Gordon’s Bay, Day 1

Saturday, March 11

Of course the day was yours to plan as you chose, and everyone scatters to their various activities.  What did you do this day and what did you learn from the experience?

africaheron

Gordon Bay is great for fishing!

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30 Responses to “Gordon’s Bay, Day 1”

  1. Phil Says:

    Unfortunately this day was a wash for me after eating something bad the day before. I learned that South Africa’s version of Gatorade has WAY more sugar than one would expect. Also the hotel’s bed were extra comfy . Everything was such a stark difference than the prior day, which put things in prospective how fortunate I was despite the bodily issues.

  2. Samantha Frapart Says:

    Similar to Phil, this was a rough night and a slow day. Luckily, I started my antibiotics early enough in the night to make it to the Vergelegen winery with my classmates. Because I was under the weather, I skipped the wine-drinking and took a nice walk through the grounds. When I went through the grounds, the rose garden, the plantation home, the hydrangeas were beautiful but I was thrown off by the visit to the slave quarters. Not because there had been slave quarters (because, duh), but because when Samantha and I had got there, we discovered it had been knocked down. Essentially we were looking at a parking lot with a sign reading “slave lodge.” This seemed to me another illustration of the continued racial divide between Whites and Blacks in SA. Vergelegen was willing to acknowledge this dark piece of the winery’s history, but still could not manage to honor the memory of those slaves by allowing the lodge to remain.

  3. Eugene Shearer Says:

    I could not believe how beautiful the area surrounding Cape Town was. It was so clean, pristine and green. I learned that South Africans make some good wine. The winery was very nice and the surrounding gardens were very beautiful. I also learned the continuing theme of South Africa was race. Besides tourists, we didn’t see any non-white races visiting the winery. I know we have issues in the US, but I felt there was a much clearer distinction between the races in South Africa.

  4. Sam Says:

    It is amazing how a nice shower can feel so incredible in the right moment. That was my main feeling making the night-and-day switch from Doringbaai to Krystal Beach. Like others, my stomach was in knots, but I managed to make the trip to Vergelegen for some wine and amazing views of the Hottentots.

  5. John Says:

    Gordon’s Bay certainly made me feel privileged. We left the starkest of communities and landed at a beachside tourist town in luxury accommodation. A few of us went to play golf, which highlighted some of the ‘other side’ that fuels South African racial tensions. Our pro shop employee, while being incredibly friendly to our group of four white male tourists, also made some comments about Lutzville and its inhabitants that made me uncomfortable. I think in these South African bubbles of privilege, there can be a pronounced lack of empathy for those from other social circumstances. That’s a lesson that can undoubtedly be applied in America as well.

  6. Caley Says:

    We spent the day exploring the area and ended up at the Vergelegen Estate which has been standing since the 1700’s. Here we sampled some wine and explored the grounds where we walked through a lovely rose garden and saw some peacocks. Overall, it was a very relaxing day and it was great to learn a bit more about Cape Town’s surrounding area.

  7. Tyler Says:

    In addition to the shock of going from the Doringbaai home stay to a ritzy resort hotel, I was struggling with my first bout of upset stomach on this day. I did manage to venture out to the Vergelegen Estate winery for a tasting. The campus was exceptionally beautiful and had a great view of some Stellenbosch mountains. I learned that the oldest oak tree in South Africa existed on these lands and got a chance to see it up close.

  8. Linda Says:

    I took this day to relax. My only activity outside the hotel was going to the Vergelegen Estate winery. We sampled the wine (which wasn’t as good as Delheim) and toured the pristine grounds. It was originally built for a Dutch governor who came to town. The home was very grand and a lot like Downton Abbey – there was a separate room for everything. He had slaves from all over the world – each had his/her name and country of origin posted in the museum to honor his/her life.

  9. Bill Quach Says:

    I took this day to get some exercise, connect with my peers over wine, and take in yet another perspective of South Africa. My highlight was walking through some of the most beautiful gardens and grounds I have ever seen. The surplus of time also presented me with plenty of opportunities to work on my photography craft, to the dismay of said peers.

  10. Garry Ferguson Says:

    Saturday 11 March: Free day – On this day I indulged in the exploits of another gorgeous winery, as well as some golf, that was conveniently situated nearby. My golf game was terrible, which is no revelation. However, it was still nice to be out there hackin’ away with friends. I am well beyond the times when I would become frustrated with my game. I have no reason to be frustrated and no reason to expect a high level of proficiency given that I play so sparingly. Therefore, I have resolved to just enjoy golf when I have the chance to play no matter the ineptitude of my performance.

