Sunday, May 14th:
Our last cold, early morning in a tent starts at 4:15am. I have a hard time waking up Sher in the chilly dark morning but we have to catch our flight to head to Cape Town, South Africa so I bug him for a while. We join Tom (one of the “newbies” joining the tour who has to go to the airport to retrieve his misplaced luggage) in a private cab that Sher had arranged last night. The airport is modern and nice inside but SO cold! To warm up, I order a chai cappuccino (chai and cappuccino together? Two of my favourite drinks!) and it’s delicious. What a smart idea to combine the two. Sher and I reminisce on the plane about all the people we met on our camping adventure- Sher will miss Flo the most but I’ll miss a lot of them, I can’t decide who I’ll miss the most! We also realize on the fancy Air Namibia plane (finally, a “normal” flight!) that we smell like campfire, despite a shower last night and newly washed clothes. That camping smokey smell gets into everything! For the first time in my life, I look up the type of plane we are on (an airbus A330-200)… it’s the biggest and newest plane we’ve sat on since arriving in Africa! I think about all the places we’ve been so far… Maryke and Flo both agree that Namibia is “easy”- more predictable, good roads, less bribery, etc but they agree that their favourite African country (outside of South Africa, where they are both born) is Malawi. Sher and I flew over Malawi, dipped our feet into Lake Malawi (from the Tanzanian side, at Matema), and stopped at the airport there but I wouldn’t count it as a country that we’ve visited. Oh no… another country to add to the list! Too many places to see and too little time! I finish reading the Time’s 100 Most Influential People that the NY couple had given to me and watch most of Collateral Beauty before we land in sunny Cape Town.
Sher decided that it would make more sense for us to rent a car here since the things that we want to see are quite spread out. Coming over the hill from the airport to explore a bit and eventually find out hotel, I’m in awe of this city. I think it’s the most beautiful city driving that I’ve ever experienced. If I could rate some of my favourite cities, I would list them according to their best features (in my opinion):
– Dubai is gorgeous from above (desert, ocean, Atlantis, skyscrapers all perfectly lined up, and especially the fountains), but Rio’s views from up at the Cristo Redentor statue is my favourite above-city landscape that I’ve seen.
– Florence, Lucerne, Seville, and Lisbon were my favourite cities to walk through. So many amazing things to see and explore in each of those cities…. I think I just love walking in Europe!
– Amsterdam is the best people watching.
– Paris and Vegas show their best at night.
– Old Havana has an indescribable vibe.
– Munich is an incredible large city that can feel like a cozy cottage sometimes. Best place to explore on a lazy, sunny day.
– Catagena’s walled-off old neighbourhood is a hidden gem that you can happily get lost in for days.
…. but my vote goes to Cape Town for the best driving views of any major city that I’ve visited. The palm trees, hills, mountains, ocean, and modern buildings combine to an impressive overall feel.
For the first time in a while, we have no plans for the rest of the day and it feels so nice. We check into the Glen Boutique hotel and I feel like we are in a hotel in trendy L.A. They take a while to check us in which isn’t a problem as we enjoy the music and views. We decide to have lunch there, the Mother’s Day menu actually sounds delicious. And it reminds me- now that I have wifi again, I have a few happy birthdays to wish and I want to message my mom to have a wonderful Mother’s Day! Lunch takes a while since it is multiple courses with pairings. We decide to skip dessert since it’s already getting late and we want to head out to the famous Table Mountain.
The original plan was to hike up to the top of the mountain but we arrive there close to the time of the ticket office closing and we are advised against doing the climb in the evening. We decide to buy a return ticket for the cable car and just barely make it in time to catch the last one up but in all the rush, I drop my phone and crack the screen! That’s the first time in my life that a screen has cracked on me. The phone still works but I get small glass shards on my fingers when I use it so I decide to shut it off for the rest of the trip…. just when we have wifi again! Haha. The top of Table Mountain lives up to its reputation- stunning views, tons of photo ops, easy hiking, and we are lucky enough to catch the sunset. We eventually catch the last crowded car back down and get to see the entire city lit up at night… stunning. Dinner is a bit of an adventure, the sushi place that we choose where celebrities are often sighted ends up being on a small road and the sketchy characters walking around scare me away from parking and walking. There’s no parking close to the entrance so we instead end up going for Indian food on the main road. We are still encouraged to pay someone to watch our car but at least the street is well-lit and full of traffic so I feel safer walking a bit to get to the restaurant. It’s been a long day and we barely make it through dinner with heavy eyelids before getting back to the hotel to crash in a soft bed with our own washroom- heaven!