Trying a different format for this installment as there was so much coolness to capture in Cape Town. The ‘Mother City’ blew our minds and nurtured our souls.
Our hotel and room is definitely out of architectural digest. It is posh. It has loads of international art. It oozes character, down to the creaky stairs. It has a rainfall shower head that might rival a lunar eclipse. IT was a fraction of the price, after Skyler negotiated a sweet deal. I mean who in their right mind is going to turn down two amateur bloggers preparing to write about their city and not want to help shape that vision by scoring them a sweet deal on a hotel?! Plenty, I'm sure, but fortunately Cape Heritage wasn't one of them. We were absolutely blown away. This is by far the most luxurious place we've stayed at. Oh, and the fresh baked whole grain bread every morning… so good the butter was excited!
We found our beloved red bus again to get a glimpse of what we'd get to explore over the next 10 days in Cape Town. Battling some serious wind and a bit of rain, we were both literally and figuratively blown away with how uniquely gorgeous this place is. Markets at the Waterfront were something else. With one section offering amazing art, jewelry and hand crafted pieces of imagination, and the other a bazaar of world food and delight.
So day three came around and we decided we are moving here. We went to wine country in Constantia, part of the Winelands. The vineyards have million dollar views and equally as valuable wine. By the second winery, with their quaint backyard setting and brilliant cheese plate, we phoned the nearest real estate agent.
As we arrived at the foot of the mountain, we looked up, searching for where there might be a trail for anything but a Billy Goat to actually hike this sheer wall of rock. As we started the hike, we did indeed find a trail, one consumed with rocks and boulders. As we're grasping with our hands and pulling ourselves up, Skyler pants out, "This is so steep, it would make steep jealous." Welcome to Table Mountain. Sure there is a little cable car that will take you up to the top in 8 minutes flat, but we decided we would huff and puff our way to the peak of this Cape Town gem. The view was well worth it, although don't ask us to do it again. The cable car down Table Mountain was the scariest part. We’re sure our faces were green from the spinning aspect of the cable car designed so each rider could view the 3,000 meter vertical drop. Whether you wanted to or not.
Skyler mastered driving on the opposite side of the road and on the other side of the car, while ascending up mountain roads on the way to Boulder’s Beach. It's not every day you get to hang out with penguins beach-side. Those little tuxedo runners were freakin adorable and swam through the ocean waves with such speed. They didn't seem to be bothered by all of us tourists ogling them and just went on playing in the sand. We continued to the southernmost point of Africa where the Indian and Atlantic currents collide at the Cape of Good Hope. We chased the sunset back home trough Chapman's Peak, which took our breaths away.
Wine tasting in Stellenbosch! First winery was supes pinkies out. Skyler wanted to check out a library book instead of tasting wine. We might have even had a spotting of Thurston Howell III. Second place was a glass house on top of a hill, looking down on vineyards and strand beach. Classic James Bond—shaken not stirred. The wine was also stellar. We pretended we were in our future living room. The final winery was on a farm with animals of all sorts. Skyler loved driving the 4 km round-about to get there. But that illusory dirt road led us to chocolate and wine tastings with a little brandy mixed in. Cheers!
[Cue theme song to Jaws].... 4:20a wake up call. Early. 2 hour bus ride. Long. Boating 30 minutes in the rain. Cold. Cage diving with Great White Sharks. Priceless.
We were the very first group to get in that metal cage and be dunked in frigid temps. Okay we had wet suits but FOURTEEN DEGREES (Celsius) is shiveringly cold! As our shark handlers concocted their recipe of salmon head necklaces, fins stared to emerge as did several rows of teeth. Here we were, mere feet from the apex of the sea and it couldn't have been more awesome! Yes it was cold and scary, but well worth it. Skyler even went in twice and was the last one back on board. Pretty sure he wanted to grab a hold of one of their fins and ride it back to shore. And that's understandable, these beautiful creatures are much more docile than their infamous rep.
Boated to Robben’s Island. Upon arrival we were given a thorough image of the island’s history by bus tour before landing at the prison where a former inmate divulged what life was like as a prisoner. Hearing first-hand details about being an inmate was a unique experience. As was seeing the cell where Nelson Mandela lived for many years, a chilling feeling indeed. Fortunately, the auspicious boat ride home had a striking sunset to marvel at, which capped off an informative day.
Hiked the king of Cape Town: Lions Head. All limbs were in use as we struggled, sweated and shimmied to the top of this massive mountain. Quickly struggling to put one foot in front of the other, the faint sound of buzzing wind caught our attention. Growing louder and louder, we turned to see what else this massive layer of rocks had for us and there was a helicopter suspended in mid-air life flighting a person off the mountain due to a broken leg. The decision of whether or not to keep going entered our minds, but as we soon saw a young girl hiking up this rocky terrain, barefoot, we forged ahead knowing we were almost to our summit. There we saw spectacular views; a 360 of beautiful Cape Town. And oddly enough, the way down was more difficult in many ways than the way up.
With just one more day left and having yet to take advantage of the killer beaches, we headed to Clifton 4th Beach and enjoyed a sun-soaked day of chilling and even chillier water. That was a seriously cold Atlantic batch of ocean, but refreshing to a polar bear… named Skyler. On a recommendation we proceeded to The Bungalow, a chateau sprawled along the pristine coastline. A preppy, but still beachy vibe with flowing white linens, Beachwood and basil-decked cocktails. We closed our Cape Town chapter with the lovely company of a local gallery owner, whom Leah referred to as The Mayor of Cape Town, and her fascinating group of friends at the local Weinhaus + Biergarten. There we listened to live music and soaked up as many recos as we could on our next destinations.
How 10 nights and 11 days went by so fast we’re still trying to figure out, but one thing is for sure, Cape Town is special and a place we’re certain to visit again.