Alicia’s Travel Diary

Saturday, 28 Aug 2010

Location: Franschhoek, South Africa

MapWe packed up after breakfast and began our journey to Franschhoek, which means French corner, you know, in French. As we left the coastline and drove inland towards the mountains we ran into some very heavy fog. We had to navigate Franschhoek pass to get to the city which is nestled in a valley, ideal for wine growing. The old British women had told us that this pass was "a little hairy" and indeed she was right. The fog made it look like the winding road was constantly about to dump us off the cliff. Eventually we descended into the valley and found our guesthouse which is situated on a cute little vineyard outside the main town. After checking in and meeting their 5 year old yellow lab named Jack we ventured out for the afternoon. Our first stop was for a late lunch at a little pub in town. We walked up and down the main street which is where most of the shops and restaurants are, it's a pretty small town.

After that we headed out to two wineries. The first was a upscale modern estate. Two large metal cheetahs stood guard outside the main entrance which was a glass sliding door. The door opened to a two story tall foyer where the main desk sat. We went around to the bar and grabbed a table. The back wall was completely glass which gave us a view into their bottling room. The machinery wasn't running, but it was still neat to see. We walked away with two bottles of wine, one we intended on drinking during our stay, the other to add to our collection of wines we will try to bring home with us. The second winery we visited was much more casual and laid back with a saucy Brit cracking jokes behind the counter. Once again at this winery they gave us a rose to try, I've never had a rose that I've liked and despite all the ones we tried I still think they are awful. At this place we walked away with another bottle of the best Chardonnay I've had so far (it was award winning).

We made it back to the guesthouse in time to have some wine with our hosts before heading out for dinner. We met another couple from England (shocking) and had a nice chat with everyone over a bottle of their house wine. South Africa has been a hot vacation destination for the Brits for years, let me tell you Americans have been missing out! I spent most of the time lavishing my attention on Jack, the yellow lab, and he sure didn't mind. Eventually, we went out to dinner and I got some much needed pasta and chicken, it feels like all we've been eating is red meat.