Travel Website Logo
Travel Journal
Dan Walker’s Travel Website
Travel Photos

Travel Journal

Live the adventures of Dan Walker's travels through reading his travel journal. The travel journals are listed below in descending order of date. To search the travel journals, use the keyword search at the bottom of the page.

Journal Entry:

Monday, October 22, 2018 18:08:45

Africa SW 2018: 2 Cape Town

Friday, October 19, 2018

Today started by picking up some essentials at Click, a chain drug and convenience store attached to the hotel's convention centre. We walked around the neighbourhood where Marilynn had a SIM card installed in her telephone at a small shop owned by Arabs. They gave her the SIM card free, then had one of their people run to another shop to buy the air time, which they installed at no charge. Other than paying for the air time, on which they made nothing, it was all a free service!!

After a few more shops we found a cafe which had one of the best English breakfasts ever. For those not familiar with the English breakfast, it comes with everything – eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes, tomatoes, mushrooms and toast. We decided to go to Table Mountain, even though it was already afternoon. On the hotel's advice we bought tickets on line to avoid lines at the ticket booth.

A taxi got us to the bottom of the gondola, where we were informed they were closed due to high winds. We managed to phone the taxi driver before he got too far down the mountain, so he came back and dropped us at the Green Market, a collection of individual tents selling all sorts of things. I spotted a pub right beside the market, so made a beeline for a bar stool. Marilynn wanted to go through the market but was nervous about the narrow passageways between the tents. On the other hand, I did not feel like leaving the bar for shopping, so in the end we met some people and had a lively afternoon with them.

Marilynn had made dinner reservations at a restaurant the bar owner said was a only a few blocks away. It was dark by then, but we decided for the short distance we would ignore the warnings about not walking at night. After a couple of blocks we found the right street, but no one had heard of the restaurant, so we kept walking, following the street numbers. After walking about 12 blocks through the dark streets we found the place After a seafood dinner we took a taxi back to the hotel.

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Again it was too windy for Table Mountain, so we called Shelton, our taxi driver from the airport, and he gave us a good price on a tour down to Cape Point, near the Cape of Good Hope. There is not much beyond there except stormy seas stretching to Antarctica. The weather was windy, sunny but cool. We stopped at a number of places along the west coast road to watch huge waves rolling in from the Atlantic Ocean. As they crested the wind whipped water from the top sending clouds of fine spray seaward. It was a pretty impressive sight.

A number of small fishing villages were explored en route, and we had an excellent seafood lunch at a waterside restaurant in a small port town before returning up the east coast, where the Indian Ocean was producing wind whipped waves almost as large as the Atlantic. We stopped at Boulder Beach, to walk a boardwalk along the edge of a beach where a couple of hundred penguins went about their business unmolested by people. African penguins look very much like Gentoo penguins, but have a pink patch on their heads. We watched their antics for a while before being driven away by blasts of wind driven sand. Our hair, ears, noses, everything was full of it. On the way back to Cape Town we went through Muizenberg, where we stayed the last time we were in the area. There were a lot of surfers there enjoying the big waves.

At the hotel was an email from Evi Marais, the organizer of our post train trip, setting a time to meet for dinner at the Cafe Paradiso. We had not met before, but were immediately in comfortable conversation - Evi was with her husband and 6 year old daughter. He and I hit it off immediately, both being aficionados of decent beer.

The restaurant had an unusual idea for kids – they have an area in the kitchen where kids are taught to cook by a chef. By the time our young chef returned with a pizza she was proud to have created we were well into our meal. Later in the evening she headed into the kitchen, this time to create a muffin with lots of sweet topping for her desert. It was a fabulous way to give kids a great evening without being bored by adult talk.

The food was great, the conversation lively and we laughed a lot. We hope to see them in Costa Rica sometime soon. Evi drove us back to the hotel as her husband and I were in charge of drinking. After a nightcap they headed home. We truly look forward to becoming good friends.

Sunday, October 21, 2018

Table Mountain opened again today, the wind having dropped to a mere 18 knots per hour. We knew we were in trouble when the taxi hit crawling traffic while still a long way from the cable car. Cars were parked many kilometers down the side of the road, their occupants having made the long hike up to the cable car. The taxi finally got within our walking distance, dropped us off and disappeared. When we hiked up to the pay station, we asked where the line up was for those with tickets. The guard pointed up hill to where people were four abreast as far as the eye could see. I walked up to where I could see around a curve in the road, and the line continued out of sight once again. That was it – we got a refund on our tickets, found a taxi and headed for the Waterfront area, which we had not yet explored. The temperature was up to 31C, a huge change from last week, so we shed cool weather clothes.

After a ride on the wheel, a smaller version of the London Eye, which gave a birds-eye view of the whole area, we located a beautiful restaurant with a balcony overlooking the harbour where all kinds of boats were coming and going. It was a great meal.

After walking the area, we unfortunately ended up in a large shopping mall. Marilynn, who claims to hate shopping, was in her glory while I sought out somewhere to sit and wait. Eventually we moved to the terrace of the Victoria & Alfred Hotel to have drinks and watch the harbour activity. Dinner was put together from various food stalls in a market near the hotel. Prices were very low, but the quality was good. A taxi then got us back to the Townhouse Hotel.

Monday, October 22, 2018

We caught up on computers in the morning, checked out at 11 AM and taxied to the Victoria and Alfred Hotel, putting our baggage in storage until check in time. At the shopping mall I spent what seemed like hours sitting in the women's wear department while Marilynn continued to hate shopping. A woman came along pushing a boy of about 7 year old in a shopping cart. She parked him near me and started shopping. I asked him how he was doing, and he said, "This is so boring". I agreed whole heartedly, and cautioned him that it didn't get any better as he got older. We did find a marvelous book store, so stocked up on reading material.

Brunch was at noon in a mall restaurant with an outdoor balcony before we headed back to the hotel to pick up our key and have our carry on suitcases sent to the room. Marilynn had to do serious battle to get bottled water for the room – the maid kept insisting we use the tap, not a great idea for travellers wanting to remain healthy. I called guest services as the safe was not working, and was promised someone would be right there – they weren't. Marilynn went to the desk to ask again. After another 45 minutes I phoned and was more demanding - this time someone came but declared it would take someone else to fix it, so we left carrying our valuables. The safe never was repaired in our time there.

In the lobby we met others in the group for a city tour but found it was all German. Apparently another couple from the US bought the trip through Chi at Bestway, but that was it for English speakers. Anke, the tour leader, assured us there would be a guide who would speak in English, but the guides on the bus had no idea anyone didn't speak German. I've christen our train "Das Zug", after the famous movie "Das Boot". It should make for an interesting trip.

The city tour was in comfortable buses, each only about half full, so there was lots of room. After listening to long explanations in German for some time, Marilynn went up to the guide and make it clear we had no idea what he was talking about. The guide was very upset, as although he spoke good English as well as German, no one told him there was anyone who didn't speak German. He quickly sent a tri-lingual guide to sit with us to give us the highlights of what he was saying in English. They were both from Namibia, where the official language is English, but they were raised by German parents from the days when Namibia was a German colony.

After the city tour there was time for a quick beer before we boarded a restaurant boat, where a sumptuous dinner was served over a couple of hours while the boat toured the harbour. We sat with the two people from the US so they had the entire English speaking contingent at one table. After dinner we were given our marching orders on a piece of paper in English – this trip is going to be hard work. Tomorrow's start is at 6:30 AM. I'm writing this in the wee hours of the morning to get it off, as once on the train internet will be more difficult.