Cape Town is a stunning city. I am here to spend a week with Christina and Ed, mum and stepdad to one of my close girlfriends in Sydney. Emma lives across the road from me and we spend lots of time together from bushwalking, to yoga, and long chats over coffee. We have a great neighbourhood and spontaneous BBQs over the weekends is one of the ways we socialise!
I have met Christina and Ed previously when they visited Emma and her family and in fact entertained them for dinner once at my place. I had briefly visited Cape Town previously but having had only a day, never really spent much time exploring. When I was planning this trip, Em suggested I visit her family here in Cape Town, between my two volunteer placements. Christina and Ed very kindly extended the invitation to me by email and a few exchanges via cyber space later and here I am!
I arrived in Cape Town Sunday evening and Ed and Christina were there at the airport to greet me and drive me to my home for the rest of the week. I have not planned my week here but I’ve come armed with information so I can arrange a few tours. On Monday morning Ed suggests we drive down to the waterfront to book my ticket to Robben Island. I also call and book a couple of tours which includes a City Tour and a drive down to Cape Point.
The waterfront is a vibrant place buzzing with life and activity. Buskers perform for the hundreds of tourists who browse the souvenir shops and enjoy the cuisine of Cape Town. It is similar to the waterfronts or Piers of Sydney and San Francisco, and I never get tire of hanging out at places like this. Monday is spent running errands and planning the rest of my week. In the afternoon, I have my first introduction to Cape Town in the way of a bushwalk.
Walking is a passion that I share with both Ed and Christina. They love the great outdoors as much as I do and so we decide to take me & their dogs out for a walk in a neighbourhood park! The bushland park (Newlands) is beautiful and reminds me of the bush back in Sydney. Bubbling streams trickle through pine forest and the dogs have a blast exploring once they are let off their leads.
During the week, Christina and Ed also introduce me to another of their passions – bell ringing. I had no idea that ringing a bell was such an art and could get this complicated! They explain to me the different sequences that bells can be rung in and invite me to have a go. I am warned that one of these bells is about seven times heavier than me and if I am not careful, the weight of the bell could see me end up at the ceiling! I have a go, closely supervised by Ed! I don’t think I will be taking up bell ringing anytime soon, but it was fun to watch and be introduced to something completely new to me.
Ed and Christina have also offered to spend a day hiking Table Mountain National Park with me. We are not climbing Table Mountain but hiking the Silvermine trail. The trail offers great views of both the mountain and the ocean. I have been extremely lucky with the weather. Wednesday morning turns out to be a stunning day and we spend most of the day outdoors, stopping often to enjoy the view and take pictures.
It is almost Spring time here and the countryside is already starting to bloom with the promise of stunning colour soon. I recognise flowers from back home such as the Protea and find the native vegetation very similar to our own bush back in Sydney.
We have brought a picnic lunch with us and stop for a break at the peak for a bite to eat. Christina has also packed a thermos full of hot coffee! What a brilliant way to wash down a lovely lunch of bread rolls and apples!
"Above all do not lose your desire to walk. Everyday I walk myself into a state of well being and walk away from every illness. I have walked myself into my best thoughts and I know of no thought so burdensome that one cannot walk away from it. But by sitting still, and the more one sits still, the closer one comes to feeling ill ... if one keeps on walking everything will be alright."
- Soren Kierkegaard.