Thursday, Jan. 6 was the day of the long slog. Cardiff stayed wet and cold, then we took the 1:55 train to London, transferred at Paddington (paying due homage to the bear), and got a neighbor to let us into our friends’ flat in West Ealing. Then on to Heathrow, where we abandoned a bulky sweater because a) it made our luggage overweight and b) we wouldn’t be needing it in Cape Town.
In Heathrow we made one of the best purchases of our trip: an (approximately $9) Insight Guide to Cape Town. Our flight finally took off a little after 10 p.m., and 11.5 hours, two meals, a few movies and tv shows and a couple hours of sleep, we arrived in Cape Town. Stepping off the plane into the warm South African sun, we soaked in the summery goodness. “Welcome to Cape Town, your home away from home,” our taxi driver told us on the way into the city, and we soon realized he was right.
We settled into our new abode, the Zebra Crossing Lodge, recommended to us by our good friends Heather and Don Koons. After a shower and fresh clothes we were two new people ready to explore the wide world around us. The Zebra Lodge is perfectly situated. In a quick jaunt one can reach Woolies (aka Woolworth’s grocery store), Nando’s, Pizza, and other good restaurants, an internet cafe, and even a movie theater.
A cab was ordered (it was unusually hot) and we arrived at the cable car station. The soft serve ice cream was looking inviting, so Tompaul indulged in a caramel and Lisa “cool lemon.” The cable car fee was almost as steep as the mountainside, but we would have no regrets. The car, redesigned and installed by the Swiss in 1997, holds 64 people plus driver and is a perfect circle. The floor rotates 360 degrees as it travels, so everyone gets a full panoramic view. Tanks of water hidden in the bottom stabilize it in the event of high winds–as this oft-seen sign describes.
The view from the top? Stunning. Awe-inspiring. Beyond gorgeous. Unique plants and animals (though we never spotted the hyrax, or dassie, small furry creatures). Turn one way and you’ll see the beaches. Another, the city spread out below. Another, the regal Lion’s Head. Another, the Twelve Apostles. Another, the fabled “tablecloth” of mist. Beautiful and unique flowers and birds. These photos hardly do it justice.
The flora and fauna of Table Mountain was unique and amazing. We spent about 2 hours hiking around, but unbeknownst to us there is a 2-4 hour hike one can take. Next time (yes NEXT TIME) we are going to pack a lunch and see the other end.