Chapter Four: Drink Up!

Wyn

Wine

To make sure we didn’t miss today’s main event – the wine tram, as organised by the bride and groom – we checked out of the hotel straight after a quick breakfast, then hit the road.

We drove (that’s transport type number one for the day) to Franschhoek, a pretty little town with a strong French vibe, surrounded on all sides by mountains and vineyards.

One of hundreds (or thousands) of vineyards in the area

It was still a bit grey and wet, and the drive wasn’t the most exciting, but we got there without incident, other than driving around our next hotel a couple of times before realising that we were in the right place.

We had a little time after dropping off our suitcases and parking up the car, which we used to explore the area by foot (transport type number two).  We walked down to Main Street and had a look around, there are many little art shops here, including one that sells paintings where the canvas is a genuine Admiralty chart!

“Trust in God and an Admiralty chart”, unless someone has drawn all over it that is

We joined the Wedding Group about 10 minutes before we were due to set off on our wine tasting day.

Aside from the bride and groom we didn’t really know anyone, but that was rectified soon enough by a few hastily given introductions. I can’t quite remember most of the specific names to faces (there were lots of Mikes, Rachels, Henrys, and Karens), or how exactly they relate to the bride or groom, but it didn’t seem to matter really, they were all very pleasant.

We hopped on to the minibus (transport type number 3) which took us on a short, bumpy trip down the road, where we then left the bus and set off on one of the famous Franschhoek Wine Trams (transport type number 4).

The Groom, pretending to be organised

It’s fair to say that the whole event was delightfully disorganised chaos, with people talking and laughing, and generally not paying attention – it felt a lot like a school trip – but we didn’t lose anyone and we all just muddled along.

The Wine Tram, fourth mode of transport for the day (not that we were on it for very long). Sorry for the picture being so dark.

The tram trundled up and down the track for a while, before coming to our first scheduled stop, at the Franschhoek Cellar.  By this stage the weather had turned, the grey clouds had lifted and the blue sky was back.

The weather was much improved on yesterday, for the most part anyway

30 people decanted from the train and spent the next hour or so slurping six different wines – three white and three red.

Some bottles of wine, the first of many.

Next came an establishment called The Rickety Bridge, where we tried four more wines, and by now everything pretty much tasted the same, but the conversations had started flowing and we mingled and chatted with almost everyone.

 

Another view of the surrounding mountains

We had lunch next, which was a lively and enjoyable affair, before finally making our way (by minibus again) to our final tasting location, the name of which I can’t remember (there had been a lot of wine by this stage, don’t forget).

The vines, note the rose at the end of each row – it is there as a disease detector giving the wine farmer an early warning

We sat outside in the blazing sunshine and the wine kept coming.

The Whino, one of the most elusive creatures to call Franschhoek it’s home.

Then the weather changed again.

The sun hid away behind the clouds, and the wind to picked up from the surrounding mountains.  It became very cold, which in turn helped sober us up.

We eventually returned via minibus to the Main Street and made our way back to the hotel, parting ways with the rest of the wedding party – it may have been a very long, noisy day, but it was good to know that there would be a few recognisable faces at tomorrow’s ceremony.

The Frenchelephant, a rare creature sometimes found standing very still on the Main Street of Franschhoek.

After checking in to the hotel, and generally getting ourselves sorted, it was time to head out for a bite to eat, we found a Greek-style restaurant called Taki’s where the food was simple but very tasty.

We decided not to have wine with our meal.

6 thoughts on “Chapter Four: Drink Up!

  1. Sorry for my late comment. Congratulations for managing to compose a blog after your winey day, Scott. Great to see a picture of the groom and looking very well and relaxed too. He didn’t look too concerned about organised chaos!

    Lovely pictures giving us a good idea of what the place looks like. I thought the roses look nice at the ends of the rows of vines, I wonder what diseases they give warning of?

    I hope by now you will have enjoyed the wedding day or are still doing so? Have fun

    1. Thank you, I’m not sure exactly which disease it may be, I think it’s more of a general thing… the rose will catch it and suffer quicker than the vines.

  2. Lovely long blog with lots of great photographs. I am impressed that you managed to complete it after your wine-a – thon. The tram you rode on is very similar to the trams at Beamish open air museum in Northumberland. It was a surprise to see the admiralty chart being used in such a unique way. Do all vineyards have roses at the beginning of the line ?

    1. Thank you – it was a long day of sipping wine, but I somehow made it through. How far does the Beamish tram go? This one looked like it went on for miles, be in truth we were only on it a few minutes. We were surprised by the charts too – I’m not sure that’s the official use?

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