Monday, April 19, 2010

City Bowl & Camps Bay

Having been in the 'Mother City' for three days, we still haven't properly explored City Bowl other than Kloof Street (x2) to get up to Lion's Head and Table Mountain, Company's Garden, Long Street, and Adderely Street/St. George's Mall to get to the train station. Aptly name like Boulders Beach, City Bowl is a self-contained area neatly snug between Devil's Peak, Table Mountain, Signal Hill and the harbour. It literally is shaped like a….bowl.

Kloof Street:

As it is the heart of Cape Town for its eclectic mix of architecture, multiculturalism, and history, it would be ashamed not to devote at least a day meandering through the various neighbourhoods of City Bowl. So on Wednesday, we went, we explored, we ate, we shopped, and we explored some more. Coincidentally, we also ran into our bush-mate, Fernando, from Africa on Foot sitting in a coffee shop on Long Street! He is also an avid photographer so we can't wait to see some of his awesome photos from the safari.

On our list of "21 things to do in Cape Town," we made our way to a wonderful little pastry shop called Jardin's for buttery almond croissants and great coffee (my other vice beside red wine). Ummmm…delicious!

The highlight of the day was exploring the Cape Malay neighbourhood of Bo-Kaap, a predominately Muslim area. Bo-Kaap is a lively and colourful neighbourhood with its bright-colour houses (think: lime green, hot pink, purple) with cobble-stoned roads.

We had lunch at Biemiellah, one of the oldest Cape Malay restaurants in Cape Town. Come here for some tasty bobotie and fish curry. As Bo-Kaap has a strong Muslim-influence, this was the only meal in Cape Town in which we didn't have beer or wine with our meal. That's fine, we'll take chai please. Cape Malay cuisine is very similar to Indian food if you're curious.

After lunch, we indulged in some retail therapy...Keenan was in the market to expand his mask collection so we spent the rest of the afternoon at Green Square Market, the place to go for African crafts in City Bowl. He negotiated hard for a Xhosa mask which found a nice home on our bookshelf between the sheesha pipe from Dubai from our friend Ghosh and Cameroonian Fang mask that Keenan purchased while in Marrakesh last year. Afterward, we made our way to another market, the Grand Parade across from Cape Town City Hall and the Castle of Good Hope, which was just okay. After a rewarding day exploring City Bowl, we spent the evening at the flat catching up on the Champions League quarter-final game between Manchester United and Munich. Our English team lost...seems to be the trend whenever we watch a football match abroad, especially when Man U. is playing. Not that we care about football anyways, but we will be following Team USA in the World Cup, and mark your calendars for the much-anticipated game between USA and England on 12th June 2010.

Green Square Market:

The Grand Parade:

Relaxing on the balcony:

South African Rand -- Four of the Big Five... look who is missing? The elusive leopard...

The next day, we split our time between Clifton Beach (Beach #4) and Camps Bay on the Atlantic Coast. Camps Bay reminds me of Malibu, gorgeous people, million dollar condos, soft sandy beaches, and a promenade with loads of seafood restaurants. Camps Bay definitely has more of a resorty-feel than City Bowl and a beautiful backdrop against the Twelve Apostles. It's not as quaint as False Bay, but it is a gorgeous beach...a real relaxer and super clean. Both beaches have been award a Blue Flag status, is a prestigious, international award scheme which acts as a guarantee to tourists that a beach or marina they are visiting is one of the best in the world. It was a great day lounging by the ocean, reading, people-watching, and working on our much needed tans!

Clifton Beach.

Camps Bay:

Next up...Stellenbosch, Franschhoek and Constantia!

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