Based largely on the fact that there is a Trails Illustrated map for the city of Cape Town and Table Mountain Park, I had been looking forward to this leg of the trip since I first arrived in South Africa. Unfortunately the weather today has been awful—“On a clear day, Table Mountain would be right in your face,” the taxi driver told me on our way into the city from the airport—but that was insufficient consolation for the thick low-hanging clouds that smothered the area and the views of what supposedly is this country’s most beautiful city.
With my rain jacket stuffed in my back pocket I went for a walk from my room at the hip Extreme Fire & Ice Hotel, the two best features of which are the outdoor 5-story climbing wall and the bar’s bathroom stalls, which recreate the experience of great white shark cage diving. I obviously did not get a chance to walk around all of Cape Town, but what I did see was very encouraging—it’s pedestrian friendly, cosmopolitan feeling, clean and maintained, and diverse. It reminded me of parts of both San Francisco and New York.