Sunday, June 13, 2010

Another side to the Western Cape

Today we are up early’ish and in the car and off to the Cape Winelands for a drive around. We had originally planned to take a wine tasting tour where we pay for someone else to do the driving and we could do the drinking, but a combination of not being able to find a tour we liked and the lack of time, conspired to put the kybosh on that idea. Instead, with a handful of hours to spare between football matches I suggested we do a self-drive, non-drinking trip out to Stellenbosh & Franschhoek and at least take a look.

Driving out of town was straight-forward and easy, especially with the GPS, and we stopped at a great cafe for a cake & coffee in Stellenbosh, before taking a walk around the quaint town centre. The historic architecture was a refreshing change from the downtown metropolis of Cape Town, and the proximity of the spectacular mountains really made us feel we were somewhere in the French Alps...!

Next we continued our drive out to Franschhoek along a picturesque route through mile after mile of neatly manicured vineyards, squeezed in between steep sided valleys. Franschhoek itself, while still quaint in a French sort of way, was a little more aimed at the tourist market with shop after shop aimed fairly and squarely at the well-heeled tourist market. We found a suitable restaurant that was showing the South Korea v Greece game and sat down to a nice meal and a few goals. I had a local favourite, Bobotie, a sort of eggy shepherds pie (!), which was very tasty. Fiona had a walk around town while Yates and I watched the 2nd half, before we made our way back to Cape Town in time to get ready for the England v USA game. With me supporting England and Yates firmly behind the USA, this was going to be one of the more interesting games in the group stages.

Once again we went to the Fireman’s Arms an hour and a half before kick-off and it was only slightly less crowded than it was for the opening game, but we did manage to get to sit next to each other as the build up continued. There was plenty of England support in the bar and a rousing rendition of the National Anthem echoed around the bar, and Yates did his best to represent the USA somewhat unaided. The game got underway with the best possible start for England, with Stevie G sloting in a sweet shot in the 4th minute. To be honest for most of the 1st half England had very little shape, looked very unsettled, with poor touches from everyone, but they did not look like conceding. Imagine our horror after 40 minutes when a speculative shot from Fulham’s Clint Dempsey seemed to magically slip through the fingers of England’s Keeper, West Hams Robert Green. Oh the humanity...!

The 2nd half looked better for England with the lion’s share of the chances, but the USA stayed strong and kept the score to a disappointing one-all draw. The American defender Onyewu was outstanding at the back, but over-all a draw was not the worst result in the world, and at least Yates and I are still talking to each other...!

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