Thanks to: Andrea & Patrick Milner of Sleepy Willow, Galileo Outdoor cinema, Christine & John Enthoven of Avondvrede
We set off for Sleepy Hollow guest house a few kilometres from the Galileo’s location for the evening – still one of the greatest ideas we pay much respect to; watching golden oldies and seeing stars shoot across the sky is some of the greatest memories of our encounters.
Galileo open air cinema was the base reason for this encounter, to watch Top Gun out in the open air; and we faced the fact that everybody needs a little ‘Cruise’ in their lives from time to time; but so many more reasons emerged as we encountered this experience.
With an epic backdrop of the starlit sky and enclosed by the Simonsberg and Hottentot Hollands mountain ranges, it was elemental; truly an experience we would encourage, influence and otherwise highly recommend to anyone and everyone.
A blessing it was to be staying in such a region and experiencing Galileo – Waterfront, Kirstenbosch, Durbanville Quarry, all worthy locales – there was something unique and passionate about this particular Galileo locale.
A Nomad knows that expectation can create an environment that doesn’t allow one to feel open to the fullness of every experience – the essence and fundamental meaning of ‘power in the present’ – having no ‘want’ of the situation – go with it, be it.
A midday departure took us to our base, Sleepy Willow – and a lovely welcome from Andrea, her dogs and kids. The house she and her family live in is magical – she invited us to use their pond and led us outside to see their ‘backyard’.
We were silenced to witness a backdrop of the greenest stretch of grass, meeting up with a huge doughnut type pond, and in the middle, an island, whose only company was a weeping willow lazily hanging over the pond, a traditional swing rope hanging from a branch sticking out over the water. A somewhat unused jetty jutting out in a swell of the ‘doughnut dam’, the surface of this home project for the family was covered with lily pads the size of soccer balls and proud lotus flowers spotted across the big lilies – a grand photo op waiting to happen, we confirmed to return for a swim and some Flow.
Andrea asked us to follow her for a short drive to our accommodation, the rooms formed part of the original estate adjoined to the main house, in the very courtyard where the grapes are sorted and tanked for fermentation…man we love wine.
The property is solely owned by the Endhoven family – and the wine is produced for family and friends – the surplus of which is sold off to other estates.
The vineyards on this particular section of land, Avondvrede Winery, are exclusively for the Endhoven family, Christine . . . sends bottles to family and friends abroad.
Where Nomads are loyal to tequila as an anytime; wine is something one sips, savours, and consumes the energy that brought this to the table…or picnic blanket…or whatever. Wine takes a great deal of time and effort to produce and this can be tasted and felt in some of the better wines.
The Cape winding vineyards of the Cape region are some of the most explored in the world, yielding some of the finest variations of fermented grapes. The grape starts its annual growth cycle in Spring with the ‘bud break’(Annual Growth Cycle of Grapevines).
It takes around 6 months from bud break to harvest, depending on the hemisphere and conditions.
There are typically 5 stages of wine making, being harvesting, crushing and pressing, fermentation, clarification and finally aging and bottling. All this is a very interesting read if your into wine – gives one a solid understanding of the basics. (Winemaking Process).
Quaint was all we could come up with when we viewed our rooms on the boundary of the vineyard, and how deeply grateful we were to be met by the jolliest Labrador, Snowy, with baby browns that would melt your heart, she escorted us into our rooms, showed us around…sniffed everything and lay down outside as we wound down with coffee and rusks on the porch, enjoying the birds of prey above, and the vineyards on our doorstep.
After a very brief discussion of the flow of events, we headed for a little discovery roadie to source wine tasting, as one does in the Cape wine lands. Our luck led us to 3 closed and one under renovation until next season…the sign was noted and so we found our way to Warwick Wine Estate to make sure of the location, and to double check the prepared picnic basket for the evening.
With Galileo – one can take your own picnic, wine, whatever; or they have a few lovely food vendors to choose from – either way, make sure you’ve got snacks and liquids…
We roamed Warwick for a few and decided to head back to base camp for freshening up and chill-time. Only to find that irony can be like laughing first thing in the morning, amusingly pleasant; and there was a wine tasting open on the same property as Sleepy Willow – Marianne – just a couple hundred meters down a dirt road.
We arrived to a power outage, with a slight fear of not being able to have a tasting, Melissa settled our spirits with a sprightly ‘yes we are open, come and sit’. Hunter did some furniture repositioning outside on the deck to shift our view to be out over the vineyards.
The wine tasting was one with a biltong pairing. Melissa started with our first white wine, and felt she needed to confess to her heavy night out…and it was her first day on the job. With all that though – she had a remarkable understanding of wine presentation and broad explanations and introductions for the pairing. She returned after we had gone through the tasting card to pour us another glass and started presenting the last red to us…again, as we gazed at her and she finished her presentation…she smiled and said ‘I have already done that one, haven’t I?’
We had a decent laugh about it, and she returned to her duties as we settled and began our departure.
Returning to the vehicle, we found a tractor parking off in between rows of what seemed like lemon trees – we assessed it, and opted for our first “Flow Anywhere & Everywhere” impulsive moment aboard said tractor. A certain self-trust exercise post-tasting.
A short drive back and change into swimwear takes us back to the idyllic lotus pond to squeeze in some Flow poses and a dip. What seemed like the alpha amongst the dogs, the golden retriever came out to play too, as the other dogs watched.
The playground of pond, jetty and willows allowed for many moments and memories…each picture gives way to a series of feelings recalling themselves. And how each location presents its own set of challenges of balance and concentration…and then there is swinging like a hooligan from a rope tied to a tree into a pond…the balance of serious and silly…lyrical…
Time swept by and the sun told us it was time to move onward, a quick journey back to the rooms to change and head out to Warwick for the excitement of Goose and Maverick and the boys; and girl !
We secured our spot amongst the busy field of Galileo’s and collected the picnic basket full of tasty delicacies, including 2 tubs of cheesecake, which were absolutely magnificent – true compliments to Warwick – very impressed with the presentation and quality of their prepared meals.
With a fair amount of good wine consumed, full bellies and Top Gun finished, we were headed back to our base.
Lauren said: One moment she is getting ready for bed, the next moment she hears a window opening and Dean appears outside in the courtyard – with a worried ‘What are you doing’ – Hunter replied with a ‘there is a beeping, I got to find the beeping’.
The next day Lauren hears a story of finding an alarm inside the canister room across the courtyard – everything left open – because of the power cut – the alarm just needed to be reset – which he did…and slept peacefully.
A beautiful morning to wake up to, coffee & rusks and a little flow down at the pond and on the fallen tree.
It was time to say goodbye. After a brief connection and chat to Christine (The owner of the wine farm), we packed up and journeyed back to the Cape.
A memorable encounter in the bank…