Saturday, January 8, 2011

Table Mountain in Cape Town (Nov. 22, 2010)

I went up to the jogging track to go for a walk and this was the view of Table Mountain. So beautiful! We decided to forget the walk, grab breakfast and get out before the clouds rolled in again.

And we were off…do you see those clouds? Stay away until we get there!

We headed over to the Hop On, Hop Off bus. Phew…these kids were waiting to get into the aquarium not go on the bus! We laughed at Gary, one of our dining mates. He said to the kids very slowly “Hel-lo, we are from Can-a-da.” We said “I think they speak English!” We have gotten used to the kids elsewhere!

Not too busy on the bus this morning…

And we’re off…this old grain mill and silo are planned to be the next phase of the waterfront redevelopment. This used to be the second tallest building in South Africa!

Woolworths is very big in South Africa…

Would love to take her home, but sadly not enough room in our suitcase!

The jacaranda trees…I took a picture of every one I saw which is crazy because none of the pictures show the beauty of them. But it doesn’t stop me! They have taken over from my flame trees!

This is part of the Company's Garden, which was originally started in 1652 to provide vegetables for sailors. Over time it grew into a place of beauty and today is home to the Houses of Parliament, St. George’s Anglican Cathedral and the South African National Gallery. The benches have signs on them that say “Black Only” and “White Only” as a reminder of the past.

Parliament with a statue of the first prime minister of Africa, General Louis Botha.

This museum would have been interesting to visit, but we were determined to get to Table Mountain. It is part of District 6, named because it  was the Sixth Municipal District of Cape Town in 1867. It was originally a mixed community of freed slaves, merchants, artisans, labourers and immigrants, but became an area of tragedy in the 20th century with the forced removal of people, beginning with the blacks.

A leather store…

This is what is left of District 6. During apartheid, all the blacks were forced out of this area near the city and all their houses were bulldozed. No government since then has ever been able to agree what to do with the area, so it remains empty…another not-so-nice reminder of the past. It is still an area of contention today. Very sad…



They couldn’t bring themselves to bulldoze mosques or churches...

The Castle of Good Hope is one of the oldest European structures in South Africa. It now houses several museums. We were quite a distance from the water and it was hard to imagine that the water once came right up to these walls.



This open area on the right was where they broadcast the games of the FIFA World Cup to those who couldn’t go to the stadium.

City Hall...

"Old Mutual" was built in the 1930s to house the insurance company, but the company moved out 20 years later. After being occupied by different businesses, today it is a residential building. The artist of this relief had a bit of fun putting his friends' faces in it.

Standard Bank building…

We’re getting there…by now we were thinking it might have been better to just hop in a cab to go there! This section of the bus tour has taken 90 minutes…

Oh look! Jacaranda trees!

At last we’re starting the climb up to the cable car station on Table Mountain.

The wait to buy tickets was one hour and then another half hour before you got on the cable car. We came all this way and we’re going up!

Visibility was good, temperature was cold, wind strength was light…sounded good to us!

We got our tickets and were waiting for the cable car. Lion’s Head Mountain was nice and clear in the background.

Here comes the cable car! Visa is heavily advertised here, as seen on the bottom of the cable car.

The floor inside the car revolved so that everyone got a panoramic view.

Look at the cable car wires going down! 


And the magnificent view! It wasn't cold or windy. Superb!


You can see the stadium looking like a donut at about 11:00...

Beautiful views all around…

video

The cables…they’ve never had an accident since the first cable car in 1929. An impressive record!

Robben Island where Mandela was incarcerated. It would have been nice to visit this as well. So much to see!

There were pathways all around on the top…

Jim and Kim at the top…

Of course, you must have a restaurant and shop at the top. What’s nice is that from below you can’t see any of this. It looks like there is nothing on Table Mountain.

The washrooms were immaculate. They use the technology originally designed for Boeing aircraft. Regular toilets use 11 litres per flush (now there’s a trivia fact!) and these use only 30% of that. All fresh water and all waste must be carted up and down the mountain, so every bit helps.

Beautiful flowers grow at the top…


Water as far as the eye can see…

No hooters today!

This was as far as we walked around the top before heading back.

There weren’t big guardrails anywhere which was nice.

It’s a loooong way down…

And with that our lovely visit was over. The next leg of the cruise starts today and we had to be back to the ship by 4:00. We weren’t taking any chances on missing it! Here comes the cable car...

We’re back on the bus to return to the waterfront. The 12 Apostles were even cooperating today! 



Look at how the wind has shaped these trees! Cape Town really is a windy city!

More laid back workers…

One last drive by the stadium…

And we were back at the waterfront. We’ve seen many of these groups performing. The music is so nice…

We're ready to sail on…

Our last view of Table Mountain…it couldn't have been more beautiful!

And it’s on to East London. Cape Town was amazing. We would love to come back…

No comments: