Monday, March 19, 2012

Cape Town Travelogue Part 2

March 14th                In the morning we took the picturesque road from Nordhoek along the Atlantic side of the Cape towards Table Mountain.  The views along the narrow road blasted from the rock were dramatic.  We had panoramic vistas of the ocean and various mountain peaks including the Twelve Apostles and Lions Head Mountain.  When we arrived at Table Mountain, we parked along the roadside and walked to the cable car.  It is possible to hike and rock climb to the top but a poor idea if you are taking young children.  The cable car ride up is really smooth and the car slowly rotates so you get a full view of the valley and Cape Town below.  The top of the mountain is covered with rocky paths and small shrubs and plants.  I am uneasy with heights and was wary of the cable ride but the smoothness of the ride really was calming.  The pictures are of me and the baby on Table Mountain with Cape Town as the backdrop, a view of Table Bay and some of the Twelve Apostles and the cable car.
After our mountain visit we took a picnic lunch to The Company's Gardens (the company here being the Dutch East India Trading Company.  The gardens are popular and a nice shady spot for a picnic.  My middle child began throwing breadcrumbs to the friendly pigeons.  They responded with enthusiasm.  When he placed a packet of bread crusts on the ground he was nearly swamped with the "friendly" pigeons.  The baby was so excited to see the feeding frenzy she ran right into the swarm. 
We ended our Cape Town trip on this day by driving the route the Red Tour Bus drives.  By the way, the tour bus brochure has a very good map of the area.  Cape Town proper is a nice smaller city that is clean and has a lot of fun looking shops and restaurants.  Joe and the baby really wanted to take a nap and the boys wanted to watch cable (we don't have it at home and our family rule is they can watch it when we are traveling,) so I suggested he drop me off in Kalk Bay for a little time alone.
I visited a couple of the contemporary art galleries in Kalk Bay, Artvark and Kalk Bay Modern Harbor Gallery.  At the later I purchased some silkscreened canvas with the print based on some Namibian Bush art.  I think I may try to design a backpack with the sturdy material.  There is some really beautiful pottery here.  A lot of the pieces are simple shapes with minimal but decorative glazing.  There is also a ceramic studio in the Cape area that does terrific Raku baked animals, Africa Dreaming.  See the photo of the giraffe.  Again, the animal shapes are simple, almost toy-like, the colors are soft earth tones and pastels.  I saw a lot of beautiful paintings and prints, too numerous to mention but I recommend going to the gallery websites.  Artvark also had some amazing steelwork that I would love to have on my house if I weren't renting and could ship across the ocean.  Kalk Bay Books is independently owned and has so many well chosen selections I wish I could hire the proprietor as my personal book buyer.  Many of the clothing shops have beautiful, feminine, arty clothing for women.  Unfortunately, there are also a lot of cheap (relatively,) imported clothes from Asia.  Why are these shops at a tourist destination?    I really enjoyed my time off and even had a couple of minutes to sketch the dock before Joe came back with the kids.

We walked down to the Kalk Bay tidal pool.  The tidal pool was great for my youngest because of the shallow flat boulders to play on and she could sit and splash around.  She was also incredibly excited by someone's dog hanging out on the low wall surrounding the tidal pool.  I could not drag her away until the dog finally left.  Joe and the oldest boy enjoyed sitting along the tidal pool wall and having the waves splash up against them.  The public bathroom/changing room closes at 5pm and we were caught by surprise when we arrived at the locked door.    We ate dinner at the Tribecca Bakery and Cafe.  The burgers there were gourmet but for that were still the closest thing we have had to a US style cheeseburger, aside from McDonald's since we arrived.  (Cheese on your hamburger seems to mean a cheesy white sauce around here.)

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