Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Oh what a day!

We travelled down to Cape Town this morning. It was a stunning day, in fact, perfect weather wise. The city centre lies cradled in a vast blue-grey amphitheatre formed by Table Mountain, Lion’s Head and Devil’s Peak. Dottie had drop jaw (again) when she saw this beautiful city and of course wanted to do all the ‘touristy’ things.

This is the Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden which covers about 528 ha of natural and landscaped gardens and has over 4500 plant species. Some of the attractions are the Fragrance Garden, Cycad Amphitheatre and the Dell, with its massive tree ferns. A very popular event during summer is the Summer Sunset Concerts. Our timing was a season or so out but at least Dottie got to see and smell the beautiful flowers. If she could have gathered a bunch to take home, she would have. She said she is most definitely going to the Chelsea Flower Show next year!
Dottie wanted to go UP THERE in one of those! (cable cars)
And so did every other visitor to Cape Town. But it wasn’t long before we were on our way up!

This photo was taken while we were in the cable car. There was quite a stiff breeze and the cable car was swaying a bit. Dottie was a little perturbed but the lovely view soon put those scary thoughts out of her head. And was oohing and aahing with the rest of us.

What a spectacular a view from the top! The sea looked so inviting but was actually freezing. No swimming today. Not for us sane people anyway ;)

These little fluffy furry sweeties are called Dassies and Dottie just wanted to bring one home LOL. But I agree they are too cute for words. They are perched on a rock ledge basking in the wintery sun. (We decided we would rather bask in the sun on something a little bigger than a ledge)

Next on our list to see was the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. A shopper’s dream and has a huge variety of attractions, activities, specialty shops and restaurants and Dottie was in and out of just about every single shop. We all got the giggles when she went into a spice stall and had a fit of the sneezes. We then just had to take time out for a bite to eat and rest our sore feet.

We boarded the Spirit of Victoria for a trip around Seal Island.

The photo is not too clear as we couldn't get any closer because of the rocks. You can just see the seals soaking up the sun on the rocks. This island is home to about 2000 seals. Dottie’s comment, ‘Phoooie, what a smell!’ She was so right!

A trip to Cape Town is not complete unless you visit Robben Island and this is the fast cruiser that we boarded called the Makana.

Dottie was spellbound as she listened to the guide who explained that the island from around 1488 was used as a pantry to feed sailors on passing ships, as a postbox for their letters and occasionally as a prison for mischief makers. During the Dutch rule at the Cape, 1652 -1806 the island was still used as a panty but it was being used more and more as a prison. In 1846, the prison was closed and converted into a hospital called the General Infirmary. It was divided into three sections, ‘chronic sick’, ‘lunatics’ and ‘lepers’ (Dottie had another fit of the giggles at the termonology) The hospital closed in 1931 and stood empty until the outbreak of the Second World War in 1939. Troops were sent there to guard the entrance to Table Bay. From 1961 to 1991 the island had once again become a maximum security prison for political prisoners, one being our ex-president, Nelson Mandela.

The buildings are now a museum and this was his cell where he spent 27 years of his life!

When we got back to the V and A, we were all exhausted and decided to head back to the hotel!
Tomorrow is another day!
Hugs to all
D & D


Chriss Rollins said...

Denise a brilliant post soooo informative and so much to see and learn about.
the cable car ride would have scared me a little but I would of had to have a go all the same.
'Dassies'I have never heard of them before but intend to look them up.
the prison cell being that of nelson mandella is of great interest too.
You did pack so much into your day.
You must be worn out.
Sleep well and see you tomorrow. xxxxx

Jaqi said...

How interesting Denise, sounds like you had a fun packed day. Dottie is most certainly going to be well educated in history and geography when she returns, (as we all are too). Ive really enjoyed reading your post and look forward to tomorrows post. Thank you Jaqi xx

Susan said...

Denise, what a super day you had! So glad to see Dottie is taking it all in and enjoying it. I guess she got back at a reasonable hour last night with your DD. What a special place Cape Town looks to be. I really enjoyed 'seeing the sights' with you.

Am looking forward to your next adventures!

Bonnie said...

Hi Denise.
Ooooh that cable car brings back memories! I was terrified going up there! Great photos! I still have to get to Robin Island one day. It is on my to-do list!