Like most people in the US, New York City has always been my favorite place to be. I am a tried and true city-girl - I like noises when I sleep and the ability to get anything I may want or need within a 10 block radius. I was privileged enough to live in Manhattan for a year and up until August, it took top spot of my favorite city on Earth.
Then I visited Cape Town.
I was overwhelmed by how much I loved it before I even arrived and upon driving in, late at night, to our hotel near the Waterfront, all of my hopes were confirmed. And that's without the view during the day.
Here's the thing; Cape Town has a rough history and it's people have been driven to hell and back, multiple times. It lagged way too long in the dark ages where separate areas of town where set aside for only certain people. So many of us know the struggle South Africans went through because we watched it on the news nightly in the late 80s and early 90s. South Africa became a dangerous place to be for tourists and many locals.
Then, slowly, they put their city back together in the most magnificent way.
Construction is abundant in Cape Town, with new and unique concepts for dining halls and entertainment districts popping up everywhere.
Wines of South Africa began to really shine and people took the delicious grapes from this region seriously.
Eco-tourism very slowly started to pop up, with divers and ocean enthusiasts coming from around the world to study the pristine waters of where two oceans meet.
I cannot begin to describe the amazing cultural blend of music, food, and creative thinking from people whose parents were part of a generation that didn't accept each other. Jazz and blues can be heard from various cafes, boasting delicious organic coffees and all walks of life. Young South Africans are seen flocking to wineries on the weekends to enjoy a food scene that is astonishingly fresh. No one stays in their homes if they can help it because they're too busy biking or hiking one of the hundreds of mountains in the area.
The cherry on top of all of this is that Cape Town seems to still live under the radar; there were few tourists anywhere we went and the dollar to zar was strong. We drank and ate like there was no tomorrow and consumed as much of the city as we could - a reward for being so beautiful. We couldn't find a single house or apartment that didn't have a view of a mountainside or the ocean, or both, which is almost impossible to do given the peninsula it sits on.
It's everything a city should be. I realize it has it's own issues and I'm sure the locals would have their say but I prefer to keep my rose colored glasses on as long as possible. Who cares if it's 24 hours of flying away? :) It has my heart and I cannot wait to return.