Friday, September 23, 2011

Table Mountain

While it is a lovely sunny morning down here in the City Bowl, Cape Town’s signature feature – Table Mountain (which we are supposed to visit this morning) - is mostly swathed in an ugly looking cloud.

We begin working our way through the city’s sights, but the mountain dominates our attention. Will we get up there today? Roger explains mountain weather and the fact that the cable car system closes when it gets too windy (the only way to reach the top without a taking a very long hike). Meanwhile he continually checks his cell phone for confirmation that the cable car is open while maintaining a running commentary on the sights we are passing.

Despite the sunshine everywhere else, a trip up the mountain isn’t looking promising.

Then we get the word: the cable car is running!

We make a bee line for the mountain.

The cars used for the Table Mountain Aerial Cableway are the same as the ones used by the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway.

Soon a car is on its way. . .

Our chariot has arrived!

Unfortunately, the windows are really scratched and dirty and that, combined with the rotation, makes getting decent shots almost impossible. This video from the Cableway’s website might provide a better idea of what the trip up is like.



Luckily, it doesn’t take much time to reach the top.

Except that it is unexpectedly cold and windy up here in the clouds. (Why I'm always surprised to discover cold weather at the top of a mountain is a bit of a mystery. I should expect this by now!) We are, literally, in the clouds – cold wet clouds that engulf us, briefly release us into warm sunshine, and then overtaking us again. It means the view periodically disappears completely from sight.

The clouds, of course, make it easy to focus on those things near at hand, mostly fascinating fynbos vegetation, but also a few birds and the cableway’s infrastructure.

It looks like it might be clearing down there,

but the clouds are still hanging around up here.

Time to return. (And warm up.)


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