Thursday 21 April 2011

African welcome

 What are the first things that strike one, returning to Cape Town after a few years in the northern hemisphere?

1.  The light. Yikes, it's bright! I feel like a mole that's just tunneled out from the gloom.

2.  The accents - once part of the local landscape, they now strike the ear with all their variety.

3.  The warmth and friendliness of people (and, after England, their slightly shocking, but so welcome, directness).

 View of Table Mountain from Cape Town's Waterfront yesterday

Day one -

which should, by rights, have been day two, were it not for a tricksy little valve on a reserve fuel tank that grounded our intended flight and had us chugging home on the M25 in the middle of the night, just around about the time we should have been winging it over the Sahara -

- we moved into Cape Town's historic Waterkant area, on the slopes of Signal Hill, overlooking the harbour. Part of the 'Malay Quarter', so-called because  it was originally settled and built by freed Muslim slaves from the East in the 1700s.

It's now a vibrant area of steep cobbled streets, characteristic architecture and interesting shops and places to eat, with views down to Table Bay

So many new shops to indulge my nostalgia for African artefacts  ...

and old favourite places to stop for tea ...

La Petite Tarte in the Cape Quarter adds a French touch to the mix of cultures

 Wheat free chocolate and hazelnut cake and a cup of Mariage Freres thé de l'opéra on the little covered terrace

And then back 'home' for a dip in late afternoon sunshine ...

 It doesn't get much better than this ...


  1. Dear Karen, It is seldom one gets the "feeling of the place" with photographs. Yours are the exception...It's almost like being there.

  2. Karen, I see what you mean about the light. It is spectacular! I agree with Gina that you are really able to show us where you are.

    Many thanks!

  3. You're right: it doesn't. So glad you're having so much fun and thanks for providing that explosion of colour for our Euro-pastel eyes.

  4. Dear Karen,
    I totally agree with Gina! Your photos are exceptional!

    Best wishes for a lovely Easter weekend and warmest greetings - karin

  5. Thank you for sharing these beautiful images of my beloved country! enjoy your stay and blessings to you
    Colette X ~Afrique du Sud

  6. Very nice! No, very, very nice! How blue is that sky?!

  7. What a dream! I have friends who live there, and "winter" in Europe (when our summer strikes). Seeing all those glorious sights you are sharing with us, I can even better understand their love for this country and affection for its people.

    May I confess to teacup envy? Love the size and shape and look. Do you by any chance know who creates such practical loveliness?

  8. Thank you all for your lovely comments! Hard not to find lovely pics to take in this beautiful part of the city. Merisi, I'm afraid I don't know the provenance of these teacups. This little café was first opened by a French woman with a love of tea and patisseries, who then sold it to an Italian woman with equally good taste, and is now owned by two South African foodies who previously ran a well-known restaurant serving French cuisine in the Cape winelands. I guess the collection of crockery could come from any of these diverse sources!

  9. Oh, now I really want to go there! Looks just fabulous.

  10. There is so little hurry about this, but just to explain, what I'm trying to do at cookedheads is open peoples minds about their own lives
    while I open my own mind about my own life. S.Africa is the posterchild nation of this idea. What struck me about all your photos from South Africa was the incredible creative/artistic/optimism of this
    people, this beautiful S.African people and how they've all pulled together to continue to make such a radical change for the better, if that makes sense.
    I can repost the post from the market exactly as it is and it will make this point perfectly, but when you mentioned that you wanted people to SEE South Africa, I knew
    what you meant and wondered if you wanted to expound on your entire trip home for exACTly that purpose.
    And thank you for playing this life with me, Tracy

  11. Great pics, thanks (said he, waking up after everyone else!). We'll be there in exactly eight weeks time and I'm filled with very mixed feelings about going back for the first time after 12 years.


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