• A Dutch Treat!

    Cape Town, South Africa…today was my last full day in this place that I have been totally taken by. I travelled a short distance out of Cape Town to the historical settlement of Stellenbosch. Set in the famous South African wine region by the same name, this valley is revered for its wine making and the beauty of this small Dutch town that dates back centuries.

    The second oldest European settlement in the province after Cape Town. Stellenbosch was founded in 1679 during the period of control by the Dutch East India Company. Hence the Dutch architecture that makes up the beauty of the town which is full of homes and cottages that are all finished with a striking white-lime wash with black hatch roofing. The area is set in the Jonkershoek Valley and is full of rolling vineyards and the town itself became known as the City of Oaks, due to the large number of grand Oak Trees that line the streets. These oaks were originally planted to provide the wood for the wine barrels so they would not need to be imported…but these Oaks grew too porous to be used and now are beloved and protected parts of Stellenbosch!

    Dorp Street is lined with beautiful cottages and a myriad of little shops and cafes. You can definitely spend an afternoon here strolling the shops and galleries and some of the regions most acclaimed restaurants are situated on vineyards in the nearby valley!

    It is a testament to the entire area of the Western Cape that so much beauty is housed in a relatively close distance…a week here and I have discovered gem after gem. Each day I am in awe of another site that captivates the senses! Stellenbosch was just icing on the delicious cake of my time here! I understand why this region is a favorite of locals for weddings…I can totally picture nuptials in one of the many grand vineyards that line the road to Stellenbosch!

    Cape Town may be a long way away from home, but definitely a place everyone should put on their list!

  • Grape Nuts!

    Cape Town, South Africa…I took off today to the famous vineyards of South Africa. This region is known for it’s many fine wines, so I thought, if anything, it would be a beautiful outing into the countryside!

    I am not a wine connoisseur, well honestly I don’t drink it at all…but it’s an experience! So let’s try it!

    It’s an absolutely stunning area filled with grand estates set amidst rolling fields that slope up the mountainside. The blue skies make a perfect backdrop for this verdant area of wineries! It is early Spring, so the grapes are just beginning their season’s growth hence the barren branches.

    We arrive at the vineyard estate of Groot Constantia…this historical wine farm was founded in the late 1600’s! Originally, the grapes were brought over from Dutch vineyards and over the centuries this has become a world class wine region.

    Part of the stop is a wine tasting of their award winning vintages…oh boy, 7-8 glasses of wine and a few crackers to balance it! I am gonna need a burger to counteract all this alcohol!

    I sample all the different flavors and I am educated by my pourer on the subtle flavors and harmonies…I taste Groot Constantia’s famous Sauvignon Blanc amongst many others!

    I am totally drunk and in my stupor I am totally enamored by the underwater diving duck…now I am seeing things? Do ducks really submerge themselves head first? Hmmm…I took a pick just to make sure I wasn’t imagining…

    We arrive at another winery, Eagles Nest, and I decide I better sit this one out! For now I’ll just take in the stunning scenery and work off this drunken feeling…20120912-152149.jpg20120912-152246.jpg20120912-152342.jpg20120912-152424.jpg20120912-152446.jpg20120912-152601.jpg