Monday, January 5, 2009

Cape Town, part three!

Is one week in Cape Town enough? I think not. All this trip did was solidify that it is one of my favorite places. I just adore it!

Here's the rundown (with lots of links for me to remember places to go next time!):
We stayed at a really inexpensive self-catering guest house in the central business district of Cape Town. $80/night for a two bedroom apartment? Awesome! Better yet that it was within walking distance of the Company Gardens and lots of great restaurants and shops.

On Monday we drove to Paarl/Franschhoek because the rather was cold and rainy. Based on recommendations, we went to Fairview, which may be my favorite winery just because they have yummy wine, fabulous cheese, and funny goats that climb on a tower! Afterwards we went to Graham Beck and I had a fantastic sparkling wine sampler. We drove into town, which is set against the mountains and full of great shops and restaurants. Based on yet another recommendation, we ate at French Connection, which was super yummy. We shopped around for awhile (my lone souvenir is a turquoise leather fly swatter!) and then headed to Lindhorst, which had fantastic wine. We headed back to Cape Town and walked around Long Street and decided to eat at Maharajah, an indian restaurant that lacked in atmosphere but made up in yummy food.

Tuesday we headed to the Cape of Good Hope, which was AMAZING! The drive down the coast line was beautiful and we passed through all sorts of fun towns. At the Cape, we decided to take the walk and went down a rickity boardwalk and stairs and an extremely steep sand dune to get to Diaz Beach. It was fantastic exercise and well worth the excellent views. I really loved the Cape of Good Hope and would love to spend more time there. Its the southernmost point of the African continent and is also where the Atlantic and Indian oceans meet.

Afterwards, we ate lunch in Kalk Bay at Cafe Olympia, which was FANTASTIC. That evening we attempted Table Mountain, but found it had closed due to windy weather. We sat in traffic to get there for well over an hour! Yuck. We headed back to the V&A waterfront and ate at Balducci's, which was disappointing as we all wanted sushi and for whatever reason, you had to sit in a different part of the restaurant to order it. Bummer!

Wednesday was New Year's Eve. We headed to the V&A Waterfront and took a boat ride out to Robben Island, where we could see the prison and the ships wrecked along the shore. We also saw seals, dolphins, and one whale on the ride. It was very relaxing and fun! We ate lunch at the waterfront and people watched for awhile. That evening we headed to Long Street and spent New Year's Eve at an Irish Pub called the Dubliner. It was a very different new year's for me as I never even heard a count down from where I stood upstairs looking out at the street - just people cheering at midnight!

On New Year's Day we went to an alpine slide that was fun! We also drove around town, taking in Constantia, Hout Boy, and Camp's Bay. For dinner we went to my favorite restaurant in South Africa - 95 Keerom. YUM. We had fantastic fish carpaccio, I had the yummy canneloni again, Will and Christy had delicious gorgonzola gnocchi (YUM!), Steph had fab ravioli, and Will had an amazing trio of game meats (Springbok, Kudu, and Wildebeest). Dessert was amazing too! It was all so yummy and definitely ranked in one of my top 10 dining experiences of all time. The best part? It is SO INEXPENSIVE! We had top quality wine, appetizers, pastas, main courses, and dessert for $45 each.

Friday we visited Stellenbosch, another wine region in the Western Cape. We started off at Spier, which is a huge winery and conference center. They even had a cheetah reserve! Next we had a fabulous wine and treat pairing at Lanzerac, which was fantastic. The grounds of the winery and hotel were absolutely stunning. We quickly ate lunch and headed to Neil Ellis, another stunning winery. The finale was Waterford, where we had 11 wines to taste plus a chocolate pairing. There was an indian spiced dark chocolate, a dark chocolate made with rock salt, and a milk chocolate made to taste like roses. I like the first two chocolates but the last was terrible! It was like eating soap. Based on multiple recommendations, we tried out Bukhara Indian restaurant. We sat outside on their 2nd floor patio and had an amazing meal! The perfect end to a day of wine tasting.

Saturday we went shopping at Green Market Square, ate FANTASTIC burgers at Cafe Royale, and went up to Table Mountain, which was finally clear (although a bit cloudy when we got up there).

All in all, it was a fabulous trip filled with good times, yummy wine and food, and fantastic scenery. Pictures to come soon!

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