Journal Entry for June 9th
Table Mountain and Robben Island
After a good nights rest, we awoke to a sunny day in beautiful Cape Town. After a warm breakfast, we boarded the bus to take a quick tour around the city. This short ride led us to the base of Table Mountain. The gondola ride to the top offered a stunning look with the Cape Town skyline and the harbor right in front for us to enjoy. At the top, we got a chance to stretch our legs as we enjoyed the incredible (360 degree) view. We hiked the paths at the top stopping at each vantage point.
After spending the morning on the mountain, we headed down to the waterfront to enjoy lunch and a bit of browsing through the shops. Then the group met up and filed on to a small ferry and headed over to Robben Island for the much awaited tour of the famous prison. We first took a bus-driven tour around the grounds of the prison and learned about the history, famous residents, and importance of the area. We then exited the bus and were led into the actual jail where Sparks, a former political prisoner, led us around some of the jail cells, courtyards, bathrooms, and other areas of the prison. We even got to see Nelson Mandela's cell! Being face-to face in South Africa with this history was moving. The experience was especially powerful because our guide was a former prisoner who lived at Robben Island during the apartheid era. A few students in our group interviewed our guide at the end of the tour for one of their oral histories. Sparks was very willing to stay and share what it was like for his family during apartheid and post-apartheid times. Today was certainly a day we all will never forget and will hold with us forever.
Journal Entry for June 10, 2009
Khotso, a 29-year-old resident of Cape Town but native of Jo’burg, was our tour guide for District 6. Following the driving tour of the district and visit to the museum, we walked around the colorful streets of an area of Dutch-influenced and preserved architecture, now home to a substantial Muslim population.
After a brief stop back at Dale Court Guest House we went off to our last flea market of the trip, the illustrious Green Market Square where final gifts and souvenirs were purchased (including some fantastic drums). Several group members walked up the street to a bead store to acquire African beads for jewelry-making or future ECC and Saratoga elementary school projects while others enjoyed smoothies and coffees at outdoor cafes.
We returned to the hotel in the afternoon to begin packing and get ready for our final night in South Africa. We enjoyed a wonderful joint-celebration of the journey’s culmination and Melissa’s 21st birthday at the Quay Four restaurant on the wharf – a final night of delicious food, desserts, Springbokkies, and plenty of dancing.
Can’t believe it’s time to start the long trek home tomorrow already…