Thirteen Years: Visiting Wine Estates Around Stellenbosch

AIDS was… an illness in stages, a very long flight of steps that led assuredly to death, but whose every step represented a unique apprenticeship. It was a disease that gave death time to live and its victims time to die, time to discover time, and in the end to discover life.

~ Hervé Guibert

Visiting Wine Estates Around Stellenbosch

Continued from… Fish, Friendship And Wine

They were all interested in the antiques.

In the side building, which long ago must have been the slaves’ quarters, the number of antiques in there amazed them. Prams and highchairs for small children dated as far back as the eighteenth century. Kitchen utensils such as tableware and pots and pans were just as old as the prams. The eye catcher was the enormous ornate antique organ.

Their next stop was the Dombeya Wool Farm. On this farm, natural fibers such as wool, cotton and mohair were processed naturally. In the workshop, the four visitors could see the arts of dying, hand spinning, weaving and knitting. In the shop, woven blankets, floor mats, hand knitted jerseys, and other clothing articles were on display to be sold. Everything, as usual, with articles requiring a great deal of effort, was very expensive.

Outside the shop, the four friends saw a sign showing them to a viewpoint. Isaac joined them in the short climb to the lookout. Annie loved the aloes that were in full bloom, showing their lovely orange tubular flowers.

Leaving the Dombeya Wool Farm behind them, their next stop was the working wine farm of Muratie, at the foot of the Simonsberg. An impressive big sign at the entrance showed all the owners of this wine farm for the past 300 years.

Jeanne and Jacques didn’t want to taste anymore wine. Jeanne because she still had to drive and Jacques because he didn’t want to be the only one drinking. Annie’s nausea had disappeared, but she didn’t want to risk it coming back by tasting the wine again.

Delheim was the last wine estate they visited. They all had to go to the toilet and had quite a laugh at the signs that were put up there. Palazzo Pipi marked the direction of the bathrooms. Reaching Palazzo Pipi, Annie and Jeanne entered Mama Mia, while the two men entered Papa Mio.

“I think we should find a place to eat and sit for a longer time, so Isaac can rest,” Annie expressed her concern while she and Jeanne were still inside Mama Mia.

“Good idea,” Jeanne agreed, “I noticed he seems to be tired.”

When they got outside, the men were waiting for them.

“Shall we go to Stellenbosch for lunch?” Jeanne asked, squinting against the sun.

Everyone agreed.

“Great. I know a nice little place where we can go,” Jeanne smiled as they walked towards her car.

Less than half an hour later, they stopped in front of a very old shop, Oom Samie se winkel, which could be directly translated as Uncle Samie’s shop. This shop was famous in the history of Stellenbosch, reflecting how locals used to trade hundreds of years ago. You could buy anything from fruit to candy, alcohol and clothing in this shop. When they got out of the car, Isaac saw the bench on the porch of the shop. The pain in his legs had returned. He wanted to do nothing else but to sit.

Annie was behind Jeanne’s car, making pictures of the front façade of Oom Samie se winkel. On the display at the back of the digital camera, she noticed Isaac. He sat on the bench, bent over, his chin resting on one of his hands, his elbow on his knee. She slowly walked over and sat down next to him.

“How are your legs feeling, Isaac?”

“Oh, they’re okay, I guess.”

“You guess?” Annie frowned.

“The pain comes and goes, but I’m okay, Annie,” Isaac tried to assure her, not succeeding.

“Are you coming inside with us?” Annie asked.

“No, I’ll wait here. Go on, Annie, don’t stay here with me. You never know when you’ll have the chance to come back here,” Isaac urged her to go inside.

Even though she didn’t feel content with leaving Isaac alone, Annie walked into the shop. It was as if they transferred her back to her youth. Some of the candy on display couldn’t be found in any of the other shops Annie had gone to in the past week.

She couldn’t help herself. Annie just had to buy the candy to take home with her. Where the candy was cheap, the prices of the clothing inside the store was over the top.

Annie also bought some freshly baked koeksisters, which was a typical South African pastry. The dough for the koeksisters was braided into short plaits, which were then deep fried in oil, and once cooled down, dipped in cold sugar syrup, which was normally made the day before. The hot koeksisters soaked up the syrup, which gave it a special texture and taste. Koeksisters were always eaten cold.

Annie, Jacques and Jeanne appeared back on the porch, where Isaac waited. They had been inside Oom Samie se winkel for close to an hour. Each of them carried a plastic bag, filled with mostly candy.

“Shall we have some lunch now?” Jeanne asked, and the others nodded in unison.

Jeanne walked to the end of the porch and only then the others saw the sign directing them to a restaurant out back. They seated themselves at a round cast iron table under an enormous tree. When the server came to get their order, Isaac ordered a simple sandwich with rooibos tea, while the other three ordered the homemade cottage pie. Cottage pie was made of meat and vegetables, covered with a crust of mashed potatoes.

Sitting on the porch of Oom Samie se winkel for almost an hour and taking their time to have their lunch, was good for Isaac. Annie noticed his mood seemed to be lighter and his movements more swift when they headed back to Cape Town.

Their last stop for the day was the Tyger Valley shopping center. While they were driving back to Cape Town, Jeanne asked them whether they were in the mood for a game of putt-putt or midget golf. They all left the decision to Isaac, who said that he would love to do it again.

So said, so done.

The mini golf course was on the lowest level and it was only one of the fun things inside this big shopping center. A replica of a riverboat gave entrance to the wonderland for kids.

The four friends played one game, drifting from one hole to the next. The holes were creatively situated between small ponds, flowerbeds, and wooden bridges. Isaac took his time at each of the holes and at the end he reaped the benefits from it. He won. Annie lost. Each of them agreed they had a wonderful time.

However, since the travelers still had to pack their bags for their return trip, Jeanne brought them back to Isaac’s house early that evening, after they had been to the Spur for their daily treat.

To be continued… Flying Back To The Netherlands

Note: This series is a rework of a self-published book (2009), rewritten for this blog, and in loving memory of a dear friend who suffered from and passed because of AIDS. Keep in mind this story happens in the late eighties and throughout the nineties. Names of characters have been changed to protect their privacy.

© Rebel’s Notes
Image from Pixabay

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