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Published: June 22nd 2017
At the top end of the Company Gardens. We had a look around inside and it was OK.
Geo: -33.926, 18.4217
On Wednesday we walked around the south western side of Cape Town and in the city's shopping area, along Long and Loop Streets and Green Square Markets. Our hotel is in the parliament precinct and near to "The Company Gardens", a large area that was originally used by the Dutch East India Company to grow produce to replenish their ships on their way to the spice islands of Indonesia.
Bartolomeu Dias (who we learned about in Lisbon) was the first European known to round the Cape, in 1488. The trade routes to the Far East were still overland through Turkey at the time, and alternative cheaper routes were being sought. Others followed Dias, but the focus was always on trade with the Far East. Cape Town remained a replenishment point and the Europeans had little interest in forming a colony here. This changed in 1652 when the Dutch did take charge through the VOC. The Brits kicked them out at the end of the 18th century, left for a short time, and then returned for good in 1806. For them, South Africa was an important way station for their rule in India. In 1910 the Union of South Africa was
Table Mtn view
Robben Is in the bay, Mandela's prison for 17 years. The clouds are obscuring Signal Hill where a noonday gun is still fired daily. The photo does not do the view justice; it was amazing.
formed, with Britain still pulling most of the strings. Then in 1961 the Republic of South Africa came into being and British rule ended.
In 1867 the Sixth District of the Municipality of Cape Town (District 6) was established, with mainly coloured and black inhabitants. The area thrived until the apartheid government decided in 1968 to commence the forced relocation of the 60,000 residents. Over a decade or so the area was vacated and all the buildings demolished, except for a couple of religious buildings. This action has been a festering sore for Cape Town. Perhaps even more so post-Mandela: despite its promises to rectify the situation, Government inaction still sees the area vacant and its ownership unresolved.
We had a nice time wandering around, looking at Tanzanite rings in various stores. Due to a disasterous flood, only one of the four mines on the slopes of Kilimanjaro in Tanzanika is now operable. Tanzanite's only intrinsic vaue is as a gemstone, and it was only recently discovered in 1967. It now seems that the reserves will be exhausted within 20 years so if you want a pretty purple stone, buy one soon. We will probably do just that.
In the afternoon
Top of the table
The elevation at the top cable car station is 1,067m (3,500ft).
we went on another city tour that included a ride to the top of Table Mtn, a museum visit and free champagne at a diamond store. We then got the driver to drop us off at a wine tasting event that Rob had earlier reconnoitred. After, we went looking for a local restaurant with our newly bought wine (we were told most restaurants are happy for BYO) and settled at Piazza Italia on Park Rd. Had a variety of scrumptious italian food and spent most of the evening chatting enjoyably to the chef and staff. R430 ($43) for three courses, corkage and a limoncello each.
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