Monday, 6 February 2012

Cape Town - Day 2

Friday February 3rd - Day 30

To the South Africans Cape Town is the 'Mother City'. Lying on the Atlantic shore of cape peninsula it was the first area to be settled by Europeans in the seventeenth century. Today it is a major seaport and the legislative capital of South Africa.
In winter it rains a lot but in summer,  now,  it is hot and balmy but there can be a south easterly wind (known locally as the cape doctor because it blows the smog from the city out to the sea) that assails the city for days at a time. During this time Cape Town experiences its distinctive phenomenon the" tablecloth" on the mountain - a strip of fluffy white cloud hovering over the summit and slightly draped over the edges.

This morning as the tablecloth is still on the mountain we are taking the hop-on-hop-off red city open top tour bus which visits many of the city and surrounding area tourist attractions before making its way up to the cableway where you can access the cable car to the top of the mountain. It then travels down to Camps Bay and other seaside beaches before returning to its starting point. The tour takes about two hours but there are buses running every fifteen minutes so it's not long to wait for the next one if you want to get off to view an attraction.
Disaster - when we arrived at the cable car stop - half way around the route- I wanted to take a photo of the city below only to find a 'Lens Error' message on the camera screen - my camera had given up the ghost!!  We had to complete the route until we got to a stop near to the ship, hopped off, had a quick noon beer and lunch, grabbed  the credit card and then got back on the next red bus and got off at Cameraland to buy a new camera.
We then repeated the majority of the bus tour just so that I had photos of this beautiful city.

Then another disaster struck - the wind was blowing so strongly that my black Seabourn peak blew off, never to be seen again - please can I have another one Seabourn - it's good advertising for you!! In fact the wind over the last two days has been so strong that not only has the cable car to Table Mountain been closed - so no-one from the ship has been able to go to the top - but also at times the sea was too rough for the ferries to get across to Robben Island -  the notorious former prison island where Nelson Mandela was held for almost twenty years.
But there is some good news...the Corona beers are back on board and...the Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio white wine has finally arrived!! Happy days!!

After such a busy day we had an intimate open air dinner on The Colonnade - seared beef tataki followed by short ribs then cheese, biscuits and a couple of glasses of good port...of course.
We were watching the sunset as the ship left the harbour on our way to Port Elizabeth. We had only sailed a few hundred feet from the dock and as the ship turned the 'cape doctor' visited us and blew everything - glasses, food, cutlery, tablecloths -  off the tables and we had to quickly make our way inside - guess the doctor was letting us know he was in charge!!

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