It felt quite strange this morning setting off knowing that, barring a brief ride across Cape Town, this would be our last proper journey in the saddle. No matter the conditions we were going to make it to the city today, but it was nice to be setting off in sunshine with a tailwind.
We dispatched the first hill of three with ease, Debs having given her injured limbs a good talking to, and headed down towards Chapman's Peak Drive. The drive is a famous, winding and narrow ocean road that hugs the cliff side for about 10km between Noordhoek and Hout Bay. It is also prone to being closed if the weather is too bad, which fortunately today it wasn't. Our ride into Cape Town wouldn't have been quite the same if we had had to take a detour.
The views along the road are pretty spectacular and not for the faint hearted, as the vertiginous sheer sides make for treacherous cycling; especially when the wind is buffeting you. An earlier sign may have declared the road conditions as good, but a strong south easterly being funnelled down by the mountains meant that it was tough going.
Upon reaching the peak, our proposed photo shoot was cut short by the strong winds. Debs refused to go too close to the edge for fear of being blown over!
Fortunately we found a sheltered spot later, as in a moment of terrific timing, we passed the 8000 mile mark!
Arriving in Hout Bay, we stopped for a well earned drink and then tackled what was to be our final hill of the day. From then on it was a straight ride along the coast to Cape Town.
Passing through the fashionable coastal suburbs of Camps Bay, Clifton and Bantry Bay, we continued to be buffeted by the wind; which we have since learnt is funnelled through the Twelve Apostles (17 peaks, so why 12 Apostles is anyone's guess) and onto the road. The coastal towns were all very attractive but sadly the Twelve Apostles were covered in cloud, as was, rather disappointingly, Table Mountain.
Following the beach road we arrived at the V & A waterfront and headed for the clock tower. After 16 months, 12,950km, 8000miles, 20 countries, varying landscapes, temperatures and cultures, not to mention more than a few beers, we had made it!
Even now I am still not sure how to feel about getting here. There have been times when we could easily have stopped and yet increasingly as we continued, there has been less and less doubt about actually making it.
Having found someone to take a photo of us, we sat down to a celebratory glass of wine. This was swiftly followed by another and then a cocktail and then when Debs' friend Russell arrived, a beer. The rest of our day, left us little time to reflect too much on our achievements, as having checked into our hostel; the, to put it frankly, pretty awful Big Blue Backpackers. We headed off with Russell for a tour of the city.
Our first stop was in the suburb of Milnerton for a view of Table Mountain. The weather had changed little since earlier, so the beach was very wind swept and the mountain was still covered by cloud.
Next we went to Bloubergstrand where many of the postcard shots of Table Mountain and Cape Town are taken from. Instead of looking at the still obscured mountain, we watched the many kite surfers risking their limbs in the strong winds and shark infested waters. Despite staying for a couple of beers, we didn't see anyone eaten so perhaps the waters aren't as shark infested as we were told. Russell did mention that there had been a few incidents in this area in the past though. Sailing through the air on a kite board and coming down on top of a shark, must be pretty traumatic for both the surfer and the shark!
Leaving the beach behind, we stopped for some dinner before heading to Russell's apartment for some more drinks. It was two very tired people that arrived back at the hostel just before midnight. It has been a brilliant, but very long day. We owe a big thanks to Russell for making our arrival in Cape Town so memorable.
We have the next week ahead of us to get everything ready for journey home. For now though, good night all and thanks for all the support.