Groot Constantia Wine Estate

20160329_134742.jpgA visit to the Groot Constantia wine estate stretches into a stunning backdrop of mountains.  South Africa’s oldest vineyard has offered award winning wines for over 330 years, produced here on the wine farm which includes a museum and offers cellar tours.  To get there you can drive, hop on a bus tour, or take a helicopter.  The day was overcast, but patches of blue sky peeking out from behind billowing clouds gave me optimism.  Cape Town has notoriously moody weather so I hoped for the best as I jumped on a bus heading out from Victoria and Alfred Waterfront to visit one of South Africa’s renowned wine farms.  A quick ride up the mountain and into lush forest suddenly opened up into serene landscape of rolling vineyards and we were dropped off.  You are free to stroll the property and wander the vineyards, just be aware to keep an eye out for baboons.  The beauty of the South African landscape was not something I got used to, although being taken aback by it was.  Even cast under clouds with a grey sky, the stunning beauty is vivid.  Joining a cellar tour and wine tasting is the perfect amount of interesting and delicious for a vacation activity.  After the tasting, I wander the property admiring the beauty, the tranquility is penetrating, almost somber.  Or maybe that is my mood; my understanding of the hands that built this property, and the honor bestowed upon the estate over three hundred years, brought upon by the labor of people whose own country deemed them to be less than, and only able to attain upward socio economic mobility by applying to raise their colored status to something closer to white.  As one who travels internationally,  the history of South Africa is fresh, palpable, and visible.  The history and lessons of colonialism and slavery, and life under apartheid are made evident as tourist destinations, while the effects are evident in everyday life and social structure.  There is a real danger of disassociation when the plight of human beings becomes something you just take pictures of, as you move through an entire community as an observer, not a fellow human being.  I could not separate my travels from the past, nor did I want to as it is a history that needs to be learned, shared and spoken about.  

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