Thursday, 31 December 2015

Simon's Town - 3 Days in Stellenbosch

Hi everyone,
We spent a very pleasant three days from Saturday to Tuesday at Stellenbosch, in the heart of SA's farming and wine growing area.  We travelled with the crews of Minnie B and Sea Bunny.  We all stayed at the Rustenbosch B&B which made it a very social outing.

On Sunday we joined an all-day winery tour with Easy Rider tours.  We visited Simonsig, Fairview, Dieu Donne and Zorgvliet wineries.  These wineries were widely scattered around Stellenbosch, with one close to Francshoek  We particularly liked the "champagne" at Simonsig, the wine and cheese at Fairview and the environment at Zorgvliet.

Simonsig winery - very nice sparkling wine
Cellar at Fairview
Tasting at Fairview
Vines and views at Dieu Donne
Marvellous gardens at Zorgvliet
On Monday morning we walked around Stellenbosch.  The town was the first established after Cape Town, with the goal being supplying both Cape Town and passing ships with food and wine.  It was settled way back in the 17th century.  It is a very pretty town with the old Cape Dutch building style being very well preserved.

Stellenbosch - full of beautiful oaks and buildings
And nice gardens
Botanical Garden
On Monday afternoon we visited the Van Ryn's brandy distillery just outside Stellenbosch.  Apparently their brandy is the most awarded anywhere.  We can certainly vouch for it being very nice indeed.  Our tour included a barrel-making demonstration.  The cooper was also a musician, playing a tune on the rings as he finished the job - apparently that's the traditional way to brag "another barrel done".

Van Ryns Brandy Distillery
Brandy distilling gear!
The barrel-making demo was impressive
On Tuesday we drove back to Simon's Town via the four passes - Hellshoogt, Franschoek, Viljoen and Sir Lowry's.  Very scenic.

Amazing countryside
Just another "overlapping" cloud
This was probably the last inland tour we'll do in South Africa.  We feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to see so many parts of this amazing country.

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