Linda and Robin in Namibia and South Africa travel blog

typical Dutch architecture

before lunch starts



gotta have dessert

typical cloud on table mountain

cloud over table mountain

breakfast spot

light breakfast--rosti, salmon, eggs, hollandaise

muslem part of town



Linda and guide at lunch

lunch spot


best coffee shop in the world


light coffee break


Cape Town day 2

Cape Town is a pretty neat city – all about food and wine and coffee.

And right now also all about water consumption and President Ramaphosa, what he will do and how he will do. Everyone is very excited. More about that later.

After breakfast we were picked up by Pam, owner and first employee of Cape Fusion Tours. She specializes in wine and food tours.

She is a real character. Loud, opinionated, an aggressive driver. She never stops talking. I like her, Robin not so much. She is full of information though.

Our plan today is to head to Wineries in Stellenbosch, about an hour out of Cape Town. Our first stop is Raats – a small winery, where we had a tasting with a young, very personable guy. He is friends with the owner, has no academic background in wine, but is a lot of fun. He was out late last night, up at 5 to play rugby, and so looks a bit tousled. We had a nice tasting. A Cab Franc, a blend, and Cab Sav. Also a Chard and a Pinot Noir. Luckily, we are quite good at spitting. We had our first glass outside, on a patio overlooking the vineyards. Wine areas are always so beautiful. We are enjoying the wines here, some more than others of course, but generally we are impressed.

We made a very quick “drink and dash” stop at an old property, very Dutch in its look. Some of the buildings have thatched roofs. They were power washing the outside of one of the buildings. This property has lots of water. His dam (what we would call a reservoir) is full. He laughed and said that, yes, some people thought he was stealing water, but lots of people in this area had lots of it.

Next stop de Toren. Pam is particularly fond of these guys. Three brothers, all about research and science and constant experimentation. Their father bought the property originally as a retirement spot, but quickly decided he needed something to do. First he bought out the chicken farm next door. We had been warned by Pam that before the tasting we would have an hour or so “lecture”. The subject would be dependent upon which brother we met. We met the viticulturalist, so talked about soil, and weather, and varietals. It was all very interesting. The land around here is very beautiful. Lots of smallish properties.

They have gone so far as to have the soil infrared mapped to determine areas that are the same and others that are different. Then they plant the grapes to match. They are of course biodynamic. We visited the cellars, saw the wine elevator so that everything is done by gravity feed.

Next stop, Jordan’s, for lunch with wine pairings. Jordon the winemaker has Jardine, a well known chef, as a partner. The lunch was terrific, made even nicer by the weather and the view of the surrounding countryside while we ate.

Pam insisted we drive through the town of Stellenbosch before we headed back to CT. Stellenbosch is full of galleries, restaurants, cafes. It is a University town of 35,000 students. It was originally a Afrikaans University, but the new rules say that all courses have to be offered in English. Not all in practice yet though. Traffic was really bad getting out of Stellenbosch. We were a bit worried about traffic into CT as well, as the new President was speaking at 7:00 and all roads to and around the Parliament Buildings were going to be shut at 5:45. We managed to get back to the hotel before the roads closed, so all was well.

We had dinner reservations at Aubergine, up the hill in the city. The restaurant was housed in an old house, and we had our dinner sitting in the back garden. Dinner was really good. The Somm was especially helpful, and we enjoyed a nice bottle of wine. Sitting in the garden with us were two couples, and the men were two of the biggest wine snobs I have ever had the dubious privilege of eavesdropping on. The young French guy, born in “1982, the best vintage for Bordeaux, ever.” Blah, blah, blah, this cellar that, this wine that between the two gentlemen at different tables.

The hotel driver, Progress, drove us to the restaurant and picked us back up. Sure makes things easy that.

