Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Monday, October 7, 2013

Monday Musings: Cape Town, South Africa

Hubby and I left for South Africa on 9/17. Thirty one long hours later, we arrived in Cape Town. It was raining buckets. It was the coldest in long-term memory. And there was snow atop Table Mountain, a very unusual occurrence. I had to ask our guide to take me to a shopping mall so I could buy a fleece vest. I'd only brought a light jacket.

Malay Quarter
But did this deter us from taking a tour of the city? Nope, we drove around in the pouring rain, unable to get out of the car, but seeing the Malay quarter, downtown, and even the beaches. It was actually quite cool to see the ocean during the storm.

Normally quite calm, the waves were reaching 20 feet in some places. During Apartheid, the city was divided into quarters - Blacks lived in one place, Malaysian folks in another, etc. It was the law.

a penguin colony on the way to the Cape Peninsula
Fortunately, the weather cleared up some the next day and we were able to take our full-day tour to the Cape of Good Hope, the southern most point in Africa. Pics can't capture the beauty, but they can sure give you an idea, I hope.

on the way to the Cape

This is actually the Cape of Good Hope

One highlight of our visit to Cape Town was the opportunity to go to Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned. The tour guides there are former prisoners themselves, so you get a unique and personal sense of what it was like. Chilling!

Nelson Mandela's cell

The day before we left Cape Town, the weather was exquisite and we were finally able to go to the top of Table Mountain. The view of the city and its surroundings was spectacular. There are no roads up to the top, only a cable car.


That's Robben Island in the distance

Another mountain the call Lion's Head

Cape Town

We spent five glorious days in this lovely city and then boarded a flight for the safari portion of our adventure. Tune in tomorrow for a recap of that amazing experience.



Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

The pictures are amazing! You don't take that tram ride if you're afraid of heights. Cool you were able to tour that prison. Scary to think it really wasn't that long ago.

Jessica Bell said...

Looks absolutely stunning, Karen! I think that rain might have been a blessing. The ocean would have been tremendous in that weather.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post Karen and those pictures are awesome. How lucky to have gone. Pleased you're home safe and sound.

Optimistic Existentialist said...

Oh my goodness that view is unlike anything I've ever seen! Was that cable a scary ride?

Elizabeth Spann Craig/Riley Adams said...

So glad the weather cleared up for you! I loved my trip to Africa this summer and I was excited to hear that you were going--looks like a wonderful vacation! That coast is beautiful. Glad you made it home safely.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

Look at the penguins!!

Karen, your photos are gorgeous. I hope you will share more.

L.G. Smith said...

Wow, such a dramatic landscape. And so eerie to see Nelson Mandela's prison cell. Glad the weather finally cooperated. I always under pack for trips, and I never learn!

Rachel Schieffelbein said...

Sorry the weather wasn't super cooperative, but these pictures are amazing!

LD Masterson said...

Thank you for that picturesque tour. It was beautiful.

Karen Walker said...

Alex, I'm not afraid of heights, but I do get vertigo sometimes. Didn't this time, tho'.
Jess, I think you're right
Yvonne, I do feel very blessed
Optimistic, ironically, the cable ride was not scary. Of course, there was no wind. They close it at the slightest sign of too much wind.
Thanks, Elizabeth. We should compare notes.
Diane, I feel in love with those little guys. And thanks about the photos - coming from you, it means a lot.
LG, I usually overpack, but not this time. See, you just never know!
Rachel, thanks
LD, you're welcome.
More to come tomorrow, folks.

Arlee Bird said...

Wonderful photos. Love the colors in the Malay Quarter. Rain and colder weather sounds good to me. I think we'll be getting some later in the week.

The sights around Cape Town look just grand. You are fortunate to have been able to go there.

Wrote By Rote

Siv Ottem said...

Amazing Photos's! What a beautiful trip you had and I love penguins too:)

Karen Jones Gowen said...

I think I'd have a problem in that cable car going to Table Mountain, I'm so afraid of heights. I'll show these pics to my son. He lived in and around Capetown for two years and loved it.

Karen Walker said...

Arlee Bird, I feel so fortunate to have been able to make this trip, both financially and physically. Cape Town is a beautiful city, for sure.
Siv, the penguins were incredible.
Karen, I thought I'd have trouble, too, but it was very stable and I just look down at my feet if I get nervous. It was worth the few minutes to see the sights from on top of the mountain.

Pk Hrezo said...

Wow Karen those pics are spectacular! I'm dying to visit SA. So glad you shared your pics and journey with us.

Suze said...

Karen, I am all tingly after viewing these images and reading your words. Thank you so much for posting and allowing us to live it vicariously.

(I love that colony of penguins. Ah, this post was just amazing in every way!)

Stephanie Faris said...

What an amazing trip. I'd say it's the trip of a lifetime because many of us would dream of a trip like that but probably won't accomplish it in our lifetimes!

Karen Walker said...

Pk, thanks - hope you get there someday - I think all of us should see these animals in their natural habitat, rather than a zoo. I'm not knocking zoos - they are there for those who won't ever have a chance like I did.
Suze, thank you so much for your kind words
Stephanie, I am 64 - I had to wait a long time for something like this - never say never!

Heather M. Gardner said...

Beautiful shots!

Thanks for sharing them with us!


Tonja said...

Wow. Great pictures. Thanks for sharing them with us.

Karen Walker said...

Heather/Tonja - you're welcome. It's fun to share

Linda Hoye said...

Beautiful photos!

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Karen .. wonderful to see Cape Town through your eyes and today 20+ years later .. it's such an incredible place.

I've never been to Robben Island - my next trip out sometime! The drives around Cape Town are amazing .. such views .. and by chance did you get up to Kirstenbosch .. the gardens there? Possibly not - there's so much else to see ...

Wonderful you got up to the top of Table Mountain - such a magical place and wonderful views ..

You have some gorgeous photos - wild and beautiful .. freezing - I can remember days like those! But then the sun comes out ..

Cheers - looking forward to your Safari ones .. and I hope some more along the way .. so happy you had a lovely time -Hilary

Karen Walker said...

Linda, thanks
Hilary, yes, we did get to Kirstenbosch and it was very very lovely.

Michelle Wallace said...

You captured some lovely pics of Cape Town.
It IS undoubtedly one of the most scenic cities in South Africa... a tourist's paradise...
The Cape peninsula is stunning!
And I've only been up Table Mountain twice... once by foot and the other by cable car.