Africa - September 1, 2012

Can't believe we say goodbye to Africa today. Our flight isn't until 8pm, but the lovelies at The Backpack are letting us stow our things in a locked storage room so we can explore Cape Town one last time.

Pastries at Cape Town's Biscuit Mill Market.
First stop: Biscuit Mill Market. This restored mill in an up-and-coming section of town is packed every Saturday morning with dozens of chefs, baristas, and vendors selling every kind of gourmet, organic, fair-trade food imaginable.* We three feasted on breakfast crepes, then wandered from stall to stall drooling over pat├ęs, French pastries, Thai noodle dishes, hearty soups, local honey, and biltong. Bought several delicate, pastel macaroons for the road.**

Cape Town, seen from the Red Bus.
Following our cabbie's advice, we bought tickets for a Red Bus tour so we could spend the day checking out the entire city, hopping on and off whenever we wanted. Worked our way up to Table Mountain, which thankfully had emerged from the previous day's cloud shroud. Took a cable car 3,500 feet to the top,*** where we were rewarded with spectacular views of the city -- and a look at Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for 27 years.****

Robben Island as seen from Table Mountain.
The diversity of plant life on the mountain is staggering. More then 2,200 species are found here, so many that this small area was named the Cape Floristic Region, one of only six scientifically-recognized floral kingdoms in the world.

After returning to earth, we boarded a bus back to the V&A Waterfront, where we had a final fabulous three-course meal at the 100-year-old Hildebrand Ristorante***** before heading to the airport.

After a twelve-hour flight from Cape Town, we have nine hours to play in London before beginning the final leg home. So we've fled Heathrow to walk about and visit the Tate Modern. Our wonderful tourmates Terry and Tamara were on the same flight, and they showed us the best Tube route to the museum. Highlights: Oskar Fischinger's multimedia piece, a canvas by my favorite artist Lee Krasner, and the total sensory overload of the Poetry & Dream gallery. What a fitting way to end our adventure, which so often felt like a dream.

Lee Krasner's "Gothic Landscape" at the Tate Modern.
Brad's footnotes:
* Columbusites, it was like our Market Days downtown on Saturdays, but on crack -- and with a bent toward exquisitely crafted foods over fresh veggies. Makeshift tables were made of old doors propped on sawhorses, just like in Bibb City!
** Biltong is like what we call jerky, but a bit softer and tangier, as there's vinegar in the curing. It's awesome. Kate talked a nice local man into selling us all of his warthog biltong with a conversation that started thusly:
Kate: Hi. We're from America. 
Man (with complete sarcasm): No! Really?
*** Proud of Jenn, who never puked despite both the car's glass walls and my comment that they should've also made the floor out of glass.
**** And left the prison a man of peace and a champion.
***** Thanks to the Hildrebrand, which fed us on credit despite the fact that stupid CitiBank appeared to put a "suspicious halt" on our MasterCard, despite the fact that we called ahead of the trip to tell them where we'd be. Trust no one on these matters, people.

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