We’re writing this with a question in mind. One that has many answers, some obvious and shared, and others slightly more personal. What does Cape Town mean to you? Well, to us, it is:
The aesthetics. The flat top mountain that towers gloriously over the city, spilling its disappearing white cloth. Lions Head and Rump, plastered against the sky and facing its taller counterpart, as if in submission to its majesty.
The beaches with their endless splendor and offerings. From the white expanse of the Noordhoek stretch to the rocky and less accessible gems along both sides of the peninsula. The capricious ocean that heaves and swells it’s dark and stormy bosom, and then relents, giving way to a cold glass surface. The unbound colour of the sunsets that are clearer and more vivid in winter.
It means verdant forests that allow convenient escape from the noise and humdrum of the city, and solace in nature. A hike up Silvermine, Chapman’s Peak, Table Mountain. India Venster if you’re brave.
As the sun dips, the sierra in the distance lets go of the light and slips into purple, with a jagged horizon that initiates a pastel-pink sky. It goes down and a nighttime vista of blinking city lights and the double-torches of meandering cars is revealed. Each flicker a representation of life, and individual perspective.
The weather can be unpredictable – understatement. It is invigorating. The day starts with cloud and whipping rain, then moments of brilliant sunshine, then hail, then rain with sunshine, and then hail with sunshine. Eventually, we are afforded a crisp and clear twilight splashed with pink and orange and red. Keeps us on our toes and changing clothes. But even in winter, we are often blessed with cloudless, sultry gifts.
Hout Bay to Camps Bay, Muizenberg with it’s unnerving proximity to Seal Island, yet still boasts a popular surf spot and eclectic mix of shops, cafes and restaurants. From Cape Point to Blouberg, the city and its expanse crashes and quiets, buzzes and whirs, bustles and whooshes.
And then it’s the panoply of building styles, ages and decrepitude. Worn out, unused spaces sit comfortably and unassumingly next to the tall and strong, boasting their modernism and purpose.
It means the culture and art, the bars and gastronomy. Cape Town means Iziko museums, the myriad galleries displaying local, creative artworks. It’s First and Third Thursdays with red wine and Meisies Kitchen. Moonlight Mass as a quirky, nighttime bicycle tour of Greenpoint, Mouille Point and back into the hubbub of Loop and Long, all under the watchful glow of the full moon. A fresh perspective on ‘green’ transport and promoting cyclist awareness. It’s Uthando tours to the townships that enlighten and inspire, and then the Benefit Concert that tells the story and showcases these incredible performance projects.
Then to market we go! Milnerton, Blue Bird, Oranjezicht with its exceptional vegetable garden nestled between restaurants and residences; sustainable, beautiful and delicious. The Biscuit Mill and all the way out to Noordhoek for the Cape Point Vineyards market, perched up on the mountain and hosting a variety of vendors and a selection of great wine.
The food… Oh The Food… For some, the most rewarding and exciting part of this multi-faceted city. Italian, French, Cape Malay, Persian, Greek, German, Chinese, Thai, and Fusion…the list goes on. And on. From delectable meat cuts at Carne to battered hake and chips at Fish on the Rocks that could cure a broken heart. Cape Town is Café Paradiso, La Parada, &Union for some serious sausage and crafty beer.
For us, it is ‘that’ rock looking out to the mountain and ocean, beer/wine/champagne in hand. It is the energy and ethos. It’s the place that gives back and keeps on giving. It is the marriage of a rich cultural city to Mother Nature.
What does Cape Town mean to you?