Monday, July 13, 2009

July11th-12th Coming home

This morning we left for a tour of the wine country. We found yet another aspect of South Africa we had not seen before. The areas we traveled through were often times reminiscent of the Bavarian Alps region or even Vermont!

Our first tour was of the SimonsSig Winery and we tasted a number of delicious wines and were treated to a “sabage”. It is tradition for the cork of the wine to be removed with a sword in one swift movement. After an explanation, Jen volunteered. As expected, with one finely calculated stroke, off came the cork with the glass head of the bottle and the tasting began!

We stopped for lunch and exploring in a pretty little town called Stellenbosch. We wandered in and out of many little boutique-like shops and the informal market that contained much of what we had already seen in other towns and along the roads during our journey. But, we had to go explore anyway! (There was even a moment when Jane and Joyce were desperate to get into one of the shops that limited the number of people it allowed in the store at one time. Shopping can do that, you know! Check out the photo below!)

Even this little town reminded us of little shops in New England. Our next winery was located up in the hills overlooking the valley that reminded us of the alps, but with rounder mountains. The wine was not as good but the vista was unbeatable!

We then headed into town to take part in the annual Bastille Day, honoring the French Huguenot influence in the area. It was very crowded in town with everyone walking around wearing French berets and the French flag was flying everywhere. All of the shops were opened, French crepes were being prepared and, once again, the wine flowed freely! Our time did not permit us to stay very long as we headed off to the airport.

It will be a long overnight flight from Cape Town to London, about 12 hours. We are all pretty tired from our adventures of the past 10 days so our long flight from Cape Town to London will be a time for remembering, reflection, and restorative rest! Despite the unforgettable memories we have created, we are all anxious to get home to our own beds and families.

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