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.
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!
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).
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 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.
30 people decanted from the train and spent the next hour or so slurping six different wines – three white and three red.
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.
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).
We sat outside in the blazing sunshine and the wine kept coming.
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.
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.