Victoria and Alfred

That’s right, Alfred not Albert.  Alfred was one of Victoria’s sons who dedicated this port area in the 19th century.  The V&A Waterfront, as it is called, has been repurposed, although not completely repurposed, as entertainment and shopping district.  It still has working dry docks for small vessels, so along with the music and laughter you can hear sand blasting and grinding.  While we were there a Taiwanese vessel was being fixed.  From comments I heard, not everyone likes the multiple use of the area.

V&A patrons are multi-racial.  The supermarket could be called rainbow foods, not only because of the faces but the different spices and food available.  In the plazas different African groups perform, the “Save Us All Gospel Choir”, a band of marimbas and drums, and an 8 voice (and 16 high stepping feet) male choir singing close harmony.   When the “Save us alls” are done singing they get out in front of the marimbas and do some mean dance steps.  They draw in a lot of the spectators to dance with them.

The old waterfront is a combination of historic buildings with modern galleries, museums, including the Nelson Mandela Gateway Robben Island interpretive center, shops, pleasure crafts and restaurants, lots of restaurants.  And if that isn’t enough there are seals lounging on the docks and fishing under them.  There’s even a board walk perfectly situated this time of year for sunsets, and turn around and the sun reflects off of Table Mountain’s “table cloth,” the cloud that descends and then lifts from Cape Town’s iconic peak.

The V&A is 10 minutes walking distance from the ship but Holland America provides a shuttle bus.  We were warned several times not to walk it at night.  We went there once during the day, and both of our nights in Cape Town, getting there in time for sunset.  We had lovely food and wine on the water picked up some essentials at the grocery store and paid homage to South Africa’s 4 Nobel laureates at Nobel Square, where they stand together in statue with a constant line of people waiting to take their selfie with Nelson Mandela and, to a lesser extent, Archbishop Tutu.  On one seems to want to have her picture taken with F.W. de Klerk.

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