During my stay on the island of São Miguel in the Azores I had a few stopovers in the lovely old city of Lisbon during my travels between the island and Cape Town. I grew to love Lisbon and relish my all too brief visits, so when Elle and I had the opportunity to spend a couple of days there en route to the Azores, we jumped at it. I badly wanted to share at least a bit of this great place with her. We both thoroughly enjoyed our brief sojourn, even though the second day was rather wet because of an autumn rain!
The town of Somerset West, named after the British Governor Lord Charles Somerset, lies at the foot of the Helderberg mountain, part of the Hottentots-Holland range, and is some 30km east of Cape Town. The town itself is fairly young, having been founded only in 1822, but on the outskirts of Somerset West one finds the historic wine estate of Vergelegen (from the Dutch for “situated far away”, because when the then Governor of the Cape, Willem Adriaan van der Stel established the estate in 1700, it took three days by ox wagon from Cape Town).
Six years after he had established the estate, Van der Stel had already planted half a million vines, and thus started the history of wine making at Vergelegen. The estate passed from hand to hand over the centuries, but nowadays it belongs to the Anglo-American group of companies and the quality of the wines produced here now is exceptional. Today there are 24 vineyards covering 107ha (264 acres).
The estate is also popular just before Christmas, when thousands of people attend the annual carols by candlelight held on the main lawn in front of the old manor house.
Some more images from our visit to the island in the Azores last year. Also known as “Ilha Verde” or Green Island, this is a little paradise in the middle of the North Atlantic Ocean, about three hours’ flight from Lisbon.
During our stay in the Western Cape last year we took a few days off to drive along the west coast to the town of Vredendal, where I was at school for three years from 1965 to 1967. I have an enduring love for this part of South Africa, and have very many happy memories of the time I spent in the area, whether it was Klawer (where we lived briefly in 1960) or Vredendal itself, not to mention seaside towns like Strandfontein, Doringbaai and Lamberts Bay.
Just a few images from the places we had time to visit during our short stay in southern Holland last November.
Our stay in Paris in November 2012 was, unfortunately, far too brief, as we had only an afternoon, a night and a morning between arriving at the Gare du Nord in the Eurostar from London and departing from the same station on the Thalys bound for Amsterdam, so we tried to make the most of our fleeting visit. The memories, however, will last a lifetime.
Just a few glimpses of this wonderful old city from our brief visit last November.