After our tour of Robben Island we decided to go to lunch and walk around Cape Town a bit. Unfortunately I did not take as many pictures as I should have during this leg of our day. We stayed down by the water front and took in the atmosphere of this tourist town. We walked around and grabbed lunch at a restaurant right by the water front. The wait staff was very polite and was very attentive. As I said in other posts, service in South Africa is top notch and the people who work in service seem to be extremely grateful to be serving customers.
After we ate we proceeded to walk around and take in the atmosphere. We went to the mall and saw how similar the mall in Cape Town felt to the malls in America. We also got a chance to take a picture with one of the signs that says “Table Mountain”, with the back drop obviously being Table Mountain. These signs are actually sprawled out around Cape Town for tourists to take pics with.
The first thing that I would say that I didn’t not expect while in Cape Town was the obvious European influence in its architecture (obviously if you know the history of South Africa this isn’t that surprising). Even though I haven’t been to Europe yet, I could imagine, that this is how some places there would look. Although there are a lot of Black people in Cape Town, I would say I was also surprised at the diversity. There were Indians, Chinese, and White people. It felt a little bit like Trinidad to me.
We had one more day in South Africa and we were going to use that last day discovering Cape Town and visiting Robben Island.
We purchased tickets to Robben Island prior so that we knew for sure we would have a place on the tour. They offer about 3 tours a day. Each tour takes about three hours. An hour each way to and from the island and an hour touring the island. We took a small boat to Robben Island.
The first part of the tour was the bus tour around the island. We had a guide who gave us the history of Robben Island and its many uses. Unlike what most think, Robben Island was not only for prisoners, it had many other uses including a place for leapers to live. The views from this island are amazing and breathtaking.
The final stop of the tour was the prison where Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years imprisoned. The tour started in a holding area where prisoners would first be brought to be booked and processed. While we all found a place to sit, a man came to the front and began telling us some of brutal history of the prison, and he revealed that he himself was also a prisoner for many years with Nelson Mandela. The tour continued as he walked us around the prison grounds telling us about the different sections of the prison, and some of the things that prisoners were forced to do. The tour finally concluded with us passing by the cell that was designated to Nelson Mandela.
Holding cell of prisoners
Grounds of the prison
Being on this tour was a great way to end our trip to South Africa. Walking the same steps of one of my heroes was a transient feeling that I will never forget. Walking the grounds and thinking of being imprisoned behind those walls for years was a sad feeling that reminded me how much people had sacrificed all over the world for black rights.
After the wedding my boyfriend and I went to the Airbnb that we were staying in on the property of Val De Vie. This place was HUGGGEEEE. We stayed there along with some of the other wedding guests. One thing that we had no idea of until we got there was that this was the exact same house that Prince Harry stayed in when he came to Val De Vie. We were mind blown once we found this out by seeing a picture of him and the house attendant standing in the house. Considering we all paid about $150 each for two nights, we couldn’t believe that we were staying in the same place as Prince Harry. “If it’s good enough for Prince Harry, It’s good enough for me” became my motto for our stay there. Our Airbnb also came with a house attendant who made us breakfast each morning. Once again I can not stress how amazing the people were while we were there. The lady was the care taker of the house, as the owners of the house only used that home to vacation, was amazing. She was so kind and warm and she seemed very happy to see black people renting out the home.
The house attendant who made us a wonderful breakfast
Us eating breakfast. If you look closely you can see the glass windows that are open up to a small pond
The day after the wedding my family decided to have a braai (BBQ) at the cottages where my parents and other relatives were staying. All guests were invited! Because it was New Years Day many places, including some grocery stores, were closed so we decided that we should purchase some extra food just in case there wasnt enough food for everyone. We all came to the consensuses that we should get a few extra buckets of chicken and french fries from KFC. I stand with my statements that KFC tastes wayyyyy better overseas than it does in the United States.
As we were driving off of Val De Vie property, I looked over out of the window, and what did we see but wild Zebra running around! This was so awesome and very unexpected! As we pulled over to look at them it seemed as though they were looking back at us like “What are these stupid humans doing?”. We eventually drove to KFC, got the extra food, and headed to the cottages where the braai would be taking place. Once we arrived it was surely a sight to see as we had to drive through a vineyard to get to the cottages( every place we went in South Africa was a sight to see). It was so great to be surrounded by family, friends, food, and a scenic background for another day!
The morning of the wedding I woke up after three hours of sleep and headed to my sisters cottage to begin the prepping for the day. I got my makeup and lashes done and all of us bridesmaids began doing what we had to do to get my sister ready for her big day. It was December 31st so this meant that we would be bringing in the new year with family and friends and celebrating my sisters big day!