CapeTown day 3

Today we eat our way around the city. Shelley, who works with Pam, picked us up at 8:00. We are wearing comfortable shoes for walking and have not had breakfast, as instructed. First stop, Woodstock area, and the Old Biscuit Factory. First stop there, Origins, one of the earliest and Shelley says best, coffee roasters. Sat. morning the area is one huge food fair. Locals and tourists come to eat breakfast here, moving from stall to stall. We ate rosti with smoked salmon and egg, we ate chocolate, we ate caramel ice cream, we ate macaroni balls, we ate pumpkin fritters, we ate asmara finger food (Ethiopian). There were many really yummy looking things we did not eat.

Next we drove to the CapeMalay area. The houses here are painted vibrant colours. We saw large groups of people gathering, dressed in shiny satin outfits, carrying umbrellas. These are dancers who will be accompanied by brass bands, who do NOT paint their faces, while they compete against each other. Dozens of buses of people are coming in from the townships and outer suburbs.

Shelley is very chatty, and talks to everyone. She asks to take their pictures, then shows them the pictures. We also have nice conversations with people. Shelley zips into the local store, Muslim, like the people and comes out with yet more snacks. We head off on foot, through residential neighborhoods, stop at Origins, Shelley’s favourite coffee place. The barrista here speaks perfect English, asks where we are from, we say Vancouver, he says where? He is from Langley, and has been here for a couple of years. We pop into a small spice shop, Atlas trading company. The owners here do a terrific business selling their spices to restaurants, and their premixed spices and teas to individuals. My arthritic fingers are hurting, and Shelley points out the Rooibus tea mixture that is good for that. All very colourful and organized.

We head down the hill to the main square. Here there is a terrific African market. Textiles, carvings, jewelry, from all over Africa. Traders rent the small space for a very nominal fee. There is a small dance troupe with young women putting on a show. One really young girl has such an attitude. Two small ones will soon be as good.

We head to the main transportation hub. The small buses that come in from the Townships and country, larger city buses, trains, all go through here. On the roof are many shipping containers. Some time ago, entrepreneurial types took over the containers. With only gas in place, they started up restaurants. We had our lunch sitting on two stools outside the window of a restaurant that was one third of a shipping container. The chef, I can’t remember his name, started the movement. They grew, and then they agitated for more space, and now have electricity. They have been promised a new space, but are still waiting for that. He cooked us 5 dishes, one of which we especially liked. He is very, very proud of what they have accomplished here. He makes hundreds of a special sandwich each day. They are very cheap so even the farm labourers can afford them. The workers must leave home early to get into the city for work, so just stop by on their way and grab their breakfast.

He escorts us out of the building and across the street, and we say goodbye. This area was once the parliament buildings, there are nice open spaces around. We head further into the city, and stop at Truth coffee, the most UBER HIPSTER place ever. Apparantly this place has been ranked as the best coffee shop in the world by the Daily Telegraph. I am no good with numbers, but they roast umpteen kilos of coffee each day. The space is quite large, and is a coffee shop as well as roaster and warehouse. A French pastry chef presides over a kitchen upstairs. Shelley knows everyone, we walk around and look at the roaster, and the storeroom which doubles as a staff room. The staff is dressed in weird outfits, all fitted out with leather waistcoats. Shelley says you can order, light, medium or dark roast coffee if you wish, but they will all be the same. She says that you can get “good” coffee everywhere in CT, so recommends a few special ones. I have one with a shot of espresso, some orange juice and hot sweetened condensed milk. It is delicious and goes very well with the three pastries she also orders

We grab an Uber and head back to the car. Shelly takes us on a drive around the waterfront on the other side of our hotel. There are spectacular looking beaches, but the water is about 4 degres so not too many people in the water. There are spectacular looking homes along the water, on the hillside, and lots of apartment buildings as well. Many Brits and Germans own apartments here, and spend the winter--they call them “swallows”. It is an expensive area to live.

We head back to the hotel, and Shelley drops us off at the nearby water works shopping area, filled with local artisans.

Then we had the worst dinner of hat ur time in CT—the saitress forgot the wine and then the food so that we barely had time to eat it before Progress pick us up - and the manager in his apology made it seem like it was our fault. Only less than perfect experience so far but not a bad day to have an impeferect dinner as we had been eating all day.

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