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Monday, October 13, 2014

Cape Town

We were fortunate to have a long weekend off to enjoy some sight seeing whilst we were in Cape Town, South Africa.  So we packed our bags and tried to fit in all our Cape Town "bucket list" items in 3 days.

The first day we wondered round the V&A Waterfront where the ship is docked.  This place is filled with shopping malls, restaurants, live street music and entertainment and seals swimming freely in the harbour.  A definite buzz!
Our evening followed with a wonderful meal with ex-mercy shippers, the wonderful De La Rue family who now live in Cape Town.
Nathanael got to meet Lucy again who he was in nursery with when they lived on board, needless to say they didn't remember each other at all but soon got on well and picked up their friendship in their older years with the addition of Lucy's new brother.  It was great to hear their God filled journey since they have left Mercy Ships and how God has provided for them in so many ways.  They took us down to the beach from the other side of the bay with a great view of Table Mountain. 
  Thank you Lee and Dana for opening your home to us and the special catch up, we see God's love flowing through you and are thankful for the friendship we share that we can just pick up where we left off.

Saturday we ventured on the train.  Isn't the internet wonderful how you can research anything before you do it.  So we paid our total of $7 (£4.50) for the 3 of us (!) to travel in 1st class; actually 1st class isn't anything special like at home, it just means you have a seat instead of standing for an hour train journey.  It was a pleasant journey along the coast and our aim was to visit Boulders Beach.  
Boulders Beach houses a colony of penguins, along with special nests that they have created as a conservation measure.  Again the internet came out top as we had already read advice on taking the the trail to the right, not the trail directly in front of you.  We passed many nests, some with eggs, others with penguins just resting from their swim for food, but when we got to the end we soon realised why this trail was the best.  
Penguin Motel!
Over the other side of the beach many people clamoured to get a view of the penguins, some just catching a glimpse, over our side we were empty most of the time and were able to enjoy the comedy show put on by the penguins.
Mama and her chicks!
Sorry, that was a lot of penguin photo's, but they were cute.  We have more but we won't share them here!

Next on our bucket list was a trip to Robben Island.  
After having seen the slavery forts in Ghana and, most recently, the movies "12 Years a Slave" and "Lee Daniels, The Butler" showing the divide between black and white, we really wanted to get a small feel of what it was like for Nelson Mandela whilst he was held here.
We were fortunate to arrive at our boat station early and due to it being overbooked we were ferried off to the posher boat, the "Tigger 2".  We felt like celebrities with our posh boat and white leather seats looking out on the ocean while the wind was blowing through our hair, well Sharon's hair!  It also meant that we sped across the water in a shorter time.
We were met by the first part of a bus tour which took us around the island telling us a bit about how they live there.  A great testimony of mercy and forgiveness as former prisoners and former prison guards live side by side, working and socialising together to bring the history to life for us.  We were then taken into the prison, surrounded by barbed wire.  We were met by a former prisoner who had served 7 years there and now lived on the Island with his family.  He shared how things ran, the categorisation of prisoners, how they smuggled notes in tennis balls over the wall to others, the days of hunger strikes as he worked in the kitchen to cook the food to only throw it away and start cooking for the next meal.  It was stories like this that brought the days of Apartheid to life, even up to as recently as the 90's.  
Our tour guide, a former prisoner.
The Lime Quarry where the
prisoners worked.
Prisoners slept on the floor in
all weathers.
Different privileges-the darker your
skin the worse you got.
Papers they always carried.
The exercise yard where they played
tennis and hit balls with secret
messages inside over the wall.
Nelson Mandela's cell
 Our speedy boat made it back in no time and gave us a few hours to catch a quick trip up Table Mountain before sunset thanks to a money-off coupon in the paper charging a third of the normal charge to go up, the only catch was to queue for 1.5 hours to get up there, but that was ok once we saw the views.
So we managed to get some Cape Town attractions ticked off our bucket list.  The rest will have to wait for another day at another time and we are grateful for this time, we are blessed.  It's definitely a great place to visit, maybe it can become an entry on your bucket list.

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