My sister’s wedding was extravagant. It was truly a dream wedding. From the flowers, to the food, to the Rolls Royce that was sent to pick her up, everything was perfect. Her wedding was held at the Val De Vie Polo Club. As mentioned before ,this place is most well-known for Prince Harry taking part of polo matches. This club is in the wine lands and is surrounded by beautiful mountains and made for a beautiful backdrop for my sister’s wedding day. There was a cocktail hour where servers passed around an array of fresh cooked foods (so fresh that I burned my tongue). The servers were also taking requests of any drink that one wanted. Champagne was flowing as a marimba band played. There was also a caricature artist who was drawing pictures of guests. Once the wedding space was opened up to guests we were met with a beautiful place setting with our names on it. We also had a three course meal and an open bar that seemed to be stocked with everything and anything. The servers were amazing. I can not stress how grateful I was to those who worked my sister’s wedding because their kind nature, willing spirit and overall good attitude made the evening that much more pleasant. As midnight struck we all entered the new year together. It definitely was a magical night.
The afternoon after we arrived to Cape Town, we were on the move again. We traveled via private bus to Val De Vie Polo Club. Val De Vie is most notably known for housing Prince Harry and hosting his polo matches in South Africa.
Val De Vie is located in the wine lands outside of Cape Town and is about a 35 minute drive from the city.
Once we arrived to the estates we entered full blown wedding mode. The wedding rehearsal took place shortly after we arrived at Val de Vie and after that there was a braai (The word braai is Afrikaans for roasted meat) at a nearby country club. This BBQ was open to all guests of the wedding and not just those in the wedding. The foods that were included were traditional South African foods that I can not recall the name off. The meats that were roasted included steak and lamb (I am one for a good lamb). The service at this country club was amazing. The wait staff was extremely accommodating and were very kind. This gathering went on for about four hours and during that whole time the wait staff was there serving alcoholic drinks, coffees and lattes, ice cream floats, deserts, and anything else that we would ask for. I have never been anywhere in the United States where the service was as good as the service I experienced my whole time in South Africa.
After the dinner my boyfriend and I went to our designated cottage located on the Boschendal Wine Estates. This was about ten minutes away from the country club that the dinner was held. My sister initially rented these cottages for all the bridesmaids but some of them could not stay so this meant that my boyfriend and I had a cottage to ourselves. These cottages were sooooooooooo cute. The aesthetic was that of a country farm house. The bedroom and bathroom decor matched the living and kitchen area. My favorite part about the cottage was the bathroom. It had an all glass infinity shower, a stand alone bath tub, and mountain views.
For some reason we could not sleep that night and decided to stay up to see the sun rise. I am not one to miss sleep. I probably was still stuck on east coast time and could not fall asleep (maybe it was all the coffees I drank while at dinner) but either way I was down by default. Getting up and seeing the sunrise at 5am was such a treat. It was so beautiful being surrounded by the mountains, exotic sounding animals, and the beautiful views of Franschhoek Valley.
After watching the sun rise I finally fell asleep at around 6am. Considering that was the same day as my sisters wedding perhaps it wasnt the wisest thing to not get a good nights rest before that day but I was up within three hours getting my life together for my sisters dream wedding!
The day after Thanksgiving was my birthday and leading up to it I was filled with such excitement and joy. No, I wasn’t having a big birthday bash (which I never do because my friends are always out of town or with their family during Thanksgiving break) nor was I going on some special trip to celebrate. But what made me happiest about turning a year older was the fact that for the first time in my life I feel like my life is moving in the right direction, and as more time passes and the older I get, I am becoming the person that God has intended me to be. After I turned 24, I would always feel a sense of sadness and anxiety about getting older because I felt that I wasnt doing enough in my life. I would look at others and what they were doing and wish that it was me achieving more at that age. But now those feelings have been dispelled and I get filled with joy and excitement when I think about getting older and my future! I have been working on a few things that I know will make my life better and Im at the point where I just want to see the me two years from now when everything Ive been working towards come to pass.
My boyfriend didnt even know how obssessed with balloons I am, and yet he got me a whole bunch
I think I was more excited about receving balloons that getting anything else!
The year between 27 and 28 has been such an amazing journey. I have had friends and family members tell me how they have really been able to see a change in me and how proud they are of me for it. Who would have thought that a really bad break up, a crappy job and a new amazing boyfriend would have led me to have such an amazing year! A golden year at the age of 27! A year of exploration, finding myself, and finally feeling comfortable and confident in my own skin!
Im realizing now, that getting older isnt so bad if you have family and friends who love and support you. Just enjoy each part of the journey and always remember to strive to make each year GOLDEN!
The final place that we visited while in Tobago was Fort King George. Fort King George was built in the 1780s. The country has done a great job of preserving this site and here you can still find old cannons, a prison, barracks and a bell tank. Although this tourist site has many historical artifacts that are present the thing that had us most at awe were the views. We were lucky enough to go to the fort right as the sun was setting and this was the best thing that I had ever been a witness to. Seeing the sun set and looking down at the whole island really made me realize how truly blessed I am to see some of the sights that I was able to see on that trip.