Surfing, Wine County and New Friends – Pt. 2

Okay, back to wine country we go! To give you an idea of how massive Stellenbosch is, we spent four full days in one little quadrant of the area (see the yellow below). Once again, FOMO is a real thing here because you can only get to so many vineyards in so much time and actually enjoy yourself. In fact, I’m feeling it now. If we went back tomorrow, there’s no doubt we’d have a completely different experience in the other areas. A reason of many to come back. Any takers?

Stellenbosch Map
The yellow area is where we mainly stayed – LOOK HOW MUCH ELSE THERE IS, plus not all vineyards on the map

After 4 beautiful days roaming around Stelly, we headed northeast to Franschhoek, another wine region but quaint and charming with strong French heritage. It was a Sunday morning and the 45 minute drive through the vineyards was picturesque and relaxing.  Did I mention yet that we rented a car for this excursion to wine country? Well, we sure did and let me tell you, driving on the other side of the road was terrifying. Thank goodness we got an automatic because a manual would have likely killed us. Now I should take a moment and thank Adam here because he drove superbly and I just passenger seat drove while cringing with each seemingly opposite turn we made. Driving was an adventure in its own right, but back to fancy Franschhoek.

During our time in Cape Town, we met so many wonderful friends, but Adele and Steve became our pals to find adventure with. Adele is from Cincinnati (totally random) and her boyfriend Steve is a South African Afrikaans native. They are quite a pair and helped make our visit pretty awesome through the four times we hung out (they also threw us our first braai!). Steve and Adele had the magical idea of meeting us in Franschhoek for a day to cycle and sip our way around the vineyards. Obviously, this was an amazing idea which is why there is this Part II to this blog.

The four of us rented an adorable AirBnB cottage in Franschhoek and the fun instantly began. Adele, who had “cycle wine toured” before, was our fearless leader and got to plotting our route based progressively on vineyard closing times. Genius. With our route in hand, we went to rent bikes at Franschhoek Cycles from the shop owner Steve who was gracious enough to open his shop even though he was closed on Sundays. With all the necessities taken care of, we were getting thirsty and our first stop involved a hill, bubbly and the best view in Stellenbosch.

Vineyard
Haute Cabrière‘s view (the best in Franschhoek) – Not pictured: my sweaty face from biking the hill to this oasis or my bubbly flight

As the day progressed, so did the fun. Sweaty, hungry and thirsty we pedalled our way to four different wineries. Bubbly, sweeping views, charcuterie boards, incredible service… this day really couldn’t be beaten. We had one more winery on our minds when we arrived at Rickety Bridge, our 2nd to last stop. As the name eludes to, we biked through a beautiful entrance across a rickety bridge and arrived at a relaxed, welcoming vineyard and tasting patio.

We sat down in the corner where there was a rugby game on TV and were quickly greeted by our server, Charles. Now I’m not sure if we clicked so fast with Charles because he spoke Afrikaans like Steve, or because he just liked that we were friendly and rolled up on bikes, perhaps a change up from the frequent more pretentious tasting visitors. Regardless, Charles made our tasting at Rickety Bridge the highlight of our day in Franschhoek. Aside from being funny, warm and chatty, he was a stellar host. As we all selected our wines for the tasting, Charles brought each of us one of each wine… basically doubling our tasting so we could try everything on the menu! At one point, he even let Steve pour the tasting and keep the bottle at our table. The atmosphere he created was so alive and spontaneous that instead of rushing to one more vineyard, we crushed a delicious cheese plate, planned an itinerary for our future trip back to South Africa, talked about how incredible it was that the four of us met, and kept drinking the bottomless wine. I will relive that experience for years to come and will always buy Rickety Bridge if given the chance… and did soon thereafter at Duty-Free at the Joahnnesburg Airport :).

img_8857-e1525355878762.jpg
Gotta get a picture with Charles!

This day and this wine tasting in specific spent with new friends, spectacular service and great wine solidified the fact that people are going to make for our richest experiences on this 9-month adventure. With the four of us all smiles, we trekked back to our farm cottage with 5 freshly purchased Rickety Bridge bottles in our backpacks. Thanks Charles for a great closing to a fantastic afternoon and thanks to Adele and Steve for planning such a fun day!

Rickety Bridge
RB’s sweet graphically designed label reminded me of a brewery mural in Cincinnati

Author: curriedawaytravel

We're semi-newlyweds living in the great city of Cincinnati, except for this year as different parts of the world will be our home. Although different in our own ways, we both share common loves of cooking, the outdoors, volleyball, skiing, delicious food scenes, travel (obviously) and our awesome dog Bentley. Adam works as a Real Estate Agent with Keller Williams focusing on and passionate about investment properties. When he's not making calls, renovating homes around the city or building his local Key Property Partners team, you can find him on one of Cincinnati's many sand volleyball courts, year-round. In fact, he tried to bring THREE volleyballs on this 10-month trip (luggage limitations got him down to 2... I'll keep you posted on how he survives). Adam is also a foodie and loves ordering the strangest thing on every menu. If I had to sum him up in 4 words it would be: determined, practical, thoughtful and curious. I, the likely frequent author of this blog, am an environmental graphic designer for m+a architects. What that mostly means if you aren't familiar, is that I design environments that communicate information, a brand or a feeling. Installations, signage, wall graphics, custom art, and so on and so forth. It's pretty awesome work. When I'm not working, I'm usually putting my creative juices to good use and DIY'ing something around our newly renovated home or sending Adam pictures of adoptable dogs. I love otters, wine tastings, a good charcuterie board and keeping an active lifestyle. Adam's summary of me in four words is: enthusiastic, determined, adventurous, and athletic (finally, he admitted it!)

One thought

  1. Just googled FOMO. For real. Thanks for the education…and also, I looooove your blog. I’m not missing out when I’m reading because I really like seeing things through your eyes. 🙂 Cheers to all of these things!

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s