After spending two weeks in Turkey with 15 other people, and the only time you’re alone is when you’re in the shower, reality has hit that I’m doing this alone. I’m lucky enough to have friends back home who let me call at any hour and others who also know what it’s like to travel solo who give me advice or just listen to my whinging.
Anyway, enough of the emo stuff! I arrived on Saturday afternoon and instantly felt like I was home. This is my second trip to Cape Town and I love it here, despite the wind, rain & chill. After a bit of panic at not having a phone I got my butt to a local cafe for lunch. I forgot how cheap everything is in South Africa so I’m on more of a food safari than anything else.
The weather on Sunday was an improvement so after a long overdue sleep in I hit the esplanade of Mouille Point to find breakfast. Anyone who knows me understands how much I love food. That might even be an understatement. It’s pretty much all I think about and one of the things I was most excited about South Africa. For two weeks in Turkey we lived on sliced cucumber, tomato, bread (not toast, just bread) and cheese every single day for breakfast. In the final week we were all starting to salivate over what our first meal would be once we’d left Turkey. Sure enough I found mine pretty quick and it was epic! Again, I don’t know if I was more excited by the food or the price, maybe it was both!?
The reality of being a lone traveller started to surface after I called a friend, and it was scary. The only way to tackle it is to get moving so I headed back to the apartment to grab my camera and aimed to spend the day on the coast taking photos. I ended up wandering for a few hours and didn’t really know where I was but felt completely safe, even when a strange man with a kitten on his shoulder stopped me for cigarettes. My usual behaviour (ie: in Turkey) would have been to grab the kitten and start playing with it but in this case I thought I better not.
Today I woke up telling myself it was going to be a good day, to stop being so emo and just get out there. So I did…for a while anyway! Walking down the street I was followed by a man who wanted to hold my hand and get my phone number. I told him no but he persisted and even when I told him my phone doesn’t work he asked for parents’ number so he could reach me. He was harmless so I just laughed and started walking a bit faster until he left me alone. He did have nice gold teeth though…
Sometimes I hate playing tourist but when you’re on your own it feels like the easiest and safest option. So I did what all tourists do and jumped on the double decker Hop On Hop Off tour bus. It makes me cringe doing those tours but it was the easiest way for me to get up to Table Mountain, which was my ultimate goal since I’d done the main sightseeing last year. I can’t explain the excitement you feel when you wake up and there are no clouds covering Table Mountain & no strong winds to stop the cable car from running.
My first trip up was a bit of an anti-climax, I won’t lie. It was clear up top but looking over the city was glary and foggy. For the photo obsessed, like me, it was a pain in the butt so instead I spent an hour or so just wandering across the plateau taking it all in. The clouds move so fast the view can change in seconds so it feels like there’s always new areas to see. Even with about 100 other tourists up there you can feel like the only person on the planet. The plateau is huge and you can easily get caught up in the view and start questioning EVERYTHING….life, direction, where you can find lunch. Hopefully the weather improves so I can get back up there on a clear day and get the perfect picture.
I got back on the bus as it made its way down to Camps Bay, one of my favourite places in Cape Town. Expensive houses built into the mountain with Lions Head looking down over the ocean. I was still feeling pretty down so called a friend when I stopped for lunch and instantly felt better. Plus, I was eating again! Grilled fish, calamari, wine, overlooking Camps Bay for less than $15 – I couldn’t complain.
The day ended on a high with a stunning sunset over Green Point and coming back to the apartment to emails from family and friends back home who I’m missing like crazy