After TDA, The Final Chapter !!

So we’d arrived back at the Breakwater Hotel, collected our left luggage and checked into our room. First priority with me at this point is to sort out good boxes for our bikes, we emailed a few bike shops and got a quick response, arranged to collect boxes in the morning. That done we looked forward to our evenings entertainment, we’d booked two tickets for Madame Zingara’s show. The show is in a huge marquee and is lavishly decorated, the seating is all at tables and booths around a centre stage and all the waiters and waitresses are dressed up in outrageous costumes. The ticket included a very excellent three course dinner, each course served between acts. The food as I said was excellent but just as good was the impeccable service, the organisation was first rate.
The acts were a mix of circus, acrobatic and comedy, our “hostess” was a very tall transvestite / cross dresser , not sure which, by the name of Cindy !!
We were actually in a booth and shared the table with two other couples, we all got on well and had a fantastic evening. Naomi hung around after and had her photo taken with some of the acts…..

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All in the best possible taste !!
The following morning we collected the boxes and set about dismantling and packing our bikes, now after so many times I’ve got this down to a fine art and with Naomi’s help it really didn’t take to long. Before you knew it both bikes were packed, labelled and safely stored in the left luggage room, our transfers to the airport were then booked and I finally began to relax a little !!
We walked into downtown Capetown in the afternoon and just looked around, took photos, stopped for food and drinks and just generally soaked up the atmosphere 😉

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Some photos from downtown Capetown 😉

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And a few from the Waterfront in Capetown 😉
Next morning we were straight to the harbour and bought tickets to Robben Island, the prison which held Nelson Mandela for so many years.
The journey out to the island is fairly long and just makes you realise how hard it would be to escape from the island, the currents are also quite strong here !
The tour at the prison is given by an ex inmate from about the same period as Mandela. The tour was interesting although a little monotone, the prison was foreboding and the cells incredibly small, it’s a testament to Mandela that he came out sane and with little or no hostility to his prisoners !!
There’s not much else to see on the island, it really is quite depressing and we were happy to be leaving so soon….nice to have that luxury !!

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Very difficult to convey just how austere this place really was, the last picture, a single cell and home to Nelson Mandela for so long !!
On return to Capetown we took time out to , eat, drink, rest and shop before planning the next days itinerary 😉
We’d had a bad experience on our way from Stellenbosch to Kalk Bay and wanted to find out more about District 6, we’d heard from a friend that there was a museum in Capetown so we jumped in a taxi and were on our way. Half way there we looked up to see that Table Mountain was free from cloud, a quick discussion and a change of plan saw the taxi drop us at the cable car entrance.
No queue, we could hardly believe our luck, we were on our way to the top in less than 5 minutes !!
Once at the top it’s cameras at the ready, some fabulous views, dramatic drops, wildlife and nature are all there to be recorded. There are several marked walks once at the top and we took a medium length one, stopping for a very good and reasonably priced meal on route. One of my favourite photos is this one……

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We were so lucky to have had the break in the weather, here are a few more photos from the top…

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What a great experience !!
With still enough hours left in the day we still had time for The District 6 museum. It’s a museum dedicated to those black Africans that were forcibly evicted from there homes in the 1960’s and moved to townships just to make way for a “whites only suburb” !
It’s hard to believe that only 45 years ago this was still happening in a civilised society. The museum is now housed in a church having recently moved, inside the entire floor is a map showing District 6 as it was. The original street signs now displayed on a huge pole, like some modern art sculpture. There are display boards showing the evictions, subsequent demolition and also stories from the residents on how it affected them. Upstairs are mock ups of local shops, homes etc with recorded interviews form the original owners and residents. The voices strong with emotion at the destruction of there communities and lives, the families and neighbours that had such strong bonds suddenly forced apart, with all of this it’s hardly surprising that Khaleiteisha, the large township housing approx 2 million original or descendants of District 6 has descended into violence. The people who run the museum are also ex District 6 residents, there stories of growing up were colourful, numerous and never once did we here any animosity towards anyone. They are working with the government to get people back into District 6, the place was never built on and the only buildings not destroyed were churches. To get back you have to prove you were once a resident, it’s a slow process but hopefully it will work and then finally there will be some peace !!
We asked at the museum about whether we’d done the right thing getting a lift around the township, it was a unanimous “yes”. Still not a great feeling but at least we were safe 😉

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Pictures from District 6 Museum, run by people with so much dignity and honour. Hard to believe that their own government could treat them so badly !!
The next day would see us fly home, we didn’t do much with our last morning in Capetown except eat, drink and shop. We also took time to look back at our adventure and achievements. We both agreed that although TDA was incredible and memorable we both enjoyed our ten days around Capetown just as much. Being back on our own, making our own choices, riding at our own pace etc was what we wanted to do. I’m not for one moment dismissing TDA, it was fantastic, an adventure of a lifetime and we knew what we were getting into but I think there were quite a few that were grateful to have finally reached Capetown and could stop !!
Again my thanks to all at TDA, the riders both full tour and stage, the fast, the strong, the funny, the dedicated……I wish you all good fortune and many happy miles cycling.
Best Wishes
JC

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From Cairo to Capetown 2013

About John Chevis

I'm a forty something single guy who spent far to long depressed, but luckily for me I found an answer in the form of exercise !! I started running and cycling on a regular basis and now two and a half years later I'm cycling the world !!
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