My first end-of-term break as a teacher started a week earlier than everyone else’s since I had to go to Windhoek for surgery. My first two weeks off from school were spent recovering – sleeping and watching baking shows – and being excited for the trip I had planned going to Cape Town then Swakopmund.
After spending a long time in the capital (and seeing the new Avengers movie three times) I finally boarded a plane to Cape Town to meet up with a friend from the states, Alex, for the real vacation.
Cape Town was different than anything I have experienced in Southern Africa so far, and was the biggest city I have visited since arriving to serve as a Peace Corps volunteer.
We stayed in a little flat in Green Point, which was only a ten-minute walk away from the Victoria and Albert Waterfront, where we had our first meal in country – McDonald’s. And I’ll fight anyone who judges me for it. Because sometimes you need chicken nuggets, alright?
We spent our first full day exploring the city, including reuniting with my friend, McKenzie, who was able to visit me in Namibia a month earlier.
We visited the District Six museum, where we learned a lot about Cape Town under apartheid.
We even found a “castle”.
That night we met up with some other PCVs in town for Mexican food. And while it definitely was not the same as the real thing, I realized how much I missed it.
The next day we got up early and took a train to Simon’s Town, home of Boulder’s Beach and penguins.
The beach was about a mile walk from town and there were a lot of them just hanging out in the bushes on either side of the walking path. We also saw little creatures called dassies or “rock rabbits” which were adorable balls of fluff. But of course, our attention was more captured by a cat.
That night we went back out for a wine tasting event that took place across 13 different locations on some of the main streets downtown with two other PCVs. It was great, especially since we ended the night at a taco place and I had one of the best burritos ever eaten.
Our last day in the city was much more relaxed. We spent the first half of the day exploring the waterfront and a really great modern art gallery. We also had Thai food. We then headed over to Table Mountain – we decided to take the cable car since it was about a 3 hour hike up and we figured it wasn’t best to try and best it, especially since I had surgery only two weeks earlier.
The views from the top of the mountain were incredible. We went right as the sun was setting. The sun was glowing like a fireball as it set over the ocean, reflecting onto the city. We were able to pick out the waterfront, close to our flat, and the large ports that ran along the coast.
We were also able to look out to Robben Island, a former prison during the era of apartheid. One of the most famous prisoners was Nelson Mandela. We weren’t able to make it there for a tour this time, but it is a place I definitely want to get back to.
The next morning we said goodbye to Cape Town and took a flight back to Namibia to go to Swakopmund. It was my third time there this year and it is quickly becoming one of my favourite towns in the country, mostly because of the ocean. We spent a pretty lazy weekend there, just enjoying the ocean and the incredible food. Also, Alex introduced me to the Kingsman movies, which I highly recommend if you haven’t seen them. They’re hilarious.
We visited the National Aquarium while we were there – it only took around 15 minutes to walk through completely, but it was a cute little place. We also saw Infinity War – Alex’s third time and my fourth – at the tiny cinema in town.
We also hiked Dune 7 – The tallest sand dune in Namibia. It was a hard scramble to the top (for me – Alex was fine) but it was worth it to say that we climbed it. And I probably never will again.
On our last night we went to dinner at Kucki’s Pub, a restaurant that I first discovered with my grandparents during their visit in March. And I had the amazing garlic butter steak, again. I will never not have the garlic butter steak.
The next day we headed back to my site for a couple of days. We didn’t do much – mostly because there isn’t much to do since it clears out during school holidays. But, it was really great to finally show someone from home how I’ve been living. Thankfully though, we didn’t have any electricity or water outages while Alex was there.
For the last leg of vacation we headed to Windhoek so that Alex could see the Peace Corps office and a few other places, mostly to find a few gifts for his family.On that final day we managed to grab a quick breakfast from one of my favourite little delis before we walked to Alex’s shuttle to take him to the airport. It was sad to say goodbye, but I’m really happy that he was able to make the trip.