Alicia’s Travel Diary

Sunday, 22 Aug 2010

Location: Cape Town, South Africa

MapThis morning we got going right away after waking up and eating breakfast because the sun was out and the weather looked beautiful. The plan was to hike Table Mountain with our picnic lunch and then maybe hike Lion's Head in the afternoon. We started up the trail and snapped photos of the view as the path slowly wound it's way up the base of the mountain. After 45 minutes of hiking we hit the path that lead up to the top and turned off and started climbing. This path was much steeper and at points we were practically rock climbing, but it was great. Then, about halfway up the journey took a turn for the worst, the wind picked up and it started raining. It wasn't raining too hard so we found some rocks to shelter us from the wind and some of the rain and hoped it would pass. Sure enough, after a few minutes it cleared up and we could see the ocean far below us again, so we continued on.

The wind didn't go away and actually got much worse the closer to the top we got. By the time we reached the top we were fully immersed in mist and clouds and the wind was fierce. Luckily we had packed appropriately and we were at least warm. At the top it was ugly, we could barely see 10 yards in front of us due to the thick clouds and the wind was constantly threatening to blow us over. The map indicated that there was a shelter nearby so we continued on so we could eat lunch and then figure out where to go from there. When we got to the shelter it was all locked and closed and looked extremely creepy in the mist. We walked around the building and two birds flew out of a doorway right in front of us and I screamed so loud all of Cape Town probably heard me. After calming down, we ate lunch in the doorway previously occupied by the birds so that we were out of the wind. It certainly wasn't the sunny picnic on the mountain with a view that we were expecting.

After eating and studying the trail map we saw the only way down to our car was the way we came up. After all the rain, the thought of climbing down a slippery rock face wasn't exactly appealing, but we didn't want to spend another minute on that mountain top. About 5 minutes on our walk back to the path down it started raining again. It actually rained on and off the whole way down, super fun, let me tell you. We went slowly and carefully and it wasn't too bad at first despite the rain and wind. As we got lower the wind lessened so that was welcome relief. Thankfully we wore the right clothes and they kept our skin dry and kept us warm, as did our awesome Keen hiking boots and hiking socks (thanks for the socks Mom!!) Halfway down the steep trail is when our legs started getting shaky from all climbing, it made it tough going and we had to try even harder not to lose our footing. Making our way down felt like it took an eternity, but finally we came out onto the path that was flatter and led back to our car. Our legs were shot and we still had a good hour hike ahead of us, but at least the wind and rain had stopped since we were lower down. We were in a sorry state when we got back to the guesthouse. The two owners (we are pretty sure they are the owners) were there to great us. We are also pretty sure they are gay. They are totally adorable and are so friendly and helpful. They asked about our day and we told them we climbed up Table Mountain, they were like "You climbed all the way up? On foot?" in an amazed sounding german accent. The hot shower I took when we got to our room was one of the best showers ever.

For dinner we had reservations at a great steakhouse the two owners recommended to us called Nelson's Eye. I decided to try the springbok and Mike opted for the kudu that way we could each try each other's. The cut of springbok I got was the fillet, and let me tell you, it was fantastic! It was so tender and juicy, maybe even better than moose! I liked the springbok better than the kudu and both tasted similar to venison...except better, although the way they were prepared may have had something to do with it as well. For dessert Mike and I split the chocolate mousse with vanilla ice cream on top which was equally amazing and a great way to end a wonderful meal.