Day 31, Wednesday, March 26, Port Elizabeth, South Africa

The Crystal Symphony is in Singapore. The MS Amsterdam is at sea from Reunion Island to Durban, South Africa.

After rising at 5 and was heading up to the lido for coffee 15 minutes later I could see jettys very close to the port side of the ship. We backed into the berth in Port Elizabeth a little before 5:45 in near darkness. There was a definite morning chill and I stopped in my room on the first lap of my 5-lap walk to get a jacket. By the time the sun came up we were solidly fixed to the dock although the ship wasn’t cleared until 8AM.

I had booked 2 tours today but they wore both cancelled. One was a walking tour and it appeared I could do that on my own. Leaving the ship about 8:30, the first half mile was really not pleasant. The road out of the port had embedded railroad tracks, several checkpoints, rough places, and no clear place to walk. There was a landmark to make the route out very plain, the 1923 “Campanile” bell tower was a 170-foot beacon for the exit.

Once outside the port there were stairs leading into the center of town and the rest of the city was more pedestrean friendly. Nearby were the 1860 City Hall, the 1902 Public Library, and Anglican and Catholic Cathedrals.

Port Elizabeth was founded in 1820 by Sir Rufane Donkin and named for his wife Elizabeth. Donkin reserve is a large open space above the town square with a lighthouse, a pyramid monument to Elizabeth, and a huge flag. It is relatively the same elevation and just a couple blocks from Fort Frederick, a fortification named after Frederick, the Duke of York. Built in 1799 to defend the mouth of the Baakens River, the fort never fired a shot and today is a little more than a few brick walls.

After Fort Frederick I continued another half mile inland to St. Georges Park, a large park which is also home to the Cricket stadium and the Great War Memorial. On my way back I passed the Opera House and took a walk down the main shopping street. My final stop was the Campanile where I climbed the 204 steps to the top and got lovely views of the area. Near the top was a room with the machinery for playing the bells.

I returned to the Serenity just after 12, and took the shuttle to the Boardwalk shopping center. Not finding much of interest there I was back at the ship for lunch about 1:30.

Much of the afternoon was spent packing although I did get to Afternoon Tea. All aboard was at 4:30 and Louis Sang at 4:55. It was a pretty short sail out past the breakwater.

At table 102 people had done a variety of things for the day including an elephant back safari and a visit to the townships. One of my tablemates has an evening tour in Cape Town and will not be with us the final night. Our evening entertainment was hypnotist David Knight. I was actually kind of drowsy but he was quite well received.

As today’s parting shot as I write this I have less than 36 hours remaining on the Crystal Serenity. I wish those coming on when I leave either stress free travel or a wonderful stay in Cape Town.

Roy

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