Posted by: englishdubai | February 21, 2009

Help me Clear up me Mind

Aside from the wedding in Jo’burg the highlight of the trip to Cape Town was a glorious day spent on the Wine Route. Andrea with whom we stayed with, proved to be an excellent guide for the week and surpassed herself with our trip to the wine farms around Franschhoek.

For our first stop we dropped into Villieria famed for its sparkling wines. So while it was only 11.30am when I took this picture ,we thought it was a shame to miss out. So with some gusto we got stuck into sampling a number of wines and best all of about Villieria the wine tasting was free:

We each left with a bottle of pink bubbly. It was hard not to go mad and buy all sorts as their selection was large:

Still we had plenty of time and next stop was the Simonsvlei Wine Farm where we had to pay a very inexpensive $2.50 to sample five of their wines. Again we were spoilt for choice and I found the reds here to all be particularly good:

Having had several glasses of wine on an empty stomach mixed with beautiful weather and whizzing between the wine farms with the windows down in the car was a heady mix and it was soon time for lunch. We wanted lunch with a view, so looked at guide map and aimed for a wine farm in the mountains. It proved to be an inspired random selection. When we pulled into the car park of Dieu Donné the entranced enticed us in:

Dieu Donné translates into “gift from god” and judging by the views, food and wine we had over a lazy three hour lunch they certainly picked the right name:

The restaurant is carved into the mountain and architecturally leaves the majesty of its natural surrounds intact. While we enjoyed the afternoon sun on the terrace dining in the restaurant would also give spectacular views. I can’t recommend this place highly enough – simply sublime:

Following this we took the short drive to Le Petite Femme:

While I though the view from Dieu Donné could not be topped  – Le Petite Femme surpassed it and then some. Again a faboulous place to go for a relaxing lunch and also a wonderful gateway as there were a number of chalets that looked just the place for a weekend retreat. We spent a few hours just taking in the view:

Feeling fully refreshed we headed into the town of Franschhoek for a stroll around and a little refreshment. The nice thing about being in Cape Town at this time of year is that the evenings are long with sunset not till about 7.30pm. About an hour before the sun starts to set there is a “golden hour” which is excellent for taking photos as the light is just right. Franschhoek has a number of very pretty peroid buildings including Franschhoek church:

and :

It was hard to leave this area but the drive home was spectacular and we stopped off for a number of photo opportunities:

While having lunch we could see plumes of smoke rising in the distance. The radio was awash with news of major forest fires in the valley. It always seems to me that whenever something like this happens and a vast area is affected it is related to the size of Wales. With this particular fire there were no injuries and the following day it was under control:

The small upside to all the smoke in the air was that the sunset was blood red. We had a frantic fifteen minutes where we sped around in the car trying to get the best vantage point to capture the sunset. I liked this one with the pine trees:

My reflections on day were mixed. It painfully showed me what I miss. I miss countryside, I miss mountains, I miss rolling green hills, I miss secluded country pubs, I miss food made with local produce and I miss lazy Sunday afternoons with my mates in such surroundings.

I know a lot of South Africans in Dubai and count some as my closest friends. I am left bewildered by the Cape Town folk who have give it all up to come to Dubai – still they really have something amazing to return to.


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