Lovely Franschhoek Wine Town

I had met a nice young woman at yoga named Kayla. She is from Orange County and we had a lot to talk about for the two days we visited 6 wineries and Cape Point.

We started early yesterday in Sea Point and made our way to the lovely town of Franschhoek. It's a quaint place with nice restaurants, guest houses and wineries.

We dropped our things off at the little country cottage we found on AirBnB and walked back to town to catch a wine tour bus and tram.

The Western Cape Province was first settled in the 1600s by the Dutch, Huguenots (French Protestants) and English and was planted as an enormous series of farms to resupply ships as they made their way between India and the motherlands.

They planted orchards and vineyards. They imported livestock and chickens. The area thrived. The wineries were all devastated and completely destroyed by an insect similar to aphids in the 1800s. The wineries were eventually replanted with American rootstock, which are resistant to the destructive bug.

So today there are several wine growing areas including Stellenboch, Franschhoek and Constantia. We chose to go to the Franschhoek area because we heard it was quite a bit smaller and quieter than Stellenboch, which also has a university.

We booked ourselves on the Wine Tram, a little trolley-like car that travels between the various wineries. The tracks were originally used to carry the produce from the farms of the area to market.

We could stop at 6 wineries, but we stayed an extra hour at Babylonstoren since they had a farm, lovely grounds and a bakery, which meant we only got to see five wineries. But with tastings at each, plus lunch and bread and jam, that was more than enough to fill the day.

We pretty much loved all the wine and I bought a few bottles, some as a thank you gift for my hosts, who are going to store my suitcase while I'm on my safari trip next month.

We had lovely weather and the views at the wineries of the jagged mountains in the near distance was absolutely lovely and charming. The area could compete in every way with Napa and Sonoma.

Kayla and I finished our tour and walked our heavy purchases up to the cottage, then walked back to town for a good dinner.

The next morning we found an amazing animal sanctuary, home to Pigccaso, a famous painting pig, but it was only open on Sundays.

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