We last left off with me cozy under a blanket in a plush king bed. In the morning after the first of many of my long showers my mother and I got ready to tour the downtown area. When most people think of downtown they think of a busy sector with lots of businesses and many boutiques (or in some cases many bums). However the beauty of Cape Town is that it is a bizarre fusion of old and new, natural and urban. The downtown is close enough to see the Atlantic ocean and has the towering Table mountain in the rear, while giant convention centre and the high rises sit among the old gabled buildings and cobblestone streets.
After having breakfast right out on the sunny green market square (breakfast being pizza and sandwiches) we made our way to the oldest building in South Africa: The Castle of Good Hope.
On our way to the castle down the chaotic roads of the city we found one of the local malls, the pedestrian shopping street St. Georges Mall, and the flower market at Trafalgar Square where the prized market spots have been passed down through the generations
The picture-perfect City Hall is neighbor to the castle and has a clock tower that looks nearly like Big Ben. Right Across from the city hall is the Grand Parade. During the week this is a public parking area but on wednesday and
saturdays square turns into one of the biggest markets
in the city selling African Crafts from all over the country. During the Fifa World Cup the square will be used as a fan park for those South Africans who can't afford tickets to the event.
The Castle itself, is as short as what most people would call a fort and is made from rocks that were quarried from Robben Island. It is built in a pentagon with 5 bastions each with cannons and drinking wells for the soldiers stationed here, however the fortress never saw battle. The castle is quite beautiful and not only has 2 museums, but is used by the community for concerts and events, political meetings,and art galleries. The funniest and BEST thing about the castle, and most of the country is the seeming lack of safety regulations in place. I walked literally all over the castle, the 5 bastions, through cannon port holes, on the roof, and even right up by the bell tower. You can climb all over and could easily jump/fall off the sides.
I descended the castle and then Momma and I walked to The Companies Gardens. These Gardens take up several city blocks and are flanked by several old buildings. They were first planted by the Dutch East India Company when the city was first being colonized. This is where the houses of parliament are, The National Art Gallery, multiple museums and a fa
mous Catholic church, St. George Cathedral are housed. Following our guide book we wandered around the vast gardens along with many other Capetonians. It was here we saw two wedding parties posing for photos and a handful of couples snogging.
The people here really enjoy their weekends. Not only do they close down everything early, a lot of the shops closing at 1:30-3:00 in the afternoon, but most things, even quite a few restaurants are
closed sundays. Since no one was working the gardens were packed and the pigeons and squir
rels (denizens of the park) were ecstatic with the nuts they had been fed. There is a vendor in the park that sells peanuts to feed the squirrels, but after going through gardens 3 times now I still have no idea where he or she may be. All I want is to have them eat out of my palm! While in the gardens we snuck into the Cape Town Museum without paying and saw the skeletons of whales in their giant whale well exhibit. They closed soon after and we made our way back through the gardens and the city to my apartment.
The sun really tired us out so we spent the afternoon watching Mama Mia on TV and then went out for supper. The place we found was very cool, called Royale Eatery. The 3 level restaurant has a family oriented bottom level, a classy middle level with sheet music on the walls and a balcony, and then a bar up top. The menu is designed like an old children's book with labelled black and white photos and set up in chapters. This restaurant has over 40 unique burgers. We chose the Royale Burger with Brie cheese, and the Caprione which was a pork burger with corriander and spices mixed in the patty with an asian chutney. For dessert my mom had a strawberry banana milkshake and I had a peanut butter oreo. All the food was excellent and if I had an extra stomach I would have returned already.
This marked another day under the African Sun