The tail end of my COS travel was back in my second home of South Africa. I spent a few days with a family in Pretoria recuperating after my travels and just relaxing. We went to a Blue Bulls Rugby game at Loftus Versfeld Stadium (big deal) and watched the game from a box - it was so much fun! I really enjoyed my time with the Bester family (who I had the pleasure of getting to know through Eugene who had been in charge of redoing the Ikhwezi Offices on behalf of Coca-Cola). Eugene was always saying that when I was in Pretoria I had to stop by and stay with his family. I was so grateful for them because not only did they let me stay with them before I started all my travels, but for three weeks they allowed me to keep my two monstrous suitcases with them. They were a true blessing! I had such a great time getting to know Sharon and their son better – it was a really fun few days.
I got on a bus for the last time in South Africa (fingers crossed) and headed to Cape Town. I had been to Cape Town two times before this, and had a great time. I did so many things that I'd wanted to do each time before and had ran out of time to do. Here are the highlights:
Nelson Mandela spent 18 out of his 27 years in prison on Robben Island as a political prisoner. We got to tour the island and the prison seeing where the political prisoners were kept, and even seeing Nelson Mandela's cell. It was a really interesting tour - and an amazing thing they do is have the tours led by people who were at one time prisoners on the Island. Our tour guide was from Port Elizabeth and was there as a political prisoner for five years. It was truly fascinating to hear about his own experiences in the very places we were walking through.
Table Mountain sits in the heart of Cape Town and makes it one of the most enchanting and unique city skylines I've ever seen. There are several different routes to hike up to the top of the mountain and we took what I was told after is considered one of the "easy" ones. While we were able to complete the hike in about half the time they listed it should take it was not "easy". It was basically a mile or more of climbing stairs. The vertical climb was totally worth it though because the views at the top were amazing! You're able to see all of the city from the top and also look along the coast for miles. We took the cable car down the Mountain which was a fun ride!
Stand-up Paddle Boarding
Bright and early we got to stand up paddle board the canals at the V&A Waterfront. I was positive I was going to fall off into the water (which would have been FREEZING) but I didn't - yay! It was so much fun, and surprisingly easy, although I think it gets a lot more difficult when you introduce waves into the mix...
Tour of Cape Town
My friends Michelle and Neil were nice enough to take us on a tour all around Cape Town! We went down the coast one side, stopped at different places to take pictures, or grab something small to eat and just see what was around. It was a lot of fun to see the coast line of Cape Town from BOTH sides! We drove around on the other side of Table Mountain back around to the coast. It was such an awesome day! It was so fun to get to see a lot of the Cape Town coastline!
Enjoying Cape Town
From Long Street - one of my favorite places to go shopping, to eating out at all of the delicious restaurants I had a fantastic time hanging out with old friends and seeing new ones! It was great to get to introduce one of my best South African friends Michelle (who graciously let me stay with her) to one of my best Peace Corps friends - Sam (who was living two blocks from Michelle!). Cape Town is such an amazing city for so many reasons. It is larger than Chicago population wise, but it seems so much smaller (probably because it doesn't have millions of other people in the suburbs surrounding it...). It's a big city, with a small town feel to it, with a gorgeous backdrop of ocean and mountain. Long story short: I love Cape Town!
Justin Bieber Concert
BELIEVE TOUR CAPE TOWN! It was awesome! We had horrible seats, Justin was just a tiny speck on the stage but it was so much fun! His tour had a great message and his music is really fun - how could you hate? It totally made me a BelieBer! This was so funny to me because it was my last night living in Africa, and I was voted by our SA 23 group "Most likely to go to a Justin Bieber concert” in our SA 23 yearbook. Lived out my superlative. It was great.