Saturday, 6 February 2016
06.02.2016 - 06.02.2016
There was a chill in the air on the open deck at 05:45 and a damp sea mist rolled in over the city. The sunrise was far less spectacular than yesterday's offer. Tried to create some images that tied the ship to Table Mountain but that didn't work too well. Joined Jenny for breakfast before preparing for our shore excursion.
Today's tour is a drive to the University Town of Stellenbosch with time to explore then on to a local wine estate to taste the local wines. All was proceeding well as we were all aboard the coach by 08:20. All that is except for one. One passenger had checked in for the tour and was recorded as having left the ship but hadn't arrived at the coach. We sat there for a while until the official departure time. Still no sign of her. The tour guide allowed an additional 10 minutes to be sure and we finally pulled out at 08:55. Not an encouraging start to the day.
Our trip today is mainly North from the city thereby avoiding the traffic snarls. We travelled past a number of new developments and finally the start of the wine region. This area is one of a number of wine regions and the guide explained the origin of wine making in the Cape. Our destination is the town of Stellenbosch where the University is renowned for two things, research and development of grapes and wine making methods and for being the only University to teach in the Africans language.
It was a beautiful sunny day and it was Saturday. Traffic was at a standstill and the bars, taverns and coffee shops were doing a roaring trade. There were people literally everywhere. The main attraction for me was the many examples of magnificent Colonial architecture that line Dorp Street. Some are set back from the street while others stand right up to the footpath. All are immaculately presented in a brilliant coat of white. The mature oaks that line the street provided relief from the sun but made it difficult to capture that ideal shot.
Back on the coach to drive out to the Neethlingshof Wine Estate. Set on the slopes of the surrounding hills the vineyards create a pleasant green tapestry offset by structures in the whitewashed Colonial Dutch Style dating back to 1814. The primary aim for most was to attend the wine tasting and buy the local wines. I decided to wander around the Estate and photographed some of the gardens and buildings. The distant vineyard by this time were covered by a pall of smoke from a fire in the area. The smoke also closed the highway along which we'd travelled to get there.
The return trip to the ship was always intended to be along a different route but even that had to adjusted to avoid the smoke. I was surprised at the casual attitude to the fire. Our guide was almost nonplus, his only comment was to say that at least there wasn't much wind. Our return route took us past a number of shanty towns which were more extensive and elaborate than I had expected. It was explained by the guide that everyone in South Africa is free to live where they want, the determining factor is that of affordability. There is a move to set up more development areas for 'middle class' housing now that land ownership is open to all who can afford it. The post-apartheid South Africa is a work in progress and with eleven 'official' languages the wheels of progress roll slowly.
Today marks the end of our stay in Cape Town and two more South African ports to go. The impression has been almost 100% positive and places South Africa with Canada and the USA on the list of countries we'd happily visit again.
Off to the mandatory General Emergency Alarm Drill. It appears that these drills are required to be conducted every month and according to a note in the Patter, the list of those attending must be submitted to Maritime Authorities.
Back in the cabin and ready to do dinner in the main dining room for a change. Lovely dinner and decedent desert. Decided to give the show in the Theatre a miss and look for a movie on the TV instead. Chances are we'll fall asleep regardless of what we set out to view.
The ship is underway heading for Port Elizabeth back on the East Coast. We've been advised of increasing winds and swells, the ship is rocking gently as I type.
Today's image is of a Dutch Colonial building dating back to 1830, if you have time you can view it by following this link to the image for Today
Wishing you good health and safe travel.
Have a great day and stay well.
Cheers .. Tony