I left November 10th and flew out of Calgary to Frankfurt Germany. Frankfurt was excellent! I had a 12 hour layover which I spent in the downtown area shopping, eating, and sight seeing. I landed and then took the metro into town where I was instantly told to buy a scarf because it was too cold out for what I was wearing. I have to tell you, it is so much more work getting what you want when half of the people around don't speak your language. I looked through some of the shops in the expensive side of Romer (the city's main shopping street) and then I had some cheese pie at one of the many small bakeries. After that I looked at the old churches and museums in the historic part of the city and saw some people feeding swans on the river. Swans are huge! After that I shopped all over the city from small boutiques to their very cool mall, to department stores and furniture shops. The designs for even the small malls are very unique, the European charm is enchanting as always. Also a side note, if you ever need to buy a jacket, this is the place to come. Everyone is in gorgeous fitting pea coats and bomber jackets and there are more jackets in Frankfurt than all of Alberta.
Once I was done shopping I did some intense eating: I started off with a crepe with Nutella and peanuts, I then went to a cafe and had Cold Green sauce with hardboiled eggs and potatoes and Apple wine. The cold green sauce is a cream sauce with 8 green herbs that is a Frankfurt specialty and it was actually quite good. Then at this point, even though I was very full and cold (even with my new scarf) I had to get a bratwurst from a street vendor in one of the squares. It was huge and so they snap them in half to fit on the bun. Then with some help from various Germans I made it back to the airport on the metro and got into my gate. I browsed the shopping areas like a zombie, and after a short snooze in the new airport lounge chairs I got on the plane to see Africa.
Upon Arrival in Africa I had to wait half and hour for my airport transfer to my apartment in the city. When I arrived at the apartment in the Muslim area of Cape Town called the Bo-Kapp. Its very colorful but the apartment was a "Dive" and my poor mother nearly suffered a break down. After dropping our things off in the apartment we left straight away, even skipping the shower after days of air travel because the mouldy shower didn't seem accommodating. Big Momma and I strolled down the steep cobble stone streets through downtown and managed to find my school where we got a tour of the facilities. It is quite nice with a roof top terrace to relax upon and is right off a cobble stone square called Green Market Square where there is a daily craft market and several open air restaurants (so I can eat all the time). There is also a sweet shisha bar so I can go get my 'Hook' on and make my brother proud.
We left the school and made our way to the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront which is a both a working harbour and a flourishing tourist area with multiple malls, tons of luxury apartments and hotel, restaurants, and the Two Oceans Aquarium. Momma and I looked around the shops and restaurants and found out that South Africa is not as cheap as we thought, after the conversion we end up spending nearly par on everything we buy and the tourist areas are jacked up even more.
Then we had dinner at a place called the Cape Town Fish Market, it features fresh fish dishes, African specialties, and a rotating sushi bar. A lot of you know that I love to eat and I have been taking photos of EVERYTHING I eat since I left so I will be posting a food journal of my finest fare, however I am battling with my camera to get photos onto my computer so it may take a few days to get that in full swing. You will however be jealous of the myriad of food I have been feasting upon. At this particular restaurant I had a currie chicken potjie which is a traditional African stew served in a cast iron 3-legged pot with steam rice. My mom had a Bento Box which was well prepared and then we hoofed it back to down town. My mom was dreading staying in the dirty beds and of the grubby apartment so we stopped by some suites we saw off Green Market square to see if they had anything open. Sadly they did not and as we left the rain started pouring on us as we trudged up the steep cobble stone streets in a city we barely knew. On our way up we ran into some homeless people, one of which was singing about building his temple and stealing plywood from a construction site. He and his buddies were setting up camp by a laundromat. It was at this point my mom told me that "this was [her] worst nightmare."
With sore feet and wet clothes we made it back to our seedy apartment and looked hopelessly at our so called home, we dried off with towels that resembled what we dry my dogs feet with at home and crawled into bed.
In the morning we woke up and got tickets to go visit Robben Island over the phone. Robben Island is the famous island 10Km off shore of Cape Town where Nelson Mandela and other political prisoners were held during Apartheid. After we showered in the mouldy, no-doored shower we went to the luxury suites and managed to make a deal to stay there for little over the price of my old apartment. The new apartment is SWEET! (Pictures to come) Its a one bedroom flat that faces out onto Green Market square and is just a hop skip and a jump to my school. Even in Toronto or New York this little suite could hold its own and has an old-school lift that has a wood door and steel caging on the sides that slams shut before you move. It includes a kitchen and a giant bathroom in which I can shower and lounge in the large waterworks. Lastly, and not to brag but it even has a towel warmer!
Before moving into the new place my Mother and myself had go to the water front to depart to the island, only once we arrive we found out our tour was cancelled due to rough seas. So instead we had breakfast at Harrie's Pancakes which serves a thick crepe-type pancake in both sweet and savoury flavors. I was tempted to have ostrich (a popular meat down here) but I had a bobotie pancake. Bobotie is a cape-malay specialty which is a type of cuisine that has developed in South Africa and is often a spicy or currie based meat dish with a fried egg cooked on top. I also had a lime milkshake, and my mom had a pancake with sticky pork, peaches, and spring onion which reminded me of a BBQ pork steam bun that Chinese make. We shared those and then went to the Two Oceans Aquarium.
The Aquarium features species from this unique area where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet below the cape. Some of the fish, eels and anemones were stunning and crazy! There were big jelly fish, giant crabs and lobster, and a touch pool where we could touch star fish and anemones. Yeah they market that for kids but I was jacked, I mean when else do you get to touch all those critters and not be terrified you will get stung or something? The aquarium has a predator pool with sharks and rays and other dangerous fish in which you can scuba dive. I also have to mention that the whole Finding Nemo cast was there including Dori and Nemo and his dad. Even the prawn!
Once done there we made the big move to the new apartment, a great choice. After settling in and showering Mom and I explored Long Street. I live on a side street off Long and it is comparable to Yonge street in Toronto, or basically the street with all the boutiques, restaurants and clubs. Its not quite as 'glam' as Toronto but the businesses are just as good, top quality, and incredibly diverse!
It was on Long that we had our first dinner after showering in a real washroom and it was where both my Mom and I had our first full blown Tapas experience. (Not often a mom and son pop there cherry together) We went to a Tapas restaurant called Fork. Each plate of appetizers or Tapas is served in 4 pieces and even though they all were plated wonderfully I forgot to get photos. Food included white asparagus with hollandaise sauce, a giant beef ravioli with a poached egg cooked inside, and strawberry pavlova for dessert.
After days of eating, sleep deprivation, walking and spending we went home to have a good hard sleep.
I have obviously been here longer than a few days but have not had time to write everything down so I thought I would post the beginnings and will try and keep updating and get some pictures on here soon!
Love and miss many of you and thanks for reading!