Heaven on a stick
Trip Start Aug 16, 2010
66Trip End Jan 02, 2011
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Where I stayed
- We drove to Stellenbosch to the Alluvia Winery where we are staying for 1 week (hooray we can unpack). The road system is really easy to navigate. We had no problem getting from the city to the winery.
· Our unit at Alluvia is very salubrious – 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, dining room & lounge room. Nadia was on duty when we arrived –she coped with Blackie's humour surprisingly well.
· We drove back to the nearby supermarket to buy food for the week, as we have full kitchen facilities!
· We had the sausage sizzle outside the supermarket for lunch
· I spoilt myself with a bubble bath with a glass of wine while Blackie cooked dinner- yes, I do have it good!
· Dinner was Ostrich steaks & salad, plus some of the winery’s SB (already chilled in the fridge when we arrived)
· No connectivity to wireless network – problematic with weather apparently. Very frustrating.
Sat Aug 21
· We drove into Stellenbosch, dropped off our washing, and bought food for tonight. We booked a Vine Hopper wine tour for Wednesday. We had a beer & coffee, then drove to the golf club to book Blackie a golf game for Thursday (I will do a walking tour of Stellenbosch while Blackie plays golf)
· Drove into Cape Town to the V & A Harbour
· We couldn’t find anywhere to park, but then found a very accommodating parking attendant who let us park in private parking outside a hotel
· We toured the Nelson Mandela museum & booked the ferry to Robben Island for Wednesday.
· The weather looks like being bad for most of the week – little chance for shark cage diving before we have to leave
· We then drove to Table Mountain – the mountain & city were covered in cloud – quite a spectacle
· Even in this appalling weather there were joggers coming down mountain - like Hash House Harriers at home (quite cold & raining now)
· Back on the N2 to Stellenbosch
· Nibblies & wine (Alluvia, of course) (supplied by Blackie while I hung up the clean pressed clothes in the wardrobe), followed by chicken breast & vegetables for dinner
· TV playing up 'cos of the weather, but managed to watch All Blacks beat SA in rugby union, before bed
Sun Aug 22
· Rain & wind all night - Wet & cold today, no chance of any tours, so we decided to drive down to the Cape of Good Hope.
· Driving over the N2 on the R310 (Baden Powell Drive) to get to the coast we saw a shanty town that stretched as far as you can see, in both directions. They had electricity & many had small satellite dishes on the roof
· We stopped at Simon’s Town for a coffee – great big mugs & Blackie got into a conversation with the owner about the state of South African rugby
· There is always a parking attendant ready to show you where to park & to take your money wherever you go here
· Just down the road we saw a sign for penguins so drove in to take a look, and found a parking attendant who was a merchant seaman who jumped ship in Melbourne & stayed for 17 years until he was deported 3 years ago
· Back in the car & we start to see baboon warning signs – not what you’d expect. It was not long before we saw a small group on the side of the road which we dutifully took a photo of. Further signs warn you that baboons are wild, are attracted by food & to keep your doors & windows closed. Then, on the other side of the road are picnic tables! Go figure!
· The coastline along the Cape is impressive, to say the least. We drove to Cape Point & took a bus up to the lighthouse. Blackie, believe it or not, wanted to do the 1.5hr return walk out to the point from the lighthouse, but the approaching rain put a stop to that idea.
· We decided to drive back up the west side of the cape back to Cape Town, instead of returning the way we came, stopping at a restaurant (Camel Rock Restaurant) in Scarborough to ask where we could get petrol. A weathered old guy sitting on the verandah, looking for all the world like an old sailor said "you don’t know what you’re missing" as we got back into the car after getting directions to the nearest petrol station
· Australia seems pretty uptight & overprotective. The freeway speed limit here is120km/hr & pets are welcome in restaurants. The owner of Camel Rock brought out her pet parrot (from the kitchen?) to show off & there were 2 dogs in the restaurant in the time we were there. No-one raised an eyebrow (except for us!)
· By the time we got to the toll road leading into Hout Bay we had no cash (from paying parking attendants & assorted coffees) & our card wouldn’t work. We explained that we had no cash & were tourists, to the attendant, hoping she would let us through, but her solution was to “leave something of value” & drive down the road to an ATM, get cash and come back
· We had planned to stop at a local fish & chip shop for dinner, for their Sunday night special – ½ price fish & chips – R8 instead of R16 – but we were still full from lunch.
· The news here is full of reports about the striking public servants who are asking for an 8.5% pay increase (plus a R1000 housing allowance). It seems the government is only offering 6.5% Today the news stated that 2 premature babies had died as a result of the strike. Wow!
Mon Aug 23
· Today we headed into Cape Town to visit the Slave Lodge museum, but decided to see if the Table Mountain cable car was running, as the weather seemed to have improved. To our huge disappointment, it was closed for maintenance all week, not opening until after we leave Cape Town. We were both close to tears (but hiding it from each other). This is probably just the first of a number of casualties of our tightly packed itinerary
· We consoled ourselves with a drive up Signal Hill & a couple of photos.
· We managed to find a restaurant with wi-fi to have lunch. Blackie had a Kudu burger & I had a vegetarian burger. In the hour or so we were there I only managed to check emails & do some banking. I still have not posted anything to Travelpod. It is becoming rather frustrating. Who’d have thought internet access would become so important?
· The Slave Lodge was worth the visit, but very depressing to think people could treat others in this way & be OK with it.
· Driving back To Stellenbosch this afternoon the news reported police spraying protesting public servants with water cannons! This was supposed to have happened on the N2 – the freeway we were on, but we seemed to have missed it.
· We stopped at a place that was a butchery & restaurant
· The next stop was the Ernie Els winery. Blackie was nearly beside himself with excitement. Having to explain to me that he was a golfer probably took a little of the shine off it for him. After our tasting – the scenery was spectacular - he left with a bottle of “Big Easy”, a cap & a photo beside the winery sign. A fine finish to a day that didn’t start well.
Tuesday Aug 24
· Vine Hopper tour today. The bus visits 6 wineries, so we were pleased we were being picked up & dropped off at our accommodation.
· There were only 8 on the bus – 2 from the Netherlands, 2 South Africans, a Scot & 3 Aussies.
· The first stop, Bergkelder included a tour with the tasting. This place is a bottling plant
· The tasting at Beyerskloof was free, but we didn’t like the wine at all.
· By now it was time for lunch, so off to Delheim, where they were running a lunch special this week. The menu price was converted from Rand to $US, which then became the price in Rand! Amazingly cheap. E.g lamb shank R110 = US$15.03 = R15.03; just over AU$2! Needless to say, I had 3 courses, Blackie had 2. Our glasses of wine cost as much as our whole lunch!
· We managed only 1 more winery, Simonsig, before the day was over.