Wednesday, April 13, 2011

The Grand Finale ……….. Cape Town

What a hectic three days we have had in Cape Town – I think I need a vacation!!!
We have been incredibly lucky with the weather – it has been spectacular. Warm and humid on Monday but then very comfortable yesterday and today.

Cape Town is a wonderful, friendly and picturesque city. It has a history not dissimilar to that of Manhattan – settled in 1652 by the Dutch East India Company – Jan van Riebeeck in the case of Cape Town; Peter Stuyvesandt in the case of New Amsterdam; but clearly there were major subsequent differences. Cape Town remains a relatively small city compared; the ocean provides a spectacular foreground, the mountain a striking backdrop. I don’t really know another city with as dramatic a situation.
Went to visit our favorite cousin who has a beautiful apartment overlooking the Atlantic Ocean – took some pictures of the view from her balcony – the sea with the Mouille Point lighthouse – its light had been the first thing we saw as we sailed in on Monday morning.

Devils Peak with the clouds pouring over; signifying a South-Easterly wind. 

The clouds form a “table cloth” over the top of Table Mountain (which had been so crystal clear and etched when we sailed in.

Lions Head on the opposite side of Table Mountain and the houses climbing the slope.

Yesterday we took a drive out to Fransch Hoek – village out in the winelands. French Huguenots fleeing religious persecution went to Holland where they found refuge. The authorities in the Cape – particularly Simon van der Stel – had a great desire to bolster their winemaking skills with these folks so offered them religious freedom, free passage and land grants if they would take the risk and sail out into the big unknown. Fransch Hoek is one of the places they settled and they were very successful here.
Today Fransch Hoek is a quiet oasis of art, lovely places to stay and great restaurants.
The memorial to the Huguenots bookends the main street which is lined with old houses a church and buildings; 

we visited lovely art galleries – with their exhibits in some cases spilling out into the courtyards. Some of the art was relatively representational.

Some needed a bit more explanation.

A lovely art glass store – Red Hot Glass

Sidestreets led to more places to visit and things to see.

Some of the items allowed for self indulgence.

Then went to a restaurant in a wine farm up on the slopes with a great view of the valley, of the vineyards and fruitful olive trees. Had a lovely relaxed lunch before heading back to Cape Town.

Visited Reina and Selwyns apartment (and took the photos of the view) and met their neighbor – Ivan – someone I grew up with and last saw when I was 12 years old!!!

Arrived there in time to see our home for the last 82 Days sailing out into the Atlantic once again and heading North up the West Coast of South Africa to Namibia and on to its final destination in Rome. A bittersweet goodbye.

Then dinner with the family

Today, spent time saying hello and goodbye to friends and family here – a wonderful tea with Mary and Kosie in Pinelands; Coffee with Marilyn at the Waterfront; dinner with Estelle and Morrie at the Ocean Basket – then back to pack and prepare for our departure tomorrow.

This trip, described as best we could in this journal, has been the trip of a lifetime. Met great people. Saw fascinating places. Repaired my emotional gyroscope. Now I’m ready to go home.
Thank you for joining us – jealous observers and loyal readers
Until the next time

1 comment:

  1. Awesome! I learned more about cape town in this post than ever before... Great to see pics of the family.