Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Franschhoek Wine Train

The Franschhoek Wine Tram is a new tourist experience in the wine country having started in 2012. Running on tracks first built in 1904 to replace the ox carts farmers used to get their goods to market, the tram carries passengers about two miles to two wineries. Passengers then ride a Tata bus made in India to the other wineries. Overall, it is a fun way to travel between several wineries especially since the only driving will be to get home after the ride is finished.

Passengers can get off at each of the wineries for one or two hours.  Some wineries offer free tasting. Others may have a discount on wine purchases. Several have lunch rooms or cheese platters so one can get some food to with which to enjoy the wine. Chocolate and olive tastings might also be available. One of the wineries even offers cooking classes. Since these are wineries, the food is usually excellent and the ambience couldn’t be better. A couple of them are up above town offering spectacular views of the valley below.

Mont Rochelle, now owned by Richard Branson (Virgin Air)
We started the trip with a group of about 30 Asian tourists who were already having a good time. They got off at the first stop so we skipped that one and continued on to the next one. Since there is only time to visit 5 of the 7 wineries, this seemed like a good plan. Later we met a lovely couple from Richard’s Bay and spent time with them at the last two wineries and then at the Stall and later at home to finish off the evening. We may be able to see them again when we spend a night at Richard’s Bay. We hope so as they were fun to spend time with.

Tasting with Sam and Sandra, our new friends
Some of the great artwork.

Leopard's Leap
The greeter at La Grande Provence

This is made of used tires. Quite impressive.

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