Had yesterday’s Cape Point trip didn’t happen, the original plan for today was to take a train to Simon’s Town. From there, we planned to take a taxi to Boulders Beach to see penguins and then proceed to Cape Point. The idea came about after I found out that the train track ran by the beach, making the ride from Cape Town to Simon’s Town a very scenic one. Hop-on hop-off tickets were available too, which we thought would be a good way to explore those little towns along the railway track.
However, when we went to the train station on our first day in Cape Town to get the tickets, a railway staff advised us against the idea, as it would be very expensive as compared to taking a tour. Therefore we decided to do yesterday afternoon’s tour instead. As a result, we didn’t have much to do today.
After some thinking, we realized that we hadn’t really explored the city centre yet. Most of our days were spent out of town (i.e. at Robben Island, on Table Mountain, at the safari) while our nights were spent at the waterfront (we preferred not to go to the city centre at night anyway). So today would be the day of city exploration!
We decided to take another day trip on the hop-on hop-off bus. Yes, we had totally converted from being hop-on hop-off bus non-believers to becoming its loyal devotees! Well, it might not be true in any other cities, but at least in Cape Town it is. Since we would be leaving tomorrow noon, we just took one day tickets for red route to go around the city centre.
First we went to Castle of Good Hope. Despite the name, it wasn’t the home of royalties. It was actually a star fort built by the Dutch in preparation for war against the British.
The castle from the inside...
...and from the rooftop.
It was equipped with cannons...
...and big spiky metal doors.
At noon, there was a key ceremony. The guards would march to the castle’s entrance to unlock the gate and ring the bell.
It was followed by the firing of the signal cannon. Don’t be fooled by the size, the bang was very loud! I could only wonder how the big cannon on the rooftop would sound like if fired!
Across the castle was Cape Town City Hall. It was at its balcony where Mandela delivered his first speech after his release from prison.
From the castle, we boarded the bus again to Gold of Africa Museum, where we saw stuffs made of - what else - gold! We actually finished looking at all exhibits after hardly twenty minutes and wanted to leave, but the curator insisted that we should watch a documentary about the history of gold at the museum’s auditorium. Since we didn’t have much else to do anyway, we decided to go for it. Little that we knew that it lasted for one full hour! True to the curator’s words, it was very interesting, but we did get quite restless spending too much time being idle when we should be exploring the city.
We hopped back on the bus and headed to Jewel Africa, where we planned to see raw African diamonds. Too bad the place was closed! So we walked to the one place that we had been longing to visit but was denied the chance yesterday - Bo-Kaap Malay Quarter!
Nurul Islam Mosque, which was established in 1834, now undergoing restoration.
I love the colorful houses!
I still love the colorful houses!
Again, absolutely love the colorful houses and wish to get one myself! With a sports car too (the most recent model though)!
We then visited Bo-Kaap Museum...
...and saw this two-panel wooden door that looked exactly like those at my grandpa’s house!
It was a long steep uphill walk along cobblestoned road if we were to see the entire quarter, which was a bit too much to deal with.
With the owner of the orange house. She was just about to get back inside after bidding goodbye to her visitor when I came running asking for a photo with her :-D
What was the street’s name again?
Even the café (on the left) and the grocery shop (on the right) were just as colorful!
We stopped for lunch at a nearby restaurant and continued walking around the area, snapping more photos of the colorful houses. Along the way, we were greeted by numerous locals, asking us where we were from. They were always happy to hear that we came from Malaysia. It was an instant connection every time, like finding your long lost relatives in a land so far away.
We hopped back on the bus to return to the waterfront for some last minute shopping. Then we had dinner and went back to the hotel a little earlier than usual as we needed to pack our bags - catching the flight home tomorrow!
After two weeks of collecting worldly goods, it wasn’t easy to stuff everything into the suitcase and the spare shopping bag. Praying for enough space and no overweight baggage!