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Africa, Destinations

A day in the life

December 10, 2008 • By

If one had to describe the perfect day, it just might be today.  Awoke at 5:30 am to the most vibrant of sunrises which somehow with the combination of the drapes and wall paint turned my room lime green.  Breakfast on the patio consisted of warming sun and a view of the mountains not to mention homemade breads and jams.  Jill and I met Beryl at 10 am for a full day of wining activities.  Beryl explained to us about the region and her background.  She is from Cape Town, lives and works in Franschhoek and dates a Flemish man (for 8 years I might add).  She is “coloured” and informed us that many coloureds live in Franschhoek but they do not mix as much with the whites as in Cape Town.   She was very open in explaining to us the difference between blacks and coloureds.  There are many different communities or groups of people in South Africa:  The Blacks (mostly people not from here or part of one or two tribes the Zulus and I forget the other), the Coloureds are another group that usually have mixed with the Europeans at some point or another and then the whites.  It seems in Cape Town the groups are beginning to work and live together but many have told us that the Blacks and Coloureds do not like each other and remain separate.    I don’t know how Beryl survived a day with me and Jill.  We threw about 800 questions at her every second. 

Our wine tour started in Stellenbosch at the Waterford Estate please go out and buy Kevin Arnold Shiraz 2005.  It was delightful.  Next, we moved on to the Rustenberg Estate where we met a student of law.  All you lawyers out there please note that in South Africa after 4 years at Uni,they walk out with a law degree.  Stellenbosch is home to one of the largest universities in South Africa and certainly the most prestigious.  It’s where the lawyers and doctors go to educate.  We showed the student where Chicago and New York were on the map of the US and moved on to lunch. 

Meals in the winelands are like artwork….every ingredient has a purpose and each meal perfectly crafted with flavour and taste in mind.  We dined at La Petite Ferme.  I can hardly say I savoured every bite since it was so amazing I inhaled it.  The cheese starter would have been enough but I also had the beef with cranberry brie crust and a sweet potato bottom.  I know everyone is saying I thought you were going to slow down on the eating now that you are not in politics.  I’m waiting for safari when I am pretty sure I will be skipping the game and eating and munching on my peanut butter granola bars. 

We hit two more wineries after lunch Boekenhoutskloof and Grande Provence.  Both are the granddaddy of wineries in Franschhoek.  I highly recommend the Chocolate Block at Boekenhoutskloof and the Grande Provence at the latter.  Last but not least I finished the day with a one hour full body massage and CHOCOLATES. 

Tomorrow it’s back to the left side of the road and a journey to Plattenburg or somewhere unknown on the Garden Route.

Africa, Destinations

Survived Driving on the Left

December 10, 2008 • By

Made it to the winelands.  After a taxi strike in Cape Town, we were on our way down the N1 with cars zooming by us until we got the hang of the blinker and the windshield wipers.  It was a bit of a hectic day but we did manage to walk around Franschhoek and have a look at the shops.  I really must add that the artwork here in South Africa is exquisite.  The big news of the day was not happening in Chicago but rather that I tried crocodile and liked it.  Please stay away from the antelope.  It was not the taste I was going for at the moment.  The crocodile however did taste a bit chewy and leathery but overall yummy in the tummy.  Heading wine tasting today can only imagine what 8 hours of sun and tastings will do to me but we have a private driver and lots of chocolate tastings built into the itinerary.  My phrase of the day, “look right look left.”  If you can figure that out, you are welcome to join me on the road.