Today we went to Stellenbosch, South Africa’s second oldest city, where we toured the town and did a lot of wine tasting. The town was extremely rich in history and we learned some very interesting things on our tour. Although Stellenbosch is a touristy area, it still possessed many cultural aspects. The city is not only known for its deep history but also for its incredible wine. They are known all over the world for their wine so we made sure to taste a lot of it, if not all of it. We tried a wide variety of both red and white wines from different brands and really got to experience some top quality wines. The first place we tested at was Bramptons. This was right in the middle of the original town of Stellenbosch which added to the experience. I am not much a wine connoisseur but had an open mind to all of the different wines. We probably tried around six wines so I was on to about my fourth glass of wine when it was time to move on.
Our next destination was a local café that served us a few different types of tea, one of which was to help detoxify us as after all the wine we had consumed as well as the other alcoholic beverages we downed over the weekend. The teas are very popular among South Africans and I can see why.
We then headed to Stellenbosch’s oldest house. Many of the buildings and towns were hundreds of years old and going inside the oldest remaining house was eye opening. It really felt like we had stepped into a new world or into a time machine that took us back into the 1700’s.
After leaving the oldest house in Stellenbosch, we then visited the oldest hotel in Stellenbosch, which is also the second oldest hotel in all of South Africa. We had lunch there and and got to experience some more South African culture with the unique South African dish we were served. The dish had ox tail as the main feature and I was very skeptical at trying it. But, sure enough it tasted like chicken. I scarfed it all down and drank some more Bramptons wine. I really learned how the wine can compliment certain dishes really well and even add to the flavor. At the hotel, our tour guide took us downstairs to show us an underground cemetery where the rich were buried. They were literally buried underneath the hotel. We learned where the term “stinking rich” came from because the underground bodies would make the entire building smell.
After lunch we headed over to another famous vineyard called Dornier Wines. It was beautifully located right at the bottom of a large mountain range, with rolling hills and grapevines farther than the eye could see. We tried a few more wines that were somewhat tolerable to me while we learned the proper tasting techniques. We felt quite sophisticated as we twirled our wine in our glasses. After many bottles were tried you could tell the wine was beginning to take affect as various members of our group were either taking naps or were moving their finger around the wine glass making a high pitched noise. It was a perfect palette cleanser for our incredible dinner that was ahead of us.
We ate a really exciting place called Moyo. It was beautifully arranged and from the moment we arrived we could sense how special the place was. It was our first experience of tribal Africa. We ate in a large hut under candle light while listening to tribal music in the background. It was a traditional African buffet style meal where local game was served fresh, including: springbok, beef, chicken, various types of fish, impala, muscles, and a bunch of different types of African side dishes. My favorites were the springbok sausage and the impala filet. They were cooked to perfection and had a very intriguing taste that was basically like beef only with a stronger after-taste. As I finished eating, two black women and a black man came up on stage and began their introductory performance. They were singing and playing congo drums with vigorous speed. They got the crowd very involved and even began pulling some of the ladies on stage for a dance performance. None of our groups girls danced because they were lame but another school from Indiana dominated the dance floor. After their dance was over, it was time for the guys dance. We were stubborn at first but eventually about six or seven of our guys jumped on the stage and tried to copy the black man. He was very talented and rhythmic, but was easy enough for some of our guys to catch on. After a few minutes everyone was cheering and taking videos as our guys were dancing like tribal Africans themselves. Of course I did not participate because my wine had worn-off by then and there is absolutely no chance of me dancing completely sober. However, I enjoyed my seat from the crowd thoroughly. It was a perfect way to end our day. We were completely worn out and ready for a good nights sleep required for the manual labor we will be performing tomorrow in the townships.