I had an amazing day today – the kind of day I love – full of spontaneity. I woke up with no plans, I laid in bed wondering what I was going to do. I decided to tackle breakfast and then figure it out. I went to the main area in the hostel to get my yogurt and muesli. When I got there on of my new friends, Sara from Toronto, was leaving me a note saying that her and 4 other people were going on a wine tour today and I should join them. Hmmm – booze chat at 8 AM – I liked the thought! I had no plans so I figured what the hell – let me change clothes, grab a muffin, and off I went. I had no idea how much the tour was, where it went, how long it was – I just knew there was wine involved! Like holding a carrot in front of a rabbit – of course I would go!
On the way to Stellenbosch I got to know the other people on the trip – James and Naomi (Newlyweds from Brighton), Barbara from Philadelphia (incidentally the first and only American I met here in S. Africa), Rachel from Brighton, and Sara of course. Sara was quite an inspiration to me as she had been traveling around the world for 10 months, 40 yrs old, and full of personality and strong independence. I felt like I was back in high school – I was a freshman and she was a senior – I looked up to her and wanted to figure out how I could acquire her ease in this next year of traveling.
NOTE – for your wine snobs…I’ve actually listed out the places I went…go try to find some of these in the US…the wine was excellent and I listed my favorites!!! Plus – it is cheap!!!
Stellenbosch Wine Country Tour
Our first stop was at Villiera – we were drinking champagne by 10 AM – lordy this was going to be a long day! Villiera’s Sauvignon Blanc, Gewurztraminer and Shiraz were great, the the Monro (Merlot/cab blend) and their Port called Fired Earth were fabulous! These were large pours too – it was really going to be a long day!
Next we went to Beyerskloof winery. South Africa wineries are known for their Pinotage and this was our first taste. The 2005 Pinotage and the Pinotage Reserve were scrumptious! They even gave us Pinotage frozen yogurt. So now I’ve had about 8 tastings of wine and frozen yogurt before noon. This is the time that I start reflecting on how lucky I am. I feel blessed…err…a bit wasted…er…pissed (as my English friends would say). We drive through the town of Stellenbasch – it’s charming. I then realize – Napa and Sonoma could only wish they were this beautiful. The countryside here was stunning. Big mountains protecting these tasty grapes. Green as far as the eye could see.
We next went to Tokara Winery. This estate was beautifully decorated with a killer view. There I had the Tokara White, Stellenbosch Chardonnay, Tokara Red and the Zondernaam Cabernet – loved them all. Hell – I loved everything by this point. My lone muffin could not soak up all of this wine – I needed lunch! We got to lunch and have yet another glass of wine poured for us at the table. After lunch we went to a chocolate store and then stopped to pick up fresh strawberries…so sweet tasting – that first taste of summer – delicious!
Our last stop was at Fairview winery and cheese shop. We tried their varieties which include their playful label “Goats do Roam” – all was great – but I needed to sober up on the way back to Cape Town! Thank God that we had a driver!
Table Mountain Sunset Finish
On our ride back to CT a group of us decided we would go up to Table Mountain and see the sunset as it was a clear day. We all 5 piled into a cab like sardines and took the cable car to the top. When we got off at the top we not only were we greeted by amazing views of the city – but also by hurricane force winds and blizzard like cold! Ok – maybe a bit exaggerating – but it did feel like the climate had changed to Siberia – not summer in Cape Town. Table Mountain is approximately 3000 feet high. We loved the views but took shelter in the cafe and had hot chocolate. As we came down the mountain after we braved more cold photographs I made dinner plans with Bobbie the American from Philly. She was traveling alone and had been on the wine tour – so we bonded over the East coast and wine. The day turned out to be so much fun and so unpredictable. These are the days an Aquarian like me lives for – new places, new people, unplanned adventure and to think – I laid in my bed that morning wondering what I was going to do all day on my own!