Friday March 10, 2006 – Stellenbosch, Wine Country and Cape Town
We made our way to Stellenbosch, the 2nd oldest town in SA in Wine Country just outside of Cape Town. It was one of the prettiest towns I have ever seen – a very quaint university town with Victorian style white buildings. One of those places where you can’t find the supermarket because it’s hidden in a beautiful stone building. We stayed at the appropriately named Stumble Inn, the only backpacker situated in the center of town. The next day we headed to the wineries to do a little tasting. First we visited Asara, with wonderful views where we sat outside and were served ten different wines for only 30 Rand ($5). Flo and I did a taste testing contest and I beat the frenchman! I had 7 out of 10 correct and Flo only 5 out of 10. We were off to a good start! Next we visited Spier, which was the Disneyland of wine country, with tons of activities for children. There we tasted wine and cheese. They served us three cheeses paired with an “appropriate” wine. The “expert” gave us some lessons – “I’m going to teach you how to eat cheese with wine- first you take a sip of wine, then you bite the cheese, then another sip of wine…” As he walked away Flo said “He’s going to teach me how to eat cheese with wine!” They paired Mozzarella (gasp, mozzarella is for pizza!) with a white wine, a stronger goat cheese with cranberries in it (yes, fruit in the cheese!) with red wine, and a mild white cheese with sweet white wine (sweet wine!). It was all quite good though and next we stopped at the Van Ryn Brandy Distillery, where we tried three brandies – 10 yr old brandy, 15 yr old brandy, and a creamy, dessert brandy. 3 places, 13 wines, 3 cheeses and 3 shots of brandy…
Next we stopped at Jordan winery where we tried three wines each and after that to a winery that specialized in champagne (pardon, sparkling wine!) where we tasted 6 sparkling wines. The last place was upscale and served us three wines at their fancy bar, thankfully, paired with some pretzels and peanuts. Needless to say, after 23 glasses we took a long nap back at Stumble Inn. Our wine tasting trip was definitely the highlight of South Africa!
We headed to Cape Town and took a road trip around town, stopping for a rest at the wonderful beach in trendy Camps Bay, with the huge mountain (that is in the center of Cape Town) and the mansions lining the beach. We checked into the funky Cape Town Deco Lodge, the only place in town with camping. We met Linda and Manasay, a couple from Montreal there and planned to visit the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve.
We headed along the coast to Cape Point, stopping at Boulders Beach where there is penguin point. We were able to watch a ton of penguins sunning themselves on the rocks in the ocean only 2 feet from us. It was spectacular! We hiked up to the Cape Point light house where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet. There were signs everywhere warning you to not feed the baboons (like in every park in Africa) but these baboons were different. We watched a baboon take a sealed sandwich right out of a woman’s hand, open it and eat it. Then the same baboon, with its baby holding on tight, jumped right through the passenger seat window of a van where a woman was sitting reading a magazine. He went to the backseat and ate a banana that was there while the lady ran out of the car screaming. He quickly finished the banana and found his next victim, stealing another sandwich from a man. Flo and I enjoyed our picnic lunch inside the car at the Cape of Good Hope.
The ride back along the coast had some of the best views I have ever seen, the road following the ocean on a cliff. We stopped in Camps Bay for coffee and milk shakes on the way home.