Shopping, a winery tour and cocktails in One&Only

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Africa » South Africa » Western Cape » Stellenbosch
October 22nd 2010
Published: October 25th 2010
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We were up and out by 9am. The guy who works at our hostel is a total lemon, he’s full of himself, so we had a good old bitch about him on the way to the Cable Car at Table Mountain. As we drove up the steep windy road to the entrance, we rounded a corner and saw spectacular views of the entire city below with the bay in the distance, it was incredible. Unfortunately due to gale force winds the cable car wasn’t running. Apparently this happens a lot as Table Mountain is so tall and covered in cloud which they call the “Table Cloth”.

They review the situation throughout the day and asked us to ring back later to see if it was back up and running. Disappointed but prepared for plan B, we headed for the ferry to Robben Island (where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned) which sets off from the Clock Tower at V&A Waterfront.
It obviously wasn’t our day as this too was not running due to adverse weather conditions! And yet to us the weather seemed warm with bright sunshine. We had a skinny latte at a café on the Waterfront to reassess our plans and it was here where we spotted a seal (that we named Heidi Klum) flapping around in the water. This cheered us up no end.

Ellie’s been pulling out some gorgeous clothes from her suitcase, all from a shop called Mr Price which is a bit like our Primark - cheap and cheerful. So off we went to have a rummage in the clothes department. While we were driving round looking for parking we saw a Church of Scientology where Tom Cruise, Madonna and all those slightly eccentric celebs go.
We’ve played so much Lady GaGa whilst driving round the last few days that we’ve named our Toyota “GaGa-Car”. We parked up and went in Mr Price, and when I bumped in to El just a few minutes later I already had armfuls of clothes. Sometimes I enjoy a shopping trip the most when I try on loads but in fact get very little and therefore spend very little. Unless I really “need” something (and believe me, I never “need” anything coz it would take an atomic bomb the size of Japan to wipe out the contents of my wardrobe) then I’m quite happy just milling around not buying much.
The changing rooms were big with one large mirror and plenty of hanging pegs which makes it a much more pleasant experience. What on earth makes shop owners install mirrors of various shapes and angles? All it does is bless you with the ability to view your own back-fat and dimply bum. Thanks for that.

So I left with my two purchases then we grabbed a fruit smoothie each and a few bags of Japanese Rice crackers and those yummy vegetable crisps.
Most often when you’re driving through the city, people advise you to lock your doors as there’s a fairly high crime rate in South Africa. As we were on the way to the Freeway, I remembered a dream I had last night where Ellie and I were getting attacked. I described the dream to Ellie, about how we were running to our car away from some scary people, and only just managed to jump in the front seats and lock the doors before they reached us… but then they opened the doors to the backseats and got in! Over the last few days we’ve been really good at locking our doors but we’d not even thought to turn and lock our backdoors, and when I looked round, sure enough they remained unlocked. I’d like to think this dream was a caution from Dad and we’ll keep an eye on it from now on.

During our journey out to a wine tasting tour, we decided to give Lady GaGa a rest and played one of Ellie’s old Hip Hop CD’s. Ellie, like the genius she is, managed to get us to the winery (out in the middle of nowhere) without a hitch (well maybe one or two when we had to dodge a hobbit and get shoved out the way by an all-singing-all-dancing police car in a hurry). Well done chick! She had emailed wine suppliers that she met through working in events during the World Cup and arranged a free private wine tour. And Ellie doesn’t do things by halves -it turns out this place belongs to Ernie Els. He’s a famous golfer (who we saw in photos with Sylvester Stalone and Tiger Woods) and we were wandering one of his homes where he entertains South Africa Rugby stars and other famous celebs.

A lady called Michelle showed us around the wine cellar where they stored the barrels of his blends. Ernie Els’ personal wine cupboard was filled to the brim with bottles in dust covers. Upstairs we were shown to some huge comfy sofas and given a wine glass each and throughout the afternoon were poured samples of potent thick red vino, none of which (I quote) “are below 14%”!!!
We had to be really careful that Ellie only took one or two small mouthfuls of each so she wasn’t over the limit driving home. After Ellie’s first glass, Michelle came over and asked if she wanted to pour it away. While I was looking around for a sink somewhere, I spotted Ellie pouring it in to an antique vase on the table. I looked at Michelle in mild panic but she was cool with it so it turns out Ellie had sussed out the correct place to drain her glass.

We had a wander round the house. There had been the PGA Grand Slam Golf Tournament in Bermuda today… and Ernie Els had won it! We must have been his lucky mascots! We ordered the Malay platter (a selection of samosa’s, chutneys, lamb curry, rice etc) and a sesame chicken salad and sat back on our sofa’s, relaxed and enjoyed a really civilised afternoon.
We thanked Michelle and set off on our 40minute journey back to Cape Town. There were road works along the motorway which were clearly labelled with giant orange cones… and yet some mean person had insisted that these unfortunate African people should stand at the side of the road waving illuminous flags! Everyone back in the UK are demanding higher wages due to Health and Safety laws and yet these poor individuals have to stand on a road where inebriated day-trippers attempt to navigate their vehicles back to the City. Crazy!

On the way home we drove past what I would call a Shanti Town, but over here they’re called Townships. There were groupings of these little communities all along the motorway and one had a crowd of children playing football on a grass verge. The huts were made from colourful materials with corrugated iron roofs. It was fascinating to see and I would have loved to capture a photo to remember it with, but unfortunately we were on a motorway so the picture was blurred.
We had a pitt-stop on the way home so Ellie could pick up a cardi for tonight then went home for our usual afternoon nap. Both of us were absolutely worn out!

At 8.30 I drove GaGa-Car to the exclusive One&Only hotel which we’d read about in the flight magazine on the way here. We parked in the underground carpark then took the elevator which opened out in to an impressive lobby overlooking the circular “Vista” bar with views on to the pool area outside.
This remarkable hotel even includes the globally famous “Nobu” restaurant chain in their list of eateries on offer within the complex. We sat at the bar and were greeted by the Maître Dee who helped us choose some cocktails. We selected a strawberry champagne cosmopolitan, and decided to be daring by ordering one with beetroot and carrot along with a large glug of vodka. We chatted to a business man called Tim who sat next to us and predicted we were “rock stars” … ha well I’ve been called all sorts of things in my past but never a Rock Star! How cool is that. Must have been the laddered tights, black eyeliner and leather jackets we had on tonight… joking.

We had dinner at Karibu, a South African restaurant back on the V&A Waterfront. Their outside terrace had blankets already laid out for diners eating out there. Ellie asked for one the other night and apparently all the restaurants store them. This wouldn’t work in the UK as they’d get taken home by customers for their walk home.
We had a quick drink in Waterfront Brewery bar on the way home. Everywhere over here gives you straws wrapped in paper. I thought this was tacky at first, like they were using McDonalds straws or something, but Ellie explained it’s for hygiene reasons which now totally makes sense. When we got home we went through our usual routine of getting giddy and greeting our bedroom like a long lost friend (“Hello Bed, Hello duvet, Hello Jammies”) then climbed in to bed for our last night’s sleep here. We’ve really loved Cape Town!

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