24 July 2009

Cape Town is lekker

Cape Town feels very familiar even though we've never been here before. Thanks to the stunning mountain and sea backdrop it feels a little bit like Rio de Janeiro, the area around Long Street feels like the Old Quarter in Montreal and the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront is like a cross between London Docklands and Plymouth Barbican. There's even a redeveloped canal area that's a little bit like Brindley Place back in Brum. It all feels very strange.

It also felt very strange being back in a big Western style city with skyscrapers, office blocks, traffic and shopping malls. It finally feels like we're back in civilisation after our two months on the road in Africa.

We're staying right in the middle of the city bowl at place called The Tulip Hotel. Thanks to a great deal that we found on Expedia we're able to stay in a proper hotel for the first time in ages for only a couple of quid more than it would cost to be in a backpackers lodge. The location of the hotel is great and we even get a pretty stunning view of Table Mountain from our room.

We seem to have spent most of our time during the first three days in Cape Town at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront.

The harbour has lots of beautiful Victorian era buildings and has been redeveloped into a really nice complex with lots of shops, bars, restaurants and museums. We even got to see a Cape Fur seal frolicking in the harbour.

On Wednesday we went to the cinema at the Waterfront to see The Hangover and got to use the local version of Orange Wednesday . . . or Woza Wednesday as it's called out here. We also stumbled across a fantastic restaurant called Belthazar which is famous for it's steaks. It also reportedly has the worlds largest by the glass wine list which meant that we had to sample a glass or two with our dinner.

The following day we headed back out to the waterfront to try and get the boat over to visit the former prison on Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was held. Unfortunately the sea was too rough for the boat so we couldn't go. It wasn't all a wasted journey though as at least Liz got to meet Mr Mandela . . .

We tried to go again today but the boat was sold out and there were no tickets left for tomorrow either so we've made a reservation for the middle of next week (weather permitting).

We have one more day in Cape Town tomorrow before we hire a car for a few days to explore some of the cape peninsular and the wine lands around Stellenbosch (the bit we're really looking forwards to!). We then return to Cape Town for two more days before we fly out to Cairo at the end of the month.

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