The first leg of our trip is a four day stint in Cape Town. We are staying at the University of Cape Town, which is situated at the base of a mountain and overlooks the city. We had been told that Cape Town is one of the most beautiful cities in the world, and it certainly lives up to that reputation.

We’ve already spent one day here. So far, we’ve had a brief walking tour of the city with our guide Mike (a UCT graduate), enjoyed some Middle Eastern food, and visited the District 6 Museum, which chronicled the destruction of a vibrant sector of Cape Town during Apartheid. One of the founders of the museum, Noor, who used to live in District 6, gave us a first hand retelling of the horror of watching your home be destroyed by the government because of the color of your skin. However, he did not harbor anger. “We are just glad it’s over,” he said, “there’s no point staying angry.”

We returned to UCT about four hours ago after a lively ride in a real South African Taxi. All 15 of us crammed into an old Toyota van. In the past, these particular vans had been considered unsafe for whites to ride; while times have changed, most whites still drive their own cars. The taxi driver was so excited to have a van full of Americans that at the University he got out and had our guide take a picture with all of us so he could show his wife! This was also a treat for us: all semester we’ve studied the divisions and destruction of Apartheid, but the current state of affairs, at least in Cape Town, shows that real progress has been made.

Tonight, we are going to dinner in the city with our guide, before returning to the University to rest before a tour of the wine-country tomorrow.

Forgive me for not including photos; UCT doesn’t have free wifi, so I am going to upload this via cellular data as a test to see how large the file is. Hopefully it won’t be too expensive! (The photo of Cape Town, loaded by the editorial staff back in Golden, is published courtesy of the United Nations’ photostream on Flickr.)