3 October 2018
Cornelia alerted us to her state of consciousness with a “Mummmmy!” yell at 08:00, followed by the pitter patter of her feet as she ran from her room into ours for a cuddle. Honestly, I could stay in bed cuddling her all day – scrumptious. But today was not that day… we had loads planned!
While Cornelia ate her Cheerios, Ian checked out the cable car to Table Mountain and to our great disappointment, it was closed today, due to the high winds. To be fair, it had been extremely windy during the night, and the winds had not died down at all by this morning.
Plan B was to hire bikes from Camps Bay and cycle the 8kms to the V&A Waterfront in central Cape Town. When we had all finally showered and sorted ourselves out, we walked down to the bike hire shop, stopping to look at the shark information board (Bugsy proudly pointed out the whale shark on the board, announcing that it is the largest type of shark in the world. When I asked her how she knew this, she replied that they’d taught her in Kids’ Club on the cruise ship. Clever egg.), and being interrupted by a street selling, showing off his oil on canvas paintings. When he initially approached us, my immediate answer was to dismiss him with a “No, thanks” but he persisted saying that in Africa, chat is free, and there was no obligation to buy – he just wanted to show me his paintings. I loved the idea of free Africa chat, and we admired his excellent paintings (each of which takes him about six hours, he told me) before thanking him, reconfirming that we wouldn’t be buying anything today, and crossing the road to the hire shop. Unfortunately, they didn’t do child seats, so we took a cab over to Sea Point to one of their sister kiosks, and were promptly kitted out with two bikes and a child seat that was fitted to the front of the bike – a first for us!
Their brakes are also quite different. There are no brakes on the handlebars and you have to pedal backwards to slow down and stop. This is completely alien to me, and I struggled to get used to it, mostly just putting my feet on the ground and digging in my heels instead! There was a fierce head wind almost all the way around the coast to the V&A, but somehow it didn’t matter, because the stunning scenery was so distracting. The sea was bright blue and wild, and the mountains in the background jutted out powerfully behind the modern city buildings. It is really incredibly beautiful here and there has been a lot of money, effort and thought into its regeneration. This becomes even more noticeable as you enter the V&A Waterfront area, particularly where the old silos are, as they retain their original features, with clever architectural designs transforming it into useable space.
Once we arrived at the Waterfront, we walked the bikes through the busier areas, stopping off at various points for another photo opportunity. We found “cotton reels” that rolled around (but didn’t fall over) that Cornelia played in, once she’d recovered from her initial fear that she might fall out! We found “Up Cycles” shop and asked if we could keep our bikes there while we went for lunch, to which they kindly agreed, and we wandered back to the Italian restaurant we’d seen, directly opposite a playground. Instant winner for Cornelia, who ate a huge portion of lasagne, leaving her with plenty of energy to play.
Rather than collect the bikes immediately, we decided to explore the Waterfront area in a bit more depth. In doing so, Cornelia spotted a Thomas the Tank Engine train, and we agreed that she could go on it. So, her and I enjoyed a little trip around the area in the coal bucket! The train station was right by the Cape Town Eye, and although we started queuing to go on it, Cornelia changed her mind and decided she’d rather just go back to Camps Bay now. I think it was the idea of an ice cream at Sea Point that had suddenly entered her head!
We went back to Up Cycles, collected our bikes and headed back to Sea Point to drop them off. We had half an hour in the very large playground that Cornelia had spied on the way out, before she could finally get an ice cream, which she enjoyed in the early evening sunshine. There is an amazing set of swimming pools in Sea Point that we hadn’t spotted before, right by the edge of the sea – what an incredible thing to have on your doorstep if you live here! There were also tons of runners out. And then, to top off the perfect spot, we saw four separate pods of dolphins leaping out of the water. It was all quite magical.
It was our intention to take a taxi back to Camps Bay from Sea Point, but as we started walking to find one of the frequent taxi ranks, it occurred to us that we were probably heading in the wrong direction to find one, as it became less urban very quickly. Rather than turn back, Ian popped a tired Cornelia up on his shoulders, and we had a terrific walk back to Camps Bay, via all the expensive and extraordinary houses in the Clifton area.
And then, that sunset. Oh goodness, that incredible sunset! The bright orange sun stained the mountains and the clouds creating the most unusual colour and it made us feel as if we were walking through a painting. We absolutely love it here, and yes, it’s made it onto our list of places to come again!
Cornelia was, by now, being a total pain in the arse. Her leg hurt sitting on Daddy’s shoulders, but she was unable to walk. She wanted to be carried in my arms, not really appreciating how difficult that is at her weight. So the last couple of kilometres were spent passing her between us, in a variety of positions! We made it back to the apartment, had a very quick change of clothes and went straight back out again, this time to Ocean Blue, a smarter restaurant than last night’s choice. I had Kingklip for the first time – a robust, meaty fish, with rice, sweet potato mash and creamed spinach. Yum. Bugsy had chicken, chips and veg, but only managed her chips and two mouthfuls of sweet potato. Apparently, she likes Nanny Enid’s sweet potato, but not this one. Sigh….
Still, we made it through the meal quite quickly and were able to get her home before she had a meltdown. At our doorstep, we met Barry and his wife, Moira, who were saying goodbye to their family who had come to visit for the evening. Bless him, he had been over in the afternoon to see if we were around, as his granddaughter, who is seven, was up for a play date!
Cornelia was not in a social mood, however, so I excused us and took her inside, to brush her teeth and get her into bed. She had two stories from her Africa book (which is brilliant – a whole load of African legends, such as “Why Cheetah hides his food up a tree” and “Why Hippo is Hairy” – and a Mumpfi, before falling straight to sleep.
We have an early start tomorrow. The car hire company is due to pick us up at 08:30, and we have to be ready to leave! So, time to pack everything up again as the real African adventure begins!