Out on the Town

It was quite a change for a Monday morning - waking up after the kids were all in their schoolrooms, taking time to eat and bath and get dressed in non-uniform clothing. But by 9 we were off to Cape Town and the National Museum!

Instead of a mere 40 minutes of run-around time, we walked through at our own pace - and took 3 1/2 hours to see everything. It's quite a convoluted building, with all sorts of nooks and crannies crammed with dusty stuffed beasts, exhibits of everything you can imagine, things in jars, history of ancient local groups. We really enjoyed it.

But by the end of it, we were prowling for lunch. We walked right through the Company Gardens - a green space in the city centre, filled with things that were planted 100 years ago. It's a popular place to hang out - but with so many paths and shrubs and trees you hardly notice the hundreds of people there. We walked the entire length of the gardens, and found the National Library (who knew there was one!) right opposite the Parliament buildings. The kid was wide-eyed at a real stone church (St George's Cathedral), but then our sore feet and growling tummies turned us around again to find food. We had lunch at the Gardens Restaurant, out under the trees and warm sun, surrounded by birds and squirrels. At the table next to us, Portuguese was being spoken. The next table, Spanish. And German a little further on. A variety of colours, shapes and styles of people were relaxing over lunch - from dredlocked students to lawyers clutching their robes. A true community melting-pot in the middle of the city.

We were hoping to hit the Art Gallery next - but contrary to their online info they are closed to the public on Mondays. However, they're free on Saturdays - so we may make the effort one weekend. We also picked up info on the West Coast Fossil Park, and a cultural map of Cape Town that lists places we never suspected were hiding in back roads and suburbs.

Cutting out the art enabled us to leave well before rush-hour traffic built up. The kid had a ball skipping school, and it was great to hang out together and explore.

He's mentioned he wants to do high-school - at least one year to "just see what it's like" - but perhaps has started to realize how fun learning can be outside of classrooms and uniforms and keep-in-line rules. Would he have learnt anything if he'd been in school? Maybe - though much of what they do is repetitive busywork. Did he learn things yesterday? Indeed he did!

The "country cousins" went to town. And came back with a lot of good things in their heads.