Africa, South Africa

Capetown Part II

One of my favorite days in Capetown was on Easter Sunday when we drove South on Chapman’s Peak Drive.  Our destination was Boulder’s Beach in Simon’s Town to see the penguins but what was amazing about our road trip were the stops along the way.  Chapman’s Peak Drive is one of the most stunning drives I’ve ever been on; reminiscent of California’s Route 1 and Italy’s Amalfi Coast.  The drive is a windy road on a cliff set in a mountain overlooking the ocean.  Our first stop was Cape Point Vineyards in Noordhoek.  It’s a beautiful winery set on the hillside.  The property is gorgeous but the cheese plate is the draw here.  It’s the best cheese plate I’ve ever had and I’ve had my fair share.  When I think of penguins, I think of Antartica so it was such a wonderful surprise to see penguins on a beach.  It was definitely one of the highlights of the trip.  After the penguins, we drove to Kalk Bay to have the best fish and chips I’ve ever had at Kalky’s.  I love local spots like Kalky’s because it’s so simple: blue picnic tables, cash-only, fried seafood and beer.

For Sarah’s last day in Capetown, we woke up early and hiked Lion’s Head for the sunrise.  Lion’s Head is also a mountain within the city limits.  This hike is shorter than Table Mountain but steeper and a little scary at the end.  You have to scale some rocks to get to the top!  I loved this hike because you get views of Table Mountain, the ocean and the city.  After the hike, we headed to the V&A Food Market on the waterfront for brunch which is their version of a food hall.  Sarah and I got the malay chicken wrap from Awe Africa.  Cape Malay is a cuisine found in South Africa that has South East Asian influences and spices.  It definitely reminded me of Malaysian food – Yum!

When you get the rare opportunity to stay in one city for a whole week, you get to discover all the different neighborhoods.  Chris took us to Bo-Kaap, formerly the Malay Quarter, which is this lovely colorful neighborhood in the hills.  There’s nothing particularly special about this neighborhood other than it’s colorful (which is instagram worthy) and that’s where you can find Cape Malay food.  After we dropped Sarah off at the airport, we were sort of sad that the trip was coming to an end.  We went to Camp’s Bay with a bottle of wine and talked about life to make us feel better.  Camp’s Bay looks and feels like Malibu; it’s gorgeous.  When I go back to Capetown, this is where I would rent a house.

On my last day, it was both amazing and annoying.  I got pickpocketed for the first time in my life!  I was bummed that I got some cash stolen but relieved it wasn’t more cash and my passport.  Lesson learned, always be vigilant even in a fancy mall (womp womp).  My last day started off in the best way, we had a long breakfast at Hemelhuijs, a beautiful restaurant located in the city center.  The restaurant’s décor is right out of a design magazine.  There are little dishes of black sea salt at every table and even the menu looks Pinterest worthy.  The food is farm fresh and simple.  Chris tells me that these kinds of design conscious restaurants are becoming more common in Capetown and they definitely attract foreigners.  After breakfast, we went exploring in the Woodstock neighborhood which looks and feels like Bushwick, Brooklyn (read here for context).  I have a habit of comparing places abroad to neighborhoods in New York but it’s my go-to way of explaining a place.  Woodstock is in the beginning stages of gentrification.  You will see an old run-down convenience store and then across the Street, there’s a fancy mall, Woodstock Exchange (the scene of the crime).  Walking around Woodstock and seeing all the graffiti murals reminded me so much of the streets of Bushwick.  In a few years, I can almost picture all the young hipsters migrating to Woodstock, if it’s not happening already.

The one thing I didn’t do which I’m now regretting is going to Robben Island where Nelson Mendella was imprisoned for 18 years.  If you’re a history buff, there was so much shit that happened in Capetown.  I feel like I didn’t event scratch the surface.  Being in Capetown for a week, you definitely see and feel the residual effects of apartheid; a topic that I didn’t bring up to any of the South Africans I met.  I honestly don’t feel that comfortable talking about black and white issues in the US.  I am curious about the topic and would love to learn more.

Even though I feel like I really got to experience all that Capetown has to offer, I would still go back in a heartbeat.  To me, Capetown is like New York or Paris, every time you go, it’s a different experience and you keep learning new things about the city.  I have never been to another city quite like Capetown; a city that literally caters to all of the things I love to do in life: drink wine, seeing animals, hiking, ocean, and eating at great restaurants.  You just need to invest in the flight to get you there but once you are there, all that Capetown has to offer is at your fingertips.