Touring Cape Agulhas & The Winelands…..
To see the PHOTO GALLERY associated with this Ship’s Blog: CLICK HERE
March 16 – March 20th, 2013 (Eastern Hemisphere)
As Cape Agulhas held special meaning (along with the Cape of Good Hope), for Cindy and me, I felt a personal visit would be in order. When Alexandra and I rounded the Cape (which IS the very bottom of the African Continent), it was around 4 a.m. and we were 25 miles offshore in big winds and seas. We did however “see” the light and I played “Lighthouse” on my IPOD while on watch.
Here we learned first hand how since the year 1678, over 2000 ships have been lost along this coast. It makes this one of the densest areas in the world for ship wrecks. Many went down with cargos of spices and slaves, many with LOTS of gold.
Cape Agulhas Light House…….
Similar to when Sandrine, Anja and I “stood on both sides of the world” in Fiji, Nikki and I had the opportunity to do the same between the official line showing the beginning and end of the Atlantic and Indian Oceans……
“Aguhlas” in Portugese means Needle. The name comes from the unique phenomenon that a magnetic compass (no one still knows why exactly), will point true north in the vicinity of the Cape of Needles. The reason this is so unusual is that a magnetic compass on either side of the Cape points 25 degrees to the west of True North. It’s the only area that this occurs in all of Africa.
We of course played “Lighthouse” on the IPOD in the car and I took a moment to reflect on how far I’d come; still deeply feeling the loss of Cindy at this juncture that was so special to us……
We stayed the night at a nice B&B in Arniston and departed the next day for the small town in the Little Karoo mountains known as Ladismith.
Near Ladismith, we’d been given the recommendation by Dave and Kathie of “Sunflower” to stay at the Mymering Guest House. See: http://www.mymering.co.za
Here we met Andy and Penny Hillock. Andy is a retired General Surgeon from Port Elizabeth. Penny and he bought the property and make Hillock Wines. Andy has two large standard poodles named, Moet and Chandon as well as another big guy whose name escapes me. Penny has a cute purse dog and her Aunt was visiting from Port Elizabeth with her cute puppy. (You can tell Andy’s favorite champagne!). We had a lovely time with them sharing stories at dinner in a very intimate setting. We were only two of four guests at the time and thoroughly enjoyed ourselves, the lovely room and fabulous views of the locally famous, “Towerkop’ peak.
Local legend has it, that a witch was trying to fly over the Little Karoo and she was stopped by a wizard. She was so upset at him that she broke the mountain in two as she returned.
My favorite story of Andy’s was that he began and ended his career as a surgeon stitching up two guys who were bitten by Great White Sharks off Port Elizabeth.
One of our highlights at the Mymering Guest House (aside from his lovely wines!), was Andy’s daily 90 minute hike. It keeps us all young, but in Andy’s case, you’d never know that was even necessary.
The dogs, all five of them, came along for the trek.
Mymering Guest House Hike – Andy, Scott and Nikki………
Our visit to Mymering was a “must” and a highlight of our trip. The food, company and rooms were top notch!
Once we left Mymering, we drove to Franschoek which is the “haute centre” of the South African Wine Region. Located immediately next to the well known Stellenbosch, this was the area where the French Protestant Huguenots emigrated to and helped spark the South African wine industry.
A tremendous French influence of the Huguenots is felt everywhere in Franschoek including the Huguenot Museum and Monument.
The highlight for us was the wine making tour given by the owner of Le Petite Ferme B&B and Vinyards, John Dendy Young.
Franschoek Wine Tour at Le Petite Ferme. John Dendy Young with a “Wine Thief” which he used to give all of us a sample of their lovely wines…………………
The B&B here was fabulous, a huge bathroom with free standing tub, heated floors and towel racks; a magnificent view of the Franschoek Valley reminiscent of the wine country of France.
We bought six bottles of their lovely wines and have enjoyed each and every one.
With a quick stop in Stellenbosch, where Nikki bought some lovely cloth to make into nice throw pillows, we were back in Cape Town by dark.
It was a great tasty tour (quite literally) of the South African Wine Region and some new friends and great characters at every stop.
Next….a bit more touring in Cape Town, preparation and departure from the V&A Marina……
Scott and Nikki