Our last 5 days were spent in Cape Town. It felt very strange staying in one place, figuring out where to eat our next meal, and sleeping past 6:00. I think that we were more than a little spoiled. Not sure if our reaction to Cape Town, CT, is skewed by our previous three weeks of gracious living, but did feel that it did not quite live up to expectations. Nice city, very beautiful and interesting architecture, but no chemistry for us. We spent lots of time poking around the city, spent Saturday morning at the Old Biscuit Mill and had a wonderful pizza at a new restaurant called Burrata. Thin crust, but with a bite and texture, not like many of the thin-crust pizzas that we get in Toronto that taste more like a toasted flour tortilla, well worth the visit, and in its own small way, one of our better meals. In the Biscuit Mill there were many very nice shops and some of the better crafts that we have found on the trip, however nothing of consequence bought. We then wandered around the city and ended up at the V&A waterfront in plenty of time for a stroll and dinner at Sevruga. Sevruga pleasant enough and has some very good reviews, but it felt a little tired, both the restaurant and the menu. Enjoyable enough meal, even if that sounds like damning with faint praise. The backdrop to the whole day however, was an ever-present and tumultuous wind that roared and beat against the city from the middle of the previous night and continued through until the late evening of Saturday. We were awakened by the wind on Friday night as it pounded the trees around the house and slammed and banged anything that it could reach. We were told that this too is standard fare as periodically winds roar up from the Antarctic and hit the mountains and warm air around CT and blow ferociously for a couple of days. Couldn’t image the bike racers having to deal with the wind had it continued.
Sunday morning up early, just like recent old times, and down to the bottom our street where the racers pass by on their way to the V&A Start-Finish line. At the point where we saw them they had just descended from Chapman’s Peak and were on their final 20k to the finish. Great fun to see them steaming by and got many shots. Finally found a table at a roadside cafe and had breakfast and watched endless streams of racers pass.
Went on to a fabulous lunch at Constantia Ustig, which at the risk of getting tedious, was another wonderful meal in a beautiful setting. A number of people had advised us to have a meal here and they were absolutely right; cannot recommend it more highly than to say one of our top 5 meals in SA. There was a large cheerful family party sitting at the table next to us, the centre of attention being a man in his middle thirties with a large bandage on his left arm and elbow. After they had left our waitress came over to us and whispered excitedly that the chap had just come third in the Cape Argus race, so a great way to close the loop on our morning. The bandage, as it turns out, was the result of a massive pile-up that had occurred about 50 metres from the finish line, as everyone charged to the line and about 100 racers were knocked out of the race. Unfortunate, a long brutal ride, to end the way it did, but our guy was one of the lucky finishers.
Monday was a day of driving, to Betty’s Bay and various spots for our last full day; enjoyable but not particularly note-worthy and the thought that we’d be heading home tomorrow ever present. One notable exception however; we took the aerial cable car to the top of Table Mountain in the late afternoon, watched the magnificent scenery, had a beer as the sun set, and toasted everyone, especially Rich and Susie of [link_post id="1403" name="African Avenue"], who helped make the trip work as well as it did. Returned home in the dark, only to find that most restaurants were closed, Monday being their night off after the weekend, and all grocery stores shut. Found a service station with a small food section, think Seven-11, and in desperation for our last SA dinner bought some pasta and what I thought was pasta sauce. Turned out to be canned spaghetti, the sauce from which I drained in a sieve and with a chopped onion sautéed in the last dribble of olive oil in a bottle left by the previous occupants and cherry tomatoes that I rescued from a left-over salad I made a tomato sauce. Not our best meal, but we had lots of wine and the memory of some fabulous meals to help us along.
Up early and packed. After the previous evening, we had decided to finish with a good meal, to leave on the right note. Had lunch at the Round House Restaurant. Very old house, set on rolling lawns and on the side of a mountain looking over the sea, just a beautiful setting. For lunch there are tables scattered over the lawns with umbrellas for shade and spectacular views all around. In keeping with the atmosphere, the menu is a little like a dim sum menu, lots of choices that you tick and then they pack all your choices and bring everything to you in a lovely picnic basket. Lunch al fresco, and a wonderful way to end the trip.
On to the airport and the long slog home. Steerage for the overnight flight to Frankfurt on Lufthansa, and with fortune smiling an upgrade to Business on Air Canada for the final leg. As usual, surreal to be back. Will write our findings and learnings in the next day or so, but without a doubt, one of the all-time best trips! Africa, unfortunately for all, has not seen the last of us.