September 15, 2008

Vergelegen, Lanzarec, Rust en Vrede

Our next stop was Vergelegan on the “Helderberg” wine route. We passed through a guarded gate to a fabulous estate. The founder, Willem Adrain van der Stel, was an employee of the Dutch East India Company. The company exiled him to The Netherlands and divided his estate into quarters when they learned he had built up his holdings using company funds. Anglo American Corporation of South Africa recently bought and restored the estate to glory. The home has a South African style thatched roof which appears thinner than those in UK. We wandered through the home admiring the Cape Dutch furnishings and an especially flattering picture of Bill, Hillary, and Nelson Mandela. In the gardens, we marveled at ginormous (neologism) camphor trees planted by van der Stel between 1700 and 1706.

We were then whisked off to learn how wine is produced in South Africa (like most places in the world). The winery is largely built into the side of a small mountain with views of mountains on one side and the sea on the other. It was so windy that it was difficult to walk from the van to the winery. After our tour, it was back down the hill for another seated wine tasting.

We drove to the Lanzarec winery in the Jonkershoek Valley for lunch. Kris had fish but I went for the buffet – oxtail soup, curried fish, sweet sour chicken, flan, cheesecake – not many vegetables. ($30 total). Of course, after lunch we proceeded to the obligatory wine tasting.

Rust en Vrede were in the midst of renovations, but we persevered through our last wine tasting of the day.

We stopped in town for snacks and an internet fix (<$1 for 0-15 minutes). We skipped dinner again, noshing on fruit and left over Dieu Donne cheese.

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