  11. Parnali Says:

    In Gordon’s Bay, we had gone to the Vergelegend Winery, which was absolutely stunning. The hills, the weather, the flowers – everything about the ambiance was absolutely perfect and unreal. Though the visit was extremely enjoyable, there was one particular moment that really stuck with me. Our waitress at the Vergelegend Winery told us that her family – for over five generations were among the many slaves that worked on Vergelegend grounds hundreds of years ago. Because her family members were slaves on the winery years ago, she felt such a connection with the land that she could not leave. She told us this story with a smile on her face and it was an incredibly powerful moment. She wasn’t the least bit upset about her family being slaves on the winery, rather she was so happy that she could continue working on the land and feeling that connection with her family.

  12. Mansi Narula Says:

    In Stellenbosch/Gordon’s Bay I had a relaxing morning which was followed by a visit to Vergelegen winery. The Vergelegen estate is breathtaking and the wine tasting coupled with discovering the grounds was quite magical. I was in awe of the large oak trees they have and how well they have taken care of their foliage. While back the hotel I enjoyed a beautiful sunset on the balcony and reflected on the many different experiences we had in short amount of time.

  13. Alana Says:

    I spent most of the time in and around the hotel. I found an interesting art exhibit in the lobby as I walked around during the day. I haven’t been in an U.S. hotel with an art exhibit. I also sat outside for awhile on the rocks and took in the scenery. I had dinner with the group at a restaurant on the dock.

  14. Nick Eyer Says:

    After a relaxing morning, I ventured out with some folks to the Vergelegen Wine Estate, which to me felt like a much different experience from our group’s trip to Delheim earlier in the week. While wine tasting was a component of each visit, the Vergelegen Wine Estate seemed to me to be much more about the experience (playgrounds, numerous restaurants, rose gardens, etc.) and less about the history and production of the wine itself. The views at both wineries were, however, breathtaking. Unfortunately, I too was one of the folks who had an uncooperative stomach, which sidelined me Saturday evening upon return from Vergelegen.

  15. Micah Says:

    We started the day with another amazing breakfast buffet (apparently a South African specialty). We spent an hour at the beach (and got to see Orlando and his camera in action!) before heading to a winery. After a quick tasting, I got to play golf at a Gary Player designed course with Garry, Brian, and John. We finished the night at a music festival in Kirstenbosch.

    All in all, one of the best days of the trip.

  16. Caroline Says:

    I had been fighting a terrible cold during out stay in Dooringbai, so it was amazing to be in a hotel and just rest for a bit. That was one of the best showers I have ever had.

    After stopping by the beach in the morning, a bunch of us went to Vergelegen wine estate which was gorgeous. The vineyard had been in use since the early 1700s and some of the original buildings were still on the grounds. The most interesting part of the visit for me was how our server (a colored woman) explained that her great grandparents had been slaves on the farm and here she was, working on the same land. She said she feels a connection with it, which I have no doubt. I will mention though that she was one of many colored or black waiters serving an all-white clientele. While she is clearly not a slave and is working this job because she chooses to, it was yet another instance in my experience in South Africa in which the colored or black people did the serving, and the white people did the receiving.

  17. Preeta Maitra Says:

    I don’t think I’ve ever felt so many different emotions in 48 hours. Throughout the past two days I had felt excited, scared, angry, sad, guilty, and then finally relieved when we arrived at our hotel in Stellenbosch. The hotel itself was such an incredible juxtaposition from where we had been the previous day, and it was a lot to take in. Then we went to a gorgeous winery. I loved the gardens and museum at the winery but, again, I felt strange being there after everything that had happened and all the people we had met over the last couple days.

  18. Samantha Toth Says:

    We spent this day enjoying South Africa’s beautiful wine country. The fellow patrons that I saw at the winery we visited were 100% white, again highlighting the extremities between the white experience and the black experience in South Africa. As Samantha F. mentioned, the winery had made somewhat of an effort to preserve its history, with a small museum in the main house and a sign where the slave quarters once stood. This again caused me to reflect on the legacy of Apartheid; although officially “ended,” the ramifications are still an everyday reality.

