I have officially been in Cape Town for over three weeks! These past three weeks have been filled with the most fun and adventure I’ve ever had in my life, and Valentine’s Day was no exception.
Some of my housemates and I started our day by waking up early to head to the Old Biscuit Mill. The Old Biscuit Mill is a big open market in Cape Town that happens every Saturday morning. It has absolutely amazing food, clothes, fresh flowers and produce, and other little stands where locals can sell the stuff they make. It has the cutest vintage-y vibe, all of it was right up my alley. I ate so much food, one of the best iced lattes I’ve ever had, a delicious breakfast skillet, some Dutch mini pancakes that were so good I would not shut up about them for a solid 30 minutes after eating them, and a peanut butter smoothie. Not to mention I enjoyed all of this in beautiful weather with a live jazz band playing towards the end of the morning. Needless to say, I will be back next Saturday morning and most likely every other Saturday to come while I’m in Cape Town.
After our Old Biscuit Mill excursion, we headed into town for a District 6 Museum tour. District 6 is a former residential area in Cape Town where tens of thousands of non-white families were forcibly removed during apartheid. The people who lived in District 6 literally woke up one morning to go to work and saw in the newspapers that their houses were going to be torn down and they would be forced to live in a designated township based solely on their skin color. Everything was destroyed and bulldozed to the ground. Our tour guide was named Noor and he grew up in District 6. He showed us pictures of his house, told us stories about his family, and how much these forced removals impacted the lives of so many people. He told us about how some older residents literally died of broken hearts after being forced to move. He also told us of a friend of his who was considered Colored who was married to a Black woman and they had three children together. Once the forced removals occurred, the man and his wife were not allowed to live in the same township because of their different skin colors. He was only allowed to visit his wife and children once every three months for two hours, supervised. Absolutely heartbreaking. We all really enjoyed listening to Noor’s stories; he was quite a character and was very captivating to listen to. It was a beautiful museum and I’m so happy we had the opportunity to spend so much time there with such a wonderful tour guide.
Instead of spending another night out on Long Street, my housemate Lauren and I spontaneously decided to do a sunset Lion’s Head hike. Our timing didn’t exactly go as planned, however, and it was pretty much completely dark by the time we were only halfway up the mountain. Luckily we were equipped with flashlights and a lantern so we had some light along our way, but I can confidently say that it was one of the craziest things I’ve ever done! The views of the city at sunset and at night were unbelievable, though, and it certainly made the risk worth it. It was probably good that it was dark so that I couldn’t really see how high up we were, because I kept screaming to Lauren about exactly how high up we were for the last 20 minutes of the hike. On the way back down we tagged along with a big group of people who came from Stellenbosch to hike and spent the rough and rocky way down talking about America and how different it is from South Africa. It was such a fun night but we were exhausted by the time we got home. I barely changed out of my hiking clothes before I passed out! My day was filled with so much love for this city that continues to amaze me more than I ever thought possible.
At the District 6 museum, I met another American who was visiting Cape Town for a friends' wedding. I told her that I was here for five months to study abroad and she told me about her time studying abroad in Paris for a semester. She told me that she loved her time in Paris, but then remarked about how wonderful and unique Cape Town is as a city and how it would be the perfect place to study abroad. I couldn't agree more.
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<p>My name is Quinn and I am a junior at the University of Mary Washington majoring in Psychology. After undergrad, I hope to get my masters in school counseling. I enjoy reading, cooking, spending time with friends and family, and exploring new places. I cannot wait to see what is in store for me during my semester at the beautiful University of Cape Town! </p>