The writing of this post is accompanied by a quartet of sighs and a reverb of melancholy. Sailing away from Cape Town for the last time, after two months of regular docking every ten days, was undoubtly emotional. Watching the city skyline becoming thinner and thinner on the horizon, and the majestic montainous trio of Devil’s Peak, Table Mountain and Lion’s Head vanish in the sunset just hashed my heart into peanut butter cookie dough.
This city has, as I often like to say, her own particular vibe, and in such a little time given to me to enjoy her (my work schedule on the ship was often hectic on Cape Town day), she gave so much to my eyes and to my book of memories.
Table Mountain is the colossal flat-topped mountain that extends for nearly 3 km overlooking the city, and it’s considered one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. To reach the top you can venture up the hiking path or take the cable car (I chose the second option. Because yes, I’m dramatically unfit for hiking).
It’s impossible to put down in words how spectacular the view from up there is. The top of Table Mountain is often covered by a ‘cloth’ of orographyc clouds that form when the wind that blows sideways meets the colder air at higher altitude… so when you are on the top of the mountain you can literally stand or walk inside this cloud of mist, breathing an air that is so pure and crisp that gives you a strange high. I had a few pictures of me taken, and it really felt like standing on top of the world (I had a similar feeling on top of Pão de Açúcar in Rio De Janeiro). My personal suggestion is to walk all along the top of the mountain and find a place that is not surrounded by other tourists, and enjoy the sound of absolute silence, perfect for meditating and clearing your mind (shout out to my friends Will and Magi: you should organise a yoga class on top of table Mountain asap. Yes I know, the flight to South Africa might be a tad expensive. But still.)
Another beautiful memory of Cape Town was when me and my fellow singers rented a car and drove all the way to Boulder’s Beach! It’s a secluded trait of coast in the suburb of Simon’s Town (lovely area! We had lunch at The Lighthouse Cafe, which has delicious chickpea burgers and an ultra stylish decor), in which a colony of African penguins (!) settled in 1982. From just two breeding pairs back then, the penguin colony has grown to about 3000 birds in recent years. They wander freely all around the beach, and they really like to pose and be photographed (I genuinely saw one pulling a Rihanna resting bitch face when it turned its head and saw me taking selfies).
A lot more memories of Cape Town have the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront as background. This is the loveliest harbour I’ve seen in my life, with a big panoramic wheel, a stunning shopping mall and plenty of restaurants and cafes for all tastes… I absolutely loved to wander around in the blinding sun, with the sound of drums and xilophones of street performers, and enjoyed my breakfasts with a view, the tasty white Shiraz wine in Quay Four, the warm summer evenings when I had the chance to be out at that time of the day…
Along the Waterfront you can find two giant yellow frames, and you can take a postcard picture of yourself against the dramatic background of Table Mountain. Not to mention the vibrant art and craft market, and the food market (almost hidden behind all the restaurants), where I could easily spend an entire day!
One morning I really needed to have a walk by myself (it’s an activity that I always loved to do, it’s therapeuthical and useful!), so I took a taxi to Camps Bay and walked more or less 10 km all the way to the Waterfront.
Camps Bay is a pretty summer residential area, with a peaceful seawater swimming pool on the beach, and the view reminded me of Ipanema (yes, Rio again…), with the mountain of Lion’s Head overlooking the bay and the astonishing rocks… Walking and walking I made my way through the gorgeous Clifton area, and arrived to Sea Point, then strolled inside Green Point Park. It’s a very nice itinerary, but I suggest to take a cab once outside the park, because from there to the waterfront there’s basically nothing else worth seeing (and your legs might feel a bit tired!).
There’s a question I always ask people who live in cities that I like (and I find it interesting because of course experiencing a city as a visitor is different than doing it as a native or resident citizen), and I’ve asked it this time as well: what do you like the most of Cape Town? And I don’t mean it in terms of landmarks or things to see, I’m talking more about feelings and states of mind… what do you think you would miss the most in the ipothetical scenario where you would have to leave this city for good? I collected a few answers, and this is the one I like the most :
“You cannot understand what the air smells like here in Winter. It’s possibly the closest thing to heaven I know. There’s certain days… it smells almost like the sea and the ground at once. It’s really magical. The air is wet and cold but it’s really fresh… The sky is grey and Table Mountain looks turquoise almost then…”.
I’m sad I haven’t experienced this city in her Winter time… but for sure the little glimpse of summer I’ve had in Cape Town warmed my heart of lone traveller away from home, in a very special way.