Published: April 28th 2012April 27th 2012
Distance from Sydney
Yeah we're pretty far away!
Day 1 Blog 1!
I don't know how long this blogging will last but I might as well give it a try, starting with our flight & our first day in Cape Town.
After leaving a wet Melbourne ANZAC day behind me, Megan & I discovered each other in Sydney airport successfully looking like true backpackers with one pack on our backs, another on our front, interesting clothing choices & wandering backwards and forwards looking for a free transfer to the international terminal! Once we realised that wasn't going to happen we settled into the bar in the terminal with a bottle of wine & good company (Nigel had come in to see we actually left the country!). Well fed & 'watered' we bounded onto the A380 building-like aeroplane and settled into our home for the next 14 hours.
Well, needless to say, no matter how good the food is or how many episodes of Downton Abbey are on the TV 14 hours of a screaming baby & getting elbowed in the face and head by the man next to me means the flight wasn't quite as relaxing as we had hoped. During our layover in Dubai we
Robben Island Bus
Each bus had a different motivational quote on the side.
made ourselves feel slightly more human by using the various tester moisturisers, makeup, perfume & deodorant in all the brightly lit duty free stores! We then reluctantly made our way onto our 8 hour daytime flight where sleep yet again evaded us & the elbowing continued! On our arrival in Cape Town we were exhausted, dried out & feeling interesting after the copious amount of aeroplane food that was provided over the last 23 hours. We did, however manage to wake ourselves up long enough to settle into our lovely B&B, discover the beach down the road and a lovely local Italian restuarant up the road before having long awaited hot showers & a brilliant nights sleep!
After an early start we enjoyed a lovely breakfast put on by the B&B and headed off into the gusty cloudy day for a walk along the beach to the V&A waterfront. This harbour area is named after Queen Victoria and Prince Alfred and is a hub of shopping as well as seal and whale spotting tours. Luckily we arrived early enough that the tourists were yet to wake up & we could enjoy the sights all to ourselves. There's so much
Robben Island Church
This church is host to many wedding on Valentine's day and it is said that divorce will not occur if you are married in this church.
to see at the V&A, including meeting Elliot the cocoa- cola crate man, wandering through a market filled with various curios and healing crystals or, if you're anything like me, marvelling at the wonderous sight of the thong covered walls of the Havaianas store! From here we were herded onto the ferry to Robben Island for 3 hours of education.
Robben Island is well known for its maximum security prison which housed political prisoners who opposed Apartheid from the 60's until 1991, its most famous prisoner is Nelson Mandela who was held there for 18 years. When arriving on the island we were allocted coaches which took us for a tour around the Island, showing not only the township but old structures from WWII and smaller prisons. We then joined a tour guide in the prison who was a prisoner for 3 years. He took us into his section and explained the daily routine, one that was organised by the prison & the one that was organised by the prisoners during lock down. The various sneaky ways of smuggling in political literature amongst the leaders as well as the general dynamics of the prison during his time there. We
Springbok on Robben Island
Our first game sighting. Although I'm still trying to work out how they got to the island!
were talking about all of these elements while sitting in a small room which would have housed up to 40 prisoners. We then moved to the individual cells, which housed the more prominent political leaders. Theses cells had a short story from each person that occupied the cell and a small item that had meaning to that individual ranging from a trumpet to photos and large safety pins. Amongst these cells was Nelson Mandela's which was only equipped with a bucket, a stool and a mat to sleep on. In seeing this small confined space & minimal belongings it is extremely hard not to admire and respect a man who spent 27 year imprisoned for fighting for a basic human right.
After this humbling tour we jumped onto the good ol hop on- hop off bus to see the city which we were yet to explore. As we wound around the streets of Cape Town we saw a mixture of dutch and english style buildings as well a beautiful fort that would have protected the city from invasion and as a complete contrast, an abundances of empty blocks within District Six. 60,000 people lost their homes in the 80's
as they were bulldozed simply because the residents were from a wide variety of racial backgrounds and the government didn't want them mixing with the white people of Cape Town. From here our bus climbed up to the impressive Table Mountain which offers amzing views of the city & harbour below and promised a great way to start the next day. After taking the bus down the other side of the mountain to Cape point we headed home to warm up & plan the next day head of us.
Stay tuned, more (hopefully vaguely interesting) on our trip soon......
There are more photos below