A Travellerspoint blog

Constantia Valley

overcast 60 °F

I woke up Sunday morning after finally getting a good nights sleep and was almost worried because everyone sounded like they were getting ready to go somewhere, and what would I do, in South Africa, alone, on my first full day. Luckily when I was getting breakfast one of the Dutch girls, Setfanie asked if I wanted to join them to go to Constantia, I asked what it was and they said “they heard it had a lot of nice nature” since I had nothing else to do I joined along! There was a group of 9 of us and one great thing about living here is that everyone is extremely welcoming and friendly.

Constantia is actually the oldest and largest wine growing area in South Africa, it borders Table Mountain National Park and although you have great views of Table Mountain from nearly every corner of Cape Town the placement gives you a spectacular perspective. Is is rated the 3rd best attraction in Cape Town and a must see during your stay!
Map of Constantia Valley, the different blocks are where different types of grapes are grown.

Map of Constantia Valley, the different blocks are where different types of grapes are grown.

Unfortunately since it is now Winter in this part of the world it was quite chilly, about 15 C which is 60 degrees Fahrenheit. (It's a good thing that I have caught on quickly to the metric and other systems that only the United States do not use. I have been asked why we don't use the other systems and my best response has been that we think we are better than everyone else, but I plan on investigating into the real reasoning.) It was very overcast and rainy that day so as soon as we arrived we hurried into a restaurant, Simon's at Groot Constantia. The restaurant was extremely nice, it has a contemporary décor and was an extremely relaxing environment. Since there were 9 of us we waited in one of the outdoor dining areas in a lounge until we were seated, we all ordered hot chocolate which I must say is not even comparable to any hot chocolate I have had in the past. Everywhere that I have ordered or seen hot chocolate it is made the same way and is so divine! We were finally seated at a table that was in the middle of one of three main dining rooms, the food was amazing and the company was even better.
Chicken Supreme from Simon's, this is for you Nicole!

Chicken Supreme from Simon's, this is for you Nicole!

After our late lunch we walked out of the restaurant to a few buildings away and took a tour of the wine cellar, where I learned a plethora about the types of wines made in South Africa and wine making as a whole. Not to say the most exciting part was seeing the wild Baboons, it was exciting for me but they are actually very dangerous and during the warmer months are very detrimental to the wine making process because they really enjoy eating all of the grapes in the fields. After the tour we were on our way to drive home but not before being stopped by a Baboon walking through the street.
The wild Baboons!

The wild Baboons!


The older outdated way of fermenting the wine, it takes 10 years in these large containers whereas only 2 with the modern way.

The older outdated way of fermenting the wine, it takes 10 years in these large containers whereas only 2 with the modern way.

The best part of the whole day would have to be the humor and goofiness of all of the Dutch people, I was laughing so hard at lunch that I was nearly in tears. I'm not sure if it is their culture and the way they were brought up or something with their accents but living here is like throwing all of your funniest friends into a room and just watching the hilarity unfold.
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View of some of the wine-yards!

View of some of the wine-yards!

Posted by JeanDees 03:12 Archived in South Africa Comments (1)

A few differences between Philadelphia and Cape Town

Driving on the left side of the road with the driver placed on the right side of the car, absolutely terrifying! So I don't have my license so I normally feel a little uneasy while being driven around but being on the left side in a place where the speed limit and other laws are not enforced is doing a number on my heart! Not to mention it is very confusing when crossing the street and walking in parking lots.

Internet, what? You can only have one router per street or “area” and therefore which ever house was the one luck enough to be the first one who answered their door were given the router. So within the first 2 days I have been here half of that time the internet has been inaccessible. And with this router does not come the set price. There is something called skyrove in which you have to purchase MG's of usage for the internet. Yesterday I paid R500 for 2500 MG's of internet usage. Which came down to R20 or $2.80 per MG. Dear Comcast, I will never again complain about paying around $20 a month for phone, internet and cable.

The drinking age! Although it no longer is am impact for me since I am 21. A fun drinking age of 18

A fun drinking age of 18

Phone: I'm not sure if anyone in South Africa has a traditional plan like I am used to in America. When I got here I unlocked my at&t phone from home and purchased a SIM card. I then purchased “air time” which you can get in different increments of Rand. I guess this is no different than a prepaid America phone but instead of getting a card it prints out on a receipt. It is just so strange because I didn't see an option to get a plan, the store seemed like a pure pay as you go stop and there were about 7 people waiting to add air time to their phones.

Cable: I'm not sure if it's just my house but our cable is inaccessible so we have been watching shows and movies on DVD's that people brought or the internet (which quickly decreases your MG usage, thus being very expensive).

Food, obviously! But I was surprised by the amount of similarities, sure I have to get used to the brands but I purchased Philadelphia cream cheese and Skippy peanut butter!! But the strange thing is that they do not have traditional grape jelly to accompany my peanut butter but they eat peanut butter and syrup sandwiches. Yes, maple syrup like for pancakes, shocking? Or am I the only one who has never heard of this? When I asked for Jelly I was sent to an aisle that was full of American Jello. Interesting difference, but when I found the Jam aisle they do not offer Grape at all? Maybe they use all of their grapes for their extremely popular and ever growing wine industry. So on the recommendation of Justin, the Xchange employee I purchased syrup to try this PB&S sandwich, i'll be sure to let everyone know how it goes.. Another difference that Justin brought to my attention is the difference between an American Pie and South African Pie. Their Pie is somewhat like our Pot Pie, although it is a flaky crust with chicken and mushrooms, it looked the same as a pot pie. When I showed him my idea of a Pie he said they call it a cake. There are also a plethora of brands that come from South Africa that I am used to on a daily basis at home nestle and cadburry are the only two that come to mind at the moment.
Simba is a major brand in South Africa, it reminded me of The Lion King!

Simba is a major brand in South Africa, it reminded me of The Lion King!

Unfortunately the difference that has had the most impact on my stay thus far has been the differences in season. As right now I am stalking all of my friends and family on facebook (whenever the internet decides to work again) with their pictures from Memorial Day BBQ's and visits to the shore or pool and almost resenting the fact that I chose to come to South Africa during their winter. But on the bright side I am saving my skin an intense summer worth of UV damage! Yes mom, I am still putting sun screen on!

Posted by JeanDees 02:16 Archived in South Africa Comments (1)

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