Sunday, January 31, 2010

The Winelands

January 31st

We have now arrived in the Winelands which is north of Cape Town.  We bought several handmade items from this artist.

In South Africa, there are more than 11 official languages.  Afrikaans is the most common language.
Our first stop today was the Afrikaans Language Monument.  Languages from 3 continents influenced the development of Afrikaans.  I hear a lot of German influences in their language.

It is a huge monument on the top of a hill.

Next, we headed to Stellenbosch which is the second oldest town in South Africa.  This church was built in 1823 as a school for slaves' children and coloured people.

This is the ammunition bunker for the Dutch East India Company.  This was built in 1777 to defend the early settlement.

Interesting art on the streets of Stellenbosch...

Of course, no trip to the winelands would be complete with a trip to a winery (or two).

We headed to the Delheim Winery which was recommended to us by the tourism office.

This winery is nestled at the foot of the mountains.  Go figure...the sign says the vines are from France!!

Our tour guide...
The tour and the wine tasting was free!!  How do they do it!?!?

We are staying at Paarl in the Winelands.  This is the view from our balcony/patio.  Paarl is Dutch for pearl.  There is a huge granite rock comprised of 3 rounded outcrops on the mountain.  They say that when it rains, the rounded outcrops glisten like pearls.

When, when WHEN????

When will I get the hang of driving on the "wrong" side of the road?!?!?  For those who don't know me, I don't know my right from my left.  I can't seem to get the hang of driving on the left side of the road.  When the Tom-Tom tells me to take a left on round-a-bout, I have no idea where to go.  My Tom has to point the way.  Argh!!!

Tom did it !!!!

January 29th

Yipee for Tom - he took the plung!!!  How exciting!!  Geranimo!!

What Tom did after his jump...

We ate at Moby Dick's for dinner which was almost next to our hotel.  We had fresh seafood for dinner.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Another interesting day

January 28

We headed out to the Cango Ostrich Farm today to learn about these interesting birds.

It takes 42 days for an ostrich to hatch.  Here I am holding an "early bird" which hatched in 41 days.  It is only 1 day old!

This is Betsy who is 6 years old.

Emues from Australia...

This is Adam who is 27 years old.  Ostriches are the largest birds in the world.

I should have paid more attention to this sign!!!

Here I am trying to get on the ostrich to ride it bare back.  No one in our small group wanted to ride the ostrich but me.  I obviously had no idea what to expect!!

I still had no idea what I was in store for.... idea what was going to happen...

The ostrich takes off....notice my hair...luckily you can't hear the words coming out of my mouth!!!

The ostrich trainers running full speed along side of me....

A few facts that I wish I knew before I got on the ostrich:

1.  Ostriches are the fastest 2 footed runners IN THE WORLD!!!  They reach speeds of up to 45 miles per hour and can maintain this speed for 30 minutes!

2.  Ostriches are between 6' and 10' in height and weigh as much as 340 pounds.

3.  Ostriches were occasionally used for riding in ancient Egypt however this practice never really took off because of their NASTY TEMPERMENT!!!

Peter, our guide....

Tom standing on ostrich eggs.  Ostrich eggs are incredibly strong since they have to support the weight of an ostrich (340 pounds) while it sits on them until they hatch.

Tom is holding an ostrich egg.  An ostrich egg is equal to 24 chicken eggs so you'd better be really hungry if you order an ostrich omelette!

After I recovered from my insane ostrich ride, we headed over to Cango Caves.

The Cango Caves were "discovered" in 1780.  However, the caves were used by the Bushman since the Early Stone Age.  Cango in Khoi means water between 2 mountains.  Tom at the entrance of the caves.

The caves are a consistant 19 degrees Celcius year round.

Our tour took us more than 1 kilometer into the caves.

On our way back to our hotel through the mountains...

Amazing views!!!

Coming down the mountain toward our hotel...