I am pretty good at spotting a bird in a bush or a leopard in a tree when travelling in a game reserve but when it comes to spotting just the right item of clothing in a crowded mall I need an expert to accompany me. My fashion guru friend, Sharon, is just right for this task so early on Saturday morning we made our biannual trip to the shopping Mecca of Cape Town – THE VICTORIA AND ALFRED WATERFRONT
Wikipedia describes it as follows:
The Victoria & Alfred Waterfront in the historic heart of Cape Town‘s working harbour is South Africa’s most-visited destination, having the highest rate of foreign tourists of any attraction in the country. Situated between Robben Island and Table Mountain and set against a backdrop of sea and mountain views, it offers a variety of shopping and entertainment options to visitors, intermingled with office locations, the Somerset Hospital, hotels (such as the historical Breakwater Lodge – once a 19th-century prison) and luxury apartments in the residential marina.
I couldn’t put it better myself but I shall try to put my personal slant on it as I describe my fabulous day spent there yesterday. We tend to get rather insular in my niche down in the deep, deep south of the southern suburbs of Cape Town and trekking ‘over the mountain’ is like going to a foreign country for some of us! Sharon and I were in high spirits as we set off leaving a galing black south easter behind us and entering a less windswept and sunnier city. I was too ‘snoep’ to park inside where you pay a fortune per hour so found an outdoor spot where we only paid R10 for the entire day! It required a short walk to the V&A entrance but we were cool with that!
I am visiting Australia in six weeks time so Christmas shopping was on the top of my agenda closely followed by Summer Wardrobe. This is where Fashion Guru Sharon was to prove helpful. Let me explain – when we go walking, Sharon will say – “Did you see that girl’s belt?” And I will reply, “No, where?’ A little further on I will ask, – “Did you see that bird?” And she will reply, “No, where?” So you see my need! Racks and racks of clothing – and I just get all confused. No seriously – I know what I want – it’s finding it that’s the problem. So having my fashion advisor is a great help.
Shoes, as you know are irresistible to any girl, even when she’s in her sixties, so it made sense to stop at Green Cross first – and yes – the perfect flatties suitable for old ladies were found and bought! Sometimes when we shop we get irritated that assistants are disinterested and unhelpful. But today we met a new calibre of sales people who looked as though they enjoyed what they were doing and bent over backwards to show us their wares. Perhaps they saw the Gold Card coming?
I was keen to get gifts of quality with an South African feel – novel but nice. Here again I was pleasantly surprised. Excellent service and enthusiasm from those selling form carts as well as those in the more formal shops and the prices were reasonable. I get really annoyed when I see tourists are being ripped off. I didn’t see much of it on The Waterfront yesterday! But having said that – tourists beware – it does happen – shop around!
After an hour or two of success we went to Melissa’s for a coffee – caffeine is so important for shopping stamina. We prowled every walkway, passage and shop and at lunchtime hit The Greek Fisherman, sat outdoors and had a delicious Sushi Platter for two – Yes I know – Japanese at a Greek Restaurant doesn’t sound right – but you can get sushi anywhere nowadays and it was excellent!
Our energies renewed, we set off to complete our shopping determined to explore every possible shop ending with the ‘platinum passage’ where the designer shops are situated – way above our budget but worth a visit anyway. Surprise, surprise – I saw a little number I couldn’t resist and on inspecting the price tag, found that I could in fact afford it!
Time flew and at 5 o’clock we needed coffee and Baklava before trekking back over the mountain to our normal lives. No more swanning it on foreign shores. But it was fun while it lasted and we did enjoy pretending to be fabulous in glamourland!
Thank you V&A Waterfront, The Greek Fisherman, La Player, Queen’s Park, Pia Boutique, Country Road, Forever New,Call it Spring, Zoom, The Red Shed and all the crafty carts for helping us into escapism. The retail therapy was great!