing all three. Also in attendance was Colin's son, Ryan, his partner Cecily, and Ros' mom, Lilian. Mom and daughter own a recruiting agency specializing in the finance industry. The same profession as mine. It must have been destiny. If not, it was a great evening anyway.
We have been in SA during an advantageous time. The dollar strengthened against the rand. 1 USD dollar bought 10 rand, which made it an easy currency to work with. A really nice guesthouse cost no more than 60USD and an adequate one cost 32USD. A very good dinner for two was 25USD and that included a bottle of good wine! Our rental car was 25USD per day with unlimited mileage and 100% insurance coverage. I'm not sure if SA is marketing their country's tremendous value for tourists considering its natural beauty, welcomong people, and english spoken everywhere. It has been mentioned that it can be dangerous. We didn't find it so and, if you consider it hosted the last World Cup without incident, doesn't it suggest something different?
I am not Pollyanna andI recognize SA has its own problems, especially for the native Africans (and coloureds) who suffered under apartheid. It is disconcerting to see burglar bars on doors and windows, multiple locks at entry, and ubiquitous ADT security signs. The country still has many political issues to address, not the least of which is what follows the grave illness of Nelson Mandela. If you have never read Nelson Mandela's autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, i urge you to do so for a reasoned perspective of the recent history and what might lay ahead.
Our next stop is Rome. We will surely miss this country but are already planning our return. (And I found my music in the recordings of Miriam Makeba. It is never too late).