Thursday, February 28, 2008

Cape Town, South Africa (February 22-23, 2008)

Cape Town is a colorful city on the southwestern coast of South Africa. The downtown area is easily walkable, and the architecture is vaguely reminiscent of that of New Orleans or Charleston, South Carolina, with pastel buildings and fancy wrought-iron balconies. Long Street, the main thoroughfare in city center, is crammed with trendy shops and cafes, interspersed with the odd antique store or traditional African clothing shop.

Cape Town's most famous landmark is Table Mountain - a 1086m high flat-topped (hence the name) mountain that seems to have its own weather system. While the rest of Cape Town was blue and sunny, the top of Table Mountain was perpetually shrouded in swirling clouds.

On Friday, I wandered around downtown, looked at a craft market, went part way up Table Mountain, walked through the beautiful Kirstenbosch botanical gardens and had afternoon tea at the famous Mount Nelson hotel.

On Saturday, I visited the District Six museum and went to see Cape Town's oldest township. The township was a stark contrast to the posh downtown I'd seen the day before. I'll let the pictures speak for themselves:
The view of Cape Town from Table Mountain
The cable car station at the top of Table Mountain. The cable car is often closed due to clouds or high winds, and it wasn't running the day I visited.

A weary craftswoman taking a quick nap between customers

Masks and statues galore
Afternoon tea, served buffet style, at the Mount Nelson Hotel

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