Cape Town Day 3 – 5: Hiking, City, Crossfit, Wine and More Wine

Day 3 started with a slow, lazy morning breakfast before hitting the road for our day trip.  The challenge that day was to hike up Table Mountain to the summit via the Platteklip gorge.  With the sun beating our back, we scrambled up the perfectly positioned rocks which served as large steps.  Every once in a while we stopped for water and to take in the majestic views over Cape Town.  We made the 700m ascent over the 3km path in about 1.5hr… It was pretty damn steep but we conquered it.  We couldn’t have wished for a better day.  The wonderful refreshing breeze greeted us when we reached the top.  We wandered to different viewpoints and snapped some pictures before coming down on the cable car.

page1IMG_0639IMG_0671IMG_0699page2 Back in Cape Town, we stopped at Food Lovers Market. This cafeteria style, Wholefoods-on-crack place was heavenly.  The selection was plentiful and the ready made foods, the variety and freshness were amazing.  We finally settled on sushi and smoothies from the most amazing fruit bar.  We spent the rest of the afternoon talking a self-guided walking tour through Bo’kaap and the City Bowl.  We found the colourful architecture very charming and capable of whisking us away to another time.

IMG_0725IMG_0728page3page4page5Exhausted and sweaty, we stopped on the way home to get some wine (before they stop selling it at 6pm – quelle horreur!) and kabobs to BBQ later for dinner.  As the sun went down we enjoyed a glass of white wine at On the Rocks and ended another perfect day with a bottle of red wine and BBQ.

IMG_0758IMG_0767Before leaving for this trip I had convinced myself I wanted to check out a Crossfit gym while here. You bet I dragged David out to it as well.  And luckily there was a box just a 10 min drive from our place which made it easier to convince him.  We went for the 8am class at Crossfit Blouberg which consisted of us two plus a third person.  It was refreshing to be in such a personalized and ‘one-on-one’ class with ample space… reminded me of the early days at Crossfit Aurora and Armoury.  We went through a long warmup, 5X5 squat cleans and a short WOD.  It was a perfect set and one that was relatively easy for a noobie like David.

We spent the rest of the day in Stellenbosch, wine country.  We had an amazing wine tasting of 6 wines at Hartenberg (David’s favourite winery) along with a cellar tour.  It wasn’t busy at all!  The service was personal. The portions were almost too generous.  Having to drive, David was actually spit tasting the wine!  We didn’t leave without buying two bottles and concocting a plan to return to ship a few cases back to France.

IMG_0814page6We had a late lunch at Clos Malvern which overlooked the hills and vineyards, back dropped by mountains.  Despite the French sounding name, we had modern South African fare in the 4 course wine-paired lunch.  This unbelievably good value for money meal was just 20 euros per person.  We were adventurous with some of our choices and I went for a chicken liver appetizer while David chose the pork belly.  David had springbuck steak which was really nice and my beef steak, although well done, was incredibly tender.   Some plates were better than others… The livers needed some getting used to.

After lunch there wasn’t much time left for more winery visits but we fit in Meerlust.  The farm was composed of some beautiful Dutch inspired gable houses and offered up some funky art for sale.  We tried (and of course) bought some wine and headed back.

This wine tasting experience was so different then in Canada or even champagne tasting in Reims.   You don’t have to pay before you taste. You don’t feel like you’re being pushed to buy anything.  Portions are super generous.  It’s relaxing and very enjoyable.

We ended the evening with a stroll through the lovely university town of Stellenbosch.  Students and tourists alike enjoyed glasses of wine on terraces as the orange glow of the setting sun hit their sunglasses.  Next time we come to South Africa, we’ll have to spend a night or two in this charming place.

I also discovered my new favourite drink: a red espresso or red latte.  It’s a shot of strong roiboos tea without and with steamed milk. Divine!

Day 5 was shaping up to be a sunny day so we headed back to Stellenbosch to enjoy some more wine but this time in the sun.  We started off early (read: 10am) to make the most of the day.  After all, most wineries open at 9am.  We visited Delheim, Delaire, Thelema and Tokara just before lunch. These places had beautiful expansive estates that transported you back to colonial times.  Most have breathtaking views of the vine-covered hills that gleaned brilliantly with sun that day.

IMG_0785IMG_0787IMG_0799IMG_0790IMG_0822After making multiple purchases after the many tastings we settled into a picnic lunch at Hartenberg in the early afternoon.  We had the field to ourselves even though their restaurant was bustling.  Our picnic included a baguette (not as good as the french variety), two cheeses, some charcuterie, artichoke dip, beet spread, quiche, meat loaf, caprese salad, candied figs, caramelized onions, walnut bread, grapes and brownie and a bottle of white wine (and sparkling water) to wash it all down.  It was incredibly filling and delicious and in the perfect wine farm setting.  Again, I couldn’t believe it only cost the equivalent of 15 euros per person.  We relaxed in the sun as we ate and drank to our hearts’ content.  And quite nearly fell asleep on the massive pillow.  As it neared the end of working hours for the region, we opted out of visiting another farm and headed back to Cape Town.

page7On the way back we stopped at Canal Walk, a large and beautifully designed mall with many stores.  We wandered around, emptied out our bank account and then headed home.  Still full from lunch, we skipped a proper dinner and went straight to the dessert we picked up at Checkers earlier.

And here’s a quick lesson on how to gain 5lb in a week:  drink a bottle of wine (or more) every day and just eat dessert instead of dinner.  You’ll be on your way to your incredibly pudgy self in no time!  Sigh….

Another fun-filled and wonderful day was under our (expanding) belts.

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