We had a lie-in and got up at about 10am, wandered down to Kloof Street and had lunch in Dros (had drinks there on the previous day). I stuck to my staple diet of Cheese & Tomato pizza while James tried the much more exotic Bacon & Banana! On odd and seemingly unexplainable phenomenon was that the urinals in the Gents WC were full of ice, neither of us had seen this before or had any idea why they might do such a thing.
After lunch we headed to the South African National Gallery which we explored for almost two hours. The most remarkable exhibit was a collection of photographs telling the stories of different people from all over the world who had to live with HIV/AIDS. The collection included some very disturbing stories and photographs and tried to demonstrate both the global scale of AIDS whilst also looking more closely at Southern Africa. There were some people wandering around the gallery who were from a charity which was associated with the exhibit, they asked for donations - James gave a little money but I didn't. I guess my primary reason for not giving money was trust (i.e. lack of), I'm pretty sure the volunteers were on the level but in South Africa a lot of people ask you for money and you become pretty jaded.
After the gallery we went back to the hotel and jumped straight in a taxi down to the Table Mountain cable-car station, quite a way out of town but it didn't cost too much.We decided to follow a '40-minute' trail we'd read about somewhere, the basic idea is to follow the little yellow feet painted on the floor every now & again. One of the first things we saw on the mountain (besides the staggering view) was a Dassie (or Hyrax) which I labelled a Wombat through lack of any other suitable means of description. As it turns out they are fairly similar animals, the funny little creature was just sat on a rock staring at people. We walked for quite a while and became aware we were heading for a pyramid-like monument in the distance, it seemed like an interesting goal so we kept on walking.
The monument turned-out to be Maclear's Beacon which at 1086m is the highest point on Table Mountain, the view from up there was spectacular. After a short break for a drink and snacks we headed back round the mountain aiming for the cable-car station via a different route to the one we came by. As we were walking we encountered two animals resembling Mountain Goats, we later identified these as Himalayan Tahrs, introduced by Cecil Rhodes onto his estate which then escaped and made a new home on the mountain.
As we were walking along the most treacherous path we had come across (often less than a foot from a sheer drop to sudden-death) cloud set in and began to roll up the side of the mountain from below us. This made the journey a little more awkward as the wind had picked up as well, at times it was hard to tell exactly which way was up and which way was down! We got through this part of the walk unscathed but we did get a little lost as we could barely make out the yellow feet we were supposed to follow. But we made it out and headed back to the hotel for a rest - the '40-minute' walk had lasted 2½ hours!
In the evening we headed
for a Chinese restaurant called The Noon Gun on Longmarket Street, the walk
was almost as long as the one on the mountain and after getting to the top of
a VERY steep hill it turned-out the restaurant was closed! As the restaurant
had been James' choice I spent almost the whole trip back down the hill being
as sarcastic as I possibly could but James took it well. The whole thing turned
out to be a blessing in disguise as we stumbled across an exclusive little Italian
restaurant just off Bree Street called Strega. The atmosphere was great so we
decided to eat there, sadly they had no free tables but they allowed us to eat
in the lounge. Both the food and the service were fantastic, being sat in the
lounge eating great food and drinking plenty of Windhoek in big comfy-chairs
was a great way to end the day. At the end of the meal we filled-out a comment
card and praised both the food and the service, after the waiter had read this
he came over and told us that we'd made his day - he said that he'd been really
busy and though he'd given us poor service. He told us that if we come again
we should book as during the week they'd had to turn away the Mayor of Cape
Town because they were fully booked!
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