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Cape Town endures Melbourne weather

In a fine example of taking coals to Newcastle, it looks like we brought last week’s Melbourne weather with us to Cape Town. It was wintry and wet, with no chance of seeing Table Mountain or the Lion’s Head above the city.
This was the non-existent view of Table Mountain today from Victoria & Albert Waterfront.
Our first day in Africa became a real indoors day. We spent much of it down at the V&A, because a) it was open on a Sunday unlike much of the rest of the city (we were told not to go walking around quiet areas on a Sunday – come back when it’s busier on weekdays); and b) it was dry inside the shopping mall.
I had wanted to visit Robben Island (the former island prison just offshore from Cape Town where black male political prisoners, including Nelson Mandela, used to be jailed) but we found out that tours are booked out for days. My disappointment was slightly alleviated when we learned that today’s ferries had all been cancelled because of the bad weather.
The waterfront is very picturesque, but when the drizzle turns into rain, it doesn’t quite meet its full potential. This pay telescope was out of business today.
The V&A is very visitor oriented and features charming old waterfront buildings converted into tourist shops, next to a large, modern shopping mall which felt like any back in Australia (so much so that we could have been wandering around parts of Chadstone – complete with Country Road store). The below building houses some souvenir and African craft shops.
We are staying at the Cape Hertitage Hotel, a restored 18th century building that was nearly bulldozed in the 1970s (albeit before restoration) to become a multi level car park. It has – according to one booklet we read – the southern hemisphere’s oldest grape vine growing in its courtyard, and every guest room is uniquely appointed.
After a day out in the rain, a coffee by the fireplace in the lounge was very nice.
We finally felt like we were getting a “real” African experience when we headed a few blocks away to a pan-African restaurant with a lot of character called Timbuktu. The tables were on the first-floor balcony overlooking Long Street, and we watched the fog rolling down through the city while listening to old jazz that (thankfully) drowned out the doof coming from the bar across the street.

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