Cape Town has been ranked the most beautiful city in the world…and I can understand why (although after our sail around the cape, I think any land would look pretty beautiful to me)! We all got to go up to deck 8 as we sailed in and there were Mercy Shippers waving from the dock, and seals waving their flippers at us like air traffic controllers (I am not even joking)! Table Mountain rose behind the city with its table cloth of clouds blanketing the top!
The first day got the chance to climb Table Mountain, which turned into more of an adventure than we had expected. We ascended the back of the mountain (most of which was like climbing stairs for miles and miles and miles) and at one point, after climbing multiple wooden ladders, we couldn’t see any more trail. We had been warned multiple times by multiple people NOT to leave the trail on Table Mountain because it can become very dangerous very quickly, but we didn’t leave the trail! The trail left us! There were a couple pig paths that we attempted to follow, one which had been blocked by barbed wire, and neither of which took us to good or safe places. We had gone too far to turn around so we took the route of no trail at all and forged up the mountainside.
|pig path #1|
|forging our own trail|
|where we lost the trail|
An hour after the trail lost us, we stumbled upon it again and there was MUCH rejoicing! We figured out that part of the trail had been washed away and now went through a waterfall, which is why we couldn’t find the trail when we had come to the waterfall at the top of the wooden ladders. We plunged on up the actual trail this time and got the most spectacular views of Cape Town!
|The summit of Table Mountain|
Just as we summited the table the “table cloth” rolled in, which was almost just as beautiful to see as the view of the city. The whole walk across the table we were literally walking through clouds so needless to say the views of the city were gone and it got a lot colder, but still so beautiful!
|Here comes the tablecloth!|
The next day Mom and I walked through the market in the waterfront where we were parked, which was soooooo cute and unique! Our favorite stores were the one that sold items made from repurposed, used tea bags, and the one that sold things made out of recycled flip-flops!
That afternoon I went with three friends out to Boulders Beach to see the penguins! We took an uber out there and our driver said he would wait for us and then take us back to the city afterward. The penguins were ADORABLE!!! We had to stay on the boardwalk but they were all around us and right next to us and walking under the boardwalk we were standing on! The funniest thing was watching the penguins belly surfing in on the waves and then standing up and waddling up onto the shore. Since the water was dark and so are their backs, it looks like they just appear out of the sand!
I could have watched these little guys for quite a long time, but we eventually walked back to where our uber driver should be…but he wasn’t there! Thankfully, there was a group of Mercy Shippers there who had come in a van so they drove us a little ways to the bus station where we boarded the bus that would take us to the train station. The bus driver didn’t make us pay the bus faire and when we got to the train station all the ticket windows were already closed up so they let us get on for free! From the train we had to get a taxi which I was pretty nervous about because we had been told NOT to be in the city center after sundown, which is right where the train station was, but there was one lone taxi waiting just outside the train station, which we hopped in and made it back to the water front! And in that way we not only made it back home, we rode in a van, a bus, a train, and a taxi, all for just 50 rand (about $3.50)! God is good!
Our last day in Cape Town, Mom and I went to Hillsong Church in the morning and took a free, historic walking tour of downtown in the afternoon! My favorite part was seeing the place where Nelson Mandela made his first speech when he was released from prison.
|Nelson Mandela stood on the steps of this building for his first speech!|
As we were walking back to the ship through the city center, a woman came up along side us to ask for money and at the same time the man in front of us slowed down quite a bit and then all of a sudden an African man came up behind us and I think Mom and I both were convinced we were about to get mugged (we had been warned about the prevalence of that in Cape Town many times). The man behind us kept saying, “You are from Mercy Ships!” and we kept just looking forward and trying to continue walking and after several times of attempting to say that, he pulled out his Mercy Ships badge and said, “I am from Mercy Ships too!” Whew! The poor guy had missed the last bus and didn’t know how to get back to the port so it worked out well for all involved…he walked with us back to the port because Mom knew where to go and we had a man to walk with (which was very helpful in that place)! It was a frightening moment though!
That evening, Mom and I went out to dinner and went shopping for chocolate chip cookie ingredients so we could bake on the sail. We cut it close getting back to the ship before our shore leave expired, but we finally made it with fifteen minutes to spare! Whew! We used up every moment we had to soak in that beautiful city before settling back in and tying everything back down for the next leg of the sail.
|Just in time!|