Cape Town - A Rainy Day to Hop On and Hop Off

We were spoiled by excellent balmy weather for most of our South African adventure even though it was the heart of winter.  However, this changed on one of our last days in Cape Town when the weather turned rainy and cold.  We decided it would thus be the perfect day for a ride on the 'Hop-On, Hop-Off' bus.  We started out with a well-crafted cappuccino at Yours Truly near our hotel.
The atmosphere was enhanced further by the lovely green planters hanging from the trim outside.
We hovered under our umbrella as we waiting for the bus outside St. George's Cathedral.
On board, we plugged ourselves in and listened to the ongoing commentary.
Our first 'hop-off' spot was the District Six museum which keeps the memory alive of the forced migrations of non-whites out of District Six and into the remote Cape Flats townships during the heart of the apartheid era.
The poem summarizes the melancholy feeling of the place:

Remember Dimbaza.
Remember Botshabelo/Onverwacht,
South End, East Bank, 
Sophiatown, Makuleke, Cato Manor.
Remember District Six.
Remember the racism
Which took away our homes
and out livelihood
and which sought
to steal away our humanity.
Remember also our will to live,
to hold fast to that
which marks us as human beings:
Our generosity, our love of justice
and out care for each other.
Remember Tramway Road,
Modderdam, Simonstown...

We explored the different exhibits in the two story museum.  A large rolled sheet showcases messages from former residents of District Six.
Streets from the old neighborhood are memorialized on the steps...
...and in the center of the space.
The open floor plan is dramatic with a map of the neighborhood emblazoned on the floor.
Tiles on the floor tell the personal stories of families forced to leave their lives behind and relocate to far less desirable areas simply on the basis of their skin color.
Moving on, we walked the short distance to the Castle of Good Hope.  We passed a tiger boldly painted on the side of a building.
We took a short detour when we spotted Charly's Bakery.
The place seemed incredibly popular and featured delicious looking cakes for all occasions.
There was a line snaking out the door so we thought it must be pretty darn good.
We ended up ordering a double chocolate cake and a simple cookie in the shape of a cupcake.  I have to say we were a tad disappointed as the flavor and texture did not match up to our anticipation considering how popular this place looked.
We continued our walk and took a turn around the moat at the Castle of Good Hope which was built by the Dutch East India Company in the 17th century.
We approached the gates marked by weather-worn lions.
We admired the view of Cape Town and Lions' Head beyond.
We decided not to pay the entry fee to go inside but sneaked a quick peek through the slats in the gate.
We turned around and retraced our steps.
This time we followed the star-shaped walls around, taking advantage of a short break in the rain.
A lone bottle-brush tree popped with color against the gray of the stone walls.
A small garden nestled up alongside the wall.
The rain came again as we 'hopped-on' the bus and twisted and turned our way up Signal Hill.  The route normally takes tourists to the cable car station leading to Table Mountain but the cable car was closed for maintenance while we were there thus explaining the detour.
We were planning to 'hop-off' at the top of Signal Hill and wait for the next bus. We admired the views of Robben Island in the distance.
 It was so cold that we ended up aborting our original plan.  We took the few pictures above and then hopped back on the same bus before it departed.
We managed to secure one of the coveted covered spots on the upper deck of the bus and enjoyed the views (even though we were shivering like crazy!) on the way down the hill.
Our next stop was Camps Bay where we 'hopped-off' in search of lunch.
We took a stroll along the beach and noted the choppy surf.
We turned toward the small strip of shops and restaurants in search of warmth and a hot meal.
Ocean Blue hit the mark.
We ensconced ourselves at an interior table.  Spicy tapenade, garlic spread, and tartar sauce were placed in front of us on the table.
We warmed up with a well-deserved pot of tea.
We enjoyed freshly caught line fish and calamari at less than R100 per person.  It was an amazing value.
The place was quite quiet other than a few folks braving the plastic wrapped patio.  We sat and digested the sizable meal while admiring the decor.
We hopped back on the bus to complete our circuit of the coast surrounding Cape Town.  We admired the 'Twelve Apostles' on the climb out of Camps Bay.
We rounded the bend into Green Point and checked out the red and white striped lighthouse.
We soon found ourselves back in the familiar territory of Victoria and Alfred Waterfront and noted good progress being made on the repainting of this Chinese cargo ship.
We debarked from the bus back in town and the sun finally showed itself!  We walked in the shadow of Table Mountain...
...through the Company's Garden back to our hotel.
We passed the stately parliament building on our way.  We were surprised to see national government buildings in Cape Town when the South African capital is widely believed to reside in Pretoria.  I did a little digging and learned that South Africa actually has three recognized capitals:  Cape Town (legislative capital) Bloemfontein (judicial capital) and Pretoria (administrative capital).

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Sidewalk Safari | Part-time Travel Blog: Cape Town - A Rainy Day to Hop On and Hop Off
Cape Town - A Rainy Day to Hop On and Hop Off
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