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An Island of Europe in the Sea of Africa

If you`ve ever been to 3rd world, then you know how much you can miss the 1st world. JoBerg did not seem like the nicest town, so we decided not to spend any time there. Instead, we headed strigth to Cape Town, recently awarded second place honors in Travel Mag in ranking top cities in the world.

No. I do not know what that means but Cape Town IS a beautiful city where the living is easy (esp when you are unemployed), and the food is good and cheap. Also, everyone speaks English. :)

We did not move for 5 days, staying in the nicest hostel of our trip, which felt like living back at Charlie and Emy’s in Seattle. During the first day, we tried to climb Table Mountain and failed (though I contribute this to trying to add a 2 hour walk to the beginning).  We were exhausted, so we decided to try hitchhiking (we had done that only once in Mexico) and less than 1 minute later, we were sitting in the back of a pick up truck.

The View of Cape Town from Table MountainThe View of Cape Town from Table Mountain

On the second day, we went to Robbin Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 10 years. It is an interesting tour as your guides are former political prisoners of the prison itself and can tell very personal stories of their stay there. How they can do this day after day is beyond me, but then again I’m sure they are just happy to have a job.

Former prisoner with Picture of him and others including MandelaFormer prisoner with Picture of him and others including Mandela

Did I mention that unemployment is somewhere close to 43 percent? This makes South Africa one of the BEST places to live in Africa. That is LOW compared to the rest of Africa and Kelly and I spied many notes of Zambian and Zimbabwian women looking for work.

Other than those trips and a tour of a township that Kelly will have to post about later, we mostly just walked around, drank coffee, enjoyed the internet in all its glory and had long dinners before renting a car and heading south though the towns of the lower Cape.

Greasy Fish and Chips with a glass of local wineGreasy Fish and Chips with a glass of local wine

This time we upgraded our car a bit to a Nissan Tida (remember our little Golf that we rented for our safari in Kruger Park?  It looked like an ’80s model), which came with automatictransmission and even insurance – living the high life! Our first stop, just 30 minutes from Cape Town was Kalk’s Bay whiwh reminded us both of Port Townsend. After spying a nice coffe shop/restaurant we chose a lunch of greasy fish and chips(not very good) and local salmon(good) because it was outside. We quickly regretted our choice and decided to come back to the coffee shop the following day because of what we saw come out of the kitchen.

After lunch, we headed to the Boulders to catch our first glimpse ever of Penguins.Here you can catch dozens lounging around the beach and even swim with them if they are swimming nearby – they weren’t.

PenguinPenguin
Enjoying the ViewEnjoying the View

They are a funny creature who while walking around seem very clumsy. But once they hit the water they hit a speed that seems impossibly fast and do so without any appearance of flapping or movement of any kind. Really impressive.

Apparently not the brightest animals eitherApparently not the brightest animals either

The tip of Cape Good Hope is a National Park and stunningly beautiful with its dramatic coastline. I never thought South Africa would be so rocky. We drove to the most southwestern point of Africa.

Cae of Good HopeCae of Good Hope – Where the Pacifc meets the Atlantic

And we climbed up to a lighthouse where many local kids wanted to take their picture with us. In fact, they just wanted to be in our pictures as theydid not have cameras themselves.  Just like kids in China wanted to take pics with me because I was white (fact), we suspect that the S. African kids wanted to take a pic of Kelly because she’s Asian.

StrangersStrangers
Pretty far from EverywherePretty far from Everywhere
Dancing in the sunsetDancing in the sunset

Afterwards we headed to a sleepy little coastal town that had somethin we wer interested in – a restaurant mentioned in the NY Times as using mostly local produce and proteins. The Foodbarn was in Noerdhook and upon arriving we were able to auickly find a nice room in a bed and breakfast that we negotiated another 25 percent off its already low winter rates.

A real bed!A real bed!

As you can see below, it is a pretty nice barn. So nice that Kelly even complained a little bit that it wasnt rustic enough. Whatever. The food was delicious and our gourmet three course meal for two with cafe and two carafes of wine worked out to around 30 dollars…total.  Now, a moment of silence…

StarterStarter
Fish SoupFish Soup
Lamb ChopsLamb Chops and mashed lentil spring roll
The FishThe Fish
Chestnut Crepe and Sesame Seed Ice CreamChestnut Crepe and Sesame Seed Ice Cream
Soft and tender Chocolae Biscuit, creme anglais - man this picture is darkSoft and tender Chocolae Biscuit, creme anglais – man this picture is dark

And I told you we went back to the cafe the next day on our way to wine country. I’m glad we did because the meal was delicious and the staff friendly – coming up to ask about our Kindle and then proclaiming they had seen it on Oprah!

LunchLunch
One Last Look a False BayOne Last Look a False Bay
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