Great news! My iPod has rose from the dead! It got soaked while rafting in Pai (don’t mind why I brought an expensive electronic on a white water raft) and wouldn’t turn on. I’ve kept it ever since though, with the small glimmer of hope that it would work again. I nonchalantly put it on the charger and like magic, it turned on! I had some feel good songs to reacquaint myself with.
Anyways, today Isaac planned on picking Chris and I up and taking us to Lord knows where. But first we had to run into Stellenbosch and pick up a few supplies, including postcards to send to most of the people who donated to our campaign for the kids. Us and the kids are in the process of writing messages on them all now so expect a postcard in a few weeks, I would imagine. After running around town, Isaac picked us up from the minibus station around noon and took us to Franschoek. Franschoek is essentially a wine country neighboring Stellenbosch. He took us to The House of J.C. LeROUX, a facility known for processing champagne and sparkling wines. Let’s do some tasting!
I’m not a fan of champagne really, but the champagne offered here was probably the best I’ve ever tasted. We had five glasses of different champagnes, including an extra sixth one that Isaac was able to smooth talk the staff into giving us for no extra charge. Each glass was paired with a candy or chocolate of some sort. I love candy, but I came to find that I don’t like eating candy and drinking champagne at the same time. It’s just…weird. At least to me. Also, I don’t really care for higher end, upscale candies and chocolates. I’ll take a Reese’s or Twix over fancy schmancy chocolates any day!
We had no idea where we were going next, but Isaac took us to another vineyard, this time to Deheims Winery, a facility started by a German wine enthusiast. Here, they specialized in port wines, which are traditionally a lot sweeter than your norms. The layout of the winery was identical to an old cellar. There were even cobwebs that were purposely left in the windows to show how old this place was. Old wine means good wine so we were up for it!
First we tried a few ports. They weren’t too bad. Next the host gave us tastings of different Pinot Noirs and Merlots. I prefer smooth wines over most and these wines were as smooth as can be. They were so great that I bought two of them on the spot and had them shipped back home! I bought another for myself for later. The wine I bought is called Ansela van de Caab and is grown and produced by Muratie. Muratie actually names each varietal of their wines after a member of the family. Ansela has the prestigious distinction of being paired with the flagship wine of the company. We tried a few different glasses, and each glass was paired with more chocolates. I still didn’t like eating chocolates and drinking wine together in my mouth but the chocolates by themselves were alright.
One of the best things about enjoying wine, champagne, and the likes is that it gets me super hungry. Same with Chris. Actually, it might just be because we didn’t really eat anything substantial this morning for breakfast; just a cinnabon. Isaac took us to Gino’s, a pizza place, nearby in Stellenbosch. This was my first time here but Chris has been here numerous times before. I ordered a delicious pasta that did the trick.
Chris has always said that on this trip, one of the things he wanted to do the most was hold and play with monkeys. Isaac knew a place nearby where that could happen called “Monkey Town” that neither of us ever knew existed! We made a quick drive and arrived to our destination. This place was similar to Monkey Land except on a much smaller scale and not as many monkeys. But, more importantly, Chris and I were able to have a monkey encounter!
The monkeys we interacted with were a few squirrel monkeys, a wolf monkey, and a very timid ring-tailed Lemur named King Julian. I think this is the third lemur I’ve met named King Julian. The squirrel monkeys were pretty playful and would leap around on our shoulders, heads, laps, arms, and anything they could to reach the peanuts and cheetos we had in our hands for them. I could never get enough of their tiny human-like hands lifting each of our individual fingers one by one, to try and find something to eat. I tried my best to get King Julian to socialize with us but he was too shy. I did manage to get him to take some food out of my hand though. Before we knew it, our time limit was up and we were encouraged to go around Monkey Town and see all the other monkeys that were in an enclosure. The other monkeys included capuchin, tamarin, owl, and spider monkeys. There were also parrots and meerkats around, and also a caracal which I really wanted to play with really bad!
It’s great to have a local friend like Isaac who can take us around and show us places that a lot of tourists don’t go to. Although I don’t consider myself a tourist at all here in South Africa, I practically live here! I don’t think I really thought about what exactly we were going to be doing today – all I knew was whatever we would be doing, it would be a good time.
And there was no better way to spend the day than drinking tons of wine and playing with monkeys. 🙂