Shortly after lunchtime on Saturday, we picked up our friends from their guesthouse in Milnerton, and raced into town.
Our plan was to join our visitors on the Fan Walk, taking in the sights and sounds of the pre-match excitement, before returning to our car and haring it up to Mom’s to watch the actual match, while they walked onwards to the Stadium.
However, the unbelievable traffic congestion in central Cape Town scuppered that plan pretty quickly. According to the papers, about 300,000 people had descended on the city centre on Saturday afternoon. Bear in mind that our stadium can only accommodate about 66,000 people, and you can imagine how full the entire city centre was!
I know, it was utterly silly of us to think that we would be able to find parking near the start of the Fan Walk. I mean, really.
We adopted Plan B, which involved winding our way up to the Civic Centre along a most circuitous route to drop our friends off at the brand-new bus-station, to ensure that they at least would arrive at the stadium before the kick-off. Much to our relief, and thanks to the dedicated bus transport lanes, they made it safely and on time.
We, meanwhile, circumnavigated the congested city centre, by heading up to the Gardens, cutting across to Tamboerskloof, and driving back down into town, where we found a more or less legal parking spot (sshhh! don’t tell….). I grabbed the camera and we walked briskly down to the Fan Walk bridge across Buitengragt Street near the Prestwich Memorial.
We had painted the flags of South Africa and Germany on our cheeks to signal our team loyalties, and briefly joined the throngs of thousands of people on the Fan Walk that runs from the City Centre all the way to the Stadium. The crowds were so tightly packed, that it was difficult to move or to change direction, as we shuffled along with small steps.
There was a band playing as we arrived, with the loundspeakers thumping out the music so loudly that we could hardly hear anything else.
Fans were blowing vuvuzelas, everyone was waving flags, and people were wearing brightly coloured wigs, scarves, beanies and t-shirts and other stuff in their team colours; many had their faces painted with the colours of their favourite team, and stilt walkers in cheerful costumes were walking up and down, defying the laws of gravity! The vibe was just incredible! (You can see some brilliant pictures here: Cape Town shows the world how to street party.)
After about 15 minutes of this cheerful, noisy, colourful chaos, we had quite enough of the crowds, and took the next turning to the left to get away from the masses.
We squeezed ourselves into the courtyard of St Andrew’s Church, standing on the wall to get some pictures of the crowds. And then there was just enough time to walk quickly back to the car and drive up to Mom’s for the 16h00 kick-off.