A Travellerspoint blog

Wine country!

sunny
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So, finally, on to today! My sister and I went on a tour of some of the vineyards in the area. We stopped at five of the approximately 350 near here. The first was very modern looking. They specialized in sparkling wine. The woman chopped off the top of one of the bottles with a sword! My sister got a video and she told us how to do it safely at home so I'm excited to try when we get back!

JC le Roux

JC le Roux

The rest were more traditional places, but tasty as well. One of them specialized in olives as well, so we got to taste some kalamatas. Yum!

Wine Grapes and Olive Trees

Wine Grapes and Olive Trees

Wines

Wines

Cheese Plate

Cheese Plate

Solms Astor

Solms Astor

On our way back we stopped at a cheetah reserve. We didn't get too close, but they are very lovely animals.

Lunch Time for Cheetah

Lunch Time for Cheetah

Cheetah Reserve

Cheetah Reserve

Anyway, we are leaving the city tomorrow for Port Elizabeth, so more updates in a few days. Miss you all!

Posted by flame1985 08:53 Archived in South Africa Tagged food Comments (0)

Simon's Town

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Yesterday was quite lazy. We didn't make it out of the hostel until around eleven. We took a train to Simon's town (a little more than an hour's trip). We took a nice walk through the town to see the penguin colony that lives at Boulder's Beach. It was a bad day for the penguins, as it was extremely hot, but there were tons of them sunning on the beach anyways. It was fun to watch them diving under the waves and popping back up again. We stopped by a public beach on our walk back through town and cooled off a bit in the water. I bought some earrings at a craft stand (they are everywhere!) and then it was back on the train for an hour. It was a relaxed day, but I was still exhausted from the night before and called it an early night!

Simon's Town Sailboats

Simon's Town Sailboats

Just Nuisance

Just Nuisance

Penguin

Penguin

Penguins

Penguins

Sunning on the Beach

Sunning on the Beach

Posted by flame1985 08:47 Archived in South Africa Comments (0)

Busy, busy, busy...

sunny
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Monday was our busiest day yet! We started with a ride up Table Mountain on the cable car. The floor rotated, which was a bit scary combined with the heights. The view from the top was a bit smokey as there is a wildfire burning near here. My sister and I took a video on the top that I will try to post later. Also, My sister had her hands all in some bush before a tour guide told us about the blister bush. She doesn't remember which bush it was, though, and is worried her hands will be covered in blisters any day now.

Cable Car

Cable Car

Cape Town

Cape Town

View from Table Mountain

View from Table Mountain

From there we took a taxi to the Castle of Good Hope and watched the noon cannon go off. It was a mini cannon, very funny to see a large man in full military garb dragging it across the yard. After that we walked around the roof of the castle and saw the military museum. The castle was this pastel yellow color with hunter green doors. Only one door was painted red because it had been a grain store converted to an artillery room. I don't think the original artillery storage room doors were red though. I never figured out why.

Cannon

Cannon

Next we went to Robben Island, which used to be a maximum security prison where Nelson Mandela was held. First was a bus tour which showed us the church and graveyard from the leper colonies way back when, the isolation cottage where activist leader Robert Sobukwe was held, bits of an old shipwreck (one of many off the island), camoflagued buildings from WWII, the community and school for people currently living and working on the island, as well as a couple of penguins! Afterwards we got a tour of the prison from a guide who is a former politcal prisoner from Robben Island. He showed us many bits of the prison, including Mandela's cell, and told us about the differences in what the blacks got versus the coloreds and asians in terms of food and clothing, even within the prison. Someone asked our guide is he hated white people and I think he was very eloquent in explaining that the struggle was never black versus white, but a struggle for rights, freedom, and dignity.

Robben Island Welcome

Robben Island Welcome

Mandela's Cell

Mandela's Cell

Robben Island

Robben Island

We finished our night with dinner in a township. A township is where many of the poor black people live now that they were kicked out of their homes during apartheit. There are some nice permanent houses, but many of them are metal shacks. We had a lovely dinner in a shabeen, which is a bar of sorts. The little boys were so excited to dance for us and show off their talent! Then we ate and had a choir composed of young men sing for us. Afterwards we all danced to the jukebox music. It was the most amazing night I've had on this trip!

Dinner at Mandela's

Dinner at Mandela's

Dancer

Dancer

Shabeen Food

Shabeen Food

Posted by flame1985 08:29 Archived in South Africa Comments (0)

V&A Waterfront

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I'm behind on entries, so I'm backtracking a little bit. We spent all of Sunday at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront. Basically, it's a mall and a bunch of sailboats (including one from Charlotte, NC!). We stopped by Nobel Square to take photos, which has statues of all four of South Africa's Nobel Peace Prize winners.

Nobel Square

Nobel Square

Afterwards, we stopped by the craft market at the waterfront. It's amazing how the people here make use of what we'd consider trash to create crafts for tourists. I bought a bowl the other day that had been woven out of old telephone wire. Anyway, they had electric guitars made from empty gas or oil canisters.

After that we stopped by the maritime museum (which was pretty much a bunch of model sailboats) and the mall. We needed an adapter, as aparently the two I have that say Africa do not fit the outlets here. On our way out we saw a few seals clapping and waving near a restaurant on the docks, probably hoping for a handout.

Posted by flame1985 08:16 Archived in South Africa Comments (0)

Day three... maybe?

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I still don't know how many days we've been here. I'm pretty sure it's Saturday, which is the first time since we've left I've been remotely knowledgable about the days of the week. I've also fallen into taking late afternoon naps everyday. Stupid jet lag!

Anyway, we were going to go up Table Mountain this morning but it was too cloudy, so we saw some museums instead. The South African Museum had some of the oldest rock etchings in existence (although we only got to see replicas, not as cool unfortunately) as well as some very old instruments. The pictures are cooler than my descriptions. I'll put some up when I have more time online. There is only one computer in our hostel, so finding time to get on is difficult.

Update: Pictures!

Instruments

Instruments

Anyway, we also went to the District Six Museum, which is the stories of black people evicted from their homes when district six was declared a white only area. The ground floor was covered in a map on which old residents wrote their names where they used to live.

District Six Museum

District Six Museum

District Six Map

District Six Map

South Africa's money is the Rand. The exchange rate's about R10 to the dollar right now, which is good for us, although paying one-hundred some bucks for dinner for two takes some getting used to.

Also, whenever anyone here finds out we are from the states, the first thing out of their mouths is "Obama!" Amusing and heartwarming as when I was in London a few years ago it was always "I hate Bush."

Anyway, we are in the city until next Thursday and then, hopefully, off elsewhere for a safari. I'll probably post again before then, though.

Posted by flame1985 10:48 Archived in South Africa Comments (0)

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