The Cape of Good Hope and the tales of treacherous seas, of sailors lost, and of new worlds discovered upon successful navigation were a subject of 6th grade Social Studies that always fascinated me. NEVER, did I imagine that one day I would visit the Cape, nor was I in the least bit prepared for the experience.
Upon our arrival on Thursday, friends of Ryan and Jenny graciously invited us for the most incredible lunch at their home overlooking False Bay in Simon’s Town. Yvonne and Danie were warm and wonderful hosts whose generosity and welcome got us off to a great start.
Our home away from home was in Noordhoek at a lovely guesthouse, with a young German couple, Thomas and Antje (and their dog and cat), as our hosts. A five-minute walk to the beach and we were enjoying beautiful sunsets, frolicking dogs, and the intoxicating sound of the sea. Aaah, the beauty of it all.
But, it was on Friday that our venture took us to Robben Island, where the inescapable beauty of the land and sea was overcome by the ugliness of the inhumane treatment of those formerly incarcerated or detained there. I, of course, knew of the story of Nelson Mandela, but could not and cannot comprehend the dehumanization that took place there. To say that it was emotionally overwhelming is an understatement.
Across the bay from Robben Island lies Table Mountain. After much thought and an internal pep talk, I was able to join my fellow crusaders as they traversed the mountain via rotating (help!) cable car. Low clouds and a bit of fog did affect the visibility, but still the views of the city and cape below were incredible.
Saturday’s visit to Cape Point was like nothing I ever imagined. I fully expected we would have our picture taken at the sign proclaiming the Cape of Good Hope and the South-western most point on the African continent. I was however, unprepared for the sheer beauty. Magnificent beaches with mountainous cliffs overhanging, wandering ostriches and eland, along with signs warning us not to feed the baboons, were surely indications that we were a long, long, way from Illinois. I thought of the ships that had passed by (or not) and of my own good fortune to have had this opportunity. All in all, another moving experience.
Lunch at Two Oceans Restaurant (a possible misnomer, as it seems the Atlantic and Indian Oceans do NOT converge at Cape Point) was a fitting end to our visit to the Cape.
On Sunday, we travelled to Stellenbosch, home to some wonderful South African wine. Mike and I, along with Ryan, enjoyed tastings at Delheim and Muratie vineyards. Lunch at Delheim included springbok carpaccio for Mike, who proclaimed it a wonderful dish.
Lastly, though surely not least, on Monday prior to our return flight to Pretoria, we experienced a gastronomical delight at La Colombe in Constantia. Our three-hour lunch was of the finest quality, beautifully presented and served. It was a dining experience I will never forget.
Our visit to the Cape Town area and all that accompanied it left a lasting impression. The beauty of the landscape, the graciousness of those who hosted us and those we met along the way, the part of the South African story told so painfully here, newly acquired food and wine tastes, along with time spent with family, made this portion of our South African journey “the trip of a lifetime.”See more photos from our visit to Cape Town.