Thursday, October 22, 2015

A blustery day on the Cape Peninsula – followed by exquisite soccer

With clouds covering Lion's Peak above our hotel window, and rain in the forecast, we bagged our plan to climb Table Mountain on our second day in Capetown (June 29, 2010) and opted to drive around the Cape Peninsula and reach the Cape of Good Hope.  At first, even this seemed a bad choice - after we rounded the impressive Chapman's Peak along the Atlantic coast of the Peninsula,

the rain started lashing down and I could not see even walking a few hundred meters once we reached the bottom of Africa.  When we stopped at Boulders Beach in Simon's Town on the Indian Ocean side of the Peninsula, the rain was so hard that Nancy wouldn't even get out of the car; but those penguins that were not hiding from the pelting rain and hail were certainly cute.

The culinary choices in Simon's Town did not seem appealing, so we heading up to Kalk Bay for an excellent seafood lunch at Live Bait (thanks to the LP), and while we were eating the rain began to let up.

Heartened by that, we decided to drive into the Cape Peninsula section of the national park; the rain was gone and we could even see patches of blue sky.  The combination of rain and hard wind produces a collection of interesting flora

When we reached the Cape of Good Hope, we paused with the sign marking our driving accomplishment


then took the trail

up to the top of the cape for the view.


On the way back we saw a blesbock - a rare antelope with a white face and white rump -   browsing by the ocean

and drove over to the Cape Point Lighthouse and walked up to the top. 

As we drove back toward Chapman's Peak, we saw a lovely sunset

and the weather was nice enough that we were all able to leave the car to enjoy the views.

We had known that we were going to be in Cape Town on June 29 for several months, and I had been kicking myself for not having the foresight to buy the Round of 16 ticket for that date.  But we were intent on seeing a Cape Town game, and Spain is Joe's favorite team - all three of us love to watch them play, easily our favorite European team.  We got back to our hotel just in time to walk over to the Green Point stadium where we paid a 50% markup for tickets to see Spain play Portugal.  We celebrated our first win of that game - getting through security because we had bought valid tickets.

  The stadium was lovely, easily the nicest stadium we have been in,

 although Soccer City may well be equally nice - Joe in particular is sad that our decision to linger in Cape Town will make us miss seeing a game at that stadium, which looks so nice from the outside.  (Shona, Max and Craig used our tickets, and confirmed that the stadium is as nice inside as it is outside).  Sam and Joe scored Category One tickets, albeit way up in the nosebleed part of the stadium; my Category Four seat was behind the goal, two levels up.  The views from all seats was terrific.  At halftime I learned that, even though the stadium was almost full, the one empty seat in Sam and Joe's section was right next to them, so we were able to watch the second half together.

And, what soccer!   Levels above anything we had seen in our three Group C games.  Apart from the ineffectiveness of both Ronaldo and Torres, flopping and complaining all the way, the passing, the shot attempts, and finally David Villa's fine goal.  It was amazing to think that half of the players on the pitch for Spain were from Barca, my favorite club team outside the United States.  We were ecstatic along with the rest of the Spain fans

As we walked back to our hotel, we stopped in a Portuguese restaurant for dinner.  We felt badly at 11:15 after we placed our order, thinking it was our fault that the staff had to hang around instead of going home to bed. But then the Portuguese fans began pouring in, and by the time we left at midnight the place was jumping. \

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