Published: July 24th 2008July 25th 2008
July 21 - 24, 2008
Cape Town, Wine District
We spent Monday with a quiet day in Cape Town and the usual “Hop On - Hop Off” city bus tour. Today was a rather cold and cloudy day and sightseeing was not great but we did get a good overview of this beautiful city.
Cape Town reminds us of Vancouver, Canada as it has the mountains, the sea and a great downtown on the waterfront. Winter is not warm in South Africa and we were surprised at the cool days and cold nights. The views from Table Mountain are spectacular as they overlook the whole city.
The city is in a major construction mode partly due to new infrastructure being built for the World Cup Football here in 2010. Needless to say, all are very excited about the event being held in Cape Town.
Tuesday morning we were picked up for a short drive to the small city of Franschhoek and the wine district north of Cape Town for a 2 night stay. We took a scenic route through some very nice small mountain passes and through the beautiful and historic little, university, city of Stellenbosh.
About 30 % of the population of this city is going to school here as they have a great university that teaches all its classes in the Afrikaner language.
This is the start of the major wine district in South Africa. Now more areas are catching on to the money to be made and more districts have planted vines in recent years. The major brandy distillery is here and South Africans are known to be the, per capita, largest consumers of brandy. The favorite drink is Brandy and Coke. ( ?????? ) A lot of brandy is also used to fortify the very good S.A. Port Wine. Port is also very popular here and they produce some excellent product. It is said that the Portuguese now want them to stop calling it Port, as Port has to come from Porto in Portugal. ( Like the Champagne vs. Sparkling Wine argument I guess )
We are staying at the very nice Franschhoek Country House . These smaller facilities are everywhere here and most are first class ( 4 or 5 star ) accommodations with excellent restaurants. The restaurant at our place has won many awards. It is amazing the
number of very fine, gourmet, restaurants in this small city ( and most of the south cape for that matter ). Food has been wonderful here with lots of variety. And OHHH the bread !!!
We are looking forward to a quiet 2 days here before returning to Johannesburg for our flight to Seychelles.
There is some very interesting history here involving the French Huguenots who fled to Holland to escape the religious persecution in France by the Roman Catholic Church and subsequently were relocated to “the colonies” in South Africa. As the Dutch didn’t want the French language to take over from the Dutch these people were all sent to settle this area away from the main settlement. Franschhoek is Afrikaner for “ French Corner.” This French heritage is a good reason to see why the wine business flourished here.
We took a long walk, on a beautiful day, to the town and explored the small shops area and spent some time in the Huquenot Museum and memorial.
On Thursday we took the short drive to the Cape Town airport for our 2 hour flight to Johannesburg and on to Seychelles tomorrow for a few
days at the beach.
There are more photos below