  19. Renee Weissend Says:

    The beauty of South Africa took my breath away. This are was no exception. The water is beautiful and the wine country was second to none. Sitting at the vineyard and drinking grape varietals exclusive to South Africa was a treat for the mind and spirit. Afterwards, we walked the grounds, which included a magical rose garden and museum where slave quarters once existed. This scene was again a quiet reminder of South Africa’s past.

  20. Rooma Chi Says:

    Gordon’s Bay was a stark contrast to what we experienced in the villages. The area was absolutely beautiful and I enjoyed it by visiting the Vergelegen winery with classmates. The winery was very historic with hundreds of years old trees, had a beautiful a rose garden, and peacocks. After the wine, I relaxed with a nice massage and some time by the pool. I have to admit though that I felt guilty enjoying those experiences after having just experienced the village life in Lutzville.

  21. Kristin Johnson Says:

    This was a gorgeous day. We went to the Vergelegen Winery and walked around the rose gardens. The backdrop was unbelievably beautiful on the grounds. While it was very relaxing and everyone seemed to be in high spirits, I felt an underlying sentiment that everyone felt a little guilty for enjoying it so much when we were scheduled to be in the villages.

  22. Moni Says:

    After an emotional and exciting 48 hours, I used my time in Stellenbosch to relax and decompress. I spent the morning and early afternoon at Vergelegan Winery, strolling the beautiful ground with my classmates and returned to the hotel in time for a massage. That evening we had a quiet night in, playing board games, eating take-out pizza, and drinking wine.

  23. Adriana Penalba Says:

    This was a relaxed day. It was difficult to reconcile my feelings about Lutzville while in a beach resort. We visited the Vergelegen Winery, and I was able to learn a bit more about South Africa’s past and history of slavery because this winery was once a plantation. We also sampled the wine and the food, which were very good.

  24. Kavita Says:

    The weather was gorgeous! We went to Vergelegen Winery, where we explored the grounds which included a rose garden and museum, among other things. It was a happy day for all, which was quite the contrast to the feelings we had just 15-16 hrs earlier. Some of us ended the day by ordering pizza, drinking wine, sitting in our pjs, and chatting up a storm.

  25. Baoxin Says:

    The Krystal Beach Hotel was a big surprise. An art gallery called Ndiza is located in the heart of the hotel. I love this gallery. This is a really welcoming space where people are able to not only purchase, but engage, participate and enjoy feeling more connected to Africa’s vibrant culture. I went there twice, and the portrait of a black woman hanging at the middle was so beautiful that I could even not take my eyes off it.

  26. Swati Seth Says:

    After the village trip, I took this day to relax and check out some more areas around Cape Town. I ended up going to the Vergelegen Winery to sample another wine tasting in South Africa. Similar to Delheim, this was nestled away in beautiful surroundings and a mountain backdrop. We toured the gardens and grounds and were fortunate enough to spot peacocks casually strolling among the visitors.

  27. Lauren Busch Says:

    I had a lot of mixed feelings after my stay in Dooringbai. While Crystal Beach was a wonderful hotel, it was a stark contrast to where we had been and made me feel a little guilty. This was a place that the people I met in Dooringbai would never be able to afford – privilege at its finest.

    While in Gordon’s Bay, I decided to use the free time to relax and decompress. I hit the gym for the first time all trip and enjoyed dinner and wine with some classmates along the boardwalk. It was a very nice day, just wish we had been enjoying it under different circumstances.

  28. Brian Murphy Says:

    Went to Vergelegan winery and then hit the links with Micah, John and Garry. Garry and I ended up losing in match play (last two holes) and then I misjudged how far I was from the clubhouse and launched a ball into an older couple sitting outside eating dinner. It was a Gary Player designed course and I think they charged us $11. We had a blast.

  29. Katie Thigpen Says:

    Had the best creme brulee of my life at Vergelegan (the wine was delicious too). It started being a little cloudy but then the sun shined through and we walked the grounds just taking in the beauty of the winery. I was very interested to see the Dutch influence on the architecture–it was so beautiful. Also the rose garden was a dream!

  30. Natasha Mayekar Says:

    After arriving to the hotel, I was quite surprised to find such a large room with two bathrooms – quite a stark contrast to our experiences just a couple of hours beforehand. I went to Vergelegan winery with my classmates and explored the wine grounds while enjoying the breathtaking views and wonderful weather. The day ended with ordering food and wine while watching movies.

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