Friday, September 18, 2009

Franschoek, South African Winelands of the Cape

Ramzi is ecstatic because the love of his life, Princess from France, has joined us on tour today!!

Please give the map to Princess so that she can choose our next destination.

Aaah, you want to see the Winelands of the Cape...alright Princess, your wish is our command......

Btw, did you know that wine is rich in proanthocyandins, very potent antioxidants that can reduce free radical and environmental damage??

Okay Princess we are going to the French corner of the Cape, Franshoek, which lies in one of the most beautiful wine valleys in the world!!

I am sure that know that in 1685, after the protestant religion was outlawed in France, nearly 300 Hugenots arrived at the Cape of Good Hope.

They chose the Franschhoek Valley as their new home which was then filled with roaming elephants and called Oliphantshoek'.
Once the French came to settle it became known as Franschhoek ( French Corner ).
With its fine balmy summers and the majority of its rainfall in winter, the French Huguenots recognised the potential of the region for wine production and fruit growing.

Wow, amidst luscious vineyards and gracious Cape Dutch farmsteads,

a picturesque village emits proud, ever present memories of 17th Century Huguenot culture. ...its a little like going back in time.......many of the wine farms still bear their original French names!!

This traditionally French town is also the the gourmet and wine capital of the South Africa!!

Eight of the top 100 restaurants in the country are found in Franshoek, there are nigh on 30 wine cellars and over 28 restaurants from which to choose for your gastronomic experience.

We joined the Cap Classique route.

This sparkling wine tour included teaching us about the methods of making Cap Classique in a unique attempt to add value to wine consumption.

We are now going to visit the Huguenot Monument which is dedicated to the cultural influences that French Huguenots brought to the Cape Colony after their immigration during the 17th and 18th centuries.

The Huguenot Memorial was constructed in 1938 to commemorate the 250th year of the Huguenots' arrival in the Franschhoek valley, it commemorates the event and expresses the descendants gratitude for their Protestant Heritage.
Wow, this monument stands in a beautiful rose garden which is in full bloom in the early summer months.

The three arches symbolise the Holy Trinity above these shines the Sun of Righteousness and on top of the sun is the cross of the Christian faith.

The woman in front holds a Bible in her right hand and the torn chain in her left, symbolising the liberation from religious oppression, upon her dress is the fleur-de-lis which attests nobility of spirit and character.

She stands upon a globe of the world in spiritual freedom.

At the Southern most tip of Africa on the globe you will see the four symbols of the Huguenots faith - the Bible, the harp, a sheaf of corn and the vine and the spinning wheel.

The pool at the foot of the monument is there to express the tranquility and peace after great trouble.

The central themes of the memorial are the Huguenots' escape from religious oppression, the strength of their beliefs and their contribution to the development of the area.

Princess was fascinated by the Memorial Museum neighbouring the monument which elaborates on the history of the French Huguenots who settled in the Cape....and pleasantly surprised too because she didn't expect to find a piece of France in South Africa!.

Well, we could go for a hike into these beautiful mountains but Princess is keen to continue on the wine route....

Nopi, Marti and Jarca and giggling- uncontrollably - obviously too much wine tasting girls.......but that's fine.....we are all having loads of fun.....

Guess what? We have been invited to a festival tonight:-))

Cape vernacular music draws together farm workers, wine producers and music lovers , so we are going to join in....and enjoy this bountiful gathering of waterblommetjie bredie, bobotie, boeremusiek, ghoema, Nama stapdans and good cheer!

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