Saturday, April 10, 2010

2 Days Views/2 Days Booze

After leaving Cape Town I headed up to Stellenbosch, South Africa's premiere wine country. It lived up to the hype- delicious and beautiful!

As luck would have it, I met another lovely American (with a Philly connection- go figure!) at a vineyard wine tasting who became my BFF for the next 4 days.

We hit about a dozen vineyards in the area over the next 2 days (yes, that required some early AM drinking) and had some delicious Pinotage and other varietals. You got to sample 5 wines at each vineyard for about $2- and it was a healthy pour for a taste! Typically we had the whole vineyard to ourselves with lots of special attention.

At Warwick Vineyards, I imagine assuming we were a couple, they insisted we drink out of the wedding cup--- the image on their label. The basic idea is that 2 people can drink out of the cup at the same time, which required me having my hands behind my back while the other person drank from the glass normally. Needless it say it was amusing.

Stellenbosch and Franchoek were lovely little towns where we oddly enough had great Lebanese and decent Thai food, while Zebra skins hung out in the yard to dry.
After we sobered, Wednesday was spent entirely in the car driving 12+ hours up to the Garden Route, through incredible mountain passes with a zillion hairpin turns on dirt roads and no guardrails--- was an experience and I was VERY glad not to be driving (on the wrong side of the road, no less).
In the midst of all the driving we stopped at Oudtshoorn, the ostrich capital of the world, where yes, I ate ostrich (once is enough, thank you!) Ostrich farms were everywhere, and apparently you can ride one at one of the shows, which we opted against.

At long last we hit the Garden Route and our final destination Knysna, a charming town with a lagoon and surrounded by ancient forests---- and more amazing views and nice beaches. Hello Indian Ocean, nice to meet you!
We did a little ooohhh-ing and ahhhh-ing, took a long walk on the beach (water warmer up here, but still chilly) and a hike through a very confusing Goukama nature reserve where I don't think we ever found the right path, however we did get to tug ourselves across the river in a boat tethered to the other side to reach the start, that was really the main attraction in a generally confusing venture.

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